About 14 years ago, I decided to become a vegan. I was 26 years old at the time and started feeling disgusted by meat. It really had not much to do with health, and more to do with realizing exactly how the animals I was eating were being cared for and slaughtered. The entire industry made me physically ill, and I had to stop all connection to it. I slowly, over a period of about a year, eliminated all animal products from my diet. All meat, all dairy and all the products that had animals ingredients hidden in them, like gelatin.
I lost weight and looked and felt better then I had ever in my entire life. Within the next few years, I also realized I had a gluten intolerance and eliminated all gluten from my diet. Then I became pregnant at 29 and started craving meat again. I allowed myself to eat organic grass fed meat during my pregnancy because I didn’t know how else to receive the iron that I felt so in need of.
Then the slippery slope started to bring me down. After I gave birth I found myself reaching for acidic choices like meat and caffeine to keep me going. I originally wrote this at that time, in March of 2012, as a guide to help me realize the acidic foods that I had started to rely on for energy and replace them with more alkaline foods. I suffered from a number of health problems after my pregnancy including chronic fatigue, anxiety and frequent cold like symptoms. I knew it was directly related to my diet. In addition to this every time that I ingested meat, I had visions of animal sufferring and felt deep pain in my body. It was difficult for me.
I have slowly reintegrated lots and lots of fruits and vegetables, small amounts of nuts, quinoa and lentils into my daily diet. I am picky and only eat what feels great to my body. I now listen to my body. As I eat, I ask my body, why did you need this? and I listen. Most times I am craving meat it is due to a lack of protein or iron. I sometimes include local fresh eggs when I feel I need extra protein or iron, (2019 update – no more eggs). I don’t believe in one perfect diet, or one right way of eating, I believe in listening to your body and only eating pure foods that are from the earth that cause as little harm to other sentient beings as possible 🙂 I share my journey because I was led through my need to eat less meat and dairy and gluten to research to what I eat today which is an alkaline vegan diet. I still eat pizza, brownies, and tacos. I just create alternative recipes that feed my body with less acidic and more nutrient dense ingredients.
WHAT IS AN ALKALINE DIET PLAN?
An alkaline diet plan is not about actually going on a ‘diet’, in the traditional way we think of a diet. It is more about integrating more alkaline foods into your diet. An alkaline food is a food that when digested, releases an alkaline base into your blood. Acidic foods do the opposite. Your body functions best when you are eating fruits and vegetables that are a balance between alkaline and acidic.
There are some more extreme Alkaline Diets that suggest you eliminate all acidic fruits and vegetables from your diet, or eat them sparingly. If you have a medical condition, or if you consume a diet of animal products and processed foods, then this type of diet may work for you. However, the advice here is meant to support you in creating a plan for integrating more alkaline foods into your diet. I also recommend detoxifying from animal and dairy products.
The traditional American, Canadian and European diets are very acidic. Processed foods, sugar, soda, meat, dairy, alcohol and caffeine are examples of acidic foods. These foods force your cells, organs and tissues to work harder. This is why you may be watching the fat, calories, carbohydrates and protein you bring into your body, but still feel low on energy.
Acidic foods can decrease your energy level and leave you feeling sluggish and foggy. Alkaline foods neutralize acid in your body. Both acid and alkaline compounds are produced simultaneously in your body. Your body functions better when it has more alkalinity than acidity. Nutritionists advocating an alkaline diet plan advise that you consume 75 percent of all of your food from alkaline sources such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and rice.
2020 UPDATED PLAN
Alkaline Diet Plan Stage 1: Start With Breakfast
To keep my body going strong and flowing through my day, I begin with an alkaline Superfood Smoothie. Fruit smoothies can be prepared ahead of time and are more satisfying to the cells of your body than juice.
My Superfood Smoothie
10 oz blueberries
2 tsp. He Shou Wu
1 – 1 1/2 c. Mountain Valley Spring Water
1 tsp. maca root powder
1 tsp. Spirulina
You can also easily add green powdered algae products such as chlorella and spirulina or any leftover raw veggies in small amounts to fruit smoothies. Mixing veggies in with fruits is an excellent way to eat more vegetables and a great way to get kids to eat their greens.
Most fruits are alkaline 🙂 Make a pledge to stop buying store-bought juice or tea, which is usually sweetened with processed sugar. Make another pledge to eliminate processed sugar, which operates as an acidic force in your body.
Alkaline Diet Plan Stage 2: Veggies for Lunch!
A huge salad is the perfect lunch. If it’s a cold day, as there are lots here in New England, I heat frozen broccoli, peppers, corn, potatoes, tomato sauce and top with hemp seeds and cashew cheese. I like to make big salads with lots of ingredients, if it is cold I make a warm salad 🙂
I also buy organic corn tortillas and eat them with black beans often for lunch.
Alkaline Diet Plan Stage 3: Snacks
I always have peanut butter and apples, pistachios & walnuts on hand for snacking. I generally go with what is inexpensive, nutrient dense and easy to find. If you don’t have any healthy nut recipes that you make, make cashew butter. I have been making cashew butter, and it’s pretty amazing and just makes everything more satisfying! Put it on top of pretty much anything: raw crackers (which are surprisingly easy to make and VERY satisfying, check the link below for inspiration), apples, celery, or chopped veggies rolled in dried seaweed sheets, Yum! I also have been craving plaintains lately. They are inexpensive, and you can put them in the oven with some coconut oil, and they will keep you going!
Alkaline Diet Plan Stage 4: Supper & Protein
Most traditional proteins, including meat, fish, shellfish, and eggs are acidic. It is possible to consume all the protein you need in a day without eating animal products or dairy. However, in order to do this you need to be much more mindful. Choose vegan proteins like temphe, beans, nuts and seeds and eat ALOT more veggies. There are so many different vegetables to eat, I challenge myself to double my vegetable portion for dinner.
One pan roasts are a simple way to incorporate veggies that you are unfamiliar with into your diet. Start with the freshest vegetables you can find at the market, try to add at least one root vegetable like potatoes chop them up, alternatively, buy frozen vegetables and add to a 9×12 pyrex pan with high-quality coconut or olive oil. Roast at 485 for 25 minutes. I top with coconut animos for the last 5 minutes and this covers them with a glaze. I also make a simple tahini sauce that I put on everything. It is simple: 1/4 cup of tahini, 1 tsp. siracha or 1 hot pepper, 2 T coconut amino acids or soy sauce, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 lemon squeezed. Put it in a blender or food processor and pour it over whatever 🙂
Alkaline Diet Plan Stage 5: Spices, Herbs and Tea
Oils, cheese and meats are rich in flavor, but their acidic nature can be difficult on your digestive system. Spices, herbs and teas can provide you with the flavor your body needs and bring harmony back to your internal organs. Cinnamon, curry, ginger, mustard, chili pepper, sea salt, tumeric and all herbs are all alkaline. Fill your cupboards with these ingredients and challenge yourself to integrate them into your daily meals.
The easiest way to integrate new items into your diet is to buy them first and let their presence in your home inspire you! Making drinks ahead of time so that you are not drawn to packaged beverages is also a great way to keep your body aligned. Prepare green tea, herbal tea, dandelion tea, ginseng tea, Yerba Mate tea or Kombucha (my two favorites!) to have on hand for sipping throughout your day and for keeping your energy high without coffee, which is acidic.
Alkaline Diet Plan Success: Plan, Plan, Plan
Knowing what foods are alkaline is only a small piece of transitioning your diet. In order to adopt an alkaline diet, you must plan in advance. Every-time you reach for something that is high in acid (meat, fish, dairy, fats and oils, corn, wheat, sugar, alcohol, soda or coffee are the most common) think of an alternative that you can have ready the next time you want the acidic item. Then ONLY buy the foods that are alkaline. Give all other food away, or slowly phase it out of your household. Spend your money on only alkaline foods, and you will be forced to be creative 🙂
Personally, I’ve noticed that as I’ve let go of more and more acidic foods from my diet, I naturally crave more alkaline foods. When I find myself craving acidic or processed foods, I will stop and ask my body:
What do I really want?
For example, when I instinctively want a coffee, I stop tune into my body and ask; what do I really want right now? The answer is always energy. So I can stop myself, make a cup of Yerba Mate with coconut milk. This is an easier choice on my body and still gives me the energy that I was really looking for in the coffee. However, I have a daily ritual that includes cold brew coffee because I enjoy it, so I have created a ritual that allows me to enjoy a little bit every day. When I want more (which I sometimes do) I generally redirect myself to Yerba Mate or Kombucha, or Matcha Tea.
The most important thing to remember when beginning an alkaline diet plan is that you don’t have to eat 100% of your foods one way or another. This diet plan is simply a guide to help you make healthier choices in your diet. It will also lighten your energy field. Your energy field absorbs the vibration of everything you put into it. There is so much animal cruelty that takes place not only in the meat and fishing industries, but in the dairy industry as well, it is really just heart-breaking and we should be very mindful about supporting heart-centered food choices as we purify our energy fields. If you are not yet educated about the meat and dairy industries, and studies done on veganism, travel to Amazon Prime or Netflix and spend a few months educating yourself. Spend some time meditating with your food and tune into it. Ask yourself regularly, does this make me feel good AFTER I eat it?
Trust your intuition as you move through the process. It is just about maintaining a mindful consciousness. Also, have fun with it, buy some things you’ve never heard of, make some new recipes! I personally curate Indigo International’s Pinterest page, and there you can find an AMAZING organized selection of recipes to inspire you! I have staple recipes, but I am always inspired from recipes I find online. There are many videos in there too; get inspired by following the vegan youtubers whose recipe videos are featured there as well. I am always adding what inspires me seasonally. I think the most fun is paying attention to how good your body feels when you feed it high energy foods! I would say this is what I notice the most after transitioning to a vegan alkaline diet, I have a higher sustained energy throughout the day.