We’ve all been there. Wanting to eat healthier, feel better, and lose weight but feeling overwhelmed by the idea of completely changing our diets, even for a brief period of time. Eating alkaline is not a short-term fad diet, but a lifestyle built upon the idea that most disease is caused by over acidity in the body, and that the way to correct our body’s pH is through a plant-based diet and alkaline ionized water. But that does not mean you have to make the change overnight. It took Dr. Robert O. Young–believed by many to be the father of the alkaline diet and lifestyle–two years to fully make the switch (and even then I believe he still eats fish occasionally).
And even though my daughter and I quit eating meat “cold turkey” almost four years ago, we are choosing to ease into the alkaline diet by making small changes that will eventually add up to equal the ideal 80% alkaline/20% acidic ratio day after day.
So with that said, I offer up 9 easy dietary tips you can start implementing today to work towards an alkaline diet:
1. Change Your Cooking Oil–And Make Sure You Get Enough!
Healthy fats are an important part of an alkaline diet and can be obtained through substituting healthy oils for the more mainstream unhealthy oils. Corn oil, canola oil, safflower oil, and vegetable oil are refined oils that are not healthy and should be avoided and replaced with cold-pressed oils like extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil and hemp oils. All oils can create free radicals when heated, so I recommend using a small amount of water to steam fry your vegetables instead of cooking them in oil and then just drizzle your healthy oil on top once plated. You can also try making your own oil-based salad dressings and drizzling healthy oils on top of vegetable wraps.
2. Forget Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners and Replace with Stevia
Sugar has been linked to cancer and artificial sweeteners are not only acidifying but carcinogenic. Swapping your sugar cubes with stevia, an all-natural sweetener derived from herbs, is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. According to Ray Kurzwell, author Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever: stevia is highly nutritious, lowers blood sugar in diabetics while regulating blood sugar in non-diabetics, lowers elevated blood pressure, kills bacteria that cause tooth decay, increases energy levels and mental activity, and reduces cravings for alcohol and tobacco. Other natural sugar alternatives: Chicory root, agave nectar.
3. Pass the Table Salt, and Shake on Sea Salt Instead
Our bodies contain about a pound of salt, and sodium is an alkaline mineral necessary for survival. But the refined iodized salt that sits on most dinner tables in America is completely unhealthy and the type of salt doctors are referring to when they advise patients to cut down on their salt intake. Refill your salt shaker with unrefined sea salt and sprinkle on top of wraps, soups and vegetables. Other alternatives: Celtic salt, Himalayan salt, Real salt.
4. Goodbye Peanut Butter, Hello Almond Butter
Peanuts are acidifying to the body and the moldiest, most undesirable peanuts are what is used to make peanut butter. Swap out your P.B. for its healthier cousin almond butter, and spread on sandwiches or use as a dip for pretzels, crackers, fruit, and to make smoothies creamier. I got my first jar of almond butter at Trader Joes a few weeks ago and it’s almost gone!
5. Got Unsweetened Almond Milk?
Cows milk and other dairy products are not only acidifying but contrary to popular belief they actually rob the body of calcium and create a putrid sludge that wreaks havoc on your digestive system. Dump your carton of cows milk and try unsweetened almond milk instead. It is a healthy, delicious, alkaline substitute for drinking, cooking, baking, creamer and cereal. Other alternatives (buy unsweetened): Coconut milk, soy milk, rice milk.
6. Instead of White Rice try Brown Rice
I knew that brown rice was better for you than white, but what I only recently learned was that white rice is merely brown rice which has been stripped of the majority of its nutrients! The complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. Fully milled and polished white rice is required to be artificially “enriched” with vitamins B1, B3 and iron. Clearly, brown rice is the nutritional winner over white rice and an easy swap. Other alternatives: Basmati rice, quinoa, jasmine rice, wild rice.
7. Substitute Your Soy Sauce with Bragg Liquid Aminos
Soy sauce is fermented and acidic. A great substitute is Bragg Liquid Aminos, which is a liquid protein concentrate derived from healthy soybeans, which contains 18 essential and non-essential amino acids in naturally occurring amounts, is not fermented or heated and is gluten-free. I will admit that I have not personally tried this yet but I am told it tastes just like soy sauce.
8. Change Your Pasta
Most pastas are made with refined starches that lack nutritional value. Try swapping your spaghetti for soba noodles, tofu noodles, gluten-free pasta, whole wheat pasta or spaghetti squash. You can also try making your own pasta sauce from scratch instead of using pre-packaged sauces which tend to contain sugar and preservatives. I made spaghetti squash for the first time recently and was amazed at how quick, simple and tasty it was (stay tuned for the recipe).
9. Instead of Bottled Water try Alkaline Ionized Water
Not all waters are created equal. Most bottled waters, along with distilled and reverse osmosis waters are actually acidic. Tap water is regulated by the government to be at least a 7 pH which is neutral on the alkaline scale, but is littered with contaminants. Therefore your best option is alkaline ionized water from a Chanson water ionizer which you can hook up to your tap. The water is pre-filtered and microclustered, resulting in better tasting water with a smoother feel that doesn’t cause bloating. It is also rich in antioxidants and able to hydrate and detoxify better than standard water due to its smaller water molecule size. Being properly hydrated is the key to overall wellness and you will not regret the switch from bottled water to ionized alkaline water.
I hope that helps. Please comment if you have any questions or tips of your own to share!