Monday, March 12, 2012

To Alkalize or NOT to Alkalize? I was diagnosed with a large and rare tumour inside my spinal cord (Astrocytoma)

To Alkalize or not To Alkalize?

by Lee Gefen

A lot of friends and family have been asking me what exactly is this alkaline ‘diet’ that I’m following (I hate the word ‘diet’ as I have been ‘dieting’ my whole life and I know diets don’t work! A lifestyle is a better word).

To me (and Dave), this knowledge has revolutionised our whole way of looking at food and drink , our bodies, our thoughts our actions and our..


It can cost a lot of money to buy water filters, organic foods, supplements, quality juicing and blending appliances, the list goes on.

It does takes A LOT of time daily in the kitchen, washing, chopping, storing, juicing/blending/cooking/generally preparing meals. Everything needs to be planned and organised.

It takes an incredible amount of willpower and discipline to stick with what you believe when that goes against what most people believe, and the temptation to 'indulge' in what is not good for you at all is everywhere, readily available, heavily promoted, and encouraged innocently by friends and family and society in general.

However, this is all offset by the benefits which can take time but nothing worthwhile is easy. Our skin and eyes are noticebly clearer, we feel lighter and more energetic, we feel empowered knowing we can have relative control over our health, rather than feel victimised by that re occuring condition that 'happens' to you.

Touch wood, but I haven't had anything resembling a cold or flu in over a year, and Dave hasn't been sick since last April (in Belgium, where stress, baguets and chocolate were his diet!) We also feel blessed that in this life and in this country we are able to choose to live like this.

So, I’ve decided to use this opportunity to share it with you.

Most of what I will write about is based on extensive reading I’ve done in the last year.
In particular, it is based on the work of Dr. Robert Young, who over the past two and a half decades has been researching the true causes of ‘disease’ and the importance of pH balance in the body.
I have used his book ‘The pH Miracle’ as a main reference.

Of course, nothing that I write about should be taken as advice but simply as a summary of what I’ve learned.

As I am sitting down to write this blog, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed because this is such a huge topic and there’s no way I can cover all of it in one post. But I’ll do my best to explain the basics and hopefully this will intrigue you readers to go and do some more reading…

The basic premise is that of all the balances the body strive to maintain, the most crucial is the one between acid and alkaline (base). The medical view agrees with this premise but it does not understand how the body turns itself inside out and upside down in order to keep that delicate balance.

There is a consensus that the body must maintain a certain ph balance of the blood (slightly alkaline), however, what is not understood nor researched in the medical world, is how exactly the body maintains this balance, namely by compromising its own functions and health.

It is a paradox really: the body is designed to be alkaline and it needs alkaline buffers (fuel), however all body functions and human activity produce acidic effects. Add to this a diet full of acidic food and beverages, a lifestyle full of stress and worry and what happens is you get a massive over acidification of cells, tissues, organs and eventually blood.

This over acidification of body fluids and tissues is the underlying cause of all disease. It is only when the body is acidic that it is vulnerable to germs. In a healthy alkaline balance, germs can’t t get a foothold.

The pH (potential hydrogen) has a scale of 0 to 14. 7 is neutral, below 7 is acid and above 7 is alkaline.

If our body is over acidic, at the beginning, we might just get mild symptoms such as loss of energy, skin eruptions, irritation, headaches, allergies, colds, flu and sinus problems.

But as things progress and the body continue to be over acidic, weakened organs and systems start to give way, resulting in more serious conditions.

When the body is faced with a lot of incoming acids, the blood begins to pull alkaline minerals out of our tissues to compensate. If we have insufficient amounts of alkaline minerals in our diet or in the reserves, the body has to recruit them from somewhere else such as bones or muscles.

Eventually if the acid overload gets too great for the body/blood to handle, these acids will be deposited in various organ systems, including the heart, pancreas, liver and colon or stored in fatty tissues such as breasts, hips, belly and brain.

So according to this view (and I was amazed when I first learnt about it), a tumour is the body’s way of actually protecting itself by storing these acids in a ‘solid’ formation in a desperate attempt to ‘save’ the rest of the body, to survive.

Ok so we covered a bit of the theoretical side (there’s much much more to it, of course!), now let’s get to the practical business- what can we do to start alkalizing our bodies?

Making the transition to an alkaline diet/lifestyle can seem like a huge step to most people. That’s because it is! So, in my opinion, the best thing is to make baby steps, making small changes over a long period of time. It is often the case when one makes too big a change too quick, that it is not sustainable long term.

