Food Combinations: The Secret To Healthy Eating
The discomfort of indigestion is so common in today’s society that it's almost considered normal. Instead of using medication to suppress symptoms, wouldn’t it be wiser to properly combine foods in order to remove the causes of indigestion?
According to Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, and other alternative medicine, if you combine the wrong foods, your body will become acidic and unbalanced, and actually will secrete enzymes that cancel each other out. This causes bloating, gas, weight loss and fluctuations in energy levels. In can also lead to slowed or impaired digestion, causing food to ferment in the stomach or toxins to be released in the intestines.
Proper food combinations are based on the idea that there are foods groups that digest well with each other and others that don't. So what is food combining? What food is a protein and what food is a starch? Let’s take a look.
Food Combining Categories
- Lean proteins: lean fish, lean meats and poultry, low-fat dairy, protein powder
- Starches and starchy proteins: grains (including bread, pasta, etc), potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, carrots, pumpkin, winter squashes, beans, lentils, peas, tofu, tempeh
- Fats and fatty proteins: avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, oils, butter, cheese, yogurt, eggs, fatty fish, poultry, meat
- Greens and non-starchy vegetables: leafy greens, sprouts, celery, cucumber, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, radish, zucchini, onion, garlic, mushrooms, green beans, fresh corn
- Fruit: lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, tomatoes, strawberries, pineapples, apples, berries, pears, apricots, peaches, grapes, plums, cherries, mangoes, papayas, figs, bananas, dates, dried fruits, fruit juice, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew
- Sweeteners: sugars, syrups, malt syrups, honey
Proper Food Combinations
- Greens and non-starchy vegetables combine well with pretty much any type of food.
- Lean proteins combine best with greens and non-starchy vegetables.
- Starches and starchy proteins combine best with greens, non-starchy vegetables and fats.
- Fats and fatty proteins combine best with greens, non-starchy vegetables, starches.
- Fruits combine best with greens and should be eaten first as they exit the body most quickly.
- Sweeteners are best eaten on their own (i.e. in tea).
- Acidic fruits (citrus, tomatoes, strawberries, pineapples) combine well with fats or proteins.
- Melons should be eaten alone, since they digest faster than other fruits.
- Bananas can be eaten with starches due to their starchy content.
- One-pot meals cooked slowly with lots of water (like soups and stews) don't tend to cause as much difficulty in digestion when there are poor combinations.
Poor Food Combinations
Starch and proteins should be eaten separately because they digest differently. Starch begins to break down in the mouth, as all carbohydrates do, whereas protein breaks down in the gastrointestinal tract. If eating a starchy carbohydrate with a protein, such as pasta or rice, the carb will sit in the stomach acid and will ferment and putrefy while the system is digesting the protein and fat. It’s best to eat starches and proteins with vegetables. Also avoid:
- Proteins with other proteins, fats, fruits and sweeteners
- Starches with other starches, proteins, fruits and sweeteners
- Fats with proteins, fruits and sweeteners
Once the body is balanced, or alkaline, and the digestive system is healthy and active, you will be able to eat more combinations, unless you have digestive issues like IBS, chronic constipation, Crohn’s, candida, bloating, or other chronic issues. Our digestive system is designed to digest food and will continue to do so as long as we don’t overload it too much or too often.
The most important point to remember is to keep the body alkaline or balanced. Most often, the body will tell you which combinations work and which ones don't.
Every rule has an exception, and one person’s food is another person’s poison. Listen to your body's messages and find out what works best for you.