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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Passing The Acid Test - London Sunday Times Article

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PASSING THE ACID TEST


Acid foods and drinks will leach important nutrients such as calcium and magnesium, which are necessary for bone and muscle formation. It’s really about mineral loss”.

There’s worse, though. “What we’ve learnt from so many people all over the world is that inflammation is the mother of disease, and a lot of that inflammation is caused by high acidity,” says the trainer James Duigan of Bodyism. “That acidity comes from the way we eat, because we don’t chew enough, as well as what we do — sitting at computer screens, yelling. It all creates an acidic environment in the body. Plus, the foods that we tend to gravitate to, such as a lot of red meat and processed junk food, are nutritionally quite acidic.”


Duigan advocates a “clean and lean” approach to food, which includes going alkaline. “I think if we understood the very real and immediate consequences of what we eat, we would be far more mindful of what that is,” he says. And it needn’t be complicated. “Eat green vegetables. Green is good.” If that is hard to achieve every day, start with lemon and hot water in the morning (it may be counterintuitive but lemon, though acidic in taste, is alkaline in its ash; in other words, once broken down in the digestive system, it behaves in an alkaline fashion). Like Edgson, Duigan has focused on creative options and developed Beauty Food, a powder supplement packed full of greeny goodness that you mix with water, because, “you can talk till you’re blue in the face about eating green veg and good foods, but very few people will go and do it”.

Some will, though, and they seem to reap the rewards. One of them is Gloria Halim, who has written a book (with nutritionist Samantha Russo) called Healing Foods, Healthy Foods (Spring Hill £9.99). Diagnosed with breast cancer, she decided she wanted “to find out if there was a link between health and what we eat”. During treatment, she felt she “had no control over anything”, and though her doctors told her she could eat whatever she wanted, she felt that “didn’t seem right”. It was after watching an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which looked at preventing rather than treating disease and the effect the environment, stress and food have on our bodies, that she decided her diet “was somewhere I could gain control. I was eating a lot of sugar and junk food”. She changed things totally and is now, after receiving conventional treatment and following her rigorous diet, free from the disease.

EATING ALKALINE IS THE LATEST FASHION IN NUTRITION, BUT HOW EASY IS IT? EDWINA INGS-CHAMBERS INVESTIGATES THE PH DIET

Perhaps we should get one thing clear first: advocates of going alkaline don’t want any connection with the word “diet”. No, no, no. Because alkaline is (for the most part) about the connection between the food we put in our mouths and our health, rather than our weight or outward appearance. So, they insist, it’s more about a lifestyle, making smart choices and, as the nutritionist Vicki Edgson puts it, “a body and mind in balance. Weight-loss diets are temporary, but with this you’re changing your life, it’s ongoing, every day. We must be more aware of our bodies”. Alkaline is the new health buzz word — this year’s vitamin D, if you will.

The virtues of alkaline eating were first extolled by Dr Robert Young in his American bestseller, The PH Miracle. “I was doing research into the effect of diet and lifestyle on blood, and realized there was a correlation between what we were eating and how we were living, and how it impacted on the chemistry of the fluids of the body,” he says. “The human body is alkaline by design, but all its functions produce acid. So our need for alkaline is constant and what we eat and drink helps to buffer the acids that we produce.” Young himself now follows an alkaline diet — he’s a vegetarian and doesn’t eat dairy or high-sugar fruits; he even puts alkaline drops in his coffee to neutralise its acidity. “We have patients in more than 72 countries who have reversed Type 2 diabetes or breast or prostate cancer,” he says. The perfect pH should be 7.35 to 7.45 — that’s out of a range of 14, with 1 being the most acidic.

Now his ethos is taking hold in Britain, as people are becoming far more alkaline-aware, with a host of alkaline-assisting services springing up. Radiance Cleanse, which delivers fresh juice detoxes that last three or five days, has introduced its alkaline Greens Cleanse. Edgson, meanwhile, has teamed up with the chef Natasha Corrett to launch Honestly Healthy, which will deliver freshly made meals that are both alkaline and vegetarian to your door. “I never thought I’d hear myself say this,” she says, “but it is so much better for most people to be on a largely vegetarian regime. This is particularly true for women, who have what I call stubborn fat, because they’re eating too much animal protein, which is high in saturated fat and very acid-forming in the body.”


Acidity is the enemy. “Our bodies can be in a very acidic state, which is usually caused by food choices such as alcohol and coffee, and stress and negative emotions such as anger, fear and anxiety,” Edgson says. All these things overload the body so that “during the detox function, the body will go through a detox.

HOW TO EAT ALKALINE


to medicinal spices, a sort of starter guide to nutrition, but going alkaline was an important step. Her old food routine had been “stressing out the body; it was overworking just to get rid of the toxins and bacteria”. Now, she says, on the rare occasion she decides to eat a piece of cake,


AS A GENERAL RULE, ALKALINE FOODS SHOULD MAKE UP 70% OF YOUR DIET
GO CRAZY: ALKALINE FOODS
Avocado; leafy green vegetables; pearl barley; grains such as quinoa and lentils are more alkaline than acidic; oats are neutral; green and white tea; fatty fish; most nuts; berries; lemons; tomatoes; watermelons; broccoli; spinach; kale; asparagus; beetroot
DANGERALERT:ACIDICFOODS
Red meat; wheat; cheese; cream and milk; coffee; alcohol; peanuts; cashew and pistachio nuts; seafood (excluding oily fish); biscuits; refined sugar; eggs “It’s not the end of the world if you want to go and have cake or a glass of wine, just learn how to counteract it with one portion of alkaline food.” NatashaCorrett

“Learn to substitute foods — using lemon juice instead of vinegar, for example.” Dr Robert Young
IT MAY BE COUNTERINTUITIVE, BUT LEMON, THOUGH ”Have grains in your food; they’re like the digestive brush for your insides and really help to sweep things out and get everything working properly.” NatashaCorrett


“I know I’m detoxing the next day”. Corrett is equally evangelical. When her back went into spasm a year ago, her mother (that’s Kelly Hoppen, FYI) told her to go and see the Ayurvedic practitioner Nish Joshi, who instantly told her she was too acidic and suggested she go on his holistic detox, based on alkalizing the body. She was an instant convert: “I lost weight without even trying, I felt brighter, had far more energy, my skin was brighter. Plus, you stop craving sugar because your blood-sugar levels are more balanced. Even the ridges in my nails have gone; it really did change the way
I looked at food.”

“Alkaline is here to stay,” says Edgson. “People will realize they feel fabulous on it: they’ll sleep better, feel brighter, and their memory will be more focused because they’re in a much more vital state.” Vital and much more likely to be fighting fit. ␣ 

For recipes to get you started on an alkaline regime, go to the sundaytimes.co.uk/style or to www.phmiracle.com
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