By: Amanda Froelich,
Now that you’re a pro determining what types of foods are best to eat (whole foods, predominantly plant-based, high-quality, and as un-processed as possible!), it is essential to learn how to consume your foods to ensure optimal digestion.
Food combining is a topic which has gained increasing awareness in the last decade. It is recognized that the human stomach digests food at varying rates and by using different enzymes. If you’re looking to further reduce weight, eliminate bloat, feel good overall, and get the most out of the foods you eat, the following tips for food combining will help keep your gut healthy and life long.
1. Fruit First
Fruit is a food that digests best alone. While you’ll read in #3 that not all fruits digest best together, it has the fastest exit rate of the stomach, therefore should be eaten first or alone. For those concerned about their blood sugar, as long as fruit is eaten without fat and/or with leafy greens, blood sugar will remain stable.
Abundant in nutrients, anti-oxidants, and water, fruit is an excellent snack that is easily digested by the human body but needs to be eaten first!
2. Protein and Starches do NOT Mix
Is it a common occurrence to consume a heaping serving of mashed potatoes next to a large portion of meat and/or dairy? This is one of the worst food combinations, but can easily be improved. Because the human body requires an acid base to digest proteins and an alkaline base to digest starches, this can lengthen the time of digestion and cause fermentation in the gut. This can lead to bloating, indigestion, and stinky bowel movements.
To correct his, it is best to eat proteins with non-starchy vegetables and especially leafy greens. Starches can be consumed on their own or with other vegetables, but not with protein.
3. Melons Go Alone
Have you ever had the misfortune of consuming watermelon after a BBQ feast? Most likely you experienced gas, a slight blood sugar drop, and/or nausea. That is because not only are melons a type of fruit (and should be eaten alone), but they digest completely different than other sweet treats. For optimal digestion, melons should be consumed alone and on an empty stomach.
4. Leafy Greens Abound
Greens are easily ruled as one of the best foods for mankind. Loaded with amino acids (building blocks of protein), essential minerals and nutrients (B vitamins, magnesium, iron, and more!), and fiber (great for digestion), they food combine well with all foods, and therefore should make a regular appearance on your plate.
For example, a salad is a great contribution to every meal and the live enzymes will help your other food digest smoothly.
5. Fat Rules
While fats and oils combine well with everything (except fruit!), they should be used in limited amounts as they are very caloric dense and slow down digestion. Therefore, save your hearty meal with fat for early dinner or allow your body at least 4-5 hours to digest a dense lunch before feasting again.
6. Time Lengths
Because foods digest at different rates, you can lessen the taxation on your body by waiting until the previous food has exited the stomach and is being digested in the intestines. Wait the following amount of time between foods that don’t combine:
- Two hours after eating fruit
- Three hours after eating starches
- Four hours after eating protein
The following food combining chart gives a visual representation of the rules expressed above.
In nature, it is common for animals to eat simply and usually no more than one or two foods together. Man’s diet has become overstimulating and very difficult to digest, therefore most individuals’ stomachs are in a constant state of shock. (Read More: “Eating Alive” by Dr. Jonn Matsen N.D.)
To reduce health illnesses, experience better elimination, improve digestion, and feel your best, consider adopting the simple food combining rules which may drastically change your life!