For me it was a bit different because it was soon after I started making the transition to an alkaline diet that I found out about my tumour so I decided to go a bit ‘extreme’ and jump right into the cold (alkaline) water.

I have, however, modified my diet over time to suit my needs and wants and yes, these days, I ‘cheat’ here and there. I believe that becoming too rigid with the diet (any diet!) is not beneficial to our bodies, mind and wellbeing. And in this case, stressing about what you eat or don’t eat is counter-productive as it creates more acids in the body!

There are many suggestions as to what is the best way to start alkalizing, what are the most important things. The way I look at it, there’s no right or wrong, start somewhere and the path will unfold to you just as it should.

I do like Robert Young recommendation, though, of starting to eat COWS which stands for Chlorophyll,Oil, Water and Salt. (Not steaks!)

Chlorophyll- Green vegetables and particularly green leafy veggies are the most nutrient- rich foods on the planet. They provide just about all the vitamins, minerals and micronutrients you could ever need.

So start thinking green green green! Spinach, cucumbers, silver beet, broccoli, lettuce, parsley, avocadoes, chives, celery, kale- just to name a few. The more the better!

Best is to eat them raw as important nutrients get destroyed when heated, but lightly steamed or stir fried veggies are also ok.

When you start getting into your greens, you’ll find that the easiest way to increase your consumption is by juicing and blending them. Both are important.

Juices provide immediate nourishment, without the body having to invest energy in digesting the food.
Blending (as in making a smoothie in a blender) is also great because you get a lot of fibre that you don’t get when juicing.

There are many delicious recipes for green smoothies and they are so easy to prepare, it really does take 5 minutes.

Grasses are great too- wheatgrass, barley grass etc.

This is what goes into our green juices. You'll have to be munching veggies all day to be able to get the same amount of greens...

If you find it too difficult to have regular green juices, that’s ok- there are many green powder products on the markets aimed to make your life easier!

I have been juicing almost every day, as well as having green smoothies and what I notice is that it helps keep my sugar cravings at bay.


Forget about the no-fat low-fat obsession! Fat plays a crucial role in our bodies and we need healthy fats.

Polyunsaturated fats such as flax seed, borage, evening primrose, grape seed and hemp oil are great choices.
Those fats that are predominantly monounsaturated like olive oil are also beneficial.

A minimum of a table spoon of flaxseed oil should be taken every day.

What I do is every morning I pour a bit of water into a glass and then on top of it 1-2 table spoons of flaxseed oil and I drink it like a shot. I found this way to be easiest, in case I forget to take my oil later in the day.

I use flaxseed, olive oil and coconut oil freely with my foods, as well as many many avocadoes.

What makes me laugh is that I used to be the ‘fat free’ queen!everything I bought, I always looked at the fat content and now I eat 3 avocadoes a day without blinking and I stay away from anything ‘diet’ or ‘low fat’.


Our bodies are 70% water and so we need plenty of clean, purified water. (Not tap water!)

Most people, without even realising it, are chronically dehydrated! Body cells are as healthy as the fluids they are bathed in.

I drink 4 litres per day and the more I drink the thirstiest I get...

There are many water machines and purifiers out there, some of which are very expensive.

We invested a few hundred dollars in a water filtration system and I also add ‘pH drops’ to my drinking water to bring the pH level up. These drops are consisted of alkaline minerals such as potassium and sodium and are very inexpensive. I take them with me when I’m not home so that I can use them whenever I need to.


Contrary to what we are led to believe in regards to staying away from salt, salt is essential to our nutrition and body function! Good salt that is, not the processed white poison known as table salt!
(Table salt is bleached and contains additives, preservatives, anti caking agents, fluoride and dextrose)

Good salts help normalize the volume of blood, regulate fluid pressure including blood pressure within cells.
Salt is important in making the heart beat correctly and the regulation of metabolism.

The wrong salt (table salt) can cause blood pressure, especially if you are eating and living acidic.

The ideal salt for our bodies would be sun dried from the waters of a healthy sea.
(Which is a whole different topic- are there any healthy seas/oceans left these days...)
Celtic salt and Himalayan salt are great.

Mineral Salts are also very important. The best is a combination of the 4 most important salts for the body: sodium, potassium bicarbonate and magnesium and calcium carbonate.

I use this combination of 4 salts in a powder form twice a day- I mix a teaspoon with water and drink it morning and night.

If you don’t want to buy the 4 salts, you can simply use baking soda, which you most likely have at home. (Just make sure it is aluminium free!)

This is one simple thing you can start doing right away and you will notice the results.

You’re probably still asking yourself- so what should I eat?

You might be surprised to learn how much of what you eat is acidic, as well how some foods that are perceived as acidic are actually alkalizing. (Like lemons).

As a rule, your diet should be around 70-80% alkaline and the rest can be more on the acidic side.

What to eat

In short, all vegetables are alkaline, except for corn, white potatoes and mushrooms.

Eat plenty of veggies from different varieties, tomatoes, avocadoes, sprouts, herbs & spices, lemons, limes and grapefruits. (Low sugar fruits).

You can eat non animal protein such as soy beans and tofu and the occasional fish (if you must).

Grains and legumes such as buckwheat, millet, quinoa, spelt, lentils, chickpeas and beans are ok, however make sure they are in the 20-30% acidic part of your diet, as they are slightly acidic.

If you love bread, make sure it is wheat & yeast free.
We eat sprouted bread, as it only contains sprouted grains (such as wheat and rye) and olive oil.

Nuts are ok except for cashews, peanuts and pistachios (because of their fungal content).
The best nuts to eat are almonds. If you can soak them in water overnight it’s better as it gets rid of their enzyme inhibitors. But other nuts and seeds (such as pine nuts, sunflower kernels, sesame, chia and flex seeds etc) are also not too bad.

What to avoid (again, don’t get overwhelmed, remember baby steps, little adjustments and one thing at a time!)

- All forms of sugar (including fruits, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar etc)

- Simple Carbohydrates like white flour, pasta, white rice, potatoes etc

- Refined and processed foods- junk food, fried food, frozen food, food that has additives, preservatives, artificial colouring or flavouring in it. Also avoid artificial sweeteners at all cost.

- Fruits- high sugar fruits are full of sugar and therefore acidic. If you must have fruits- try and limit it to your acidic part of the diet and eat it by itself, not combined with anything else.

- Dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt.

- Unhealthy fats (like canola oil, butter etc)

- Meat and eggs

- Yeast

- Edible Fungus (mushrooms, algae, chlorella)

- Fermented and malted products (like tempeh, vinegar, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, chilli sauce, miso sauce, pickled veggies)

- Alcohol (you know the drill!)

- Caffeine (including chocolate, cocoa, tea, sodas and all forms of coffee, even decaffeinated).

Some of the things you can also do to increase alkalinity are getting regular exercise, plenty of fresh air, sweating in an infra red sauna (I have a sauna once a day now), rebounding (jumping on a little trampoline), meditation, laughter, spending time with loved ones, getting enough sleep, reducing stress and having fun!

So this is the alkaline lifestyle in a nut shell. If you are interested to read more about this huge subject, below is a list of books and websites that I find very helpful and informative:

‘The ph Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health’ by Robert O. Young (I use this book as my ‘alkaline bible’!)

Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko Robert O. Young blog where he publishes incredibly interesting articles about health, diet and his research into the alkaline lifestyle. a great website full of resources, articles, recipes, products and much more. You can also download (for free) a full chart of what foods are acidic and what alkaline – alkaline products, recipes and articles. – this website has a great ‘home study kit’ that you can download (for a fee), it covers pretty much everything you need to know to start your alkaline journey, including charts and recipes.

Ok, this blog has been very informative and technical, but I hope you found it interesting and helpful.

Make sure to check my new ‘Recipes’ page, where I will continue to upload healthy alkaline recipes.

This is what most of our food shopping looks like these days...

My name is Lee, I’m a 32 year old woman, born in Israel and have been living in Australia for 7 years now.

One year ago, out of the blue (as is often the case!) I was diagnosed with a large and rare tumour inside my spinal cord (Astrocytoma).

Needless to say, my life as I knew it has changed forever.

I had surgery in Brussels (Laminectomy) at the beginning of April 2011; however none of the tumour could be removed without causing me quadriplegia so the tumour remained untouched.
(And I can walk, which I’m so happy about!)

So seeing that my medical options are very limited, I have decided to follow my initial intuition and strong belief in the body’s capacity to heal itself and I have embraced on a natural healing journey.

My intention in creating this blog is to share my journey, the things I am learning along the way, my thoughts and experiences, in the hope that perhaps this could help other people on their journey too.

Thanks for reading my blog and I would love to hear from you!

Love and Light


If you would like to contact me but not in this public forum, you can e-mail me at:

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