My foray into veganism began, in part, with an attempt to avoid too many acidic foods that were potentially causing my stubborn skin congestion. I quickly learned that the first step to eating a more alkaline diet was to eschew animal products. The joys of a plant-based lifestyle quickly took over (my skin calmed down, phew!), and I didn’t worry too much about achieving the right acid/alkaline balance in my diet—until recently.
I came across a beautifully crafted book, Eat Better Live Better Feel Better: Alkalize Your Life…One Delicious Recipe at a Time by Julie Cove. This stunning, colorful manual completely seduced me. I immediately went on a juice cleanse (my first and probably last), ditched coffee, and ordered the array of gut-cleansing supplements that Cove recommends.
Indeed, the reported benefits of the alkaline diet are pretty alluring. Increased energy, greater ease maintaining a healthy weight, clearer mind, reduced inflammation…the list goes on! Although the efficacy of a pH-balanced diet has been debated, this way of eating has garnered attention for reducing “morbidity and mortality from chronic disease” as well as muscle loss, according to one review.
A few days into the cleanse, I felt faint and completely drained. Honestly, who wants to scrape down the juicer three times a day when her blood sugar is in the trash?! I reflected on my diet and lifestyle and realized that it was already quite healthy, save a few indulgences and yes, my morning coffee. I gave up the cleanse, and now Eat Better is just another pretty cookbook on my shelf.
I was intrigued, however, when I saw that Kelly Ripa follows a mostly alkaline diet—and totally loves it! How is this ball of spunkiness making it work?
Inspired by Get Off Your Acid by Dr. Daryl Gioffre, Kelly Ripa first mentioned her new diet in 2015 on her show: “It has changed my life, it’s changed the whole way I think about food.”
The beauty of her alkaline diet is that it’s actually not too restrictive—which obviously was my first mistake re: my botched cleanse. “It’s a very manageable cleanse. It’s very manageable,” Ripa said. “You’re not hungry. It’s not like … people go, ‘What are you eating? You’re just drinking, you know, a green juice a day?’ No, it’s not like that. You eat. I actually eat much more on this cleanse than I do in my actual life, but it’s what you eat and how you eat it.”
[So step one is…don’t try to survive on juice alone. Got it!]
[Step two is packing in naturally cleansing foods (a.k.a. ditch the junk)]: “I eat a very clean diet. I have lots of vegetables, I eat protein, but I really don’t put a ton of thought into it. It’s everything you’ve read about or heard about in any diet book – don’t eat too much crap, and I don’t,” she told ABC News. “If that’s the secret, then that’s the secret!”
At the same time, however, to make it work, you have to allow yourself some leniency. It’s the only way you can sustain the diet without feeling, you know, super bummed all the time. Ripa told People, “So I don’t adhere to it strictly, but when I do a cleanse, it will be seven days, and then I go back to my normal life. But my normal life is not that different than the alkaline cleanse.” Ripa also mentioned that she enjoys her morning coffee (girrrrrl, me. too.) and the occasional glass of wine (okay, also me as well).
[Step three = make room for your most favorite treats. No guilt allowed!]
While Ripa isn’t vegan, she prioritizes veggies and fiber-rich foods. “After work, I’ll have a protein bar and some flaxseed snacks,” she said. Ripa also loves blueberries, broccoli, and spinach. And leeks!
“We also always have leeks in the fridge. My kids love leeks. It’s that vegetable that you would be surprised children would like, but they love it.”
[Step four: Enjoy everyday superfoods. You don’t need anything fancy or exotic to eat well!]
[Bonus step 5–Find an exercise routine that you love and rock it! Ripa is a huge fan of dance classes–see more here!]
Have you ever tried to follow the alkaline diet? What was your experience like?
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Photo: Kelly Ripa via Instagram, Mark Conseulas via Instagram