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The Ultimate pH Solution: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Prevent Disease and Lose Weight Paperback – December 26, 2007
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About the Author
Michelle Schoffro Cook is an international bestselling and 14-time author, doctor of traditional natural medicine, and clinical nutritionist. She received a World Leading Intellectual Award in 2006 for her contributions to natural medicine. She is the publisher of the popular free e-magazine World's Healthiest News available through her website at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com.
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Top customer reviews
pH is the measurement of potential hydrogen: simplified, it's the amount of positively charged hydrogen ions (acid) and negatively charged hydroxyl ions (alkaline) we carry. Our blood is slightly alkaline and most tissues should be as well. But our body is forced to store acids in our tissues when too many are consumed or generated for our body to excrete.
Additionally, alkaline minererals, such as calcium and magnesium, are robbed from bones and muscle to buffer these excess acids. A diet high in acid foods, such as sugar, meats, grains, coffee, and drugs, causes an improper pH balance in our tissues, which leads to poor health and, according to some, proliferation of microbes, fungus, yeast and molds.
The author writes:
"Instead of being addicted to sugar, stress, adrenaline rushes, conflict, or food additives, you will be addicted to feeling energetic, sleeping well at night, thinking clearly, and maintaining a balanced mood. Your body, your mind, and your spirit will feel strong in a way that can never be achieved with an acidic lifestyle."
In this book you'll discover:
* some problems with our current food choices
* an example of a typical acid diet
* how acids are produced internally
* how various diseases are caused by this diet: e.g., diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, CFS, arthritis, obesity, cancer
* how our body responds physiologically to ingestion of acids
* a quiz to rate your potential level of acidity
* case studies of various individuals who transformed their health through modifying their acid/alkaline balance
* supplements and therapies
* a chart of acid and alkaline foods
* a one-week meal plan for increasing alkalinity
* over 30 pages of recipes, some of which look quite appetizing and easy to make
The shortcomings include too little information on physiology (which is only important to someone like me who wants to understand the finer details), superficial instructions for testing urine and saliva pH and interpreting the results (which probably only matters to the anal retentive among us), too much cooked food with improper food combining, and minor reliance on gadgetry and technology. But these shortcoming pale in comparison the wealth of information from which anyone can benefit. Definitely recommended for the health seeker.
While the author claims that you can follow her plan by "making simple changes to your food, beverage, and lifestyle choices" it's important to understand that her "simple changes" are actually epic. Here's a sample of the simple changes in store for you:
You may not have sugar or any artificial sweeteners (other than stevia) - that means no deserts, no soda, nor anything that contains sugar, such as ketchup.
You may not have processed foods - that means anything from a fast food restaurant or anything in a package: no TV dinners, nutrition bars, frozen pizza or any food that comes in a box.
No table salt
No fried foods
Eat as little meat as possible, preferably none
No dairy products: say goodbye to milk, ice cream, cheese and butter
No alcohol, including beer and wine
No coffee, no black or green tea, no energy drinks
You should eat one large salad every day, but you may not put on any dressing that comes in a bottle because they are "full of sugar and other acid-forming junk".
I doubt many people would think of that as a list of "simple changes". And this sort of out of touch writing is rampant throughout the book. I found myself rolling my eyes frequently. Here are a few examples:
The author quotes many studies throughout the book, but it seemed that all of the study conclusions were simple "links." For instance: Alzheimer's disease is linked to acidity. I'm sorry. Two things linked together mean nothing. In fact, I'd call it potentially dangerous, because there's an implication that there is a causal relationship where in fact none exists. Just because something is linked to something else, doesn't be one caused the other. An example: increased sales of ice cream has been linked to an increase in drowning deaths. Should we take action and ban the sales of ice cream? Crazy, right? Yet this is the "logic" or what I call pseudo-science you'll find throughout this book.
On page 12 the author tells us we should avoid MSG "at any cost" yet encourages us to eat tomatoes which contain, you guessed it, MSG.
On page 108 the author encourages us to drink 1 to 4 green drinks a day. (4 is recommended if you are overweight) A green drink is green powder mixed with 4 cups of water. Some simple math: 8 ounces in a cup. 4 cups per green drink = 32 ounces per green drink. Drinking 4 of these in one day would be 128 ounces or 1 gallon of green drink. Add to this the 12 to 20 cups of water the author recommends drinking every day (again the high end is for overweight people). So if you are overweight, just to follow these two suggestions, you'll need to drink 2 gallons and a quart of liquid. That's probably not feasible unless you live and work in a bathroom.
One final example. Several places the author recommends to add freshly squeezed lemon juice to alkaline water. This makes no sense. Either of these individually (either the lemon juice in plain water OR alkaline water by itself) should reduce acid in the body. But adding them together negates the benefit because a base (the alkaline water) mixed with an acid (the lemon juice) will cancel each other. In fact if you added just the right amount of lemon juice to alkaline water you will end up with plain water with a pH of 7.0.
I personally found a lot of these "eye rollers" throughout the text which caused me to lose confidence in the author. I also found the tone of voice (preachy) to be off-putting. Despite all this however, I think there is solid, actionable advice for people who want to reduce acid in the body. The tables on food pH are well-designed and presented and the recipes look very intriguing.
Now that you know what to expect, I do recommend this book. While I think following the author's recommendations to the letter is impracticable for the vast majority of us, I do think following as many recommendations that fit into your lifestyle as possible is will help reduce acid. For example, I won't be giving up my green tea, because I believe the health benefits of green tea outweigh the acid it causes. I will still share dinners at my friends' houses even if they are acid-causing but perhaps I can offset that with the green drink she recommends. I'll continue to drink alcohol socially because that is a quality of life choice I'm not willing to part with. But I can easily replace cow's milk with almond milk, so why not?
Life is all about balance and it's ironic that a book about pH balance is so extreme in its recommendations. But if you can get past that and find new ways to bring acid balance into your life you'll have profited from reading this book.