Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I have no medical training. This is information I have gathered from my own experience and research. Please do your own research before making any lifestyle changes. However, I feel pretty safe suggesting that everyone should eat more organic fruits and vegetables!
Alkaline isn’t a word we hear as much as we should when it comes to our health and our diet. When I was first introduced to this concept, about a decade ago, I had only heard the word describing batteries. Well, turns out that our bodies are kind of like giant rechargeable alkaline batteries and we have to put the right fuel in to keep recharging them. To keep them “juiced up”. See where I’m going with this…
If we happen to be friends on Facebook, you may already know about the passion I have for evolving past all this processed garbage and using food as preventative medicine. Some may see me as a paranoid hippie, but I see it as playing it safe and taking my health into my own hands. Let’s face it, the 80’s and 90’s were kind of an experimental time in our society as far as food, drugs and pesticides. And I’m happy to see things turning towards more organic and chemical-free ways of living.
However, I wasn’t always this way. I’ve battled digestive troubles for as long as I can remember, including a diagnosis of 2 stomach ulcers at the age of 19. How does a 19 year old get ulcers?! No it wasn’t school stress or mean girls. I actually really enjoyed high school! I’m 99.999999999% sure that it was the cans of Mountain Dew I drank every morning for breakfast!!! What was I doing????? Just thinking about it now makes me cringe. It was the 90’s. We didn’t know any better. It was like my coffee. After that diagnosis and round of meds, I continued to suffer from stomach pain for years. Was prescribed Prilosec 4 different times (Like, what is the commission on this drug? Why were they pushing it so hard? Not to mention I’m now seeing Personal Injury commercials about PPI’s and kidney damage!) My body was NOT lacking this PPI drug. My stomach did not need these pills. At no point was I EVER asked about my diet or even referred to a nutritionist. My faith in doctors and Western medicine had quickly declined. Therefore, leading my to take my health into my own hands around the age of 26.
After trying few natural cures of my own, a health-nut hippie friend told my that I needed to alkalize. Huh? What was he talking about? I was so curious and my desperation for pain relief and dietary guidelines that no medical professional ever gave me lead me to doing my own research on alkalizing my body. So I started educating myself about food, digestion and cellular respiration. I was obsessed with this new alkaline approach to health! Drug free, natural cures are for me. I had to learn more. I had to try it for myself…
This is the science behind the human diet and how different foods affect us. pH stands for “potential of hydrogen” and the pH values start at 0 = Acidic to 14 = Alkaline, with 7 obviously being neutral. The concept is that our bodies have the capability to heal themselves when they are pH balanced. The ideal pH for the human body is 7.2 or slightly above neutral. The pH of our bodies depends on a lot of factors, but can be heavily influenced by diet, and why we need a balanced diet, a PH BALANCED DIET! Shown in the chart above, our blood has a pH of 7.365, so it makes sense that the ideal pH would be somewhere near that for optimum health. *Notice the word “health” contains the word “heal” within in. Google and Merriam-Webster didn’t provide me any further insight to any correlation in the origin, but it’s hard to believe there isn’t one. I believe, that you have health when your body has the ability to heal itself.
I started slow by adding lemon to my water and buying organic apples. Then tried to add more of the most alakaline foods. Because let’s face it, the American diet is pretty darn acidic. Eventually, I even got into a juicing craze for while! But that was a hard habit to keep up with, withOUT a dishwasher…
The food chart below is, by far, is some of the most helpful and holistic information on the human diet. In my opinion anyway. This has been hanging on my fridge for the past 10 years. I’ve had to print it a few times, due to wear and tear. But what a perfect place for the chart. Print this out and put in your kitchen too!
Did you find your favorite foods listed? Where do they fall on the chart? Is your diet mostly from the yellow columns? Do you eat anything that’s all the way in the purple column?? Better go get some pineapple!! Also note that the chart is titled “Food & Chemical Effects on Acid/Alkaline Body Chemical Balance”. What does this mean? It means the chart is talking about how the food reacts INSIDE your body. How many times have I heard “But a lemon is acidic!” Sure. But it is alkaline inside the human body! Mother Nature is magic. Your body’s own metabolic process knows exactly what to do when digesting those lemons.
I used to chew up those chalky antacids while fighting my ulcer. Have you ever read the ingredients?? Umm no thanks. I’ll just have some fresh organic fruit. Ya know, the real antacids!
If your body were to somehow become too alkaline, it could not function properly. If your body were to somehow become too acidic, it could not function properly. That is called keto acidosis… And I experienced it first hand during a very stressful and unhealthy time. I even earned myself an overnight stay in the hospital. I was barely eating, not sleeping enough, drinking too much coffee and working a crazy schedule. The nurse described the acidosis to me as “your body is basically out of fat and starting to eat its own muscles”. YIKES. I don’t know if she was trying to scare me, but she did.
So there I was, stuck in a hospital, repeatedly refusing the flu shot, speaking to staff who have little education on nutrition and being served garbage hospital food. The dry erase info board in my room even read “Diet: Normal” IS THIS A JOKE? Normal??? You just told me my body was eating itself, I cannot imagine that a “normal” diet would be the healthiest, that a “normal” diet would help my body heal itself. After being served a cardboard carton of cow’s milk, I waited for the doctors to return. Then I shared my thoughts with them about the milk and my “normal” diet prescription. They had no knowledge of the alkaline concept, and after one stated that she personally takes a PPI daily, I asked to be discharged immediately.
I was disappointed yet again with doctors. But I was more disappointed in myself. My health is my own responsibility! YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! I knew better. But pushed my body to the limit and it couldn’t handle anymore acidity. This was enough get me back on track and prioritize my health and my daily diet.
“Diet” may also not be the right word to use here. Food “perspective” would probably be more accurate. Alkaline vs. acid is great way to look our food choices and the understanding of why fruit, vegetables and vegan dishes are the healthiest. Our bodies are working nonstop to maintain a healthy pH balance for us. The more acidic the “fuel” you put in your body, the harder it has to work. The more processed, sugary garbage and animal products, the harder your body has to work to balance out.
So, how can you find out what the pH of your body is? I use this pH paper that comes in a roll and you can just rip off a strip. Found at my local Whole Foods. Works with both urine and saliva, giving an instant reading and a handy color comparison chart.
I tested Lillian, myself and my husband while writing this post. Lillian at the top, is a little less alkaline than me in the middle and my husband at the bottom. I hadn’t tested myself in a while and never tested my husband or daughter. Honestly, I was pretty happy seeing my family’s results since I am very conscious about the food that my family eats. This felt a little validating. In NO way am I claiming that we eat perfectly clean here at the Henesy house! Greg likes cheeseburgers, Lily loves cheese, and I use an excessive amount of coffee creamer. So I just try to keep us pH balanced with more things from the other side of the chart… like pineapple! Did you see where the pineapple was on the chart?!
There you have it! Some alkaline guidelines to get started on a new perspective and relationship with food. It’s no secret that we should all be eating more fruit and vegetables, but maybe you’re like me and only knew the word “alkaline” for buying batteries! So happy to finally write and share this blog. Thank you for reading and I hope you learned a little bit more about your food lifestyle today!