The alkaline diet plan is also called the alkaline acid diet, or the alkaline ash diet. The concept of the alkaline diet is simply to consume more alkalizing foods than acidifying foods.
Alkalizing or acidifying refers to the effect the foods have on the body instead of whether the food is inherently alkaline or acidic.
In the acid-alkaline theory, many diseases will result from an excess of acid accumulation in the body. Some evidence is beginning to support the theory that a diet high in acidic foods will lead to diseases like osteoporosis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Basically, vegetables and fruits are considered alkaline-forming, and most other foods are acidifying.
How to Start an Alkaline Diet Plan
However, it can be very daunting of a task to eat an alkaline diet, or at least at first. How to start an alkaline diet plan is actually not that difficult to follow, but it may take some time to get the hang of it. The alkaline diet is essentially a transition to a whole new lifestyle for a lot of people.
The diet in general is about two main ideas. First, the alkaline diet is a very healthy and clean way of eating. As mentioned, it contains lots of vegetables and fruit, but it also involves the removal of those highly processed foods and refined grains. Secondly, the alkaline diet will have you in the kitchen more often than not. To help make your transition smoothly, it is a good idea to create an alkaline diet plan with recipe ideas for every day of the week. The alkaline diet will have you cooking lots of meals like salads, soups, and side dishes, which all contain some sort of alkalizing vegetable.
Mechanism of an Alkaline Diet Plan: How an Alkaline Diet Plan Works
Do you want to know how an alkaline diet plan works? In the alkaline diet the goal is to help the body maintain a balanced pH level in the urine in order for the body to function at its best. A pH over seven is considered alkaline, and acidic is under seven. Humans must maintain a blood plasma pH level between 7.35 and 7.45. If you don’t there may be terrible consequences. For instance, a 6.95 pH can lead to a diabetic coma and death. But, a pH of 7.7 may result in tetanic convulsions and also death.
To maintain a pH balance in the body, it is necessary to consume more alkalizing foods and less acid-forming foods. This means that not every food should be alkaline-forming. What amount of your plate should be acidic and alkaline foods? A good rule of thumb is that 80% of your foods should be alkaline-forming, and 20% should be acid-forming foods. Simply, nearly three-quarters of your plate should be vegetables to help maintain the alkaline-acid balance in the body.
Why You Should Opt for an Alkaline Diet Plan
It is hard to argue against a diet that contains mostly vegetables and other whole foods. It is easy to see that the alkaline diet plan is good for you with various ways it supports your health. For instance, an alkaline diet is recommended in the treatment of gout because an alkaline pH will increase uric acid solubility. Long-term studies have even suggested chronic acidosis is linked with a greater risk of bone loss when compared with people with normal pH levels. The vegetables in the nutrient-dense and high alkaline foods will also increase immunity, improve heart health, reduce lower back pain, facilitate weight loss, and manage diabetes by balancing blood sugar levels. The alkaline diet will also make your skin look great, and help prevent cancer. In other words, it is a no-brainer that eating more alkaline foods benefits your health.
Foods to Eat and Avoid
What foods should be included in 80% of the alkaline diet plan? How about the other 20%? Also, what are the acidic foods that should be avoided? The following is a breakdown of the alkaline diet plan.
Alkaline Foods to Eat
- Vegetables like sprouts, onions, asparagus, arugula, and other leafy vegetables
- Fruits such as apples, lemons, tangerine, and raspberries
- Fresh and organic vegetables and fruit juices
- Sea vegetables like dulse and kelp
- Herbs and species like sea salt, ginger, and garlic
- Baking soda is also very alkaline
Acidic Foods to Avoid
- Grains such as cereals, pastries, and breads, and yeast and gluten
- Alcohol like beer and liquor
- Fats and oils
- Condiments like ketchup and mustard
- All processed foods should be considered acidic and eaten with caution
Acidic Foods to Eat
If some of your plate contains acid-forming foods, then what acidic foods should you eat? Basically, these foods will again be high quality whole foods, and they are likely very low acidic foods. Examples of these foods include:
- Beans like fava beans, adzuki beans, navy beans, and kidney beans
- Grains like brown rice, quinoa, and amaranth
- Nuts and seeds
- Baked organic meats and poultry, wild-caught fish, and eggs
There are also some foods that are not acid-forming or alkalizing, and these are called buffers. These neutral foods include butter, ghee, cheese, milk products, miso, tofu, and soy sauce. The following is an alkaline-acid food chart to help simplify your transition to an alkaline diet.
|Acidic Foods||Alkalizing Foods|
|Low||Amaranth, brown rice, coconut,
fava beans, grape seed oil,
figs, fish, dates, millet, pine nuts,
wild duck, spelt, teff, tomatoes,
pinto beans, and navy beans
|Almonds, cabbage, cauliflower, avocado,
artichokes, pear, preach, collard greens,
leeks, sesame seeds, watercress,
|Moderate||Chicken, chickpeas, corn,
basmati rice, nutmeg, honey,
pecans, peanuts, rye bread,
soy milk, and snow peas
|Apples, arugula, apricots, broccoli,
carrots, asparagus, garlic, chestnuts,
cashews, kelp, kale, and leafy green herbs
|High||Artificial sweeteners, breads,
Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, beer,
liquor, fried foods, pastries,
soft drinks, whole wheat foods
|Baking soda, lemons, dulse, chlorella,
limes, onions, pumpkin seed, pineapple,
Sample Alkaline Diet Plan Menu
What is an average day on the alkaline diet plan? The following is what a day on the alkaline diet might look like:
- Breakfast: Green smoothie that contains three or four handfuls of kale and spinach, a tablespoon pumpkin seed powder, two tablespoons of blueberries, a half of avocado, and two cups of filtered water.
- Lunch: A large salad with dark leafy greens, red onions, carrots, cucumbers, parsnips, radishes, tomatoes, and a hard-boiled egg.
- Dinner: A small baked piece of chicken with a side salad, steamed asparagus, and cauliflower rice.
- Snacks: A pear with some almond or pumpkin seed butter, or celery and cucumber and sunflower seed spread.
Steps to Follow with an Alkaline Diet Plan
What’s the best way to follow the alkaline diet plan? The alkaline diet is a long-term lifestyle, and not a short-term diet, so it might take some time before it is fully incorporated into your life. To help you along your way, here are a few steps to help your alkaline diet transition:
- Remember your veggies: If you are ever in doubt whether your diet is alkaline, just check to see how many vegetables are on the plate. If your plate is full of meat, fries, or rice, remember that your plate should contain mostly vegetables at your next meal.
- Supplement right: Supplements can also help to complement the alkaline diet. For instance, there are supplements designed specifically to balance acid-alkaline in the body. One in particular contains alkaline minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. A greens powder or alkaline water can also help balance pH levels.
- Keep hydrated: It is important to stay hydrated, and drink between eight and 10, 8 ounce glasses of filtered water each day. It also helps your acid-alkaline balance by adding a teaspoon of baking soda with some drops of fresh lemon juice to your water at least a couple of times a day.
- Do breathing exercises: It also helps to perform light breathing exercises once or twice each day. It will help you relax and remove acids from the body. To do it, simply close your eyes and breathe in and hold for eight seconds, and breathe out for four seconds. Repeat the practice 10 times.
Benefits of an Alkaline Diet Plan
The benefits of an alkaline diet plan are seemingly endless. For starters, you’re purposely adding vegetables to your diet that may otherwise contain either none or a limited amount of veggies. In a paper published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health in 2012, researchers found evidence that alkaline-based supplements would improve bone density, muscle mass, and back pain, while also increasing the effectiveness of certain types of chemotherapy treatments.
