Monday, January 28, 2008

The Ultimate pH Solution: a book review

As you guys might know, I currently review books on my blog. While doing my reviews, I try to remain as objective as possible, meanwhile retaining my integrity. When reading a book about self improvement, whether it be physical or mental, I feel that it wouldn't be fair for me to review the book without trying out out at least a few aspects of the book, especially if the book contains recipes.

When I first started reading The Ultimate pH Solution: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Prevent Disease and Lose Weight, it gradually made a lot of sense. In the book, the author Michelle Schoffro talks about how the Standard American Diet is wreaking havoc on our bodies and how it is creating the perfect acidic environment for acute and chronic illnesses to survive. The author, who is a doctor of natural medicine, acupuncture and is a biofeedback therapist- also talks about how the majority of our food is processed, and that all of the preservatives, dyes and sweeteners are to blame for the steady decline in the health of much of the westernized world. She also describes the chemical affect that food has on our body and blood when digested; making us either acidic or alkaline.The book also offers basic information that I already knew; drinking at least 8 glasses of filtered water a day, but she goes on to explain why exactly so much water is needed on a more physiological and scientific level. On a side note, I found it very interesting that it takes 32 glasses of water to counteract the negative affects of all the acid, preservatives, dyes and sugar in one can of soda!

Though the book made a lot of sense to me, at first I was a little overwhelmed at the thought of changing the dietary habits of my family. We are already on the road to healthy living and I have started to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our diet, but I was a little daunted by the list of foods that the author (as well as many studies) has proven over the years to be harmful.

She goes on to talk about how dairy products and a diet consisting of more than 30% meat (especially if it's not organic meat) is causing our bodies to maintain a perpetually acidic state. According to her research and the research done by studies, dairy products cause the body to be acidic. The body compensates by leeching calcium, sodium and potassium from the bones in order to attempt to bring the blood back to an alkaline state. So instead of adding calcium to the bones and "doing the body good", it actually has the reverse affect.

This was a little hard for me to digest, but reading further on just the first few pages, she explains that despite the US and Canadian citizens consuming over 18 gallons/13 gallons of milk a year, plus 12 pounds/13 pounds of cheese a year, that osteoporosis is on a steady rise in both of these countries. She goes on to say that in contrast, a typical Bantu woman in Africa consumes a diet devoid of dairy products, and receives "her calcium intake solely from plant sources", and that even though she only receives one half the amount of calcium that Americans and Canadians do, osteoporosis is relatively unknown to Africans eating a traditional diet. You can't argue with numbers.

Michelle also talks about how she has treated people for all kinds of illnesses over the last 20 years, including: Lupus, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, and allergies. Through years of practice, she has seen her patients conquer almost all of their symptoms, if not the illness in it's entirety. I find that truly amazing.

I wondered to myself how exactly I was supposed to feed my family since they practically lived off of dairy products. When discussing the many negative affects of the American diet with John, he agreed that the information in this book is mind blowing yet daunting. His first response? "I'm not giving up cereal." To which I responded, "Yeah, coffee is my problem".

As with any information that goes against the very grain of our society, and the very foundation of everything we have learned about proper nutrition since grade school, I remained interested yet skeptical. My brain just didn't want to believe that despite knowing the numbers and the results of many studies on what dairy products actually do to our body, our government still chooses to perpetuate the myth that dairy products are a necessary component to healthy living.

It is amazing what one voice can do, the power of knowledge. John and I decided that despite our reservations about radically changing our lifestyle, we would give the pH Solution a try. We both agreed that a steady and gradual shift was the best course of action as far as moving towards nondairy products, and that an immediate change was called for snack foods in the house. I cleaned out the cupboards and left only a small amount of emergency chocolate, and we went grocery shopping for more natural foods like organic fruits and vegetables. We are trying our best to change our diet to one that consists of 30% healthy acidic foods, and 70% alkaline foods as listed in the book.

Though finding organic eggs and meat is a bit of a problem for me where I live, we have gone organic, meaning that we have cut out 90-95% of soda (cola or pop), coffee, dairy, artificial sweeteners, processed sugar and salt, foods with high fructose corn syrup, and we have incorporated the all natural herbal sweetener Stevia into our diet. We're not perfect, but we are trying. My kids still drink milk but are finding that they really enjoy the taste of soy milk as much as I do, and we have enjoyed nibbling our way through a 2 gallons of natural and organic trail mix in the last 4 weeks.

Since then, my girls haven't been sick once, which is a miracle, they usually get sick during the winters months frequently. I realized last night, after a weekend filled with crappy fast food ( I told you, we aren't perfect) that the constant aches and pains in my joints, and the sharp stabbing pain in my left arch had been gone for almost 2 weeks! That is until we ate the crappy fast food this last weekend. I had soda 3 times in 2 days, and my knees and foot began to hurt again last night. So I can honestly say that using the guidelines in this book helped improve my feeling of overall health.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is striving for a healthier body and lifestyle. I have had more energy, and after detoxing from coffee and the cravings my joint pain dwindled away to an occasional twinge. And I lost another 3 pounds. I guess what they say is true; you really are what you eat.

*** All the book reviews done for HarperCollins or Collins Publishing (an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishing) are done with one stipulation- I receive the book for free and read it. If I like it, I review it on my blog. These are not paid reviews per se, except for receiving the book.***


Pamela said...

yes we all need to eat better. It means growing a garden -

do you have room for a garden?

Monique Renae said...

Haha, my nutritionist is trying to get my body into a ph state. She has completely reprogrammed how I view food. We try to not bring anything into the house that is not organic... and I can tell you my body can definitely tell the difference between when I eat something processed and full of chemicals versus something that isn't.

She also is a biiiiiiiiiiiiiig pusher of us eating vegetables. LESS meat... more vegetables and fruits. It's interesting, especially when we live in a meat and potatoes country.

Also she says that almond milk is sweeter and better than soy.

With someone as neurotic with food as I am, a lot that she says sends me into a panic but I am so grateful for the knowledge she is giving me.

In addition to her words, I think I might have to run out and get this book as well!

Mary said...

I really like the book, it makes a lot of sense the way she breaks it down. I wish I could get my whole family one board. I live with a bunch of picky eaters.