The Alkaline Diet – Wholesome Foods To Balance Your Body’s pH

At 77 years of age, Gabe Mirkin still manages to bike 3 to 6 hours every day.  This level of stamina is not only extremely unusual, he ascribes it to his unique diet.  Rather than foods high in fat, protein, or carbs, as is all too often the case with his younger competitors, his diet is rich in fruits and vegetables and other natural foods.  He avoids red meats of all types and tries to stick to lean or vegetable proteins.  This is not the only person who has taken up this diet based upon good science that underlies it, there’s been a huge push from physicians in recent years to go to a more natural diet, one that will help offset much of the risk of cancer, heart disease or other problems that are oftne caused by these foods.

This plant-based diet has had a lot of support from dietitians and physicians over the years, including the notable Kris Carr.  After 9 years he is still going strong, showing some of the healthiest biological chemistries of anyone.  Acidic and processed foods, those such as grains and red meat, do far more harm than good to most people’s bodies.  Carr has tried to explain why it’s important to switch to an alkaline diet (a more basic diet) to avoid many of these problems.  It helps shift your metabolism into a much more active state as well as helps increase your energy and decrease your risk of disease.

Though many people have suggested that this diet helps to balance your body’s “pH” and therefore helps fix innate problems you may have, many physicians think this line is bogus.  The more alkaline foods that are part of this diet help for different reasons its claimed.  The pH balance argument is still pervasive, but Dr. Mirkin thinks it’s something totally different.  Your body naturally has good pH control, without needing your help oftentimes.  Beyond that, just because pH is important for your body’s chemical processes, this doesn’t mean that alkaline foods improve function.  Our bodies actually are really good at filtering out the excess acid from our diet, at least unless we develop a kidney disease later in life.

So the Secret is Just Good Foods?

There’s been so many studies over the years that have linked eating red meat to cancers of all types, as well as heart disease.  Chicken and fish are also considered to be acidic, however, though they have not shown this correlation in research to these illnesses.  What does that mean for our future health on this diet? Well we certainly should consider adding in these better protein sources in order to ensure we are living in a healthy manner.  According to the spokeswoman for the National Academy of Nutrition, she agrees with this assessment of the situation.  It’s more about getting healthy foods, vitamins and minerals into the body, she states.  The bottom-line is just to cut out the high-fat proteins and eat fruits and vegetables.  This is a very sustainable idea she indicates.

This diet is bringing on some great lifestyle changes, even if some of the claims about pH are unsupported by scientific evidence.  Many people will do great on the diet, and staying healthy on this diet will result in significant reductions in risk of long term illnesses as well as cancer.

Seven Most Alkaline Foods

Cutting Cancer Risk Through Natural Foods

Yeah, it’s not shocking at all that eating healthier foods cuts your cancer risk.  Antioxidant rich foods have been studied for decades and proven to help combat obesity and decrease risk of chronic illnesses such as cancer.  However, a diet based upon healthy fruits and vegetables? It’s hardly surprising that the Alkaline diet can offer a lot of benefits for cancer risk.  Though the jury is still out on research, as the studies are just beginning for this diet, cancer has been shown in dozens of trials to be significantly reduced if a person eats fruits and vegetables regularly.

Looking at the root cause of a disease and prevention at that stage is important, states Jones, a noted medical researcher in the US.  A highly acidic diet and chronic disease has been getting notice from physicians all over.  Dr. Robert Young has been writing about the subject extensively recently.  Young indicates that cells need to be in a healthy environment in order to thrive.  Acid-alkaline balance is important for this, he states.

The Ornish Diet – A Big Change But Does It Deliver?

Recently I saw someone looking through my desk, at the handouts/pamphlets I typically have around on the daily.  This person asked me when I approached if I knew of foods which were less than 10% fat, by calorie content.  It didn’t take me long to realize he was following the new Ornish program (named after the noted physician Dean Ornish).  That was certainly a difficult task for me, coming up with foods that met this criteria.  Yet, I had only been briefly aware of this diet’s existence prior to his arrival and question.  After he left with some good ideas on foods that meet this, I started in on researching this program for myself.  It wasn’t long before I realized why it’s taken off so much in the last several years.

This program centers around controlling how many calories you get per day from fats.  If you maintain a diet low in fats, the calorie count itself will not be a problem.  These do not include things like nuts, seed butters, or legumes as a result, as these are mostly filled with oils and fats.  What about something as innocuous as popcorn? Well that has almost 20% of its calories from fat, believe it or not (120 calories and 20 from fats).  It certainly can be a challenge to find foods that fit the criteria of the Ornish diet as a result.

