The pH Miracle

Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health, by Dr. Robert O. Young and Shelley Redford Young, New York: Hachette Book Group, 2010.

Page Contents

Foreword by Dr. Gabriel Cousens
Sample Chapter


Your body’s pH balance is the key to optimal health, weight, mental clarity, and overall vigor. Strike the right balance by nourishing your body with certain foods to create an alkaline environment, and say good-bye to low energy, poor digestion, extra pounds, aches and pains, and disease. This innovative program, proven effective over decades, works with your body chemistry to revitalize and maintain your health. Now completely revised, updated, and expanded, this classic guide includes the latest research and reveals the secrets of —

Core Nutrients — an all-new program that provides the most important components your body needs: chlorophyll from green vegetables, essential oils, alkaline water, and pure mineral salts;

Cleansing — remove impurities and normalize digestion and metabolism with new ways to detox your body;

Exercising Right — a brand-new chapter on which alkalizing exercises help maintain the correct pH level;

Alkaline Foods — over thirty-five new, tempting pH-powerful recipes to help you easily balance your body using foods like tomatoes, avocados, sprouts, nuts, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and green vegetables.


I am deeply grateful to have found this book last year when suffering from gout in my right foot and passed weeks in bed. I learnt that because of my former abuse of alcohol, mainly beer, my body had become way too acidic. After reading the book, I decidedly corrected my diet to a full plant-based diet, with no more beer consumption, no more coffee and strongly restricted intake of carbohydrates (dried bread only, no more pizza, no more pasta and no more fresh bread) and dairy products (the only left was an occasional goat cheese).

I had gout for the first time back in 2008 and suffered from a stiff left knee that forced me to stay in bed for almost three months. All medication seemed to be useless or had side effects so I resorted to natural healing, got acupuncture and let it all heal by itself. I learnt about purines and thanked it to my young maid to have had served me seafood almost every day. Having gained the insight what had caused the disease, I was able to heal it while it took several months, by changing my diet. Since that time I eat no more seafood of any kind.

The next gout attack I got in my right foot last year just on the verge of a business trip to China and Japan that was entirely spoiled as I had to stay in bed in the hotels in Shanghai and Tokyo and could not do anything but patiently wait for the pain to cease, with my right leg on a cushion and remaining in bed all the time except for the meals at my desk. I never even left for the restaurant as my foot was so swollen that I could not enter my shoe again. An acupuncture session in a TCM clinic in Shanghai made it only worse, and upon my return I found and ordered Dr. Young’s book and studied it thoroughly. The foot returned to normal after I again changed and purified my diet but it needed about a month.

The third and hopefully last time I got the same swelling near my right foot’s big toe occurred just three weeks ago but as I was taken drastic measures diet-wise, it was gone already one week later.

This has shown me that gout and (the resulting) arthritis really are nothing but alimentary disorders and that their etiology is nothing but top-level acidity of the blood and tissues of the body.

I am now eating a completely plant-based diet in the style that Dr. Gabriel Cousens, Dr. Norman Walker, Dr. Robert Young and Dr. George Watson recommend, with daily vegetable juices, one hot vegetarian dish and two raw dishes (salads, nuts, seeds) per day and lots of water and green tea. Contrary to what Dr. Young recommends I however keep true to my occasional miso soup as I do not believe it to be true that all fermented foods are bad for the body.

Tofu, the quintessential food of the vegetarian is also but fermented soy, and I won’t believe that it adds on to acidity in the body when it’s part of an otherwise balanced plant-based diet. This being said, and while I found Dr. Young’s book useful, a certain note of fanaticism diet-wise cannot be overlooked in his diction and his overzealous nature. It’s quite a funny fact that while Dr. Young condemned miso soup, his wife later in the recipe section of the book inserted a ‘delicious’ recipe for it.

