Veggie pHortification

By Jennifer Reilly RD LD   |  13Comments|

Maintaining a slightly alkaline system is ideal for health and a properly running immune system. Your acid-alkaline balance is measured with pH, which is on a scale of 0-14. An alkaline pH is anything above 7 while an acidic pH is anything below 7. Optimally, you want to be a little alkaline, around 7.365. Certain foods make our blood and tissue more or less acidic, and I bet you can guess which ones are the acid trouble-makers and which ones are the alkaline love-makers! You got it – in general, veggies, green juices, raw foods, beans and unprocessed carbs are more alkaline while meats, dairy, eggs, sugary goods, highly processed foods, coffee and alcohol are more acidic.

In striving to be alkaline divine, downing green juices, veggies, nuts, quinoa and seaweed may come easily for some. But for partners, kids and neighbors who are still trudging up the learning curve, here are a couple ways to reach the 60 to 80 percent alkaline diet goal by veggie inception and misconception.

Shred or Purée Veggies and Put Them in Everything

Pancakes, pasta sauce, mashed potatoes, grain dishes and other baked goods are perfect vegetable vehicles. At my house, we dine every few days on confetti pancakes (recipe below), which include carrots, zucchini and collard greens. And if everyone is behaving, we may toss in a dark chocolate chip or two. All of a sudden we’ve got chocolate chip pancakes: “We’ve got the best mom!”


Servings: 4

2 cups whole wheat or whole grain flour
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons unrefined vegetable oil
¼ cup shredded carrots
½ cup shredded zucchini
¼ cup finely diced collard greens

Mix all ingredients together, and add more almond milk as needed for thinner pancakes. Cook in a large skillet with a touch of oil. Add fruit, agave, stevia or nothing at all.

Sauce It Up

Marinara sauce can easily be injected with finely chopped kale or spinach and dried red lentils (more protein and fiber!), which dissolve almost completely if simmered in the sauce for about 15 minutes. Put the sauce atop quinoa or wild rice instead of pasta and your blood will love you. You want loving blood!

For the green averse, get cozy with steamed cauliflower and yellow squash. They mash well into potatoes, sweet potatoes and even pancakes.

Fruit Smoothies and Popsicles

If green juices aren’t popular yet, try tossing raw spinach, kale, wheatgrass, or pretty much any other green veggie into a fruit smoothie. Be warned that keeping the fruit on the yellow/orange side will simply make the smoothie a beautiful shade of green. Fruit smoothies with berries or dark-colored fruits, however, will become an interesting shade of mud. Either way, these may need to be served in an opaque glass, with a lid and an opaque straw – or maybe a blindfold! – especially for the green-averse or “color-sensitive” spirits. Here’s one that feels, looks and tastes incredible.


Servings: 4

1 cup chopped mango (fresh or frozen)
½ cup chopped pineapple (fresh or frozen)
1 ripe pear, cored
1 cup green grapes
1 ½ cups (2 large handfuls) raw baby spinach
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
Ice cubes for a thicker smoothie/chilled water for a thinner smoothie

Blend until smooth. Now take the leftovers and freeze them in popsicle molds.

Who could pass up a popsicle?!

Got other tips on sneaking in the veggies? Please share!

Photo credit: halfgeek

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13 responses to Veggie pHortification
  1. What flour can be substituted for the ww?

  2. Thanks for the pancake idea. I’ve never seen that one before and I cannot wait to try it out on my 3 and 6 year olds who are the most difficult about the veggies!

  3. Great question, Stefania! I’ve had good luck with corn flour, but you can make the following gluten-free wheat flour mixes too. Mix #1: 1/4 cup soy flour + 1/4 cup tapioca flour + 1/2 cup brown rice flour, or Mix #2: 6 cups white rice flour + 2 cups potato starch + 1 cup tapioca flour. Good luck!

  4. GREAT article! I especially love the shredding tip, and making popsicles! I also simply add a little bit of fruit to every meal I eat, for example a clementine or a big handfull of grapes. it adds up quickly!

  5. @Stefania: I mistyped… the gluten-free flours are wheat-FREE (not wheat). But you probably figured that out! @Wendy: My kids (ages 5, 3, & 1) LOVE the pancakes. I’m just gearing up for when they go to a friend’s house and freak out when they have uncolorful pancakes. I can see it now… “why are these only one color? And so white?”. @Sabine: Great tip! Fruit is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth and a good meal ingredient.

  6. Love the article! I am going to feature your fantastic recipes in my next cooking class…and at home for my 3 y/o! Other favorite ways to sneak in veggies — carrot puree instead of oil in muffins (1:1 substitute) or throwing shredded veggies in spaghetti sauce…mmmm!

  7. I love it! Collards greens in pancakes.. totally brilliant.

  8. Thanks! We love pancakes but I’m trying to eat gluten free and would love to make these. Pancakes are always a hit as snack food.

  9. We use buckwheat flour for pancakes.

  10. I often test acidic, even when I eat high alkaline. What other factors come into play when testing ph levels? Can age play a factor? Too many nuts and seeds? Just trying to get to the bottom of it. I know the morning test will often be on the acidic side…but my evening tests also appear acidic. Thanks for any help.

  11. Hopalong: Are you testing your 2nd morning urine? That’s the best one. What’s your % raw vs. cooked intake? Also, if you haven’t picked up a copy of Crazy Sexy Diet, you definitely should! It’s all about pHabulousness. And, here is one of Kris’ vlogs on pH as well: . Hope that helps!

  12. That Green Goddess Smoothie is going to be delicious. I’ve been drinking the Green Monster Smoothies lately, but they haven’t really been my taste. I’m not a big fan of bananas. Thanks for the recipes, and I can’t wait to read your book!

  13. Yumm those pancakes are calling to me! Thank you!