If you want to dramatically improve your energy, get the body you’ve always wanted, say goodbye to inflammation and bring the aging process to a halt, then following the alkaline diet is the easiest way to get you there. The alkaline approach to health is all about eating and drinking those things that will have an alkaline-forming, rather than acid-forming effect on the body. It’s often misunderstood that the alkaline approach is trying to change your pH, but it’s all about supporting your body and giving it the tools it needs to maintain its ideal pH of 7.365.
It is when we constantly eat and drink foods with an acidic effect on the body that we force our body into neutralizing those excess acids, and it is in this processing of the acids that the damage is done. The repeated neutralization of excess acids leads to inflammation, an over-active immune system, candida overgrowth, chronic fatigue, poor digestion, weight gain and more. By fuelling our body with alkalinity we give it those nutrients it needs to thrive, and in return, it will make you feel amazing.
Five Steps to An Alkaline pH
1. Go Green
The most alkaline foods on earth are those that contain the richest amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients – and the foods at the top of that list are all leafy greens. In 2014, research published in the journal “Preventing Chronic Disease” listed the 41 most ‘powerhouse fruits and vegetables’, and the top 16 were all leafy green foods.
Try adding spinach, arugula, kale, chard and lettuce to your daily diet in juices, smoothies, soups and salads. In teaching and coaching the alkaline diet for the past eleven years, I have found a dramatic increase in energy, weight loss and vitality in people when they can add 4 or more servings of greens (approximately one juice) to their daily diet. On those days when greens are hard to fit in, a powdered green drink or liquid chlorophyll supplement can really help.
In my experience, the vast majority of people who are struggling with fatigue or who have ongoing health struggles are chronically dehydrated. Getting enough water each day is one of those ‘to-dos’ that we often forget, because it just seems so obvious. But so few of us get enough. The general, mainstream recommendation is 8-glasses-a-day, and even though this is actually nowhere near enough, most people don’t even reach this daily milestone! The trick is to make it easy to remember, and to set goals. Use alarms on your phone, leave reminder notes and set habits such as always having a glass of water when you get to your desk at work, having a glass after you clean your teeth, and so on.
Starting the day with warm lemon water is a great habit to form, as it kicks off your day hydrated with a nice and alkaline start. And if you switch to hydrating herbal teas such as peppermint and rooibos, instead of dehydrating coffee & regular black tea, you’ll find yourself easily hitting your daily quota. For most people that daily target is: 1 litre of water per 40lbs (18k or 2.85stone) of body weight. It may sound like a lot, but don’t try to get there on day one! Build up to it slowly, and relax – you will get there.
3. Get Oiled
Getting enough omega oils, particularly omega 3 is critically important to so many bodily functions and processes. Omega 3 is known as an ‘essential’ nutrient because the body cannot manufacture it alone, it relies upon you to consume it! But so few people get enough. And nobody is to blame; it’s actually pretty hard to get enough through diet alone! Even if you eat oily fish every day, you still wouldn’t be hitting your target. I recommend that everyone adds 2-3 tablespoons of omega 3 to their diet every day. And if you do this, the results are fantastic. More energy, soothed digestion, soft skin, clearer thinking, better recovery from exercise and more. Just from adding in oils!
The easiest way to add this is through supplementation, but I also recommend making your own salad dressings using flax oil, chia seed oil or walnut oil with lemon, herbs and so on. Be creative – it’s hard to go wrong. Think about it, if you had one salad per day with your own omega-3-rich dressing, you’d be hitting 2 of these 5 steps every day!
4. Cut Out Excessive Acids
I never recommend anyone tries to be perfect with the alkaline approach (or any healthy living approach) from day one. It’s a surefire way to give up, fast. But I do recommend you start to transition away from your habitual strong acids as quickly as you can. The worst offenders include soda, sugar, gluten-containing grains and processed meats. If you can start to cut these back, a little each day, then you will be going a long way towards helping your body maintain that pH balance. Again, you don’t have to give it all up at once on day one. Just try to cut back on each and set targets for yourself.
5. Reduce Stress
Stress can have more of an impact on the body than any food or drink we consume. Why? Because when we’re under stress, the body produces cortisol. This is fine in genuinely stressful situations, but repeated stress and ongoing cortisol production can have a huge impact on the body. Cortisol serves a very important function, preparing your body for fight or flight situations. But in doing so it shuts down all ‘non-essential’ functions changing immune system responses and suppressing the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes.
Needless to say, the repeated shutting down of the digestive system and altering of immune system processes is very detrimental to your health, your energy and your ability to function. And if you couple these functions with an acidic diet, you could get into trouble, quickly. Finding a way to control stress is easier said than done, but if you’re truly committed to ongoing health and vibrant energy, you simply have to! There are so many free or inexpensive meditation and stress-relief apps available now, and they are very easy to use. And on an even more basic level, a short walk, or some moderate exercise can do wonders.
Remember, getting alkaline is not about changing your body’s pH, it is about supporting your body to maintain its homeostasis, to keep itself working optimally. And when you’re in balance, your body will thrive and you will look and feel sensational.