“Balance is the key to good health.” Bonnie Ross
I call these two books from Square One Publishers the dynamic duo of acid-alkaline balance, a concept that seems to have increased in popularity since I first learned about it when I co-owned a health food store in the late 1970s. I always thought of a balanced diet as one that involved proteins, carbohydrates and fats as well as vitamins and minerals in appropriate proportions to keep one’s body healthy. I never thought much about the importance of balance between acidifying foods and alkalizing foods. But these two books have brought my attention back to this researched concept and prompted me to share some of the important information on Menupause.
The first book, The Acid Alkaline Food Guide by Dr. Susan E. Brown and Larry Trivieri, Jr., is divided into two important sections. Part One is titled Understanding Acid-Alkaline Balance and Part Two is simply called â€œThe Food Tables, which you can use once you understand Part One.
In a nutshell, here is the key quote to understanding acid-alkaline balance:
When it comes to health, balancing is everything. Specifically, to ensure good health, the body needs to maintain the proper balance between two types of chemical compounds:acids and alkalis. The balance of these compounds is essential for both minute-to-minute and long-term survival, and creates what is know as the pH value of our body’s fluids, which include blood, saliva, urine and the fluids both between and inside the cells. (Brown/Trivieri, pg. 9).
The rest of Part One goes into detail (in lay terms) about the consequences that an acid-alkaline imbalance can have on the body, such as: impaired cellular function that can affect one’s entire body, fatigue, diminished immunity, inflammation, osteoporosis and other mineral loss issues, premature aging and accelerated muscle loss.
In Part Two you can find instructions on how to test your pH levels so you can determine if your daily diet is too acidifying or too alkalizing, as well as a preliminary explanation of the food tables. Since our bodies like to be slightly more alkalizing then acidifying (and our Western diet tends to be more acidic), many of us are in a chronic state of acidosis.Â This can be corrected by adding more alkaline-based foods (which can be found in most fruits and [green] vegetables, herbs, wild rice, root crops, etc.) and reducing acid-producing foods such as meat, dairy, eggs, highly processed foods, sugar, and artificial sweeteners. as well as many medicines prescribed by doctors for chronic ailments.
Once you test your fluids for their pH levels (with the use of special pH paper), you can redesign your daily menu to include more of the foods you need to restore the delicate acid-alkaline balance necessary for better health. In most cases, more alkalizing foods are called for, although occasionally someone may be extremely alkaline. In either extreme, checking with your doctor is advised.
The charts in Part Two are most helpful, because they divide all the major foods into low, medium or high levels of acidity and alkalinity. Except for eliminating highly processed foods, which often contain sugar and artificial sweeteners, this food plan requires a shift in your food choices, rather than an elimination, so it is not a â€œweirdâ€ plan, but a common sense plan to restore balance to your â€œinternal environment.â€
The 4″ X 7″ Guide is $7.95 and can be purchased directly from Amazon by clicking on this link:
Here is where the second book, The Amazing Acid Alkaline Cookbook, subtitled Balancing Taste, Nutrition and Your pH Levels, jumps in to fill the gap between theory and practice.Bonnie Ross’s cookbook provides you with natural recipes that provide an appropriate balance between acid and alkaline foods listed in the charts of The Acid Alkaline Food Guide and Ross’ book in abbreviated form .
Actually, Dr. Susan Brown wrote the foreword to Rossâ€™ book, so I feel comfortable reviewing them together, since they are already linked. The cookbook also has a chart of basic foods before the recipes and some introductory pages about how pH levels are an indication of your body’s alkalinity and acidity. However, it is not as detailed as the guide reviewed above, so I think they need to be read as a set.
In the cookbook, Ross does gives us what I call a Top Ten list, that is a list of the top ten acidifying foods and another of the top ten alkalizing foods, which may be handy to have when you are food shopping. Here are the two lists:
Alkalizing Foods (Alphabetically)
+NOTE: Miso, usually made with soybeans, is alkalizing because it is mixed with other ingredients that are not acidifying. Soybeans in their natural state are acidifying. You can also buy miso made from other beans or rice if you avoid soy.
Ross points out that acidifying foods should not be viewed as â€œthe bad guys,â€ since balancing your pH level to be slightly alkaline is the key. The problem, as I noted above, is that our North American (and Western) diet has become too acidic and that certain acidifying foods may need to be avoided or eliminated (ex: refined & artificial sweeteners).
What I find interesting about this food plan and cookbook is that it can be a tool in most any diet or food plan you use.Â For example, if you are on a low carb diet, you can use the charts and recipes to help you make low carb food choices that also balance your pH levels.
Also, while this food plan is not a weight loss diet, per se, Ross does note that â€œby cutting out the processed foods and increasing your vegetable intake, you will be able to lose weight and maintain a healthy pH balanceâ€ (pg. 8). Donâ€™t all healthful weight loss diets ask you to eliminate highly processed foods anyway? So this planÂ seems to have common sense, body sense, and food sense built into it.
Below is one of the recipes from the cookbook. As you will see, it does not have super-strange ingredients, but perhaps some that you are not overly familiar with, which the book explains. (Some are available only in health food stores.) I made this gingerbread and shared with others and it was a hit! The format of the ingredients in a shaded box to the side of the directions is also a feature that I really like about the book.
I love this cake! It is pretty easy to prepare and makes
the kitchen smell wonderful. I really have to watch
my portion control with this one! Bonnie Ross
(Note: In the book, the ingredients are listed in a box to the right of the recipe.)
YIELD: 9 SERVINGS
11/2 cups light spelt flour
1/2 cup kamut flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup light olive oil
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup Sucanat sugar+
11/2 tablespoons grated ginger root
1 tablespoon orange zest
+ I used date sugar es
1. Preheat the oven to 350Â°F. Lightly coat a 9-x-9-inch baking pan
with clarified butter and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, ginger,
cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, and allspice. Set aside.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the milk, oil, molasses,
sugar, ginger, and orange zest. Mix well with a spoon until well
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well
with a spoon just until moistened.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan, smooth it out
evenly, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted
in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes and
serve warm with Zesty Lemon Sauce (page 98).
The 7′” X 9″ cookbook with 148 recipes is $17.95 and can be purchased from Amazon by clicking on the link below: