FOOD COMBINING: PART ONE

To see more charts in a larger format, go to the Internet and Google food combining charts for several different charts.

I learned about food combining at my first vegetarian conference in the mid- 1970s. It was part of a larger concept called Natural Hygiene, which is defined as: “that branch of biology that relates to the preservation and restoration of health. —There are no cures – Nature returns to normal when enervating habits are given up.” Source: http://naturalhygienesociety.org/

Natural Hygiene is a basic, common sense approach to healthful living. In an old issue of Health Science Magazine, the philosophy is described to include natural, unadulterated food; sunshine; clean, pure air; pure water; appropriate physical, mental and emotional activities; and a productive lifestyle, while simultaneously eliminating harmful factors. When these conditions are met, the body will self-regulate and self-repair to heal and restore health. (Health Science Magazine is now distributed quarterly to the members of The American Natural Hygiene Society: http://www.healthscience.org/)

In today’s busy, crazy, high-pressured society, these parameters are not so simple to follow. We have little control over the quality of our air, but we can install a water purifier and monitor our time in the sun so that we don’t become overexposed. But the area that I think that Natural Hygiene differs from other health systems that encourage these ideas is that of food combining.

When I Googled the words “food combining,” I found many more sites that I had expected, since when I learned about it, it was not very popular. But when Harvey and Marilyn Diamond wrote Fit for Life in 1985, which focused on food combining, the concept took on a life of its own, almost separate from the other aspects of Natural Hygiene. For example, my last posting was on The Fat Flush Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman. (Scroll down to the posting just before this one.) On page 76, Gittleman lists “The Fat Flushing Food Combination Rules,” which are very similar to my food combination chart from the Canadian Natural Hygiene Society.

Actually, I found a very interesting article criticizing Fit for Life book and the Diamonds in an essay by Dr. James J. Kenney. http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/fitforlife.html.  In this article, the author refers to Dr. John Tilden’s book Toxemia Explained, which is the basis for Fit for Life. Tilden’s theories state that:

  • Toxic waste material is retained if the body does not have sufficient energy to excrete it.
  • Common cooking practices create food that is incompletely digested and leaves a toxic residue.
  • Accumulated toxic waste causes overweight.

Thus, while I adopted many of the principles of food combining to improve my digestion, according to Tilden, and then the Diamonds, this way of eating could help eliminate toxic waste that keeps us fat.

However, the main reason for my posting food combining on my alphabetical series of food plans and diets is not so much to promote weight loss, but rather to promote a simpler way of eating that will help you feel less bloated, more energetic, and eliminate digestive problems that don’t disappear despite antacid pills, acid reflux medicine and all the other remedies, both prescriptive and non-prescriptive, that fill the shelves of drug stores and health food stores.

To summarize Part One, I am reprinting The Reason for Food Combining from the back of the Canadian Natural Hygiene Society’s placemat I purchased at a vegetarian conference many years ago and have used as a general guide for myself.  One side is a pictorial view of how to combine foods and the other side is the text to explain the ideas behind food combining. I find the idea fascinating and have recommended this way of eating to anyone suffering from digestive difficulties.

The reason for food combining is to make digestion easier and more efficient! Most protein foods require an acid digestive environment for proper digestion, whereas most carbohydrates digest properly in an alkaline medium. Therefore, if we are going to eat more than one food at a meal, we can greatly improve digestion, and avoid indigestion, by eating foods that will require the same gastric juices for digestion and are compatible. Proper food combining leads to good digestion and to better health.

The simpler the meal, the better you feel.

In Part Two I will describe how the concept of food combining works.

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