by Hervé Bessières Registered Nutritional Therapist (BANT and CNHC), Shiatsu practitioner, Ear Acupuncturist and therapeutic group facilitator at Chelsea Natural Health
Our human body is truly incredible. It is equipped with a vast array of biological processes to grow, repair, regenerate and detoxify. All we need is already there. Modern living brings with it, its fair share of advantages such as the availability of exotic culinary traditions at our doorsteps, technologies and gadgets to make our lives easier and comfortable. However, modern living also brings its fast pace, heightened stress levels, pollution, fatigue and processed food devoid of nutritional value. Whatever life throws at us, our body has to deal with it.
In an ideal world, to achieve optimal health, our diet should be essentially plant based, varied, made of fresh ingredients that have not been tempered with chemicals and industrial processes. In reality, we are so often caught up in the fast pace of modern living that convenience food becomes our staple diet and with it, its lack of nutritional value and its overload of preservatives, flavor enhancers, pesticides etc.
So we need to support our body the same way it supports us in our daily life and sometime give it a break or more to the point allow it work optimally to remove the accumulated toxicity.
Alkaline diets have been around since the early 20th Century; the founder of the macrobiotic diet made it an important theme in his theory of macrobiotics. But what does an alkaline diet mean and what are its potential health benefits?
Some of the foods we eat leave an acidic residue when digested; others leave an alkaline residue. For instance, high protein foods such as meats increase the production of sulphuric and organic acids leading to an increased acidic load. Vegetables on the other hands provide the body with alkaline minerals such as potassium salts and thus promote alkalinity.
Our body functions mostly in an alkaline environment, this is crucial for our biological processes to take place. Our blood for instance has an alkaline pH of 7.35, our body very tightly regulates this, the thought that our diet can alter this equilibrium is not grounded in science, any marked changes in blood alkalinity and we would not be alive. Does this mean that diet-induced acidosis is a fallacy? Well, not quite, acidosis refers to the process of compensating for acidity by using alkaline buffers such as potassium salts.
Our blood cannot become acidic per se, but our body can be forced to continuously compensate for an acidic diet by redirecting our stores of alkaline buffers from other part of our body to maintain equilibrium.
Scientists believe that our modern diets are potentially more acidic than that of our ancestors and that we may not be suited for highly processed diets, that the constant compensatory countering of acidic load may deplete our reserves of crucial minerals needed in other parts of our body such as bones, muscles, kidneys and our endocrine system and that low grade acidosis may be linked to important health effects over time.
So where does this leave us?
Well most of us can’t adhere to a plant based diet consisting of homemade meals from fresh ingredients; some of us constantly rely on highly processed food. This means that most of us will benefit from cleaning up our cupboards and fridges once in while and allow fresh vegetables and freshly cooked food to take center stage to help our body to eliminate more efficiently and replenish our reserves of the goodness nature provides us with.
The Festive Season is on the way and with it, its luscious family meals and celebrations. Engaging with a specially designed alkaline programme can be a very healthy start to the New Year; I have seen many of my clients benefit from such programme. Preparation, practical advice and support will help you succeed in achieving optimal health. So once the celebrations are winding down and the New Year awakens, let’s eat to support our body to function better, let’s eat for our health and find equilibrium in our weight, vitality and alterness.