Fruit and vegetables

Alkaline or acid: that is the question!

In Diet, Nutrition and Recipes, Health and Nutrition by LivingNowLeave a Comment

The most fundamental change we can observe over the centuries has been from a basically alkaline diet to an extremely acidic diet. Walk through the wild world and you’ll see your former foods; almost all with the ability to complement your natural alkaline internal pH balance. Scan your supermarket aisle and you’ll see the opposite: thousands of foods with additives, sugar, corn syrup and more – all acidic!


In an ideal world we’d eat food that came from the earth and, ideally, that didn’t involve killing any sentient being. In an ideal world, we would live in harmony with the earth, which would mean a symbiosis between earth and man. Earth would provide, and man would safeguard – much like the relationship our indigenous friends once enjoyed with their land.

In earth terms it wasn’t long ago that we all had this ideal relationship. After all,

  • We only ate grains when we discovered stone tools.
  • We only ate dairy after domestication of livestock.
  • We only regularly ate salt when we began to mine, process, and transport it.
  • We only began eating meat regularly when we domesticated livestock.
  • We only began consuming sugar after the industrial revolution made processed sugar available.

The only thing that has NOT changed in any significant form in this same period is our own physiology and our method of digesting food. It’s true to say that we are still a paleolithic humanoid attempting a lifestyle that has swept ahead of our evolutionary ability to digest. If this was not so, how can we explain the fact that 1 in 3 people are gluten intolerant and a further vast number unconsciously dairy intolerant? And how do we explain the 1 in 2, and 1 in 3 cancer attrition rate for men and women?

Our bodies simply have not caught up with managing what we eat and drink, or how we live today.

The most fundamental change we can observe over the centuries has been from a basically alkaline diet to an extremely acidic diet. Walk through the wild world and you’ll see your former foods; almost all with the ability to complement your natural alkaline internal pH balance. Scan your supermarket aisle and you’ll see the opposite: thousands of foods with additives, sugar, corn syrup and more – all acidic!

In my eight years of studying acid/alkaline balance I can count the naturally alkaline people I have met on one hand. Everyone else is in a state of what doctors call mild acidosis, from food, from pollutants, from food additives and from stress.

“The average person eats an alarming 14 pounds of food additives per year.” Elizabeth Lipski, M.S., C.C.N.

So why haven’t we heard our medicos telling us that we should be more alkaline? Because, sadly, it’s too simple. Alkaline balance is so fundamental that a medico trained to offer symptom-based care isn’t going to advise patients about a health strategy that isn’t backed up by double blind studies. Yet.. double-blind studies only happen when there is a payoff in pharmaceutical dollar terms. Big Pharma can’t patent it – so you won’t find studies except, perhaps, to discredit it.

Unfortunately, acidosis, once begun, creates its own vicious cycle. Chronic fatigue syndrome, for instance, has been described as a descending spiral of stress causing acidity causing inflammation causing pain causing stress causing acidity.

“Every disease in the human body, including high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, schizophrenia and stress, turns the body acidic.” Dr Victor Marcial-Vega, Oncologist and Medical Researcher.

After digestion and metabolism, the foods we eat break down to either an acid or an alkaline ‘ash’ which ends up in our blood. Grains, fish, meat, poultry, shellfish, cheese, milk, and salt all produce acid. Take a look at your own diet and count the food groups that are acidifying you! At the same time, our greens and fruit intake has dramatically decreased. And that’s just our diet acidifiers; we also acidify through stress, pollution and simple metabolic waste production, to the point where Dr Linda Frasetto of the University of California says that we are at an evolutionary turning point. She says our body now stores the flood of acid in fat, just to protect the kidneys form overwork and failure.

Never before in our evolutionary history has this happened, and it is reflected as we look around us at the sea of obesity. Is it any wonder that people who begin to alkalise report weight loss – even to the point of alkaline water drinkers losing weight without any diet change!

If we see our body as a machine, then our blood is our fuel transport, our lubricant, our energy supplier and our maintenance system. Our circulatory system’s 100,000 kilometres hold 30 trillion red blood cells responsible for supporting 60 trillion body cells. It is naturally alkaline, with a normal pH level of between 7.35 and 7.45. An alkaline diet seeks to support this pH level (as it did in the past).

