An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…

We can all agree that without health, little else matters. If I look to my experience of how I have helped myself and others to create wellness, it always comes back to the simple principle that the whole being must be considered and addressed. Holistic Health is taking the approach that all areas of life affect the living force of a human being; that is, every choice matters. Wellness is created in everything we choose: what we think, what we eat, what we do.  Every thought, decision and action we make affects the whole of us. You can be as fit as a fiddle, for example, but if you are carrying around wounds from the past or unexpressed and unresolved emotions, your health can become just as compromised as any other unhealthy behavior.

As important as what we think and feel, eating the right kinds of food is crucial. Our intake of nutrition is the primary and fundamental means that sets us on a course that either heals or harms us. Eating alkaline foods and balancing pH is essential and perhaps the most powerful means of healing and balancing the physical body.

Second only to breathing and sustaining our heartbeat, the most important metabolic function that our bodies perform is maintaining an ideal pH level.  pH stands for “potential” of “Hydrogen.”  The pH level is a measure of acidity or alkalinity, on a scale of zero to fourteen, with zero being most acid, fourteen being most alkaline and seven being mid-range. The pH level is one of the most important balance systems of the body, and the most important pH level that the body must regulate is the blood’s pH level. The body’s blood pH level must be maintained at 7.4 or slightly alkaline.

Unfortunately, in today’s environment of high stress, on-the-run lifestyles, eating to much junk or fast foods, poor or not enough sleep, and a greater exposure to toxins that surround us, most people are operating in an unhealthy acidic environment internally. Many doctors believe this to be a major contributing factor to increased illness and dis-ease.

When your body is too acidic, it will try to balance itself by utilizing existing alkaline minerals. If your diet doesn’t contain sufficient balancing alkaline minerals, it will either build a more acidic environment or pull nutrients from other important areas like calcium from your bones which can lead to diseases like osteoporosis. Not at all what we want to create.

Diet is probably the most important change we can make to balance our natural pH. What’s important is not so much the pH of the food as it goes into our bodies, but the pH level once the food is broken down. Considering whether a food is acid–forming or alkaline–forming is key. For example, even though we think of citrus as acidic, fruits like lemons are alkalizing, because when they’re consumed, they break down and provide alkaline mineral salts. Similarly, foods we might normally think of as good for us may have a negative impact on us as they are actually acid-forming…things like grains and pasturized milk are two such examples.

When we have an acid state, the body, in its own protective wisdom, will create a chemical process to protect itself from being harmed by the acids. This buffering process requires the use of many nutrients from the body, including electrolyte minerals. In order to maintain the blood’s critical pH balance, the body will compromise other “less” important functions. Once the electrolyte reserves become depleted, the body begins to steal these electrolytes from other various organs and systems of the body to maintain the blood’s pH level. This is where the imbalance begins.

To maintain good health, we need to eat at least 75 to 80 percent alkaline-forming foods. The bad news is the average American diet consists of about 80% acid-forming foods, which puts us on the wrong side of the health scale. As we talked about a few weeks back in the column “Get out of that box,” processed and refined foods are extremely acidic to our systems and promote dis-ease, not health.

A proper, slightly alkaline diet suggests taking in at least 80% of alkalizing foods, like green vegetables, and never more than 20% of neutral and acidifying foods, acid-forming foods like meat, dairy products, bread, and all kinds of other yeast products, alcohol, carbonated drinks and coffee. Try to avoid the acid-forming foods, and instead consume as much alkaline-forming foods as possible, like vegetables, greens, sprouts, and most kinds of seeds. Eating alkaline foods transforms your body pH from the dangers of acidic to alkaline or slightly above neutral.

Eat more green food and alkalize your body pH today. An alkaline way of life is the perfect start to restore and maintain your overall health. By transforming your nutrition into an alkalizing pH diet, by eating vegetables, and perhaps adding green food nutritional supplements, the body’s pH level will gradually begin to balance. When the nutrients of alkaline foods get into your bloodstream, the cells in your body will begin to be regenerated. An alkaline diet thus helps to boost your energy levels, improve skin, reduce allergies,  and enhance mental clarity. Above that, when pH balance is achieved and maintained, the body instinctively drops to its ideal, healthy weight. As soon as the acidic environment is eliminated, there will be no need for new fat cells to form, and the remaining fat in your body is no longer needed to store acid wastes, and therefore simply melts away.  An alkaline way of life will restore good health; you will not only see, but also feel the difference.

Nature has provided us the perfect packages filled with all of the elements we need to have this state of health.  All we have to do is make these good choices for our body to benefit. Begin by eating more alkaline and cut out or greatly limit refined and processed foods and sugars. Avoid things with corn syrup, agave, maltose, or aspartame in it. Instead start your morning with, say, cucumber and lemon in spring water or one of my green smoothies.  Add JR’s Lemonade mix to the mix… 4 lemons squeezed to 1/2 gallon of fresh spring or filtered water with 4 squirts of liquid stevia. Liquid stevia is an ideal sweetener. Fresh, raw, organic cucumber is massively hydrating and alkalizing, so are lemons. Get creative, because eating healthy does’t have to be a drag.

