One of the most important eating habits to practice is that of food combining.
Food combining rules are misunderstood and rarely used. Poor combinations cause indigestion, abdominal pains, and the numerous health challenges related to indigestion.
Many chronic illnesses occur after years of indigestion. Read on to learn about this art of eating.
When you combine food incorrectly, the food is not properly digested and will rot, decay, ferment, and putrefy in the digestive tract. This defeats the whole purpose of eating because the body cannot digest or assimilate rotten food.
Bad food combinations are eaten at almost every meal by those eating the standard American diet. Starchy bread, rice, or potatoes with high protein meats or nuts, sugary desserts after dinner, and acidic red tomato sauce on starchy pasta and pizza are a few of the most common examples.
Food combining is based on the length of time it takes to digest each unique food, the enzymes required to digest them, and the acid or alkaline pH required in the stomach.
The enzyme factor is important to consider. There are 75,000 to 100,000 enzymes present in the human body. The digestive enzymes create a chemical transformation, turning the food into nutrients.
Eat food group requires a different enzyme to digest it. For example, fat requires lipase, protein requires pepsin, and starches require ptyalin and amylase.
The first food to be aware of is melons. The melon sugars digest quickly. It may take 20 minutes for them to pass through the stomach and into the digestive tract.
If these sugars are eaten with other foods, they will be held up in the stomach for hours. The stomach is a warm, moist environment and the sugars quickly ferment. Fermented sugars cannot be assimilated by the body.
The next food group to focus on is fruit. Fruits may be broken down into four general categories:
- Sweet (bananas, mangos, dates, figs, raisins)
- Sub-Acid (apples, berries, pears, persimmons)
- Acid (grapefruit, pineapple, oranges, kiwi, tomato)
- Salad (bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado)
As a general rule, eat fruit alone and on an empty stomach. This rule may be broken. Fruits may be combined with neutral foods such as celery and leafy greens. It may be combined with pre-digested living foods such as sprouts, soaked nuts, and soaked seeds.
You may safely combine sweet fruits with sub-acid fruits. Sub-acid fruits combine well with acid fruits. Avoid sweet with acid fruit combinations.
The salad fruits are low in sugar and they may be eaten with vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sea vegetables.
Do not combine the avocado with nuts and seeds. This is a hard to digest combination and it creates too much fat for one serving. Eat your meal with one or the other.
While not ideal, small amounts of the sub-acid or acid fruits may be eaten with nuts, seeds, and vegetables without discomfort.
For example, a combination with pear slices in a salad with greens, veggies, and walnuts may be eaten. Almond butter on apple slices should be an okay combination.
Everyone has different digestive strengths so you must experiment to find what works for you.
- Celery and Greens
Celery and leafy greens are neutral and may be eaten with any other food. Eating celery or leafy greens with or soon after a fruit meal greatly improves the digestive strength.
Starchy foods are next on the list. They combine well with vegetables but make a horrible combination with protein foods.
Starchy vegetables include carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, rutabagas, sprouted grains, and turnips. The cooked starches include grains such as breads, pastas, potatoes, and rice.
Digestion of starches begins in the mouth. The enzyme ptyalin is released to begin the chemical change.
When chewing food, the stomach creates a gastric juice filled with enzymes specific for each food.
If you chew starches, the gastric juice will have a slightly alkaline pH. If protein foods are chewed, the gastric juice will have an acid pH. If you chew non-food item, such as a pen, the stomach will not create gastric juices.
If starches are eaten with proteins, the stomach will be confused. It may create gastric juices with a slightly acid pH. The starch enzymes ptyalin and amylase are destroyed in an acidic environment. The stomachs pH may not be acidic enough to digest proteins.
When eaten together, neither starches nor proteins will be fully digested. The proteins will putrefy and decay and the starch sugars will ferment.
This poor combination is stressful for the body. Viktoras Kulvinskas writes “95% of people are deficient in amylase, starch digesting enzyme, and should take a full spectrum enzyme with all starchy meals or leave them alone.” (P. 125, The Lovers Diet).
In his article "A Talk Given by Viktoras Kulvinskas", he writes “All food is poisonous if it is not digested, no matter what you are eating.”
The acid foods include tomatoes, lemons, ketchup, red tomato sauce, vinegar, & acid fruits. They combine well with non-starchy vegetables, fats, and proteins.
The acid foods should not be consumed with starches. They will create an acidic pH which will prevent the starch enzymes from working.
Liquids should be consumed 30 minutes before eating food. Drinking liquid with a meal will dilute the gastric juices and the food will be held up in the stomach too long.
- Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds combine best with vegetables. Nuts are high in fat and should not be consumed with other fats. Seeds are high in protein and combine well with other fats.
In a recent interview with author Frederick Patenaude, author David Wolfe
said “If you have hemp seeds with coconut oil, you double the conversion ratio of medium-chain omega-3 to long-chain omega-3, which is very interesting.”
This is significant because the long-chain omega-3 fats are difficult to find in vegan foods.
Soaking the nuts and seeds makes them much easier to digest. The soaking process will partially pre-digest them and bring the dormant enzymes to life. When soaked, it is okay to combine small amounts with fruits.
Desserts should be eaten alone or after a simple salad. The desserts are usually high in sugar and consumed after one is already full. This is overeating and the sugars will ferment.
The perfect way to beat the sugary dessert craving is to eat fruit 20 minutes before the main entrée.
The good thing about raw vegan desserts is that they make a healthy, nutritional, complete, and satisfying meal.
You could be eating cake for breakfast, pie for lunch, and cookies with ice cream for dinner, and you will be eating healthier than most people.
(These delicious desserts are all made with fruits, spices, and soaked nuts and seeds)
Fresh raw juices require little to no digestion. They should still be chewed to help digest and assimilate the nutrients. There is an old rule, “Drink your food and chew your liquids”.
With fresh juices, do not combine fruit juices with vegetable juices. The vegetables contain fats which may slow up the absorption of the fruit sugars.
- Fermented Foods
Fermented foods combine well with vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sea vegetables. They may combine well with fruits depending on the food.
In "The Lovers Diet", Kulvinskas writes "Because of the acid component, the fermented foods are NEVER to be combined in the same meal with starchy foods such as bread, rice, and other grains, root vegetables, ect.
- Simple meals
The easiest to digest meals consist of one to five ingredients. Mono-eating, which is eating one food until full, is an excellent way to eat.
The food combining rules are not as important when eating a primarily living foods diet. The living foods have their own enzymes which assist in the digestive process.
- Enzyme Supplements
It is not always possible to follow the food combining rules, especially during raw gourmet potlucks or special dinners.
This is where the multiple digestive enzyme supplements come in.
The Natural Choice Products Multiple Digestive Enzymes contain enzymes that digest every food group. These enzymes work in any pH. It does not matter if the gastric juices are alkaline or acidic, the enzymes will still digest the food.
I highly recommend the enzymes. You can order through me or off their website (Just tell them I sent you!)
The site is:http://www.1inhealth.com/products/mde.htm
- Celery and Ginger Root
If you experience discomfort after a meal, chewing celery sticks or drinking fresh ginger root juice or tea will improve digestion. Chewing the celery will assist the body in creating more enzymes, and the ginger will improve circulation and digestion.
Proper food combining will lead to improved digestion, youthful and enthusiastic energy, improved health, and hopefully a longer life-span!
More tips for succeeding on the raw foods diet can be found in "The Health Evolution: A Guide to the Raw Foods Diet" by Michael Snyder