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Reducing Body acidity by using foods

By Lela Rabie

"Foods can be used to reduce acidity levels in the body.."

Different foods are either acid-forming or alkali-forming in the body, eg. lemon contains citric acid in its juice which makes it very acidic but as citric acid is an organic acid the body can metabolize it to CO2 and H2O. In the whole lemon, negative charges on the citrate ions are balanced by positively charged metal ions (potassium and calcium). Once the citric acid has been metabolized, the potassium and calcium are balanced against negative ions (eg. chloride or bicarbonate) instead of the citrate. This discourages the formation of H+ and thus has an alkaline reaction. Thus although lemon itself may be acidic, in the body it is alkali-forming.

Ideal Acid/Alkaline levels in the Body.

For maintenance of ideal acid/alkali levels in the body, one needs to take in 80% alkali forming foods and 20% acid forming foods daily. Foods which are alkali forming in the body and can help to reduce acidity levels are eg. almonds, unsweetened yoghurt, raisins, most fruit and vegetables ( do not have high concentrations of protein) and sea vegetables. Some neutral foods are eg. cream cheese, oils, rice, avocado and pumpkin seeds. Some of these neutral, swollen foods eg. rice will absorb acidity from the body and help to remove it and so reduce body acidity and complete the cleansing picture (as well as helping to give the body a good hydration picture). Some foods which are acid-forming in the body and are thus better consumed in moderation are eg. salt, sugar, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, all grains and cereals except rice, high quality animal proteins (these are rich in sulphur and phosphoproteins which give rise to sulphuric acid and phosphoric acid forming in the body) and all pulses and legumes, including peanuts. Eating the fast-growing foods and foods that are in season would also promote cleansing which in turn, will lessen body acidity.

An alkaline environment in the body.

Having an alkaline environment in the body is preferable for many reasons eg:
In an acidic body:

1. Acidification of the medium surrounding the cells causes hydrogen ions to enter the cells and minerals being lost.
2. When there is too much acid in the body the cells take up acid to "help out" the rest of the body and this causes disturbance in the cells mineral balance (H+ increased so Na+ and K+ in cell is lost, first the Na+ and then the K+).
3. Sometimes lost potassium is replaced with sodium which worsens the situation as Na+ attracts acid. ( Also not good for the hydration picture.)
4. For every 3 Potassium ions leaving the cell, 2 Sodium + Hydrogen enter the cell.
5. Excess acidity leads to demineralization of the bones thus an acidic system can lead to the softening of bones.

The natural healthy state of the body is to have an alkaline "inner" environment and an acidic "outer" environment. Outer environment refers to the inner digestive tract and to the outer skin. Healthy and "friendly" bowel flora thrive in a slightly acidic environment whereas in a more alkaline environment the "unfriendly" bowel flora dominate.
As the body constantly works towards a state of balance one will find that when the body is acidic the colon will be alkaline and vice versa.

"The reduction of body acidity influences bowel flora.."

Reducing body acidity will cause the body to become more alkaline and promote more acidic conditons in the colon, a more welcoming environment for the lactose fermenting, "friendly" bacteria. The relationship between the body (the host) and the bacteria is one of symbiosis where both benefit from keeping the other "happy". Thus reducing body acidity by various means eg. eating a more alkali-forming diet, reducing stress, being conscious of "toxic" emotions and being aware of the environment we create for ourselves will have a beneficial effect on the bowel flora as they will be provided with a slightly acidic environment in the colon, which will allow them to thrive. This will allow them to synthesize B vitamins and Vitamin K (important in blood clotting) as well as encourage complete digestion and also generate volatile fatty acids by breaking down dietary residues (especially fibre).

Our bowel flora are there to help us create and maintain a balanced state of health, creating the right environment for them to flourish in is up to us.

Healthy Recipes | Vegan Recipes

Amazing chef and my friend, Claudia Mattos from Sao Paulo in Brazil sent in some delicious recipes for readers to try, if you like her recipes and would like to get in touch with her, here are her details:

Chef Claudia Mattos
ZYM Café
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 11 3021 56 37.


Tofupiry by Claudia

100ml olive oil
50ml lemon juice (or less)
50 grams sour cassava starch
250g tofu
salt to taste
water or soy milk

How to prepare
Cover the blender blades w/ olive oil, lemon juice. Add the tofu and the cassava starch.
Blend the mixture adding soy milk as much as needed, until smooth.
Cook the mixture in a pan at low temperature, stirring until it is cream cheese like.
It can be used on bread or toast, or as pizza topping, or w/ vegetable (or regular) lasagna, or filling for vegetables, i.e. zucchini

Hint to liquefy this mixture: use vegetable stock

Yummy Yam cream cheese / ricotta by Claudia

3 raw yams, peeled and cut in small pieces
olive oil (enough to cover blender blades)
half a pink-lemon juice
salt to taste
garlic or other spices to add warmth ex: red pepperoni, ginger, (optional)

How to prepare

Pour the olive oil into the blender until it covers the blades and add the yam and lemon juice as well as the remaining ingredients. Blend the mixture until the desired texture is achieved (for less fibers, blend longer). Add salt.

