Dr. Mohsen, a kindly and spry health educator, is an architect and natural health researcher. He calls himself a Solagritect - a term that combines solar power, agriculture, and architecture. We can't imagine building a home without a kitchen; he can't imagine one without a greenhouse.
I attended his workshop last weekend and was introduced obliquely to the weekend's topic when Elisabeth, the workshop organizer, offered me some apples and plums:
"They were just picked; fresh off a tree," she said.
For me, this was a cryptic introduction. I knew that fresh fruit was good and that extremely fresh fruit was probably better. How much better? Dr. Mohsen says plants lose their vitality thirty minutes after they are picked. This might not mean much to you right now, but read on. According to him, the missing link in the modern diet is this: we cannot maximize our cells' alkalinity if we don't eat just-picked produce. This is the missing link that even the most health-conscious of us are unlikely to bridge with diet alone.
Dr. Mohsen's teachings hinge on Host Theory, not Germ Theory. Isn't it funny that modern medicine bases the treatment of all pathogens on something we still refer to as a theory? Medical standard of care is based on our theories about germs more than 100 years after Pasteur's death.
Host Theory is the opposite. It maintains that the modern diet and lifestyle create an unhealthy body and an environment that is favorable to germs and cancer. Acclaimed food writer Michael Pollan says the same thing about our monoculture farming practices: vast expanses of the same crop actually invite the weeds since there is no healthy ecosystem keeping different species balanced and in check. Is it so far-fetched then, that each of our bodies has an ecosystem, too?
"Germs and microbes are transitory. The host is the key and pH is the key to changing that relationship," said Mohsen. "It's not the potency of the germ, but the resistance of the host that causes disease. This is why food is so important."
A healthy environment that resists viruses, bacteria and cancer is an alkaline one. Mohsen is not actually talking about the pH in the blood since that needs to remain in a very narrow zone around 7.4 pH. He's talking about the alkalinity of your cells. The more alkaline the cells, the less disease and the better the healing and regenerative environment in our body. The more acidic, the more likely pathogens or cancer will find a suitable home.
Here is what happens to our bodies in the cellular pH zones Mohsen describes:
- Health Zone - 7 - 7.4 pH: Electrolytes (calcium, potassium, and magnesium) transport minerals. Mohsen says your blood carries an astounding 1/3 more oxygen than if your cells are acidic! This is really important for everyone from athletes to the ill. For example, one of the adjunct treatments in Lyme Disease is an alkaline diet - it stops the creatures from replicating because they hate oxygen.
- Disease Zone - 4.5 - 6.6 pH: This is a good environment for viruses because they can multiply and cause symptoms. Over the counter painkillers also send the body into a more acidic state.
- Terminal Diseases - 2.5 - 4.5 pH: Cancer and lupus can thrive here. Cancers will occur in the most acidic part of your body.
- Fatal Zone - 1.5 - 2.5 pH: This is a highly toxic state. Extremely low acidity can be induced by high doses of morphine.
Most fascinating to me was how alkalinity affects sleep. In the Health Zone, you only need 5 - 7 hours of sleep per night, and most of your cells will fully regenerate within 7 months. 400 billion cells per night can regenerate. In the Disease Zone, however, you'll need 8 - 12 hours of sleep per night. Your cells will take - get this - 7 years to regenerate, and only 10-30 billion cells per night can regenerate. This explains why I know so many raw foodies who look so healthy, look years younger than their age, and who claim they only need a few hours sleep per night.
I still didn't know what alkalinity had to do with eating fruit straight off of a tree until Mohsen dove into an explanation of how our cells accept water and nutrients. One of the missing links is that fruit on a tree is "electrified" through the tree via the earth. That might sound far fetched to some of you, and it certainly did to me, but I am slowly starting to make sense of this.
"Real alkalinity depends on the availability of electrolytes," Mohsen said, "Real alkalinity is electrolytes, not pH." Electrolytes have free ions that make a substance electrically conductive. So we can eat a highly alkaline diet, but without electrolytes we can't maximize alkalinity.
The water you consume has to be alkaline to pass signals into your cells. pH differences between the inside of the cell and outside produces voltage. If your blood has low pH (acidic), it drains the cell. We want the opposite to occur - we want our cells to be porous and be able to take in nutrients to feed mitochondria to make cellular energy (ATP) and conduct other key functions.
So if you look at the pH chart above, each pH tier is actually associated with different voltage! The Health Zone operates at 60 - 70 millivolts, while the Fatal Zone operates at 25 millivolts or less. Basically real alkalinity makes you more electric and able to process an optimal amount of nutrients into your cells which leads to optimal immune system function.
Each cell in our body has a funnel in its cell membrane - it is teeny tiny. It is an angstrom-sized opening. Before a cell lets water in, Mohsen says, it intuitively checks for size (angstrom not nano), pH (6.6 or higher only), geometry, and emotional memory (See Dr. Emoto's work), and total dissolved solids (too high and it won't let the water in.)
Since distilled water has no dissolved solids, this is the water he favors. This is very different from most other natural health professionals who recommend spring water, reverse osmosis water, or Kangan alkaline water.
MSM: A Key Missing Nutrient
Back to the cell... and the part about tree-picked fruit. Without a substance called MSM, the cells stay clumped together and cannot optimally take in water and nutrients. MSM allows cell spacing. "MSM is in ripe fresh fruit," says Mohsen, "within a few hours of picking, it's gone."
This is why Mohsen says an optimal diet for health and prevention of all acquired illness is an alkaline one. A diet of lemons, greens, fresh fruit. But he says that since we don't eat food straight off the vine or tree anymore, we need to supplement with three key nutrients: minerals, MSM, and systemic enzymes. Systemic enzymes are the protein scavengers of the blood - another missing link when food isn't consumed soon after picking.
Testing Your pH & Dreaming of Greenhouses
Interested in testing your pH? Mohsen says to get a pH testing strip and test urine first thing in the morning, but only after a good night's sleep. If not, you might find you are more acidic. Urine pH - a measurable proxy for cell pH - should be between 7.0 and 7.4.
As this advanced workshop drew to a close, I found myself dreaming of planting a huge garden and building a vibrant greenhouse on the side of my home. It didn't seem so far-fetched anymore. For now, though, I'm just going to concentrate on being as alkaline as possible eating mostly store-bought and farmer's market foods.
Editor's note: I have since learned about Earthing and how living things get electrons from the Earth and provide documented health benefits. So, a greenhouse might not be the best dietary solution, unless the plants are growing out of the ground in the greenhouse. Dr. Oz introduced Earthing to his 6 million viewers in February 2012. See more recent posts & videos for more information on Earthing.