Project 101 – Resilience – Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part Two and Music Therapy – Sally Cronin


Project 101 – Resilience is aimed at developing a strong  immune system and a body that can fight off disease at any age. One of the key factors in achieving that level of robust health is being a healthy weight. There have been a number of risk factors identified that put certain groups of the population at a higher risk of a critical outcome from being infected with Covid- 19 – Opportunistic pathogens like nothing better than an acidic environment to thrive in.

Health and energy and long life all begin with a correct pH balance.

The pH balance refers to the acidity or alkalinity of every living organism. The scale for measuring this balance is called Potential for Hydrogen or pH balance and each system or organ has its optimum balance for health. The scale goes from 0 to 14 with 7.0 being neutral with anything above 7 as alkaline and anything below 7 being acidic. Each step up or down is ten times the previous which means that even a change of .1 will have an effect on your body. Part One can be found Here

Part Two – Eating plan for a healthy acidity/alkaline balance

It is important that you eat regularly and moderately to provide you with the nutrients that you require and to allow your body to process those nutrients to make them as accessible as possible for your body.

Your main meals are breakfast, lunch and dinner with three snacks in between depending on your energy requirements.

The older we get the less we need to snack between meals especially if they are sugary in nature.

Main meals should consist of some wholegrain or vegetable carbohydrate, animal or plant protein and a small amount of healthy fats.

Always chew food slowly and if you put your knife and fork down between each mouthful you should be eating at the correct pace. If there is someone in your family who always finishes their meal after you then make it a point to slow down so that they finish first.

After a heavier than normal meal always try and relax for at least half an hour before moving around and certainly leave at least two hours before rigorous exercise.

Drinking a small cup of peppermint tea after a meal will aid digestion and it is better to eat fruit as a starter rather than a dessert as it digests much quicker than any other food. If you eat fruit within half an hour of a heavy meal it can cause a disruption to the digestive process.

Intermittent Fasting is also a way to allow your digestive system to process foods thoroughly over 14/16 hours whilst you eat within the other 8/10 hours. If you are not hugely active then eating two main meals with a small amount of fruit as a snack is quite easy to get used to and has been shown to reduce the risk for diseases such as diabetes.

Most people who follow this diet will fast on two days a week with meals adding up to 500 to 600 calories of high density nutritional foods. However, it is tempting then on the other five days to roll the boat out. I find eating two meals a day with a piece of fruit in between, within an 8/10 hour window every day to be easier to stick to.

Foods that should be avoided.

Foods have different acid and alkaline properties. Some are acidic in the mouth but form alkaline ash; others are so heavily processed that they will turn to acidic ash in the stomach.

If you suffer already from acid reflux or peptic ulcers you should follow the following recommendations as strictly as possible. This also applies if you have some of the more common degenerative diseases such as arthritis as an acid environment is perfect.

If you would simply like to ensure the correct pH balance in your body then you can adopt a 60/40 approach and ensure that acid forming foods are only included in your diet once a day. If you suffer from any chronic diseases then for the next six weeks I suggest you follow these guidelines. Make a note in any change in symptoms and if you find that they have improved then this ratio is something you might like to stay with longer term.

Very, very acidic ash forming foods that should be totally avoided are

  • All soft drinks,
  • More than a cup of coffee per day especially with cream and sugar combined,
  • Alcohol in general but particularly cheap wine and beer
  • Refined sugars in commercially produced white flour bread, cakes, sweets and biscuits and artificial sweeteners.
  • Salt should be used very sparingly, as it is acid forming as well as raising blood pressure if it is in the form of sodium rich industrially produced foods..We all need sodium but it is found naturally in many of the foods we eat. Add no more than a level teaspoon of salt to food during the day.

Very acidic forming foods that can be included 20% of your daily diet are:

  • Chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, lamb, beef, pork and other lean proteins.
  • Oranges (nectarines are okay)

Moderately acidic forming foods that can be included up to 30% of your daily diet.