And what all those famous doctors never mention is the simple fact that if your body is back to normal, when you don’t have any more cravings and your intestinal flora is normal, your body gives you clear hints and signs what to eat and what not, it has its own wisdom and guides you with your food choices without you needing to follow more or less fanatic doctors and all those top-grade ‘experts’ so typical for the commercial American culture that even when it heals, still manipulates people and treats them like immature children who are ‘ignorant enough to be sick.’

One point I want to emphasize here, as it’s really important. It’s the necessity of regular colon cleansing. While in the West this requires difficult-to-administer edemas and colon washings as I once experienced it back in 1998 in Bali by a natural healer from Italy, this is easy when you live, as myself from 2004, in Cambodia. Here in Asia, there is a toilet shower in every bathroom, next to the toilet, which is a convenient device for cleaning your anus after bowel release both outside and inside. You can easily inject the water into your bowels, so much the more as the temperature of the tab water — because the country is hot throughout the year — never gets to a point that is uncomfortable. (While in Japan where the same devices are used, and even more sophisticated ones, the water needs to be heated as it would be too cold for the body’s sensitive intestinal area).

I believe that this daily colon cleansing decisively helped improve my condition together with the right diet and the stopping of alcohol abuse. My reverse argument would be that without colon cleansing, and here I fully agree with Dr. Normal Walker — whose books I will review equally in this blog — a reversal of acidity back to normal is as good as impossible.

Foreword by Dr. Gabriel Cousens

is a historically and profoundly significant conceptual medical breakthrough in the functional understanding of the basic cause of disease. The focus of Dr. Young on the pH is a major conceptual insight and contribution to natural healing. It reflects a brilliant continuum from the work of medical doctors like Antoine Béchamp and Claude Bernard, who taught that the biological terrain (a person’s basic psycho-physical-biochemical balance as reflected in the immune system) was the most important factor in whether a person remained healthy or developed acute or chronic disease. As Florence Nightingale described in the 1850s, the swamp breeds the mosquitoes, the mosquitoes do not create the swamp. As Dr. Young beautifully clarifies, ‘Germs are really just the expression of the underlying disease condition (overacidity and microform overgrowth).’

This way of understanding disease is distinctly different from the current allopathic model, which is based on the theory of Louis Pasteur of one pathogenic organism — one disease approach. Even Pasteur himself refuted it on his deathbed, when he stated that Claude Bernard was right, the terrain is everything. Today this represents the core of the debate between the holistic approach to disease, which reflects a body-mind-spirit pleomorphic approach to preventing and healing disease, and the allopathic-symptom-focused approach to disease.

The pH Miracle is sharing a new and fundamental view of health and the prevention of disease. It is BASE-ic. When you create a healthy pH, you create a significantly more disease-resistant body. With this book Dr. Young has established himself as a visionary pioneer in bringing forth this elegant yet profoundly simple approach to maintaining high-level health and healing disease. At the Tree of Life, a clinical study of more than a thousand people found that those who were healthiest had a venous blood pH of approximately 7.46 — distinctly more alkaline than the traditional teaching of 7.35 as the healthy blood pH. Research done at UCLA by Dr. George Watson produced similar findings; in a study of more than three hundred people, the venous blood pH associated with healthiest brain and emotional functioning was 7.46.

The optimal alkalinizing dietary approach for creating and maintaining optimal well-being is organic, plant source only, 80 percent life food, and low glycemic. Dr. Young’s revolutionary teaching about minimizing fruit in the diet, especially sweet fruits, is both courageous and one that I share with him. The other components of the healthy alkalizing diet are good hydration, high oxygen intake, and highly mineralized food intake. In addition, this revised version has made a significant and healthy step away from recommending all forms of soy as part of the diet. The decrease in emphasis on soy shows the evolution of thinking as new information has emerged since the first edition.

After thirty-six years of clinical experience, these are the basics of what I consider the optimal dietary way of life. I would add one additional emphasis which is to eat moderately, as excessive eating, even of the most alkalinizing food, can also create acidity because it overloads the digestive system.

