LIVE: Week one recommendation

By Ryan Howes | Oct 21, 2017

No matter how well you are feeling or not, there is one recommendation that I readily prescribe: drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables. Let’s take a look at the facts and how to effectively implement these recommendations into your lifestyle.

Did you know that your body is made up of 70 percent water? It’s no surprise that how much water you consume affects your health. While too much water could result in mineral imbalances, too little could cause dehydration, fatigue and headaches.

Everyone wants to know how much to consume. Bio-individuality applies here, which means that everyone requires a different amount of water to function properly. The average male should drink about three liters and women should drink about 2.2 liters of water each day. Take into consideration individual lifestyle factors. Regular exercise requires more water, whereas a diet rich in water-dense fresh fruits and vegetables helps to hydrate the body.

Here are several situations where I recommend increasing water intake: 1) hot and humid temperatures, 2) exercise, 3) high altitude (above 8,200 feet), 4) increased alcohol intake, 5) pregnancy/breast feeding, 6) bladder and urinary tract infections, 7) illness with fever, diarrhea and vomiting.

Everyone wants to know what is the best water to consume. With many types of water out there, including alkaline ionized, bottled, distilled, filtered and tap, consider availability, cost and environmental impacts. Here’s some information to help you decide.

1) Tap water is the most readily available and sustainable source, but may not be the safest option because of contaminants including bacteria, byproducts and trace metals. The Environmental Protection Agency puts out a yearly Consumer Confidence Report with recommendations for your public water source. Or, you could purchase a water test kit online or at a local home store.

2) Water filters come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Hopefully your water source does not require one, but make sure to purchase a filter that removes the contaminants specific to your source.

3) Distillation is a boiling process that can remove impurities and toxins, although this process can also remove naturally occurring metals that are beneficial to our health.

4) Bottled water is quite the enterprise these days. It can be a good option when traveling internationally, but this option comes with risk factors including chemicals from the plastic seeping into the water, as well as cost and the significant environmental impact. Learn more about those impacts by reading "Plastiki" by David de Rothschild.

5) Water ionizers, which create alkaline blood pH in our bodies, are gaining popularity and acceptance.

Crowding out unhealthy food with fruits and vegetables is a natural way to regulate your blood’s pH to its naturally occurring range of 7.35 to 7.45 alkalinity. Below 7.35 is an acid state where disease thrives. Refined carbohydrates, sugar meat and dairy are acid-forming. On a cellular level, this acid state causes stress and inflammation and leads to the biggest killers in America – heart disease, diabetes and other lifestyle stress-related diseases.

I’m not asking you to radically change the foods you eat. If you read my last article, you know that I don’t believe in diets, because their drastic nature leads to weight gain after the diet is complete. Instead, increase fruits and vegetables with each meal. Keep it simple. Add some blueberries to your breakfast, prepare a salad for lunch and stir-fry for dinner. Bananas and mangoes have a lot of sugar and are a much healthier dessert option than brownies, cookies and cake.

If you’re not convinced to eat more fruits and vegetables, check out this list of benefits: blood purification, cancer prevention, improved circulation, strengthening of immune system, improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function, less congestion and mucus, promotion of healthy intestinal flora and overall increased energy.

My background as a professional climber and now ultra-distance runner has been positively affected by nutrition, especially by fruits and vegetables. My favorite food is salad, because I notice a light energy after eating them. Salads can be added to any meal of the day, containing a variety of delicious ingredients. Some of my favorite add-ons are nuts, seeds, avocado, salmon and eggs for the healthy fats and protein. Check out my salad recipe below. I make this in bulk every week so I spend less time making food and maximize my time spent doing the things I need to do and want to do – like eating. Add this salad to your daily menu for two weeks and you’ll be amazed at how good your feel.

Ryan’s Fine-chopped kale salad:

-Bunch of kale

-Half a red onion

-One red pepper

-One large carrot

-One lemon

-Three Tbsp. olive oil

-Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse first four ingredients and dry. Pull leaves off kale stalks and finely chop kale (I use the stalks for soups or for snacking on). Thinly slice red onion and red pepper. Grate carrot with a cheese grater. Place all ingredients into a bowl and squeeze lemon onto ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients and mix for two minutes with your hands. This allows the olive oil and lemon to do their magic, and your hands are full of love. Plus, there’s nothing more fun than licking this delicious flavor off your fingers.

Kale is not well liked by many people because of its flavor and texture, but I am here to change that. Common practice for salad making is to massage lemon juice into kale for a minimum of 10 minutes. This process creates a more palatable mouthfeel and pulls out more flavors. However, a finely chopped kale does the same thing. Its natural juices and delicious flavor are more accessible without the added time spent in the kitchen.

Why kale? The “eat more kale” bumper sticker became popular because kale happens to be the most nutritionally dense food on the planet, loaded with enough vitamins, minerals and health benefits to fill the rest of this page.

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