Interview with Ms. Felicia Drury Kliment, author of Acid Alkaline Balance Diet: An Innovative Program for Ridding Your Body of Acidic Wastes, was conducted via email over the past week.
The book, “Acid Alkaline Balance Diet: An Innovative Program for Ridding Your Body of Acidic Wastes” is in stores now.
Q) Let me begin by asking you a little more about yourself- Where did you grow up, in particular, what kind of food you generally ate while growing up?
A) I grew up in the late forties and fifties in Youngstown, Ohio, population 100,000. The food additive industry was still in its infancy then, so food was relatively free of pesticides. At the time a well balanced meal which included the three food typesâ€”carbohydrates, fat, and proteinâ€”was the by-word to good health. A typical dinner was made up of meat, potatoes, vegetables and salad, while a typical breakfast consisted of eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast.
One of the highlights of my youth was the food we got fresh from a farm or grown in our backyard. Although Youngstown was then referred to as a steel town, we â€“my mother, father, and brotherâ€”lived in a suburb only minutes away by car from many small farms In the summer my mother and I would drive to the Fite farm to buy corn on the cob. When we arrived, Ms. Fite would go out to the cornfields and pick corn especially for us. I also remember our â€˜milkman,â€™ delivering milk in glass bottles. The top third of the bottle was pure cream because milk was not homogenized in those times. What also stands out in my memory are the beefsteak tomatoes my mother raised in the backyard. She fertilized them with her â€˜handmadeâ€™ fertilizerâ€”a compost heap of leaves and other debris.
Q) Tell us a little more about your professional background. What led you into your current profession and your interest in the Acid Alkaline Diet?
A) You might say that it started when I was 10 years old. I had terrible headaches from the strong glasses I wore, so I started eating raw carrots all day long. In three months my eyesight was normalized and I threw my glasses away! My interest in the healing power of foods then went into hibernationâ€”until I was in my early thirties when I picked out a book in the library at random, unintentionally re-awakening my interest in alternative medicine and diet. The book was about how vitamin E could heal eye disease. I was hooked! I began researching the subject of alternative health and writing articles in professional journals and popular magazines. Years later I began teaching at City College in New York.
What triggered my book writing and health consulting was an ailment I had developed, acid reflux. My knowledge of chemistry had made me aware that the body consists most basically of acid and alkaline particles. Their balance is vital not only to good health but to survival itself. Acid reflux increases the levels of acid in the body, thereby disrupting the acid-alkaline pH of the blood. I set about working out a diet that would heal acid reflux and other degenerative disease, thereby restoring the normal ratio of the acid alkaline ph balances in the body. Then I wrote a book about it, the Acid Alkaline Balance Diet.
Q) Can you talk a little more about the history of acid alkaline diet? Who first came to the conclusion that it is the acid-alkaline imbalances that lead to certain diseases? How has the field grown since?
A) Concern with acid alkaline imbalance stretches way back to the late nineteenth century. However, the idea that acid waste can disrupt the acid-alkaline pH balances in the body has evolved fairly recently, in the last 25 years or so. German and Japanese scientists came to the conclusion that the acid wastes from metabolic (organ) function was the cause of pH imbalances. I have taken the problem a step further by pin pointing the wrong diet as the principal culprit in the production of acid waste in the body.
Food that the individual canâ€™t break down in the digestive tract turns into acid waste, which is highly toxic. The blood stream carries it to all parts of the body and wherever acid waste settles, it inflames organ tissue. This is how degenerative diseases get started.
Q) A simple search on Google for â€œhealthy diet plansâ€ reveals that diet plans these days are inextricably linked to weight loss. In particular, the diet options seem particularistic and generally tailored towards â€œfixingâ€ the weight problem. Please tell us about you thoughts on this issue?
A) Thatâ€™s the problem with most diet plans. Theyâ€™re standardizedâ€”one size fits allâ€”as if every person has the same physiology as everyone else! Furthermore, most diet plans aim directly at losing weight, rather than doing so indirectlyâ€”by eating foods that enhance health. The primary aim of my book is to help the reader find foods that they can digest easily rather than merely the foods that take off weight. Because foods that arenâ€™t digested properly ultimately put on weight. When your digestive system works well, you automatically lose weight because there is no leftover acid wasteâ€” some of which the body converts into fatty acid which puts on pounds..