In sum, this is a powerful approach. As we expand our understanding of the implications of The pH Miracle, we begin to look at our whole acidic, high-stress lifestyle as a source of illness. It takes us beyond diet to a whole alkalinizing way of life.

This book is great theoretically, yet also offers a well-balanced practical side. The pH Miracle shows how to transition to this lifestyle step by step. Remember that although it may appear difficult to live an alkalinizing, plant-source-only, organic, live-food lifestyle, it is profoundly worth it. From my own experience of living this way since 1983, I know it creates extraordinary vitality, strength, health, and a most delicious sense of well-being. For example, at the age of twenty-one as the captain of an undefeated college football team, I was able to do 70 push-ups, more than anyone on the team could do. That was before I went alkaline. Almost forty years later, having lived for years on an alkalinizing diet and lifestyle, I was able to do 601 consecutive push-ups. It is interesting to note that in more than ten studies, nonathletic vegetarians had two or three times more endurance than meat-eating athletes. Research by Dr. Brekman in Russia showed that the same mice eating the exact same amount of cooked and raw food had three times more endurance when eating the raw food. A properly alkalinized person optimizes all mental and physical functions.

A visionary breakthrough, this book is already a classic in natural healing literature. It makes a great contribution to the emerging culture-of-life world in which we choose to return to the natural healing ways of the Divine.

Sir Gabriel Cousens, MD, MD(H), DD is a diplomat of the American Board of Holistic Medicine, director of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center and Foundation, and author of Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine, Conscious Eating, and Spiritual Nutrition.

Sample Chapter

Chapter One: The New Biology of Health

A new day is dawning. A day of truly holistic health, vitality, and well-being. A time of energizing our very cells, maximizing the life force of our bodies. An era of naturally lean and strong physiques! An era of focusing on right food instead of wrong drugs. This book, based on the microscopic evaluation of blood leading to correct nutrition, will light this path for you. It will help you understand the revolutionary science I (Rob) call the New Biology, and explains practical ways to change your diet and unleash the full power of your body to heal itself.

In truth, the light came over the horizon more than a hundred years ago. Unfortunately, the radical work of some great pioneering scientists has been overlooked by a mainstream medical model so deeply involved with its own myths that it was blind to larger truths. Until now. We are in a process of peeling off the blinders and looking at an entirely new model of human health while correcting the old model of disease. Working from decades of exhaustive research — my own as well as the work of those early (ignored) pioneers — we’ll discover the basic pathways to illness and wellness. You’ll get the science, of course, but also the practical applications that will allow you to put the science to work.

It’s all about balance — pH balance. The universe operates by keeping opposites in balance, and the universe contained within your body is no exception. When imbalance occurs, we get the signs of disease (or dis-ease); low energy, fatigue, poor digestion, excess weight, foggy thinking, aches and pains, as well as major disorders. This book is about reclaiming balance: energy; mental clarity; smooth operation of all body systems; clear, bright eyes and skin; and a lean, trim body. By following the program in this book, all that can be yours within weeks.

All you have to do is take a look around you to see that most people with our modern lifestyles are suffering from imbalance. They are obese. Tired. Prematurely aging. Perhaps you are, too. Chances are at least one person you love is suffering from one of the top three killers in the United States — heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. When I asked the audience at one of my lectures how many of them had a family member with one of these big bad three, 80 to 90 percent raised their hands. The fact is, half of us will die from heart disease or diabetes. A third will die from cancer.

