Toxic swimming pools

As a child, I remember the constant battles to keep the family swimming pool from either going a sickly green colour, or smelling of acid and chlorine fumes that our eyes would begin to water even before we got in. The main factor in the health of the swimming pool was the pH of the water – there was a small range where the water was considered ‘healthy’. Stray too far to the acid or alkaline side, and disaster would result.

Our swimming pool was treated as a chemical experiment, and would be loaded with soda ash or acid depending on the diagnosis. If I was involved in the treatment, the long-suffering pool would usually need the other cure the day after, as I tended to be too generous with my helpings, so the pool’s pH leapt around like a yo-yo.

Our blood also has an ideal pH (around 7.35 to 7.45, or slightly alkaline), and fortunately it’s much easier to keep within the ideal range than my childhood pool. Yet many of us suffer from too much acidity. An acidic bloodstream reduces energy production, and means the body can’t absorb nutrients and minerals as well, or repair damage, and provides an ideal environment for tumours.

If you don’t know already, you can probably guess why many of us suffer from too much acidity. Poor diet! Other factors include stress, immune reactions, and drug-use.

An ideal diet should include around 80% alkalizing foods, and only 20% acidifying foods. Since meat, beer, coffee, most artificial additives, sugar, white rice, white pasta and bread are all highly acidifying, and foods such as eggs and cheese are moderately acidifying, it’s not surprising we’re suffering from an epidemic of acidity.

There’s no need to avoid acidifying foods altogether, but you do need to keep the balance correct to avoid the human-equivalent of toxic pool syndrome.

So which foods are highly alkalysing? Lemons (remember, it’s what they when metabolised, not how acidic they are outside the body), watermelon, cucumber and sprouts come near the top, but almost all vegetables and many fruits are good too.

See links to more complete lists at the bottom.

It’s Vondis pet food week (for our new customers, we only offer them every alternate week), and they’re offering a promotion. For every 10 packets of food (i.e. 2 of the 5 packs), Vondis will supply your pet with a free gravy. The gravy is great for weaning reluctant pets from the flavourant-packed foods they may have been used to towards a more healthy diet.

Many of our dairy items are still in short supply, so order well before the Monday rush if you want to make sure of your share. We do have more new products though, and this week they include miso soup. If you haven’t ordered for a while, do take the time to browse – you may be pleasantly surprised at both the range and the prices.

Next week sees the launch of the Stellenbosch Fresh Goods market. Its a slow food market, and the co-op will be there. Stalls consist of producers selling products they have sourced, grown, raised, harvested, caught, preserved or transformed themselves. Visit their site for more details.

To order, go to

Have a great week,
the Co-op team

Food pH charts