When I think alkaline, I think batteries. So my initial thoughts about eating an alkaline food-based diet ranged from vaguely skeptical to actively disinterested.
I came across the alkaline diet as I imagine most of us did—through the article about Allen Campbell, private chef to Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady. The famously nightshade-free regimen is commonly known as the alkaline diet and boasts celebrity followers including Kelly Ripa and Victoria Beckham. So I decided to try it for a week. (I realize they were not eating actual batteries. You can't be a Spice Girl if you're downing only triple-As.)
What It Is
The diet revolves around the idea that our internal organs live their best life when they're functioning on alkaline-forming foods—not alkaline food themselves though. Lemons, for example, are acidic foods. They make you pucker and help identify unknown cuts on your hands. They're also alkaline forming and, thus, highly encouraged. Tomatoes, however, are a no, as is dairy (goodbye, ice cream), alcohol and foods containing processed sugar. Everyone jokes about various diets being basic, but, here, the whole point is to be basic.
How It Went
I hope this is obvious, but I didn't grow seven inches and morph into a Brazilian supermodel or look down and see four Super Bowl rings on my hand at the end of the journey. The simplest way to sum up a week on the diet is that life proceeded as normal for the most part. I tend to mix up a banana, spinach and almond milk smoothie in the morning, foods which are all on the approved list, so that was one meal that didn't require altering. Lunch and dinner were usually gigantic salads with tofu, roasted sweet potatoes or the like. I was sad to give up staples like corn tortillas, hummus and cereal, and retroactively realized I'd slipped along the way on nonobvious items like seemingly harmless vanilla.
I felt hungry at times, but I feel that way even when I'm getting my normal daily bread and ice cream intake. Because I'm a functioning human being with hunger impulses and desires. The best move was cutting out coffee. I'm not typically a heavy coffee drinker—usually a couple times a week at most—but I consistently feel terrible afterward. Not pouring a cup on a whim left my stomach feeling more at ease.
As far as fad celebrity diets go, this one isn't that difficult to follow. There are no weird teas, no products to pose with for a sponsored Instagram post. I'd go so far as to call this "normal eating" rather than "fad diet," even if it does require saying goodbye to the beautiful relationships I have formed with puffy carbs and frozen dairy. Mostly, it was just exhausting to think about what I was consuming at every turn, especially in a workplace filled with snacks. It would have be much easier if I had a personal chef.
Also, with crazes like the Atkins diet, it's easy to know who to trust: Robert Atkins. But there's no definitive guide to the alkaline diet. The first, and seemingly comprehensive, chart that results after a Google search suspiciously lists sleep deprivation as an acidic substance. A fair point, but not a food.
Changing your diet for a week isn't going to skyrocket your system up the health scale, but pH factor aside, the foods involved with this diet are objectively healthy. Now the question is: When we're all living to be 150 years old, how are we to know if it was the bread-free week or the activated charcoal that saved us?
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