”Remember the old Food Pyramid from the 1990s?
I do. There were posters of it up at school and the doctor’s office. It had a huge section at the bottom of the pyramid that said “bread, cereal, rice, and pasta.” On top of that was a split section with fruit on one side and veggies on the other. Next up came meat and dairy, and on top, a small section that said, “fats, oils, and sweets. Use sparingly.
Looking back now, that pyramid is a joke. Can you imagine being told to eat MORE bread and pasta?
Except it’s not a joke, because that influenced how Americans ate for 20 years!
It contributed to a culture in which fats were villainized and carbs were sanctified, and that led to the health problems that continue to plague us today, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
It’s a crying shame, and when I wrote my book GET OFF YOUR ACID – 7 Steps in 7 Days to Lose Weight, Fight Inflammation, and Reclaim Your Health & Energy, it was one of many things I set out to rectify.
I created my own improved version – the alkaline food pyramid – and today, we’re going to break down what’s in it and how to eat according to it so that you can avoid those health disasters, and instead, enjoy plenty of energy, a robust immune system, and fewer aches and pains.
So let’s get started. Remember, as you read through these foods and their ideal servings, it’s about PROGRESS, not perfection. These are what you should aim for, and even if you make one substitution – for example, eating a serving of greens instead of meat, that’s huge progress towards fueling your body with the good stuff it needs.
Level 1: At the bottom, you’ll find what should be the foundation of your diet – leafy greens, microgreens, sprouts, and essential fats and oils.
The more you can eat of these foods, the better your health will be. You want to eat 7-10 servings of veggies total per day, which combines the dark green leafy vegetables in this group, and other vegetables in the next group.
You also want to eat 7-10 servings of essential oils and fats per day, although those servings appear much smaller than a serving of greens. Essential fats include omega-3 fatty acids, MCTs found in coconut oil, and omega-9 fats found in avocados and extra virgin olive oil.
Level 2: The next section up on the pyramid is where you’ll find most vegetables and low sugar fruits like tomatoes, avocados, pomegranate, lemons, limes, and grapefruit. Vegetables that fit in this category include:
- Carrots and other root vegetables (with the exception of potatoes)
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and bok choy
- Onions, garlic, leeks and other allium vegetables
- Bell peppers
Green smoothies and juices also fall into this category. You can include all of these foods in Level 2 in the 7-10 servings of veggies and greens (from Level 1) you’re aiming for every day.
Level 3: The next level up in the middle of the pyramid is nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, grasses, and sea vegetables. This category includes alkaline foods like:
- Raw almonds, almond milk, and almond butter*
- Raw cashews and cashew butter
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and Brazil nuts
- Sunflower seeds*
- Sesame seeds
- All herbs
- All spices
- Seaweed, kelp, and other sea vegetables
*Eat in moderation due to high omega-6 content.
Enjoy 1-2 servings of these foods daily. The wheatgrass and sea vegetables can count toward your 7-10 servings of veggies and greens you’re aiming for every day.
Level 4: This level is where you get your proteins from both plant-based sources and the sea. This includes:
- Salmon (wild-caught)
- Sardines and anchovies
- Hummus and chickpeas
- Green beans
Enjoy 1-2 servings of these foods daily.
You might be saying, is that ENOUGH protein?
The answer is YES, with certainty. Remember, you are also getting lots of protein from levels 1-3, because greens contain lots of protein, as do raw nuts and seeds. The fact is that most Americans consume far too much protein, especially in the form of animal proteins, which if eaten in excess, can turn into SUGAR in your body!
Americans consume 5x the amount of protein they SHOULD be consuming. So how much protein is right for you? Use this formula taken from page 100 from my book…
HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR DAILY PROTEIN NEEDS IN 3 EASY STEPS:
STEP 1: First, come up with your ideal weight, and then convert that number into kilograms by dividing by 2.2. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, and your ideal weight is 150, then divide 150 by 2.2, which is 68.18 kilograms.
STEP 2: Next, round to the nearest whole number, which is 68.
STEP 3: Finally, multiply this by 0.8, which equals 54.4, and round this number again to the nearest whole number, which equals 54.
That means your goal throughout the day should be a target of 54 grams of daily of good quality protein, spread out throughout your meals (18 grams per meal based on 3 meals per day).
A 3-ounce serving of cooked meat equals about 21 grams of protein. This is about the size of a deck of cards or bar of soap. Thin, flat slices of fish should resemble a standard checkbook for a 3-ounce (21 gram) serving size. Remember again, that plant-based proteins are excellent sources that should contribute to the 54 grams.
Level 5: The last level of the alkaline pyramid which you should eat the least amount of, is sweet fruits and starchy vegetables, including lentils, potatoes (new potatoes are the best choice), sweet potatoes, squashes and pumpkins, and all fruit not listed in Level 2.
One serving of these foods per day is plenty. Remember, it’s not about deprivation, but moderation!
Down below the pyramid, you’ll find the foundational pillars of the alkaline lifestyle that should be a part of your day, every day:
- 3-4 liters of filtered, mineral-rich water ideally with dissolved hydrogen – This should be the vast majority of what you’re drinking throughout your day.
A couple weeks back, I was joined by a group of health rockstars, which I dubbed “The Health Avengers”, for a 1-hour live webinar on the powef of drinking Hydrogen Water! You can check out the FREE recording by following the link here.
- Oxygenation – Deep breathing to release the toxic carbon dioxide that builds up in the body and replacing it with the oxygen that healthy cells want and need.
- Exercise – Including some exercise every day to get your lymphatic drainage working like the rebounder.
Supplements – Resolve any deficiencies in your body and your diet by supplementing with at least:
- Omega-3 fatty acids – you cannot get enough from your diet. That is why I created the most effective fish oil, with the ideal 2:1 ratio of EPA to DHA, so that you can boost your brain health, and fight inflammation. Check it out here…
- Greens – to boost that number of servings per day and deliver plenty of chlorophyll
- Minerals – in the right ratio so that you’re not creating any deficiencies by supplementing, a surprisingly common problem for anyone who takes a standard calcium supplement
- Probiotics – to keep your digestive system in balance
So there you have it. The food pyramid you should be working toward.
If you want to go further on this topic, it came from my
best-selling book, Get Off Your Acid: 7 Steps in 7 Days to Lose Weight, Fight Inflammation, and Reclaim Your Health and Energy. It’s full of recipes, tips, and ideas to take you from sluggish and in pain to healthy, energetic, and slim.