Some foods leave an alkaline residue when our bodies break them down. Others form acidic substances when broken down. Our blood, intercellular fluid, and most of our body tissue must remain mildly alkaline for us to be healthy. A diet of acid-forming food leaves us in a chronic state of low-level acidosis, which has many terrible health consequences. Our modern diet is almost entirely acidic. To avoid the adverse health effects of acidosis, we must eat a diet that consists mostly of alkali-forming foods.
The Health Effects of Acidosis
Obesity and Diabetes
Because your body stores acidic substances in fat cells to keep them out of your bloodstream and away from your healthy alkaline tissue, a diet of acid-forming foods leads to fat storage and obesity. Even worse, because of the stress that acidosis places on you, your adrenal glands are triggered to secrete plenty of cortisol, the hormone that is meant to help you manage stress. Cortisol dumps glucose into your bloodstream to give your energy to handle stress.
Glucose is not only acidic, but a permanent state of high blood glucose increases the chance that you will develop type 2 diabetes which is, consequently, a major consequence of chronic acidosis. Scientists have proved that an alkaline diet can prevent and stop the progression of diabetes. It is not only type 2 diabetes. Researchers have also found that children who drink acidic water are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes than those who drink alkaline water.
Osteopenia and Osteoporosis
If you eat mostly acidic foods, your body needs to obtain alkaline minerals from somewhere other than your diet to alkalise your blood. Your bones are the very best sources of these minerals, as 75 per cent of bone is calcium and magnesium. Stealing these minerals away from your bones weakens them, however, which is why so many researchers have found that people who eat an acidic diet have a much higher risk of bone diseases, while people who eat mostly alkaline foods have dense, strong bones.
Your bones are not the only sources of alkaline minerals. Your body can also find magnesium and calcium in your muscles when your diet provides it with too few alkalis to alkalise your blood. Chronic acidosis, thus, results in under-developed muscles. An alkaline diet can remedy this.
If your body struggles to keep your blood mildly alkaline, it lines your blood vessels with fat to ensure that they are not corroded by the acidic substances in your blood. This may protect your blood vessels, but it puts you at extreme risk of cardiovascular disease.
Low Growth Hormone
Acidosis decreases your body's production of growth hormone and increases your resistance to it. You can have an appropriate amount of growth hormone only if you eat enough alkaline foods. This can improve everything from your body composition to your cognitive functioning.
Through mechanisms that are not yet properly understood, people who suffer from acidosis are more likely to be in pain of various kinds. An alkaline diet has been proved to reduce chronic back pain and arthritis pain.
Kidney and Renal Failure
An acidic diet wreaks havoc with your kidney health. Your kidneys must excrete acids in your urine, but must simultaneously alkalise your urine a bit to prevent your urinary canal from being eroded by all the acid. As if this is not enough, it must also use sodium to regulate the alkalinity of your blood. Chronic acidosis overworks them. Luckily, an alkaline diet can improve kidney health, even in people who have already had renal transplants.
A diet of mostly acid-forming foods causes significant oxidative damage to cells throughout your body. Because oxidative stress destroys so many cells, it contributes, not only to a long list of illnesses, but also to general rapid ageing. Alkaline substances, especially high alkaline water, can prevent this oxidative stress and the damage that free radicals cause.
An Alkaline Diet
To prevent all these diseases and disorders, you must eat primarily foods that form alkalis when your body breaks them down. These include all vegetables, the green ones that grow above ground, the starchy ones that grow above ground, and root vegetables. It also includes almost all fruits, most seeds, some nuts, some pulses, unrefined vegetable and coconut oils, gluten-free whole grains, and unrefined, natural sweeteners. If 70 to 80 per cent of your daily foods are alkaline, your diet is healthy.
Oats, millet, and teff are three approximately neutral grains that make good porridge. Quinoa too, although that might be too bitter for the kids.
Either cook the grain with small pieces of fruit to sweeten it, or make a fruit compote to sweeten it afterwards. Just boil 3/4 cup of any fruit with 1 tablespoon of alkaline water and 1 tablespoon of honey for the compote. You can also add some nuts and seeds for extra protein. Overall, this will be slightly alkaline, especially if it is boiled in alkaline water. Just avoid adding sugar!
To avoid acidic dairy, either by vegan milk, or make your own. Almond milk is alkaline resembles two per cent low-fat dairy, while cashews make sweet, creamy milk.
