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Interview With Suzanne Le Quesne
Isabel: Hi everyone, this is TheAlkalineDiet.org, and today we are very pleased to have Ms.
Suzanne Le Quesne, a clinical nutritionist from Spain for 18 years and international author of The
pH Balance Diet: Restore your Acid-Alkaline Levels to Eliminate Toxins and Lose Weight.
So without further ado, Suzanne, would you like to share with us more about yourself and what get you started about the alkaline diet?
Suzanne: Yes, I will, hello. I started studying nutrition in 1990 at The Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London and I qualified after three-year degree course as a clinical nutritionist in 1993. So I have been working in health and nutrition for 18 years.
In 2003, when the Atkins Diet, which was first launched in the 1970s became popular again, I was asked to write The pH Balanced Diet in direct opposition to it, and Atkins being very acidic and the pH balance being very alkaline and the book is being published in UK, in America, and is also being translated into Polish so it has become very popular.
Isabel: Okay, so what are the dietary differences between the alkaline diet in Spain as compared to the Western culture?
Suzanne: I think the Western culture now is leaning towards the fast-food and other processed foods. We are very, very lucky here in Spain because we do need the traditional Mediterranean diet, which of course is very hard -- I mean, vegetables and fruits, and because Spain grows an abundance of fresh vegetables and keeps its vegetables in the country, so we can buy basically organic vegetables and fruits everyday at a very good cost and it is very easy for us to have an alkaline diet here in Spain.
Isabel: Would you like to share with us some of the alkaline diet recipes that have a Spanish twist?
Suzanne: Yes of course. I think the most popular and most obvious one is the roasted Mediterranean vegetables which would be red peppers, green peppers, courgettes, onions and a little olive oil and then with some goat’s cheese on the top and then roast it in the oven for just about 15 or 20 minutes. That’s delicious. And avocados, tomatoes, and olives and a little garlic squeezed with a generous amount of lemon juice. That is delicious and very very Spanish and very alkaline forming and it is a fantastic lunch or a start to any meal. And these avocados are grown abundantly in Spain and it is a fantastic alkaline forming food and one of my favorites.
Isabel: Oh, that sounds very yummy. You’re making me very hungry now. What are some of the top foods one should in a daily or weekly basis for an alkaline diet?
Suzanne: Well I think lemonades. Lemon is one of the best things, and not to people surprise that lemon is actually alkaline forming in the body, so drink water and lemon juice first thing in the morning and it sets you up for a fantastic start of the day. And other top foods includes carrots, raw tomatoes; not cooked tomatoes, raw tomatoes, fresh corn, mushrooms, cabbage is a fantastic super food, peas, and potato skins, not potato but potato skins, and olives, of course fantastic here in
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Spain, soya beans, tofu, goat’s cheese, millet, wild rice and -- oh the list is endless. There’s lots and lots of fantastic foods that you can choose that are alkaline forming.
Isabel: Earlier you mentioned that one of the best fruits is actually lemon, so some of the readers are pretty confused as they have found conflict information concerning -- first, some claim that fruits are okay to eat on an alkaline diet; however some say that all fruits and all sugars are acid forming and therefore must be severely limited. So what is your take on this?
Suzanne: I think I have seen list as well, they’re conflicting and lemons, for example, of course they are an acidic food but once we actually digest them, they form either an form either an acid or an alkaline ash in the body, and lemons when being digested are very -- an alkaline forming food as most of the vegetables and a lot of the fruits.
So I think you have to take everything into consideration and just have a balanced meal of about 55% carbohydrates in diet and I think that people don’t get too concerned about the exactness of the acid and alkaline and they are better -- because if your worry about it, that’s acid forming in itself. If you drink too much and you have anxiety and stress, even the best alkaline diet will become acid forming because of the stress and the worry.
Isabel: So, part of it is in the mind? You have to keep a relaxed mindset when you’re actually having the alkaline diet?
Suzanne: Exactly. You need to be within the acid forming foods in a relaxed way and there will be less acid forming than if you are eating alkaline forming foods in a stressed out way.
Isabel: Okay. So, we have some questions from the subscribers. So the first question is that, how do we know what effect the digestive system we have on a fruit’s alkaline properties after it is digested? And since fruits are generally accompanied by other foods at a meal, so how are the effects of individual foods measurable?
