Even though I have heard a number of people, including other health practitioners, pooh-pooh the idea of proper food combining, I believe it is simply a matter of biochemistry.
Different foods require different digestive enzymes in the body. In addition, different foods have different transit schedules through the body.
Food combining is about finding “quick exit combinations.” The quicker the food is digested, the less waste it will leave.
When we combine food properly, the traffic in our gut moves easily. When we don’t, digestive enzymes are neutralized and the resulting traffic jam fouls up our digestion and elimination.
Thus, nutrients are not properly utilized and the immune system is weakened. In addition, undigested food can cause a host of problems, including allergies, gut permeability, and various forms of toxicity.
5 Simple Food-Combining Principles
1. Eat fruit and melon alone. Fruit has the highest water content of any food and travels through the body quickly. It contains sugars that are ready for the body to utilize and provides its own enzymes. The body works hard to pass fruit out of the stomach as quickly as possible. This is why fruit should not be combined with other foods. If you have fruit during or following your meal, the sugar in the fruit will ferment in the stomach, causing bloating and gas. Many people think eating fruit for dessert is a healthy choice, but it actually gets held up in your stomach by other foods and causes fermentation. Allow at least 1-2 hours after eating fruit before eating any other kind of food.
2. Avoid combining starch and animal protein. Animal proteins and starchy foods require different digestive juices in order to be properly broken down and used by the body. The digestion of starches begins in the mouth with the enzyme ptyalin. Proteins are mainly broken down by hydrochloric acid in the stomach and the enzyme pepsin. When protein and starch are eaten together, ptyalin is not produced in the saliva, so the starch is not predigested in the mouth. Thus, it enters the stomach and begins to ferment. In addition, protein needs to be digested in an acidic environment and starch in an alkaline environment. So when proteins and starches are combined, the acid and alkaline juices neutralize each other. Thus, neither the proteins nor the starches are fully digested and the essential nutrients are not utilized by the body.
3. Eat starches alone or with vegetables. Vegetables are high in water content and easy to digest. They can be digested in either an acid or alkaline environment. Thus they can be combined with starches or with proteins.
4. Eat animal proteins alone or with vegetables. The fiber contained in vegetables helps to move the non-fiber protein foods rapidly through the intestines. Thus, if you eat a meal with animal protein, it’s a good idea to also have a large salad or lightly steamed vegetables.
5. Avoid drinking fluids with meals. The best time to drink fluids is between meals, at least half an hour before or after eating. Drinking during your meal will dilute the digestive juices and prevent food from being completely digested. If you really need to drink something during a meal, it is best to sip water at room temperature (without ice). Whatever you do, do NOT drink cold beverages during a meal. This will significantly slow down the digestive process. The gastrointestinal benefits of drinking water between meals cannot be underestimated.
If you don’t believe there is any truth to the importance of food combining, be a scientist in the laboratory of your own body and prove it to yourself. Follow these food combining principles for a few weeks and see if you don’t have more energy, better focus, and improved digestion and elimination.