So last week I completed my 10 day alkaline diet and cleanse which I was hoping would remove any build-up of acid in the body and give me some energy that I was desperately seeking. But before I delve into what I thought, let’s look at what an alkaline diet is.
Most of us consume foods on a daily basis that are highly acidic and, if not balanced out with foods that contain alkaline and good nutrients, it can lead to a build-up of acid that target our cells in a bad way. Too much acidic foods are thought to cause headaches, lack of concentration and low energy. An alkaline diet focuses on your body’s PH balance and looks to plant based eating and natural sources of protein to ensure your body is receiving the right nutrients and to increase the alkaline your body requires.
There are many variations of the alkaline diet out there. For example some versions allow olives while others don’t. My advice, and the advice I got, is to find a version that you’re most comfortable with and go with it. Do your own research as it takes time to work out what food you can eat and what you need to prepare, and consider medical advice before you embark on any major change in diet. The version I chose had a food chart which helped immensely. I printed it off and stuck it on the fridge so easy reference. It detailed foods that were highly alkaline and these were the ones you should eat most of; foods that were moderately alkaline and foods that were neutral. It also showed foods that were slightly, moderately and highly acidic and gave recommendations on whether you should add these foods to your plate or not.
The 10 day cleanse is a chance to detox and reboot your body so you eliminate quick a bit of food from your diet and focus on leafy green vegetables, some fruit and nuts and tofu for protein. Think vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli and avocado – the greener the better. You can then either embrace a full alkaline diet or incorporate aspects of it into your daily diet.
What is not allowed included but not limited to:
- processed sugar
- all meat except for wild caught or deep sea fish (salmon, tuna, snapper etc)
- cow’s dairy
- tea and coffee
For me I always start the day with hot water and lemon and continued this throughout the cleanse. I actually struggled with breakfast the most. I thought I could whip up a juice and I’d be fine but I never managed to make a juice I actually liked. I make a juice for the boys with water, spinach and frozen mango (we call it Hulk juice because of its green colour) and although mango is not an everyday food on the list, I had this juice a couple of times during the 10 days. For lunch I usually had dinner leftovers or carrots with homemade hummus or salmon with avocado, a tiny bit of goat’s cheese, a squeeze of lemon and some black pepper. Dinner consisted of vegetable curry made with tomatoes as the stock base, sweet potato fritters with avocado and fetta, green salads with beetroot, tomatoes and olive oil, one pot chickpea curry, and salmon fillet with salad as a side.
There were days that I struggled more than others. I remember feeling quite hungry on day two and got a bit cranky with that (in other words I wanted to throw the towel in!) but once I started snacking on the nuts and carrots with dip I realised it was just a matter of keeping these foods close by. I felt quite low on energy and sleepy during the first few days of the cleanse and got a headache on day 3 which lasted a couple of days. I sweated more than normal at my gym classes during the cleanse – probably the toxins coming out! And while I didn’t jump out of bed with renewed energy, I did notice I started to wake up more alert and less groggy.
What I missed most during the cleanse was my Greek yogurt with homemade granola and cheese and dips. I did have a couple of falls off the wagon but I got back on and continued for the 10 days. What I’ve enjoyed most about it is the amount of fish we’re eating and the way we’re incorporating different flavours to our meals so we don’t feel like we’re continually eating the same salad. I lost a bit of weight during the cleanse but like any fast or fad diet, it will all come back on if I go back to the way I was eating before. The cleanse didn’t help with my psoriasis but it was worth giving it a go as I’ve heard it has helped some people with skin conditions.
I will do the cleanse again at some stage and while I’m not embarking on a full alkaline diet – I like my cheese and wine too much – I am definitely incorporating aspects of an alkaline diet into my everyday way of thinking about food. We have a veggie garden that’s going to get some great meals made from the beetroot, zucchini, spinach and kale.
As above, please do your own research and seek medical advice before embarking on any diet.