Updated: Jul 25
Let's start this post with a gnarly photo of my tongue, pre-alkaline diet on the left, and 37 days into the alkaline diet on the right. As you can see, my tongue pre-cleanse was quite coated with white that wouldn't scrape off with my tongue scraper. My taste buds were inflamed and my tongue felt thick. Today, after 37 days of eating 95% raw, 98% alkaline, my tongue is incredibly clear and doesn't feel as swollen. I will call this progress. I haven't reached the state of gut balance that I seek yet - other symptoms (bloating, itchy inner ears and scalp) have also decreased and many days I have no symptoms at all; I'm well on my way, however. Stress destroyed my gut (if you've read some of my other posts, you'll know that my mother and brother passed away 3 weeks apart in Oct/Nov 2014 and the stress, trauma and shock nearly took me out). Sometimes stress and trauma can't be avoided, but we can heal physically and emotionally with the right tools. One of the most important tools is the food we eat.
So, what is the right food path? Much, if not all of that decision must be made with the gut µbiome in mind. Our microbiota love fiber and polyphenols (micronutrient phytochemicals found in plants), so these must be a large part of the diet for most folks. Fruits and veggies fit the bill in that regard. Whole grains can be high in fiber as well, but be mindful of glutinous grains. A uBiome Explorer gut test [note: this test is no longer available; I am currently using the Organic Acids Test or the gut test from Microbiome Labs on my clients] can tell you if you have the microbes necessary to handle gluten. Small servings of brown rice can be a nice option for some. As for protein, there are beans (if tolerated) and legumes; local grass-fed, pastured meats and wild caught fatty fish like salmon. Organic foods are a must in order to lessen the chance of glyphosate (a highly toxic weed killer used in non-organic agriculture) exposure.
A note on fruit: Some friends have been concerned about the amount of fruit sugar involved in the alkaline cleanse I used. I tested my blood glucose levels for a day (and will do so again here and there throughout the rest of the month) and here's how it looked (below). Mind you, home bg meters can be off by several points, but it gives us a nice ballpark estimate:
8:35am - before food - 92
8:46am - drank 3 oranges/3 grapefruits, juiced (with dried barley grass juice added)
9:52 am - 1 hour post juice - 125
10:58am - 2 hours post juice - 91
11:20am - ate 3 bananas, 3 dates, frozen blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, total: 3 cups blended. Don't judge me; i was hungry.
12:30am - 1 hour post bananarama - 118
1:30pm - 2 hours post bananarama - 112
2:30pm - 3 hours post bananarama - 107 (these numbers all dropped as my gut continued to heal; my fasting glucose is around 80 now)
All levels were well within the ADA standards, but Chris Kresser thinks those standards need to be tweaked.
UPDATE: After a second cleanse in spring of 2019 (primarily green juice and smoothies), my fasting glucose levels moved down into the mid 80's - even better.
A huge part of my goal with the alkaline diet is FIBER. Fiber feeds our good bugs, and mine need a good feeding. The US RDA is 25g/day. Many gut folk recommend 30g/day. There's a fantastic website where you can put in all the foods you consume in a day, and it'll track your nutrient intake. It's fantastic! It's called Cronometer, and it's free for the basic account. It even breaks protein down into each individual amino acid. Pretty cool! I especially appreciate the ability to easily track micro-nutrients which are left off of so many fitness apps.
So, at day 37, I would say I've gained some benefits on this cleanse/diet and will continue on. What diets have worked well for you, and brought health and well-being to your life? Contact me and let me know! I'd love to hear from you.
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