Thursday, April 5, 2012
The alkaline diet
I just thought i'd share my experience with the alkaline diet. What is it? Basically, humans are meant to be more alkaline and less acidic than they are. The acid your body produces, from eating the wrong foods, is detrimental to your body, your energy, your weight, and your happiness. There are charts & books out there, but essentially all fruits & veggies are alkaline, foods in their natural state or more alkaline than anything processed. Meats, dairy, processed food, coffee, anything carbonated, and anything made from flour is acidic. When I first saw the list I probably visibly paled... no meat? No dairy? No wheat? No coffee? What will I eat???
The good news is that you are striving for 80%/20%, and the 20% is acidic, so you can still have all your favorites, just in moderation.
How & why did I start the alkaline diet? I was having constant sinus pressure and headaches almost daily. Nothing was working (yes, I used a neti pot daily), so I went to an ENT. He told me I had GERD (reflux), and that it was most likely traveling up my throat at night & irritating my sinuses. The thought never occurred to me that the terrible, almost nightly, heartburn could be related to the sinus issues! He gave me a list of no-no foods, and said to eat nothing from the list. It was a long, sad list of every food I love. I started to do some Googling. I found that, along with the other list of things that are bad about it, chlorine in tap water (it's in most bottled waters too!) can aggravate or even cause GERD. I started to drink only boiled tap water (chlorine is a gas, so it off gasses when boiled) and spring water. That made the reflux much less severe, and the sinus headaches started to disappear. Though not as often, I was still having some heartburn, so I kept Googling. That is when I discovered the alkaline diet, and I have been heartburn free. I have been following the alkaline diet pretty close (I am probably not at the 80%/20% yet, but getting there!) for about 3 weeks now. My heartburn is gone, and my sinus pressure & headaches are gone. My energy level is much higher, I feel happier, my joints/muscles feel less achy, I have lost 5 pounds (without limiting foods, just picking more alkaline ones), and as a weird little bonus, my body odor has gone down considerably. Another odd thing, that is definitely good, is that my running headaches have gone away. About a year ago, I started getting a headache every time I would run. It would start about an hour after my run, and would last the entire day. When I spent my whole Thanksgiving with a headache, after running a turkey trot race, I gave up on running. Now that I am feeling so energetic, and healthy, I just had to try again a couple of weeks ago, and no headache! I thought it might have been a fluke, and ran a few more times since, and no headache.
So, what am I eating? I would have said yuck a few weeks ago, but I discovered that I really like greens (kale, spinach, etc.) sauteed in olive oil, with almond slivers, and a pinch of sea salt. Lots of lettuce salads (with my homemade olive oil based italian dressing), of course, fruits for snacks, smoothies, soups that are rich in veggies & low in meat, oatmeal with chopped apples & maple syrup (better than McD's when you do it at home!), avocados, almond butter sandwiches on sprouted wheat bread (sprouted wheat is better than regular, and peanut butter=acid forming, almond butter=alkaline forming), water with lemon in it (surprisingly citrus fruits are alkaline forming), olive oil popcorn, and then a little bit of whatever-the-heck-I-want to balance it all out ;). I am down to one cup of instant coffee (less caffeine than brewed) a morning, and drink herbal tea after that. I will be replacing the instant coffee with black tea (even less caffeine) next week. I may not go caffeine free all together, but tea, any tea, is less acidic than even decaf coffee. I started out forcing myself to eat oatmeal every morning (I like oatmeal... I was just not hungry in the morning), and my body adjusted. I now look forward to breakfast, and as a result have really cut down on my night time snacking, which I never thought I would. I don't feel deprived of food, and my appetite has gone down, though it is challenging for me to come up with dinners that my whole family will enjoy and it be mostly alkaline forming. My son is easy going about trying new things, and likes healthy foods, but my fast food addicted meat eater husband has really surprised me by really liking quinoa, and an all veggie soup I made. I'll get better at this as I go along, and it will be easier, i'm sure. If you have any good high alkaline recipes or meal ideas that you love, please let me know! I can use all the help I can get.
Well, that's my story! I base my alkaline/acid experience on reading 3 books on the subject, as well as many websites. I am not an expert on anything, so I advise you to do your own research before beginning any diet, though from what I read, everyone can benefit from a high alkaline diet.