In the past few months, I’ve done a lot of research on Alkaline Rich foods and the importance of consuming them regularly with respect to general health and curing/preventing illnesses. I’ve also been focusing on incorporating these foods in a simple way into my everyday eating habits. The main reason for this, unfortunately, is because my Grandfather who means the world to me, was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This was an extremely difficult thing to even accept… but once I did, I snapped into action to figure out how to do everything in my power to help this terrible situation. Not only for the good of my grandfather, but for my whole family. To make sure they have the knowledge and the tools to take care of themselves the best way that they can, from the inside-out.
I’m sure others can relate to seeing your loved ones needing a hand in taking care of themselves, whether it’s from illness, poor eating habits, allergies and health concerns, etc. If you’re even on this blog right now, it likely has something to do with the fact that you-yourself care enough to try eating clean and to have fun with trying new recipes (and maybe also because you dig my photos and semi-corny/semi-hilarious writing)… with all the noise out there on food fads, diets, allergies, etc. – I want to cut through some of that confusion we can all feel sometimes, and take the time to get some education in, to provide some clarity and focus on the building blocks for clean eating. And that brings me to the whole reason for this post – to shine a light on the importance of “getting Alkaline” with Alkaline Rich foods and the value behind plant-based eating, what that even means, what I’ve learned, and of course to share some delicious recipes I’ve created and found along the way from some other lovely food bloggers.
What is “Alkaline” when it comes to food and lifestyle? There is a scale to classify food, the range goes from Alkaline to Acidic. The basic theme here is that food on the Alkaline side of the scale, actually introduces oxygen into the body when consumed and oxygen helps your body perform in a more efficient, optimal way, reducing inflammation. On top of that, diseases (such as cancer for example), cannot live in an environment with oxygen. On the contrary, diseases can grow and spread in Acidic environments.
The general rule of thumb for an Alkaline lifestyle, is the rule of 80/20- Your diet should consist of 80% Alkaline rich foods and 20% Acidic. If you or someone on this lifestyle is currently fighting a disease or illness, it’s best to eat 100% alkaline until you can revert back to 80/20.
Below is the general scale that I reference and is also based on what state the food is in during consumption. You can find a lot of scales online, but some vary in how they’re created. Some scales will list food based on what they are before cooked or consumed, so just be aware of how the chart is made before you use it. I’d recommend using this one – print it out and put it on your fridge for easy access (plus it’s easy to read).
Before you sigh at the Acidic list, remember it can still be included in 20% of your diet… and remember this is a guide, not a law. I myself still drink coffee, but limit it to 1 cup per morning and not everyday. I haven’t been able to break up with my french press… I also eat eggs for protein, and don’t get me started on cocoa (I dare you to search “cocoa” to the right). Alcohol should not be a surprise, I’ll plead the 5th on that one all-together. Try leading with everything from the 80% list onwards in your normal diet… and you’ll already be ahead of the game!!
Grasses, Cucumber, Kale, Kelp, Spinach, Parsley, Broccoli, Sprouts (soy, alfalfa, etc.), Sea Vegetables (Kelp), Green juices, All Sprouted Beans/Sprouts
Avocado, Cabbage, Celery, Collard Greens, Endive, Garlic, Ginger, Green Beans, Lettuce, Onion, Radish, Tomato, Lemon, Lime, Chia, Quinoa
Artichokes, Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Carrot, Zucchini, Leeks, Peas, Watercress, Grapefruit, Coconut, Buckwheat, Spelt, Lentils, Tofu, Other Beans & Legumes, Goat and Almond Milk, Most Herbs & Spices, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Flax Oil
Black Beans, Chickpeas, Kidney Beans, Seitan, Cantaloupe, Currants, Dates, Nectarine, Plum, Watermelon, Amaranth, Millet, Oats/Oatmeal, Spelt, Soybeans, Freshwater Wild Fish, Rice & Soy Milk, Brazil Nuts, Pecans, Sunflower Oil
Fresh/Natural Juice, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Butter, Apple, Apricot, Banana, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cranberry, Grapes, Orange, Peach, Pineapple, Strawberry, Brown Rice, Rye Bread, Wheat, Wholemeal Bread, Wild Rice, Wholemeal Pasta, Ocean Fish
Alcohol, Coffee & Black Tea, Fruit Juice (Sweetened), Cocoa, Honey, Jam, Jelly, Mustard, Miso, Rice Syrup, Soy Sauce, Vinegar, Yeast, Dried Fruit, Beef, Chicken, Eggs, Farmed Fish, Pork, Shellfish, Cheese, Dairy, Artificial Sweeteners, Syrup, Mushrooms
Here are some tips to incorporate this into your day-to-day:
- Be Active & Work Out Daily: The other piece of the puzzle when getting your body alkaline… is working out! That also brings oxygen into the body. Even if you’re on a rest day and can’t get to the gym… you can make time to do at least 10 minutes of yoga/stretching/breathing exercises when you wake up or before you go to sleep. Set an alarm and make the effort, it definitely helps!
- Just add lemon: Lemon water is so good for you, it’s not just a way to help burn fat when you’re trying to fit in a bikini, guys! It’s a boost of vitamin C and while you may thing lemon is acidic… as you can see in the scale above, it’s anything but when it comes to this. You can start your day with warm water and a squeeze of half or a whole lemon and chin up! It’s a great way to start your day… and/or throw it in your bottle of water for the day. When you’re out at a restaurant, ask your waiter for a plate of lemons you can add to your water as well.
- Sneak in some greens: Making eggs? Add spinach and make it an omelette. Making a smoothie? Add that last piece of kale sitting in your fridge or a greens supplement. When you really think about it… you can add something green to each of your meals and you’ll barely notice or taste it half the time. You can also add a green juice in as often as you can (I know they can get pricey!).
- Plant based means plant based: This isn’t just a foodie term… it’s a way to organize your plate! Planning on making chicken or salmon tonight? Well, awesome… what plants will be the first thing on the plate though? Broccoli, asparagus, a salad… some roasted brussels sprouts or carrots perhaps? If cooking vegetables or having them take up the majority of your plate isn’t coming easily… make it fun, get a spiralizer (like this or this one) and check out some recipes below for inspiration! Rice and potatoes don’t need to be your automatic side every night… trust me. Double up on those veggies, practice makes perfect.
- Alkaline Sisters – a blog devoted to the Alkaline diet/lifestyle with amazing recipes.
- Energise for Life – a great reference, download the scale here.
- Your Nutritionist/Health Coach! Create a food diary and do yourself a favor in finding a nutritionist or health coach. Figure out which foods are best for your body and which you should stay away from, and use these guides as tools, as you do so! Don’t just follow a food fad diet or remove things from your diet just because marketing told you to.
A final thought…When exploring a healthy lifestyle, approach it with an open mind and focus on ADDING these ideas to your everyday as opposed to focusing on TAKING AWAY things you enjoy. By adding in a new way of eating and living, the less-healthy habits will naturally reduce. I hate the negativity associated with “dieting”, who wants to live life denying themselves of the things they enjoy? Not me! That’s why the only rule I can and will always follow is: EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. Might sound cliche, but maintaining balance is important to me and it’s the only way I’ve found to be successful. Enjoy life, enjoy food and enjoy taking care of yourself and your family. I hope this guide, these recipes and my blog can serve as another tool in your belt to do so.
Use #foodbymars to tag your FBM inspired creations! I’d love to see!