The Alkaline Diet: Part I. The Molecular Minuet of Mighty Minerals

May 26, 2008The Alkaline Diet:  Part I.  The Molecular Minuet of Mighty Minerals Competency # 16 Minerals Reference: James Dowd and Diane Stafford in “The Vitamin D Cure”  Published 2008 Alkali?  Ever heard of that term?  Alkali is the opposite of acid.  If you measure alkali with a pH meter, it’s anything over pH 7.0 from a technical explanation.  From your body's point of view, alkali is essentially bicarbonate.  We are going to run a 4 part series on alkali over this next month so that you understand the concept.  It’s important to understand for several reasons.  One, it may be the secret to keep your muscles from wasting as you age.  Two, it will keep your bones stronger.  Three, it may very well participate in lowering your cancer rate.  Four, it may well make arthritis much better in the long run. Finally, it will likely lower your chronic state of inflammation.   Wow!  That’s a lot of claims.  Let’s try to convince you. (We love a good argument!) Here’s how we start.  We are not talking about the acid you eat, but the acid you excrete.  When you eat food, your body pretty quickly breaks it down into a variety of basic components.  You need a tiny amount of vitamins every day, a regular supply of essential fatty acids, a regular and steady supply of protein, and then you need energy in the form of carbohydrate or fat. Throughout our history, we’ve sought high energy density foods when we could get them.  Our tongues and appetites love sweet, fat, rich foods.  When we couldn’t get them, we fell back on boring old vegetables, roots, high fiber foods which were not as energy dense, took a lot work to eat and find, just barely satisfying our appetites. The paleo-anthropologists tell us that we ate about 150-200 grams of fiber a day in our distant past.  Now, middle-class Americans eat some 15-20 grams of fiber a day, and poorer folks eat 5-10 grams of fiber a day. We’ve always focused on the calories, fat and fiber.  But the acid/alkali story is about the minerals and breakdown products.  When you eat a lemon, it’s as sour as it can be.  That’s acid tasting.  But it’s not an acid food from your body’s point of view.  That’s because after you have digested it, a lemon is loaded with potassium and magnesium.  When you have finished digesting it, the pH of the break down products is not acid, it’s basic or alkali.  Now, go down the list of vegetables and you will find that they are all loaded with potassium, magnesium, calcium and very little sodium. Meat, on the other hand, has protein in it.  You can only use so much protein.  The rest has to be broken down into basic amino acids.  That amino group, a nitrogen molecule at heart, has to be excreted.  And your body has to secrete that as acid.  That makes your body slightly acidic till you get rid of it. Get it so far?  Veges are alkali and loaded with potassium and magnesium. That’s good. Next week.  How the balance works. WWW:  What Will work for me.  The DASH Diet is, at heart, 9 servings a day of fruits and vegetables.  I’m getting better counting every day.  Practice counting yours this week.