It follows that a diet high in acid-producing foods disrupts this balance and causes the loss of essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium, as the body tries to restore its vital balance. In my years of consulting, I have observed that even a low acid person is prone to every bug that comes on the scene, because an acid/alkaline imbalance appears to set off a whole string of compensating imbalances in the body, making everything work less effectively. We become like a high performance car running on substandard fuel.

Alkalising: the reason why

Under a mountain of fat, many obese people are starving to death because they are not getting what they need.” Rudolph Ballentine N.D.

A growing group of scientists and medical practitioners (Dr Robert O. Young, Dr Theodore Baroody, Dr Susan Lark, Dr Sherry Rogers, Dr Susan Brown.) are now reporting on the link between an acid-producing diet and subsequent disease. Enlightened practitioners may recommend alkalising if a person has the following symptoms and other illnesses have been ruled out:

  • Lack of energy
  • Excessive mucous production
  • Nasal congestion
  • Frequent colds and flu
  • Anxiety, nervousness, irritability
  • Ovarian cysts, polycystic ovaries, benign breast cysts
  • Headache

Although your own medico may agree that increased consumption of fruit and vegetables and reduced intake of meat, salt, and refined grains is beneficial to health, many still can’t quite grasp that an acid-producing diet is the foundation of chronic illness. Yet even in the annals of conventional medicine, there is strong evidence that alkalising may help prevent the formation of calcium kidney stones, osteoporosis, and age-related muscle wasting.

But why does alkalising work?

It’s hard for many people to accept that a simple diet change can affect your future health as profoundly as we ‘alkalarians’ claim. Yet over the years I have accumulated a drawer full of unsolicited stories from people telling me that long-term health conditions have dramatically changed within weeks of going alkaline. The most common changes reported include reduced inflammation of joints, reduced gastric problems, reduced arthritic symptoms, increased energy, better sleep patterns, more hydrated skin, and so many more I can’t even list them here.

Alkalising works because we are almost without exception overly acidic. Because we’ve been over-acidic for most of our life, we accept that life is about colds, ‘flu, strange maladies and lack of energy. We blame the moon, the Prime Minister, the 7pm news… but seldom face the fact that we are self-sabotaging through our mouth.

After many years, I have come to the conclusion that we are actually addicted to acid. The Coke, the burger, the sweets, the icecream.. our ‘just one more’ philosophy disguises a deeper truth; that we are actually emotionally and physically addicted to these foods, and our mood swings caused by the food become a reason to indulge in the food. Feeling bad? Have a coffee, a Coke, a cake! Now you feel good, but soon you’ll feel bad again as your acid/sugar high wears off.

Whether you are a heroin addict or an acid/sugar addict, one thing must happen; you need to accept that you are addicted for change to happen. Trapped within an out-of-balance body it’s very difficult to think clearly, much less accept that you are an addict. However, those who even decide to test the theory through food and water change invariably report a mental change of attitude – a clarifying, a re-awakening of the mind-body connection. It’s not hard to see why. We all accept that the mind and body are not separately operating systems and that the mind feeds on input from the body. So a body returning to balance will naturally return the mind that inhabits it to the same sense of balance. Common reports are “I can think clearly again!” or “I am getting messages from my body again – it wants this change!”.

How to alkalise

Food and water are ideal starting points to re-alkalise. Meditation, a walk in the bush, breathing exercises all help. It hasn’t been easy to find a good reference for the most alkalising foods, but a new book, ‘The Acid Alkaline Food Guide’ by Dr Susan E. Brown has set the standard. She uses the latest German research that renders most prior references obsolete. It’s a book that will sit on your kitchen bench and become the reference for all of your food purchases. It also has an excellent guide to the ‘whys and wherefores’ of alkaline balance.

People initially contemplating alkalising sometimes get a fright when I mention my own alkalising breakfast. I love to sauté Chinese greens with a variety of alkalising vegetables in organic coconut oil. If I am really peckish I may add a couple of eggs at the last minute. And what did I eat before this? Fruit salad! That is, until I realised that a large bowl of fruit salad was also a large bowl of acidifying fructose (fruit sugar).

