You are what you eat

A healthy balanced diet is essential for:
  • Good health
  • Healthy development of bones, tissues, mental faculties and mood
  • Proper functioning of all organs
  • The prevention of diseases and infection
  • A healthy weight and fitness capacity

The late Tom Bowen - the man who devised the original Bowen Technique - felt the food we put into our bodies was very important to health and well-being. For a wide range of conditions he recommended a diet high in alkaline-forming foods with alkaline-forming foods being 80% of the whole diet. There is a reliable body of research which looks into the beneficial effects of ingesting alkaline-forming foods.

Note that acidic foods are not necessarily acid-forming in the gut. For instance, lemons, which are acidic in nature, are metabolised by the body into an alkalising nature and have an alkalising effect generally on the tissues. A list of acid and alkaline forming foods is given below.

Tom Bowen was also keen to promote the drinking of pure water. Water not only hydrates the body tissues but also helps to flush it of toxins. Unfortunately, most tap water is acidic and can contain many substances that are not good for your health - fluoride, chlorine, heavy metals and residues of prescribed and non-prescribed medication. Many health professionals recommend the drinking of alkalised and de-ionised water especially when ill, recovering or frail, and again there has been much research, most notably in Japan, of conditions improved by this practice.

Many of us are familiar with the term ‘the gut brain’ or the ‘brain-gut axis’. It has been known for some time that the gut produces its own neurotransmitters, just as the brain does. There is an increasing awareness in health research and practice of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.

Scientists call this little brain the enteric nervous system (ENS). And it’s not so little. The ENS is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from oesophagus to rectum. The main role of the ENS is in controlling digestion, from swallowing to the release of enzymes that break down food to the control of blood flow that helps with nutrient absorption to elimination.

Our two brains ‘talk’ to each other in a constant link between the ‘big brain’ and the ‘gut brain’, so therapies that help one can often help the other. Researchers have found evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system sends signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that trigger mood changes. For decades, researchers and doctors thought that anxiety and depression contributed to problems in the gut, and indeed this can be the case. However, studies show that it may also be the other way around.

The traditional maxim of ‘you are what you eat’ is continually being researched. In the past, people simply felt and observed that what they took into their bodies made a difference to both health and mood. Whereas now, there has and continues to be, much research and study into the values of certain foods as well as the harmful effects of various food additives and the commercial processing of foodstuffs. Evidence has shown that the maxim ‘you are what you eat’ is indeed a very true statement.

The pH scale

Your body pH affects everything and balancing the pH is a major step toward well-being and greater health.

The pH scale is calculated from 0 - 14

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 healthy 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline ( 7.35 - 7.45 ). Below or above this range means symptoms and disease. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. A pH below 7.0 is acidic. A pH above 7.0 is alkaline.

An acidic pH can occur from an acid forming diet, emotional stress, toxic overload state for acidic pH, and/or immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients. The body will try to compensate by using alkaline minerals. If the diet does not contain enough minerals to compensate, a build up of acids in the cells will occur.

An acidic balance will decrease the body's ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients, decrease the energy production in the cells, decrease its ability to repair damaged cells, decrease its ability to detoxify heavy metals, make tumour cells thrive, and make it more susceptible to fatigue and illness.

The reason acidosis is more common in our society is mostly due to the typical western diet, which is far too high in acid producing animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, and far too low in alkaline producing foods like fresh vegetables. Additionally, we eat acid producing processed foods like white flour and sugar and drink acid producing beverages like coffee and soft drinks. We use too many drugs, which are acid forming, and we use artificial chemical sweeteners which are poison and extremely acid forming. One of the best things we can do to correct an overly acid body is to clean up our diet and lifestyle.

To maintain good health, the diet should consist of no less than 60% alkaline forming foods and no more than 40% acid forming foods. To restore health, the diet should consist of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods.

Generally, alkaline forming foods include: most fruits, green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs and seasonings, seeds and nuts.