For cashew cream, soak a cup of raw cashews overnight. Put it in the blender with 2 cups of alkaline water and either 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (mildly acidic), or 1 teaspoon of maple syrup. The power of your blender will determine how smooth it will get; some weaker blenders need 6 cups of water.
For almond milk, soak 2 cups of almonds overnight. Blend it with 6 1/2 cups of alkaline water, it teaspoon of vanilla extract, and/or 1/4 cup of agave nectar. It works best if you stir the last 2 cups of water into the mixture towards the end of the blend.
Vegan, gluten-free, whole grain bread has a neutral or mildly alkaline pH, so this is what you need to buy if you lack the time and energy to bake. It actually requires very little time if you mix and freeze the dough on a Sunday evening and defrost and bake it when you need it during the week. If you want to bake, nut flower, fruit, and starchy vegetables can make up for the gluten to keep the texture right. Try the following fruit bread. It's alkaline and so much tastier than acidic shop bread.
1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
1 1/4 cups almond meal
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon sunflower or sesame seeds
1 mashed banana
4 tablespoons unsweetened apple purée (bought or home-blended)
5 tablespoons raw honey
4 tablespoons alkaline water
Mashed together the banana, apple purée, and honey. Then stir in the other ingredients. Greece along, shallow bread pan with coconut oil, scoop the mixture into it (crucially no more than 2.5 cm high), and bake for 50 minutes in an oven preheated to 200°C. Nutty, sweet, and fruity. Yum!
Nuts and seeds mixed with herbs are great snacks. If you want something more substantial, however, you can bake your own gluten-free, alkaline muffins. For a classic like lemon and poppy seed, try the following:
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cup chickpea flour
1/3 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon food-grade lemon oil
1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
Mix all the dry ingredients. Mix all the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Separate the dough into nine muffins and bake in oven preheated to 190°C for about 25 minutes.
If you prefer a warm lunch to salads during the winter, bean patties are great. To increase the alkalinity of the beans, soak them for at least 12 hours before you cook them.
1 1/2 cups cooked red beans
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup coriander, preferably chopped fresh leaves
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chilli powder
Cook the beans (or take it from a can if you must). Cook the quinoa. Cook the sweet potato. Sauté the onion with the herbs and spices. Stir everything together and mash. Shape the patties with your hands, and bake for 10 minutes on an oiled baking sheet in an oven preheated to hundred and 90°C.
For burger and chips night, make the chips by oven baking sweet potato or butternut squash strips for variety in a little coconut oil, turning regularly throughout the 30 minute (+/-) cooking time. Most green vegetables, especially kale, make good crispy chips if you pan fry their leaves.
Squash boats can be filled with almost anything. Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Discard the seeds. Prick it all over with a fork on the outside. Drizzle a little olive oil on the cut side of the squash and place cut side down in a pan. Pour a little water into the bottom of the pan. Roast for about 45 minutes on 180°C. Sauté your favourite green vegetables and boil your favourite grains. Remove a bit of the roasted squash, mix it with the vegetable and grain filling, and put it back in the squash. Bake for about 30 minutes on 160°C. This is the perfect way to consume green vegetables that might be bitter without the sweetness of the squash.
It is important to make your own vegetable broth that you can then base any soup on. You can freeze as much of it as you like.
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, washed and chopped
5 medium-size kale leaves
3 cups celery, chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
2 fresh tomatoes
1 slice lemon, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
A few parsley sprigs
Toss all the vegetables into 14 cups of water and simmer over medium-low heat for two hours. Afterwards, strain it to remove all the vegetable pieces.
Risotto is a perfect alkaline meal if you omit the meat. It is also hardy winter's evening meal. Sauté your choice of green vegetables. If you want to take some of the bitterness out, cook them for 10 minutes in water and Himalayan pink salt before you sauté them. Cook brown rice and pour in your home-made vegetable stock slowly over a 35 minute period to be absorbed by the rice as it cooks. Mix this with the sautéed vegetables.
Use plenty of herbs when sautéing or roasting your vegetables. When stir frying vegetables, replace the meat that you would usually include with gluten-free, whole grains or beans. Choose unscented coconut oil for stir frying or roasting. Cinnamon, maple syrup, apples, and lemon juice work well to add taste and sweetness to roasted green vegetables. When you roast vegetables, seeds, sprouted grains, or the crumbs of vegan, gluten-free, whole grain bread are perfect as a topping.