“What makes a food a ‘healing food’? Let’s take a couple of perfect examples so we can understand clearly…
Wheatgrass juice, which is literally the juice pressed out from the grass of young wheat shoots (using a ‘slow’ juicer), is widely known as ‘Mother Nature’s greatest healer’ because of its amazing effect on the body. Firstly, it oxygenates the blood like no other food, meaning that it floods the bloodstream with oxygen, which the blood can then deliver to the cells of the body. Oxygen is the primary fuel for the body’s cells, so when our body is abundant with oxygen we feel energised and motivated. When there is not sufficient oxygen in our bloodstream we usually feel tired and sleepy.
Oxygenating our body, either nutritionally, through deep breathing or through exercise literally expands and strengthens the entire life-force of our body. It fortifies our immune system. It energises our body. It brightens our mind and makes us feel more alert and ‘in-the-moment’. Oxygen is essential. It enables the body’s cells to repair and regenerate, and it prevents illness. This is why a predominantly outdoor life – coupled with excellent nutrition – is very important for our health. While outdoors, we are simply breathing in more oxygen, thus nourishing every cell of our body in the most basic way.
Did you know that in 1922, Doctor Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize for his findings on the connection between sugar and cancer? Essentially his findings boiled down to this: Normal, healthy cells feed on oxygen – it is their prime food and it is what satisfies their energy needs. Cancer cells however, can only exist in an an oxygen-deficient environment, and they have their energy needs met by the fermentation of sugar. This simply means that cancerous cells obtain their energy from sugar, rather than from oxygen. This means that someone who consumes little or no sugar (in its many forms) is far less likely to get cancer, especially if they have an oxygenating diet and a predominantly outdoor lifestyle. It also means that the healthy cells in our body cannot become cancerous if they have a good supply of oxygen. Isn’t that good to know?
(You can learn much more about the subject of oxygen, cancer and healing by reading this wonderful and informative article by Dr Majid Ali: http://lifeisround.com/Oxygen.pdf )
So, back to wheatgrass juice. The most wonderful thing about it is that oxygenates the body like nothing else. It is also very rich in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll does wonderful things for our body and blood. It balances our blood chemistry, creating a tangible sense of calm and stability in the body. It also eliminates the desire for unhealthy food cravings, because of its balancing and nourishing effect. It also nourishes and strengthens the blood with iron. This is especially the case with dark leafy greens (like kale for example) and super-foods like Spirulina.
Spirulina is a miraculous food. It is the most nutrient-dense of all algae on the planet, and is the most concentrated form of any known organic food. It is nutritionally complete, meaning that it contains everything the body needs to live on. For this reason, coupled with its very low cost of production, Spirulina is now being used to address the problem of malnutrition in poor countries. It is even consumed by NASA astronauts in space.
Nutritionally, it consists of around 65% digestible protein, so it is a high-protein food, and very satisfying. Its chlorophyll content is incredibly high also, and because of this it nourishes the blood like no other food. It is also very rich in vitamin-B12, which is hard to find in non-animal food sources. It has a high iodine content, which helps to address thyroid imbalance and it possess exceptionally high natural concentrations of beta-carotene and mixed carotenoids, which help to build the immune system nutritionally. It also has many, many other nutritional benefits, as well as helping the body in detoxification. On top of all this, it is delicious and full-flavoured. It can be blended into smoothies, mixed into vegetable juices, sprinkled onto salads and onto vegetable or grain dishes. It is very versatile, and most importantly, deeply nourishing for our body. I believe it is the most important ‘super-food’ we can include in our diet.
And just like wheatgrass juice, Spirulina alkalises our blood. Do you know what this means? It is fascinating and is very influential on our state of health.
Our blood, like every liquid, has a pH level, which means the degree to which it is either acid or alkaline. This is on a scale of 0 – 14, with a pH of 0 being completely acid, and a pH of 14 being completely alkaline. A pH of 7 is completely neutral, as it is in the middle. Our blood pH is naturally alkaline, with a pH that varies between 7.35 and 7.45. This may sound like it is barely alkaline at all, but on the pH scale small variations can have a large effect, so our body does everything it can to keep the blood pH within this range, as this vital for us to remain in good health.
Now, the degree to which our foods influence the pH of our blood is the important thing here. Our foods can either have an alkalising effect on our system or an acidifying effect. Nearly all fruits and vegetables have an alkalising effect on our body, because they are rich in the alkaline minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and sodium. The very most alkalising foods we can eat are the green vegetables: salad leaves, spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber. I also include avocados in this, as they are such a nourishing and balancing food.
