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What’s an acidic diet? Do you really need to alkaline yourself?

by Isabel De Los Rios

alkaline diet

I had the most interesting conversation with one of the moms at my son’s school that was so incredibly eye opening.

After some brief chit chat, she told me that she and her family had the most wonderful weekend with her mother in law and father in law. It was particularly special because her mother in law has stage 4 cancer and she is doing incredibly well.

“Incredibly well?” I asked. “That’s so great to hear.”

As anyone who has had a family member affected by such a terrible disease can agree, to hear that someone is doing “incredibly well” with stage 4 cancer is a true blessing.

She then proceeded to tell me that her mother in law, through her own research, had found some information on the benefits of an alkaline diet in cancer patients. Of course at this point I am all ears.

First, let’s get a few basics down about pH, acid, alkaline and any other simple science facts we may need to understand.

Very simply, the pH of any liquid is measured on a scale from 1-14, where 1 is the most acidic and 14 is the most alkaline. Seven is neutral and ideal blood pH is 7.365 – 7.45. When your body senses that your blood is not at its ideal pH it will work very, very hard to get it back there. Your body is quite brilliant and will figure out any way to get back to its ideal state.

Next, let’s demystify some claims that are circulating the internet about blood pH, and an acidic vs alkaline diet.

Claim #1 – An alkaline diet can cure cancer.

As much as I would love to believe this, I’m not sure that we can say that an alkaline diet can completely eliminate cancer. Yes, it is true that cancer cells cannot thrive well in an alkaline environment, but unfortunately, cancer cells create their own acidic environment wherever they are in the body. So even if you only ate alkaline foods, you would not be able to completely eliminate the acidic properties of the cancer cells themselves. **Please note: Cancer research is consistently showing new breakthroughs each and every day. The best thing we can do is keep ourselves informed and healthy.

Claim #2 – We can change the pH of our blood with the food we eat.

The foods you eat can directly affect the pH balance of your urine, but do not have the same direct effect on your blood. Your body is amazing in that it will do everything possible to maintain a near ideal pH (around 7.4 for your blood) and it will create just the right processes in your system to achieve that balanced pH.

The key for us is giving our bodies the ability to easily reach that ideal pH without so much stress.

Kris Carr, cancer patient and creator of the documentary “Crazy, Sexy Cancer,” brilliantly puts it like this:

“Proper pH varies throughout your body…Your body doesn’t just “find” the balance; it works extremely hard to create it. When you make poor lifestyle choices or are burdened by a toxic environment, your body has to work harder to create a peaceful homeostasis.

For good health our bodies need to be slightly alkaline (with a pH of between 7.365 and 7.45). Sounds simple right? But this is not mathematical scaled based on arithmetic, pH operates on a logarithmic scale with multiples of 10. Therefore, it takes ten times the amount of alkalinity to neutralize an acid.”

That means that even though a jump from 7 to 6 doesn’t seem like a lot, it takes 10 times the alkalinity to neutralize back to ideal…7 to 5 = 100 times, 7 to 4 = 1000 times. You get the drift.

The best way to neutralize acid in the body is through the food we eat. And because it takes so much work, we need to eat a very alkaline diet to achieve good health.

So the most important take away for all of us here is that although it is still unknown whether an alkaline diet can completely eliminate cancer, and although the food we eat does not have a direct impact on our blood, it is still critically important that we eat a lot of alkaline food so as to not give the body so much strenuous alkalizing work to do.

Picture it like this…

Imagine your body has the goal of reaching a destination at the top of a mountain every day. Eating a lot of acidic foods all day long is like taking the steep hill up…hard, painful, and exhausting (exactly how you’ll feel eating acidic foods). But when you eat a lot of alkalizing foods it’s like taking a secret flat road straight to your destination at the top…it’s easy, relaxing and peaceful, and feels good the whole way there. (Yup, that sounds like the road I want to take.)

If you aren’t getting the alkalinity you need to balance out those acidic foods, then you could suffer from a whole host of problems like:

Impaired immune system
Fatigue
Conditions like heart disease
High cholesterol
Below are just a few examples of acidic vs alkaline foods:

Acidic foods:

Artificial sweeteners, coffee, sugar, processed wheat, artificial sweeteners, dairy, and conventionally raised animal proteins.

If you’re eating a lot of acidic foods like these then you’re making it harder for your body to maintain the blood pH it needs to ward off disease and burn fat efficiently.

Alkaline food:

Almost all green vegetables, avocados, lemons, green tea, almonds, and coconut.

The above list is very short. You can find extensive lists on the internet that give you the exact pH of each and every food, but what you will see is that the absolute best route for alkalizing your body and doing it quickly is eating a lot of alkalizing raw vegetables.

So Isabel, what’s the best way to alkalize my body fast?

Below is my simple 3 step plan for easy alkalizing.

1. Eliminate the biggest culprits: artificial sweeteners, sugar, and wheat. This alone will make a huge difference in how you feel and most definitely in how you look. These foods aren’t helping you reach your health goals in any way and they are the very foods that are creating that strenuous uphill climb for your body to reach its ideal pH.

2. Include alkalizing foods each day. My top pick for veggies are leafy greens and cucumbers…for fruit it’s lemons and avocados, and for nuts it’s almonds. Be sure to include these alkalizing powerhouses each day to be on the flat road to ideal pH.

3. Drink green juices and/or include a high quality greens powder into your eating plan every single day. I don’t think I have gone a single day in the past 3 years without my morning greens drink…it is that critically important to me! With the demands of a busy life, some days I do not get in enough alkalizing foods as I would like. While juicing is my first choice, sometimes I just don’t have the time. In that case my top choice is Athletic Greens because it not only tastes great, it is also massively alkaline forming with more than 8 grams of nutrient dense RAW green superfoods per serving.

Follow these three steps and your body will thank you for making its job easier as it goes about repairing, rebuilding, and keeping you healthy.

About the author...

 is a certified nutritionist and exercise specialist who has already helped over 25,000 people all over the world lose incredible amounts of weight, regain their health and permanently change their lives. She is the creator and author of Beyond Diet, a whole foods, lifestyle approach to managing weight.

Tam November 14, 2013

Thanks for the easy to follow info! Going to forward it to those who could use it!