Food Combining Way Simplified

Monday Dec 5 | BY |
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Fresh Fruit on The Box

Whenever I throw celery in a fruit smoothie, or add oranges in a salad, people ask me “But wait… isn’t that against food combining rules?”

So let’s talk about food combining.

Dr. Herbert Shelton is responsible for most food combining theories. In his book, “Food Combining Made Easy,” he describes his food combining rules based on his experience serving meals to very sick patients at his fasting clinic. Many of his rules have been misinterpreted since. And for the remainder, he rarely gave any explanation, other than his personal experience.

There are no real “rules” of food combining. You must simply pay attention to your digestion.

Instead, here are a few principles that tend to improve digestion in most people:

#1 Don’t Combine Sugar and Fat (in large quantities)

The main combination to avoid is sugar and fat. Sugar being any type of sugar, such as fruits, dates, refined sugar, or anything sweet. Fat includes oils, avocados, nuts, and any other type of fatty foods.

The reason is that fat takes a longer time to digest, while sugar tends to digest quickly. When the two are mixed together in sufficient quantities, the sugar will ferment. Say hello to gas and bloating!

The combinations to avoid include: dates and nuts, nuts and dried fruits, adding fat to fruit smoothies (including oils, nuts, etc.), and obviously eating fruit or sweets at the end of a meal containing fat.

However, the main thing to remember is that QUANTITY is everything.

If you have a few almonds mixed with raisins, you’ll be fine. But if you eat the entire bag, you’re asking for trouble.

Same with fruit in salads: it’s perfectly okay to add some acidic fruits to a salad, like berries or citrus, even if that salad contains avocados. But don’t go pouring half the bottle of olive oil on top of it!

#2: Avoid Sugar and Starch

This is the combination of cooked starch and sugar, so this one obviously doesn’t apply to a raw food meal. Starch includes bread, potatoes, pasta, etc.

This combinations can lead to a lot of gas and fermentation. Examples include: raisin bread, all pastries, all cakes, all cookies, etc.

But again, quantity is everything.

Unnecessary Rules

There are several “rules” of food combining that are really unnecessary. Let me give you a few:

Melons – There’s no reason to avoid eating melons with other fruits. You can mix melons with any other fruit you want, without any problems. Even Shelton said so.

Fruits – Fruits may be combined with each other without problems. There’s no need to only eat fruits of certain categories together.

Tomatoes – Although we eat tomatoes as a vegetable, it is a fruit in reality so it may be combined with other fruits if desired.

Greens Don’t Count – Greens such as lettuce, celery, spinach, and other green leaves, don’t even count in food combining. The reason is that they combine well with anything. They combine well with fruit as well as with any other food.

Simplify Combos

The whole idea about food combining is to simplify meals. It means that a meal with five ingredients will digest more easily than a meal with ten. And a meal with two ingredients will be easier to digest than a meal with five.

It’s more important to vary our diet from meal to meal, rather than get all that variety in one meal!

As you learn more about food combining and a simple and easy raw food diet, you’ll find that it’s really the best way to stay healthy with a “silent” digestion, and best of all, it’s also so enjoyable to eat that way!


Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.


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  1. Mo-Han says:

    Thanks a lot Frédéric for providing the simple food combining principles. Does that mean raw desserts made of nuts/seeds and dates/coconut sugar would not be good?


  2. Omg! Frederic, I had read this a long time ago but forgot it! I was trying to get more nuts and seeds in my diet so I was eating yogurt with walnuts and my tummy would get upset! Now I know why! I am a Blood Type A so my digestion IS my weak point! Thank you so much for your words!

    Donna Rutledge

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