Staying Alkaline in Real Life: A Practical Guide
NOTE: Updated on 25th February 2013 by Ross
I have been alkalising for (update) NINE years and running the world’s largest alkaline diet resource for just as long – and in this blog post I am going to share my biggest tips on how to stay alkaline when you’re on the go.
This is one of the biggest challenges of staying alkaline and I’ve learned so much over the past five years about what works and what doesn’t.
Why You Can Trust I Know What I’m Talking About
I’ve been on this path for a long time now and I’ve been through a lot of different situations in life. While at times I’ve been perfect on this diet there have been plenty of times when I’ve been just shocking. There have also been a lot of those times in between where you really want to be healthy but for some reason you can’t quite pull it off. We’ve all been there, and it is important for me to point out to you that I’m not and haven’t always been 100% successful with this! I’m in a really good place now and have been for ages, but I think it is essential for me to point out that I am writing this post from a place of experience.
I know it is easy to think ‘oh it’s ok for him, he’s xyz’, but let me assure you that since starting out on this path I have been:
- Employed in a small flexible company
- Employed in probably the world’s biggest, busiest, high pressure company (fun though)
- Moved country twice
- Been single, and been in relationships
- Lived alone and in a share house
- Been overseas (away from home and my kitchen/juicer) for months at a time
- Had a gym to use and been many miles away from anything close to fitness equipment!
Perhaps the only thing I haven’t had is a baby! But Callum (co-founder and brother) has and he’s pulled of the whole ‘alkaline with a family’ thing spectacularly and has given me his tips for this post too. So hopefully, we’ve got it all covered!
Staying Alkaline On-The-Go
Being on-the-go refers to being away from home, for instance any of the following type of situations:
- Being at work
- Lunch or other meals away from home
- Commuting or traveling
- Out and about with friends, shopping etc.
- Longer term traveling
- At an event, sporting or festival etc
- At work
- Or anything else out of home
So I have broken this down into my top topics and themes with the best tips and the biggest impact. I sincerely hope this blog post makes a big difference to your efforts to reach your health goals. There will be a bit of overlap in a few of the areas, but I want to give full attention to each of the areas, because not every area will apply to everyone.
Breakfast can be one of the most challenging parts to the alkaline lifestyle because it generally requires a bit of a rethink on what breakfast foods are. I personally believe that this is an easier transition than it at first appears. I also believe that there is a place for oats & muesli’s a couple of times per week. I know purists may disagree, but then my approach has always been that it is better to be 80% perfect, 100% of the time rather than 100% for two and a half days and then give up.
Breakfast is just so important, not only to get the day off to a great start, health wise, but also to give your body the nutrition it needs to keep you on top of your game so that you don’t slack off and end up eating something unhealthy when 11am rolls around.
My biggest breakfast tip would be to fall in love with breakfast wraps. Simply wrap up some lettuce, spinach, tomato, cucumber, hummous and you’re away! Takes about 5 minutes to prepare and is really filling. The hummous is what makes it. Creamy, satisfying, subtle but very tasty.
Simply putting it in a wrap and with some hummous makes eating a salad for breakfast acceptable! It really really works.
Aside from that I like to have organic oats for brekkie every now and then. Simply boiled in water with a little soy milk added at the end, with nuts and seeds and whatever else you like thrown in. While transitioning you can add a banana too, but try and phase this out once you’re used to becoming more alkaline.
I know boiling your oats in water sounds plain and a bit boring, but just adding a splash of soy at the end really creams it up but cooking predominantly in water makes it so much more healthy.
I also love to have an alkaline smoothie for breakfast. Here is the recipe. It is just avocado, spinach, lettuce, cucumber etc. blended up to make a REALLY filling, absurdly nutritious breakfast. You easily get your 5 veg for the day before you’ve even left the house. Same for having a fresh alkalizing veggie juice – masses of nutrition!
So here are my big brekkie tips:
- Do give yourself an extra 10 minutes per day to have a decent breakfast! If you get your day off to a good start you are SO much more likely to stay healthy for the rest of it. Start with a bacon sandwich and lets face it, you’re going to stay slack aren’t you?!
- Wraps are a great way to get a filling nutrition hit, but with only five minutes of prep time. You can also make a couple and take one with you to work to have at your desk when you get peckish
- Don’t fear oats and muesli – but do it right. Make sure you read the label of your muesli to make sure it doesn’t have hidden crap. Go for a gluten free, wheat free, organic variety, add your own nuts and seeds, sprinkle on some psyllium husks and go easy on the soy milk. It is a delicious, fibrous, filling brekkie that takes 2 minutes to make
- Get into the juicing and smoothie habit – even if it is just a couple of times per week to start with. They really are filling and keep you going for hours and hours. And lets be honest, isn’t it great to know you’ve got your five-a-day veg before you’ve even got dressed for work?
- Don’t forget hydration at breakfast – drink a glass of lemon water as soon as you get up!
- Omega Oils are your friend! Take your omega oil supplement (I recommend Udo’s Choice) with your breakfast and you will not go hungry for hours and hours
There you have it, I’ve just given you five breakfast ideas to run with: wraps, oats, juices, smoothies & mueslis. I’m also partial to have brown rice topped with tomato, avocado, spinach, lemon juice and olive oil, which again only takes a few minutes to make (pre cook some brown rice) and is really flippin filling!
See, it isn’t that hard. You only have to drop the toast and the eggs.
Lunch is a LOT easier from a food choice point of view, but is still a challenge because it is the meal you are most likely to be away from home for. Most of us work in an office and mostly without the best food outlets nearby. This gives us two options:
This can take a bit of dedication because it is another job you have to do every day, each morning, alongside getting up, getting dressed, getting the kids sorted, having breakfast etc. When I pre-prepare my lunch on the go it is usually either wraps or salads, so my advice is to bulk task, or automate as much as possible.
- Wash and mix up a massive bowl of leaves that you can keep dipping into. Lettuce, spinach, rocket etc. all washed and ready to go.
- Make use of chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils etc. They give substance and satisfaction to salads and wraps and are as easy as opening up a tin, rinsing and using.
- Pre-prepare dressings: lemon juice and olive oil pre-prepared lasts almost forever, and saves you messing about and getting crap all over your hands in the morning
- Make extra dinner the night before! All you have to do is put it in a container, throw in a few more salad leaves and you’re done!
I’d recommending always taking something with you, even if it feels like a lame lunch. Even if it is just dressed leaves – at least it is something. Sure, it might only be a snack, but the psychological effect of making the right healthy choice time after time after time builds momentum and will ensure you don’t get into the wrong frame of mind!
Buying Lunch At Work
Takes a different kind of discipline, because temptation is always around!
I can only speak from my frame of reference having lived in Australia and England, but I imagine most other countries are similar – you just have to hit the salad bar! If you only have a sandwich bar nearby, tell them to fill you up a container with fillings but hold the bread! They almost all do this.
If not then most people working in a town or city will have a nearby store or supermarket where you can get hold of some useful impromptu alkaline meal ingredients. I can happily graze over a handful of cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, celery and hummous. Pick up a grapefruit for a refreshing dessert! The fresh soups in supermarkets are a decent backup too.
If you have a work canteen, there are always vegetables on offer – just remember to make fresh vegetables 70% of your plate! If you stick to this you can have a little license with the other 30%
Dinner with friends can be tasty, a treat and reasonably alkaline too! This one is easier because there is no preparation, you just have to turn up and exercise a little discipline.
I find that almost all restaurants can be flexible with their menu. If you know the restaurant and know their kitchen can be accomodating it is really easy to make something work. My favourite is to play with the starters, putting them together with a big salad.
I also quite often look at the ingredients of other dishes and make something up myself!
Also don’t be afraid to ask for a small serve of the pasta with lots of the sauce and veggies. Remember the pasta can be your 30% acid to your 70% alkaline. So if you have a pasta dish with a salad you’re rocking.
With all of this talk of food, it is important to remember that you really have to stay hydrated. 3-4 litres of good quality water per day! Now, the problem until recently has been how to get hold of good, clean alkaline water when you’re on the go. But now we have the answer! Introducing the Energise Portable Water Ioniser! This little contraption has totally saved me! You can take it on the road, have it at the office or keep it in your bag (if you’ve got a gym bag).
You just fill it with tap water and out comes alkaline, filtered water. Genius!
UPDATE: I’ve recently posted a video about the effectivness of the Energise Water Ioniser Jug – click here to watch it!
So now that problem is sorted, you just have to remember to drink enough. Here is my blog post all about staying hydrated but the important thing to remember is, when you are dehydrated thirst is one of the last symptoms – you get fatigued, weak, dizzy, cloudy thoughts and more waaaay before you feel the thirst. None of those symptoms are what you want when you are at work or on the go!
Hunger is also often your body’s cry for water. So it is often not the problem that you need more handy snacks, but that you are dehydrated!
Work: Snacks At The Desk
This used to be my biggest pitfall. You’re at your desk, busy, hungry, but really, really busy. So you keep on doing your work, getting more and more hungry. Your concentration just about clings on until you’re so hungry you can’t think anymore. But you’re so busy you haven’t got time to go and buy something healthy, so you just grab anything to keep yourself going. 9/10 it is something really rather unhealthy.
So again, the trick is to plan, prepare and not let yourself get into this situation. Here are my top work snacks:
- Nuts & Seeds: mix up some almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc and keep a massive bag at work with you
- Veggie Sticks & Hummous or Tahini: bring them into work with you. You don’t need many and they really keep you going
- Gluten free/Wheat Free Crackers & Avocado: Creamy and crunchy and filling. Yum.
- Sprouted bread: toast it, top it with avo and tomato and you’re away. If you don’t have a toaster at work, then having it normal, as bread is great too
- Leftovers: take last night’s leftovers with you!
- Wraps: my favourite. If you have wraps for breakfast then make an extra one or two to have during the day. I never get tired of these badboys.
It’s all about thinking ahead a little. The nut and seed mix is a permanent fixture and always there for an emergency. As for the rest, it is not a lot of work and everything I’ve listed is really tasty! Think of it more as a treat!
Travel: Hotels, Restaurants, Flying & The Trip
I’ve had a few people on the alkaline diet course who have emailed me worried about how they can keep on alkalising while they are travelling (for work or pleasure) and my advice has always been to focus on the key fundamentals. It is true that being away from home for weeks on end (without a juicer or blender) makes it harder, but if you stick to the following you should be good:
- Water – build up to and get used to drinking 3-4 litres of good, clean water per day. This will do so much for your energy (and your skin!)
- Omega 3 – make sure you consume 3 tablespoons of omega 3 (or a mix like Udo’s) per day. Not only is this amazing for you general health and energy, but omega 3 is just so good for your skin. If you can’t buy the oil where you’re staying or if you can’t take a big bottle with you then capsules are the next best thing – but keep them refrigerated when you can and away from heat and light.
- Fresh & Green – try to have two salads per day to form a guaranteed base of nutrients. From there try to make one meal per day 80% fresh green foods (and even raw) – such as salads, steamed veggies etc. This is an easy but excellent habit to form.
- Cut One Vice – pick a biggie and for the duration of the time you are away steer clear. This can make a big difference!
As for supplements:
- Green Drink: you can get greens in capsule format, I would definitely recommend taking these with you on your travels
- pH Drops: perfectlyhealthy sell pH drops in a capsule format (you just take them) but this doesn’t help with the fact that you still want to drink water and you still want it to be alkalising! I would recommend taking Dr Young’s puriPhy with you to add to the bottled water you drink
- pH Ion Blue: gives you all of the alkaline minerals in capsule format
- Udo’s Choice: you can buy this in capsule format, or if you are staying somewhere for a while, just take a bottle with you.
My other recommendation (that I always use when I’m away, without fail) is pH Ion’s Indigo – it is an extremely potent antioxidant that contains the antioxidants equivalent to 4lbs of fresh fruit in every serve (but without the sugar so it is highly alkaline too). See more info on pH Ion Indigo here.
I’m literally writing this from a hotel/apartment in Sydney on my way back to the UK, so I know it can be done! I’ve just been to Coles Express and picked up a load of salad ingredients and I have my mini pack of supplements with me. I’m rocking it on the road!
Note – What To Do If Things Go Wrong
There will be times when either something unexpected comes up, or for whatever reason you have not been able to prepare and plan as much as you wanted to, and you might just slip up.
If this happens, here is my advice:
When you are dieting, if you have a mishap don’t just write off the whole day and think ‘well I’ve stuffed today up, I’ll start again tomorrow’ – just get straight back onto it! If you’ve had a splurge lunch then just get back on and have a normal dinner. Don’t go and have a bad dinner and put things off!
The main point here is:
– Don’t beat yourself up – nobody is perfect all of the time
– Don’t then go and overcompensate and starve yourself at your next meal – this will probably just lead to a vicious cycle
– Don’t give up on that day – just get back to normal with your next meal or snack!
So there you have it – you can alkalize on the go!
These tips are pretty straightforward, but they are distinctions that I have made with lots of years of experience from trying to make my life as alkaline and healthy as possible. I really hope they can help you too.
And if you’ve got tips of your own, let me know if the comments below!
Oh, and if you’re feeling nice – why not tweet this post for me?!
Have a great day