The diet itself specifies eating foods such as whole grains, vegetables, soybean products, and legumes.  The diet also puts no strict ceiling to how much of each you can eat, as long as they have less than 10% fat as part of their calorie content.  This cuts out most meats, cuts out dairy (well egg whites are allowed) not including non-fat milks and yogurts.  The Ornish diet also requires people to not eat foods with natural oils, even things like olive oil are not permitted.  Fish can be eaten, if it’s not fatty, like salmon and mackerel, and flaxseed is a permitted oil for this program.

Ornish Diet FoodsOne of the reasons the Ornish diet works is much the same as the reason the Paleo or “Caveman” diet works (or the Mediterranean diet for that matter).  By removing unnatural and processed foods from our diet, we are able to avoid a lot of complex carbohydrates and fats that were not part of our evolutionary staple diet.  Once they are removed, our body’s metabolism greatly increases, allowing us to more easily process the foods we eat, and also burn more fat.  This has been known for a few years, perhaps even a decade or more, but these diets certainly can provide results that are positive given the overall goals underlying these food choices.

What’s the Scientific Community Saying about the Ornish Diet

If you have the time, take a moment and visit Dean Ornish’s site.  He does actually try to provide a bit of clinical research to support his claims.  The primary study cited is a weak one, however, with few people and poor selection of candidates.  However, it does show that the diet he recommends in fact worked in helping to prevent heart disease.  There was not a group that was “high fat” intake, to compare the results.  On account of this, the studies on the use of the Ornish diet are still ongoing and more research is needed on its specific guidance.

However, since this diet is similar to others like the Paleo diet, it’s clear that it may have the same benefits.  The reduction in body fat is undeniable from the Paleo diet, so the Ornish diet should offer something similar.  The real question is, is it worth the added expense and trouble to refine your food intake to such a small selection or stick with the wider Paleo diet’s choices? Typically the answer is go with what you know best, so if someone has done the “Caveman” diet in the past, they likely should stick with that one instead.

What’s worse about the Ornish diet, given its prescriptions about fats, is that it ignores the plethora of evidence that suggests carbohydrates are actually what the problem is.  The obesity epidemic has been consistently linked to carbohydrates, particularly in processed foods, in our diets.  This has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses as well.  With a 10% fat diet, many people in studies showed less significant LDL, but it was also more dense.  This indicates there may be a higher risk of heart disease, not a reduced one.  For this reason, the Ornish diet really needs to some good science to back it up, given this.  Still, the program continues to grow in popularity, and perhaps real data will soon be available to assess its viability.

The Paleo Diet and Its Successful Implementation

The Paleo diet has risen in prominence from one of the more fringe diets to the most popular this year. It’s grown leaps and bounds due to the wide adoption of its tenants by physicians and celebrities alike. The Paleo diet should be thought of as a lifestyle change, rather than a quick fix to obesity. The goal for this diet is to revert back to the roots of our species, eating natural, unprocessed foods that our ancestors did.

This diet is colloquially known as “the caveman diet” due to its goal of removing these processed and farmed foods from our diet. Our species was historically a group of hunters and gatherers, who for hundreds of thousands of years, ate natural plants, meats and sea foods. Carbohydrates were rare in our diet, which made these foods ideal for a wandering and nomadic people. Farming, in comparison, came around only about 10,000 years ago. There has been no time for our species to adapt to this new world as a result. Many things like wheat, sugars, or other chemically processed oils or compounds were never found in our natural diet until this period.

The Paleo Diet for Weight LossMany modern diseases experienced by mankind, such as autoimmune diseases or cardiovascular disease, were caused by this change in diet.  This is what the Paleo diet is designed to remedy and correct.  The goal here is not to duplicate the diet that a “caveman” would have had thousands of years ago.  Rather it’s to create a diet that returns to these foods we had eaten in the past, but in a modern setting.  There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for this diet, and we do not advocate one whatsoever.  Though some Paleo dieters do recommend stark changes and regression to this form of diet in an absolute sense, it’s not typically advisable to do so. Some Paleo dieters cannot imagine not eating dairy, and with particular changes to your diet it’s possible to include these foods into the program without violating the tenants.