Suzanne: It is very difficult to measure the individual food because every body is different and are chemically different. So, it is almost impossible to test each individual food which is why it’s really important to have this balance at every meal; breakfast, lunch and dinner top with balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. And the protein foods which are usually the acid forming-foods should only be 15% of what is on the plate. So, if you are having something acid forming, it is a very small amount of the actual meal and so numerously the alkaline forming foods are 50% to 60% than not. The alkaline forming foods will outweigh the acid forming foods.
So, it is not really important to actually measure each individual food, so almost the balance is there but all of the main food groups and the portion size is small enough, the meal will be acid forming generally.
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Isabel: Yes. Okay, I just have a question on proteins. What -- because most of the proteins there, for example, the Americans consume, usually comes from meat products or dairy products. So what kind of foods do you recommend which are high in protein but are still rather alkaline?
Suzanne: Probably the best is soya milk and soya proteins, one of the best, and the grains like Quinoa grains, they’re very high in protein but they are alkaline forming.
Isabel: Okay. And since for alkaline diet, most of them is -- most of the food they eat on the alkaline diet usually comprises of vegetables and fruits. So, are we able to get all the vitamins and minerals that we need for our body when we are doing the alkaline diet?
Suzanne: Yes, very, very easily. And I said vegetables are mostly alkaline forming and because an alkaline diet is mostly vegetables and fruits, we get most of the vitamins and minerals we need from all the vegetables and increasing levels of calcium and a lot of people think that calcium only comes from dairy products, but you can get high levels of calcium which is more easily absorbed into the body from green leafy vegetables so you can easily get all the vitamins and minerals you need and from alkaline forming diet.
Isabel: That is interesting. Okay. So, one of the readers -- they are quite confused when they want to organize an alkaline diet. They don’t know where to get started and how to -- how to prepare their meals. So could you advise and provide us with a simple diet, for example, breakfast, lunch and dinner? Especially if the person is not very keen on vegetables.
Suzanne: The probably first thing to do when you start an alkaline diet -- well the best thing to do first of all is to reduce the acid forming and substances they are eating and drinking.
Suzanne: So just by reducing coffee, tea, and soft drinks and meat like pork and lamb, and so reducing the very highly acidic foods first and do nothing else, that would get some very good start of being more alkaline. And then once they reduced all the acid forming and stuff, it ends up thinking about increasing the alkaline levels. So for example, for -- or wake up in the morning, lemon juice and water, everybody really could start, and about an hour later, so as long afterwards possible, so an hour, you just have orange for breakfast and with millets, the millet and orange. And the millet and orange is a very alkaline forming and you could make it with soya milk. You could add a little natural yogurt to it and also some linseeds or some fresh pumping seeds or some fresh pumpkin seeds to it.
So, a very satisfying breakfast with lots of vegetable inside. And then for lunch make a home-made soup in winter or a juice in the summer. And for dinner, you could have -- and if you’re eating chicken, for example, or turkey, you could have enough chicken with a nice dressing like a pesto dressing and some asparagus or some green, a little bit of green vegetables.
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So you can have, -- so that’s normal in those published meals and which is quite alkaline forming but not necessarily lots and lots and lots of vegetables. The millet and orange breakfast is a really good start for the day.
Isabel: So the key is to reduce the acid forming fruits. Okay.
Suzanne: Yeah, that would be the first thing and that would have a great impact in everybody’s health, and then investigating the acid -- the alkaline forming foods.
Isabel: Earlier on, you mentioned yogurt as one of the food they can eat during breakfast. So, what kind of yogurt is best for our body because like some of the yogurt sold at the supermarket is very cheap, processed with a lot of sugars in it. So how do we choose the yogurt that is good for our body?
Suzanne: Probably the soya yogurt is best, and it’s a little bit of an acquired taste because it is very sweet, and just like a natural yogurt but you could sweeten yourself with the other sweetener, you could put a little tiny bit of Manuka honey into it as a sweetener as the Manuka honey is a fantastic super food which is sweet and it’s also not acid forming. So you have the most natural yogurt which would be the good flora which is going to boost the immune system at the same time.
Isabel: Okay, we have another question from a mother. She is also one of the subscribers. So this mother, she has a 5-month-old boy and she is going to introduce to her son solid food, and she wants her son to join the alkaline diet. So what kind of food can the mother provide to her son at this very young age?
