Is your menu Alkaline Certified? 

Organic. Vegetarian. Vegan. Non-GMO. Gluten-free. Keto. Grass-fed. Biodynamic. Lactose-free. Peanut-free. Kosher. Halal.

Oy. What’s a planner to do? Figuring out how to safely serve F&B in a pandemic world is tricky enough, let alone with all the food restrictions to accommodate allergies and special diets.

But guess what? It just got trickier.

The Latest No-No

Acidifying foods can be called the new no-no. Their opposite, alkaline foods, are trending. Has anyone asked you yet, “Is it Alkaline Certified?”

The alkaline diet has been around for a few years, popularized in no small measure by seemingly ageless NFL quarterback Tom Brady, whose highly restrictive personal diet avoids so-called “acidifying foods.” Brady won’t touch coffee, for example; ditto for tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, white flour, white sugar and dairy. He says doing so enhances bone health and fights inflammation, which experts pinpoint as a source for a range of chronic ailments, including diabetes and heart disease, not to mention joint pain, arthritis, allergies and psoriasis.

On the other hand, alkaline foods are supposedly anti-inflammatory. Eating these foods—basically, a healthy whole food, plant-based diet—offsets acids in your body, proponents say. The problem is, most scientists disagree. They point out that pH—the measurement of how acidic or alkaline something is—varies widely within the human body. And that an acidifying diet has minimal impact on, say, cancer, bone health and blood pH levels.

Enter Brandon Burrell

Nonetheless, some of your attendees may insist that skewing menus toward alkaline foods is essential to their good health. And that’s where Brandon Burrell saw his opportunity. A Wall Street investment banker who was 40 pounds overweight, borderline diabetic and suffering from chronic sinus issues that had doctors baffled, Burrell says he was a ticking bomb. He needed Afrin nasal spray just to breathe normally.

Burrell alighted upon the “alkaline vs. acid-based” issue. He started nourishing himself with whole alkaline foods. You guessed it. His breathing problems of 15 years melted away. He lost the excess weight. He felt better than he had in years.

Believing that what worked for him could help others, he created Alkaline Certified, a certification process “committed to certifying and building sources of alkalinity products, educating consumers and providing alkaline certifications,” according to his publicist.

“We believe that all consumers have the right to know if their food is alkaline or acid-based,” Burrell was quoted on EIN Presswire, which states that Alkaline Certified is the fastest growing label in the natural products industry.

Alkaline-infused water, food and drinks are increasingly common in local supermarkets and home kitchens. The good news for planners is that a menu rich in alkaline foods and low in acid-forming foods aligns nicely with today’s meeting priorities of wellness and self-care. To paraphrase author Michael Pollan, don’t serve your groups anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food—and “not too much, mostly plants.”