Balance is key. And when it comes to our body’s pH levels, it’s the key to life! The absolute first thing I did after receiving my diagnosis, was change my diet. Even prior to my diagnosis, I considered myself a healthy eater, but facing a life-threatening disease forced me to take it to a whole other level. I stopped eating meat and haven’t consumed it in close to 5 years, I drink green juice every single day, I drink alkaline water only and I ditched sugar all together. Now shifting from meat and potatoes to quinoa and kale is not for everyone but when facing a disease such as cancer, the switch should be a no brainer. Let me explain…
An alkaline diet focuses on maintaining optimal body pH (more on this later) by limiting acid-inducing foods and drinks such as caffeine and alcohol, meat and dairy, and anything processed or fried, and replacing it with alkaline-inducing substances like raw veggies, low-glycemic fruits and green smoothies galore.
By ingesting foods that maintain proper pH rather than stressing your body to self-correct its pH level, this diet can reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and improve overall health (including shedding some pounds while both preventing and treating diseases like osteoporosis and cancer). Studies suggest that cancer cells thrive in an acidic (low pH, low oxygen) environment but cannot survive in an alkaline environment (high pH, high oxygen). Dr Otto Warburg, renowned Nobel Prize winning medical doctor, discovered that tumor cells are anaerobic (do not breathe oxygen) and cannot survive in the presence of high concentrations of oxygen. Tumor cells can survive only with the help of glucose (sugar) in the environment without oxygen. Therefore, cancer is nothing but a defense mechanism, which our cells use to survive in an acidic environment without oxygen.
pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is, and our blood pH needs to maintain a slightly alkaline level to keep us healthy. Every substance has a pH that falls on a scale from zero to 14. The closer to zero, the more acidic a substance is; seven is neutral, and as a substance climbs toward 14, the more alkaline it becomes. Normal and healthy blood pH is between 7.35 and 7.45, with the body working to maintain this through respiration, urination, and mineral depletion. If we are not eating enough alkaline-forming foods, this is when our immune systems become compromised and we become more vulnerable to viruses and disease.
The theory goes that consuming acid-inducing foods and drinks creates an unhealthy cellular environment and sends distress signals throughout the body, leading to colds, outbreaks and inflammation. It’s suggested that this continual acid-dumping, via crap food, can create chronic disease such as arthritis, osteoporosis and cancer. Experts suggest thinking of it like a sliding scale—the more you eat and drink your way left, the more work your body must do to get back to normal. And making your body work really hard day in and day out will ultimately take its toll.
The chart below demonstrates some basic foods that are acidic and alkaline. For a more detailed list click here.
To see if you’re on track, you can test your pH levels by heading to your local drugstore or online retailer and pick up a pack of pH test strips. You do so by testing urine samples. You can test your pH levels often throughout the day, but try to do so at the same time each morning, as your body will be more acidic the earlier you measure.
Given all of the pros and benefits of an alkaline diet, you may be wondering if there are any downsides. There are no studies to suggest that an alkaline diet is bad for you, but some experts warn that being too restrictive could cause your protein and calcium intake to drop. Still, as any vegetarian can tell you, obtaining meat-free protein ain’t really no big thang if you know what to eat, and leafy greens provide what some experts suggest is a superior source of all-important calcium.
Ultimately, what we put into our bodies is either working for us or against us, and when facing a health crisis, we need everything working in our favor. As with anything in life, moderation is key and it’s okay to treat yourself to something you miss and crave here and there, but when your fate is threatened, try to limit the cheat days. It’s much easier said than done…believe you me, I know how hard it can be! However, I know in my heart and being that my diet has been instrumental in keeping me alive, especially after a misdiagnosis resulting in the wrong treatment protocol. Essentially I went untreated for years, and am still alive and healthy, thanks to diet changes and practices that I researched and implemented. I hope that you too make these changes to live healthier lives!
As the famous words of Hippocrates suggest, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”