From the book The 10 Minute Herbalist by Ralph & Lahni DeAmicis, (c) 2015

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Chapter 3: Alkaline & Acid = pH: An Easy Guide to Health


Too Much Acid Equals Pain. Your body has to convert all of your foods into a salty, alkaline state before you assimilate that nutrition. Your blood has to be alkaline because if it turns too acidic you’ll die, which cancels your warranty. What creates an acid state in your body? Stress, acid foods, consuming large amounts of the acid producing minerals; phosphorus, sulfur and chlorine! What creates an alkaline state in your body? Relaxation, joy, alkaline foods and consuming large amounts of the alkaline producing minerals; calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium in an easy to absorb form!

Are there any health problems that are not caused or made worse by an acid condition? Yes! Getting hit by a truck and other such “out of the blue” incidents. But in cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, digestive problems, nervous stress and so on, excess acid due to mineral imbalances is either the direct cause or a major contributing factor. How do we know this? Because since ancient times, when a person corrects their alkaline-acid balance all of these conditions are improved, often dramatically. Amazing coincidence! If you keep your reserves of alkaline minerals high you’ll improve your long-term health, have less pain and more energy. How do you know how good your alkaline and acid balance is? By testing your saliva for its ‘pH’, or potential of Hydrogen, measured from Zero (most acid) to 14 (most alkaline) and 7 is neutral.

An alkaline body conducts electricity better than an acid body. Pain is a sign that an electrical connection isn’t being made correctly. Acid blocks conductivity. Your body’s systems work best within specific pH ranges. For example, blood needs to be between 7.35 and 7.45. Stomach acid ranges around 2, while the intestinal tract is around 8. 

When acid levels exceed the proper range two things happen; pain and excess acids are dumped resulting in rashes and inflammations of the skin and organs. Red and tender skin means that it’s sitting in an acid bath!

Saliva is naturally mildly acidic and its pH goes up or down based upon the overall pH of the body, making saliva a convenient barometer. If your saliva pH is good, then you’re maintaining good reserves of alkaline minerals. If it’s too acid you’re probably suffering from a degenerative problem and pain. Test your saliva in the morning before brushing your teeth or having anything to drink. Get 100 NSP  pH test strips in a kit with a chart. Get an extra 25 pH charts in case you give strips to friends and family. They also have a pH-testing brochure. If your pH is low, there are two strategies to correct that. First, supplement with A Green Drink, 2 to 4 scoops a day in water will restore your reserves of the alkaline minerals, calcium and magnesium, that your body uses as chemical buffers to convert acids to alkaline. It’s the best product to do this quickly. The more you use the less pain you’ll have!

Taken after dinner it encourages a good night’s sleep by neutralizing pain-producing acids. Potassium Combination  supplies potassium and sodium. Important chemical buffers, they also accelerate the flow of nutrients into the cells and the flow of toxins out. Magnesium helps your muscles relax, the bowels become more effective and also aids the absorption of other minerals. While Calcium most people get enough in their diets, but they can't assimilate because of one of two reasons. If they are low in Magnesium their body can't absorb it. And here's the big one; if a person is eating a lot of grains, bread, bagels, muffins, pasta, oatmeal, etc., there is a component in the grains called a phytate that binds onto the minerals and prevents your body from absorbing it. Even though lab tests show that a grain may be high in minerals when it gets in the body most of those minerals are too bound up to be absorbed.

It was long believed that eating too much lean animal protein was causing excessive acid in the body because it is acidic. However grains are also acidic, although not to the extent that lean animal protein like meat, poultry, fish and seafood. However, those lean animal proteins do not interfere with the absorption of the grains, while the grains block the absorption of the high quality nutrients (minerals) in the meat, poultry and fish. Without those minerals it is very hard for the body to maintain the correct pH. If you want to get your pH in line avoid grains. While you are at it avoid beans too because they obstruct the action your body's enzymes which are essential for breaking down those foods. That is why societies that depend on beans produce small people.

Second: Improve your diet. A food is alkaline or acid depending upon the state it produces in the body. This is due to the types of minerals it possesses, not whether the food is alkaline or acid to the touch. For example, meat is alkaline to the touch, but being high in phosphorus and iron it creates an acid state in the body. With that said, one of the biggest problems people suffer from is a lack of high quality lean animal protein, which is also a great source of easy to absorb minerals.

A healthy diet is more alkaline than acid. Depending upon your blood type, the diet should consist of 60 to 80% alkaline foods and 20 to 40% acidic foods. Generally the A and AB blood types need the most alkaline diet while the O and B blood types need more animal products in their diet. The O needs meat and the B needs dairy. But remember, if you’re in pain, you’re acidic. Here is a partial list of foods by acid/alkaline category.


