Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Toxin Tuesday - Rebalancing your PH - Acidic versus Alkaline Foods

I find the inner workings of the digestive system and basically the human body extremely confusing. I am no doctor or health professional of any kind - just an accountant on maternity leave trying to learn how to heal my stomach and adrenal fatigue so I can feel my best and enjoy my family.

But given no one is able to tell me exactly what is wrong with my stomach I am having to learn and read way more about digestive health than I would have ever imagined. I am trying to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. What I do know is that I have food sensitivities (for which I am currently being re-tested and will have results this month - really hoping banana's aren't still an issue), I possibly have candida overgrowth (also being retested), I have low stomach acid (based on a test I just did) and I have pretty severe adrenal fatigue and anemia. So I am trying hard to avoid the foods that came back as troublesome on my original food sensitivity test in 2010. I'm avoiding sugar and carbs and upping my protein as much as I can to battle the candida and adrenal problems. I'm drinking lemon water and taking digestive tablets before meals to combat the low stomach acid. And I'm taking adrenal support and iron to battle my adrenal fatigue and anemia. Its bloody confusing but I have come up with a pretty good system of clean food guidelines that are tailored to my issues.

Because of my particular situation I need a fair amount of protein and it can't come from a high-carbohydrate source. That rules out a lot of plant based proteins so I end up eating a fair amount of meat. But meat tends to be on the acidic side and we want our bodies to be slightly alkaline (a ph of between 7.3 and 7.5). Except for our stomachs which need to have a certain amount of acid, but that's a different issue (yes - confusing, I know). If our bodies are acidic, basically less than a ph of 7, then we become a potential breading ground for cancer and disease.

Our internal acidity is determined by the foods we eat, stress, toxins, immune system reactions and acid by-products produced by our metabolic system. We can't control all of these things but we can make sure that our foods contain buffering minerals via alkaline foods that can offset this naturally acidic state. Everyone can benefit from eating more alkaline foods (Don't leave this page just because you don't eat meat or don't have the slew of problems I'm dealing with). But especially someone like me since I have a history of high stress, immune system problems and a meat-heavy diet.

So one of the things I have been reading up on is what foods are alkaline versus acidic. There are lots of good charts on Pinterest (go to my Detox Board for a few good ones). But I decided to just jot down a few of the highlights based on my typical diet as a reminder to myself of which ones I should be adding to my diet (or patting myself on the back if I'm already eating them) and which ones I should be limiting or avoiding. Some of these are just a good reminder of why I gave them up in the first place and motivation to keep it clean.

Acid Forming Foods - Avoid, Limit or Offset with Alkaline foods if necessary
  • MSG, aspartame, table salt
  • Black tea, coffee, beer (okay - that's it - I'm down to one cup of decaf coffee starting tomorrow)
  • Sugar, cocoa (damn - that will have to be an offset - can't give it up)
  • Balsamic and red wine vinegar
  • All processed dairy is somewhat acidic
  • Soy milk
  • Eggs, Fish and Meat - Beef is the worst but they are all acidic except shellfish
  • Grains and flour - most are acidic except quinoa and oat but I don't eat grains so just an FYI
  • Nuts - Brazil, walnut, pistachio, pecan, peanut
  • Vegetables and legumes - soybean,  green pea, most beans and green beans
  • Fruit - cranberry, tomato
  • Yeast and processed foods. 

Alkaline - Add to diet, Start eating more or Keep up the good work mama
  • Sea salt (if you were wondering why I always say sea salt in all my recipes - there you have it)
  • Kambucha, green or ginger tea (I have to stay away from Kambucha but will be replacing some coffee with green and ginger tea)
  • Soy sauce, white vinegar and apple cider vinegar
  • Nuts - pumkin seeds, almond, hazelnut, cashew (big pat on the back here)
  • Vegetables - onion, garlic, sweet potato, asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, beets, celery - I already eat lots of these but when in doubt eat more veggies
  • Citrus fruits - lime and lemons are great for salad dressings and as flavour in recipes
  • Fruit - most of the standards are alkaline except as noted above
  • Olive Oil
  • Chia Seeds - yay - I would be in trouble if they weren't
So there is a quick and dirty list. I have already incorporated a lot of this into my diet but I need to get even more veggies (maybe start juicing? my sister will have to teach me how) and cut back on the coffee. Its tricky business eating clean................good luck and I encourage you to look at your own diet and see if there are some opportunities to make your diet less acidic!!! 

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