The more dark green the food, the more of an alkalising effect it will have on us, with healing green foods such as wheatgrass juice and Spirulina being the very most alkalising. Molasses is also a very mineral-rich food which is has an alkalising effect on the body and blood, due to its high iron content. If you need to choose a ‘sweetener’ for your drinks or your breakfast or smoothies etc., I recommend choosing pure black-strap molasses, which is easy to find in all health food shops, and not expensive.
Something very special happens when we habitually nourish our blood with alkalising and healing foods such as wheatgrass juice, Spirulina, and dark leafy green vegetable juices. The blood’s capacity to carry oxygen increases. This means that the blood is able to carry more oxygen around our body. This is absolutely vital for increasing our health and healing our body. The more oxygen that is in circulation, the better.
We can actually feel the alkalising and oxygenating effect of green foods when we consume them, especially if they are eaten raw or juiced. We feel calmer, more stable and balanced, and deeply nourished in a very wholesome way. We feel that our body is well-energised, yet very grounded. The tiredness that usually comes at some point after eating cooked carbohydrates (such as grains, pasta, bread, white potatoes etc.) is completely absent when we consume nutrient-rich meals, such as delicious chunky salads, with fresh, crispy green leaves or grated vegetables, perhaps some chopped fruit and avocado plus some additional kind of protein to satisfy us. Vegetable juices and creamy super-food smoothies also bring us very balanced and sustained energy levels, as they are grounding, yet energising and easy to digest.
The energy we gain from such foods gives us a very pleasant and desirable feeling, and we can really feel that we have nourished our body and our blood in the best nutritional way possible, which we have. No other foods benefit us in the way that green foods do. This is why I believe that green salads, green juices and green super-food smoothies should have an important role in our daily diet, especially if we are on a healing regime.
So, what about other foods? Are they alkalising or acidifying?
As a general rule, most grains, proteins (beans, eggs, nuts, cheese, meat etc), and processed foods have an acidifying effect on your body, with animal protein (meat) being one of the most extreme acidifying foods. This does not mean that you should not eat these foods. For example, we need a certain amount of protein in our diet to build our cells and to help us feel strong and grounded.
At this point I should mention that our protein needs can be easily met without consuming meat. There is such a vast array of delicious plant-based proteins (including Spirulina, which is 65% protein) that we can easily avoid such a toxic and inhumane food as animal flesh, and still be in excellent health.
Seeds and nuts, when soaked and blended with water, can create a deliciously rich protein milk, especially if we include hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are one of the most nourishing protein sources in the plant kingdom, and they are also full of many other fantastic health benefits. I highly recommend including them in your diet. There are also an abundance of beans, pulses and legumes – such as chickpeas – that can contribute to our protein needs. Vegetarian cheese is another good option, as is kefir (a delicious homemade, fermented probiotic yoghurt-type drink, low in lactose). Free range eggs are also a good option. However, bear in mind that the amount of protein we consume should not be anywhere near the amount of fruits and vegetables we consume. These should form the basis of our diet.
It is possible to have a very healthy and nourishing diet in which grains and grain products (pasta, cereal, bread etc.) are completely absent. When I stopped eating grains and grain products a few years ago, all of my stomach and intestinal discomfort vanished. I also experienced much less tiredness, and increased energy levels. I simply replaced grain meals with substantial salads, usually containing avocado and a protein such as cheese, beans, or seeds. I also started drinking more vegetable juices and avocado smoothies, sometimes with a meal. As a result, I didn’t miss the substance that I was getting from eating grains, because I found my meals more satisfying. The protein that we include in our meals has alot to do with this. As a result of this change, the general sense of increased energy in my life was very noticeable, and I never wanted to begin eating grains or grain products again.
When we consume a lot of acidifying foods (including highly acidifying substances like coffee, sugar and alcohol) what happens to our body? Well, firstly you won’t feel so great! This is always the most obvious sign that our foods are not nourishing us correctly. Good foods make you feel good on a deep level. If any food makes you feel irritable, tired, over-stimulated, moody or depressed, I recommend that you stop eating it. Nourishing foods should help you to feel balanced, grounded, energised, positive and satisfied.
Consuming too many acidifying foods usually leads us to feeling out of balance physically, mentally and emotionally. Not only this, but our blood is not benefitting nutritionally as it does when we eat an abundance of alkalising, mineral-rich green foods. There is also a very real danger that over time, in an attempt to neutralise the overwhelming influx of acidifying or toxic substances, our body will draw out calcium from our bones and teeth so that it can be used as a buffer against the risk of acidosis.