Acidic Foods:

Butter, Cream, Cheeses, Eggs, Seeds, Most Nuts, Sea Food, Soft Drinks, Beans, Most Oils, Lentils, Coffee, Cocoa, Flour products, Pasta, Most Grains, Animal Fats, White Sugar, Milk, All Meats, Tea, Dairy products, Wine, Alcoholic Beverages.


Alkaline Foods:

Almonds, Bananas, Prunes, Raisins, Figs, Grapes, Pears, Potatoes, Avocados, Melons, Maple Syrup, Dates, Coconut, Spinach, Beets, Molasses,

Green Peppers, Lettuce, Cucumbers, String Beans, Corn, Carrots, Squash, Cabbage, Parsley, Peas, Okra, Olives, Oats, Millet, Yogurt, Soured Dairy Products.


These Fruits can be acidic in the stomach but yet slightly alkaline in the tissue:

Apricots, Strawberries, Apples,  Peaches, Raspberries, Dried Fruits, Papayas, Cherries, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Oranges, Lemons, Plums, Blueberries, Mangos, Apple Cider Vinegar.

0021 Three Healthy Secrets


Whenever I go into a convenience store I realize how different my diet is from other people because amid that collection of candies, sodas, and pastries there is nothing I would eat. While recognizing that forty plus years as an herbalist has shaped my dietary preferences, some of that stuff should be ashamed to call itself food. Those shelves are why disease is so wide spread in the USA.

But giving people complex solutions to health problems is a challenge. The medical industry already has plenty of complicated, expensive procedures. Even herbalism can be complicated, with thousands of plants providing a multitude of solutions. We need simple solutions, so here are three that I use, and anyone can use to improve their health.

While most people won’t adopt the whole Paleo diet, you can use some of its guidelines to avoid the most problematic foods by doing simple substitutions. Replace some grains and beans with non-starchy (not potatoes, yams etc.) vegetables. When you want a grain or pasta use rice products, which is less damaging.

Starchy vegetables, like grains and beans, put weight on you, so if you need the weight go for it, although the opposite is more common. The Paleo diet is lean meats, seafood, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. To increase energy and reduce weight have a breakfast of lean animal protein and some fresh vegetables. Then as a late morning snack have fruit. This may seem odd to someone accustomed to a bagel and coffee, but the improvements are obvious. Lean protein boosts metabolism so substitute them for fatty cuts, turkey breast (90% protein) instead of salami (30%) or hot dogs (15%).

The next strategy is all about coffee, which is American’s biggest source of healthy antioxidants. However its high acid levels can be a problem, resulting in acid stomach, joint pain, dental issues and general irritation. The solution is to cold brew your coffee, reducing the acid by as much as 70%, while producing a wonderfully flavorful and smooth beverage.

Grind your coffee at the regular proportion, mix it into water in a glass container and let it steep in the fridge, or on the counter for 12 to 24 hours. To make it stronger steep it longer and stir it few times. Then strain it through a filter and refrigerate. You can heat it up by the cup and iced coffee is even easier. You will notice the low acid difference.

The third strategy is oil pulling, an odd name for a great technique used in India for hundreds of years. Daily, either before or after breakfast, do a 15 to 20 mouthwash using two teaspoons of coconut oil, then spit it out. Other oils work but coconut has additional anti-microbial benefits. Walnut is particularly pleasant. Squishing oil between your teeth for that long may sound hard, but saliva quickly thins it until it feels like soft water. Eventually your body recognizes the benefits and it can feel quite pleasant. If you eat something that irritates your mouth five minutes of oil pulling makes a big difference.

Once you are comfortable with oil pulling you can multi-task, do stretching, make the bed, and tend to other chores. You can’t talk but you can get quite good at pantomime. Oil pulling is great for the gums, teeth and immune system, because the mouth harbors large amounts of multiple dangerous bacteria that your immune system battles every day. Oil pulling dislodges them and then you spit them out. This takes a big load off of your immune system, allowing it to focus on other areas. Important, don’t swallow that bacteria laden oil, spit into a glass of soapy water and pour it in the toilet, it will clog smaller drains.

Besides improving mouth health, overall immunity and the skin, it does wonderful things for the sinuses and allergies and it boosts the effectiveness of sinus and allergy products, for example, Bee Pollen, Histablock, ALJ and Four. 

So these are my three healthy hints that I hope you turn into three healthy habits. There is lots more on the web about these if you want to research them more, but resist getting stuck analysis paralysis. The sooner you employ these habits the better you will feel.     

(c) 2015 Ralph & Lahni de Amicis

Here's to your health!

Ralph & Lahni de Amicis

Herbal Solutions... your guides to motivated health! 


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