Suzanne: Okay. It is a good question. I think the best thing I can do with a good answer is to recommend to your client a book by Suzanne Oliver. It is a fantastic book and it is called “What do I feed my baby?” and it is just a list of foods in the exact order that any mother should introduce solid foods to a baby and it’s this correct order with wheat being at the very bottom of the list. Wheat isn’t introduced until at least 1-year-old. So it gives the order of foods to be introduced and from 5 months, 6 months, 7 months, 8 months, etc. and the order of the food will avoid the baby getting any kind of allergies or eczema and ear infections, all that sort of things. It is a wonderful book, fantastically illustrated, and I can give you some details, again probably go to the Amazon link to get that book.
Isabel: Okay. Sure. That will be great.
Suzanne: Every mother should have that book. It is just absolutely fantastic.
Isabel: How about alkaline water? What are your views on alkaline? Are you a believer of the benefits of alkaline water and can babies consume alkaline water?
Suzanne: I am not a fan myself, I must admit. And because I think we can all the water we need from yesterday’s alkaline diet. Eating lots and lots of vegetables which -- and lots of fruits are 90% water, and strawberries for example are 90% water, lots of vegetables that are 70% to 80% water. And so I think just by eating the alkaline diet in general, you are getting all the natural water we
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need from the foods that we’re eating and I never drink tap water myself and I do buy mineral water and I do filter my water from my tap. That never actually brought an alkaline water itself. I don’t think that there’s a need for it. I haven’t said that I don’t object to it either. So I am sort of neutral. I am neutral on subjects.
Isabel: You already mentioned that lemons are one of the top fruits that we can eat on a daily or weekly basis. So I would like to know, how does the lemon actually work in our livers and kidneys?
Suzanne: Okay, because they’re acid before we eat them, after we eat them, they become -- they leave an alkaline ash. So basically it is just -- they’re simply, they’re just rejuvenating and cleansing the liver, they stimulate the liver to work more efficiently. That’s fairly the easiest way to explain it. They’re just rejuvenating and stimulating in a positive way to the liver.
Isabel: So, they are simply a part in clearing the toxins from the liver?
Isabel: Okay. How can we be sure what foods are alkaline and which ones are acidic? Because some different list providers, sometimes on the internet or in certain books, they contradict each other on that regarding which foods are acidic or alkaline. So is there like a certain list which actually states down all the foods that are acidic and alkaline?
Suzanne: Again, I have seen many lists myself which do have minor differences in the lists. And again it is very difficult I suppose, different scientists maybe test foods in slightly different ways and maybe sometimes where the food is grown and the soil where the food is grown in and they have a different effect on the food itself. So for example, potatoes which are acid forming, potatoes grown in Spain may be different from potatoes grown in America for example because of the soil that they’re growing in, there may be different substances, have tested different foods or the same foods grown in different countries and got different results. That is the only explanation I can give for that for the minor differences in some of the lists.
Isabel: Okay. So of the readers, they are very excited and enthusiastic about starting the alkaline diet, but they just sometimes they can't really control themselves eating others like acidic and junk food or. So, do you have any suggestion on how they can actually get over eating these acidic foods that they love to eat daily because they are used to consuming them?
Suzanne: It is very difficult. The real world we’re living in the 21st century is now surrounded by fast-food and processed foods and it is very difficult to abstain from all the time. So the best advice is just to enjoy them once in a while and then just get back onto the alkaline foods as soon as possible.
Again, if you have something naughty the day before, the next day, just go back on the lemon juice and water and just start cleansing the body as soon as possible. And exercise is fantastic and not only just it makes you fit, exercising can actually get your body back into an alkaline state. So it’s
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not just the foods that we eat. If you go for a nice long walk after eating and acid forming meal the next day, that will get the body back into an alkaline state as well.
And again, just being relaxed and having positive thinking and being happy will again get the body more alkaline and to get rid of the acid with the bad meal or the junk food as named.
Isabel: Suzanne, have you heard of this test called PRAL which stands for Potential Renal Acid Load?
Suzanne: I have heard of them but not to any great extent.
Isabel: Because some of the readers, they were wondering if this is an accurate way to find out about the acid or alkalinity of a certain food?
Suzanne: I don’t -- I really wouldn’t like to answer the question because I am not 100% certain of my answer.
Suzanne: Because I deal with -- yeah I usually use the pH, testing the urine and the saliva. So, I have -- yeah in the book, I do it -- it is quite a big part or quite of a chapter on how you can test your own saliva, the test you do at home and the test can last for four or five days with a really actual picture of how you as an individual can actually test the levels in your body and after eating certain foods.