Vegan vichyssoise by Claudia 

5 yams, steamed and peeled
3 cups vegetable stock
2 leeks, thinly sliced (bulb only)
1 onion, chopped
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
(other possible ingredients: 1 bay leaf / dried thyme / dried marjoram)
soy cream
nutmeg to taste

Blend the yams w/ the vegetable stock until you have a purée.
In a pan, saute the leeks and onion in ghee, until they’re brown.
Add the yam puree and blend the ingredients until you get a smooth, nice cream. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Turn off the flame and finish with soy cream.

Cheaters easy Hummous: by Lela

A ridiculously easy recipe packed full of protein and good fats, hummous is a firm favourite with my family. If you want to go the really low sodium route, boil your own chickpeas (after soaking overnight) and use Lo-salt or a salt substitute. I prefer using coarse ground himalayan salt or natural sea-salt..


1 can cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained.
1 large organic lemon (juice thereof :-) )
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 1/2 tablespoons tahini (ground sesame seed paste)
salt to taste


Put all the ingredients in a bowl and add about 1/3 of a cup of water. Blend using a handheld blender, adding more water, lemon juice or salt according to your preference of taste and consistency. Once you have a smooth paste, enjoy with warmed pita breads and some olives or serve with new baby potatoes and home made mayo. Also delicious mixed with a ripe avo and used as a spread or dip.
Tastes even better the day after. Keep refrigerated.

Cheesy Beetroot by Lela

A sneaky and delicious to get kids to eat veggies:-). For those which are lactose intolerant and watching their wheat, use soya milk and buckwheat flour as replacements for the milk and flour used here. It tastes just as good with sunflower oil but olive oil is much healthier.. I like to steam the veggies..


4 large beetroots, cooked and chopped into chunks
1 medium head of broccoli, cooked and broken into florets

For the sauce:

100mls olive oil (extra virgin)
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
grated cheese (mozzarella or white cheddar, even crumbled Feta)
salt and pepper to taste.


Prepare the sauce by heating the olive oil, add the flour and mix till a paste is formed, remove from heat while doing this if necessary. Add the milk bit by bit till the right consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper and some of the cheese.
In an oven proof dish put the steamed veggies and cover with the cheesy sauce, sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese on top and put in the oven to melt cheese and brown the top.
Serve hot with wholewheat noodles or wheat-free noodles. Perfect winter food for the kids!

Spicy Butternut soup by Lela

A real winter warmer, this one is not for the faint-hearted! Packed full of warming ingredients, it helps to boost the immune system and keep the sniffles at bay.


1 large butternut, chopped into chunks, no need to peel if organic and properly washed.
1 onion
3-6 cloves garlic (you decide:-) )
2-4 red chillies (ditto)
a small bit of grated ginger (between 1/2 tsp and 1tsp)
3 carrots chopped into chunks
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.
1 flat tablespoon curry powder.
1 teaspoon brown sugar or honey.
extra virgin olive oil.
veggie stock powder.
salt and pepper to taste.


Lightly fry the onion in extra virgin olive oil, add the butternut and carrot, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer until butternut is almost tender. Add chopped garlic, parsley, curry powder, chillies, honey/sugar and ginger. When butternut is soft, blend everything together using a hand held blender. Add veggie stock and salt and pepper to taste.
Leave to stand for 20 min and then slowly reheat till just warm enough to eat.
Serve with a swirl of cream and some warm rolls.
Perfect for when you feel a cold coming on or you just feel like a bit of a cleanse :-).


Great long term energy food for breakfast and absolutely delicious with fruit juice, soya milk or yoghurt as a topping!


3 cups oats
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup honey
2 pinches salt
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup sunflower seeds/flaked almonds/pumpkin seeds or a combination of all three.
½ cup linseeds.


Melt butter and honey together with salt, add oats and mix till covered. In a separate pan, lightly toast the seeds and nuts. Mix oats, seed mix, raisins and cinnamon together and leave to cool. Serve with live yoghurt or after soaking overnight with soya milk and grated apple. (Lela recipe:-))


Osteoporosis and Diet

This article written by Lela was first published in the November 2008 issue of Rennaissance magazine, South Africa. Please see the relaunch issue in stores March 2009.

Prevention of Osteoporosis using our diet.

Osteoporosis is characterized by a deterioration of bones, resulting from the body’s attempt to extract nutrients from them and is a very real problem for many people, especially women, even in the medically advanced environment of today. The good news is that, with a little thought and information it can be easily prevented.
Lets take a look at the minerals which play the main roles in bone health:

