Claire and the VeganCooking.com crew were kind enough me to ask me to write a few posts this week on health and the vegan diet.
So I thought…
“What better way then to start talking about the vegan diet and acidity in your body?”
At this early point of our conversation you might be wondering…
- What on earth I’m talking about, and
- What does acidity in the body have to do with health and how it ties into a vegan diet?
So let’s first investigate the dangers of an acidic body and how we create too much acid in the first place.
Dangers of an Acidic Body
If you remember back to high school science you’ll surely remember the pH scale, right?
From those “enjoyable” science lessons we learned that the pH scale goes from 0-14 and that “0” represents the most acidic substances/solutions, while “14” represents those that are most alkaline.
The half-way point -“7” – represents a neutral pH.
For instance, your stomach acid has a pH of about 2 which is necessary for breaking down proteins. Conversely, most plant foods (ie. fruits and veggies) have a more alkaline pH – usually above 7.5.
So here’s the interesting part…
Your blood NEEDS to maintain a pH of between 7.35-7.45. This is slightly alkaline.
If your blood is more acidic than this, that’s when BIG health problems arise because…
An acidic body (acidic blood, really) is associated with:
- increased fat storage,
- calcium breakdown from your bones and teeth,
- increased free radical damage of the blood vessels leading to cardiovascular problems,
- increased susceptibility to ALL illnesses and disease process,
- and more!
So when we consider our population’s ill state of health, we really have an acid problem. And that’s a good thing because WE have the power to reverse these issues and create incredible health.
I’ll show you why in just a second.
Is Your Vegan Diet Too Acidic?
So, how is acid created in your body?
From the foods you eat.
Eating processed foods, lots of sugar, and refined grains are all major contributors to the acid load in your body.
This is simply due to their inherent nutrients (or lack of them) and manufacturing processes.
Conversely, fruits and veggies leave an alkaline residue inside your body because of their high levels of alkalizing minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and others.
Having helped over 35,000 people transform their lives through healthier eating (predominantly plant-based) I can tell you that once you readjust the pH balance within your body, simply by making healthier food choices, you can enjoy so much more energy, have an easier time losing weight, and creating a lifetime of incredible health.
The Vegan Dilemma
I know many vegans.
And unfortunately, not all of them have a great health – although you’d expect them to since eating more plant-based foods is associated with better health, right?
But again, this brings us back to the point that many vegans’ diets are comprised of breads, pastas, cereals, and soy-based creations like “tofurky” and “veggie dogs”.
In my eyes, this is not a healthy diet.
So YES, you can be vegan and still unhealthy.
If you don’t eat animal products for ethical reasons then that’s great.
But if your vegan diet is less than ideal, then you may want to consider the “ethical” implications that has on your health.
Do your value the health and well-being of unknown animals more than your own health?
If so, I urge you to reconsider how you treat your own body.
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional sweet treat or lovely vegan dessert but please cover your bases and build a solid health foundation by eating plenty of fruits and veggies each and every day.
To me, that’s the essence of a true healthy vegan diet!
Yuri Elkaim is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and author of Eating for Energy. Over the past 13 years, he and his plant-based nutrition programs have transformed the lives of more than 35,000 people around the world. You too can transform your health, your waistline, and your energy levels with his Eating for Energy program today.