6 steps for becoming alkalines

by: Pamela Ballard
Your pH says a lot about the state of your health.  pH stands for power of hydrogen, which is a measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration in the body.  The total pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 considered to be neutral.  A pH less than 7 is said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline.  Our ideal pH is slightly alkaline, 7.30 to 7.45.

The symptoms of an overly acidic body are weight gain, decreased energy, inflammation, increased toxins, mental fog, heartburn, digestive issues, acid reflux/GERD, cancer, gingivitis and osteoporosis.  When we maintain proper pH levels, injuries heal faster and health challenges improve more quickly.

The Standard American Diet is an overly processed diet full of acid-forming foods such as "polluted" meat, pasteurized dairy, genetically-modified modern wheat, foods with chemicals, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, sugar and non organic foods full of pesticides.

Stress is also a huge contributing factor to having an overly acidic condition. 

Do you have any of the above symptoms or health concerns?

6 Steps for Becoming Alkaline:

The goal is to get your morning urine pH between 6.5 and 7.5.  You may be surprised to find that some of your favorite foods are actually acid-producing and the ones you think are acidic really aren't.  Additionally, your pH will vary depending on the time of day, what you ate or drank the day before and even your stress levels.

1. Pump up your produce intake.
2. Ban bread.
3. Chuck the condiments.
4. Boost your beans and seeds.
5. Get rid of artificial sweeteners.
6. Reduce alcohol, dairy (cheese too) and coffee.

Give it a try for just one week and see if you feel any shifts in your health and energy levels.  Contact Pamela via EMAIL or (303) 378-2689 for a consultation and help with your diet today!


Playing Safe in the Outdoors

Warmer temperatures, stronger sunshine, water sports, mountain play and more is upon us and it's important to be prepared as the temperatures shift and we start acclimating to the new environment.  Below are some tips to keep you on the pleasant road during all of your outdoor excursions:

Stay fully hydrated. Hydration is one of the most important elements of optimal performance and reaching fitness and lifestyle goals.  Thirst normally doesn’t show as a symptom of hydration until the body is already significantly dehydrated.

  • Pre-exercise:  Have at least 8oz of water within 30 minutes before your ride to start off well hydrated.

  • During: Take in approximately 16-24oz of water an hour (more or less for sweating).  Aim to take sips frequently! Try not to take large gulps, as it is harder for your body to absorb. Shoot for approximately a 6-8% dilute carbohydrate and water solution to maximize absorption rates.

  • Post-exercise:  Drink a minimum of 8oz of water afterwards to aid in proper recovery. If water weight was lost post-exercise, replace with equivalent oz of water (1lb = 16 oz) over time (remember larger quantities are harder to absorb).

Eat for success. Another essential component to optimal performance is your nutritional status.  It is important to eat before, during and after exercise to ensure physical capacity and recovery. 

  • Pre-exercise: Eat a normal meal 2-3 hours pre-activity.  Approximately 30 minutes before your excursion have a small carbohydrate rich snack to slightly increase blood glucose to preserve your muscular glycogen (energy) stores for later in your activity.

  • During Exercise: Have approximately 150-300 calories of carbohydrate/hr (1g carb = 4 calories) while exercising after your first hour (remember some of this is coming from your drink).

  • Post Exercise: Eat carbohydrates and proteins after your outdoor play.  It is important to have both for maximal recovery and replacement of muscle glycogen.

Protect your skin and eyes. Your skin is the largest organ of the body and protects your from microbial attacks at every given moment. Your eyes are the portal between you and perceiving the world around you in a visual nature. It is vital to protect these two organs to ensure longevity, avoid unnecessary cancers and surgeries, and enjoy the rest of your day and week without potentially serious pain.

  • Wear SPF 15 at minimum.  There are many commercial and organic options out there. Find one you and your skin love and lather up frequently. If you are into water or sweaty sports, look for one that holds up to fluids and remember to reapply after toweling off or wiping the sweat down. 

  • Wear a hat and or sunglasses at high hours of the day. Consider a pair of sunglasses that has some sort of filtration for harmful rays, especially if you plan on spending time on the water.

Avoid overexposure to the sun. The sun can lead to horrible illness and even death in the forms of heat cramps, heat stroke, heat exhaustion,  and heat rash outside of the traditional sunburn. 

  • Recognize the signs and symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary. Always enjoy shade when possible if you are out in the sun for long periods of time to decrease body temperature and especially if you experience any of the following symptoms.

  • Heat Rash: Pink or red rash usually found where the body is covered with clothing. This is usually caused by blocked sweat ducts and should be watched for progressing infection.

  • Heat Cramps: Painful, involuntary muscle spasms or cramps associated with exercising in the heat. Cease activity immediately until the cramping stops and do not resume for hours after relief if possible. Drink fluids containing a balance of electrolytes. Once the cramps stop, you can use gentle massage and stretching to relieve and flush the area. If they do not stop, see a doctor immediately.

  • Heat Exhaustion: Excessive thirst, confusion, dizziness, weakness, muscle cramps or spasms, nausea, vomiting, pale skin, rapid pulse, and/or loss of consciousness. Remove oneself from the heat as soon as possible, remove tight clothing, drink cool fluids, apply cool liquids via shower or towels and rest. If symptoms do not cease, see a doctor immediately.

  • Heat Stroke: Body temperature reaches 104 degrees or higher. Symptoms appear first as heat exhaustion, but can shift to dry skin that feels hot to the touch, rapid breathing and death. It is important to get to an emergency department as soon as possible so organ damage does not occur and death is prevented.

Good luck and enjoy your outdoor activities! Please leave your questions and comments below or feel free to contact me directly via katew@livebeyondlimit.com or our Contact page!

Vegan Cooking Recipe

vegan chocolate mousse

Ever get stressed when you know your vegan (or egg and dairy free) family member, friend, etc is coming over for dinner and dessert or wonder how to cut out a LOT of calories from one of the classics-chocolate mousse? Make it vegan and you'll cut out the worry and less than half of the calories from cutting out all of that milk fat! I've tested this recipe out on the most pro-animal product individuals I know, including some southern bred-Texans and not one person was able to guess it was a vegan recipe. 
     1 Package Silken (Or Soft) Tofu
    1.5 cups Dark (or your choice) Chocolate Chips
    1/2-1 cup Almond Milk (Or that of your choice)
    1-2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
    1-2 Tbsp Almond Extract (Kahlua? Amaretto?)

Mixing Instructions:
    1 - Drain the tofu and place in blender
    2- Melt chocolate chips with a double boiler and add almond milk until smooth and    
    3- Pour chocolate concoction into the blender
    4- Add extracts to taste
    5- Blend and Aerate until silky smooth
    6- Refrigerate until set - either in the blender or in desired serving dishes; 1-3 hours
    7- Serve and enjoy!

Serving suggestions: 
    1 - Add some of your favorite fresh fruit and/or a sprig of mint for garnish!
    2 - For a bigger group, double the recipe!
    3 - Before refrigerating pour into your favorite crust (nut and coconut crusts are
         delicious to make this gluten free!)
    4 - Layer with fruit or cake for a parfait - gorgeous and delicious!

If you're still a little unsure, in the words of Dale Carnegie, "Take a chance! All life is a chance.  The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare." Enjoy take a leap into the world of vegan cooking and enjoy the decadence!

The Sweet and the Sour of Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial Sweeteners

Recently there has been some controversy around the addition of artificial sweeteners to our milk products as well as the removal of labeling calling milk "reduced calorie".  All the hub-bub and controversy falls around the International Diary Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) filing a petition with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to amend the current regulations in order to allow the use of non-nutritive sweeteners, including aspartame, and the removal of "reduced calorie" labels so milk will be more appealing to the market.

What do you think about this? 

From the industry standpoint, the desire to use non-nutritive sweeteners is appealing because they are lower in cost, they minimize additional caloric intake and there have been some studies to cite their addictive nature.  The removal of the "reduced calorie" labeling further supports their bottom line to increase sales, as their argument is that something with the above label makes those items less desirable to young children, whom are their target consumers.

From a consumer standpoint, this is an outrageous request. It seems to promote teaching our kids to choose things that are further from the pure food source (what mother nature gave us to consume) and that sweeter is better, especially when it has less calories than the real food (plain sugar).  Due to this, it could also would limit the discrimination and self-control we need to be teaching our kids from day one and create additions to fake food, which in turn increases health risks such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome and overall poor-self esteem and depression. 

