Food Combining is based on the premise that the human body is unable to digest more than one concentrated food in one meal. A concentrated food is commonly defined as any food that is not a fresh fruit or vegetable: basically, starches and proteins. The enzymes required for the efficient digestion of concentrated starches such as grains and potatoes, need an alkaline environment in which to work. Whereas, protein-digestive enzymes require an acidic environment. Hence, if a concentrated protein and a concentrated starch are eaten in the same meal, (meat and potatoes) the enzymes wage war against each other, neutralize each other, and nothing gets digested effectively.
Proper enzyme function is vital to the breakdown of foods into their constituent parts for use in cellular activity. When starches and proteins are eaten together, there is incomplete assimilation, that retards healthy digestion, and causes fermentation, producing alcohol and sugars that feeds yeast and fungus and toxify the body; leading to symptoms of less than perfect health such as: bloating, indigestion, flatulence, hunger, lethargy, and other more serious ailments.
Did you know that even a small amount of indigested protein is toxic to your blood?
So here are the basic rules:
Consume Only Fruit Until Midday and Do Not Combine Fruit With Other Foods.
Digestion requires more energy than any other function performed by the body -- even strenuous exercise. Feeling tired after eating is an experience we can all relate to. Now we know why. A strain on digestion leaves less energy available for vitality; and other vital functions such as waste elimination; which in turn puts a strain on the liver. Have you ever heard the saying “healthy liver, healthy body”? The liver is an extraordinary organ. It stores vitamins and metabolizes fats. But more importantly, it breaks down toxic wastes so that they can be expelled.
The liver is at its most active in this process between midnight and midday. So, in order not to interfere with optimum elimination and cleansing, only fruit is consumed until midday. Fresh fruits are so simple and pure, that they do not require the liver to be digested, and pass through the stomach to the small intestine within about 30 minutes. Fruit is also a wonderful breakfast, as it is extremely high water-content food that replenishes fluids after a night of rest.
What I do upon waking is to drink a glass of water with fresh lemon juice. This alkalizes my system, stimulates the peristaltic movement of the colon, stimulates my appetite, and prepares my body for digestion.
Another great idea is to use unsweetened blackcurrant juice in water. This is loaded with Vitamin C, which gives the body an anti-oxidant, energy boost that strengthens the adrenals. Then I drink a few more glasses of water in order to hydrate my body; and then I sip on a green smoothie until lunchtime.
Eating only fruit until midday is not appropriate or desirable for everyone. Some people require foods with a bit more heat and sustenance. In this case, leave at least 30 minutes after eating fruit before consuming anything else. The exceptions are bananas, pears and avocados, which take 40-60 minutes to digest. Then other types of foods can be eaten.
Concentrated starches and proteins take between 3-5 hours to digest. If these foods are consumed with fruit, the fruit gets caught and ferments, which feeds yeast, fungus and bacteria. This process creates acid and even alcohol in some people, which affects the mind and mood.
Fruits are best eaten alone. However, within this blanket rule, there are a couple of exceptions. Sour or acidic fruits such as blueberries, kiwi and grapefruit (see complete list below) can be combined with protein fats such as coconut kefir, coconut meat, avocado, and sprouted nuts and seeds. Both acid and sub-acid fruits can be eaten with cheeses too to create meals for lunch and dinner. The vegetable fruits: avocado, cucumber, peppers and tomatoes are best eaten raw as they pass through the stomach quickly. They can be eaten with fruits, neutral vegetables and also starches. Another exception is apple, which combines quite well with raw vegetables in salads. Please note that sweet fruits such as bananas, dates, raisins and pears should never be put into salads, which have concentrated proteins.
My favourite mid-morning snack is an avocado smoothie made with avocado, unsweetened cranberries, sprouted almonds, coconut kefir and a few drops of stevia. Cultured coconut pudding flavoured with avocado and blueberries and stevia is pretty delicious too!
Fruits can also be eaten with certain green leafy vegetables that are closer in relation to flowers and blossoms, and therefore closer to fruits. Green smoothies are a perfect example of how this can work with spectacular results.
Eat Concentrated Proteins with Non-Starchy Vegetables or Sea Vegetables
When concentrated proteins, such as eggs and fish are eaten, the stomach produces hydrochloric acid, and the protein-digesting enzyme pepsin. This acidic environment provides the ideal conditions for the digestion of protein flesh. But is counterproductive for the digestion of concentrated starches, which require an alkaline environment. When consuming concentrated proteins, combine with non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, carrots, onions, broccoli (see full list below), or ocean vegetables such as kombu or wakame, which can be digested in an acid or alkaline environment. These foods are the champions of food combining, as they happily digest with everything!
Here are some other rules:
- Serve only one concentrated Protein or Starch food per meal.
- Leave at least four to five hours between a Protein meal and a Starch meal, and visa versa.
- Leave at least five hours after a Protein or Starch meal before consuming Fruit.
Eat Concentrated Starches with Non-Starchy Vegetables and Sea Vegetables
Grains such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat and amaranth can be combined with other starches like potatoes, corn, peas, butternut squash, artichoke and water chestnuts can be consumed with non starchy vegetables like leafy greens and ocean vegetables. There are literally hundreds of delicious combinations that comes to mind: vegetable curries with brown rice, quinoa pasta with tomato vegetable sauces, baked potatoes and coleslaw etc
Combine Protein Fats With Non Starchy Vegetables and Sea Vegetables
Avocado, nuts, seeds, cheeses and olives belong to a sub-group of foods called “protein fats”. These foods combine best with ocean vegetables, non-starchy vegetables and acid fruits. I put avocadoes in green smoothies, with nuts and seeds in desserts and serve in salads with non starchy veggies. YUMMO!
Limit the Consumption of Protein Starches
Soy beans, dried peas and legumes are in a class of foods known as protein starches. They are both a protein and a starch, which is why they are so difficult to digest. But they are delicious. Keep them to a minimum. They are best combined with non starchy vegetables and sea vegetables.
Food Combining Guidelines
Here are some food combinations that are good
- Protein AND non-starchy vegetables or ocean vegetables.
- Starchy Vegetable and Grains AND Non-Starchy Vegetables or Ocean Vegetables
- Protein Fats AND Acid Fruits
- Protein Fats AND Non-Starchy Vegetables
- Protein Fats AND Sea Vegetables
- Animal Protein AND Fats / Oils
To make these combining guidelines easier to understand, below are some examples of foods in each food group
- The Raw Energy Bible – Leslie Kenton
- Fit For Life – Harvey and Marilyn Diamond
- Food Combining – Lee Dubelle
- Food Combining For Health – Doris Grant and Jean Joice
- Food Combining Made Easy – Dr Herbert Sheldon