Calcium is the most abundant in the human body and with 98% of the body’s calcium stored in the bones, one can see why adequate levels of this mineral are important in helping to prevent osteoporosis. This can be done in several ways:
Calcium is better absorbed by the body if in a slightly acidic environment thus the best time to take calcium supplements is between meals or on an empty stomach. Calcium and phosphorous compete for absorption in the body and because phosphorous is more easily absorbed than Calcium, high phosphorous levels can cause low Calcium levels. The ideal ratio of Calcium and phosphorous in the body is 1:1 and any imbalance in this ratio can compromise bone health. Avoiding an excess of foods high in phosphorous such as fizzy drinks, lunch meats, dairy products, meat and eggs, among others can help to keep the levels balanced. High intake of complex carbohydrates can also cause a higher phosphorous to Calcium ratio which can lead to a decrease in bone density thus eating less complex carbohydrates can lessen this risk.
Calcium absorption is also affected by caffeine intake, excess caffeine reduces the absorption of Calcium by the body and this creates a need for Calcium to be leached from the bones. Try to keep caffeine consumption to a moderate level by drinking less coffee and tea, instead replace some of your daily intake with herbal teas, diluted fruit juice or clean water.
Vitamin C found in for example citrus fruits, green peppers and sauerkraut and Zinc which is found in for example oysters and whole greens both aid Calcium absorption so increasing your intake of these foods could aid in raising the Calcium levels in your body.
Osteoporosis or calcification caused by excessive Calcium intake, making Calcium bio-unavailable, can be helped by consuming more foods containing oxalic acid and/or phosphorous for example spinach, rhubarb and chocolate. All in moderation of course!
Naturally eating more foods containing Calcium would increase the body’s levels of this important mineral, examples of such foods are sardines (with the bones), broccoli and nuts.

There are many other minerals which play an important role in bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis, lets name a few of them here:

Magnesium. 65% of the body’s Magnesium is found in bones and Magnesium and Calcium can compete for absorption in the body thus too much of one or the other can have an adverse effect on bone composition. The ideal ratio is two parts of calcium to one part magnesium. Magnesium is found in nuts, seeds, dark green vegetables, seafood, avocados and brown rice. Hard water is also a good source. Incidentally magnesium is also very useful in the treatment of pre-period cramps.

Manganese. Manganese plays a role in bone formation and the growth and development of bone structure thus deficiency as a child could cause a predisposition towards oteoporosis later in life. Almost 50% of total Manganese in the body is found in the bones and this mineral also helps to keep Calcium bio-available and helps with Calcium absorption. Manganese is mostly found in nuts and whole grains.

Silicon. Silicon works with Calcium to help restore bones and as such can be helpful in the prevention of osteoporosis. Silicon can be found in whole grains, vegetables, hard drinking water and even in some citrus fruits.

Copper. Copper helps with the tissue healing process and aids in the bone formation as it is involved in the cross-linking of collagen fibres. This role means that it also plays a part in helping to prevent the development of osteoporosis. Copper can be found in for example liver, buckwheat, wholewheat, oysters, prunes, cocoa and black pepper as well as some dark green leafy vegetables.

Boron. Boron helps maintain Calcium balance and so helps keep bones healthy. It regulates the hormones which control mineral movement and make-up of bones and it affects the balance of Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorous in the body. A Boron deficiency could lead to osteoporosis. Boron can be found in for example some soils, apples and nuts. A diet high in refined foods is unlikely to provide sufficient Boron.

Fluoride. Studies have shown that Fluoride can help strengthen bones by increasing bone mass and reduce the risk of osteoporosis by reducing the loss of Calcium in bones. In excess Fluoride can cause bone brittleness to increase thus again a balanced intake is important. Fluoride can be found in for example seafood, some drinking water and some toothpastes.

Strontium. Strontium adds strength to the bones and so help to prevent osteoporosis by helping to improve the mineral matrix and cell structure of bones. As it is present in most foods deficiency is unlikely.

Vanadium. Vanadium is involved in Calcium metabolism and due to its enzyme stimulating properties it has a role to play in bone formation. Vanadium can be found in for example fish and vegetable oils.

Lead. Lead toxicity can interfere with Calcium absorption. Lead can displace Calcium in bone causing ‘soft’ spots and Lead lines which can be seen on X-rays. A good intake of Calcium, Magnesium, Copper and Zinc will help to lessen Lead contamination. Limiting Lead exposure by avoiding the use of Lead based paints, soldered cans and not exercising near heavy traffic can be beneficial in preventing Lead toxicity.

Molybdenum and Zinc. Both these are also needed in adequate amounts to ensure bone health. Molybdenum can be found in oats, buckwheat, lentils and potatoes. Zinc can be found in oysters, liver and wholegrains, oats and pumpkin seeds for vegetarians.

Get Sunshine! Exposure to sunlight helps with the manufacture of Vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D works with parathyroid hormone to aid Calcium metabolism. It also helps to increase Calcium absorption from the gut and reduces Calcium loss through excretion from the kidneys. Vitamin D can also be found in egg yolks, oily fish( sardines, mackerel), liver and butter. It is especially important for Vegans to ensure a sufficient Vitamin D intake by supplementation if necessary. Be aware though that excessive Vitamin D can result in Calcium loss from bone.

Osteoporosis is by no means an inevitability and eating a varied diet, high in fruit, vegetables and whole grains as well as adequate complete proteins and plenty of clean water will go a long way to preventing the development of osteoporosis. Several other factors such as getting enough weight bearing exercise also play a role and if one gives attention to a healthy lifestyle there is no reason why osteoporosis should ever be a possibility in later life.