The original source of stress is known as a stressor. Most of the stressors in todays’ society (cigarette smoke, alcohol, stress itself, bad diet, coffee, sodas, pharmaceuticals) all produce an acid state in the body. All cancerous states are acid states of long duration. Research indicates that 90% of our general population is far too acidic, which leads to a variety of negative health effects. Over time, being acidic is the main cause of degenerative diseases and aging. If you have an acidic body, you become energyless, exhausted physically and mentally and you lose the radiance and shine of skin and hair.
Grains, sugar, dairy, animal or vegetarian protein and oils yield an acid ash while fruits, sea vegetables, vegetables, quality water and herbs yield an alkaline ash You should consume 20% of your food daily, by weight from the acid ash- forming foods and 80%, from the alkaline ash-forming foods.
pH (standing for ‘potential of Hydrogen’) is a measure of the relative acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The scale of pH ranges from 1 to 14. 14 is totally alkaline and zero is acidic. The middle of this line is 7, neutral. Quality water has a Ph of 7 and you should maintain this level.
Do you wonder what are alkaline foods? Why are they important? How to test yourself? And how to become more alkaline…? Here, Anu Paavola, Ayurvedic pratitioner in London, explains the theory behind Alkaline diets, explore the pros and cons of this approach and look at whether Ayurvedic diets are alkaline.
Interview by Armanda Dos Santos
1. Dear Anu, nowadays most people consume an abundance of highly processed foods that acidify the body. At the same time, many people are afflicted with health problems ranging from minor skin irritations, chronic fatigue, back pain, and depression to arthritis, ulcers, and osteoporosis. Is it fair to make a correlation between those two facts? If so, could you explain it?
Anu Paavola: Highly processed foods have very little health benefits. The ingredients in these foods are not any more in their natural form. You can’t expect the body to accept these food like substances without some kind of side effects like the conditions you have listed. Processed foods are often acidic, causing excess mucous production and increasing inflammation. Depending on individuals you can expect almost any results especially when bad food is combined with bad eating habits e.g. eating too fast and overeating.
2. Is obesity correlated with an highly acidic diet?
Anu Paavola: It can be. Acidic food increases mucous production. Excess mucous in the digestive tract can impede food from being absorbed properly thus creating low energy levels and cravings.
3. Is that means that it is too late to comeback to the basics of a Nature’s diet ?
Anu Paavola: There is a lot of work to be done to create awareness on natural diet and lifestyle. There are certain things nature wants us to do at certain times. Modern lifestyle easily turns our attention away from the rhythms of nature and pushes us to eat foods that are not healthy, to eat food that is not in season and to have erratic daily routines. Frenzy media has created a state of nutritional confusion with conflicting information on nutrition coming up every day. Nature’s Diet helps to navigate through this information overload with confidence, by teaching what to choose and also that there is place for eating everything natural, once it is eaten at the right time.
4. We understand that the body needs balanced quantities of alkaline and acid substances. Some foods, such as fruits, can have either an alkalizing or an acidifying effect, depending on who eats them. Physiologically and scientifically, how do you explain the effects and benefits of those substances?
Anu Paavola: Everyone is an individual reacting in a unique way to anything they are exposed to. We should have 1/3 of our diet acidic and 2/3 alkaline. By eating seasonal diet this need is fulfilled automatically. Spring and summer harvests are mainly alkaline whilst winter harvest is mainly acidic.
5. Concretely, which changes should we make daily in our diet to enjoy optimum health? And should we become vegan to restore our pH balance?
Anu Paavola: Mainly we should pay attention on how we eat. We should eat simple, slow and seasonal. There is no need to become vegan to restore pH balance. Once you follow a seasonal diet there is place also to fit in dairy and meat, if needed. Veganism is not a prerequisite of good pH balance.
6. Someone who is suffering from acidity since years, for example, how to eliminate the body’s accumulated acids ? Do you advice this person to go for alkalising supplements or an intestinal cleansing?
Anu Paavola: Return to seasonal diet and reduction of meat (especially red), white flour and white sugar, proper hydration by warm water and enhancing digestive power with appropriate herbs like cumin and coriander. With highly acidic diet the gut is likely to be coated with an excessively thick mucous lining. Sometimes proper intestinal cleanse is very beneficial. There are specific protocols to follow and they cannot be randomly administered to anyone with high acidity levels.
7. How can someone determine his/her acid levels and, as an Ayurvedic partitioner, how to design a diet best suited for everybody’s particular health needs?
Anu Paavola: A heavily coated tongue in the morning is one way to see if there is excess mucous in the gut or a bad breath without any reason. Acidity often causes chronic inflammation. This can be verified by testing white blood cell levels.
To design a diet one needs to come for a consultation where all aspect of life are taken into consideration to create the best plan to achieve balance.
8. Based on Ayurveda, what are your advices to normalize digestion and metabolism?
Anu Paavola: Firstly relaxation and hydration. Proper eating habits, emphasis on lunch and intake of digestive herbs along with food
9. Do you have any highly alkalinizing recipe ideas to share?
Anu Paavola: I love sprouts. I make salads with them with seasonal ingredients. In spring I mix them with steamed spinach and other leafy greens.
Thank you !
Interview by Armanda Dos Santos