Dietary Counseling and Consultations

Eat for Health

What’s Your pH?

Published May 18th, 2011 in Eat for Health

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD., CNC, BCIH,

I’m frequently asked what I think of acid/alkaline balancing plans. I try to look at things from not only current application but the history. This one has a long history, some of it a little on the colorful and not often mentioned side.

The Alkaline diet is based on the theory certain foods, when consumed, leave an alkaline residue, or ash. Minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc or copper, are said to be the principal components of the ash. A food is thus classified as alkaline, acid or neutral according to the pH of the solution created with its ash in water.

A Little History

In 1863, Dr. James Caleb Jackson operated the Dansville Sanitarium in Dansville, New York; Dr. Jackson was a staunch vegetarian. One of Dr. Jackson’s, patrons was Ellen G. White, Ms. White went on to found the Seventh Day Adventist religion which advocates a vegetarian lifestyle. One of the members of Sister White’s new church was John Kellogg. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s vocation was in the health spa and hospital business. He was the superintendent of Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek Michigan. While history has relegated John Kellogg’s medical status to that of “bowel-obsessed” quack (novel and film, Road to Wellville), in his day he was considered a very skilled surgeon.

Charles William Post entered the Battle Creek Sanitarium in February 1893 to recover from a second nervous breakdown. While recuperating, he became impressed with the new healthy foods being served. The stay at the sanitarium didn’t do much for Post’s health, but it did revive a passing interest in food development. By the following year, he had started his own Battle Creek-based sanitarium, La Vita Inn.

This was the height of the Victorian era and there were a lot of odd ideas about health. Dr. Kellogg was reported to say, he and his wife had been married for over forty years and had never once polluted themselves with fornication. He later went on to say that he had, one hundred percent success with his patients – those who failed did so through their own fault – they practiced self pollution, (sex and or masturbation) and failed to stop eating animal flesh.

A similar theory, called the Hay diet, was developed by the American physician William Howard Hay in the 1920s. A later theory, called nutripathy, was developed by another American, Gary A. Martin, in the 1970s. Others who have promulgated alkaline-acid diets include Edgar Cayce, D. C. Jarvis, Robert Young, Herman Aihara, Fred Shadian, and Victor A. Marcial-Vega.


“The pH Miracle” by Robert  O. Young, PhD, and Shelley Redford Young, is the most common book clients present me with on the pH eating idea….it is a strict vegetarian plan.  And in my view one that doesn’t make a lot of sense when you compare it with current research in Nutrigenomics, cancer nutrition sciences and phytochemicals studies.

A second very popular book “the Acid Alkaline Diet” by Dr. Christopher Vasey, a Swiss naturopath, follows the same thought possess and is contradictory on food selection.  Both of these authors and researchers contest that a restricted vegetarian, predominately raw food  lifestyle with no grain (a new twist on Kellogg’s idea), sugar, fruit, dairy, eggs, mushrooms, alcohol, caffeine, condiments, fermented or yeast foods, fat, nuts and a huge selection of vegetables will bring about a cancer, heart disease and diabetes free life. They also believe you can gain all the protein necessary for muscle, tissue, bone and brain health from only vegetable sources like soy.

For some this eating program may work because they are highly sensitive to sugars, gluten, yeasts and molds. The reason you feel better is partly due to elimination of inflammatory agents and a much more sinister possess called a Catabolic state, the teardown and destruction of cells, tissues and hormones – you’re feeding off of your own body.

We know that foods like mushrooms, broccoli, berries, organic meats and fish oils are very important in cancer, heart disease, depression and diabetes prevention. Please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater by eliminating healthy foods because you think it will improve your pH.  From 1920-1945, Dr. Weston A. Price conducted extensive anthropologic studies on indigenous populations, searching not only for the cause of degenerative illnesses but also for the perfect vegetarian diet.  He never found an indigenous population who was vegetarian. Price’s research took him to every continent , what he consistently found was it was not the meat, fat, dairy or fruit, individuals ate that created a problem, it was processed foods; refined sugars, grains, fats and salt that rapidly damaged the human body (Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Weston A. Price).

If we do nothing more than take high quality digestive and proteolytic enzymes we reduce our likelihood of developing many age related illnesses. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr, M.D., in 1984 began a longitudinal study of enzymes in food and how they affected health. The Pottenger’s Cats study is forgotten or overlooked by many, but the study clearly supports eating real, natural foods loaded with enzymes to prevent degeneration and illness. Of biochemical ingredients utilized by our body, minerals and enzymes are the two most important, they are what make healthy cell replication and stabilize the delicate pH balance of the blood, saliva, urine and tissues, without enzymes we don’t live very long. The complex phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables interact with cell mitochondria to maintain healthy cell replication and energy. The only simple solutions to health is clean up your diet and go back to eating real foods that don’t come out of boxes, cans, bottles and plastic bags.

To Your Good Health and Natural Healing Through Real Foods.

Category: Eat for Health