This was probably my first attempt at a specifically directed diet when I was diagnosed with my dual autoimmune illnesses, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). I had been eating as directed by the nutritionist had instructed me for a number of years at this point and was well aware of the concept of avoiding certain foods, particularly nightshades. Given the fact that my body was still far from at its optimum it was determined I needed to ‘step it up’.
Alkaline Diet/ Acid-Alkaline Diet/ Alkaline-Ash Diet
What is it? A diet based on the concept of how foods break down and behave once they have begun digesting in the body. It suggests that the food you consume has the power to alter your body’s Ph levels (how acidic or alkaline it is).
Let me explain by letting someone else explain:
When you metabolise foods and extract the energy (calories) from them, you are actually burning the foods, except that it happens in a slow and controlled fashion.
When you burn foods, they actually leave an ash residue, just like when you burn wood in a furnace.
As it turns out, this ash can be acidic or alkaline (or neutral)… and proponents of this diet claim that this ash can directly affect the acidity of your body.
So if you eat foods with acidic ash, it makes your body acidic. If you eat foods with alkaline ash, it makes your body alkaline. Neutral ash has no effect. Simple.
Acid ash is thought to make you vulnerable to illness and disease, whereas alkaline ash is considered protective. By choosing more alkaline foods, you should be able to “alkalize” your diet and improve health. – Joe Leech, Authority Nutrition Dec 2015
There are particular foods that are considered Acidic, Alkaline or Neutral. These Ph levels are not determined in their resting state but how they change within the body. I was surprised to find Citrus was an Alkaline food, given its Acidic qualities.
If you look at Joe Leech’s simple lists you will see:
Certain food groups are considered acidic, alkaline or neutral:
- Acidic: Meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, grains and alcohol.
- Neutral: Natural fats, starches and sugars.
- Alkaline: Fruits, nuts, legumes and vegetables.
How I went on this diet:
For the most part I loved it. I was intended to stay on it as a life-changing diet, and not as a detox programme. My will power, finances and general life state did not allow me to continue on it long term. I lacked the attention span and will power. I was a young 18 year old girl working and studying full time, newly moved to the city from a remote country town, getting used to a body that didn’t like running and resisted my weekend party routines. I still use many of the recipes from this programme and definitely see the benefits in others that are more dedicated and rigid in their approach to this.
As to impact on my inflammation of RA or SLE I cannot say I noticed anything. I am not a good example, however due to my lifestyle choices and the stronger nature of the medications I was taking at the time.
What you need to remember: This is, of course, one nutrition and diet theory. There are many out there. There is often as much research to support these theories as there is to discount it, as can be seen with Paleo and Ketogenic Diets. If you like this concept it is supported and can work for you but you need to work with a supportive health team of nutritionists and doctors to determine if it safe and effective for you.
For more information: