(Health Secrets) What we eat is as important as how we eat. Previously we have discussed gut pH and its relationship to chewing, stomach function and food reactions. We have uncovered the relationship of the pH of the gut to food reactions and to blood pH. In this article, we will discuss the actual dietary choices that lead to healthy gut pH.
What we eat today is all too processed. We do not eat fresh food from our gardens or even freshly ground seeds. We have milled products and pressed unstable oils that have been sitting around going bad. Even our produce has been transported across the country or the world. Many people are not wise enough to eat produce at all. They are eating from packages and fast food places.
The consequence of these choices is that most people are deficient of many whole food nutrients. We do not have metabolic acid nutrients because they are the most yang and the most volatile. Yang is more volatile than yin. We end up unable to carry on acid processes because we are deficient in them. The resulting imbalance has predictable physiological outcomes. We have already noted how high gut pH (and by this, we really mean there is a shortage of hydrogen-ion-forming nutrients from healthy, fresh food) leads to food allergies. Additionally, absorption of protein, calcium and a good many vitamins declines when gut pH is alkaline. Digestive distress and resultant systemic inflammation is a real problem for the alkaline gut person. The gut does not repair itself properly if it is too alkaline, leading to so-called “leaky gut.”
Debris that would be kept fluid and easily removed in an acid environment will accumulate in the lymphatic system of the gut. Tooth decay and mineral deficiency result from the alkaline gut. The immune system, the kidneys and cerebral spinal fluid are all acidic by nature and fed by an acidic gut. The person who seems to have a proclivity to self-allergies and auto-immune disease will invariably have an alkaline gut.
For a few to whom this idea seems intolerably new, it might be easier to think of it in terms of yin and yang as mentioned earlier. Processed food eating leaves us too yin because the yang material is the most volatile and disappears from our food too quickly upon cooking and processing. The idea that modern illnesses result from us being too yin is not new. Macrobiotics gives a lot of discussion to this idea. Much of what they do is calculated to quickly restore yang that has been lost to modern food preparation habits.
Now we know why we need to do it—next we will discuss what we might do to remedy the situation.
The most important matter is eating fresh, whole food 100% of the time. Even things I usually recommend against are okay if they are fresh and whole. If you grind your own flour and use it immediately to make bread you will eat in a few days, that will probably keep your gut acid, even if you are sensitive to it. I do not recommend it, but it is possible to consume with minimal damage and some benefit.
75% of every meal (or more) should be raw. This is the minimum standard as far as I can tell. Each bite should be well chewed. This will help the body extract the nutrients it should get from the food you eat. Finally, each meal should be very simple. Complexity is never your friend. Simplicity is how you heal.
Generally, acid residue foods are seeds, grains and beans. We germinate them to make them more balanced, but they are inherently a good source of acidity. Greens, which always alkalize our blood, are actually good sources for healing in the gut. Just because something has an alkaline or acid ash does not mean your body cannot extract the opposite to use where needed.
One of the finest aids to assist in returning gut pH to normal is sea salt. A company called Herbs of Light has a Pink Himalayan Sea Salt product in capsules. This helps as much for gut pH as it does for other things it is promoted for. In addition to sea salt, my trace mineral formula is very helpful. It is a good source of gut acids as well as trace minerals. It is equal parts of alfalfa, barley grass, kelp and Raw Meal powder from Garden of Life. I usually have patients take 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture 2 times daily to restore whole body nutrition. It supports return of the gut to a healthy state on many levels. Standard Process has a few products for acidifying the gut including Zypan for the upper digestion, Lactic Acid Yeast for the small intestine and Zymex for the lower intestine. Two of my favorite foods of all are raw sour kraut and raw pickles, both are available under the brand name “Bubbies.”
Most fruit will produce an alkaline body, not an acidic one. That is great for the blood but for the gut it can be a problem for some people. Especially guilty of leaving an alkaline gut are citrus fruit. Apples, however, are helpful to restoring the gut to normal. Also figs and dried grapes. This is not to say alkaline ash foods are bad for us. Blood pH, however, has very little to do with the ash we take in, but whether we are eating whole foods and digesting them well. Undigested debris in our system will always result in acid pH and no remedy exists that is sufficient to fix the problem.
The biggest problem we face today is the consumption of processed, partsome food. In this article we have introduced the restoration of normal gut pH and normal health. In the next article, we will discuss the finer art of controlling the immune response through healing the gut and also draining the cisterna chyli. The exact process of how to minimize the accumulation of lymph in the cisterna chyli as well as the process of manually draining it will be treated.
Thanks for reading,
Kal Sellers, DC, MH