So...... which is it this week? Is coffee good for us, or bad for us? We know it’s full of antioxidants, but we also know it taxes the adrenal glands. We know it’s laxative, but it’s also diuretic and therefore dehydrating. We’ve experienced the dramatic mood-lifting qualities of a good cup of coffee, but we’ve also crashed with depression and fatigue just a couple of hours later. So which is it?
In studying the chemical effect of various foods on the body, I discovered that most prepared coffee swings our body’s pH over to the extreme acidic end of the pH spectrum. This is not good. Pre-roasted & pre-ground coffee, which is what most coffee shops serve, is particularly acid-forming to our blood pH, which should be mostly alkaline for good health.
Okay. Here’s the low-down on pH; to prevent disease from setting in, the body’s pH should be 80% alkaline, and only 20% acid. The best way to attain this optimum balance is to eat acid-forming foods no more than about 20% of the time, and eat alkaline-forming foods 80% of the time. In regard to coffee, there are a couple of ways to make our pre-roasted & ground coffee way less acid-forming, and also way gentler on our kidneys.
Before we get into the details of how to pull off this magical feat, let me map out for you which other foods swing our pH to the dark side, so you can have a leg up on staying in that healthy pH balance; coffee, white sugar, alcohol, refined table salt, white flour, and red meats. It’s so sad to me that these foods are most commonly presented when we’re having a swinging good time (very funny). For me, at this point, I’m relieved that I’m no longer attracted to these foods. It took some patience, as my taste buds took their sweet time adjusting to the natural flavors of whole foods, but now, my whole foods snacks & meals are my super-satisfying, go-to foods...even on the go! I’ll cook on a Sunday afternoon, and all week long I’ll take my tasty black beans & veggies, or just some brown rice & avocado, with me in a jar. I’m such a renegade!
In case you think, when I say ‘whole foods’, I’m talking about an “organic” box of cereal made with ‘whole wheat’ from a Whole Foods grocery store. Whole Foods are not that. They’re whole or unrefined, so they hardly ever come from a package. Think; beans & rice & veggies. It’s important to mention, that from my experience I’ve learned that everyone needs different types of whole foods at different times in their life to maintain vitality. This is another article entirely, which I will get into in the future, but I absolutely HAD to mention it here.
Okay. If 80% of our diet were alkalizing, whole foods, we would prevent most modern diseases. Many foods qualify as whole foods, so I’ve found that this isn’t unrealistic at all. Here’s what I mean when I say ‘whole foods’...seasonal vegetables (especially the dark leafy greens)...low glycemic, spouted (or fresh ground & cultured) whole grains like brown rice, millet, and quinoa...fresh, raw nuts & seeds...moderate amounts of seasonal fruit...soaked & simmered beans of all kinds...wild-caught, uncontaminated fish...moderate amounts of consciously raised eggs and grass fed meats...small amounts of raw milk products (preferably from goat or sheep)...small amounts of unrefined oils and whole fats for cooking...small amounts of the unrefined salts...and just a tad of the unrefined sweeteners. Sound too strict? It won’t when you start feeling like a million bucks!
I was pleasantly surprised to find out recently, that the closer your coffee beans are to being freshly roasted AND freshly ground, the less acid-forming they are to the body’s pH. Wow! Who knew? And here’s the most exciting part; for a ZERO acid effect, roast the beans yourself, then grind & steep the coffee immediately. Yee Haaa! Little House On The Prairie! This would mean acquiring a coffee roaster of some sort, and factoring in 20 extra minutes into one’s morning routine, but just imagine; finally feeling energized & healthy all day long after your coffee high and crash. It would be so sweet if every neighborhood had it’s own coffee roasting, grinding, & steeping house. I could just see it; some hip dudes & dudettes happily roasting and grinding this fresh joe for everyone on their street each morning. People would be hangin’ out, gearing up for their day, talking and laughing, and sharing in this delightful, rejuvenating, fresh-roasted elixir. Idealism rocks!
Now for coffee’s effects on our kidneys. It’s so acidic and difficult for our kidneys to process, my friend Hugo says that coffee “flattens” our kidneys. Yikes! What exactly does that mean? I wish I knew, but Hugo says to be sure to flush each cup of coffee that you drink, out of your kidneys afterward with at least 8oz water. That’s doable.
Also, here’s an Ayurvedic spice blend recipe to help neutralize the acid-forming effect of un-fresh & pre-ground coffee, and to lessen it’s harmful effects on our kidneys. Hooray!
Coffee Good Spice Blend
Grind ½ cup coffee beans with: 2 raw almonds, 3 whole cloves, 3 whole cardamom pods, 1 stick cinnamon, and 2 star anise pods. All these spices are available at The Secret Garden Herb Shop in San Luis Obispo (805) 544-4372.
If you don’t have the time or energy to grind & steep this spice blend yourself, you can use 2-4 drops of Bob and Melanie Sach’s amazing creation: Shakti Shots, available at the coffee/tea/juice counter at New Frontiers, SLO (costs about $17 for 2oz) which is a quick & easy way to add these tasty spices to your hot coffee. If you can’t get to New Frontiers Natural Market, you can order Shakti Shots from Bob and Melanie at www.diamondwayayurveda.com.
Another great way to completely de-acidify coffee is to add 1lb fresh ground, organic coffee to 8 cups water in a glass bowl for 16hrs, covered with a dish towel in a cool area. Then, strain the dark liquid into a jar (it’ll keep in a tightly sealed jar, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks). During this time, you can add 1-2Tbsp of this concentrated, de-acidified coffee extract to an 8oz cup of hot water for your perky cup of de-acidified coffee. Awesome! Easy. Excellent...
A delicious cookie recipe to enjoy .