So, for example, if you’re -- if something is on an alkaline diet, if they skip one, they could test their pH or their urine for example, then they just had a whole day of eating junk food for example and then test the urine again and they would know how themselves individually react into these acid-forming foods. So a lot of tests that I do and I recommend in the book is the saliva in the morning and they find fascinating with the results they get from them.
Isabel: Okay. Thank you, Suzanne. Regarding the testing of the urine for the pH level, we have a reader who recently found that she has some two tumors in her bladder which are cancerous. So she has to cure herself. She actually eats a lot of alkaline foods but her pH level still fluctuates between 6.25 to 7.0 and she is wondering why since she has been following this alkaline diet very strictly, and she tested her urine and it is still pretty acidic. So do you have any -- could you actually provide her with some reasons why this might be the case?
Suzanne: I would have to guess without having a consultation on that lady and the -- it is probably not what she is eating. It could be her fear of it coming back, it could be negative emotions, it could just be worry and anxiety that’s making her body acid again and the test that’s coming out is acidic rather than alkaline. And I think she is doing fantastically well already but maybe just needs to not worry about it so much and maybe not test so often, and then maybe the output of the test will be (23:14) the results for her. The more she worries about it, the more acid test results will be. So she got to sort of just chill out a little bit and be happy and be happy with the progress that she has made
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so far and just not too paranoid about the results she is getting because the worry and the fear will make it worse.
Isabel: Okay. So she has to actually be more optimistic and stay positive and be more relaxed.
Suzanne: Exactly. Exactly. Just really relax and chill out about it and she will see the result of the pH will be better with more what she is looking for in her favor.
Isabel: We have another reader who has gastritis and occasional hyperacidity, and each time she takes some medicines like Nexium or Prevacid and she will have indigestion and she is now drinking half lemon and honey before breakfast and is this alright since, although we know that lemons are actually alkaline in the body but when she consumes it, it actually tastes very acidic. So, what could she do to improve her gastric and hyperacidity condition?
Suzanne: Okay, but my first advice would be not --not to take any antacids at all because antacids are actually making the condition worse. When you take antacid and the body stops making acid, which is what this is up for, but because the body stops making acid, there is no acid in the stomach, the body then reacts and realizes there’s no acid and it produces double the quantity. And so, it’s happening the opposite effect of what the client taking antacid actually wants.
So, the first recommendation would be not to take any antacids at all because it will actually make the condition worse and just to continue drinking the lemon and a tiny bit of honey if they don’t like the lemon taste and just to continue that and stop taking antacids.
Isabel: Okay, what is an easy or best method to measure the pH value of blood, urine or saliva? And do we actually need to check our pH with litmus paper on a regular basis to see if we’re in the alkaline state?
Suzanne: It is quite interesting to do and the saliva test, you do it first thing in the morning, and immediately you wake up, you test the pH of your saliva and then you go have a breakfast and you could have one day to have the acid forming breakfast and just to test for example. And another day, you have an alkaline forming breakfast and it’s a six-minute test that you do. So you -- and I have actually made into a short e-book for your readers about how to test the pH of your saliva and your urine. I’ve taken it from my book and I made it into an e-book which I’ll make available for your followers on the diet as it’s quite difficult to explain it just through an interview, but it’s a 6-minute test, it is very easy to do. And once you’ve had your breakfast and you tested your saliva after two minutes, then another two minutes, and then another two minutes, and then another two minutes, the saliva should be the same as when you very first woke up in the morning, and I put a whole list of answers, it isn’t the same what the problem could be.
So how to analyze test results, and very, very easy to do and very interesting, but you need to analyze the results you are getting. So, I’ve taken that from the pH balanced diet book and I have just taken the chapter out and I put it into an e-book and I will make them available for your readers to get hold of it very easily, so they can read it and understand it before they do the test themselves.
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Isabel: Okay, thanks for sharing the e-book. I’m sure the readers will find it very useful and will you provide them with how to actually purchase that e-book at the end of the interview?
Isabel: Okay. Just I have a question, so what is the ideal range that our pH of the saliva or urine should be? Is there like a range or is there like the safe range or the best range to be in?
Suzanne: And there is. Do you want the saliva or the urine?
