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I first heard of the alkaline diet back in the 60s, when I found the statement, in a book on nutrition, that the diet should be 80% alkaline and 20% acidic. At that time I failed to follow up on the idea, but its existence in a book in the 60s shows that there is nothing new about the idea.

I thought nothing more about the idea until 2003 -- a long time between drinks, one might say -- when a product called Unique Water came on the market in Australia. When I checked their website, I found they were basically talking about the old idea that alkalinity was conducive to health and acidity was conducive to illness. In the case of Unique Water, they were putting the emphasise on the alkaline mineral magnesium. Unique Water contained a certain amount of magnesium in the form of magnesium bicarbonate. This form of magnesium exists only in water, which is why they had to market it as a particular form of bottled water.

For purely economic reasons, I proceeded to test the idea without the benefit of Unique Water. This involved changes to the diet, putting the emphasis on eating more of the foods that provide alkaline minerals. Naturally, I also looked at the question of mineral supplements. It is not all that easy to have an alkaline diet, because most foods that we eat are acid-forming. Vegetarians and such people might find it easier, but for most of us, an alkaline diet is rather difficult. After researching alkaline foods on the internet, I found a page that described the use of sodium bicarbonate for neutralising acids in the body. This practice has been researched thoroughly for sporting purposes, where sodium bicarbonate (or baking soda, as it is also known) has been found to neutralise the buildup of lactic acids in the body after certain sports. 

I proceeded with some changes to my diet plus the use of sodium bicarbonate in the recommended dose, which is 0.3 grams per kilo of body weight. The dietary changes were simple enough. I threw out the black pepper, which is acid-forming, as well as the  peanut butter. I replaced all dairy products, which are acid-forming,  with soy products. I started eating oranges instead of apples and bananas, which are more acid-forming because of their fruit sugar (according to some sources; one of the problems in this area is that the various sopurces sometimes disagree with each other). I did not eliminate all forms of junk food or acid-forming foods because, unfortunately,  I have a sweet tooth. (This is why I had to cheat by using sodium bicarbonate). I then settled down to await the results.

Nothing happened for the first six months or so. After six or seven months, I began to notice results. The first thing that happened was that I lost my allergy towards grasses, which had previously caused my sinuses to block up. Suddenly I found that I could lay down on the grass without my sinuses blocking up.

Next, I found that my arthritis was getting milder. Previously, I had found that, in my fifties as I was, I was developing pain in my feet, calf muscles, lower back, hips and knuckles. This pain was particularly strong when I got up from a sitting position or from laying down in bed. After six or seven months on the alkaline diet, however, I found that the pain had softened and was no more than a feeling of stiffness; stiff, but not painful.

These improvements continued over the next few months. The pain and stiffness gradually disappeared completely. The sinuses continued to clear up and I lost the allergic reaction to house dust and mites as well as to grass. My neck felt less stiff and even my sleep settled down a little. Most surprising of all, however,  was that I suddenly noticed a patch of new black hairs in the middle of my moustache. At first I just thought, "Where did that come from?" Then I noticed more black hairs to the left of the first patch, then another to the right. I then realized that the hair on top of my head was blacker than before. My hair was actually getting blacker instead of greyer, although the moustache and beard never caught up with the hair on top. (This development is in keeping with statements on the Unique Water website that alkalinity slows the ageing process.)

After twelve months on the alkaline diet I had very definite results: the arthritis had disappeared completely, the allergies had disappeared completely, my neck was looser, my sleep was slightly better and my hair was blacker. Now, sceptics might say that it was all nothing but placebo, because I had read about the alleged benefits on the Unique Water website. They could easily say that I had read about the effect on arthritis and so forth, so my subconscious simply imitated the results. However, I had definitely not read about hair turning black. In any case, the simple reply to the sceptics is, "Try it for yourself."

In short, after being on the diet for twelve months I had unambiguous proof that it works.

In the long run, I got good results by drinking more tap water and combining it with alkaline drops that are commercially available. After using these things for a while, I found that I could not bring myself to use carb soda anymore. It was as if my body simply didn't want it anymore. I consider it safer to achieve results without carb soda, which can have its complications for some people. The drops I use are Alkaway brand, available on the internet. (No, I don't have shares in the company. Maybe I should).

As for the various alkaline waters commercially available, they are probably a waste of money. I find they test at around 8.3 - 8.5; my tap water is about 9. Avoid spring water, which is mildly acid-forming.


NOTE: Sodium bicarbonate should only be used under medical supervision. Blood pressure should be checked on a regular basis.