If you’re like many people in our culture, at this point you’re thinking, Well, you have to die of something. We’ve forgotten that it is natural to die — and to live — healthy! In fact, it is our birthright to live healthy, right up until the day you die. Making that vision a reality is the great gift of this program. And believe me, it has nothing to do with mapping the human genome, cutting-edge medical technologies, or even more powerful — and dangerous — pharmaceuticals. The good news is, the answer is much, much simpler than all that. And available right here and now. Today. (…)

The problem is that while diet is the key not only to slimness but also to overall health and well-being, it has to be a diet that properly balances our body chemistry. But every one of the diets Americans have tried — including not just the ‘average American diet’ but also such supposedly healthful regimes as low-fat diets, the food pyramid, the macrobiotic diet, the blood type diet, the metabolic type diet, high-protein and low-carbohydrate diets, the raw food diet, and vegetarianism — creates wildly imbalanced body chemistry. Even if one way of eating does get rid of extra pounds (usually temporary) or lower cholesterol levels or lessen digestive troubles for some people, it does not fulfill the promise of simple good health. We’re so used to our modern medical machinery, in fact, the good health seems anything but simple. I’m here to tell you: It is simple.

Forget cholesterol and carbohydrate counts. Forget calories and fat grams. Forget blood pressure, blood sugar, hormone levels, or any of the other markers of health you’re used to at the doctor’s office. It turns out that the single measurement most important to your health is the pH of your blood and tissues — how acidic or alkaline it is. Different areas of the body have different ideal pH levels, but blood-and-tissue pH is the most telling of all. Just as your body temperature is rigidly regulated, the blood and tissues must be kept in a very narrow pH range — mildly basic or alkaline. The body will go to great lengths to preserve that, including wreaking havoc on other tissues or systems.

The pH level of our internal fluids affects every cell in our bodies. The entire metabolic process depends on an alkaline environment. Chronic overacidity corrodes body tissue, and if left unchecked will interrupt all cellular activities and functions, from the beating of your heart to the neural firing of your brain. In other words, overacidity interferes with life itself. It is (as we’ll see in more detail in the next chapter) at the root of all sickness, dis-ease, and disease.

If that’s not enough to get you interested in balancing your body pH naturally, nondestructively, keep this in mind: Overacidity is also what’s keeping you fat. (More about that later).

The goal, then — and what this program allows you to do — is to create the proper alkaline balance within your body. The way to do that is by eating the proper balance of alkaline and acid foods. That means 80 percent of your diet must be alkalizing foods such as green vegetables. (This percentage will go down somewhat once you’ve successfully rebalanced yourself. And if you’re very sick, the percentage should go up for some period of time.) That leaves much smaller portions of acid foods (such as meat and grains) on our plates. In addition, carefully chosen, high-quality alkalizing supplements will help you achieve and maintain pH balance. You’ll learn more about all this in detail in later chapters. You’ll also need to exercise properly (see chapter 13) and adopt other alkaline lifestyle practices, like learning to manage stress (see chapter 14).

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Get at least three-quarters of your plate covered with alkalizing food, use the alkalizing supplements as explained in this book, and you’ll be good to go. (…)

All this healing occurs because people are willing to take responsibility for their own health and make the necessary changes. That was a mission Shelley and I were on for ourselves starting more than thirty years ago. But it took quite a while to realize that what seemed to be optimal in popular thought was still leaving us tired, seemingly prone to every passing cold, and just not able to get the very best out of life. Eventually, through trial and error — experimenting on ourselves — we developed the pH Miracle diet and lifestyle program, and found, finally, the way to get fully, permanently, holistically healthy — physically prepared to live life at its fullest.

We had always been active and on the lookout for ways to improve our health. By 1980, we were on what we thought was an ideal strictly vegetarian regime — mostly complex carbohydrates, along with some simple carbs (sugars), proteins, and fats. We were conforming to what seemed to be the best possible nutrition for our bodies, and we raised our children this way.

We ate the best of all foods sold in our favorite health stores. yet still we felt that afternoon fatigue. Our athletic endurance seemed to have plateaued, and we weren’t getting any further improvements. We didn’t have the strength and stamina we wanted. We were slowly but surely getting one common sign of aging after another. And it all seemed to be getting worse as we grew older.

