Monday, March 23, 2015

ACV: Magic Medicine?

I have previously discussed my love of vinegar. There are so many different kinds with so many uses, how could one not love vinegar? The fact that it is a naturally occurring substance from a long fermentation process, that is safe for human consumption without containing any harsh chemicals or additives to hurt the environment, makes it all that much better.

I have at least 4 different kinds in my house right now:

White: Uses include cooking, cleaning, deodorizing, softening, etc. Use it for ALL the things!!!

Rice: Sushi and other delicious Japanese cuisine. Mmmm...

Balsamic: Salad dressings, roasted vegetables, and a dash in marinara really deepens the flavor.

Apple Cider: My new love, and what this post is about.

(Did you know there are lots of other types of vinegars like coconut, beer, and raisin? Whoa.)

Word to your mother.
A couple months ago, Shawn and I started taking apple cider vinegar as a supplement once or twice a day. I always get the unfiltered stuff, and the kind you see above is my favorite. (Even though the Braggs seem like a couple of crazy hippies. But who I am to judge?) Just a few teaspoons to a tablespoon diluted in about a half cup of water. I had heard for a few years about people doing this, and then came across an article that outlined the various health benefits to it, so we decided to give it a shot. It seemed like a pretty easy, non-invasive thing to try out in the name of health and well-being. What did we have to lose?

We started taking it every morning before work. Shawn has trouble with the taste, but I don't mind it so much. We tried it with honey, and it was gross for both of us. I once took a little bit too much with not enough water, and did feel a burning in my stomach for an hour or two afterwards, but other than that it's been fine. We just dig deep and chug it like a frat guy shotgunning a PBR.

Let's talk about the health benefit claims made by people who take ACV (not PBR) as a supplement, and then I'll tell you the things we've actually noticed:

* Better circulation
* Lowered blood pressure
* Weight loss
* Lower cholesterol
* Lower blood sugar
* Cures hiccups
* Acts as a decongestant
* Boosts energy
* Prevents leg cramps
* Prevents bad breath
* Prevents indigestion and acid reflux

I know. It's a lot. Looking at this list, some make sense, while others take more thinking. Vinegar in general is known to have antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties so some of these seem less far-fetched than others. This list makes me realize that had I taken it throughout my pregnancy, I might have been a much happier person. If/when the second round happens, I can guarantee that ACV will be a regular part of my diet.

Now let's talk about the health benefits Shawn and I have noticed from our little experiment. In the beginning, we didn't notice much. We were taking it pretty religiously each day, and having the bottle right there in the kitchen made it easy to do in the mornings. I have to say I did feel more energetic (whether that was because of the ACV or just drinking more water while taking it, I can't say,) and it became something I looked forward to.

Like I mentioned we didn't notice anything at first, but it was after we stopped taking it regularly that we both noticed a change. The first thing both of us noticed is how our digestive system was so much more healthy and regular while taking it. Yes, our poops were awesome on days we take ACV in the morning. Having awesome poops really makes your day better.

I also lost 4 pounds. I was exercising quite a bit preparing for a 15k that Shawn and I did a few weeks ago, but I think the ACV helped. I've worked out in similar fashion in the past, but have never really lost much weight. Being on ACV put me about 4 pounds below my baseline average where I have been for years. I think another reason it helped me lose weight was because I started taking a shot of it each time I would get a sugar or snack craving. It only works to cut that craving about 50% of the time, but eating 50% less sugar and snacks has got to make a difference.

Shawn is borderline with his blood pressure and cholesterol. His numbers aren't to the point where he needs meds or anything, but it is something he's been instructed to watch. He eats relatively healthy, doesn't smoke, and drinks only occasionally, so it's just the way he's built. We haven't checked his numbers since we've started taking ACV, but it will be interesting to see what his numbers are now. I'll update this post if and when there is something to report.

I think the benefits we've noticed are enough to keep taking apple cider vinegar as a supplement. Maybe we'll see more benefits as we take it longer term. Here's to natural health!
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