Going green

Kris Carr, author of Crazy Sexy Juice, explains why we should all be eating more alkaline-forming, mineral-rich foods

The quality of our inner ecology will determine our overall health. Life is more connected than we think. Everything from the cells in our bodies to the life in the oceans is affected by pH. The term pH stands for “potential hydrogen” and really just means the level of acidity or alkalinity of a given substance.

To get technical, pH measures the hydrogen ions in a particular solution. Solutions that contain a lot of free hydrogen ions are considered to be acidic, while fewer ions means alkaline. In our case, that “solution” refers to our body’s fluids, tissues, and organs. As with most health-related barometers, pH is all about balance. The chemistry of your body’s fluids and tissues can be measured on a pH scale of 0 to 14. Seven on the pH scale is neutral. Less than 7 is considered acidic, and greater than 7 is alkaline. Our cells are happy, healthy, and at their peak performance when living in a slightly alkaline environment.

Because of that, our bodies hover in the 7.365 to 7.45 range. Even the slightest dip or rise in pH can have disastrous consequences, so our bodies are programmed to maintain that slightly alkaline threshold of 7.365 no matter what – it’s basically set in stone.

Here’s the potential rub: the average diet is filled with acidic foods and substances, including dairy, meat, highly processed food products, and refined sugar, not to mention environmental toxins. Some research suggests that, in order to keep your pH in balance, your body will have to work harder to neutralise the acidic load, which can result in a gradual degeneration of health. Other research claims that our diets don’t matter because the body will correct itself without cost to our health. So what’s true? Who knows – the jury is still out. But we do know that kidney stones and gout are associated with high acid diets, so obviously there’s something to pH and food. So why not tip the scale in the alkaline direction?

The easiest way to do that is to minimise the overly acid-forming offenders (refined sugars and grains, processed foods, dairy, meat) and to maximise alkaline-forming, mineral-rich foods. These include dark leafy greens, wheatgrass, veggies, green juices, smoothies, and certain grains. Eating these goodies will flood our bodies with alkalinity and a hefty dose of vitamins and other micronutrients.

Do we have to eat alkaline foods 100 per cent of the time? No way, and that’s actually not possible for good health. Don’t think of it as good and bad or black and white. There are definitely shades of grey. Some foods that are slightly acidic, like beans, grains, and nuts, are essential for proper nutrition on a plant-powered diet. Again, it’s the highly acidic foods that we should limit as much as possible. Plus, life wouldn’t be as fun without the occasional morning joe or slice of birthday cake. Overall, our goal is to make more energy deposits than withdrawals. Our bodies forgive the detours and exploration, as long as they don’t take place 24-7.

Extracted from Crazy Sexy Juice: 100+ simple juice, smoothie & nut milk recipes to supercharge your health by Kris Carr. Published by Hay House.

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