Q) There is a proliferation of healthy diet plans and ideas including the macrobiotic diet and what not. Tell us about the specific problems with other kinds of â€œhealthyâ€ dieting options that fail to address the acid-alkaline balance?
A) What very few diet plans donâ€™t address is the differences in individual digestive metabolism. I advocate eating according to your metabolic needs. When you do this you are not only eating foods that your digestive system can break down, but youâ€™re also supplying your body with the nutrients you are short in, while eating less of those nutrients that you have in excess. When you approach dieting in this way, you automatically normalize you acid-alkaline pH balances.
Q) Can you walk us through the biology behind the acid-alkaline diet? How important is the acid-alkaline balance as compared to say other health eating virtues including low fat or including Omega3 etc. and healthy lifestyle virtues like exercising regularly. Am I amiss in asking you to compare and contrast when the real answer is syncretism of these options?
A) No youâ€™re not. First, a low fat diet is unhealthy because scientists long ago showed that for normal body function, 25% of your diet should consist of fats and oils. All health issues, including obesity can be resolved if you eat according to your metabolic type. There are three types of metabolisms: the grain eater, the meat eater, and the omnivore (meat and grain) eater. The niacin test in my book enables you to discover which metabolic type you are. Your type of metabolism determines what food you should eat. For example, the meat eater does well on lots of meat, butter, root vegetables, etc., This leads in to your question about omega 3 oils. Everyone needs some omega 3, but the grain eater can digest greater quantities of it than the meat eater because the grain eater can eats lots of fish the primary source of omega 3 oil. By eating the foods for which your digestive system was designed, you will maintain the proper acid-alkaline ph balances in the blood and other bodily fluids. To answer the third part of your question. Certainly exercise is important, but the problem is that the press, fueled by the medical profession, implies that exercise is the most important factor in good health. A healthy diet comes first. Another problem that should be addressed is electro-magnetic pollution, particularly from cell phones and computers. There are chips which are very effective in neutralizing this pollution.
Q) The book lays a lot of blame on the current dietary acid-alkaline imbalances to modern agricultural and food processing methods including food coloration, hormones, insecticides, preservatives etc. Tell us a little more about this. Pleases give us an example of a specific chemical and how it affects us, if so is possible.
A) There is so much pollution in everything that we are exposed to that itâ€™s hard to know where to start. Obviously organic foods should be eaten when ever possible. While not totally free of pesticides, they have far lower levels than agribusiness produce and are free of antibiotics, and additives including food coloring. Iâ€™ll mention one additive that is particularly harmful to health, and that is the growth hormone in milk. Studies show that it causes a spurt in growth which makes those who grow above a certain level 2 to 3 times more likely to get pancreatic and colon cancer.
Q) You advise people to eat raw foods including organic eggs. If I am not wrong, there is a chance that some harmful bacteria and fungi can be ingested as a result of eating raw organic eggs.
A) You do read a lot about the danger of eating raw eggs, but the facts donâ€™t support the claim. The American Egg Board reports that research studies conducted by food scientists have found that the average consumer might encounter a salmonella-infected egg once in eighty-four years! Because organic eggs werenâ€™t used in the studies, the chance of eating a salmonella-infected egg if the egg is organic would be even more remote.
Q) Should we take your book as a whole hearted approval of eating organic foods?
A) I certainly would encourage buying organic, but for anyone who is tight financially it isnâ€™t necessary to buy all organic produce. If possible, donâ€™t buy fruits and vegetables found to be higher in pesticide residues such as peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, strawberries, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce, carrots, and potatoes. On the other hand, if youâ€™re short on cash you can buy broccoli, bananas, pineapple, mangoes, frozen sweet peas, frozen corn asparagus, avocados, and onions since they are low in pesticides.
Q) Lastly, what would be your diet advice for average Americans that cannot avoid eating out?
A) For such people who for one reason or another cannot avoid eating out most of the time, I would suggest that they buy a juicer and make at least one glass of juice daily, preferably in the morning. Use organic vegetables such as carrots, beets, celery, lettuce, zucchinis, and a little parsley. I would also recommend taking supplements that are derived from food complexes. Standard Process is one such brand and probably the best. (Iâ€™ve been through their factory and seen their cultivated fields and the animals they raise, which are the raw materials for their supplements.)