Alkaline and Acid Foods – An easy guide to eating alkaline 

One of the main factors that affect our body’s pH is our diet. Whist we may be thinking we are eating ‘healthy’, often many staple foods in our diet can be acid forming in the body. It is important to remember that certain foods leave an alkaline residue while others leave an acidic residue. For our body to function at its peak we need to be eating approximately 70 – 80%alkaline forming foods and only 20 - 30% acid forming foods.  

Now the challenge remains, how do you achieve this optimal balance of alkaline and acidic food? Initially, it may seem daunting, but it is not as difficult as it may seem and the results are extremely rewarding.  

One of the most important things to begin with is to increase your intake of fresh, natural foods that our environment provides, while decreasing packaged and processed foods. By simply doing this you are already decreasing acid forming foods in your diet.  

Alkaline forming foods include vegetables & fruit (some more than others) and most nuts & seeds, along with some legumes. So as you can see these are natural foods that are widely available in our environment. Any food that is high in the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium are also quite alkalising.

Acid forming foods include meat, animal protein (foods high in protein), dairy, bread, cereal, alcohol, high sugar foods and processed foods.  

If you think back to how our ancestors ate, their diets did not predominate with bread, high sugar foods, processed foods and animal protein. Ironically (or not so ironically) their diets consisted mainly of alkalising forming foods. The sudden shift in diet due to modern agriculture and food processing over the past few hundred years has led to a radical change in the foods we eat each day. Essentially we have gone from what was close to an alkaline diet and shifted quickly to an acidic diet, this has played a critical role in the high incidence of degenerative conditions and ailments we see today. What is most concerning is that our current ‘acidic’ eating habits are now accepted as normal. 

It is important to understand that it is still perfectly ok and beneficial to eat wholegrain cereals and lean protein from animals, however it should not constitute the major part of our diet.

Simple steps to start increasing the alkaline forming foods in your diet can be to swap some acidic foods for alkaline foods. Here is a great example of how you can change your dinner for being loaded with acidic foods to provide a more balance meal.

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At your next BBQ or gathering instead of serving typical snacks like chips, crackers and cheese, try making some fruit kebabs, vegetable sticks with hummus, beetroot dip or baba ghanoush (eggplant dip). Get creative with your nibbles and snack on tamari pepitas instead of salted peanuts.

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Experiment with new flavours and spices. Herbs and spices are some of the most alkaline forming foods available, so are perfect to use to add depth and flavour to any dish. Try adding cinnamon and nutmeg to smoothies and muesli to create a sweet and indulgent tasting breakfast. 

 Here are examples of some excellent alkaline foods to try and incorporate into your diet:

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Remember, the easiest way to increase your alkaline food intake is to gradually start swapping some of your processed acidic food for alkaline foods. Don’t feel obliged to radically change your diet in one or two weeks, if you start with frequent small changes it is easier to stick with your new habits. Before you know it, you won’t be craving the processed, sugary and fatty foods you used to.