An alkaline diet is the next craze, as the word “alkaline” is the latest buzzword in health and fitness circles.
So, what is an alkaline diet? First, you need to understand pH levels in your body. Our blood is neutral with an alkaline level of 7.35 to 7.45. Interestingly enough, while our blood is slightly basic, our skin is quite acidic with a pH of 4 to 6.5.
A healthy dose of both acid and alkaline is required for normal pH levels and for our body and to remain healthy. However, an alkaline diet can help cleanse and restore pH levels in our bodies.
Now, let’s check out an alkaline meal.
- Large Bell Peppers (4)
- Stuffing For Your Bell Peppers
- Sweet Potato (1)
- Roma Tomato (2)
- Avocado (1)
- Green Giant Crumbles: Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrots & Onion (1 cup)
- Black Beans (1 cup)
- Vegetable Broth (1 cup)
- Vegan Cheese (1/2 cup)
- Trader Joe’s Coconut Amino Acid
- Vegan Blue Cheese Dressing (optional)
- First step: Dice the sweet potato, tomatoes, and avocado then mix in a large bowl. Add vegetable broth. Do not forget to sprinkle Trader Joe’s Coconut Amino Acid for a flavor that is both savory and healthy. The amino acid is acidic, however. A couple of teaspoons will not tilt the pH scales too much.
- After simmering veggies for about 10 minutes (partly cooked) on medium heat, remove from the pan and stuff in cored-out bell peppers. Finally, place partially cooked stuffing in each bell pepper and then place all four in an oven-safe dish. Add vegan cheese on top of the bell peppers and bake for 20 minutes at 365 degrees. Why choose vegan cheese? This is a great option for those who are lactose intolerant or otherwise adhere to a dairy-free diet. It’s not just for vegans but for anyone looking to reduce fat from their diet.
- Note: For those who consume dairy and love real cheese, you can definitely use the real thing. But note that real cheese made from cow’s milk is actually highly acidic.
- Optional: Vegan Blue Cheese Topping
Is an Alkaline Diet a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet?
It is neither. An alkaline diet is not technically a vegetarian or a vegan diet. However, they are very similar because an alkaline diet requires consuming little to no acidic foods. Essentially this requires very little to no meat or fish as well as cutting out poultry, eggs, and some nuts.
Umm…this sounds like a vegetarian and or vegan diet, right? Yes, that is my thought exactly; however, an alkaline diet is not vegetarian or vegan, and here’s why.
A True Alkaline Diet Is a Balance: Do Not Eliminate Meat & Fish Protein
Generally speaking, it can be confusing when first learning about an alkaline diet because it is mostly comprised of vegetables and fruit. However, a true alkaline diet also requires a balance of some form of protein. Just because good protein sources such as meat and fish are acid-forming doesn’t mean eradicating them from your diet.
Like everything, our bodies require balance, and so this means it cannot be too acidic or too alkaline (base.) In fact, death can result from your body becoming too much of either. For this reason, it is highly stressed to not eliminate meat and fish protein from your diet.
Alkalosis & Acidosis: Dangerously High Levels of Alkaline or Acid in the Body
In truth, too much alkaline can lead to alkalosis. Alkalosis is a dangerous condition of high alkaline levels in the body. Some of the symptoms of alkalosis are hand tremors, muscle spasms, and twitching. Other symptoms involve dizzy spells and nausea to the point of vomiting.
Tingling and numbness are also big indicators of alkalosis. However, too much of an acidic diet can lead to acidosis, a condition that is just as deadly.
For a comprehensive list of alkaline and acid forming foods, please see the reference link below.
Benefits of a Balanced Alkaline Diet
I found this comprehensive research by The Journal of Environmental and Public Health
“Alkaline diets result in a more alkaline urine pH and may result in reduced calcium in the urine, however, as seen in some recent reports, this may not reflect total calcium balance because of other buffers such as phosphate. There is no substantial evidence that this improves bone health or protects from osteoporosis.
However, alkaline diets may result in a number of health benefits as outlined below:
(1) Increased fruits and vegetables in an alkaline diet would improve the K/Na ratio and may benefit bone health, reduce muscle wasting, as well as mitigate other chronic diseases such as hypertension and strokes.
(2) The resultant increase in growth hormone with an alkaline diet may improve many outcomes from cardiovascular health to memory and cognition.
(3) An increase in intracellular magnesium, which is required for the function of many enzyme systems, is another added benefit of the alkaline diet. Available magnesium, which is required to activate vitamin D, would result in numerous added benefits in the vitamin D apocrine/exocrine systems.
(4) Alkalinity may result in added benefit for some chemotherapeutic agents that require a higher pH. From the evidence outlined above, it would be prudent to consider an alkaline diet to reduce morbidity and mortality of chronic disease that are plaguing our aging population.
One of the first considerations in an alkaline diet, which includes more fruits and vegetables, is to know what type of soil they were grown in since this may significantly influence the mineral content. At this time, there are limited scientific studies in this area, and many more studies are indicated in regards to muscle effects, growth hormone, and interaction with vitamin D.”
Balance Is Key: An Alkaline Diet Can Offer Benefits If Done Correctly
Eating alkaline meals mostly rich in vegetables and fruit can offer detoxing effects and help balance your pH levels. This is true even if it’s for the short-term and doesn’t extend into long-term rigid dieting. But it is a diet of also eating meats and fish (if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan.) You can even eat a simple, balanced meal but also consider trying alkaline water that is highly alkaline to help balance your pH levels.
Ultimately, I stress balance because it is the safest option for anyone on any type of diet. There are so many diets out there, so the best course of action is to discuss your diet goals and plans with a qualified and licensed nutritionist or physician.
Many personal trainers will try to give advice and claim that they are actual experts in nutrition, but most are not. I once was a personal trainer and saw many of my peers giving out serious nutrition advice. While many personal trainers are really into health, at the end of the day, they are still do not have the license to give medical or expert advice on nutrition.
Please See an Actual Licensed Doctor & Nutritionist for Dietary Advice
I never claim to be a nutritionist, but I always like to thoroughly research my articles. And I always use the following disclaimer: Visit a licensed nutritionist or your primary care physician to discuss your specific dietary needs.
If you have any concerns at all or questions about your diet plans and goals, just be wary of so-called “experts.” This especially includes those who claim to be vegans or strict practitioners of the paleo, keto, or pescatarian diets.
The bottom line: many types of diets out there that have a cult-like following to go along with claims they can ethically dish out professional advice. Do not just “Google” information and suddenly think you know everything there is about a diet. This is especially true if said chosen diet is an extreme one. If you are going to “Google” it, try using “Google Scholar” it is my go-to for actual research and not just opinion sites.
Why See A Doctor Or A Licenced Nutritionist?
They can draw your blood and send it to labs to check if you are deficient in certain areas. They can check your thyroid. Getting your blood drawn and checked for imbalances is very important because some diets can make an underlying issue worse. A personal example: Thyroid disease such as Graves’ disease runs in my family. I must frequently get my thyroid checked. So, for peace of mind, having your blood tested regularly and consulting with a doctor to ensure you are healthy and not lacking vital nutrients.
Final Diet Disclaimer: Always see an actual doctor and trained professional because you only have one body and you are ultimately responsible for caring for it.