diet and Diet Reform


Table of Contents



About This Book

Written by : M. K. Gandhi
Edited by : Bharatan Kumarappa
First Edition : 5,000 copies, July 1949
ISBN : 81-7229-062-4
Printed and Published by : Jitendra T. Desai
Navajivan Mudranalaya,
© Navajivan Trust, 1949


Chapter 48 : Are you acid?

[Under the above heading Dr. H. C. Menkel, M. D. contributes to the Oriental Watchman and Herald of Health an interesting and instructive article from which we take the following important extracts. - Ed.]

"Quite frequently one hears the remark during a discussion about health, 'The doctor says I am too acid.' Just what does it mean being too acid? And how does one become acid?"
"Being acid or having acidosis, is only a relative term. There is no such experience in actual life as a person being acid and still remaining conscious to tell about his acidosis. Acidity of the body tissues means death. The life process, and therefore, all the essential phases pertaining to health, well-being, and resistance are predominantly alkaline. "
"The human body represents a precarious organization of matter. Chemical study of the body materials reveals eighty parts alkali, and twenty parts acid. This relationship of four to one is the basic secret of health, normal functional activities, and efficient old age. "
" All our practices, habits, customs, indulgences or de­ficiencies, both physical and mental, either promote or disturb this eighty-twenty ratio. "
"However, the most determining factors for acid or for alkali formation are contained in food and drink. These are:

Acid FormingAlkali Forming

"These several mineral elements are so arranged in the different foods of daily use as to separate such foods into two classes - the alkali forming foods, and the acid forming foods. For convenience of reference we will list the more important foods under their respective classification: "

Acid FormingAlkali Forming
Fish FowlGreen leafy vegetables
Flesh foods of all kindsCabbage
Eggs CheeseAsparagus
Cereals (wheat, oats, rice, corn)Beets
Legumes NutsCelery
Refined sugar SweetsCucumbers
ChocolateOlives (ripe)
Hydrogenated oilsPeas when fresh green
Coffee and teaPotatoes
Alcoholic beveragesPumpkins
Fruits in syrupsRadishes
Flavoured soda watersSpinach
Milk when boiledTomatoes
Milk puddingsTurnips
Fried and ghee-cooked foodsNearly all fruits
 Bananas when thoroughly ripe, with skin spotted in brown, Cherries, Currants, Dates
 Lemon juice
 Milk when uncooked Whey

"Do you desire discovering if you have an acid ten­dency? Then answer the following questions under "Alkali effects" and "Acid effects". Allow yourself a mark of ten for each positive answer under both columns. Total the figures and you will have a fairly accurate gauge to your acid tendencies."

Acid EffectsAlkali Effects
Having local infection,No known local infection
teeth, tensil, nose or elsewhere 
Using alcoholNon-user of alcohol
Heavy protein diet (over 2½ oz . daily of pulses, fish, fowl, meat, eggs, cheese)
Heavy starch consumption (more than one serving daily of bread, porridge, cake, rice, cereals, chapati or other equally high starch containing foods)Low protein diet (2½ oz. daily) Sparing use of starchy food (bread, chapati, rice, oat meal, cake, toast, sweets)
Foods cooked in fats or friedNo fried foods
Sparing use of fresh fruitsOne fruit meal daily
Only scant use of green vegetablesAbundant use of both raw and cooked green vegetables
Drink little waterDrink several glasses water daily
ConstipatedTwo or three bowel move­ment daily
Using Aspirin and other drugsNever use Aspirin or similar drugs
Given to worry and angerHardly ever worried or become angry
Little outdoor exerciseRegular outdoor exercise
Frequent late nightsRetire early and secure full night sleep

"A good concept of the acid process within the body can be gained from the quantity of acid waste substances which are constantly being eliminated."
" Thirty quarts of carbonic acid gas is normally eliminated by the lungs every hour. All this quantity of acid gas is largely the result of digesting the sugar, starch, fat and protein of the daily food intake. If the meals contain an excess of these carbonic acid forming substances there is a heavier tax on elimination. Sedentary habits with 'good feeding' may easily overburden lung elimination, with resultant chronic acidosis effects."
"It is estimated that one-third of the total body acid wastes are disposed of through the lungs. This leaves another two-thirds to be eliminated by kidneys, skin and bowels. "
"An amount of blood equal to all the blood in the body (six quarts) passes through the two kidneys every seven minutes for the purpose of eliminating acid waste products of a nature that cannot be eliminated in the form of gas through the lungs."
" A test of urinary acidity is a very good index to body acidity. This should be done at frequent intervals as a check upon health standard. Normally the urine is slightly acid. It is found that persons who are producing an excess of acid may have a urine reaction showing from 100 to 1000 times as acid as the blood."Such excessive strain on the eliminative function of the kidneys will result in disease of these organs. Nature attempts to guard against such damage by the following measures."
"Acids are not normally eliminated or disposed of in a free acid state since any attempt to pass free acid substances through the blood or eliminative organs would produce serious damage to all the tissues contacted. Therefore as quickly as acids are freed through digestion and metabolism nature binds them up with alkali substances, thus forming organic compounds with an acid radicle but hedged about with alkalis to render the acid as little acid as possible until it is safely disposed off from the body. "When the daily food intake does not provide these acid binding buffer substances in the required quantity, then nature's only recourse is to withdraw reserve alkalis from the blood and body tissues. Teeth and bones are a good source. When calcium is withdrawn from the teeth they begin to decay. For meeting quick demand the supply is obtained from the softer tissues."
"Whenever the tissue alkali reserve is lowered only a few points of a degree the depleted tissues become irritable, painful and inflamed. This state of tissues irritability due to depleted alkalinity is termed rheumatism, neuritis, arthritis, myalgia, fibrasitis, lumbago, and various other names according to the location or structures affected. The cause is the same in each case, depleted alkalinity, produced by attempting to safeguard the organism from the deadly acid effects of our habits and practices."
"A small amount of acid forming substances are neces­sary for incorporating into muscle and nerve tissues. The quantity thus required is represented by two ounces of meat, or one large egg, or two ounces milk curds, with the addition of one or two slices of bread (double roti) or the equivalent in chapatis made from freshly ground, unsifted wheat flour. More than this quantity of the acid forming foods means excess, and tends to acidosis. "The principal alkalis used for binding acids are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, nickel and aluminium.
"These acid-binding alkalis in their most desirable state, and in abundance, are found in vegetables, particularly the green leaves, and ripe, fresh, uncooked fruits."The renowned Dr. George W. Crile is reported as stating, 'There is no natural death; all deaths from so-called natural causes are merely the end and point of a progressive acid saturation."
"We should, therefore, avoid hastening the point of acid-saturation by providing nature with an abundance of acid-binding foods, and by adopting other alkali-favouring habits and practices."
"After checking your acid-alkali standing by these two tables, and, should you find yourself quite definitely on the acid side, this indicates that you are positively over­drawing your deposit of health credit, and it is only a matter of how much alkali you still have deposited in body storage system, and how rapidly you are depleting this reserve, to determine the time when you will begin having pains, discomforts, ill health and succumb easily to infection."
"Having thus discovered what practices are putting you strongly on the acid side you will also have learned what to do, and how to reserve this process, and to place your­self on the alkali and health constructive regime. "Let it be remembered that ripe fruit and fresh green coloured vegetables represent both the first line of defence and the reserves in health conservation and rebuilding. These wonderful alkali forming food-medicines were in­tended in nature's original plan to constitute eighty per cent of our food intake. Accordingly there should be in all of our meals four ounces of fruit or green vegetables for everyone ounce of food listed in the acid forming column."