ALKALINE VS ACID
While developing a healthy diet, it is important to consider and understand the difference between foods that are alkalizing versus foods that are acidic. Alkaline means that a substance is capable of neutralizing acid. Alkaline foods are high in pH balance and work to neutralize acid by raising amount of oxygen that our blood takes in. Why is this important? If our blood is not absorbing enough oxygen, we get sick. Most Westernized diets are way too acidic, which explains the prevalence of ailments like cancer, hypertension, infections, diabetes, and arthritis in America and Europe. An overload of acidic food starts by making us feel sick and tired, and over time leads to serious illnesses caused by kidney and liver damage and poor organ function. We need well-functioning organs in order to neutralize these acids: it is a cyclical process. So, in order to prevent an overload of these potentially toxic dietary acids, we must take steps to neutralize them… and it starts with what you eat. The good news is, unlike the typical American diet, the typical Ancestral diet is full of alkalizing foods and ingredients that promote healthy organ function while trimming body mass. We are largely in control of the acid-neutralizing process: we just have to eat right! Below are two lists: acid-promoting foods to minimize or avoid, and alkaline-promoting foods to eat frequently. Keep in mind that our list of alkaline-promoting foods is carefully curated to include ingredients that are not only acid-neutralizing, but also congruent with other tenets of the Well For Culture lifestyle.
Not all Indigenous/ancestral foods are alkalizing - some are acidic. That does not mean that we should never eat these foods, or that they are entirely bad for us. The key is to remember that your body as a whole should be balanced at a healthy level of alkalinity. Thus, it is not always bad to eat acid-promoting foods, (for example: non-GMO corn, beans, animal proteins) as every food listed varies in acidity levels. Balance is Key.
While we have included on these lists some common foods and food groups that are easily categorizable, we acknowledge that the lists are inevitably incomplete. Listing every food in existence is near impossible. So, if you are wondering about a food that's not on either list, please inquire, or ask a nutritionist, or attempt a Google search. Finally, the lists are inherently flawed in another sense: they do not offer a view of the alkalinity/acidity spectrum. All of these foods (even within the same lists) offer varying pH levels. We are in the process of constructing a visual chart to more accurately represent these levels within ancestral foods. Expect an update within a few weeks.
ALKALINE FOODS TO ENJOY
vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, squash, zucchini, beets, sweet potato, green beans, green peas, radishes, cauliflower, carrots, celery, spinach, mushrooms, chard greens, collard greens, pumpkin, wild onions, wild greens, wheat grass, parsnips, peppers, garlic, cucumber, egg plant, and turnips
mineral water (the higher the pH balance, the better)
fruits & nuts: apples, watermelon, tomatoes, coconut, cherries, apricots, bananas, cactus fruit, black berries, salmon berries, avocados, strawberries, watermelon, raspberries, cantaloupe, honey dew, almonds, chestnuts
fresh herbs and spices
Manoomin (Ojibwe wild rice)
alkalizing sweeteners: Stevia
ACID PROMOTING FOODS TO AVOID
- all junk and processed: soda, energy drinks, ramen noodles, pop tarts, frozen foods, chips, and hot cheetos
dairy products: yogurt, milk, butter, cheese
breads and grains: white bread, whole wheat bread, bagels, fry bread
pasta: white or whole wheat
Nuts: peanuts, walnuts, cashews
cured/processed meats: pepperoni, hot dogs, spam
processed poultry: chicken, turkey bacon
white or brown rice
canned fish (sardines, tuna, etc.)
oils: seed oils, canola oil
Extreme acid forming artificial sweeteners: NutraSweet, Splenda, Spoonful, Sweet 'N Low, Equal, Aspartame, and Sucrose
SODA-DIET SODA-ENEGY DRINKS
If soda is your vice, make an effort to gradually switch to healthier alternatives. A decrease or elimination of sugary drinks could completely change your body composition and energy level for the better. Start by replacing your regular soda with naturally flavored, organic versions. They taste better and don't do quite as much damage. Eventually, try to stop entirely. If you are a daily soda drinker who has more than one a day, make a small decrease at a time, like one sugared soda a day, and eventually one a week or none at all. Diet sodas and energy drinks are just as bad as regular sodas, as they contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. These ingredients are toxic and can trigger insulin, sending your body into a fat storing mode, resulting in weight gain. Artificial flavors also dull our taste buds and prevent us from truly enjoying naturally sweetened foods from our mother earth. Look for caffeine-free soft drinks, and gradually decrease the number of caffeinated drinks you have each day as you work toward kicking the soda/energy drink habit completely. If you're addicted to the caffeine in soda and energy drinks, you're really kicking two habits– the soda habit and the caffeine habit. It can take up to a few weeks to truly forget the craving.