It is also thought that a highly acidic diet supports an environment for fungus, yeast, and bacteria to thrive. When the diet contains more alkaline foods, candida and yeast infections will disappear, and improve energy levels. Other known benefits of balancing pH levels include improving sleep and digestion, increasing mental alertness, and protecting against headaches, colds, and the flu.
Who Benefits from an Alkaline Diet Plan? Who Should Avoid an Alkaline Diet Plan?
Who benefits from the alkaline diet plan? Well, everyone. Some suggest that the high vegetable quantity makes the alkaline diet mostly vegetarian or vegan. That’s simply not true. Again, the diet is 80% alkalizing foods. You can have meat on the diet, as long as most of your plate has alkaline foods, especially vegetables. The big plus on the diet is that it contains lots of whole foods. A whole foods diet in general is always going to bring the most health benefits and protection against disease.
Should anyone avoid the alkaline diet plan? It is a good idea to consult with a holistic nutritionist or registered dietician about a major diet change. However, you can’t really go wrong by adding more vegetables to your diet while cutting out the processed food.
Create Your Own Recipes while Following an Alkaline Diet Plan
Want some help with specific recipes on the alkaline diet plan? Here are a couple of quick healthy recipes you can try yourself:
A fruit bowl is a great way to start your day alkalinized.
- Your choice of fruit such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries
- Two or three tangerines or choice of citrus fruit
- 1/4 cup of medjool dates, and remove the pits
Mix all the fruit and dates in a big bowl, and enjoy for breakfast or a snack.
Chia Seed Crackers
All the ingredients in these chia seed crackers will alkalize that body, and give you energy.
- 1/2 cup of chia seeds
- 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup of sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
- 1/2 tsp. of cayenne pepper
- 1 1/4 cups of filtered water
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degree Fahrenheit.
2. Mix all the ingredients, and wait 10 minutes until the chia seeds soak up the water.
3. Next, spread the mix on parchment paper, and on a baking tray.
4. Using the spatula divide the mix into 12 sections then put it in the oven for 30 minutes.
5. Take it out of the oven, and flip it, and cook it for another 25 minutes
You can eat it on its own, or top it with ingredients like avocado.
How to Follow the Diet at Restaurants
It can be difficult to follow an alkaline diet when eating out. Pretty much most of the menus at restaurants and fast food joints contain high acid foods, and very little foods that are alkaline. Examples of tasty acidic meals include your favorite burger and fries, sub sandwich, or pizza places. That being said, here are a few tips to help you successfully follow the alkaline diet plan:
- Ask for extra vegetables: Restaurants often give you very little veggies. But, you can ask for triple the vegetables to help your plate become more alkaline.
- Only eat part of the entrée: The main course will often take up most of the plate like the streak or chicken, but if you ask for more veggies and only eat part of your entrée than your meal is now alkaline.
- Order a salad: Order a salad with your meal instead of acidifying side dishes like French fries or rice. This way you will likely guarantee that your meal has a lot more vegetables than meat.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Murray, M., M.D., et al, The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (New York: Atria Paperback, 2012), 92–93, 1,021.
Schwalfenberg, G.K., “The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?” Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012; doi:10.1155/2012/727630.
Ryan, B., “Alkaline-Acid Food Charts,” Greenopedia.com web site; http://greenopedia.com/alkaline-acid-food-chart/, last accessed March 24, 2016.
“Alkaline Recipe #189: Chia Seed Energy Crackers,” Live Energized web site; http://liveenergized.com/alkaline-recipes/alkaline-recipe-189-energy-crackers/, last accessed March 24, 2016.
“Top 10 to Opt for an Alkaline Diet,” Women Fitness web site; http://www.womenfitness.net/alkaline_diet.htm, last accessed March 24, 2016.
“The Most 5 Easy Steps to Follow for Your Alkaline Diet Plan,” 99 Nutrition Tips web site; http://www.99nutritiontips.com/alkaline-diet/5-easy-steps-follow-alkaline-diet-plan/, last accessed March 24, 2016.