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So what's about this acid-alkaline balance ?
It's not a casual subject. It actually turned out to be something big for us since we stumbled on it last summer. And it did impact the way we live.
So I spent my week following instructions and cooking delicious and copious meals. The only thing was that as we were advancing in the week, we were quasi-dozing after meals, Takaya (that's me !) was getting these sleep-apneas again and the kids were kind of sloppy with no energy on the tennis court (they play several times in the week). Their coach thought that they were sick...
That was until I realized what was the catch : we had animal protein every day. And as the menus were copious, we had leftovers for the next day's bentos (the children's lunch boxes), so we had meat (or fish – once) twice a day !
The next week, I stopped the food box and I put everyone on a detox : vegetarian meals, sprouts, detox smoothies ! Detox detox !
And let's say that miraculously, vitality and energy were back the following week (takes some time to eliminate toxins).
From this experiment, I started research and I understood the logics behind our discomfort. The key was the Acid-Alkaline balance – not the easy-to-understand name, I agree !
So what's it about ? I'll try to keep it simple because it's complicated. However I tend to believe that in-depth understanding of a problem gives me higher motivation to decide to do the small things that change life (that's the name of this blog by the way !)
You must keep in mind that our blood has a pH (potential Hydrogen - stay awake, there's a quiz at the end !) which has to remain stable, close to neutrality (around 7.4). Hence the balance between acids and bases (this is not baseball – base is a simpler word for alkali).
Unfortunately our modern life gives a hard time to the acid-alkali balance. We get a lot of acidification through our food in-take (not only food – but we'll talk about that another time). Also it's not because we don't eat acid directly that we don't acidify. The important point is the chemical reaction which happens when given food gets to our digestive system.
So what "acidification" foods are we talking about ? First in line are industrially processed foods : cereals, breads, refined flours, sugars... Here we can also add animal proteins : meat, fish and cheese and don't forget coffee and alcohol.
So what happens in our organism when we ingest these products ? Our blood's pH decreases : we acidify. As our body is smart it knows how to bring quickly the pH to where it should be. However it might do so at the expense of our longer term health. To fight against the state of acidosis, the body will draw alkaline elements from wherever possible to get back to the neutral pH. These alkaline elements are minerals, including the famous Calcium...
Direct consequence : an acidifying diet causes demineralization (the bones and the teeth are the main providers of alkaline minerals). By the way this may help explain why a high-dairies (acidifying) diet can cause decalcification with fragile bones and teeth (just Takaya's two cents here : there is a difference between dairies and strictly milk which contains alkalinizing minerals – which can be used to regulate pH).
This acidification which disrupts the cellular exchanges cause our major “modern” diseases : fatigue, hypertension, osteoporosis, diabetes, muscle “melt-down”, kidney stones, and various other inflammations... The very bad news is that inflammatory “terrain” is favorable for the development of cancer cells.
Then, how can we limit acidosis ?
One solution is to reduce our intake of acidifying foods. This is not about cutting proteins, but we can turn to vegetarian protein rather than animal protein. We can stop eating industrially processed food: biscuits, white breads, anything which contains sugar (tough time checking out the ingredient list in most of the shelves of most of the supermarkets...).
Another solution is to provide alkaline (or alkalinizing) elements which will act as “buffer” with the acids. It will prevent the body from using the alkaline reserves from our bones and teeth.
So where do we find these alkaline elements ?
Answer is simple : generally in all vegetables. Eat fruits, vegetables and leaves. And as we do not leave out vegetarian proteins, we have to be careful : cereals and nuts are acidifying (because they are proteins) even if they are less acidifying than animal proteins. There is a magical recipe to make them alkalinizing: germination (or at a lesser degree but still very interesting : the pregermination – in other words soaking).
Soak your legumes (beans, lentils), your cereals (brown rice, barley, kamut, wheat...) overnight before cooking them. This is a small thing to do but it changes a lot on the long term !
There are also alkalinizing super foods : sprout and wheatgrass etc ... We'll discuss about that later.
Discovering the acid-alkaline balance has changed our life. Takaya lost 13 kilos (28 pounds) in maybe 5 months just by trying to apply principles of this balance. He was not specially hungry, not forced to eat carrots, he ate the family menu and the weight lost came as a consequence.
Our vitality has definitely benefited from our new diet.
The acid-alkaline balance has become a cornerstone of our diet and of our natural health.
(was it understandable ??)
to go further : The Acid Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health by Christopher Vasey (Naturopath)