A birthday request to make Rainbow Unicorn Noodles turned into a home economics lesson. For Indrani’s 11th birthday, she chose a theme of Rainbow Unicorn and her menu included falafel and rainbow unicorn noodles. Fortunately for me, Sonia from Natural New Age Mum had recently done a post on Healthy Unicorn Food and it contained a link to how to make unicorn noodles. When I read about how to make them, I discovered it was because of act of food science – a chemical reaction occurs that causes the noodles to change colour.
Brilliant! A birthday dinner which became a home economics lesson incorporating health and chemistry. These rainbow noodles were the perfect opportunity to teach about acid and alkaline foods, and how they ‘play together’. And so this became Indrani’s Home Economics Class – Rainbow Unicorn Noodles.
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
The food and drinks we digest can be classified as acidic, alkaline or neutral. The amount of each of these that you consume or drink can affect your health. If you eat too much of one, your body becomes out of balance. If your body is in balance, it’s considered neutral. If it’s out of balance, it increases your chances of getting sick.
Our Body’s Balancing Act
Imagine a set of old fashioned set of scales, where you can balance out the sides of the scales by what you put on both sides of the scales. Our body is a bit like this – ideally it needs to be sitting in this balanced state – this is called neutral.
Now imagine one side of these scales is the acid types of foods you eat, then you need to balance that out by eating alkaline foods. In fact, our body needs us to be leaning a little more towards the alkaline side than the acid, so not perfectly balanced. The measure our body uses for this is called the pH level – the propensity of Hydrogen. It’s the measure of acidity or alkalinity in your body’s tissues and fluids.
Why Your pH Level Is Important
When your pH is not balanced or not in a neutral state, then it weakens your immune system. It allows unhealthy organisms like bad bacteria, parasites, virus and yeast to grow. This can damage your tissues and organs. Research shows that illness such as diabetes and disease such as cancer, thrive in an acidic environment.
Your pH level is a score between 0 and 14. A pH level of 7 is deemed to be neutral or in balance. However, research shows our body needs to be a little more alkaline than neutral for us to be in best health. It’s preferable for it to sit slightly above 7 at 7.365.
Should I Be Measuring My pH Level
Measuring your pH level can be done at home with a home kit, but it usually requires you to wee on a stick or a strip of paper. This isn’t always the easiest thing to do with kids. Your pH level can change at different times of day depending on what you’ve eaten, so you’d also need to monitor it a few times a day, over a few days to really establish where your pH level is sitting.
The best way you can take care of your pH level is to be conscious of the foods and drinks you’re consuming. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know my #1 mantra about food is, just eat more real food and less processed food. Your pH level is another reason for this. Fresh produce – your fruits and vegetables – are generally alkaline. And guess what, processed foods high in sugar, salts and unhealthy fats are acidic. Consuming too much meat, dairy and grains can be acid forming.
Given much of the Western Diet now consists more of processed foods and grains, and less of real food, it is easy to see why chronic illness and disease in on the increase.
Processed food is generally acidic. Vegetables are generally alkaline. It’s simple, eat less processed food and more vegetables, and your pH level should be fine.
If you want to know more about what foods are acid and which are alkaline, this guide by Energise For Life is a good resource.
What’s This Got To Do With Rainbow Unicorn Noodles?
Well because real food can be so cool. Mother Nature’s real food is so intelligent. Not only can you eat it, and it helps our bodies, but you can use to it make beautiful natural food colourings, dyes and more. And it gets better, when you mix some acid and alkaline real foods, fun things happen such as turning plain rice noodles to rainbow noodles. Cooking is chemistry in action.
To make our unicorn noodles, I used this technique shared by The Indigo Kitchen.
- one purple cabbage leaf
- the required number of rice noodle blocks (we used 2 for our dinner)
- one lemon or lime
Make a natural food colouring
- Take 1 purple cabbage leaf and put it in a saucepan of water, covering the leaf with quite a bit of water
- Boil the cabbage leaf – allow it to boil for 5 minutes
- The water will turn a green blue colour. Take the cabbage leaf out.
Purple cabbage is an alkaline vegetable. The pigment which gives the cabbage it’s purple colour is called anthocyanin. It changes colour when it comes in contact with foods which are alkaline or acidic.
Turning the noodles blue
- Place your block of rice noodles into the green blue water
- Cook noodles for the time required on the packet
- Remove noodles and drain
Indrani’s 11th birthday dinner with the blue green noodles ready to become rainbow unicorn in colour!
Turning the noodles rainbow
- Place your now blue green noodles on a plate
- Cut up your lemon or lime into wedges
- Give a wedge to each child because they’ll all want a piece of this fun
- One by one, let them squeeze the lemon or lime over the noodles
- Watch the noodles turn pink purple in front of your eyes – this causes so much excitement – watch it in action below.
Lemons / Limes are considered to be acidic outside the body. When the acidity of the juice is squeezed onto the noodles, which have taken on the colour from the purple cabbage, a chemical reaction occurs turning the noodles pink.
I find Mother Nature’s intelligence fascinating and never miss a chance to share this with children. Take for instance lemon and limes, they are generally recognised as being acidic but when ingested they are actually alkaline forming. This is one of the reasons why having lemon in your water in the morning is a good idea. It starts your morning from an alkaline base.
Who would have ever thought a simple fun food requested for a birthday could turn into such an important health, chemistry and home economics lesson?
This post is general in nature and not intended to be medical advice. It’s simply designed to empower our kids with the knowledge of how the food they put in their body is important and they need to pay attention to it. It’s designed to get them excited about being in the kitchen. It’s designed to get them to realise you can have fun when cooking with real food ingredients. And most importantly, as a reminder that eating more real food and less processed food is best for our bodies.
If you want to know more about pH level, you may find the following articles of interest. If you’re concerned about your pH level, then please see your preferred medical practitioner.