Alkaline Diet Explained (and made easy!)
Hey I’m Ross, I’m the owner and CEO of Live Energized and I absolutely love helping people to get to the health of their dreams, the health they deserve AND make it as easy and enjoyable as possible.
I am guessing you’re here because you want a higher level of health, you want more and you are looking for a roadmap, a plan, a strategy that’s going to help you to get there. And I have committed my life to helping as many people as possible achieve that, folks just like you – and my goal is to make it as achievable as I possibly can for you.
Now, I don’t know you personally (yet), but if you’re anything like me, when it comes to your health:
- You’re sick and tired of conflicting information
- Fed up with everything seeming so complex and impossible to stick to
- You don’t have hours and hours to spend crafting in the kitchen – you need things to be quick and easy
- You don’t want to keep having to wonder ‘what’s for dinner (or breakfast…lunch…or snacks)
- And not prepared to give up everything and be ‘perfect’ or ‘on a diet’ for the rest of your life
I’m here to tell you know that isn’t how it needs to be!
I’ve spent the last (almost) fifteen years teaching tens of thousands of people how to get to their dream health and energy AND find it easy and fun, AND not have to give up everything, AND still have treats, nights out, blow outs and have an enjoyable social life…
All while rapidly reaching their health goals, skyrocketing their energy and getting an incredible level of mental clarity and vitality.
And my Alkaline Plan (I make it very easy) is How It’s Going to Happen for You
If you answered a resounding YES to being sick of ‘conflicting information’ then I am sure you’ve probably already read a few guides about ‘getting alkaline’ that seem to be discussing completely different topics.
It’s frustrating, because following the alkaline protocol is the fastest and most powerful way to completely reset your health – but it is without question the most misunderstood. And as with anything, when it’s misunderstood it will likely lead to poor results and frustration. Let’s put an end to that.
Because when I explain it properly to people, not only is there a great big ‘a-ha’ but the results almost always start to flow right away.
It is based on scientific data and research (I only EVER suggest things to you that have already been rigorously studied and proven), AND it’s super intuitive and common sense. I love it.
So let’s get into it and cover the basics!
What is the Alkaline Diet?
It’s an approach to health that focuses the majority of your foods and drinks on those that will have an alkaline-forming effect on your body, while limiting those that will have an acid-forming effect on the body (note the word -forming, important and we’ll get onto why in a minute).
It is as simple as that – eat mostly alkaline-forming foods, don’t eat too many acid-forming foods. Don’t get bogged down in the detail, don’t strive too much for perfection, go easy on yourself, and take it one step, and one day at a time – it’s actually less of a diet and more of a lifestyle, the Alkaline Lifestyle if you will.
Why an Alkaline Lifestyle?
To keep this simple and not too science-y (references are all below if you want to explore the science too): the body HAS to maintain the pH of the blood and other extracellular fluids at a slightly alkaline pH of 7.365. Nobody disagrees with this, it’s an accepted truth in the scientific community.
However, the damage caused by the body doing this is where there is some misunderstanding and disagreement…
You see, your body will do whatever it takes to maintain this balance. If your blood drops below this level your kidneys shut down and you die, pretty quickly. It’s kind of important that your body keeps that pH within a very tight range, and so your body will sacrifice your long-term health to keep you alive in the short term – it will do things to maintain this pH balance even if, long-term they will slowly damage your body. Again, if your pH goes out of that tight range, things go very badly, very quickly.
And here’s where the problem of an acidic diet comes in (or the benefits of an alkaline one) – your body having to correct this pH and neutralise the acidity is hugely stressful. It puts your body into a state of emergency. But the body will always choose to do whatever it takes to keep your pH from falling too far, no matter what the long-term damage of this will be.
And this balancing act leads to your body stressing your kidneys, liver, thyroid, adrenals, digestive system (especially the stomach and pancreas) and more – calling these organs into action to help balance the pH back to slightly alkaline.
The damage caused by being chronically in this state of emergency (i.e. by constantly eating and drinking acid-forming foods and drinks), forcing your body to raise your pH back up from acidic to mildly alkaline, is huge, far reaching and touches practically every organ, gland, and cell in your body – from your brain to your bones, and from your lymph to your lungs – they are all at risk of damage when we are in a chronically acidic state.
The medical research community refer to this as ‘diet-induced acidosis’ or ‘diet net acid load’, where we eat a diet that is loaded towards acid-forming rather than alkaline-forming foods.
And here is the CORE TRUTH (that so many people misunderstand – see my ‘rant’ here “Five Things the Media Needs to Know About the Alkaline Lifestyle):
The goal of is NOT to make your body ‘more alkaline’. The goal is to give your body all of the tools it needs to it can effortlessly MAINTAIN your pH at 7.365.
Read that again – it’s essential you fully understand this – we are not aiming to make your body ‘more alkaline’, we are just aiming to eat more of the foods and drinks that enable the body to stress-free, effortlessly maintain this critical pH balance – and LESS of the foods that are acid-forming and that cause it stress.
Make sense? You with me so far?
The Most Important First Steps to Get You Started & Thriving
It would be very easy to either get bogged down in too much detail right now, or indeed too little. I could go into all of the intricacies of every food you should and shouldn’t eat, their nutrient profile, what all of those nutrients do, the mechanics of how it all affects the body and so on…
Or I could just say: eat good stuff, don’t eat bad stuff.
Truthfully, both of those approaches could have their time and place, but today I want to give you your actionable first steps.
These are the easy, but powerful things you can start to do right away that will have the most impact. They will start to support your body in maintaining that delicate pH and therefore you will be giving your body everything it needs to thrive.