Generally, acid forming foods include: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, grains and legumes.

The chart below is for those trying to "adjust" their body pH. The pH scale is from 0 to 14, with numbers below 7 being acidic (low on oxygen) and numbers above 7 are alkaline. An acidic body is a sickness magnet. What you eat and drink will impact where your body's pH level falls.

Balance is the key

The pH scale is calculated from 0 - 14

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 healthy 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline ( 7.35 - 7.45 ). Below or above this range means symptoms and disease. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. A pH below 7.0 is acidic. A pH above 7.0 is alkaline.

An acidic pH can occur from an acid forming diet, emotional stress, toxic overload state for acidic pH, and/or immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients. The body will try to compensate by using alkaline minerals. If the diet does not contain enough minerals to compensate, a build up of acids in the cells will occur.

An acidic balance will decrease the body's ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients, decrease the energy production in the cells, decrease its ability to repair damaged cells, decrease its ability to detoxify heavy metals, make tumour cells thrive, and make it more susceptible to fatigue and illness.

The reason acidosis is more common in our society is mostly due to the typical western diet, which is far too high in acid producing animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, and far too low in alkaline producing foods like fresh vegetables. Additionally, we eat acid producing processed foods like white flour and sugar and drink acid producing beverages like coffee and soft drinks. We use too many drugs, which are acid forming, and we use artificial chemical sweeteners which are poison and extremely acid forming. One of the best things we can do to correct an overly acid body is to clean up our diet and lifestyle.

To maintain good health, the diet should consist of no less than 60% alkaline forming foods and no more than 40% acid forming foods. To restore health, the diet should consist of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods.

Generally, alkaline forming foods include: most fruits, green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs and seasonings, seeds and nuts.

Generally, acid forming foods include: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, grains and legumes.

The chart below is for those trying to "adjust" their body pH. The pH scale is from 0 to 14, with numbers below 7 being acidic (low on oxygen) and numbers above 7 are alkaline. An acidic body is a sickness magnet. What you eat and drink will impact where your body's pH level falls.

Alkaline forming foods

Alkalising vegetables

Alfalfa
Barley Grass
Beet Greens
Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrot
Cauliflower
Celery
Chard Greens
Chlorella
Collard Greens
Cucumber
Dandelions
Dulce
Edible Flowers
Eggplant
Fermented Veggies
Garlic
Green Beans
Green Peas
Kale
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Mustard Greens
Nightshade Veggies
Onions
Parsnips (high glycemic)
Peas
Peppers
Pumpkin
Radishes
Rutabaga
Sea Veggies
Spinach, green
Spirulina
Sprouts
Sweet Potatoes
Tomatoes
Watercress
Wheat Grass
Wild Greens

Alkalising oriental vegetables

Daikon
Dandelion Root
Kombu
Maitake
Nori
Reishi
Shitake
Umeboshi
Wakame

Alkalising fruits

Apple
Apricot
Avocado
Banana (high glycemic)
Berries
Blackberries
Cantaloupe
Cherries, sour
Coconut, fresh
Currants
Dates, dried
Figs, dried
Grapes
Grapefruit
Honeydew Melon
Lemon
Lime
Muskmelons
Nectarine
Orange
Peach
Pear
Pineapple
Raisins
Raspberries
Rhubarb
Strawberries
Tangerine
Tomato
Tropical Fruits
Umeboshi Plums
Watermelon

Alkalising protein

Almonds
Chestnuts
Millet
Tempeh (fermented)
Tofu (fermented)
Whey Protein Powder

Alkalising sweeteners

Stevia

Alkalising spices & seasonings

Chili Pepper
Cinnamon
Curry
Ginger
Herbs (all)
Miso
Mustard
Tamari

Other alkalising

Alkaline Antioxidant Water
Apple Cider Vinegar
Bee Pollen
Fresh Fruit Juice
Green Juices
Lecithin Granules
Mineral Water
Molasses, blackstrap
Probiotic Cultures
Soured Dairy Products
Veggie Juices

Alkalising minerals

Calcium: pH 12
Cesium: pH 14
Magnesium: pH 9
Potassium: pH 14
Sodium: pH 14

Although it might seem that citrus fruits would have an acidifying effect on the body, the citric acid they contain actually has an alkalinizing effect in the system.

