It started a couple weeks ago. My stomach
felt hollow, empty and slightly raw between my mini-meals. At first I thought, “Ah, my metabolism is speeding up and I’m getting hungry sooner.” And yet, something wasn’t quite right. The feeling in my stomach wasn’t exactly hunger. And, even worse than the hollow feeling was that although my stomach would feel better upon eating, within about an hour after my meal the pain would start up again. I also found that although I was hungry at meal time, within minutes of beginning my meal, I’d feel a little nauseous.
What the heck?! I didn’t understand it but chocked it up to comp prep stuff and ignored it the best I could.
After about a week, things got worse. The pain became more intense – burning, deep in my stomach, a hard belly, uncomfortable, painful. I started waking up several times per night in pain. It was becoming very hard to eat – and not to eat. I decided to email my prep coach to see if he could give me some insight.
Kim immediately emailed back and said it sounded like my body was turning acidic
. He told me to stop taking my digestive enzymes and exchange all my poultry meals (3 at that time) for white fish and to add lemon and alkaline drops to my water. Hmm?! I thought that was odd, especially because, well, aren’t lemons acidic?
I did what he told me to do. The first day it didn’t make much difference but by the second day I could tell it did indeed make a difference. The burning feeling wasn’t as bad. I did some research and found out that it actually isn’t unusual for bodybuilders to develop a bit of acidosis from a diet that is so heavily protein based. The natural ratio in a normal healthy body is about 4 parts alkaline to 1 part acid. That ratio helps our resistance to disease. Being alkaline aids in healing too. Our bodies normally keep a reserve of alkaline but when the ratio and reserves are skewed, acidosis can develop, causing unease, discomfort and as the condition worsens, disease. Obviously competition diets are high protein
and, well, for some reason my body decided that this time it wasn’t going to stand for it.
So, how do our bodies get acidic or alkaline? Well, the way I understand it, as our food is digested it leaves an ash. The food ash can be neutral, acid or alkaline depending on the mineral composition of the foods. Some foods leave an acid ash, some alkaline. Acidosis results when there is a depletion of the alkali reserve. (visit http://www.rense.com/1.mpicons/acidalka.htm
for more info.)
What foods leave an acid ash versus an alkali ash? There are tables of common foods on the web that list food according to alkali, neutral and acid-forming and when I looked at those tables I was a bit worried. Most fruits and vegetables are alkaline forming while most fats, oils and animal proteins are acidifying. What’s a competition-prep athlete to do?! I quickly saw that cold water fish is the lowest of the acid producing animal proteins, chicken and turkey next and beef was ranked as the most acidic. That must be why Kim ordered me to change my poultry meals to white fish. Made sense. The problem soon became how the heck do I eat that much fish. I mean I like fish okay, but not that much! I found myself not finishing the meals and otherwise skimping on my calories a bit. I tried putting vinegar on the fish, but vinegar is acidic so that wasn’t good either.
Within 3 days my stomach began settling however my weight dropped 1.5 pounds, a bit much this close to competition. Kim has added salmon into my diet since it has more fat and that’s what I need right now to keep me from shredding over the next 3 weeks. Hopefully, my stomach will handle the salmon every night and to be honest, I’ve added a bit of chicken back in the hopes that my system is stabilizing enough to handle it.
A half lemon in each litre of water plus 10 alkaline drops three times per day (I put them in my coffee in the morning too to help neutralize the acid) really make a big difference so I’ll continue with that indefinitely. (BTW, what’s interesting is that even though fruits such as lemons are acidic, the ash that they leave in one’s stomach is alkaline.)
This morning my weight is back to where it should be at this point in comp prep. My stomach is fine in the morning but tends to gradually worsen during the day and is typically at its worst about 5:00 pm, following my two afternoon snacks which are both more acidic ash forming. It tends to calm a bit following dinner (I eat almonds with my dinner and almonds are alkaline).
An additional note: Protein sources that are more alkaline include: whey protein, tofu and cottage cheese. Eggs are so-so. Also, watch your sweeteners. Stevia is alkaline but aspartame, Sweet n Low, Equal, sugar, etc. are acidic in your system.