Sunday, October 18, 2009

DAY 21 ALKALINE YEAR Alkaline-forming Foods

A distinction may need to be made between alkaline and alkaline-forming foods, and the distinction explains why experts differ on what’s alkaline and what’s not.  In her useful little book, The Acid-Alkaline Food Guide, Susan E. Brown, PhD, CCN, discusses techniques for analyzing not only a food’s composition before it’s eaten, but also its composition after the body metabolizes it.  Until recently, estimates of acid-alkaline food impact were based on a technique that involved burning up the food.  If the ensuing ashes contained acidic remains, including sulfur, phosporus, and iodine, the food was deemed acidic; if the ashes contained calcium, magnesium, potassium and other alkaline minerals, the food was called alkaline.

In time, scientists  began to understand that a major effect of food  lay in  the types of chemical compounds left in the body after it was metabolized.  Techniques and formulae for analyzing this began to be developed by such people as the German scientists, Drs. Thomas Remer and Friedrich  Manz (1995) and later, Dr. Lynda Frasseto of the University of California (1998) and Dr. Russell Jaffe, who developed the most inclusive formula (to date) of calculating the impact of foods on body pH.  About that formula,  Dr. Brown writes that it has been “validated by his over twenty years of clinical experience in reversing chronic low-grade metabolic acidosis”.  She, too, has used this in working with “hundreds” of people who adjusted their early-morning pH levels by dietary modifications.

To me the most surprising food that I now take to be alkaline is lemon juice.  Its basic composition would lead you to think it is acidic, but it is highly alkaline forming in the body, according to Dr. Brown.  Last Thanksgiving the guest at my right, a feisty retired University of California biology professor, thought that was dead wrong and became so incensed at the idea that he moved over to the other side of the room and lay down on a couch to get over it.   Science does move on!

Writes Dr. Brown: “The more we understand about our body’s pH balance, the more we appreciate the complexity of our biochemical workings.  Clearly, the tables [that comprise her  book] are a “work in progress,” and over time, new scientific understandings will enable them to be refined and expanded.  For now, these tables will provide you with a good basis for developing a life-supporting alkaline diet.”

From now through the rest of this blog, unless other evidence comes to my attention, I’ll use the word “alkaline” to mean “alkaline forming,” from Dr. Brown’s tables primarily.

From scientific brouhaha to earthier matters, I’ve been drying apples for a couple of days now.   My dehydrator has been humming the whole time, full of my yard’s sliced Spitzbergens and  Roxbury Russets.  Both are still too green to provide enjoyable eating, but they will provide tasty snacks all winter.  Although most apples are moderately alkaline, drying them concentrates their sugars, so I wouldn’t eat them in the same quantities I’ve allowed myself with almonds.   I also sprinkle a cinnamon-nutmeg mixture on them before drying; Jack said the flavor “just explodes” in his mouth!

This morning after church, faced with our good Outlook Inn’s menu fare of sausage, bacon, eggs, brioche toast, and other goodies,  I chose unsweetened oatmeal cooked in coconut milk (both low alkaline) with half a sliced banana for garnish.  Superb flavors!  No regrets!!  I’m going to try this cooking technique at home with quinoa and raisins, for variety.  Instead of coffee, I splurged on my favorite Foxtrot tea, composed of peppermint, chamomile and rooibos, the latter an herbal plant that grows in South Africa.  All caffeine-free and satisfying.

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