  • Wholegrains, brown rice, corn, oats, rye, wholegrain pastas
  • Lentils
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Good quality wines
  • Organic fresh coffee,
  • Yoghurt, milk and cheese
  • Cranberries
  • All the beans.

Alkaline foods that can be included freely every day.

N.B although some of these fruits contain natural fruit sugar they are alkaline. If however you are pre-diabetic or diabetic then you sould limit your fruit intake to one piece per day. Also avoid high sugar juices and instead substitute vegetables.

Coconut water, figs, olives, apricots (dried as snack three), avocados, carrots, spinach, cabbage, dates (three on salads), kiwis, limes, raspberries, strawberries, asparagus, bananas, celery, beetroot, melon, lettuce, parsley, pineapple, pomegranate (if available) nectarines, cherries, grapefruit, tomatoes, cucumber, cauliflower, lemons, string beans, peaches, mushrooms (shitake if not too expensive), watermelon, courgettes, apples and pears.

Are most fruit and vegetables alkaline forming?

Yes they are which is why I so often encourage people to move to a much higher level of vegetables and moderate fruit content in their diet. Ideally 80% of your diet should be unprocessed, fresh and preferably raw foods. However if you feel that you cannot achieve that to begin with, I have set a 20% guideline for animal proteins, 30% for grains etc. and 50% for fruit and vegetables.

Some other neutral foods that you can use in moderation in the 20% field are the oils and butter and milk. These are classified, as neutral but should be used carefully if you are hoping to lose some weight.

What about sauces for foods?

It is much better to make your own sauces from natural ingredients. It is the sugars in processed sauces that cause much of the acid effect. You can use olive oil or a little butter on vegetables and make salad dressings with olive oil and herbs. I find now that sauces, unless they are very light have become very cloying and take away the natural taste of the food.

Next week:  Achieving the correct pH balance in your body – The Plan

Now time for some Music Therapy.. and it is not always about getting you moving, but also relieving stress and relaxing your body and mind.

Earlier in the series I gave you some exercises to improve your lung function, by reducing stiffness and increasing oxygen flow.

Our breath is much more than just an intake of oxygen. It is our connection to life itself as without air we would die. There are 4 parts to every breath,

The inhale, a moment’s pause, the exhale and another natural moment’s pause before the next inhale. Exhale usually longer than the inhale.

While you are watching this video and listening to the music practice this breathing pattern. (you can start with the count of 2-2-4-1 until you feel comfortable with the longer pattern)

  1. Inhale through your nose to the count of five
  2. Hold for the count of five
  3. Exhale through your mouth to the count of seven.
  4. Pause for the count of two

Music in combination with beautiful images and some slow deep breathing for just a few minutes can actually be very energising.. here is  André Rieu – Nightingale Serenade (Toselli Serenade).. uploaded by Tatiana Blue

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me next Tuesday for some more Resilience training. Sally

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – Weight Loss Hack No 2 – Improving lung function No 2, Musical Therapy by Sally Cronin


Yesterday I shared a way to make some small changes to your diet that would save you 30lbs of body fat a year without causing too much effort.  Today another tactic I used when I was losing my own 150lbs and found bathroom scales accurate but not always motivating.

And it is motivation and making progress with weight loss and toning up that makes all the difference, especially if you need to lose more than a stone in weight.

I was size 32 UK when I started and wore tent like dresses and skirts. I saw a black velvet dress with a cream satin trim and small straps in a size 18 that I fell in love with. It was expensive at the time in 1996 at £75 but I took the plunge and bought it. It hung on the outside of my wardrobe in a clear plastic cover in my bedroom for the next 18 months, and it was the first thing I saw when I got up in the morning.

I would get it out of its wrapper once a week and hold it up against me in the mirror. I did this for about a year, and then I had lost sufficient weight to get it up as far as my hips.. and I then tried it on every week until 6 months later I wore it for the first time. I had visualised myself in that dress so many times and it was the most amazing feeling when it finely fit. I don’t have a photo of me in my dress but here is one with another little black number that I used to wear when I was in my early 30s which was a size 16 and fitted after 2 years of my eating programme.

