The Alkaline Diet

By Lindsey Duncan, ND, CN

We all seek balance. Many of us attribute the lack of balance in our daily lives to stress, money, kids, indulgence, and other external factors (many of which are legitimate), but we often forget that true balance starts from deep within the body. Believe it or not, one of the strongest factors in regulating our internal equilibrium is basic body chemistry—it’s our pH balance. From how we look to how we feel, every system in our body is affected by our internal balance of alkalinity and acidity.

That’s why I recommend that all my clients follow an “alkaline diet,” which consists of eating more alkalinizing foods and avoiding acid-forming foods. While the alkaline diet has recently gained popularity in Hollywood because it helps with weight loss, I don’t like to call it a “diet,” because the bottom line is that it is simply a healthier way of eating where you select foods based on how they impact your pH balance. I have been coaching my clients to eat alkaline for over 28 years as the diet is designed to improve overall health, including digestion, appearance, joint and bone health, mental clarity, and as a bonus it also boosts metabolism and energy.

The alkaline diet is based on the fact that our bodies must maintain a pH balance of 7.4, which is alkaline. We naturally naturally keep large reserves of alkalinizing minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium stored in our bodies to balance the consumption of acidic foods like wheat, meat, sodas, sugar, and alcohol. Unfortunately, today’s Standard American Diet (SAD) is comprised of so many acidic foods that our bodies are forced to use their reserves to neutralize the acid, creating mineral deficiencies like osteoporosis, which is a calcium deficiency in our bones. When these mineral reserves become depleted, it creates an environment that allows yeast, viruses, funguses, and parasites to thrive, which can contribute to many conditions such as chronic fatigue, allergies, and arthritis. Striking a balance is absolutely vital for optimum health.

One of the first signs that your body might be overly acidic can be seen in appearance. Thinning hair, dull skin, larger than normal skin pores, and brittle nails are all warning signs. Women will notice an increase in yeast infections, which almost always indicates an acidic body. If you tend to feel sluggish, mentally foggy, or even prone to sickness and nothing seems to help, then it’s definitely time to examine your daily diet and start adding more alkalinity.

To kick off an alkaline diet, the first thing I recommend is a 24-hour liquid juice fast to cleanse excess acidic waste using a combination of freshly squeezed vegetable and fruits or store-bought superfruit juices. If you use a store bought juice, make sure to read the label. It should be all natural and contain no fillers or preservatives. I recommend Genesis Today juices like Acai Berry Juice and Pomegranate & Berries with Resveratrol (genesistoday.com), which are available in the refrigerated section next to the orange juice at Walmart and other major retailers. These are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and contain no added sugars. Remember, a liquid fast is not about depriving your body of nutrients; it’s about cleansing, so make sure you’re getting plenty of healthy, nutritious fuel.

As you begin following a more alkaline diet, the number one rule is to avoid artificial flavors, colors, and processed foods and preservatives. Strive for a diet that is 75- to 80- percent alkaline foods versus 20- to 25-percent acidic. Some very popular acidic foods include white bread, fried foods, dairy products, red meat, soda, and alcohol. Consume these in moderation, if at all. Alternatively, the best alkaline foods are dark, leafy green vegetables, some nuts (like almonds), avocados, and high-quality all-natural superfruit and vegetable juices.

I also recommend adding lots of lemon and lime to your daily routine because they are very alkalizing and contain enzymes that help your liver rid the body of toxins. For the ultimate in alkalinity, buy alkaline water and add lemon or lime. The water should have at least a pH of 7.0, but 8.5 or more is ideal. If you need a little caffeine, sip hot or cold green tea, which is naturally very alkalinizing.

Also, try to include at least one leafy green vegetable at every meal. In our fast paced daily routines this can sometimes be difficult, so start the day with a green superfood supplement mixed into your morning juice. I recommend the GenEssentials Greens from Whole Foods; it is the perfect way to balance your body because it provides a host of acid-buffering minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamins. One scoop is the equivalent to eating three to five servings of dark, leafy green vegetables and the formula has been specifically designed to help raise your pH levels.

Overall, while the alkaline diet may come and go as a hot Hollywood weight loss diet, eating for alkalinity along with exercise should just become a way of life. The alkaline diet can help you achieve internal balance that boosts your physical health, while also supporting your mental health, making all of those everyday challenges a little less stressful and pushing you closer to feeling total balance.

Lindsey Duncan, ND, CN, practices in Austin, Texas, and is the founder of Nature's Secret and Genesis Today.