I’m not sure why I remember this story so well (maybe for the illustrative purpose here? lol), but I recall as a young child my grandmother was watching us. It was evening and I was in the bath. I was just getting old enough to take care of washing my own hair. As many young children do, I squeezed out too much shampoo into my hand. Unsure what to do I called my grandma into the bathroom. My mom usually shampooed our hair twice, so I asked her that since I accidentally poured double the amount into my hand if I should just shampoo once. She said yes. I think a lot of us have this tendency. If some is good, more must be better and more should result in faster.
When information began emerging about the benefits of having an alkaline pH in our bodies, it led to a fad. If we are supposed to have a pH of around 7.2 – 7.4 then having an even higher pH should result in faster wellness, right? Sounds good in theory. For some it even works, but I have not met anyone personally where it has worked effectively for the long term. Usually, we are unable to maintain extreme and as we see in so many other examples, extreme can have negative consequences. The vitamin D we get from the sun is good, but too much sun can cause sunburn, exercise is good, too much can cause injury and change our bodies hormonal balance. You get the idea.
If you truly want to be well, if you want your life to be improved and if you want all that to be permanent, I encourage balance. Many of us walk around with poor health because our choices are throwing our bodies out of balance. We are permanently in an acidic state and that’s not where we are meant to function. Without trying, our culture and eating habits easily lead us to this acidic state. We see the consequences of this acidity in the amount of health challenges related to inflammation, arthritis, chronic pain, cancer, fatigue and depleted bone mass.
If you’d like to move your body back into the slightly alkaline levels, where it will function like a well oiled machine, you don’t have to invest a ton of money and energy into a fad. Balance your intake of acid producing with alkaline producing. If you want to be really nitty gritty about it you can research specific foods and what effect they have on you pH levels, but if you want to keep it simple here’s a little tip:
- If it was alive, if it’s sugar (carbs) or if it’s fake food (processed, contains a lot of chemicals), it will generally lower your pH and make you more acidic
- If it’s a plant it will generally raise your pH and make you more alkaline.
So – balance those items out. If you have a big ‘ol steak, have some dark green vegetables with it. If you drink a pop, follow it with some lemon water. Some people are encouraged by seeing numbers. If that’s you, feel free to buy yourself some litmus strips at your pharmacy and test your pH so you can learn exactly how your choices affect your body. You can test your saliva and/or urine. The best time to test your pH is first thing in the morning, before you even have your first glass of water. If you’re curious about how a particular meal affects you it’s best to test a couple hours after eating.
Encourage yourself, instead of fretting too much about what you can’t or shouldn’t have, start telling yourself yes and plan what you’re going to counteract it with. Keep in mind, I’m not promoting a candy, pop or a cake free for all. Balance. I’m encouraging balance. And if you’re going to say yes, say yes with a plan to balance yourself out.
Personally, this is a journey I know I need to head down for my own wellness. I like to have a tray of cut up vegetables handy so they are quickly and easily accessible. I am going to get myself the litmus strips; I can be competitive with myself and I could see myself enjoying the personal challenge of getting those numbers in the middle. I’ve also got a nasty addiction to a particular energy drink and every time I consider quitting it sends me into a rebellious panic and I consume more out of spite (so ridiculous, spiting and rebelling against myself – welcome to me), I’m not going to panic too much about that one right now and instead I’m just going to focus on balancing that pH to a nice healthy 7.2 ish.