Now, some are very intuitive, but even if you feel “I already know that”, unless you’re doing it right now you don’t know it well enough. So put those thoughts aside and stick with me.
If you put these simple things into practice for just a few days, you’ll start to see and feel a massive difference.
Habit #1: Greens Everywhere
The simple fact is this: very, very few people get anywhere near enough serves of fresh vegetables each day – let alone GREEN vegetables! Think back now over the past 2-3 days, how many serves of greens did you get?
For most people it’s 1-2 per day, if they were lucky.
But I can tell you now, in my decade-and-a-half experience – getting your green food content up to 5-7 serves per day will make a massive, immediate, long-lasting difference to your life.
When people do this, it’s like flipping an ‘ON’ switch in their brain and body. It works like crazy and it works for everyone. This is a core part of my alkaline plan.
Regardless of your goal – weight loss, digestion, hormone balancing, inflammation, bone health…- your body will benefit hugely from getting this influx of greens every day.
In the much-celebrated ‘Powerhouse Fruits & Vegetables’ study from 2014 (full research study here) (my report on this from an alkaline perspective is here), researchers identified the top 41 foods on Earth based on their micronutrient content (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants etc) and ranked from 1-41.
The top fifteen are ALL leafy green vegetables.
This tells you something.
If you can start adding more serves of greens each day, you will see a big difference in your energy, mental clarity, health challenges will disappear…and of course, you’ll be giving your body an abundance of those tools it needs to thrive and effortlessly balance your pH.
In terms of high-pH foods, greens top the charts.
There are heaps of tips and tricks, strategies and solutions to help you get more greens in each day, and this is something we cover relentlessly in my Alkaline Base Camp coaching group – but for the sake of simplicity and preventing overwhelm, I’m going to cover two of the most powerful ones here in this plan:
Get More Greens Tip #1: Side Salad with Every Meal
This is SO simple, just how I like it. All you need to do is serve a very simple side salad with every lunch and dinner you eat, and if you’re eating out, order one. No excuses, this is too easy not to do.
Now, we’re not talking one of those side salads you get at a Wetherspoons (non-UK folks, picture a wizened leaf of iceberg lettuce and an almost transparently thin slice of tomato) – it’s a bit more than that…
But also, we’re not talking an elaborate quinoa, pomegranate and goats-cheese salad with tamari-toasted almonds and a cilantro dip. Not that complex.
All we’re talking about here is grabbing a couple of handfuls of green leaves from the fridge and dressing with some olive oil and lemon juice. That’s it. Handful-handful-drizzle-done.
Doing JUST THIS adds 3-4 serves of leafy greens to your day. Just this.
Can you see what I am talking about here when I say I make it as easy as possible?
Get More Greens Tip #2: Sneaking In the Spinach
Spinach is magic. It disappears! When you cook it, it literally disappears into your meal. It goes from a massive serve to about the size of a penny coin. Amazing. And it barely alters the flavour or taste profile either.
So every time you are cooking, you should be thinking, can I wilt some spinach into this – either into the meal or as a side. Wilted spinach with a little butter, or coconut oil, salt and pepper is a delicious little side, all-gone-in-one-mouthful – but it’s an extra serve of greens nonetheless.
Every time you cook a:
…always be thinking – ‘could I throw a serve of spinach in here’?
And then really, the third big tip is:
Habit #2: Daily Green Juices & Smoothies
Yep, this is obviously a really amazing way to get a LOT of extra greens in every day…plus a heap of other high pH foods into your daily diet.
It goes without saying, this is a non-negotiable for me. I will NOT do a lot of other things on a daily basis, but I won’t skip this. I won’t. I won’t. I won’t!
A daily juice or smoothie is a must and allows you to easily, rapidly get 5-7 serves of vegetables (mostly greens), all alkaline, all antioxidant rich, all anti-inflammatory – all awesome – every day.
Having a daily green juice or smoothie will change your life.
I promise you this. For the 10-15 minute commitment, you will get a huge uplift in your quality of life.
There are a few ground rules:
- No fruit! This is a shock for many folks, but the fructose delivered direct to your liver in one quick big hit (and with juices it has the fibre removed too – even worse) is incredibly acid-forming and stressful to the body. Get the fruit out of your juice and smoothies – and see below if you need more info).
- Green heavy: go green as much as possible – spinach, kale, lettuce, watercress, chard – and so on, and DEFINITELY when you can, add a scoop of green powder too (my top pick is Organifi Green Juice) for an extra massive energy boost
- Feel Free to Water Down a Little: when you’re first getting started, if the flavour is a bit intense for you
- Make 2x: to halve your prep time, make twice as much as you need and have the second serve tomorrow
- Flavour with Stuff: in my Green Juice Guide here I give you a heap of suggestions to make your green drink taste delicious, check that out.
Alkaline Green Juice Ingredient Examples:
A typical alkaline green juice will contain lots of super high pH foods like:
(not all of those, but a combination of 4 or more of them)
Alkaline Smoothie Ingredient Examples:
And a typical alkaline green smoothie would contain some other, additional, equally alkaline foods like:
(all of the above plus)
Coconut / Almond milk
Plant-based protein (I love Organifi Complete Protein in my smoothies.
I promise you – if you can get a green juice or green smoothie into your daily life – your life will change forever.
Habit #3: Hydration, Proper Hydration
So simple. So simple in fact it often gets ignored or forgotten. Yet proper hydration is one of the cheapest, easiest ways to shift your alkalinity, and amplify your health and energy. In my alkaline plan I insist you take hydration seriously.
There are various calculators based on body size, type, temperature of where you live, physical exertion and all sorts of other variables, but it works out that most people should be drinking between 3-4.5 litres (100-150 fl oz) of filtered water per day.
There are tons of different methods of making your water ‘more alkaline’ but I don’t want to get bogged down in that today, and I’ll send you a follow up guide all about this soon – today I just want to make sure you’re covered on the ‘how to get enough’ part of the plan.
Aside from thinking:
“Hydration, yeah I know, of course”
And then doing nothing about it, there are two principle reasons people don’t/can’t drink enough water.
To the hydration-aware, and even the most motivated water-sippers, there are two main challenges:
1) REMEMBERING to drink enough
2) PHYSICALLY BEING ABLE to drink enough!
Let’s address both of those…
HYDRATION CHALLENGE 1: REMEMBERING to drink enough
This is probably the biggest of the challenges when it comes to hydration – and I have been through this too! You get to the end of the day and think “NOT AGAIN…I forgot to drink any water!”…
At this stage trying to down four litres before bed is not smart. You can try, but it won’t work out too well for you, or your bed mate!
If this happens to you – just have a big glass of water and put in to place a couple of the reminders and tips I’ll give you below.
HYDRATION CHALLENGE 2: The BLOAT & The TOILET FREQUENCY!
The second concern is physically feeling able to drink that much without needing to go to the toilet every two minutes and feeling as bloated as a whale!
My advice here is to just take it slowly and build up…
Don’t try to go from zero to four litres (a gallon) in 24 hours.
Set yourself the target of 1.5 litres (50 fl oz) for the rest of this week…then 2 litres next week, 3 litres the next…
The more you build up, the more your body will get used to it. The more you get used to it, the more your body will be able to USE the water you consume. It won’t just wash straight through into your bladder.
An analogy I like to use is to imagine your body like a dried up sponge. When you first start drinking water it’s like running a dried up sponge under a faucet. The water just runs straight over it and down the sink. But little by little, the more you run the water over the sponge the more it begins to absorb…and after no time at all the sponge is now able to hold an incredible amount of water to do it’s job.
Your body is just like this. The more hydrated you get the more your body will be able to hold comfortably. You won’t feel bloated at all. And the more hydrated you get the LESS frequently you’ll need to go to the toilet.
Everything will get easier the more you do it, so just ease in, take it a day at a time. If you mess up one day, don’t worry about it! Just have a glass of water then and there and get back on with your plan the next day!
Tips for Remembering to Drink Enough / Making Hydration Delicious & Easy
Step One: Carry a Big Bottle
This is the best tip – because it makes sure you always have your water on you to sip. I personally like to have a big 1 litre bottle at all times and when I do this I always drink my 4.2 litres! Really simple, but SO effective. How many times are you sat at your desk, thirsty as hell, thinking – when I finish this task I’ll go get a water…and then 2 hours later you’re still sat there thirsty?
Step Two: Set a Reminder
This isn’t something you will have to do forever, but I recommend you set an hour reminder on your phone or watch to beep and remind you to have a big gulp or a glass of water every hour. It is amazing how often you suddenly realise it is lunchtime and you’ve not really had anything to drink!
Step Three: Substitute
For every other drink you go to have, be it a tea, coffee or juice – substitute in water. You will be surprised at a) how good it makes you feel and b) how much of a pat on the back you can give yourself afterwards. This simple tip can lead to some really good, positive reinforcement that yes, you can say no and it makes you even more healthy!
Step Four: Always Have Water At Your Desk
Building on Step One – simply having a bottle at your desk at all times means that when you do remember you can tuck straight into it, rather than thinking “oh yes, water, now let me just finish this email first”.
Step Five: The Power of Tea!
Herbal teas are alkaline! Mostly. You only really have to avoid green and white tea and the rest are caffeine free and alkaline. I find this is a great way to beat the boredom of plain water and it gives me at least a litre of hydration per day. My favourites are peppermint, Rooibos, caffeine-free chai, ginger and orange. Delicious hot or cold!
Step Six: Flavour!
Water is water and it’s pretty dull. That’s ok. Try to see hydration as a source of health and energy rather than a source of flavour. However, remember – you can add lemon, mint, lime, grapefruit…all manner of fresh stuff added in to make water more enjoyable. I’m personally loving lime and mint at the moment. Mint grows like nothing else in the garden too – so you can get it in abundance for free (or in a pot if you’re living in a unit). Genius.
Step Seven: Know your Outcome and Plan your Route to Success
Set goals. Write them down. Track your progress. Read your goals aloud day and night. Honestly, being hydrated is THE most important part of any health goal and will get you a long way towards where you want to be, whether that is weight loss, weight gain, muscle growth, more energy, better digestion, better skin…
[Note: I go into more depth on the importance of hydration for getting more alkaline and having a hydration plan here]
Habit #4: Fats & Oils
You have to get comfortable with fats and oils on my alkaline plan – they are simply essential to your health & energy.
When you start consuming healthy fats, the body not only loves you for the many beneficial effects the fats bring (increased metabolism, support for the liver and kidneys, brain health, skin health, digestive health and so on) but the body is also able to directly use this for energy production.
Fats supply twice the caloric energy as carbohydrates and are converted to energy by being split into fatty acids and glycerol. Glycerol is then converted to either glucose or glycogen. The body is easily able to do this while also utilising the fat for a plethora of other important roles.
The addition of healthy fats into the diet therefore provide an abundance of energy in two ways:
1) by being an easily accessed and readily available source of energy (converted to glucose or glycogen)
2) by healing and nourishing the important organs and glands responsible for energy production (or those functions and areas of the body who cause fatigue when not nourished properly such as the adrenals, thyroid, kidneys, liver and many areas of the brain which are all reliant on dietary sources of fat).
Which Fats & How Much?
You should be looking to consume, every day, somewhere in the region of:
- Omega 3: 2-3 tablespoons (from flax, green leafy vegetables, oily fish and so on)
- Saturated Fats: 0.5-1 tablespoons (primarily from coconut oil)
For other oils (omega 6, 9, polyunsaturated etc) there no set rule, just get a variety of foods including avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables and so on. These all contain a combination of omega 3, 6, 9, saturated and other fats to varying degrees.
Again, Fat Will NOT Make You Fat
I could go into a whole essay on just that statement, but please do be confident in the knowledge that this is true. To learn a whole lot more on this topic check out my guide here “The REAL Fat Loss Equation”
And to give you some evidence of my statement of ‘Fat will not make you fat’, in the past few years (2012-2016) there have been some AMAZING studies into fats and sugar, amazing. But this one really stands out.
Study: Association of dietary, circulating, and supplementary fatty acids with coronary risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis; Chowdhury R, Warnakula S, Kunutsor S, et al; Annuls of Internal Medicine, 2014; March 18; 160(6):398-406. (source here)
In this study, Dr Rav Chowdhury and his team at Cambridge University looked at 72 of the best studies on fat and heart disease (more than 600,000 people from 18 countries) and came to the conclusion there was no link between total fat or saturated fat and heart disease. It also found that trans-fats increased, and omega 3 decreased heart disease.
IMPORTANTLY when it comes to saturated fats, they showed two types of saturated fat that ARE linked to increase risk of heart disease – palmitic and stearic acid.
Yes, there are two saturated fats that increase risk of heart disease. BUT: what is critical to note (and what is conveniently overlooked by the food industry) is that these are NOT the saturated fats found in coconuts, butter, coconut oil, ghee etc.!
These two saturated fats are predominantly made as a toxic byproduct of the liver processing excess fructose!
Eating fructose is the only way these two types of harmful saturated fats appear in the bloodstream. It’s SUGAR not FAT that makes you fat.
This throws the entire low-fat, saturated-fat-scared industry into the bin. Of course, “low-fat” is now worth billions of dollars so that will never happen (regardless of the effect on our health), but thankfully YOU now have the hard, cold evidence.
How to Get Enough Fats
Getting enough of the healthy fats is relatively easy but it does take a little conscious action to begin with.
My recommendation for coconut oil, to get those critical saturated fats, is to:
- COOK with coconut oil: coconut oil is practically the only oil that does not become toxic when heated, meaning you can cook with it AND it stays healthy!
- Add it to smoothies – just blend in your daily requirement when you’re making a smoothie (or soup for that matter).
- Simply Supplement – simply take a tablespoon of coconut oil like you would any other oil supplement – it tastes great!
My recommendation to get enough omega 3 is to start with a supplement as your baseline.
It can be trickier, which is why I always recommend taking a supplement alongside your dietary intake. You can use a combination of fish oils, krill oils, flax and so on. Whichever you choose, you really do need to make sure it’s a high quality product. There is nothing worse than cheap oils – they are not only completely ineffective, but can also be counter-productive if they have oxidised.
Aside from using a supplement, look to include lots of:
- Leafy green foods
- Nuts, especially almonds
- If you’re not vegan/vego, you can include good quality oily fish too
Upping your oil intake will make a huge difference. I highly, highly recommend this.
Habit #5: Smart Supplementation
The bottom line is, most people spend way too much money on too many supplements they don’t need. You only need a few to make a big difference, and without hitting your wallet too hard. I’ll be talking more about the 80/20 rule in a minute and how you can use this to simplify and fast-track your results (with minimum effort) – and supplements are a great example of the 80/20 rule in action.
80/20 basically means that 80% of the result is always provided by 20% of the actions taken. So when you look at your supplement cabinet, 80% of your results are coming from 20% of the products on your shelf.
And in the spirit of this plan, I am going to keep this really simple for you – to start out, focus on just three supplement.
Yep, just three. And here they are:
Alkaline Supplement #1: Green Drink
This is the big-boy, most important supplement. I recommend this for everyone.
A green drink is a powdered supplement, usually made of a combination of grasses, vegetables, fruits, algae and other foods.
The combinations range from just one food (wheatgrass, barley grass, spirulina etc.) through to dozens (some contain over 50 different ingredients).
I recommend looking for something in-between – about 8-10 ingredients is a good sweet spot. That way you’re not spreading the nutrient spectrum per serve to wide and thin.
I list at the bottom of this guide my suggestions on how to find a quality supplement – and with green drinks it’s paramount that you source an organic, non-GMO blend. There are no excuses on that one.
A perfect blend in a green drink hits all of my ‘Triple A’ goals: alkaline; antioxidant rich and anti-inflammatory.
This is why I personally use Organifi Green Juice right now – it has strong alkaline (wheatgrass etc.), antioxidant (beets etc.) and anti-inflammatory (turmeric) ingredients, and tastes awesome.
And of course it ticks all the boxes in terms of quality, organic, non-GMO.
I really felt the difference when I started using it.
I also really like Alkamind Daily Greens too – it’s a great blend, and has a really pleasant taste. Both are great products:
Ross’ Recommended Alkaline Green Drinks:
Alkaline Supplement #2: Anti-Inflammatory
It is so important to fight inflammation when you’re first starting out to support your body’s pH regulation.
Turmeric – most often advertised as curcumin is perhaps the most powerfully anti-inflammatory compound on Earth and I highly recommend getting yourself a high-power, high-quality turmeric supplement as soon as you possibly can.
Curcumin is the compound within turmeric that has the strongest anti-inflammatory capacity, which is why it is isolated from the whole root for supplementary purposes, but when people say curcumin or turmeric supplement, they’re effectively saying the same thing.
There have been over 800 published research studies showing the anti-inflammatory power of curcumin, and you just can’t go without it while you’re fighting inflammation (or wanting to keep it out).
Ross’ Recommended Anti-Inflammatory Supplements:
Alkaline Supplement #3: Alkaline Mineral Salts
The core alkaline minerals are ESSENTIAL for fighting inflammation, acidity and oxidative stress in the body, and I definitely recommend supplementing with these.
They are minerals that are often a little low in a regular ‘multi’ vitamin product, but they’re so important throughout the body, and many of us are deficient in at least one of them.
Magnesium and potassium are often so lacking in the diet, and a chronic deficiency in just these two is such a marker for inflammatory conditions.
If you can have one of these (just one scoop) daily – it will bring a remarkable, noticable different to your health (especially with digestive or fatigue conditions).
Look for a product that contains a mix of 3 or more of the Core Four Alkaline Minerals – sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Ross’ Recommended Alkaline Mineral Supplements:
- Alkamind Daily Minerals
- pH Miracle pHour Salts
Optional Alkaline Supplement: Plant-Based Protein Powder
The only other possible starter supplement I’d recommend, especially if you’re active and working out (esp. resistance training) is a plant-based protein – and for this I super, highly, absolutely recommend Organifi Complete Protein or Alkamind Daily Protein.
Next: Focusing on the Alkaline Forming Foods…a Bit More Depth
So our focus should always be on alkaline forming foods and away from acidic foods. These alkaline forming foods are (of course alkaline forming foods, but also) nutrient-dense, rich in vitamins, minerals, natural anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, electrolytes, chlorophyll and more that all support our body in doing it’s job – keeping us healthy, vibrant and alive.
It’s really simple – it’s simply a focus on alkaline-forming foods, drinks and other lifestyle choices rather than those that have an acidic effect on the body.
We’re Just Aiming to Give the Body the Tools It Needs to Thrive!
And this means building 70-80% of your diet around fresh foods, natural, whole foods like fresh vegetables, greens, salads, nuts and seeds, healthy fats from foods like avocado, oils and protein-rich foods like quinoa. It means getting well hydrated every day and exercising well.
And of course staying away from acid-forming foods such as sugar, gluten-containing grains, processed foods, fast-foods, pizza, chips, ice-cream, cakes, biscuits, microwave meals, processed meats, sugary drinks and snacks…you know the stuff.
It’s pretty intuitive, and it makes a lot of sense.
Eat fresh, eat your veggies, drink lots of water and exercise…and don’t eat crap. That’s pretty much it.
Of course there is more detail to it than that, and I will cover everything you need to know below. But I wanted to explain it to you first in super-simple terms because when you hear it like that, it’s pretty easy to get on board.
What Are the Alkaline Forming Foods vs. Acid Forming Foods
This is REALLY intuitive, all except for a few random foods (I’ll cover them for you below).
In fact, if I held a banana to your head pretending it was a gun and asked you to separate a list of common foods into alkaline and acidic, I bet you’d be able to guess about 90% of them correctly.
I don’t think confusion about what is alkaline and what is acidic is the reason people don’t stick with it. I think it’s a matter of knowing HOW to make it easy and delicious which you’re going to learn today.
BUT it’s still important to get the basics covered…
So, here’s a list of the most common alkaline-forming, and acid-forming foods:
[Note: if you haven’t got it yet, you can download my full, complete Acid/Alkaline Food Chart HERE for free – it’s got over 400+ foods listed]
Quick Reference List: Alkaline Forming Foods
Lettuce (all varieties)
Spring Onions (Scallions/Salad Onions)
Kale (all varieties)
Capsicum (Bell Pepper)
(and heaps more, the list could go on…)
Quick Reference List: Acidic Forming Foods
All sugar (inc. syrups)
Deep Fried Foods
Processed Meats (esp. bacon)
Excessive Animal Protein
Fruits (eeek, see below)
Baked Goods (muffins etc)
Again – you can get the FULL list of alkaline & acidic foods here – with over 400+ foods ranked and explained. If you don’t have this already – you really should go grab that, it’s pretty much required reading.
OK, so, if it’s as simple as eat mostly alkaline forming foods, avoid mostly acidic forming foods and that’s it – you’re all set… then we could stop the guide here right? Well, almost. Not quite!
First I want to walk you through a couple of the common mistakes people make when they first start out so you avoid these – they will undo your hard work if you’re not aware of them.
AND THEN explain to you a few simple steps that will make it SUPER easy for you!
The Most Common Food Mistakes Beginners Make
There are a couple of look-outs you need to be aware of when it comes to those alkaline and acid foods. These little mistakes and inconsistencies between some of the online ‘alkaline food charts’ can really lead to a lot of confusion, so let’s cover those here:
Common Alkaline Food Mistake #1: Fruit & Fructose
This is probably the biggest area of inconsistency among the alkaline food charts you see scattered across the web – the subject of fruits. The simple truth is this:
Fruit is mildly acid-forming, but OK to eat in moderation.
Yep, fruit, despite it’s vitamin, mineral content also contains a lot of fructose, which nudges it towards acidic-forming. And fructose is the worst sugar for your body. We’ve been led to believe it’s a ‘natural’ sugar so it’s OK. It’s not. It severely stresses the liver, causes instant inflammation, acidity (the immediate by-product of the liver processing fructose is uric acid), spikes your insulin levels and so stresses the pancreas, blocks your brains receptors to leptin and ghrelin and a heap of other critical hormones, instantly generates unneeded visceral fat cells – and so much more.
Only fructose does this so dramatically. Other sugars can be metabolised anywhere in the body, by practically every cell, but fructose can only be metabolised by the liver.
I have a full guide to sugar and sugar alternatives here you might like if you want more info on this.
So the bottom line is, for fruit consumption I recommend just 1-2 pieces of WHOLE, in-season fruit per day.
People see fruit as a free-for-all, but it just can’t be.
Not Juices, Not Dried – WHOLE
This is critical, don’t juice your fruit, don’t eat dried fruits (I occasionally use a date or two in baking, but that’s it for me with dried fruits). Here’s why:
- Juiced Fruit: the issue here is twofold – 1) when you juice you remove the fibre, which further speeds the stress to the liver, as the fibre slows digestion and allows the body to respond and react more gradually (plus removing the fibre means you’re not chewing the food which also has the same effect); 2) when you juice fruit you can tend to go overboard – how many ‘green juices’ have you seen out there that are 2 apples, half a pineapple, 3 oranges and 2 leaves of kale – that’s about 60g of sugar right there – more than a bottle of cola.
- Dried Fruit: is massively concentrated, and therefore it’s very easy to just have a handful of sultanas (for example) and quickly quaff about 50g of sugar in one mouthful.
Again – fresh, in season and WHOLE is best for fruit. And stick to 1-2 serves a day.
Common Alkaline Food Mistake #2: ‘Natural’ Sweeteners
You probably already know that artificial sweeteners are basically the devil. Satan in a sachet. But so many people get fooled by the ‘natural’ sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, coconut syrup, agave syrup and so on.
These are all as bad as regular, white table sugar – they’re all at least 40% fructose (fructose issues above), and are not a good alternative.
To keep this brief, you’re best of transitioning all sugars out of your life, but in the meantime – stevia and brown rice syrup (aka rice malt syrup) are your best options.
Again – more info in depth here in my Sugar Alternatives Guide.
Common Alkaline Food Mistake #3: Lemons, Limes, Tomatoes…
This is another frequently misunderstood one – the foods that are known to be ‘acidic’ such as lemons, limes, tomatoes, grapefruits – but they all appear on the alkaline side of the ‘charts’.
The distinction you need to keep at the front of your mind is ‘alkaline FORMING foods‘ or ‘acid FORMING foods’. It’s not the state of the food in nature – it’s the effect the food has on the body. And lemons are a great example – contains citric acid, BUT the mineral and other nutrient content of the food means that once consumed by the body and digested, it has an alkaline-forming effect.
Again – you can avoid the confusion by getting my Definitive Acid/Alkaline Food Chart here – as it has everything listed out for you.
Common Alkaline Food Mistake #4: “Healthy Whole Grains”
This is a huge one. Gluten-containing grains are some of the most acid-forming, inflammatory foods on Earth. But they’ve been pitched at us as ‘healthy whole grains’ for decades. What a sham. The gluten in these grains causes havoc in the body, they’re absolutely disastrous.
There is irrefutable scientific evidence to suggest that grains cause inflammation, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, brain conditions such as depression and Alzheimer’s, IBS and chronic digestive issues, fatigue conditions such as Fibromyalgia, skin conditions and more.
I explain this in much more depth in my guide about wheat and gluten here, but for now, there is another key distinction. We are not talking about ALL grains – just those that contain gluten.
So – you want to avoid:
- Barley etc.
And you’re still free to eat:
- Oats (don’t contain gluten, but often listed as containing gluten because they’re often milled in wheat facilities)
- Amaranth etc.
If you avoid these few simple misunderstandings and mistakes, it is pretty straightforward to understand. But understanding is only 1/10th of the info you need. The other 9/10ths are about MAKING IT HAPPEN. And this is where I have a lot of experience, and a fair dash of skill.
So let’s get into it and make it EASY!
How to Make it Easy to Get Alkaline & Stick to It
As mentioned, I am SO passionate about making this journey for you as easy, effortless, simple and enjoyable as possible. No good comes from being stressed. Not only is an increase in cortisol (your stress hormone) acid-forming to the body (more on this in a later guide I’ll send you!), but when you’re stressed you’re WAY more likely to give up.
So let’s keep it really simple, just the way I like it 🙂
The overall way to follow my plan is to eat lots more alkaline forming foods and less acidic forming foods. Easy right? But where do you start? Well, my answer to that would be RIGHT HERE:
Make It Easy Step 1: 80/20 (or the Minimum Effective Dose)
The concept of Pareto’s Principle, often known as the 80/20 rule, is absolutely core to the way I coach, and it gets amazing results over and over again.
The general gist of it is this: 80% of the result always comes from 20% of the input. In other words, 80% of your desired health result will come from just 20% of the actions you take.
This is exciting. You can get 80% of the way to your ultimate health goal, with just 20% of the actions. You just have to pick the right things to focus on, focus heavily on just these things, and get 80% of the way to your goal.
So many people make the mistake of striving for perfection, trying to be 100% perfect from day one – and it’s just too hard, it’s just too much, relies too heavily on willpower (which is a doomed strategy which I’ll explain another day), and they give up. In my experience, those who try to be perfect from day 1 are usually back to square one within 48 hours.
By focusing on just a handful of key, core, powerful actions (your 20%) you can easily get huge gains, getting 80% of your desired result, and when you have mastered these few actions, got the incredible motivation that such amazing results bring, then you can fine tune, add in more and start building more of the healthy steps into your lifestyle.
These 20% of actions are different for everyone, but they always have similar themes. I’ll cover them in my next guide I send you in more depth, but for most people, these actions include:
- Adding a fresh green juice or smoothie daily
- Getting proper levels of hydration each day
- Getting sufficient fats and oils
- Getting fresh turmeric and/or ginger each day
- Eating 5-6 serves of leafy greens every day
- Minimising sugar, gluten and caffeine
- Cutting back or cutting out processed foods
Again, I’m not saying you have to do ALL of these, or ALL OF THEM AT ONCE, I’m saying these are examples of some of the things commonly in the 20% of beginners who work with me.
It’s all about baby-steps and taking it day-by-day, one step at a time. Each day you make a positive contribution to your body is a step forward. You don’t need to make it hard.
Remember (and people do tend to forget this) – you are on the same team as your body. You are the same you’re not in competition. So many times people will have this negative self-talk that almost separates them from their body – “oh I wish my body wasn’t like X” or “why does my stupid body do this when I eat Y” or “I wish by body didn’t crave Z”.
Be in alignment with yourself, align with your body’s needs – your needs. All your body wants is for you to give it the tools to thrive, the tools to do it’s job. When you do this, you’re going to see a HUGE lift in your health and energy.
Make It Easy Step 2: Delicious Recipes That Are EASY to Make
When people first grab my Alkaline Food Chart they get it, they understand the alkaline forming foods vs acidic foods and they understand the alkaline diet…BUT…then they ask “but what am I going to eat?!”.
I get it. At first glance it just looks like a lot of salads and veggies. But it really isn’t.
I’ve been crafting and inventing alkaline-friendly recipes since 2005 – I’ve probably created over 400 of them. There’s over 200+ on this site (start here with my Alkaline Recipe Centre), plus in my two bestselling Alkaline Recipe Books (now a complete recipe ‘system‘) and over my programs and courses like The Alkaline Base Camp, Alkaline Reset Cleanse, Anti-Inflammation Breakthrough and more (note: these are all full right now).
I’m here to tell you this: making delicious alkaline meals is EASY.
I am going to get you started here with some recipes for you to try (and the shortcut is to grab the Alkaline Recipe System – it includes BOTH of my recipe books, plus a bunch of bonus extras to make it even easier) – but I also want to empower you to be able to do this yourself too without needing to rely on anything or anyone else, so when you’re stuck, needing to make a quick decision, you have the skills to do it – so it can become an alkaline lifestyle, not just a ‘diet’, right?
Start From a Place You Already Know
When it comes to making alkaline-friendly meals, don’t try to start from scratch, staring blankly at your list of alkaline forming foods or a fridge full of raw ingredients.
The trick is to take your existing family favourites and make tweaks to those to make THEM more alkaline!
What meals does your family already love, happily eat, that you know how to shop for, how to cook, how to make so your family will eat them?
A good example is spaghetti bolognaise:
- Instead of regular pasta, use gluten-free pasta
- Instead of it being 80% meat, make it 25% meat and make the sauce the star of the show
- Instead of a store-bought, sugar-laden, processed jar of sauce, make your own – just blend together tomatoes, onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrot, celery, basil and then warm it thorugh – takes 5 mins, and is a huge hit of alkalinity and so much better for you
- Serve with way less pasta, and way more sauce
- Serve with a side salad of mixed greens, dressed with flax or olive oil and lemon –
instead of serving with garlic bread
You’re still making a meal that’s quick and easy, a meal your whole family will love (nothing worse than having to cook one meal for you and one meal for them), but it’s now alkaline, fresh, lots of raw foods, delicious and kid-friendly too!
As an aside, if you’re living with a meat-a-holic, here’s my suggestion.
Recipes to Get You Started:
Here’s a gift for you – Ten Delicious, Easy to Make, Super-High Alkaline Recipes:
This mini-recipe booklet covers a couple of alkaline recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, even desserts to make kicking off your alkaline lifestyle as easy as pie.
Again, the shortcut is to grab the Alkaline Recipe System – it includes BOTH of my recipe books, plus a bunch of bonus extras to make it even easier – but this is a fantastic start for you.
Knowing what to eat, drink and snack on – without it becoming a stress – is one of the keys to getting alkaline, and turning it from a diet into that alkaline lifestyle. And that’s what it’s all about.
Make It EASY Step 3: Focus on a Small Core of Little Things to Make It Easy & Powerful!
And this is where we take it to a whole new level. We’ve talked about the 80/20 above and how it applies to the alkaline lifestyle, and this is where I want you to take it a step further and take it a bit more seriously.
I think it was Tony Robbins who said something along these lines, and I’m paraphrasing completely, but you’ll get the gist:
“the quality of your health is directly related to the small number of habits you perform on a daily, consistent basis: good OR BAD”.
Isn’t that true?
Just think now – what are the things you’re doing every day – whether they’re good or bad – and do you think they’re having a big impact on your health?
The answer is yes.
And the awesome news is that GOOD habits are just as hard to break as bad habits are! So once you’ve got them set, you’re good to go for years – and the more the good habits get embedded, the quicker any bad habits will start to disappear. It becomes effortless.
You just need to set those habits now, and get consistent. It is AMAZING how much of a benefit you can get from just a handful of tiny actions, practiced consistently – this is how it becomes a lifestyle.
Right now you just need to pick one or two new things that you will adapt into your lifestyle starting right now, things that you believe will make a big difference, but not be too much of a mountain to climb, and you need to get consistent with them.
Don’t go overboard, don’t try and do too much all at once, just remember – baby steps…one foot in front of the other…keep it simple and just keep moving forwards.
This has been a pretty in-depth guide – and it would be tempting to want to jump right in and put it all into practice at once. But I’m suggesting you don’t do that. What I am suggesting you do is just pick two of the core ideas from this guide and put JUST those into practice now.
Think through in depth how you’re going to make them happen, and then get started. Put them into practice and stick with them. Remember, small habits practiced consistently will yield HUGE results.
The Health & Energy of Your Dreams is a Lot Closer Than You Think
All the vitality and health you deserve is already inside of you. You have to know this. But for most people, all of that energy is being used up just keeping you in balance, maintaining the delicate homeostasis in your body. Your body can easily get exhausted just dealing with the aftermath of a chronic state of diet-induced acidosis (think candida, digestive imbalances, hormonal imbalances, liver and kidney stress, autoimmune and so much more – all of these can easily result from a heavily acid-forming diet).
But when you focus on that one simple thing: giving your body the tools it needs to thrive…and moving towards that step by step, day by day, keeping it simple, focusing on the 80/20 – when you approach it like this, your health begins to fly far quicker that you are probably expecting right now.
This guide pretty much epitomises everything I’m about – making it as easy, achievable, do-able, enjoyable and effortless as possible for you to reach your health goals.
I believe that when we have energy, health and vitality every other area of our life improves too – and we have a positive ripple effect to those around us.
So let’s get started, let’s do this.
I sincerely hope that I get to work with you more closely in one of my coaching programs soon (again, openings in these programs are pretty rare, but I’ll let you know when they’re coming) – and until then – if you have any questions for me please feel free to ask away in the comments (below the alkaline research section below).
Here’s to your health,
References & Scientific Data
Here’s just a handful of the research that has been recently published showing that the alkaline/pH diet works – for a number of reasons:
Study: Diet-Induced Acidosis Contributes towards Cancer Risk – An Alkaline-Forming Diet Lowers It
“Acidity is a well known factor associated with cancer. Lower pH levels in the extracellular space promote the invasive and metastatic potential of cancer cells…there is scientific evidence supporting the concept that appropriate alkali supplementation in the form of fruits and vegetables serves aptly to neutralize excess [H+”
Journal: Journal of Nutrition & Metabolism, 2012
Study: Alkaline Foods Prevents Chronic, Degenerative Disease
“The evidence appears to be strong that an alkaline diet high in antioxidants (fruits and vegetables) would help prevent chronic degenerative disease and cancer, and lead to a better quality of life”
Journal: Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 2014
Study: Prevent Gouts & Hyperuricemia
“We conclude that alkalization of urine by eating nutritionally well-designed alkaline -prone food is effective for removing uric acid from the body”
Journal: Nutrition Journal, January 2012
Study: Eating Alkaline Preserves Muscle Mass
“Alkaline diets favor lean tissue mass in older adults. Metabolic acidosis promotes muscle wasting, and the net acid load from diets that are rich in net acid–producing protein and cereal grains relative to their content of net alkali–producing fruit and vegetables may therefore contribute to a reduction in lean tissue mass in older adults”
Journal: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2008
Study: Creates Better Sports Performance
“An alkaline promoting (low-PRAL) diet increases anaerobic exercise performance, as evidenced by greater time-to-exhaustion during high-intensity treadmill running.”
Title: Effects of Dietary Acid Load on Exercise Metabolism and Anaerobic Exercise Performance
Journal: Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, June 2015
Study: Eating Alkaline Reduces Risk of Diabetes and Coronary Disease
“This thesis appears to be consistent with previous epidemiological reports correlating high potassium consumption, or a high intake of alkaline fruits and vegetables, with reduced risk for diabetes and coronary disease. “
Journal: Medical Hypothesis, 2005
And a few more:
Research Title: Influence of nutrition on acid-base balance–metabolic aspects.
Takeaway Quote: “Nutrition has long been known to strongly influence acid-base balance.”
Author: Remer. T
Published In: European Journal of Nutrition 2001 Oct;40(5):214-20.
Research Title: The Role of Mitochondria in Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases:
Takeaway Quote: “The evidence appears to be strong that an alkaline approach high in antioxidants would help prevent chronic degenerative disease and cancer, and lead to a better quality of life.”
Authors: Dorothy D Zeviar; Michael J Gonzalez; Jorge R Miranda Massari; Nina Mikirova;
Published in: Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine
Research Title: A higher alkaline dietary load is associated with greater indexes of skeletal muscle mass in women:
Takeaway Quote: “This study found a more alkaline diet was positively associated with muscle mass in women suggesting a role for dietary acid–base load in muscle loss.”
Authors: A. A. Welch, A. J. MacGregor, J. Skinner, T. D. Spector, A. Moayyeri, A. Cassidy
Published in: Osteoporosis International
Research Title: Influence of diet on acid-base balance:
Takeaway Quote: “It is well established that diet and certain food components have a clear impact on acid-base balance.
For adults, the following factors are involved: 1) the chemical composition of foods (i.e., their content of protein, chloride, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium), 2) the different intestinal absorption rates of the relevant nutrients, 3) the metabolic generation of sulfate from sulfur-containing amino acids, 4) the grade of dissociation of phosphorus at the physiologic pH of 7.4, and 5) the ionic valence of calcium and magnesium.”
Author: Remer T
Published in: Semin Dial. 2000 Jul-Aug;13(4):221-6.
Research Title: Diet, evolution and aging–the pathophysiologic effects of the post-agricultural inversion of the potassium-to-sodium and base-to-chloride ratios in the human diet:
Takeaway Quote: “Any level of acidosis may be unacceptable from an evolutionarily perspective, and indeed, that a low-grade metabolic alkalosis may be the optimal acid-base state for humans.”
Authors: Frassetto L, Morris RC Jr, Sellmeyer DE, Todd K, Sebastian A.
Published in: European Journal of Nutrition; 2001 Oct;40(5):200-13.
Research Title: The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?
Takeaway Quote: “From the evidence outlined above, it would be prudent to consider an alkaline diet to reduce morbidity and mortality of chronic disease that are plaguing our aging population.”
Author: Schwalfenberg GK
Published in: Journal of Environmental and Public Health