Acidosis is when the pH of the blood drops below its safe range, towards being more acidic. This is not a good situation for the body, and the body wants to prevent this happening at all costs. Therefore, if it is needed, the body will withdraw calcium from the bones to help it rectify the pH imbalance in the blood and prevent a dangerous situation occurring. This is certainly not good for our bones or teeth, and we should do everything we can to ensure that our body never needs to do this. Avoiding over-consumption of acidifying foods, and gravitating towards consuming predominantly alkalising foods is the very best way to ensure it.
So what is the ideal ratio of alkalising and acidifying foods to consume? It is generally recommended to consume 60% alkalising foods (fruits and vegetables) and 40% acidifying foods. This can differ depending on your protein needs, as someone who has a very physical and strenuous job would benefit from eating more protein (which is an acidifying food).
From personal experience, I know that it is perfectly healthy to consume 70% alkalising foods, especially if you are including alot of the more nourishing fruits such as avocados in your diet. I do not believe it is good for the body to over-consume sweet fruit. We need a good amount of grounding and stabilising green foods and vegetables so that our body’s mineral requirements are met. Too much fruit will leave us feeling ungrounded and result in unstable blood sugar levels, as the energy from the fruit sugar moves very quickly through the system. This can leave us feeling depleted as a result of over-stimulation from fruit sugar, and often simply craving more fruit to lift energy levels. What we need are good sources of long-term, grounding energy, for which I believe that foods such as greens, vegetable salads, digestible proteins, perhaps some steamed vegetables if needed, vegetable juices, avocados, smoothies, and deeply nourishing super-foods such as Spirulina and wheatgrass hold the answer.
(If you would like to read a little more about the acid/alkaline balance online, i recommend this article, which also has lists of acidifying and alkalising foods: http://drbenkim.com/ph-body-blood-foods-acid-alkaline.htm)
There is a well-known and very successful nutritional healing centre in the USA called the Hippocrates Health Institute, and they focus on healing all sorts of illness – including cancer – nutritionally. The use of wheatgrass juice and greens is central to their healing regime, as is the principle of the the acid-alkaline balance. I have also met doctors who have successfully assisted the healing of terminally ill patients through these same methods. One of them suggested to me that, for the purposes of self-healing, a person who is not well should consume 80% alkalising and mostly raw foods, so as to flood their system with a revitalising, oxygenating and healing energy.
When the body is healing, it needs to receive more vitality from the food it consumes, which is why raw foods are very important. Cooking vegetables depletes their life-force and they lose their vitality, especially as food enzymes are heat-sensitive and are always damaged in the cooking process. If you need a healing diet, a raw food diet consisting of an abundance of easily digestible vegetables and green foods, is the answer.
This same doctor then told me that for a person who has a terminal or life-threatening illness, a 100% alkaline diet is essential, consuming no sweet fruit, but rather an abundance of raw green vegetables and salads, and regular vegetable juices throughout the day. This should be supported with plenty of rest, fresh air and pure water to assist the body in healing.
Water is such a deeply vital component to our health, yet we often overlook it. We drink tea, fruit juice or milk perhaps, but none of these are an adequate substitute for pure water. Tea and coffee actually de-hydrate the body! The more pure water we drink (and by pure I mean spring or mineral water) the more we will experience a fluidity and lightness to our body and energy field. Toxins will be washed through our body regularly, and we will feel clearer in our mind, cleaner in our body, and brighter and more energised.
Often, when our energy levels drop or we feel tired, we think we need to eat more food to give us more energy, but this is not the case. Usually we need to drink more water, or breathe more oxygen. Water and oxygen can revitalise our mind and body in ways that food simply cannot. We should always look at these two energy-giving aspects first before consuming more food, especially between meal times.
If we have not eaten enough food we will usually feel weak, with little strength. But if we are feeling tired, it is unlikely to be because we need to eat. Often tiredness comes from eating the wrong foods (e.g. sugar or carbohydrates), not being active enough and not being hydrated. So the remedy is to get some oxygen into our body, to hydrate ourselves and ‘freshen ourselves up’. This is what water does. It makes us feel fresh and alert.
Try this experiment. Just for one day, between your meals, do not eat any other food. Instead, regularly reach for a bottle or cup of mineral water, and see if you can drink 2 litres or more during the day. You will be surprised at how significantly it affects the way you feel, and it may even encourage you to do it on a daily basis. Water is a truly miraculous substance that does amazing things for our body and mind. Let us remember this by drinking more of it and feeling its deep benefit.”