The Truth Behind the Alkaline Diet
- Written By:Sara Bliss
- Photography:Sarah Elliott
A few years ago, looking for something new to write about, I came across the Alkaline Diet that was being touted by celebrities like Elle MacPherson and Tom Brady (who credits his career longevity to it). I decided to try it out, going on a 7-day plan by alkaline guru Daryl Gioffre, a Manhattan-based chiropractor and nutritionist. I am not a fan of fad diets and to be honest, I went into it thinking this would be another hyped and wildly restrictive diet that would at the very least give me some good copy. What I didn’t expect was that it would change my whole approach to food and health.
After a week, eating alkaline foods (a few examples are cucumbers, celery, avocado, watercress, broccoli) and avoiding acidic ones (processed food, meat, dairy, alcohol, grains, and gluten) I dropped 8 pounds and my skin glowed. I was sold. While it can be challenging in the real world to eat that way all the time, Gioffre tells his patients to aim for a more achievable 70% alkaline foods, not just for weight loss but to reduce inflammation and fight disease.
Gioffre’s new book Get Off Your Acid: 7 Steps in 7 Days to Lose Weight, Fight Inflammation, and Reclaim Your Health and Energy explains the connection between diet and disease and how you can use nutrition to heal. “People are pumping themselves with acid forming foods,” explains Daryl. “I think there is a direct connection between the skyrocketing rates of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's and inflammation. When you are eating, you are either inflaming the body or de-flaming the body. If you want to prevent chronic disease down the road you have to reduce the acid forming foods you are putting into your body. Then you will have less inflammation and less disease.”
Here are Gioffre’s 8 tips to boost your health right now:
It is the number one allergy in children. We are the only species that consumes another animal’s breast milk after weaning and it causes massive inflammation and leaky gut. Try coconut milk or almond milk as substitutes.
Ditch the grains:
They spike your insulin and they can become contaminated with fungus. Beer, rice, bread, and whole grains including barley and wheat should be eliminated from your diet. A common misconception is that quinoa is a grain, it is a seed. While it is a little starchy, it is a great food and a complete protein.
Peanut butter is loaded with pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fats are contaminated with fungus. Peanuts have twenty-one different types of fungus that produce a dangerous cancer-causing mycotoxin called aflatoxin. Opt for coconut or almond butter instead, it is filled with healthy fats and plenty of protein.
Add healthy fats:
Healthy fats are healing. They are found in nuts like raw almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and Brazil Nuts, avocados, and avocado oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil- all of which are filled with healthy fats. Omega-3 fats are key for mood, fighting inflammation, strong hair, skin, and nails, and optimizing your brain health. You can find Omega-3s in wild-caught salmon, anchovies, sardines, herring, and trout. However, due the high levels of mercury, PCBs, and dioxins in our oceans, your best bet is finding a good quality Omega-3 Fish Oil supplement. If you buy a fish oil look for one with twice the level of EPA to DHA.
Cook with coconut oil or avocado oil:
These two oils can handle a high smoke point and are great for cooking. Other oils, like olive oil and flaxseed oils are very healthy when used at room temperature, but olive oil oxidizes when it is heated turning it from a healthy fat, to an unhealthy trans-fat..
Add more dark green leafy vegetables:
Spinach, kale, dandelion greens and broccoli are all nutrient dense and alkaline forming with high chlorophyll content. These vegetables contain what I call the 'triple A' of health - they are antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and alkaline, and stand as the most powerful neutralizers of acid in your body because of their high mineral content.
Keep sugar levels down:
That includes processed sugar, moderate to high-sugar fruits, and honey. You create massive amounts of inflammation and chronic disease when you spike your insulin levels with sugar and you want to keep insulin levels down. Premature aging, weight gain, bad skin, and fatigue are associated with high sugar diets.
Create a healthy gut:
An unhealthy gut is linked to everything from compromised immunity, brain fog, bloating, and skin issues. Small, permeable holes in your small intestine become craters, creating a condition called leaky gut, which lets things like yeast, sugar, undigested food particles, and toxins infiltrate into your bloodstream. Your immune system goes on the attack, and over time can lead to serious issues like auto-immune disorders, chronic diseases, and brain issues like Parkinson’s, Dementia, and ADHD.
Antibiotics, poor diet (sugar, grains, and dairy), even pesticides and chemicals in food and tap water can be underlying causes. To heal a leaky gut you need to take probiotics, chlorophyll, minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Look for a probiotic that has 20 billion CFUs. Turmeric is an amazing anti inflammatory, but be sure to add a pinch of black pepper when consuming, as this increases the potency of the turmeric by 2,000%. To heal inflammation fresh is best, so take an inch piece of organic turmeric and a one-inch piece of ginger, add some black pepper, and make a detox tea. Add a slice of lemon when serving, and place your leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for a cold-detox tea later on.