Here are some more examples of foods to include and avoid:

High Alkaline Foods – Include: String Beans, Banana, Dandelion greens, Dates, Figs, Prunes, Raisins, Swiss Chard, Almonds, Avocado, Beets, Blackberries, Carrots, Chives, Cranberries, Endive, Grapes, Kale, Peaches, Persimmons, Pomegranate, Plums, Raspberries, Spinach.

Neutral Oils – Include: Cold Pressed, Expeller Pressed, Almond, Avocado, Coconut, Canola, Cottonseed, Linseed, Olive, Safflower, Sesame, Soy, Sunflower, Walnut.

Alkaline – Include: Agar, Alfalfa, Apple & Fresh Apple Cider, Apricots, Artichokes, Bamboo shoots, Beans sprouted, most Berries, Blueberries, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cantaloupe, Cauliflower, Celery, Cherries, Chestnuts, Chicory, Coconut Milk, Collards, Corn fresh and sweet, Cucumbers, Daikon, Eggplant, Escarole, Garlic, Ginger root, Gooseberry, Grapefruit, Guava, Horseradish fresh and raw, Kelp, Kohlrabi, Leek, Lemon and Peel, Lettuce, Lime, Loganberry, Mango, Melons, raw Milk, Acidophilus Yogurt, Whey.

Acid – avoid or limit: Alcohol, Bread, Caffeine, Coffee, Corn, Custards, Drugs, Flour, Grain, Soy, Bread, noodles, Pasta, Sugar, Tobacco, Egg yolk, Fruit Jellies (Jams Canned, Sulphured, Sugared, Dried), Pasteurized Milk Products, 

Acid Fats, Butter, Cream, Margarine, Lard.

To live in a state of health and wellness is to develop and adhere to a daily holistic health plan that makes sense for you and prevents dis-ease and promotes health. Along with proper thought, emotional healing, and understanding the divine nature of all things, the power to experience health becomes self-evident when we shift the food choices we make, because what passes our lips doesn’t just end up on our hips! Begin today by limiting the acid-forming foods and replace them with alkalizing ones. Go green and get colorful organic foods, and you will feel the benefits that a balance pH lifestyle provides. As always, to your health! – JR

(J.R. Westen, D.D. is a Holistic Health & Spiritual Counselor who has worked and presented side-by-side with Neale Donald Walsch for over a decade. He is passionate about helping individuals move beyond their emotional and spiritual challenges, transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs. His coaching provides practical wisdom and guidance that can be immediately incorporated to shift one’s experience of life. As is true for most impactful teachers, J.R.’s own struggles and triumphs inspired him to find powerful ways of helping others. Sober since June 1, 1986, J.R.’s passion for helping individuals move through intense life challenges drove him to also specialize in Addiction and Grief Recovery. J.R. currently shares his gift of counseling & coaching with individuals from around the world through the Wellness Center, Simply Vibrant, located on Long Island N.Y.  In addition, he works with Escondido Sobering Services and serves on the Board of Directors for the Conversations with God Foundation. He can be contacted at JR@theglobalconversation.com, or to book an appointment, write support@simplyvibrant.com.)

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  • Marko

    If you listen to Dr. Weil it seems his big thing is anti inflammatory foods as a great way to better health.

    “Eating alkaline foods and balancing pH is essential and perhaps the most powerful means of healing and balancing the physical body.”

    I’ve never heard of this being such a key factor. If so, are their studies to back this up? Why don’t we hear more about this?

    As far as spiritually minded people go, it’s my observation that many (not all) are very willing to change their thoughts & feelings in a way that will benefit there well beingness, but diet is on often on the bottom of the ladder.

    I’ve been moving toward greens in that I use raw organic spinach, asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers etc. I add this to heating up some mini wontons with chicken or salmon in them. Except for the Spinach, I just say heat up some pea pods for maybe a minute with the wontons plus a bit of cocktail sauce for flavor. The idea is to get, take in more raw veggies & less unprocessed food.

    Magically,
    -Marko

  • Laura Pringle

    I’ve read extensively on this– and the logic behind it is compelling. I used to post lists on the refrig to remind everyone what end of the spectrum they were eating at. Interesting to note that almost all processed foods are acidic- totally believable. I believe that your body craves what you need to balance it out. We just have to have the right things on hand. So many times I’ve stared at all the food in my cupboards and not wanted any of it ! Cucumbers are so very healing…

  • Erin/IAm

    Looove this, JR! No physical dis-ease can exist in a low-acid, oxygenated environment that is kept in good service!

    Check the fluids & the fuels, check the lines & filters they flow thru…the gaskets, the exhaust system, & the carborator…the ‘connections’…and don’t forget the ‘spark’ plugs & distributor! Balanced that framework lately? Got treads? Clean mirrors & windows? All your Lights workin’?

    Our vehicles are high maintenance, but built to last a Life-time!:)
    Admire our classic structure & muscle…Simply Amazing design, indeed!!!:)
    And we were all born with the license to drive these machines…Got respect?

    Drive it like ya stole it…or maintain it like ya want to turn heads for years to come.
    Blessed be, either way!:)