Although a restriction-based diet, the keto diet actually has a rather wide range of possibilities when it comes to the quality of diet. Some people embark on a ‘macro-only’ approach, ignoring micronutrients and toxins all-together. Others have found a way to integrate not only the proponents of ketosis but are also maximize their whole-body health by paying attention to the quality of their diet. Today we explore ways to stay in ketosis, whilst promoting alkalinity in the body.
Why pH Levels Matter
The pH levels are a term used in chemistry to describe the acidity level of an aqueous solution, on a scale of 0 to 14. Your body’s pH levels play a role in controlling the availability of nutrients, microbial activity, biological functions, and the behavior of chemicals. Since illnesses, disease, and bad bacteria thrive in an over-acidic environment, consuming an alkaline-promoting diet is crucial to long-term health. 
Is Alkaline Better Than Acidic?
In short: no, being alkaline is not innately “better” than being acidic, because both serve their purpose in the body. The body’s pH levels vary depending on various factors, like how active you are. The body is more acidic, for example, after a hard workout, when the body naturally goes into a more acidic state to flush the toxins being released. It should, however, return to a baseline (of 7+ urinary pH levels), indicating an overall alkaline state.
Chronically acidic urinary pH levels are associated with an array of illnesses and diseases including anxiety, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease. [2-4] Since a major influence on pH levels is in our control through lifestyle choices, pH can be a great metric to check-in with one aspect of your health.
Having an awareness of the fluctuating nature of pH levels, but a general baseline of alkalinity can enable you to constantly check-in and tailor your lifestyle habits to optimize your pH and health. For example, although many people wake up in an acidic state, this is not the body’s natural morning state. It can be a sign of dehydration or a lack of minerals in the body. By testing your urine pH levels throughout the day, you can start implementing ‘hacks’ and habits to see within 24-hours what kind of shift it has made in your pH.
Measuring your pH
Blood pH actually doesn’t do the trick. Blood pH measures arterial blood pH, which is a finely controlled percentage. Urine pH on the other hand is a much more accurate barometer of the fluctuating alkalinity, based on mind, body, and environmental variables.
Using paper testing strips is a very economical way to test regularly, especially as you start out. Understanding how your pH fluctuates throughout the day can help you investigate the impact that various habits and foods have on your body’s alkalinity/ acidity balance.
When you start out, opt to test your levels anytime you pee throughout the day. In time, you can test 1-2 a day (morning and perhaps evening) to check-in, but by then should have a good grasp on the habits that do and don’t work for your body.
Ideally, you want to wake up with a pH of at least 7 (which is considered ‘neutral’) and go to sleep in the alkaline range. 
The beauty of pH testing as a metric for health is that you get direct feedback with urine test strips. You can easily test from home, multiple times a day, to see what is and isn’t working for you. Luckily, the majority of changes to be made to promote alkalinity are within your control.
Ways to Optimize Alkalinity
1. What You Eat (and What You Eat Ate)
What you eat is one of the major players in determining alkalinity in the body. It can be very easy on a blanket “keto” diet to just eat hoards of highly processed high fat, moderate protein meals, with no attention to quality. Keto itself only refers to the macronutrient breakdown of your diet, which does play a role in promoting alkalinity, but it’s only a small part of the puzzle. 
The macronutrient portion of what you eat to support low inflammation is already built into keto: high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate intake. The problem with carbs is that when they are consumed chronically and in high amounts, the body is constantly pumping out insulin, to the point of reduced insulin sensitivity. 
When we lose our sensitivity to insulin, the body becomes a very acidic place with poor absorption and storage of glucose (sugar), which leads to a host of problems including brain fog, weight gain, and various metabolic disorders (like type 2 diabetes).
What you eat also refers to quality, meaning ideally organic, fresh foods. Eating locally sourced organic food is ideal because you know it was most likely harvested at its peak ripeness/ maturity. When foods are flown in or transported from far away, they are often harvested unripe, so that they can ripen on the way. This means less nutrient density (and less flavor) for you! Quality is also the link between your food quality and the quality of the diet that your food ate. When it comes to animal products, its imperative to know exactly what kind of lifestyle and diet your food ate, to know if it promotes or robs you of health; pasture-raised animals, that lived a life outside of feedlots, in grassy pastures, and fed their natural diet (for example, ruminants should be grass-fed and grass-finished).
