Many of us will not have considered the acid or alkaline contents of the food we eat but advocates of the alkaline diet say that we should be cutting down on acidic foods with high protein and phosphorus levels and focusing on alkaline-producing produce instead to ensure that our bodies maintain their ideal pH levels.
Fans claims that this diet can aid digestion, help with weight loss, slow down the signs of ageing and also fight chronic illness and even cancer. With all these proposed benefits, this is clearly an interesting approach for many dieters looking for an alternative solution. So, how do you create an alkaline diet shopping list that obeys the rules and keeps you healthy?
There are different approaches to shopping for the alkaline diet – some are strict and verging on the vegetarian and others are a little more lenient.
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The Strict Approach
There are many foods on the alkaline scale that dieters can choose from, mostly in the range of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, and keen supporters have found plenty of ways to transform their diet.
There are some people that are strongly in favorr of the alkaline diet that champion all alkaline foods and their potential health benefits and suggest that all acid-producing foods are to be avoided.
It is obvious why some of these have been chosen, fizzy drinks, shellfish, caffeine and alcohol are always the first elements to be kicked out in a healthy-eating diet, but some users are also against the consumption of pasta, meat, fish and dairy because they believe that these strongly acid-producing aspects are detrimental to health.
The Lenient Approach
(The acknowledgement of grey areas and the familiarity of the Mediterranean Diet)
Unfortunately, the alkaline diet is not the easiest of diets to adopt because foods are not clearly labelled as acid or alkaline, some that are acidic in taste – like the lemon – are actually highly celebrated on the alkaline scale because of the way they are broken down and there are others that appear to be somewhere in the middle.
Dieters are encouraged to avoid phosphorus and embrace calcium but many cheeses are high in both so this leaves many dieters confused about what to buy.
There are clearly benefits to controlling acid and alkaline intakes if the diet can improve health, well-being and anti-ageing but there are also disadvantages to completely ruling out some of the acid food groups so leniency and an open mind to produce is crucial.
Critics are quick to jump upon claims that the acidic group is dangerous for bone health because it includes dairy products full of calcium and there are concerns that alkaline sources are not enough. Negative connotations around fish are also a bad idea because they are rich in omega oils and provide such a lean form of protein with other advantages for long life and cognitive health.
What is interesting is that while experts and critics debate the worth of this alkaline diet, there is another currently being heralded as a breakthrough for prosperity and Alzheimer’s that is not too dissimilar in its approach.
The Mediterranean diet focuses on the right amounts of oils, nuts fruits and vegetables, an emphasis on lean fish rather than red meats and a little bit of dairy. This is what has enabled Mediterranean residents to live longer, look younger and fight illness – all of which are linked to the Alkaline diet – and the ratio of acid to alkaline produce is in favor of the latter.
Finding The Right Ratio – 80:20 or 70:30?
There are lots of different guides out there from lots of different advocates of the alkaline diet that have their own viewpoints on precisely how you should go about filling your shopping basket for an alkaline diet and which foods you should avoid.
While you have some that seem to suggest that acidic foods like meat, diary and some caffeinated drinks are completely bad for you – and the likes of self-proclaimed guru Gwyneth Paltrow putting her questionable 2 cents into the debate – many on the diet advocate a ratio of alkaline to acid produce to find the healthiest, most advantageous balance between the two.
For some this equates to 80% alkaline and 20% acid but again there is some lenience and some broaden this to a 70:30 ratio. Because of the confusion and the potential disadvantages on being too strict on acidic, calcium-rich food and proteins, we suggest a 70:30 approach where you be balanced in favour of more alkaline foods without putting yourself in danger.
The question now is which of these alkaline-producing foods do you add to your shopping list and how do you find that balance with acid-producing foods?
What to buy for that beneficial 70 percent:
- Nut and seeds
- Ginger and other roots
- Cabbage and other green vegetables
- Tomatoes, lemon juice and other citrus fruits
This is just part of a much larger list so we advise that you take a closer look at the wide choices in alkaline foods that are available and see what takes you fancy. The variety means that it should not be too difficult to find accessible, affordable alkaline-producing items that you want to cook with.
What to buy for that leftover 30 percent:
You will need natural, healthy sources of proteins and dairy for those much needed nutrients and minerals, like bone-friendly calcium, that you may not be getting elsewhere. Red meat and poultry can be enjoyed in these small amounts but, as is seen in the Mediterranean diet, the lean protein and oils of fish are the ideal way to go.
Creating the ideal alkaline diet can seem tricky but there is room to experiment.
It is all about understanding acid and alkaline levels in produce and finding the most advantageous way of delivering all the right nutrients from both sides, while strongly leaning towards those alkaline-producing foods that can protect your pH levels. Take a look at the different produce that you can choose from, think about that 70:30 ration and enjoy planning an alkaline diet shopping list that works for you.