Here are some verbatim quotes from my recent interview with superfood researcher Sam Graci that didn’t make it into this week’s Keeping Fit newspaper column.
• On nature:
“All the green plants take our carbon dioxide in as food. Every strawberry, every apple, is made of a carbon base. It comes from our carbon dioxide that the green leaves take in. And then the green leaves, when they work it into the plant, give off oxygen. So all of nature is designed to keep us alkaline because it takes in our cabon dioxide and gives us our oxygen. So every morning when I wake up I go outside and I open a window and say, ‘Thank you, thank you.’ We’re only alive because of green plants. The carbon dioxide you and I are exhaling, we’d all be dead in three and a half minutes – because it’s a deadly gas – if it weren’t for green vegetation.”
• On disease:
“The American Medical Association shows that before 1945, only about 22% of us died from cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. Today it’s 95%. So something happened after 1945. We didn’t change. Our genes stayed the same. Our lifestyle changed.”
“Anthropologist Dr. Boyd Eaton, from Emory University in Atlanta, has been studying fragments of bones from people who have died 30 years ago, 50 years ago, 80 years ago, 100 years ago and he has found that we are very acidic today. Acidic would mean no oxygen at the cellular level. So we get more colds, more flus, more bacterial infections, and more fungus and yeast can grow. It all comes from being too acidic.”
• On an acidic pH level and our diet’s role:
“The acidity now today comes from our diet. … The foods that make us alkaline are foods with a lot of calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc – minerals. Those minerals come from fruits, vegetables, salads, melons, berries, seeds and nuts, and salad material. The foods that make us acidic, that add to the acidic load, are foods with iron, foods with phosphoric acid such as a soft drink, or foods such as animal protein – meat – that has sulfur in it that makes sulfuric acid.”
• On acidifying foods vs. alkalinizing foods:
“Our diet should be 75% alkalinizing foods by volume and 25% acidifying foods. What we did after 1945 was we reversed it without even knowing it. So now for most of us, about 75% of our food is from the acidifying side. So we get exhausted, we get tired, we get depressed, we get disruptive sleep patterns – we either have trouble falling asleep or we keep waking up throughout the night.”
• On other problems associated with a diet too rich in acidifying foods:
“We have found that depressions occur in an acidic environment. In an acidic environment, serotonin, our good-mood modulating hormone, declines. Melatonin, the hormone made in the pineal gland between our eyes for deep sleep, declines. And our testosterone or estrogen from a man or woman declines, so our libido declines.”
• On the Canadian government’s food guide:
“They said, ‘Hey, eat more fruits and vegetables,’ because the research showed that those that eat the most fruits and vegetables have the least amount of cancers. But, in fact, they missed the point. The real point is, the more fruits and vegetables we eat, yes, the more vitamins, the more antioxidants, the more phytonutrients, the more minerals – but we’re also alkalinizing the body, which means lots of oxygen at the cellular level. Carcinogens can only proliferate and grow in the deep dark recesses of the body that are oxygen-deprived or starved.”
“The body’s smart. It doesn’t want the acid crystals around the heart, or our liver or our sexual organs. So it will take them and it pushes them to the extremities – the fingers and toes – to get them away. So we end up with sore fingers and sore toes.”
* On too many soft drinks:
“I worked with the Clinton Foundation in the United States going back about six years ago. We took soft drinks out of elementary and high schools in the United States because there’s so much phosphoric acid that they make students so acidic that the heads go down on the desk mid-morning. They’re just wiped out, besides the obvious teeth problem. The acids eat away at the teeth, so they end up with some teeth problems, too, when we drink too many soft drinks. Everything in moderation.”
• On athletes:
“Athletes, when they get to a point where they’re exhausted, it’s because the acids build up. They hit the wall. They can’t go anymore. If we keep an athlete more alkaline, Dr. John Berardi, from the University of Texas, has shown that within two weeks, by using one serving of Greens Plus, we can make good-quality athletes even more alkaline, almost 67% more alkaline, which means they can exercise and go longer and harder until the rate-limiting factor, the acids, build up to stop them. Acids win eventually, but if you can buffer them … they feel better and they can exercise longer.”
“From our adrenal glands on top of the kidneys, two little adrenal glands, we make a hormone called cortisol. It’s to help us in fight-or-flight, but it’s very acidic. So when it stays elevated for a little while, it starts to eat away at parts of our brain, the hypothalamus – our self-esteem and decision-making (centre) – and it eats away at the adrenal glands so they can’t even handle stress. So we go into drop-dead fatigue. So staying stressed-out over a long period of time, the reason it’s bad for us, is it creates too much cortisol. And it’s cortisol that’s corrosive. And it’s cortisol that pushes down melatonin, so you can’t sleep. And it’s cortisol that pushes down testosterone in a man or estrogen in a woman, so we lose our libido. … Cortisol says, ‘Eat.’ It’s because cortisol to the brain says, ‘Something’s wrong. I don’t know how long this is going to be wrong, I better eat to get some extra energy in case this goes on a long time.’ That’s why cortisol stays elevated. It’s to protect us. So we eat in case this danger goes on for a long time. But elevated cortisol today in our modern environment is extremely destructive. That’s why when we go on anti-depressants, mood medication or anti-anxiety medication, we have elevated cortisol levels – stress, anxiety, worry. And that cortisol causes the brain not to communicate as clearly, as efficiently, as reliably as it should. So messages get garbled. We feel crummy. We get indecisive. We lose self-esteem. But the whole real basis to it comes back to: we’re too acidic.
Later this week: Graci shares some recipes that will help to keep us in the optimum pH balance – slightly alkaline.