It’s all very basic…as in a pH > 7…get it??

food medicine

Namaste! Let’s continue to discuss healthy practices we can implement one by one, like peeling back the layers of an onion. First, we will review past posts on this topic and then we will talk chemistry, as in acids and bases.  Recall that we covered the following in previous posts:

First Layer:  Protect your gut health, digestion and immunity

–          Eliminate antibiotic and hormone-containing foods such as conventional meats and dairy; choose meats and dairy that are free of these nasties or go fully organic

–          Eliminate GMO’s primarily from processed foods containing conventional corn, high fructose corn syrup (AKA corn sugar) and soy

–          See 10/28/13 Blog Post (How to Keep Calm and Eat Healthier) for details

Second Layer:  Protect your pancreas’ ability to regulate blood sugar and prevent fatty liver disease

–          Eliminate artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup (AKA corn sugar) and reduce the amount of refined sugar, especially from energy and soft drinks

–          See 10/31/13 Blog Post (Keeping in Calm and Healthy, Part Deux) for details; also Dr. Oz did a great show on this yesterday [1]

Third Layer:  Protect your and your children’s ability to think and concentrate

–          Eliminate artificial colors, flavors and additives especially from sodas, candies and processed foods

–          See 11/14/13 Blog Post (Why kids go berzerk after eating glowing orange mac ‘n cheese) for details

Fourth Layer: Protect your body against disease by maintaining a basic, or alkaline, blood pH

–          Mitigate foods which cause your body to be acidic and feast on ones which make it alkaline

I found this advice in several places, though I will source the information for today’s post from The Beauty Detox Solution, Harlequin Books, 2011, by Kimberly Snyder, C.N., because she does a great job explaining why this is important.

First, Kimberly provides a refresher about pH, which stands for the “power of hydrogen,” and reflects the concentration of hydrogen ions in any given solution. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, where 7 is defined as neutral, below 7 as acidic and above 7 as basic or alkaline. This is relevant because all foods leave either an alkaline or acidic residue in the bloodstream due to whether they contain more alkaline or acidic minerals. Note that this is not related to the taste or character of a food. Lemons, for example, are acidic because they contain citric acid when they are whole, but when digested in our body, they leave an alkaline residue. On the other hand, dairy milk itself has an alkaline pH, but when digested it leaves an acidic residue in the body. Not entirely intuitive so it’s important to learn what types of foods leave what types of residues.

Kimberly then explains that different areas of our body have different pH requirements. For instance, our tissues should be slightly alkaline, whereas our colon should be slightly acidic. When all areas of the body are averaged together, the ideal blood pH comes out to be slightly alkaline – 7.365, to be exact (p. 24). If there is a persistent excess of acidity in our bodies, then poor health, disease, premature death, inflammation, stiffness, tissue degeneration, water retention, bloating and more undesirable things can result (p.26). In order to understand why this is the case, she references The pH Miracle, by Dr. Robert Young, as he states, “The pH level of our internal fluids affects every cell in our bodies. The entire metabolic process depends on an alkaline environment. Chronic acidity corrodes body tissue, and if left unchecked will interrupt all cellular activities and functions, from the beating of your heart to the neural firing of your brain. In other words, acidity interferes with life itself. It is the root of all sickness and disease.” He goes on to say that “this process of acid waste breakdown and disposal could be called ‘the aging process’”.

In other words, alkaline blood enables one to fight disease, toxemia and aging, where physical examples of aging include premature lines and wrinkles; acne; dark under-eye circles; limp, bodiless or otherwise unhealthy hair; and brittle nails. Putting all of that off, while feeling better, sounds like a plan to me!  Kimberly recommends that to accomplish this, we should strive to consume 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming foods. The good news for the veggie lovers is that only fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables (except for starchy ones like taters) leave a truly alkaline residue. The bad news for everyone else is that all other foods are, in varying degrees, acidic. Here’s a handy list:

Very Alkaline Foods

Ripe fruits, greens, sprouts, other vegetables (excluding starchy varieties)

Very Acidic Foods

Alcohol, animal protein, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, dairy products, drugs (such as antibiotics, steroids), nicotine, processed foods, refined sugar, sodas

Okay, so I am sorry to report that everything that is fun is acidic and therefore needs be consumed in moderation, but that is how Mother Nature rolls! The alcohol part is particularly tragic for anyone, such as myself, who resides in CO, where the making and consuming of beer is taken VERY SERIOUSLY. For example, restaurants here host beer-pairing dinners and the local burger joint lists burger/beer pairings. It’s serious.

Nonetheless, I started paying more attention to maintaining an alkaline pH, and do indeed feel more energetic.  I start the day with fresh-squeezed lemon juice in warm water and also put even more fresh greens than before in my face.

The net is that this is a great book full of valuable health information. Kimberly also provides a great explanation of optimal food combining, which I will review in next week’s post. If all of this resonates with you, then I encourage you not to wait and get the book!

And that’s a wrap for this week! All the best, my friends! Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest Boards for lots of great recipes, health, and wellness info –