Three Success Tips for the Paleo Diet

  • Eat Nutrient-rich, Unprocessed and Whole Foods – You want to start out by switching up your daily food choices to accommodate the changes. For example, you want to eat grass-fed/pasture meats and eggs, wild seafood and vegetables. Eat fruits regularly as well, but nuts/seeds in moderation.
  • Avoid foods that may harm your body with inflammation or knocking your metabolism off track – Remove toxic or harmful chemicals from your foods, such as grains or legumes which are unnatural foods to be eaten by users.
  • Keep Energy Levels High – As is the case with all weight loss methods, you need to keep your energy up. This means eating foods high in nutrients, coffee, tea, and other things that boost metabolism and increase your energy.

Physicians, doctors, and researchers have seen the benefits of these more “ancestral” weight loss methods over recent years. Much study has shown the impact of the Paleo approach, with the average person on this diet seeing double-digit weight loss within just a week or two of use. It’s incredibly efficient and powerful to use this method, as our body’s quickly begin to increase metabolism once these natural foods are replaced in our diet.

How can the Paleo Diet be Healthy? Many people mistakenly believe that this diet requires eating tons of lean protein, and cutting out all fat or carbs. This is not so, in fact, this could be harmful.  Rather this diet aims to go back to our “nomadic” roots which allows us to eat foods which we are biologically designed to process effectively.  This is why it’s safe and there are no side effects seen in studies.

Dealing With Loose Skin After Significant Weight Loss

We recently had a reader send a message to one of our writing staff requesting information on how she can tighten up a lot of the loose skin she has experienced after she lost a lot of weight.  We passed this message along to our personal trainer we have with us, who indicated it was one of the biggest issues with weight loss for normal people.  There just wasn’t enough room or opportunity to answer her individually, and to be honest, we felt it was unfair to do so for the rest of our readers.  So, ultimately, this post will discuss just how to handle this problem best and also help to tone up the sagging skin that often accompanies weight loss.  Though there’s no “workout moves” a person can do to tighten up skin that’s been stretched out, there are some ways to make our body do this for us.

When your body loses weight, it loses it from the fat right below the skin.  This often results in significant sagging of that skin afterwards.  There are methods like the use of HCG which allow people to tighten their skin as they lose weight, but many people often have to do surgery to get rid of it all, particularly the more weight that’s been lost.  We have people here who have lost around 160 pounds, The result was a less than ideal body at the end.  Though you certainly feel better, you often don’t feel as “sexy” in the mirror as you would like, due to how your body deals with losing so much weight.  It can be an incredible challenge.

Tighten Up Skin Post-WeightlossThe fact of the matter is, how loose your skin becomes once you lost weight is dependent on many factors including: the total amount of weight lost, how old you are (younger skin is more resilient), and how many times you’ve lost weight and gained it previously.  The faster you lose weight the shorter the time your skin has to adapt to the change.  There are many surgical options out there, such as a tummy tuck or a body life, but these are expensive and leave many scars.  There are actually many natural options out there that can help instead.  Using proven skin tightening treatments, and losing weight in a controlled manner can go a long way to help cut down on the folds of skin, though it’s not likely they will disappear entirely.

Your Body is Capable of Pretty Amazing Things

One of the major problems that actually is faced by people once they lose weight isn’t the skin that they have, it’s actually their own perspective on how their body looks.  This can be a huge challenge to overcome, but we believe there’s a few ways to do so.  It’s just too difficult to hate your body id you’re working out and lifting weights.  Endorphins produced by exercise as well as the increased strength just make you feel great.  However, if you’re struggling with body image, just remember, you are far far better in appearance now than when you were overweight.  Clothes fit better, people are looking at you more, and you are so much healthier than you were before.

Stop Comparing Yourself To Teenagers

Yes, we all do this.  You have to get over your expectations that you will fit into your clothes you work in high school and look the same way again.  There are beautiful people of all ages, and not surprisingly, men do not want a child any more than you’d expect them to.  It’s seriously not something you should concern yourself with.  We are constantly bombarded with images of gorgeous models and advertisements, but you don’t have to have that body to be beautiful.  In fact, many of those people are probably not considered beautiful by men anyway.

Cut Out the Negative Self-Talk

We’ve all done this, talking to yourself in the mirror and the self deprecation.  It’s absolutely useless to do this, and what’s more important is finding the things about ourselves that are actually good and excellent.  You’ve lost weight! You’re healthier and better looking that you have been in years, this is what matters.  Negative thoughts just don’t get you anywhere.

A great way to overcome this for good is to take time to go out and buy clothes that fit and show off your new figure.  This is one of the best ways to feel tremendous self esteem about your progress. You will fit into so many more clothes, and better designs and more fashion forward ones.  This is always something that boosted my confidence tremendously.