This is where we get a little more in depth about the actual methods used to test pH, how to build a chart and journal, and how your body, mind and spirit respond to these new changes. Yes, the writing and keeping track probably seems like a commitment to yet another thing you have to do in your day, but at least give it a shot; the information will prove itself. It is literally LESS than 5 minutes. As you see and feel changes in your overall health you may actually get excited about watching your progress. We take at least this amount of time each day to get on a scale when we are on fad diets that assure us we will lose 20 lbs. in 30 days. And that usually has disappointing, short-term results. This is an investment in your WHOLE health and we are in it for the long term!
In Part 2 of our pH series (Fighting the Good Fight and WINNING the pH Battle! ) we touched upon the basics of pH testing through either saliva or urine. In this segment we are going to get more into the nitty gritty of what you can expect when you start testing and how to interpret these results as well as resources for the tools to complete the testing.
> The Testing Process
Testing starts with litmus paper strips regardless of which method you use to test. The premise behind testing the pH levels of saliva and urine is the same. The litmus pH strip will change colors to indicate the pH level of whatever you are testing – either proving acidic or alkaline.
IMPORTANT: Make sure that you have not eaten anything within the last two hours before the test and that you haven’t recently brushed your teeth or have been chewing gum.
Testing with saliva is a process that should be done for at least 7 consecutive days to provide an accurate reading of what your personal pH average is since the acidity and alkalinity of saliva changes throughout the day depending on what we ingest.
For starters, you will want to test in the morning when you first wake up if that is possible. Do not brush your teeth, eat or have coffee or tea before you do your test. Simply get rid of any excess saliva in your mouth, wait for it to build again and deposit that sample onto a spoon or small cup. Take your pH strip and place it into the sample for approx. 3 seconds. You should try to moisten at least 1” of the test strip. Next, compare your results with the colors on the pH chart and jot that number down on your daily chart. Our saliva, when in a balanced range, should reside at a low average of 6.4 to a high average of 6.8 pH.
Note: if first thing in the morning does not work for some reason, you can test at another point in the day as long as you have not had anything to eat within 2 hours, brushed your teeth or have been chewing gum.
Urine is slightly different from saliva when it comes to the range of normal pH. Due to the fact that by nature, urine is removing excess acids from the body, it will test at a slightly higher acidic value. Ideally, this would be somewhere in the range of 6.0 to 6.8. Again, this testing should be done for a period of about 7 days and then calculate your average. Depending on what type of meal you had the night before, your results may vary significantly if you are testing first thing in the morning.
Morning sampling can be done by placing the pH strip in an active stream (ideally half way through) and that is fine; however, it is slightly more accurate to gather a urine sample and place the strip into that. You really only need to dip the pH strip for roughly a second to get your results. Again, noticeable changes in pH range are normal due to the metabolic function that goes on with waste elimination and how urine plays a part in that. If you are averaging below 6.0 or above 6.8, it may be an indication of a condition of your WHOLE health vs. a spike or fall based on something you may have eaten or ingested. Again, you will want to jot down your results and use this information as a guideline to make the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes to move out of an extreme acidic or alkaline state and into a state of BALANCE.
Here are some specific conditions associated with high acid or high alkaline results:
A highly acidic average urine pH (pH 4.5-6.0) can occur in:
Acidosis (Chronic or Acute)
Starvation and dehydration
Respiratory diseases in which carbon dioxide retention occurs and acidosis develops.
A highly alkaline average urine pH (pH 7.5-8.0) can occur in:
Urinary tract obstruction
Salicylate intoxication (Aspirin)
Renal tubular acidosis
Chronic renal failure
Respiratory diseases that involve hyperventilation (blowing off carbon dioxide and the development of alkalosis)
Remember, these are SOME of the conditions that result from an imbalance in your body’s pH. This does not in any way mean that you HAVE any of the conditions listed, so there is no need to panic or run to the internet for further information about treating yourself for those conditions. Just be aware of the correlation between pH imbalance and some of the resulting physical ailments that can potentially result from that imbalance.
So we have some results, now what?
For starters, you have results! Good job so far! You have taken the first step in the best education you will ever receive, the one that allows you to heal and protect your own body. There are several areas in your life that all contribute to this imbalance including not only diet, but stress, lack of exercise, lack of quality time for yourself and loved ones, toxic relationships (either personal or work related) and a deficit in true mindfulness and spirituality; sometimes even just a lack of pure joy resulting in boredom with the day to day routine can contribute to overall complacency. Some of these more abstract concepts require work, practice and commitment. However, there are 2 areas that we can begin working with immediately and move into the other areas once we have our basic foundation in place. Remember, we are building a LIFESTYLE PLATFORM and not creating a simple diet and exercise routine. This is not the “I’ll stop eating pasta and join a gym” mentality. This is real, it is life, it is balance in all things and it starts first and foremost with food.
pH Balanced Nutrition
Here is a question: “If I am giving up all of the foods that I am used to eating, what exactly is it that I CAN eat?” Well, the answer is surprisingly simple. It is very likely that your pH is out of balance and reading highly acidic if you are feeling anything less than your best. So, you will be removing acidic forming foods and adding alkaline forming foods. This will be a gradual process that you can track daily, along with how those food choices make you feel.
It is in our body’s makeup to eat a diet including both plant based foods (vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts) and animal protein. If we stick to what nature intended, we are off to a good start. Our ancestors did not eat burgers and fries in a styrofoam box with an extra large soda on the side. Just because we CAN do this for convenience, does not in any way mean that we SHOULD.
Start with the chart below as a general guideline for foods to introduce into your diet, and foods that you should eliminate from your diet. If this is challenging, try working up to a 50/50 ratio of foods from each category. You will eventually be eating comfortably in a 70/30 ratio favoring alkaline food choices. If your body is in acidosis (very high acidic readings) you will want to be closer to an 80/20 ratio until you can get everything in check.
Here are some foods that you should be eating to make up the majority of acidic food choices in your diet. We refer to them as “smart acids” due to the fact that they once they are digested, they actually work in favor of maintaining our alkaline balance.
It’s All About the Math
So now we have our ratios, but what does that really mean? In order to take the guesswork out of what you are doing, here are some fairly simple equations to help you along:
This is your daily caloric intake if you are a fairly sedentary person or someone who only engages in light exercise. If you are aggressively exercising, you will need to adjust these values to ensure that you are getting the correct amount of nutrition.
For Adult Males –
Multiply your body weight by 10.
Double your body weight and add it to that figure.
[i.e., for a 150 lb. male, 1,500 + (2 x 150) =1,800 cal/day]
For Adult Females –
Multiply body weight by 10.
Add your body weight to that figure.
[i.e., for a 120 lb. female, 1,200 + 120=1,320 cal/day]
That is the first step, now we need to calculate the ratio of acidic and alkaline foods. Remember, we are going for the 70% alkaline and 30% acidic goal.
Here is a sample of how that would play out using the same examples as above:
For Adult Males –
1,800 total calories x .70=1260 alkaline calories/day
1,800 total calories x .30=540 acidic calories/day
For Adult Females –
1,320 total calories x .70=924 alkaline calories/day
1,320 total calories x .30=396 acidic calories/day
Using the above formulas is a great place to start if you are addressing solely the acidosis in your body. If you are addressing other factors (primarily weight loss) in conjunction with chronic acidosis, then we need to change things a little. Using the equations we currently have, there would likely be little or no weight loss, but rather a maintenance of your current weight. If your daily caloric goal is lower to promote weight loss, then the equations would be essentially the same when figuring out percentages. 70% of your lower caloric intake to facilitate weight loss is alkaline, 30% of your lower caloric intake is acidic. Easy!
Lots of Information, Here’s a Wrap Up:
We have addressed a number of topics that are all vital in your journey to WHOLE health. Of course, there are other aspects that we will be addressing in upcoming segments to fully incorporate the entire picture of a healthy, balanced lifestyle platform. For the moment, let’s summarize this week’s goals and to-do’s.
- Check your pH daily for a minimum of 7 days each morning through either saliva or urine samples. Record each day’s results in your personal pH/Food Chart.
- Make noticeable and deliberate food choices based on the 70/30 rule. Start at 50/50 if that is easier and build up. Reminder: if you are in chronic acidosis (your acidic readings are consistently high) you will want to ramp up to 80/20 sooner and then stabilize down to 70/30.
- Take a mental inventory of things in your life that could also be contributing to your body’s pH imbalance such as stress, lack of exercise, poor interpersonal relationships, a lack of spirituality and mindfulness and just not having enough quality time with yourself and your loved ones. If you want to write these down, great! We will be addressing those issues (as well as the importance of supplements and water) in our next few segments.
In the meantime, enjoy what you are learning about your body, embrace the fact that you can control what you ingest and know that every attempt you are making toward WHOLE health is valuable. This isn’t going to be perfect all the time and that is not the expectation. You are not going to be perfect all the time and that is not the expectation. Trying to make change for yourself and your family is the only way to start, but at least you are trying to START! The best is still to come! Enjoy the journey.
Here is a great quote to help you along:
“It’s never too late to become what you might have been.” ~George Elliot