I am not suggesting that you head out and spend a fortune on an expensive outfit, but I do believe that if you are anything like me.. and this applies to the men reading this too, that at the back of the wardrobe, or in a storage box, is a favourite dress, suit, pair of trousers, skirt or a top that you loved to wear and no longer fits. It might be one size too small or several.

Take it out and wash, iron or have dry cleaned, and put on a hangar somewhere you can see it every day. Then as soon as you feel you have lost a few pounds, begin to try the outfit on once a week until it fits again. I still do this as I have a pair of white trousers that I intend to be wearing by the end of June that are just a little too snug for comfort.

Now time for part two of the exercises to help improve your lung function..

For an action that is so vital to our existence, you will be surprised to find that very few people actually breathe efficiently and are not maintaining adequate lung function. By the end of the first week you should notice a difference in the ease with which you complete the exercises and also when you are active.

The aim is to increase the flexibility and the capacity of your lungs, giving them a better chance of fighting off infection.

Yesterday I shared the morning exercise to get you ready for the day.. and today one to help you get rid of the day’s toxins and get a better night’s sleep.

Evening exercise

Lie down on your back on the floor. If you suffer with lower back pain, better to have your knees resting up over on sofa or chair. If your head doesn’t relax onto the ground easily, use a cushion.

Start with hands on lower belly, fingers pointing down to groin. Notice how you are breathing. The breath reflects our mental, physical and emotional state.

After several minutes consciously encourage the beginning of the breath into the belly to feel the hands rise with the inhale and relax down with the exhale. So you are using the abdomen to breath. This in good health should happen spontaneously, but all too often with stress many people breath only using the upper chest.

Do this for several minutes, then place the arms out in a cross, shoulder height with palms up. Now there is more room to take the breath up into the middle lungs, feel the movement of the rib cage outwards and upwards. But you still begin each breath down deep in the belly. Do this for several minutes, relaxing the body on the exhale.

Last of all, slide the arms higher up above your head relaxing on the floor, if you cannot do this due to tension or injury, leave them where they were in a cross. The purpose of this move is to now bring more space and awareness to the upper chest towards the base of the throat. There is little movement here compared to the ribs, but you can feel the rising of the chest and collarbone to the throat and chin at the peak of the inhale, just before you exhale.

So you now have 3 places to breathe into, the abdomen, the ribs and the upper chest to make one long, deep, satisfying breath. Feel each of the 3 places as the breath flows up the trunk as one long wave. As you exhale the wave retreats back down to the lower abdomen. Remember to feel the slight pause between inhales and exhales, but don’t hold your breath.

Try and practice this for at least 5 minutes, but 10 is better. It also helps improve your posture with the back flat and the arms out.

More details on the lungs and their function can be found in more detail here: The Lungs

Get moving with Music Therapy

One of the perks of being a radio presenter was being asked to MC charity events and my job was to warm everyone up before the walk or race with some motivational music… over the course of these posts I will be sharing my playlist for those events and to help build your resilience and improve physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Give yourself a break after reading this post and get up and get moving.

If you are not particularly active at the moment then you can walk on the spot, but swing your arms in time to the music so that you activate your breathing. If you are a little bit more adventurous then take to the floor and have fun – Here is Tina Turner and she is a role model for all of us who want to still be a rock chic in our 80s…strut your stuff and be Simply the Best.

And if it motivates you even more, imagine what I look like chopping carrots and bopping in my kitchen to some of her hits…..

Uploaded by theravenphoenix665

Buy Tina Turner music: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Next week, three more posts that I hope you will find useful as you boost your immune system, lung and heart functions, and your confidence. As always your feedback is very welcome.. thanks Sally

Here are the links to the pages that support the posts in the series

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

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