18 February 2008
Book Review: The Acid Alkaline Diet for Optimal Health
One of the books on my 'Reading Challenge Progress' shelf over at GoodReads is The Acid Alkaline Diet for Optimal Health, by Christopher Vasey, ND.
I started with a pretty cynical attitude toward this book. I've read too many tomes through the years that promise that fixing one aspect of your health will heal everything, that I just couldn't believe I was reading another one. (The reason I read it is that a good friend's husband recommended it to Drew and he ordered it from Amazon. I also knew that he doesn't have the time to read that I do, so I thought I'd give it a try and at least try to pass on some of the gleanings to him.)
I read 2/3 of it and then put it aside. I just wasn't that impressed. Then I had a weekend-long, serious bout of acid stomach. I felt as though I were 11 months pregnant with twins. (I suffered much heartburn while in my last trimester of each of my pregnancies, but this felt even worse.) I grabbed the book and began rereading as if my life depended on it. I began making changes immediately. I bought some alkaline supplements at a local health food store and began paying attention to what I was eating, focusing solely on alkaline foods until the volcano subsided. I ate lots of bananas that weekend. Once the acid attack had passed, I continued to apply what I'd learned (I knew even without Vasey's list of symptoms that my system was very acidic and had been for years.) Since then, I've got much more energy…amazingly more energy…so much energy I don't know what to do with myself. Well, okay, I exaggerate a bit. I'm not the energizer bunny, but compared to my past energy levels (pretty much non-existent), I'm impressed with the change. I've also begun to drop a bit of weight. I've been trying for years, but no matter what I do, it just won't come off. It's not much, but the scale is moving in the right direction and my pants feel just a bit looser.
First what I liked about it:
* While at the beginning it reads like the others ('Fix your acid/alkaline balance and all your health worries are finished!'), by the time he gets to the last part, it's clear that Vasey understands that this is only one aspect of health, an important one, but not the only one. Because of this understanding, Vasey recommends other approaches that will work in conjunction with acid alkaline balance to promote health: colon cleansing, pre- and pro-biotics, enzymes, lots of water, and exercise. He doesn't just focus on dietary advice.
* Vasey realizes that we live in a world that requires balance (and not just acid/alkaline balance). For example, most meats have an acidifying effect on the body, but he acknowledges that eliminating meat from the diet means that most of us wouldn't get enough protein and that wouldn't be healthy. He doesn't recommend completely eliminating acidifying foods, simply becoming aware of them and striving for balance.
* In the section about supplements, he gives detailed instructions for alkaline supplementation: how to figure out how much your individual system needs and how to read yourself to know when the deacidification process is complete. He doesn't hand out one-size-fits-all advice about supplementation, which is a breath of fresh air.
What I didn't agree with:
* In the section listing symptoms of a system that is acidic, he lists a common occurrence in women. I know too much about the female reproductive system to buy that this particular thing is a symptom of too much acid.
* I think the book was written in French originally, and some of my occasional difficulty in following his train of thought might have been because of the translation and not because of his original writing.
In summary, I found it interesting. I'm more aware of this aspect of health and am seeing positive changes as I apply myself to the balance explained in the book.