Another important part of any home renovation is to address air quality. There are countless things that can diminish or taint the oxygen in a home. Maybe your furnace or vacuum filter is dirty, or you have mold particles, dust or other allergens circulating in the air. These could cause serious health problems, as you know.
Well, this is true for the temple also. There are numerous things that can affect the oxygenation of the body. We call this oxygenation the body’s pH. pH is short for “potential of hydrogen.” It measures how acidic or alkaline the body’s fluids and tissues are. It is measured on a scale from 0 to 14, with the lower number being more acidic, and the higher number more alkaline. A pH of 7 is perfectly neutral.
Now, what does this have to do with the body and overall health?
Well, the human body is approximately 65-70% water (H20) which, as we know, is made up of hydrogen and oxygen. This water is mostly located within the cells, but it is also located outside cells in things like lymph fluid and blood. When there is an equal amount of oxygen and hydrogen, then the pH of this fluid is neutral (or 7.0). When there is more oxygen than hydrogen, it’s alkaline (7.1 and above). When there’s more hydrogen than oxygen, it’s acidic (6.9 and below).
To put it into perspective, a neutral reading of 7.0 means there is ten times more oxygen available to cells than an acidic reading of 6.0. So, clearly, a healthy pH level for the body is slightly alkaline—a pH of about 7.36.
Why is this important? Because an overly acidic body is an unhealthy body. When the body is overly acidic, it creates an environment where illness, bacteria, and yeast thrive! It’s essentially a breeding ground for disease! But, disease cannot take root or survive in a well-oxygenated environment with a balanced pH.
So, the goal of this phase is to give our cells more oxygen! We do this by ridding our diets of acidic foods and introducing more alkalizing foods and supplements. There are also lifestyle factors that influence the body’s pH that we will discuss as well.
Balance, Balance, Balance
Below are two food charts showing the pH value of various foods. As I said, we want to start decreasing the acid-forming foods and increasing the more alkaline ones. See below.
Some of this might seem confusing at first because foods you might think are acidic are not listed in an acidic column. Here’s the thing: you have to think of whether the food is acid–FORMING or alkaline–FORMING, not where the food itself falls on the pH scale.
What I mean is, even though we think of citrus foods as acidic, fruits like lemons are actually alkalizing because when they are consumed, they break down and donate alkaline mineral salt compounds like citrates and ascorbates. In other words, they taste acidic, but they contribute to an alkaline environment in your body. And that’s primarily what we’re going for.
Similarly, some foods that we might typically think of as mild are actually acid-forming when we consume them. Grains and milk are two examples. So, it’s not so much the pH of the food as it goes into our bodies, that is important here. It’s the RESULTANT pH once the food is broken down. This is dictated by the residues left behind after the nutrients are broken down, particularly sulfates and phosphates. So, it takes a little getting used to, in terms of “seeing” your food as the resulting pH, not the actual pH… but you’ll get the hang of it.
And the rule of thumb: all processed food is acid-causing. Processed food creates an acidic body, regardless of the kind. So, take that into consideration, too. Again, the above charts are just to help you BALANCE your diet. It’s not that you can never eat anything from the Acid-Forming chart. It’s that you should be eating far more from the alkaline list.
In my opinion, a diet solely from the acidic chart is a body asking for disease. Evaluate where most of your daily calories fall currently and then aim for an 80/20 rule. Try to eat at least 80% of your diet from the alkaline list, and no more than 20% from the acidic list.
Now, perhaps you are trying the keto diet, and you’re looking at the above chart thinking, “Oh no! I already gave up carbs, but now I have to give up these too!?” Please understand the keyword in this phase is “balance.” By including this chart, I am not saying you can never eat dairy again because it’s in an acidic column. No, I’m saying, look for natural, raw, unprocessed, or unpasteurized dairy. Then, balance it with alkalizing foods. For example, if you do eat cheese, eat it with some raw organic spinach and fresh tomatoes. Or if you do eat beef, eat it with a large garden salad packed full of raw veggies.
Also, consider your overall daily ratio. Try to eat more alkaline foods and less acidic ones throughout the day. The primary goal is to start taking steps away from acidity. And you can ease into this, friends. Maybe start by decreasing meat consumption. Instead of having beef and chicken 6-7 days a week, try eating more salmon, tuna, cod, and halibut. Or at the very least, begin to eat organic meat which we talked about in Phase 4. These options are far less acidic than traditional beef and chicken.
This phase is especially important for those on a ketogenic diet. If you’ve gone keto, it can be easy to unintentionally consume a lot of acidic foods like bacon, sausage, and cheese, if you are not paying attention. I think this is why keto gets so many haters from time to time. The keto diet is NOT to be confused with a bacon and cheese diet.
Testing Your pH
If you are wondering where you are at in terms of acidity, you can check your pH using over-the-counter urine strips. Your pH fluctuates throughout the day, though so it may be best to test a couple of times a day to get a “big picture” view. You ideally want to be slightly alkaline, between 7.36 to 7.45, for optimal health. The best time to test your pH is about an hour before a meal or two hours after a meal. Discuss your body’s pH and testing with a doctor. You can get test strips at your local drug store or on Amazon.com.