January 24, 2011
By Jennifer Reilly RD LD
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!”
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.
GREEN GODDESS SMOOTHIE
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