I call this the BAAM diet: Balanced Acid & Alkaline Menus. The concept of balance has been around for a long time (Alex Guerrero’s book, In Balance for Life, notes the idea goes back to Eastern & Western philosophies, from Aristotle and Confucius). But we usually think of a balanced diet as one that has the appropriate portions of fats, carbs & proteins, not the body’s pH factor, which measures the acidity and alkalinity of your cells.
Two books that I have found helpful in understanding BAAM are Dr. Susan Brown’s & Larry Trivieri’s. The Acid Alkaline Guide and Bonnie Rossa’s The Amazing Acid Alkaline Cookbook. They are from Square One Publisher and I will be reviewing them on www.menupause.info next week.
Most of the information here is a brief summary of this concept from these two books plus some information from the Internet.
Basically, the foods we eat can be categorized as either acid or alkaline.Â You can test that with pH (power of Hydrogen) test paper, also called Hydrion paper. Because we evolved as hunter-gatherers, early humans ate meat, fruits, nuts, and some root vegetables. Meat metabolizes as an acid, while fruits & nuts metabolize as alkaline. Unfortunately, as we became farmers, we added more acidic foods to our diets (dairy, most grains, and domesticated animals), which threw off the delicate acid-alkaline balance. The Western diet is notoriously more acidic than many other parts of the world.
According to The Acid-Alkaline Food Guide, researchers have found that as our Western diet became more acidic, we developed ailments to go with it. On pages 23-25 of this book, the authors list how chronic low-grade acidosis harms the body. The list is long, so I will mention only a few:
Reduced bone formation (Implications for osteoporosis)
Accelerated aging from accumulated waste products.
Increased risk of kidney stone formation.
Disrupted balance of intestinal bacteria, with related digestive problems.
Decreased ability to perform exercise at a high level of intensity.
As you can see by this very abbreviated list, these are not life threatening by themselves, but chronic ailments can lead to a poorer quality of life and constant illness.
The good news is that you can restore that balance by adding more alkaline foods to your body in the form of (most) fruits, (green) vegetables and root crops, nuts, seeds, spices and by reducing your consumption of acid-forming foods, such as animal protein, refined carbohydrates (ex. white bread), refined sugar and most highly processed foods. And you can use the pH testing paper to help you stay balanced by measuring your pH levels until you are back on track, staying between 6.5-7.5 on the reading for an ideal acid-alkaline balance. (Constantly under 6.5 means you are too acidic.)
Actually, the BAAM diet has many features of other recommended food plans from the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society—-more fruits and veggies, less refined carbs, less meat and less highly processed foods like chips, sugary snacks, etc.
What you are really doing is shifting to a more basic diet with fresh foods prepared without added sugars, hydrogenated oils, additives and preservatives. If you read the two books mentioned above, you will find charts that provide the level of acidity and alkalinity of each food group and plan your meals accordingly. There is a list on the Internet on the website: http://www.rense.com/1.mpicons/acidalka.htm. However, in the two books above, the list is subdivided for each food into high, low, or medium alkalinity or acidity, so these lists are more definitive.
I think this concept makes a great deal of sense to me, especially after reading the food guide. And Rossa’s cookbook has recipes that could easily be called simply healthy. By combining acid-items with neutralizing alkaline foods, your menus are there for the taking. And if you didn’t know the title of the book, any recipe would fit into a basic whole foods diet.
This is only a brief foray into the concept of acid-alkaline eating, but I hope it sparks your interest enough to consider examining it further, either by the books I will be reviewing on www.menupause.info or from sites on the Internet, which can be accessed by typing in acid-alkaline diet in the search box.Â Eat more fruits & veggies and stay balanced!
P.S. I just came across a website that has a succinct explanation you might like to read. Go to: http://www.rense.com/1.mpicons/acidalka.htm and you will see a one page explanation that reinforces what I have written,with some additional helpful information. As I was reading it, I realized that this is not merely a diet or food plan, but a concept that can be incorporated into any other healthful diet you might be on, by balancing the acid food choices with the neutralizing alkaline food choices.