In the past, I tended to discount the idea that what you eat or drink has much influence on your body’s pH, or acid-alkaline balance, since your body so tightly regulates it.  Your blood pH tends to stay in a relatively narrow range, because your body actually takes minerals like calcium from your bones to buffer, or alkalinize, the blood. That’s why an acidic diet weakens bones. But could an acidic diet contribute to other health problems? I was skeptical about that.

Then I read that that researchers at the University of Arizona have received a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the effect of baking soda–yes, simple, cheap, acid-neutralizing baking soda–on the progression of breast cancer, particularly triple-negative breast cancer, a kind that is hard to treat with hormone-suppressing therapies.  I was even more intrigued when I found that, in animal studies, baking soda has proven helpful in reducing the spread of breast and prostate cancer to the lungs, brain, and bone. I interviewed three of the main U.S. researchers in this area,  Robert Gillies, Ph.D., at the Moffitt Cancer Treatment Center, in Tampa, and Mark Pagel, Ph.D.,  and Ian Robey, Ph.D., both at the Arizona Cancer Center, in Tucson.  Here is what I found out.

Cancer tumors are very metabolically active, and produce lactic acid, the same stuff that makes your muscles burn when you use them hard. So the cells in tumors and the tissue around tumors are acidic compared to the rest of your body. This acid destroys surrounding tissue, which allows the tumor to grow, invade surrounding areas, promote angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation) and allows cancer cells to metastasize–to travel through the bloodstream to other areas of the body and form new tumors.

Baking soda is the opposite of acid–it is alkaline and can neutralize acid. If you consume enough of it, baking soda increases your body’s buffering capacity, which allows it to neutralize acidity around a tumor and reduce its capacity to spread.  At least, that’s the theory. That’s what researchers will try to find out, along with other things, like safe but effective dosages and how best to measure a tumor’s pH, which can vary.

Those research findings won’t be available for some time, and we don’t recommend using baking soda without medical supervision. It’s too easy to overdo it. The safest way to make your body less acidic and more alkaline is to change how you eat, these experts say. An alkaline diet limits high-protein foods (meat, eggs, cheese) sugar, salt, soda, alcohol, and caffeine, and includes lots of vegetables and fruits. It follows the basic principles of a plant-based diet.

By Gale Maleskey, MS, RD

Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center offers a:
FOUR-WEEK PROGRAM IN PLANT-BASED NUTRITION taught by Hilary Smith, RN, Certified in Whole Plant-Based Foods from eCornell University.

In addition, if you’d like PERSONALIZED NUTRITION COUNSELING to help your body fight cancer, reverse bone loss or reduce inflammation, please call Twin Ponds Center and ask for an appointment with me–Gale Maleskey, MS, RD


After 35 years of teaching, it is very clear that people experience tremendous value from their meditation practice, and yet who hasn’t thought, I don’t have time to meditate today? It’s easy to lose focus on the things that are important to us when we’re running around responding to the relentless pressure of daily life.

What are some of those things that fall through the cracks when we lose focus?  Meditation, exercise, spending quality time with loved ones (building relationships), hobbies and other soul nourishing interests all get pushed out of the way.

Those attending tune up classes find that they help connect them with the power of meditation.  Most would benefit from a quarterly 1.25 hour tune up class, some could use it more frequently than that.  If you’re having difficulty finding the time to meditate, you definitely would benefit from at least a couple monthly classes.  Tune ups will fine tune your practice and jump start it and your life to a new level.

Our computers, automobiles, and homes all need maintenance to maximize the return on our investment.  Our meditation is the same.  As I was exercising the other day at my gym, I was struck by the number of people participating in a yoga class in the mind body studio.  That is good news, people are taking time to refine their practice in group classes.

Small group Effortless Meditation tune up classes are inspiring for all those who attend.  I invite you to join us.  And if you prefer, private meditation coaching is available.


I recently became friends with Elise who lives down the street from me. I had known of her for a couple years, but just waved and said “hello”.  Recently we were formally introduced when she was hired at the same school I am now employed. It didn’t take long for us to become fast friends through yoga.

She was aware that I was a yoga teacher, so I mentioned to her where I was teaching  and she very quickly became interested in learning more about it. I knew it would help her manage the stress from working and raising a family, so I invited her to join in on my sessions.  She loved the idea.

While I was telling her about the schedule, she asked if she could invite one of her other friends.  I said “of course, the more the merrier”.  She had only done Yoga once before, and it was quite some time ago. They joined my next class and took it real easy at first, but it wasn’t long until they were both loving the challenging poses and the relaxation at the end of each class.  Not only did my friend, Elise, benefit, but her friend was so excited to tell me that after only a few sessions her breathing had improved and her muscles felt less stiff and tense.  She was amazed how great she felt in such a short time.

Now they are both doing all the poses in full length sessions and encouraging each other to practice regularly.  Elise couldn’t wait to tell me after the last session that she is less short of breath going up stairs and on walks with her dog, her tight calves and thighs are much less tense, and that there is improvement in her overall range of motion.

The power of Yoga is truly amazing for moms and even dads!

Laurie Lagerman, CYT, Happy Yoga practitioner and teacher for 13 years.

Living with Uncertainty

As a counselor, I sometimes find that the same issues come up for several people in the same week.  This week the issue has been uncertainty, and it’s only Wednesday.  Well, certainly, we are living in the most uncertain of times, and, as a baby boomer, I know that says something.

When I was a child, the fear was “The Bomb,” and I have vivid memories about the cold war era.  I lived near an Army reserve depot, and there was a flight path right over my yard.  At age seven, my best friend was the boy next door, also age seven, who was an authority on planes, because he and his older brother had built many model airplanes.  So, when the heavy transport planes and bombers would fly overhead, he would look up, shake his head and say with profound seriousness, “I’m not sure it’s one of ours.”  Those few moments were fraught with trepidation, until the plane cleared my house and he reassured me that it was, indeed, one of ours.   It’s easy to laugh now at my gullible little self and the boy who knew how to scare me.

Life is filled with uncertainty, and there’s always something we can find to worry about.  Worry is trying to control something, when we have no say in the matter.  So, how do we accept the fact that the only thing we can count on is change?  How do we ride the wave of not knowing? How do we live with an uncertain future?  Can we change the self-talk that fuels fear?

Almost daily, I see the changes that Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can help make in letting go of the need to control situations and people. EFT can calm a person’s system as they come to terms with uncertainty and change.  In my practice, I have the privilege of watching a mother let go of trying to fix her adult children’s lives, a teen come to terms with anxiety about school, or an abuse survivor begin to feel safe in the world.  I wish EFT would have been around, when those planes flew over my house.