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food

By Jodi Brown, the Ultimate Kitchen Commando

What the pH? 0

2

4

Highly acid forming

7.0 Neutral or almost neutral

You’ve seen it, you’ve heard it, but do you know what it means in relationship to your body and its food sources? pH measures the potential for hydrogen in substances and where all foods fall on the pH scale is determined by their relationship to the middle of the chart, seven (or neutral). Anything below seven is considered acidic and anything above seven is considered alkaline. Water is neutral. Hydrogen is important because it allows your cells to stay hydrated, lubricates your joints, helps toxins and waste to be eliminated from the body, transports nutrients to cells that need them and helps your immune system fight viruses and bacteria. If our pH is out of whack, so are we. Everything we put in our mouth has the potential to affect our internal pH. Foods that are alkalizing to the system are comprised of mostly fresh fruits, vegetables, sea vegetables, and olive, coconut and flax oils. Dark green leafy vegetables are the most alkalizing due to their high mineral content and you should include as many in your diet as you can. Foods that make the body acidic are processed foods, meat, dairy, fish, vegetable oils, coffee and alcohol. Hel-lo! The standard American diet. When I say acidic, I mean ACID, the degenerative and destructive kind that forms in the body and wreaks havoc with our system. The more acid we have in the body, the harder the system has to fight to alkalize those harmful acids and our typical diets do not support the fight. When there is excess acid in the system (acidosis) the body has to neutralize those acids before the kidneys can

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14 Highly alkalizing

handle it. If the body does not get what it needs to neutralize those acids from dietary intake, it will seek out what it needs in stores in the body. The number one alkalizing agent in the body is calcium and phosphorus runs a close second. If you aren’t getting enough calcium in your food, your body will pull it from your bones in order to alkalize the acid. Yes, you read that correctly, your bones. So it is very important to get calcium in your diet to help alkalize the damage that highly acidic foods impart on the system. Where is dietary calcium most predominant? Dark green leafy vegetables, not dairy. While dairy does have calcium in it, but it is also acid forming in the body and contributes to the problem (acidosis) that it is supposed to be helping. In order for the body to achieve optimal health we should be eating 20 percent acid forming foods and 80 percent alkaline. Unfortunately in the U.S., those numbers are switched around, and we eat mostly acid forming foods and far fewer fruits and vegetables. People who consume predominately acidic foods end up with acidosis in their body, and it is linked to a variety of medical conditions that plague our nation such as chronic diseases, osteoporosis, inflammation, disrupted intestinal bacteria, increased risk for kidney stones and increased production of free radicals. You’ve read in my articles before how important it is to get more green(s) into your regular foods. Heck, I did an entire article on greens earlier in the year and now maybe you can understand why they are such an important part of a healthy diet. We are coming into the long winter


Highly acid forming Alcohol (all types), cola, cocoa, coffee, tea (un-herbal, pasteurized milk (and dairy), ice cream, candy, sugar, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, fried and processed foods, chocolate, margarine, jelly. Stress, negativity, medication, hormone pills.

Highly alkalizing

Neutral or almost neutral Meat, bacon, chicken, white bread, eggs,pasta, pork, white rice, shrimp, turkey, veal, peanuts

Agave, brown rice syrup, olives, pasteurized soft goat cheese, cream, dates, sprouted grains, wild salmon, oysters

Raw honey, sprouted lentils, raw goat cheese (not pasteurized and from antibioti and hormone free goats)

vegetable season here and the cruciferous vegetable family will offer up a variety of excellent choices that are alkalizing to the system. Collard greens, kale, cabbage, bok choy, turnip greens, napa cabbage and swiss chard are just a few of the great greens that will be starting to turn up in our local markets and stores over the next few

Most fruit, cold pressed oils, raw carob

Raw almonds, brazil nuts, burdock root, flax seed oil, raw sunflower seeds, fresh herbs, stevia

Green vegetables and lettuce, most vegetables, garlic, fennel, ginger, sea veggies, sweet potatoes, sprouted seeds, grains and beans, tomatoes, avocado, lemons, sea salt

months. Get ‘em while there hot. Pesto can be made with just about any green. Here is a nutrient-dense version made with kale that you can toss with your favorite grain or pasta, scoop into some hot soup, or blend into hummus for either a dip or sandwich spread. Be creative. What would YOU do with this pesto?

Kale Pesto One bunch of kale (about 12 leaves) 2 small cloves garlic ¼ cup nutritional yeast ¼ cup ground pumpkin seeds Juice of ½ a lemon (about 1 TBSP.) 2 tbsp. cold pressed extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste. Remove kale leaves from stem then wash and spin dry. Set aside. In a food processor, drop the garlic cloves and pulse until it is in small pieces. Add kale by the fistful and pulse until well ground up. When you are done with the kale and the machine is running drizzle in the olive oil and blend well. Add both the nutritional yeast, ground pumpkin seeds and the juice of ½ a lemon and blend again until smooth. Taste. Add salt & pepper as needed and blend a final time. Makes 1 cup. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze in ¼ cup portions in the freezer. Defrost before use.

About the Author: Jodi Brown is the Ultimate Kitchen Commando and loves to turn people on to delicious and healthy foods. She assists people with food transitions and teaches healthy cooking classes. She shares her time between New Orleans and Pensacola. To learn more, visit www.ultimatekitchencommando.com.

October 2012

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What the pH?  

Plant-based nutrition and acid/alkaline.

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