What we didn’t know then was what havoc all this was wreaking on our body chemistry, how it dangerous acidified our bodies, inviting all the disastrous consequences explained in upcoming chapters. Thank goodness the whole family had stayed generally healthy, but with what we know now we can see we were lucky. We were setting ourselves up for a lot of potential trouble.

It took a long time to realize what was going on — and what we could do about it. When we did figure it all out, what a dramatic difference! For one thing, though neither of us was overweight to begin with, we both shed pounds. I lost about twenty pounds — and four inches around my waist. Shelley dropped about fifteen pounds, and is now the same size she was in high school (nine). More important, we felt much better. Not only that, but I also could see astounding changes in our blood, including the pH levels. One good thing about the roughly fourteen-year journey we went through in developing this program was that it gave me time to come to some new (to me) laboratory techniques with which I could chart our progress (which I’ll describe more fully later in the book).

Since we were essentially healthy to start out with, I was eager to test the effects of the dietary changes we were making on people facing serious health challenges such as diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease, lupus, gout, MS, Parkinson’s, and arthritis. Sure enough, in my studies I could see the same sweeping improvements in their blood and the pH of their saliva and urine. They all reported feeling better and losing weight. And in many cases, even the dire conditions healed or disappeared! Witnessing these amazing results, I knew we’d stumbled upon more than a way of eating that just happened to be right for us and our family. We’d found something we wanted to share.

We’ve been fully on the pH Miracle diet and lifestyle program for more than ten years now, and there’s no doubt in our minds: We’ll never go back. We’ve gained too much and we’d never want to give up. Even as we get older, we keep feeling better. And we know we’re protecting ourselves from the ravages of the diseases that claim to many of our fellow Americans. We’ve found a way to ensure that we’ll be there for each other, for our work, and most of all for our children, over the long haul. And we’ll be able to truly enjoy every minute of it.

Good health should be second nature to us, but for many people it seems very difficult to maintain. The pH Miracle plan changes that forever. It will empower you to regain what is rightfully yours, encourage you to take responsibility for your own well-being, and restore the great gift of wellness to you.

I know that there are lots of formulas out there for getting well. And many of them have good track records and positive reputations. Often, that’s because they deal partially (perhaps unknowingly) with what you’re going to learn here. Also, you can get a lot better without getting completely well, so you might think the job is done without every reaping the greatest rewards. Once you experience the full, vibrant, wellness that comes with this basic change to your diet and lifestyle, however, you’ll know just how tremendous the difference can be. So we invite you to begin this journey and experience the results for yourself. Awaken to the light of a new day!


— The human body is meant to be alkaline, and the body will go to great lengths to maintain the appropriate, slightly basic, nature of its blood and tissues. But all body functions produce acidic effects; it is all too easy and far too common for blood and tissues to become acidic./11

— Overacidification of body fluids and tissues underlies all disease, and general dis-ease as well. For one thing, it’s only when it is acidic that the body is vulnerable to germs — in healthy base balance, germs can’t get a foothold. Furthermore, acids are the expression of all sickness and disease, as well as of dis-ease. In short, good health requires a body in proper acid-base balance. Proper diet and lifestyle choices (like the ones laid out in this book) are the only way to ensure that. /12

— There is a family of base minerals particularly suited to neutralizing, or detoxifying, strong acids, including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. When these minerals react with acids, they create much less detrimental substances, which are then eliminated by the body. /13–14

— When acid wastes build up in the body and enter the bloodstream, the circulatory system will try to get rid of them in gas or liquid form, through the lungs or the kidneys. If there is too much waste to handle, they are deposited in various organ systems, including the heart, pancreas, liver, and colon, or stored in fatty tissue, including the breasts, hips, thighs, belly — and brain. We know these ‘deposits’ by names such as polyps, fluids, cysts, and crystals, tumors, warts, bumps, growths, masses, blemishes, moles, blisters, sacs, and so on. /14

