Before posting more recipes, I want to lay one foundation in my approach to natural health – the alkaline-acid balance.

Our blood’s pH
The body will do whatever it takes to maintain the pH balance of the blood (which is slightly alkaline with a pH of 7.35-7.45).  Outside of this range, we would not last long.  We can support this process with a balanced diet or we can expect it to come with a price.

What happens when we do not support the natural pH through our diet?
The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is much more acidifying than it should be.  Add stress (also acidifying) and we’ve got a serious problem.

This is a real departure from our past.  Our hunter/gatherer ancestors  thrived on a balanced omnivorous diet that included plenty of fresh fruit, root vegetables and nuts to balance out acidifying meat.

acai berries

Our blood has to be slightly alkaline for us to survive, yet so many of us eat a highly acidifying diet.  So why is the U.S. of A. not a ghost town?  Remember, the body will do whatever it takes to keep our blood slightly alkaline.  If we do not provide the alkaline fuel the body needs through our diet, it will leach valuable alkalinizing minerals from our bones.  Yes, there is increasing evidence that the western diet (with all its milk, cheese and ice cream) can lead to osteoporosis.

There can be other side effects from an overly acidic diet – fatigue, muscle loss, poor digestion…in fact a widely held view is that it is the root of most health problems we see today.

Which foods are alkaline forming and which are acid forming?
Proponents of the alkaline-acid diet suggest eating approximately 65% alkaline forming foods and 35% acidifying foods.  Almost all fruits, vegetables, nuts & legumes are alkaline forming while dairy products, most grains, and meats are acidifying, all to varying degrees.  Fats are closer to neutral.  Someone might get the impression that an acidic tasting lemon would have an acidifying effect on our bodies but that’s not the way it works.  In fact, lemons are highly alkalinizing.

If you want to test the pH of a certain food, you will first need to incinerate it (replicating the “burning up” of food that occurs in the digestive system), then wet the ashes and take a pH strip to them.  Or just refer to a chart such as this one or this one.  Some foods are debatable.

I am not saying that acid forming foods/activities are always bad.  Exercise has an acidifying effect on the body (think lactic acid) and many nourishing foods fall below 7 on the pH scale – beef, chicken, rice, oatmeal and cranberries (a rare acidifying fruit) to name a handful.  One acidifying food (drug?) that I do believe we would be better off without is sugar (but that is for a different day).  The key here is balance.

It would be wise to check with your doctor first before making any major changes in your diet.  This way of eating could benefit many people, as it seems to be a “normal” healthy way of eating, but it could be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions.