I just got this question from one of my Alkaline Base Camp members (it’s my alkaline diet coaching group – you can check it out here) – about meat, vegetarianism and the alkaline diet.
“Unless one is a vegetarian, there is no way to truly be alkaline, since all meats/fish are acidic. Yes?”
This is a fantastic question…and before I get into my answer, I want to add in the first response from Daryl, who is another member and the owner of Get Off Your Acid and the Alkamind company (he’s an incredible knowledge source – such a huge asset to the group):
He made the critical distinction between being ‘healthy’ and being ‘vegetarian’. So important.
Do I Have to Be Vegetarian to Be Alkaline?
Here’s my answer, I thought a lot of you might have wondered this and so might benefit:
Ross’ Answer: Oh there is lots to unpack here 🙂 SUPERB question Karen and brilliant add Daryl. OK, so:
[+] the first thing – yes, meat is acid-forming, but it’s to varying degrees (I’ll get more onto this in a second)
[+] secondly – you don’t have to only ever eat 100% alkaline forming foods to be ‘truly alkaline’
That’s the big picture. Basically, the body will always maintain it’s alkalinity no matter what you do (this is your body avoiding diet-induced acidosis, if you have a specific injury or compromise of certain organs, largely the kidneys, then you can have metabolic acidosis, which is a whole other topic).
So if your body will always maintain alkalinity no matter what you do, then your role is to simply give it the foods it needs to do this as effortlessly as possible.
The body creates acidity in it’s daily functioning, so we should always aim to give it more alkalinity (whereas most people’s diets are acid-forming far more than alkaline-forming).
It’s also important to note that – exactly as Daryl has mentioned – being vegetarian does not necessarily equate to being ‘more alkaline’ than a meat-eater.
You could have a meat eater eating grass-fed, organic beef along with a mountain of vegetables, healthy fats and great hydration…
A vegetarian drinking a ton of coffee, eating almost no veg and living off macaroni cheese and ready-meals.
I know we’re getting a bit facetious here with this analogy but it does make a good point.
There are also ‘grey area’ foods…these are the foods that give a little and take a little and they’re the foods that I get asked about most often on our Q&A calls.
Foods like meats, seafoods, mushrooms, fruits, apple cider vinegar, fermented foods etc.
These are all of those grey area foods because they are acidic (more on fruits in a bit), but they also contribute to the body. There is still a net acid effect but they are also giving a little, so they are OK in moderation. MODERATION. Important word.
Now, when it comes to meat and Sue’s follow up question – it does have a big impact. The quality of the meat is critical. When you’re looking to the nutrient impact of the meat you are basically eating what the animal ate. If you buy poor quality meat from a badly treated animal, you’re just eating crap. It’s nutritionally devoid.
If the animal was raised happy, healthy, on a great diet – you’re getting that nutrient benefit of what the animal ate. If it ate a lot of grass you’re getting a huge amount more healthy fat from that meat. If it ate fillers, grains, was fed hormones etc…you see where I’m going.
I should point out here that I haven’t eaten meat since 1994. But I research this stuff for you guys 🙂
Yes, meat is acid forming, but there are better sources than others, so go for the good stuff.
For fish, you do really have to be aware of the quality too – and the likelihood of mercury contamination. Wild caught, omega-3 rich fish – no farmed. Go for quality over quantity.
I hope this helps!
We can get bogged down in detail and if we get too deep into the biology of the alkaline mechanisms in the body it can *seem* complex – and that’s why I keep things as big picture for you as possible.
Remember – 80% of the result in any given pursuit is often from 20% of the inputs. So stick to those core things while you’re finding your feet with this:
- Greens – aim for 5-7 serves per day, the easiest way is by getting a fresh green juice or smoothie in each day
- Hydration – aim for 3-4 litres, build up slowly if you need to (herbal tea counts)
- Healthy Fats – aim for 3tbsp omega 3 and 1tbsp coconut oil daily
- Anti-Inflammatories – aim to get a 1cm piece of fresh turmeric and ginger into your diet daily (juice/blend into juice/smoothie, grate into salads, blend into soups…)
Let me know if you have follow up questions!
And I do really hope this helps you too!
I’ve got a few extra resources below that will help to get you started, and if you want to learn more about my coaching group The Alkaline Base Camp you can find out more information here.
Have a great day, stay energized!
PS. We had some follow up discussion on this in the Alkaline Base Camp
Karen first followed up with these questions:
To which Sue replied:
And here’s my response:
And Karen was pretty happy 🙂
And so the discussion went on.
This is super typical of the type of conversations we’re having day in-day out in the Alkaline Base Camp. If you want to find out more about joining us, click here – and any questions? Post them in the comments below.
Additional Resources: Do I Have to Be Vegetarian to Be Alkaline
- My big Alkaline Diet Plan to get you started!
- Three Amazing Anti-Inflammatory Soup Recipes (containing ginger and turmeric and healthy fats!)
- My Core, Daily Alkaline Green Juice Recipe
- Lots of ideas to get ONE extra serve of greens each day
- The Life Changing Magic of Hydration