— The ability of microforms to evolve, to change form and function depending on their environment, is known as pleomorphism (pleo, meaning ‘many,’ and morph, meaning ‘form’). My theory is that red blood cells do this, too: they can de-evolve and then re-evolve into any kind of cell the body needs — bone cells, muscle cells, skin cells, brain cells, liver cells, heart cells, and so on. In a kind of parallel process, bacteria, yeast, fungus, and mold are morbid evolutions of healthy cells (including red blood cells, brain cells, and liver cells)./20

— Acid imbalance is perfectly natural … when we’re dead!/21

— The blood never lies. What you see when you look at it this way is a direct reflection of your health, and what you are eating, drinking, and thinking. In short, it shows how you are living. I have viewed the blood of thousands of people around the world — more than forty thousand blood samples in over seventy-two countries — and through my work I can tell you: There are only two types of blood: healthy and unhealthy! Whenever I analyze someone’s blood, I always ask them the same questions. What are you eating? What are you drinking? What are you feeling? The people whose blood looks the best — the people who live the longest — are eating green foods, breathing clean air, drinking clean water, finding ways to manage stress, working outside, exercising daily, and getting lots of sunshine. /25

— Emotional upheaval, negative thinking patterns and other psychological stress, and lack of exercise, stretching, and deep breathing also contribute. /27

— Whatever it may be, that initial physical or emotional disturbance starts acidifying your body and disturbs your very cells. Cells work to adapt to the declining pH of their compromised acidic environment. They break down and evolve to bacteria, yeast, and mold. These in turn create their waste products — debilitating acids — which further pollute the environment. That in itself is a disturbance to the system, and in this way the whole cycle keeps rolling along. /27

— The pH Miracle diet and lifestyle program restores health, harmony, and balance to your body through a diet based on alkalizing vegetables, sprouted and soaked nuts and seeds, essential oils, unprocessed salts, low-sugar fruits, and alkaline water. You’ll experience a new level of wellness, energy, and mental clarity. Normalizing blood-and-tissue pH will reduce the amount of symptom-causing acids and microforms in your body — and thus reduce symptoms. The closer your pH is to 7.365, the higher your level of health and well-being, and the stronger your resistance to disease. With this program, you can also have the lean, trim body you’ve always wanted. As you get back to basic, the body naturally begins to seek its own ideal weight. /27

— Unfortunately, Pasteur’s confusion of disease with symptoms has come down through the generations as scientific law. To this day, conventional medicine operates under this central misconception, often identifying a pattern of symptoms and labeling them as a disease, without any consideration of the underlying cause of the symptoms. And if the underlying cause isn’t considered, it can’t be addressed. Symptoms may be masked with drugs, but that won’t eradicate them. And it doesn’t deal with the accompanying deterioration of the rest of the body, or, of course, do anything about the acids underlying it all. /29

— The chaos in an imbalanced body will exhaust your adrenal glands. The resulting low levels of energy contribute to weight gain. /31

— The yeast and fungus produced within an overly acidic body can feed on your protein and other nutrients, interfering with the absorption of everything you eat by as much as 50 percent. This can cause you to become excessively thin, which is no healthier than being overweight. As you restore a healthy balance in your body’s environment on a basic (alkaline) diet, you will begin to gain weight, then stabilize as your ideal. Healthy bodies are not overweight or underweight. A healthy body naturally maintains its own ideal weight. /33

— Food allergies or intolerances make millions of Americans miserable. They can even kill. As we commonly think about them, food allergies cause obvious symptoms as reactions to certain acidic foods, ranging from stomach pains to rashes to itching to swelling. There are many people who have these (or subtler) reactions and attribute their symptoms to other ailments. Either way, we’re little off base: All these symptoms are caused by acids from acidic foods and drinks. In fact, we all have food intolerances: Our bodies can’t tolerate acidic foods. /34