Food Combining: Part Two

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Natural Hygiene’s “take” on food is that digestion is more efficient and easier when protein, carbs, and fruits & veggies are not all eaten together. Since most protein foods require an acid digestion environment and most carbs digest properly in an alkaline environment, the idea is to combine foods at a meal that have similar and/or compatible digestive juices.

Vegetables, such as this asparagus, combines well with most foods.

Below are the first five guidelines that are on the back side of my cleverly designed food combining placement from The Canadian Natural Food Society,which draws on books that I have read by Dr. Herbert Shelton and Dr. Wm. Esser. They may seem intimidating at first, but if you are in need of digestive relief, the concepts are worth a try, even if you experiment on a gradual basis.

People who criticize this concept believe that our bodies are geared to digest all different kinds of foods. While that may be true for many people, anyone with digestive problems might benefit from food combining, especially since this does not require eliminating anything from the diet (unless you know the food already gives you problems), but rather recommends eating foods in simple combinations.

For example, the photo above is a fruit salad made with sub-acid and acid fruits, which combine well. However, acid fruits, such as oranges, do not go well with sweet & sub-acid, not do melons, so the salad is easier to digest, especially when not eaten at the end of a protein or starch meal. (See guidelines below.)

1. Avoid eating carbohydrates (such as cereals and sweet fruits, e.g. raisins) with acid fruits. Therefore, as in the photo caption above, I would not combine oranges and pineapple with raisins or dates. Also, I would not eat cereal with bananas.

2. Avoid eating concentrated proteins (ex. steak) with concentrated carbohydrates (ex. corn on the cob or baked potato) at the same meal. Instead, eat a salad and green beans with your meat and save the potatoes for another meal.

3. Do not consume two concentrated proteins at the same meal, for ex. nuts with cheese. Since concentrated proteins are more difficult to digest than other types of food, avoid eating them together. Almonds, which are a good source of concentrated protein, as well as other nutrients, are not recommended to be eaten with cheese, another source of concentrated protein, such as eggs.

4. Do not consume fats with proteins. Fat inhibits the digestion of proteins and decreases the amount and activity of your body’s own pepsin and hydrochloric acid needed to digest protein. Thus, you would not use butter or oil to fry your eggs. (Try poaching them or using anon-stick pan that is not scratched or pitted.)

5. Use fats sparingly, since it inhibits gastric juice secretion. Except in the case of avocados, fats combined with starch delay the passage of the starchy foods on its journey from the stomach to the intestines. However, if you combine fats (ex. avocados or nuts) with raw green salad, the salad counteracts the inhibiting effect on gastric secretion and digestion can proceed normally.

Eating salad with fats helps to counteract fats’ digestive-inhibiting factor.

Next week I will post five more guidelines. All of them at once can be overwhelming.
Here are some menu ideas for using the first five guidelines:

1. Fruit salad consisting of blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, and mango. Eat as a snack instead of during or at the end of a meal. If you want to eat it as your fruit in the a.m., wait 20 minutes before eating any carbs or proteins, to give the fruit a chance to digest.

2. Tossed green salad with avocado (no cheese or nuts). Baked sweet potatoes and a green vegetable.

3. Salad, chicken and fish with a green veggie such as broccoli. Use only a small amount of oil on the salad and/or broccoli.

4. Snack: Cheese with celery or other raw veggie OR nuts  with celery or other raw veggie, but not cheese and nuts with veggies.

5. Veggie stir-fry with a small amount of oil over brown rice. (Rice is a more starchy than protein, so if you want meat in your stir-fry, avoid the rice, or eat all of the stir-fry with the protein first and then eat the rice. (I find I can “cheat” if I have tempeh or tofu stir fries and eat them first before eating any rice. Ditto with potatoes, as in the photo below. I ate the roasted ‘taters after I completed eating the chick peas with green beans. Salad also helps with digestion.)

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