I love and look forward to my green breakfast, yet many people think they couldn’t possibly mimic my taste. That’s because they are thinking acidic. I have seen their tastes spontaneously change as they alkalise and their acid addictions begin to depart.

Remember that we are looking for a diet that gives an 80/20 ratio of food that produces an alkaline result to food giving an acid result. Some people call me up and ask me why I like coconut oil when it is acidic. I reply that I’m not trying to eliminate acids from my diet; we need them. They provide the energy we live on, but I am always trying to include foods that increase my alkaline ‘ash’ result, but not at the expense of nutritional needs!

Korean-American Sang Whang, author of Reverse Aging, an ‘alkalising bible’ now translated into many languages, began alkalising with ionized water at age 56 after being told he would have to take blood pressure medications for the rest of his life. Now a drug-free 75, he is my ideal of how I want to be when I notch up another 14 years. He is alive, alert and full of life.

He explains his food selection criteria by explaining how food is metabolised.

“We think of food for good health, but we don’t even know what’s in the foods. An absolute majority of our foods (98%) is made of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen… these elements are the energy-giving elements of foods. They give us energy by burning with oxygen. After burning, they become acidic waste, such as acetic acid, cholesterol, lactic acid, fatty acid, carbonic acid, uric acid, nitro-oxide and ammonia.

“The remaining 2% of the food are alkaline minerals and/or acid minerals, such as potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron, sulphur, chlorine, fluoride, iodine, etc. Depending on which minerals are more predominant, we classify food as alkaline food or acid food.”

Because we are attempting to increase the alkaline storehouse in our blood, and because our blood is 90% water, it makes sense to drink alkaline water. Be aware that there are two sorts of alkaline water. One is ordinary water with alkaline minerals added. The other is alkaline ionized water which is alkaline by removal of the acids in the water. Of the two, I believe the latter is far more useful because it does not add acid minerals along with the alkaline ones. The ionizing process also makes the water far wetter than any other water – so it is wonderfully hydrating, which accounts for the many women who report healthier complexions and skin tone. This ‘wetter water’ means that the molecules in ionized alkaline water group in far smaller clusters, which, to my mind, means it has the capability to penetrate the fat stores and neutralise acid toxins stored therein. Many users also use water as a starting point in their alkaline journey. Perhaps this is because as the body alkalises it begins to give stronger messages to the addict-mind about the foods it now wants. Drinkers often report an unexpected and better new food preference including reduced ‘sweet tooth’.

I should mention that I began drinking alkaline ionized water eight years ago, and as a result of my experience I began importing alkalisers, and still do so. I am 61 years of age and never felt better!

There have been a couple of articles recently written locally condemning alkaline water, citing one study of baby rats. This study has since been discredited, but publishers still persist in quoting it. It isn’t coincidence that any health strategy that can help people without high cost attracts adverse press. In this case, the articles are all written by the purveyor of a competitor water filter that does not have the same ionizing ability.

“I have administered over 5000 gallons of this water for about every health situation imaginable. I feel that restructured alkaline water can benefit everyone.

“After years of very positive continuous clinical experiments that I am conducting with hundreds of clients using electronically restructured alkaline water, it is my opinion that this technology will change the way in which all health providers and the public will approach their health in the coming years.”

Dr Theodore Baroody, author, Alkalize or Die


  • Alkaline neutralises acids; it’s a scientific fact.
  • You can change to an alkaline diet without major stress if you really want to.
  • An alkaline diet does not mean just spinach.
  • Help is at hand; arm yourself with a food guide and get alkalising!
  • You are only returning to your natural state; you are not starting a diet your body isn’t designed for!
  • Acidosis is progressive. Rust never sleeps. Acidosis = rust= oxidation = ageing.
  • Alkalising is natural. Alkalising = energising = immunising = longevity.

Almost every advertisement we see these days uses the word ‘natural’. It is my view that ‘natural’ means becoming closer to nature – and nature has not changed in its relationship to humans. We are the ones that have changed. ‘Natural’, therefore, is the process of returning to what we really are… naturally!


Ian is the Managing Director of ION LIFE, alkaline specialists.

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