Suzanne: Okay. Just one moment. Again, it depends on quite a few things. And just one moment, I’m just going to get what -- the ideal saliva pH when you wake up first thing in the morning would be 6.8. Okay. If it’s 6.8 when you wake up in the morning, that would mean the liver and the stomach and the digestive system are working really, really well, and then to test that even further, you will then wait an hour, have a breakfast and then do this 8-minute test to see if the saliva returned to that 6.8 after you have eaten. And with some people, it returns straight away which is fantastic, in some people it take much longer to return, in some people, it doesn’t return at all, but the levels would fluctuate higher or lower. And in my e-book, I give a whole list of reasons why it hasn’t gone to 6.8 straight away and why it’s lower or higher. It could be anything to do with the digestive system, the liver or the stomach or all sorts of reasons. Of course, every person is different and all biochemically different.
Isabel: If the -- if for example, if someone starts on the alkaline diet but occasionally deviates from their diet, for example goes out for pizza or fast-food, does it ruin the whole alkaline diet lifestyle if it’s just occasionally?
Suzanne: No, no. Just occasionally, it doesn’t make any big difference. If you get back into -- it’s like going on a diet. People are going to diet to lose weight and they do very, very well, and after maybe five to six weeks, they need to go out and just have something like a pizza or something not on their diet. If they haven’t ruined the effects of the previous four, five or six weeks of their diet; so they go out, go to a party or celebration but the next day, they just start the diet again.
So, it is the same way depending on alkaline diet. If you’ve done very well, that you have been on the alkaline diet a few weeks, a few months, a few years, if they go out and ruin it for a day or a week or a holiday, it’s not going to have a dramatic effect, a dramatic or tremendous effect on the body. They just come back into the diet as soon as they can and they even don’t worry too much about it. It is 21st century, we will do it from time to time.
Isabel: Okay. And a reader, she has wheat and dairy intolerance which limits the range of foods that she can eat, and she is also trying to incorporate grass root diet principles into her diet, and will the alkaline diet limit the food the she can eat even further.
Suzanne: No, I don’t think it would, it’s just that different food and I mean being different for many people but you could have different kinds of grains and have no reaction to it at all. And I am not a
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fantastic fan of the grass root diet myself and for some people it works very, very well, and I think this is going back again to the fact that everybody is biochemically different and they need to find a diet that really suits them. So, if the grass root diet is really suiting her, well then that’s fantastic, but she doesn’t really need to adhere in the diet. You could have a fantastic range of foods and never touch wheat and dairy again and be really healthy and not feel deprived. So, I think she will be fine.
Isabel: Okay. Would you like to share with us some of the juicy alkaline contents in your book?
Suzanne: Yes. Let me think which ones are my favorite, there’s quite a few, and I think probably my favorite one, I called it the alkaline special, and it is very easy. It contains cabbage, and lots of people don’t like cabbage but cabbage is just a fantastic super food. So, I mix my cabbage with celery, I just blend it together and just drink it immediately. So the celery makes the taste a little bit better. I mean, it’s just such a fantastic alkaline forming drink and it’s one of my favorites.
Another favorite I’ve got is a watermelon juice and again here in Spain, we have, you know, the juiciest, biggest watermelons in the world and I mean it is just watermelon but juice that with the seeds and drink immediately; very, very alkaline forming, very refreshing and just fantastic. Very easy. Very, very easy.
Another one is on colon cancer, I love this one too. The juice is full of fiber and which helps to remove toxins from the body and it also is cholesterol reducing and that is just two apples and a pear, blend it together and drink immediately.
So, there’s lots and lots of recipes in the book and all very, very easy; just very easy to do and I quite believe in juices because I think anything that is liquid form is absorbed much more easily especially into the body. So, it gives the digestive system enough rest.
Isabel: We have come to the last of our questions. So before we end the interview, is there any way our readers could contact you?
Suzanne: Yes, of course. I will give you a link at the end of the interview, and I have a weekly free news letter which they can -- it’s like a free news letter. There’s quite a lot of alkaline-acid forming foods in the news letter. And also, the book, they could just e-mail me direct and ask any questions directly for the readers.
Isabel: Lastly, do you have any last advice for our readers?
Suzanne: Oh, just don’t get too stressed out about it, enjoy. Enjoy the food, enjoy the food, enjoy the life and well we all know that acid forming food isn’t root crops. So, if you just remember that the protein in our diet should only be 15%, that’s probably -- you just need a very small amount of protein and you could just have a little bit of goat’s cheese or I think my best advice would be go for quality, not quantity.
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