Finally, the last piece of what you eat is ensuring the consumption of a high variety of micronutrients. Micronutrients are found in abundance in high-quality organic food, particularly in vibrantly colored foods. An abundance of greens (especially bitter greens) is a must on any keto diet since they are very low carb and yet provide a big micronutrient hit. Eating nose-to-tail when it comes to animal proteins and fats is also important, to provide your body with the full spectrum of amino acids (including collagen and gelatin), and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
2. How You Eat
Eating mindfully plays a big role in how your body assimilates, absorbs, and digests your food.  Mindful eating is done slowly, and with presence. Avoid eating on the go, in front of screens, or when you are angry, sad, or frustrated. To optimize alkalinity, be present with your food, take the time to sit down with your meal (and family or friends!), and treat every meal as an opportunity to check-in with gratitude. Make sure to properly chew your food, and if you have major digestion issues or are working on gut health, consider including a digestive aid like an enzyme, HCL, or some ginger.
3. When You Eat
The timing in which you consume food has actually been demonstrated to be more impactful on health markers than changing diet. The studies refer to intermittent fasting, which is eating in a condensed feeding window daily. At a bare minimum, you want to consume all your food for the day in a 12-hour window (with a 12-hour fasting window), but ideally, you want to be fasting for 18+ hours daily. 
Although the biggest factor is the condensed feeding window, sleep quality may be improved if your last meal of the day is 3+ hours before sleep. When we sleep on a relatively empty stomach, the body is able to focus on healing instead of digestion.
Longer periods of fasting can also have a profound impact on improving your alkalinity boosting markers, including insulin sensitivity, and reduced toxic load. There are a variety of ways to implement longer fasts, including a weekly 24-hour fast, a monthly 5-day caloric restriction (that mimics fasting), or a seasonal 5-day water fast. [9, 10]
Gratitude is the practice of giving thanks and appreciating life. Although this practice may seem trivial to some, it has been shown to actually improve alkalinity and various other health markers (including mental health benefits and better digestion).  One of the easiest ways to boot alkalinity for the whole day is to write in a gratitude journal first thing in the morning. Some people opt for just listing out 3 things you are grateful for, big or small. You can also free-flow write for 5 minutes about various things you are grateful for in that moment.
5. Relationships/ Community
Community and the quality of your relationships play a big role in quelling inflammation, boosting mood and mental health, and actually improving the alkalinity levels in your body as a result.  Feeling seen and supported reduces cortisol levels and inflammation, and promotes alkalinity in the body. Our thoughts play a major role in creating or calming inflammation, and community and healthy relationships promote sensations of ease, comfort, support, and love.
Part of this is learning to cultivate self-worth and setting boundaries with people who make us feel small, unworthy, or low. Work on surrounding yourself with people who support and inspire you, who value you, and who offer quality advice when you need it. Making new friends can happen at any age, by learning to branch out and be vulnerable. Try joining local communities like a religious organization or church, a sports club or hobby group, a tai chi or qi gong community, or a community-centered yoga group.
Finally, it’s impossible to talk about alkalinity without touching on cellular toxicity, because even if you’re on the “perfect” diet: a toxic body will promote acidity.  Toxicity generally builds up over time, with small exposures that seem insignificant. From toxic building materials and paints to toxic body care and house cleaning products to amalgam (mercury) fillings, herbicides, pesticides, and mold toxicity in the home. Although these exposures don’t instigate instant illness, they continuously add a drop in the bucket, until the whole thing overflows.
After removing toxin exposure from your life, following a proper detox that follows the 5R’s method of true cellular detox is a must. If you are very sick, it is advised that you follow such a protocol under the supervision of a qualified holistic practitioner, who can help you combine the five fundamental steps along with other guidance like fasting, emotional support, and other modalities that may be useful in your quest to heal.
Eating a ketogenic diet eating paired with an alkaline diet and intermittent fasting can help you naturally manage your body’s hormones, to address health issues using the power of ketosis and alkalinity.