To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of the modern Food Combining Diet. You probably heard of things like:
- Don’t combine starches and proteins because they need different enzymes and a different pH balance in the stomach to get digested
- Fruit should be eaten alone and on an empty stomach because it digests faster than other things and will rot in your stomach if it’s in there for too long.
- Eat starches alone or with non-starchy vegetables
The Truth about Food Combining – watch my latest YouTube video:
Why Food Combining
A lot of the modern rules of food combining actually come from Ayurveda.
Ayurveda believes in the concept of Agni. Agni is our digestive fire. If your agni is strong, your digestion is strong. I really like this concept because it matches modern science. If your digestive system is healthy and strong, you can digest almost everything. In addition, the main theory behind food combining in Ayurveda are the different qualities of ingredients.
According to Ayurveda every food has its own taste, a heating or cooling energy and a post-digestive effect. Say you eat a meal containing foods with completely different energy compositions. You might think these energies balance each other out, but instead, these warring compositions can overwhelm our digestive fires. This issue can disrupt your agni which leads to gas, bloating, and the creation of toxins.
Ayurveda has a long list of food combining rules (and I don’t agree with all of them). But there are certain combinations that irritate the digestive tract more than others – at least for me.
Bad Food Combinations
Here are a few examples of food combinations, but it is by no means exhaustive. It’s crucial to note, too, that everyone is different and you may discover or have discovered food combinations that do not work for you personally.
Nightshades and Cheeses
Most people hear “nightshades” and think of the deadly nightshade plant. However, here we mean members of the nightshade plant family, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, eggplants, and many more vegetables and herbs. Nightshades are notoriously difficult to digest, as are cheeses. Though nutritious separately, don’t combine the two foods in one meal.
Beans and Cheese
This one may be hard for folks to digest… get it?! As much as we may love this combination, especially in many popular Mexican dishes, both beans and cheese are heavy and difficult to digest. In addition, these two foods have vastly different characteristics. Cheese is sour and heating while beans are sweet and either heating or cooling, depending on the type of bean. Eaten together, these two foods confuse our digestive fire, our agni, leading to poor digestion and discomfort.
Milk and Bananas
I know I’m not the only one who ate cereal with milk and bananas growing up. As much as I love the combination, I can attest that I didn’t always feel the best afterward. Milk is sweet and bananas become sour as they break down. These warring qualities create a warzone in your digestive tract that smothers your Agni and the natural good bacteria you need for a healthy gut.
Great Food Combining Ayurvedic Tips For Digestion
Now let’s discuss some great examples of food combining that help keep us healthy and happy.
Fat soluble vitamins with Fat
Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. They are better absorbed by your body if you combine them with fat. A good rule of thumb is to combine red, orange, and dark green veggies with fat. For example, put salad dressing on your salad, saute carrots with ghee or olive oil, or add almonds to your broccoli.
Add digestive herbs to harder to digest food
Digestive herbs will help you to digest heavy food or will help your body to absorb all nutrients. For example try to add cardamom to your coffee as this will help your body to deal with the caffein, add black pepper to potatoes or combine turmeric with black pepper as black pepper makes turmeric and potatoes more powerful. Use cilantro on a spicy dish to cool it down. Other great herbs include fennel, cinnamon, hing, mustard seeds, ginger, cumin, coriander.
Have a balanced meal
Combine protein, fiber, healthy fats, and spices in every meal. This will not only fill you up but also help to balance your blood sugar levels. Protein and fat slow down the digestion of carbs and steady levels of glucose are released into the bloodstream.
Tips For Food Combining
Food combining might seem a little overwhelming at first, but like anything new, it’s best to go slowly. Change small things at a time to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Here are just a few tips to ease your way into food combining.
- Cooking foods with different qualities in the same pot, say, various vegetables with opposing characteristics, tends to make the foods to “get along,” and digest better together.
- Stimulate your Agni by consuming ½ teaspoon of freshly grated ginger and a pinch of rock salt before each meal.
- Use ghee to stimulate digestion.
- Consume small sips of warm water throughout a meal to aid in digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
- This one may seem silly: proper chewing. It might seem silly, but those who rush through meals rarely properly chew their food. Chewing your food thoroughly makes digestion easier and ensures plenty of saliva is mixed in.
- During a meal, try to fill your stomach ⅓ full of liquid, ⅓ full of food, and leave ⅓ empty.
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