Theories on the healthiest diet are nothing new – trying to figure out what the best foods to eat for the best health and longest life that has been around almost as long as people have been eating. However, recently there has been a very noticeable surge in the number of “magic” diets that will work perfectly for just about any need.
Most of these diets fall out of favor almost as soon as they become popular. In other words, these diets are mostly trendy fads that are misleading at best and sometimes even dangerous (Atkins anyone?). On the other hand, there are some ways of eating and looking at nutrition that have caught on not only with a sizable portion of the public, but also with members of the medical and nutritional community. One of the most well-known diet that fits into this category of safe and well-respected with an extensive variety of benefits is the alkaline diet.
The Basics of the Alkaline Diet – Body pH Balance and Benefits
The alkaline diet is at heart very simple. As WebMD rightly states, the goal of the alkaline diet is to maintain a decent pH level in the system. The pH level is a measure of acidic or alkaline something is, on a scale from 0 to 14. 0 is totally acidic, and 14 is totally alkaline. Although different parts of the body have different pH levels, an ideal pH balance is around 7.35 to 7.45 overall. A way to achieve a good balance is to aim for an 80 to 20 alkaline to acidic food balance.
Some of the more sweeping benefits espoused by the many supporters of this diet are listed in the introduction to the alkaline diet Wikipedia article: prevention of diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and increased energy levels. Wikipedia actually says that this premise is not supported by medical evidence, the fact is that it IS. There is a huge body of both research work out there and real-world practical healing examples of a pH balanced diet being used highly effectively; just check out Gerson Therapy, Ann Wigmore and Linus Pauling for just some evidence of the most profound findings and uses.
The Daily Mail has confirmed in mass media what alkaline diet proponents have known for years: that maintaining a good pH can bring about what is maybe the most sought-after benefit of any diet: weight loss.
None other than Victoria Beckham has been touting her approval of this type of diet on social networking sites, with Kirsten Dunst (pictured) and Gwyneth Paltrow being other A-list celebrity fans – and they certainly look radiant on it. Tim Lovejoy has also praised the alkaline diet in helping his brother cope with pancreatic cancer, and has ardent in his promotion of diets of this nature as a preventive measure as well as for overall health.
According to About.com, this diet is mainly composed of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and tubers. As you can see, the basic alkaline foods are similar to the foods that vegetarians eat. Of course, a diet of this nature has healing benefits in addition to maintaining an appropriate pH level.
As far as vegetables are concerned, both root vegetables – such as carrots, turnips, radishes, and rutabaga – and cruciferous vegetables – like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage – work well for the diet and are very versatile for cooking a variety of different alkaline diet recipes. Leafy greens are also good and fantastic for health and healing in general.
When it comes to alkaline foods, there is some very good news for fans of deliciousness in general: garlic can play a role in an alkaline diet. If you prefer even more intense flavors, cayenne peppers are particularly alkaline-forming, as well as having wonderful antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
It might seem counterintuitive to include acidic foods like lemons, but lemons are about as alkalizing as it gets. Of course, these fruits are also packed with vitamin C and have a whole host of other health benefits. Citrus fruit juices are a great way to hydrate while on this diet and in general.
Foods that leave acid ash are foods to minimize or avoid altogether, including meat, fish, cheese, sugar, corn, grain, rice, white flour, honey, and peanuts. When researching alkaline foods online, it is necessary to be cautious as there are some unreliable lists of “alkaline” foods that actually contain harmfully acidic foods, such as the list on Rense.com.
Natural News has a very helpful list of the top 5 alkalizing tips, as does the Dummies Cheat Sheet, such as drinking coconut or almond milk instead of soy or cow’s milk, using vegetables as a basis for meals instead of meat, and using olive oil instead of butter for cooking.
Alkaline Recipe Ideas
If you are concerned with the potential blandness of alkaline foods, roasted pumpkin seeds can be used to add a burst of flavor to your greens and/or vegetables. This idea can be particularly flavorful if you roast the seeds yourself in a frying pan and add tamari sauce.
People transitioning from an unhealthy diet to an alkaline diet can have an especially difficult time with new restrictions. If you are used to drinking soda, there are some much healthier alternatives for hydrating. Using lemon and stevia to flavor water is a healthy preparation of a beverage that is sweet, flavorful, and satisfying without being loaded with sugar and chemicals.
Green smoothies are a favorite of alkaline eaters the world over. There are a number of green smoothie recipes available, one exceptionally good smoothie uses baby spinach leaves, avocado, peeled limes, English cucumber, and stevia.
Alkaline versus 5:2
The 5:2 diet has been gaining some traction in popularity recently. In this diet, you eat whatever you want for five days a week, and then for two days you eat very little – only a few hundred calories. Although weight loss is common with this diet, it can have some digestive side effects, and little is known about the long-term effects. The alkaline diet involves eating healthy foods full time.
Although eating to balance your body’s pH level is still being studied in a clinical capacity, the types of foods involved with the diet have an almost unbelievable wide-ranging array of health and healing benefits. Unlike fad diets that come and go, the alkaline diet does not involve purchasing any special pills or supplements – and free advice and information is widely available on sites like mine here at http://www.alkaline-diet-heath-tips.com, which contains freely viewable alkaline diet videos and a 38-page book of recipes.