Take a look at these statistics from Harvard's leading Health Blog:

"Participants in the San Antonio Heart Study who drank more than 21 diet drinks per week were twice as likely to become overweight or obese as people who didn’t drink diet soda."

" In the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, daily consumption of diet drinks was associated with a 36% greater risk for metabolic syndrome and a 67% increased risk for type 2 diabetes."

"In studies of rats who were exposed to cocaine, then given a choice between intravenous cocaine or oral saccharine, most chose saccharin."

You read those quotations correctly. The use of non-nutritive sweeteners to make your food lower calorie actually can be tied to the increase of the same diseases that the industry is claiming to try to avoid. Plus, highly illegal substances (cocaine) are shown to be less addictive than one of the non-nutritive sweeteners they are petitioning to be able to use, saccharin. The chemical release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters promoted by the fake sugars create a mini-high in the body (note, real food does this too but gives us the calories to stay satiated and not need to grab another dose). The more we are exposed to that high, the more we want it to continue. The more we give in to that want, the higher the potential caloric intake. 

What ever happened to farm-to-table and the idea of giving our kids real food? Why the need to add on additional ingredients and make things more appealing? The more we alter the sources, the more confused our physiological responses will be because we literally are changing the feedback loops in our bodies to enhance the temporary "high" of a fake substance. If they wanted to add cocaine back into substances, would there even be a debate? I didn't even start to brush the number of countries that have these substances banned for the health of their people due to animal studies linking theses substances to certain cancers...we'll save that for another time.

All in all, this makes me believe that the dairy industry is hurting and in order to boost and save profits the IDFA and NMPF wish to be able to use cheaper resources and get their market literally addicted to their products. 

I think I'll go have a glass of water.

Yoga for Your Plate: Mindful Eating

by: Pamela Ballard

*adapted from  Ballard Nutrition Blog

Fort Collins Nutritionist

The race is on: Cooking, cleaning, hosting, visiting, and tackling a holiday shopping list that is growing faster than last summer's weeds. Before you know it, the table is set and you're serving the holiday meal. This year, though, is going to be different--you're going to sit down and savor the abundance of flavors and the good company at your table. 

The art of Mindful Eating, with roots in Zen teachings, aims to reconnect you more deeply with the experience of eating and drinking. It's the process of deliberately paying attention to what is happening both within yourself and in your environment during mealtime. When you eat mindfully, you are in tune with where your food came from and with the aroma, taste, and texture of food. You become much more aware of your appetite - just how hungry are you? And, you become more sensitive to the feeling of fullness, so you'll be less likely to overeat. Mindful eating brings enjoyment back to mealtime.


1. Pause & Connect. 
After you give thanks for your meal, but before you pick up your fork, take a moment to connect with your appetite. How hungry do you feel? Of all the glorious food on the table before you, what are you truly hungry for? What flavors will nourish you and replenish your energy? Try not to choose foods out of habit. Fill your plate first with the foods your body is saying it most needs. Then, embellish your plate with smaller amounts of those traditional holiday favorites. 

2. Clear Digital Distractions. 
Although it's less likely at holiday time when family and friends gather from near and far, it's easy to forget to turn off the digital devices that are such a huge part of our lives. Sure, someone will complain about missing a "key play" in the big game, but what's more important? Everyone at your table should be in the moment for the main part of the meal and free of distraction. 

3. Take Bites, Not Gulps. 
Instead of shoveling food into your mouth, take smaller bites and focus on chewing and tasting it. Digestion begins with the act of chewing. Salivary enzymes break down food the moment it enters your mouth. Your taste buds awaken to flavors as you chew. Pause between bites to set your utensils down and breathe. 

4. Engage All the Senses. 
The taste of food is just one way to appreciate it. Throughout your meal, notice how food smells and how it looks on the plate. Notice the colors and the textures. Consider the nutrients that the food will provide for you. Appreciate every aspect of eating (and celebrating) the holiday meal. 

5. Be a Nonjudgmental Diner. Being a nonjudgmental diner is about paying attention to your needs for nourishment and not the person's next to you. And if you feel yourself on the verge of overindulgence, make it a conscious choice. Choose your favorite holiday treat and bring a focused awareness to eating it. Almost certainly, you'll so enjoy and be satisfied by that first piece of pie, you won't feel the urge for seconds.

Contact Pam to set up your consult today if you have questions or need a little guidance!