Spring is here, the weather is warmer and probably the most asked question I get is, “How can I lose weight?” or “Which diet works?” When thinking about losing weight, it’s not always the decreased number on the scale that we are looking for. It is the way it makes us feel: the increased energy, the lithe movements, how our clothes fit and our skin feels. It is not simply the weight but the health too! With so many diets in the media now, how do you know which is the best choice for you?
Well, “diets” never work because they eventually end and we go back to eating the same bad food choice s. When considering weight, health and all those good feelings, a “lifestyle change” is most important. These choices can really vary too, so in my next few articles I will walk you through some interesting diet choices that you may have never thought of.
Acid and Alkaline Balance Diet. The goal of this diet is to help your body maintain a healthy pH level for all organs and systems to function optimally. This is an interesting theory that I have struggled to understand for years. Many Acid/Alkaline advocates believe that this diet will cure all kinds of diseases. I’m a little more skeptical on that part. We are too complex of a system for it to be that simple. It is imperative, however, that our body maintain its pH; otherwise, cells die…we die. So how could a diet help when our body has so many checks and balances to stabilize pH on its own? Well, some of those checks and balances are dependent on minerals. Where do we get minerals? Our bones, muscles, teeth or our food. If our food isn’t balanced then our body steals what it needs from other areas (bones, muscles and teeth) to correct the imbalance in the blood. So you can see, our health can really decline if our body has to work hard to compensate for our poor food choices.
All foods have acid and alkaline forming properties. Again, it is the balance within that food or meal that matters. Foods that cause an overly acidic condition are foods high in animal fats, animal proteins, sugar and refined grains like white flour products and white rice. Artificial chemicals, flavorings and additives can also create an acidic condition. Foods that increase an alkaline condition are fruits, vegetables and organic whole or sprouted grains. This can be confused with healthy foods that are acidic themselves. Citrus, kiwi and bell peppers contain acids and can be irritating to an ulcer but they create an alkaline condition when absorbed by the body because of other beneficial nutrients. Coffee, alcohol and sugar…well, they are acidic to an ulcer and your body.
Generally, alkaline-forming foods should make up at least 75% of our diet to maintain optimal health. There are many lists available in books and on the internet if you are interested in a further look. My thoughts: alkaline foods are healthy choices, high in nutrients and low in calories, and are non-inflammatory foods. It may be worth a try.
Stay tuned for the next article on the Raw Foods Diet.
by Rebecca Dirks, N.D.
Associate Physician, NW Center for Optimal Health
Producer & Co-Host, Healthy Living, KSER FM 90.7