Food Combining Grade: D. Taste Grade: A+.
I’m sure you’ve heard of food combining before…
If not, it’s a practice where you carefully and meticulously eat specific foods at different times to ensure that you will live to be 150 years old. (It will also insure that your family will think you’re really gone off the deep end. LOL!)
Actually wait, that’s not that accurate.
It’s a practice where you carefully and meticulously eat specific foods at different times to solve some of the digestive issues you may be having and give your digestion a break.
That sounds better, right? It’s at least more accurate in my estimation – and why I practice some of the rules that I’ve been taught over the years.
The reason I’m writing about food combining is because Jennifer, a Renegade Health reader had a question about the topic recently and today seemed like a good day to give you my own food combining rules that have been refined through interviewing practitioners, my own experience and feedback I’ve received on the road, as a trainer and on the blog for the last 7-8 years.
Here’s Jennifer’s question…
What’s your take on food combining? Is it or isn’t it the healthiest way to eat? (I’m a high raw omnivore :-)) Thanks! – Jennifer
Thanks for your question, Jennifer!
On the blog, I’ve covered food combining before, but I think it’s important to always touch on it from time to time.
Herbert Shelton – a popular natural hygienist – made the idea of food combining popular with his books and lectures on the subject. Harvey and Marilyn Diamond hit food combining out of the park with the book “Fit For Life” which sold millions and millions of copies.
It’s a popular topic to discuss, but what really works and what ideas take food combining a little too far.
In this article, I’m going to outline the 5 food combining rules that I tend to stick with (I’m not perfect) because they really seem to work – no other reason. Whether they work for you, or if you have more rules or less, is up to you to find out the best food combining protocol for you – but these 5 points tend to be somewhat universal for all.
Check ‘em out now…
1. It’s best to eat melons alone (or at least before anything else.)
Regardless of the science behind melons digesting fast or the traditional food combining rules, this one just makes sense.
Melons are best eaten alone.
Because their simple composition of water, sugar and fiber digest fast. If you eat melons with other foods that digest slow like protein and fat, they will sit in your stomach longer and run the risk of starting to turn.
(Anyone who’s eaten cantaloupe at breakfast with protein foods then burped 15 minutes later, understands how quickly melons can be digested and how quickly they can go a little rancid.)
We don’t eat melons often, but when we do, I make sure we eat them alone or 20-30 minutes before we eat anything else.
The one exception I make is when I add mint to my cantaloupe only smoothie. (Try it, it’s amazing and doesn’t really break the rules that much.)
2. Carbohydrates and fat give your system the breaks – literally.
Fat digests the slowest in your system.
Carbohydrates the fastest.
Just knowing this gives you a hint as to why eating the two of them together – excessively – can cause some digestive unrest.
Eating foods that elevate your blood sugar (carbohydrates) and foods that are high in fat can also slow the effectiveness of the insulin that is released into the blood stream – causing more insulin to be excreted.
This is a bad mix, because the more insulin you release, the more fat you store and the more likely your body (and cells) will become insulin resistant – which is code for pre-Diabetes Type 2.
3. Simpler is better.
You may already know this, but the less ingredients you add to your meals, the better your digestion will be.
The rule we like to follow is to eat things with generally 5-6 ingredients.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that if you eat a salad with three types of lettuces that you have 3 ingredients accounted for – what I’m talking about here is a much more liberal science.
Eating a crazy, raw food nut pate with seeds, nuts, vegetables, soy sauce, then eating a salad with 10 different raw vegetables, and finishing it off with a raw food cheesecake with berries on top with what I’m asking you to stay away from here.
That meal probably has 20-30 different ingredients that will make your stomach twist like it was a rag wringing itself out.
4. Your issues may not be due to poor food combining, they may be due to poor digestion.
The more your digestion is compromised, the more likely you are going to experience gas, bloating, stomach pain, inflammation in the gut, allergies, acid reflux and just about everything else that comes with poor digestion.
Your digestion could be compromised due to poor – and long term – food combining, yes, but it also can be due to limited release of HCL, enzymes, bile, poor gut flora, gut inflammation and other issues that some “experts” regularly misdiagnose.
So what you may think is improper food combining, may be something that will never be solved by eating more simple raw foods at certain times. In fact, in this case, this practice may cause you to be even more selective in the foods you eat (since you’re so sensitive) when you really need to be more selective in the supplements you give your body to help you digest the foods you are eating correctly.
This is a big point and I hope you take it seriously.
You’re only as healthy as the food you digest… not the food you eat.
If you’re not assimilating what you’re taking in, food combining is not the first thing you need to worry about – getting your digestive tract back on track is.
I’ve heard many health “experts” say that they can’t eat certain foods (that are healthy) anymore because they’re bodies reject them. When this happens they turn to more mono-type eating – eating one food at a time, mainly fruit.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this practice, but if it’s done because they believe their diet needs to be cleaner, but in reality their digestion is getting poorer and poorer – and their nutrient pool is getting shallower and shallower because they only eat mangoes and apples (all alone and at different times during the day) – then they’re getting themselves into much deeper trouble.
This can cause serious nutrient deficiency and – yes – protein deficiency… an unpopular notion, but it can happen to you.
5. Figure out what works for you.
Yeah, you know me by now if you knew this one was coming.
I’ve tried all different types of food combining – that’s how I was able to come up with this list.
Excessive fat and anything gets my stomach upset. Nuts and fruit makes me gassy – and these also give me a stomach ache.
The best way to find out what works for you is to experiment with different foods in combinations at different times. This will give you the best knowledge possible about how your body is working. Write down what you’ve eaten to get an even more accurate picture.
Learning for yourself and practicing what you’ve observed is the best way to cut through what other people think to actually know what works for you at the particular time in your life.
This is true knowledge in it’s purest form.
The additional item I’d add to the above, is to also test your blood – or use other diagnostic tests – to determine what is working along with keeping a gauge on how you’re feeling. Combining these two will give you the best chances of coming out on top with some amazing health.
One last thing I want to mention…
I’ve given you a list of food combining rules that I follow, but I want you to remember one thing.
Unlike the first T.V. my mom had in her house when she was young, our bodies are not black and white. (Sorry Mom, that was a softball!)
The “don’t do this, and only do that” type mentality in health only creates rigid belief systems that eventually break down causing confusion, shame, and reclusiveness. (Believe me, I’ve been there before.)
If you eat 2-3 nuts with fruit, you’re less likely to have a problem with your digestion than if you eat an entire piece or raw pie with fruit filling. If you have 2 cubes of melon in your salad, it’s not a big deal. These are the gray areas that don’t really do us harm in practice – but if they are practiced with such rigidity can cause an eventual breakdown – or worse a binge on that thing you know you shouldn’t be eating… like melon on top of a raw apple pie with nut crust that is made with 30 ingredients.
I want to know your thoughts: What are your rules for food combining? Are they similar to mine? Do you want to add anything?
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