Note that a food's acid or alkaline forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For example, lemons are very acidic, however the end products they produce after digestion and assimilation are very alkaline so, lemons are alkaline forming in the body. Likewise, meat will test alkaline before digestion, but it leaves very acidic residue in the body so, like nearly all animal products, meat is very acid forming.

Acidifying

Vegetables

Corn
Lentils
Olives
Winter Squash
ACIDIFYING FRUITS
Blueberries
Canned or Glazed Fruits
Cranberries
Currants
Plums**
Prunes**

Acidifying grains & grain products

Amaranth
Barley
Bran, oat
Bran, wheat
Bread
Corn
Cornstarch
Crackers, soda
Flour, wheat
Flour, white
Hemp Seed Flour
Kamut
Macaroni
Noodles
Oatmeal
Oats (rolled)
Quinoa
Rice (all)
Rice Cakes
Rye
Spaghetti
Spelt
Wheat Germ
Wheat

Acidifying beans & legumes

Almond Milk
Black Beans
Chick Peas
Green Peas
Kidney Beans
Lentils
Pinto Beans
Red Beans
Rice Milk
Soy Beans
Soy Milk
White Beans

Acidifying dairy

Butter
Cheese inc. processed
Ice Cream

Acidifying nuts

Cashews
Peanuts
Pecans
Sesame inc.Tahini
Walnuts

Acidifying animal protein

Bacon
Beef
Carp
Clams
Cod
Corned Beef
Fish
Haddock
Lamb
Lobster
Mussels
Organ Meats
Oyster
Pike
Pork
Rabbit
Salmon
Sardines
Sausage
Scallops
Shellfish
Shrimp
Tuna
Turkey
Veal
Venison

Acidifying fats & oils

Avacado Oil
Butter
Canola Oil
Corn Oil
Flax Oil
Hemp Seed Oil
Lard
Olive Oil
Safflower Oil
Sesame Oil
Sunflower Oil

Acidifying sweetners

Carob
Corn Syrup
Sugar

Acidifying alcohol

Beer
Hard Liquor
Spirits
Wine

Other acidifying foods

Catsup/ketchup
Cocoa
Coffee
Mustard
Pepper
Soft Drinks
Vinegar

Acidifying drugs & chemicals

Aspirin
Chemicals
Drugs, Medicinal
Drugs, Psychedelic
Herbicides
Pesticides
Tobacco

Acidifying junk food

Beer: pH 2.5
Coca-Cola: pH 2
Coffee: pH 4

** These foods leave an alkaline ash but have an acidifying effect on the body.

Unknown

There are several versions of the acidic and alkaline food chart to be found in different books and on the Internet. The following foods are sometimes attributed to the acidic side of the chart and sometimes to the alkaline side. Remember, you don't need to adhere strictly to the alkaline side of the chart, just make sure a good percentage of the foods you eat come from that side.

Brazil Nuts
Brussel Sprouts
Buckwheat
Cashews
Chicken
Corn
Cottage Cheese
Eggs
Flax Seeds
Green Tea
Herbal Tea
Honey
Kombucha
Lima Beans Maple Syrup
Milk
Nuts
Organic Milk (unpasteurized)
Potatoes, white
Pumpkin Seeds
Quinoa
Sauerkraut
Soy Products
Sprouted Seeds
Squashes
Sunflower Seeds
Tomatoes
Yogurt

Neutral

Butter (fresh, unsalted), cream (fresh, raw), cow's milk and whey (raw), margarine, oils (except olive), and plain yogurt.

The above information has not been evaluated by government health departments and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Research is ongoing in many countries.

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