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Adventures in Alkalinity

About seven years ago I gave up most of the added sugar in my diet, along with caffeine and alcohol, except for some sips now and then. I did make exceptions for the desserts at weddings, and who thinks about diets when such high quality and sumptuous dishes are presented at nuptials?

But the rest of the time, I work to maximize my time on earth, and I want to share with you something I’ve become interested in: the relative acidity or alkalinity of our bodies. It turns out the most healthy state to be in is slightly alkaline, about pH 7.33 to 7.44, where 7 is completely neutral—if you remember from chemistry class. But virtually all prepared foods and all animal products are acid forming in the body. It’s only certain fruits and vegetables (a large number) that when digested create an alkaline environment. But it takes ten times the quantity of an alkaline food to neutralize one unit of an acidifying food!

Sugar, white flour, white potatoes (but not their skins), white rice, and even to a lesser extent whole grains, are all acidifying. So many people eat mostly acidifying foods! No wonder our hospitals are full. Disease loves acid environments. Cancer can only  survive in an acid environment. Cooking even turns alkaline vegetables and fruits into acidifying ones, so it’s very important to consume them raw as much as possible.

This is why blenders, Nutribullets, Ninjas and Vitamixes are critical tools in constructing a super-healthy diet, rich in superfood, that will keep you disease-free and living a long life, while staying young, and young looking for a very long time.

I had thought I was insuring the alkalinity of my body just by drinking the juice of half a lemon in half a glass of good water every morning ten minutes before I ate anything else. But going a little deeper into this acid-alkaline thing I found out that the pH scale is logorhythmic, that is, each number differs from the numbers on either side of it by a factor of 10, like the Richter scale. So 5 is 10 times more acid than 6, 4 is 10 times more acid than 5, etc. Ho boy. I stopped being so smug about how alkaline I was just by drinking my morning lemon juice.

Moreover, it turns out that when you cook something it lowers the alkalinity and increases the acidity! And most of the things I really loved were on the acid side: yogurt, cheese, turkey, oats, walnuts, chocolate, prunes, even pumpkin seeds! And it takes ten units of an alkaline food to neutralize one unit of an acid food! How were we going to maintain that ideal 7.35 body pH?

I soon found out that almost everything else I eat during the day is acidifying—even tuna fish–especially tuna fish! So I resolved to have a raw alkaline festival this evening. I took out a book I had bought two years ago at the Strand for $2 in the outside shelves (original price $35), Raw, the Uncookbook by Juliano Brotman. Sticking to all raw all vegan foods, it creatively made hamburgers and meat loaf from nut meals, for example, and simulated the heat of cooked foods with cayenne.

I decided to have a raw alkaline mini-festival for dinner, which means I decided to cook one recipe from the book: a combination of the two borscht recipes. So I went out and bought some loose beets, dill, green onions, a poblano pepper (my substitute for a jalapeño), and also some raw almonds, coconut water (alkaline), and oranges. I juiced a large beet and a half and a large carrot and a half to make my 2 cups of beet and carrot juice, added sliced ginger, half the poblano, a loose tablespoon of dill weed, juice of half a lemon, and a chopped up green onion, put them all in my Nutribullet (my secret weapon, unanticipated by the Uncookbook), and whirred. Didn’t taste bad. Then I added some sea salt, a half grapefruit (instead of fresh squeezed orange juice, and, why not, a handful of raw almonds, and more whirr. I thought my combination of sweet (the beets and carrot) and bitter (the grapefruit) might taste something like chocolate, with a little imagination, but it didn’t make it. Still, it wasn’t bad. It was my variation on the two borscht recipes.

So after drinking some from a glass—it was pretty thick—I poured out a bowlful, adding a scooped out half avocado (very alkaline) from the recipe, and two tablespoons of sour cream (not in the book). I mean, how can you have borscht without sour cream, especially if you’re Jewish? After adding a little salt, it was delicious, and very filling.

I microwaved a modest portion of my eggplant and mixed greens concoction from two nights ago, garnished with another dollop of sour cream (goes with everything), and I had me a party of one.

I insist that healthy eating be fun and very tasty—and even more fun to do with your partner.

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