Friday, March 18, 2011

Food Combining

Today's Friday Fun Fact comes from Jayme W. Jayme not only is a friend of mine, she is a wonderful wife and mom. She has a real passion for educating not only her boys but anyone who asks about nutrition or health. There have been many times I have called, emailed or text with questions and she is more than willing to help me. One of the first big topics we talked about was food combining. I am thankful that she took the time to write this post about food combining.  ENJOY!!! 

Peanut butter and jelly.   Spaghetti and meat balls.  Cheeseburgers and french fries.  Pancakes and bacon.

Sounds like delicious comfort food, right?  Maybe not.  You may be like countless others this winter who have, in an effort to lose a few pounds, been dieting or watching your food choices more carefully.  But if you have ever suffered from digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation, heartburn or you just can't seem to lose weight...consider for a moment not only your food choices, but your food combinations 

Food Combining is a principle that suggests that eating compatible foods at each meal aids digestion and enhances overall health.  Proponents of this theory claim that when you eat foods that don't combine correctly, the digestive system gets mixed signals about which digestive juices and enzymes to release.  Food remains in the digestive tract longer than it should, and it starts fermenting (ew!)  This produces sugars that can feed yeast (an overgrowth of yeast is calledcandidiasis and can cause a whole host of problems).  The sugars cause rotting in the stomach, and the stagnant foods build up in the walls of our digestive tract, releasing toxins that weaken the immune system.  People following the food combining principles often state that they feel better, with less gas and bloating; find it easier to lose weight, and have more energy.

By now you may be wondering what the "catch"is here.  Sure, the benefits sounds great but what can I eat?  So let me give it to you straight: there are 3 basic rules within food combining (these are taken from the Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates,

Rule # 1.  Always Eat Fruit Alone and On an Empty Stomach
The idea behind this rule is that fruits pass through the digestive system very quickly, usually within 30 minutes or so, after which they enter the small intestines to continue to be broken down and digested.  However, when you eat fruit with other foods (like protein or starch) that take 4-5 hours or more to digest, the fruit gets held up and starts to ferment.  Not only does this lead to poor assimilation of nutrients, it sets the stomach up for fermentation and feeding those yeasties!  So instead of eating fruit with your morning oatmeal, it would be best to eat that banana first, letting it digest for at least 30 minutes before moving on to a protein or starch food.

Rule #2.  Always Eat Protein with Non-Strachy Vegetables
When you eat protein flesh foods (think eggs, meat, poultry, fish) your stomach produces hydrochloric acid and an enzyme called pepsin.  When you eat starch (potato, rice, pasta), an enzyme called ptyalin is secreted and a more alkaline condition develops.  But if you eat the protein and starch together, both acid and alkaline enzymes are secreted, creating a neutralizing effect that basically stops digestion all together.  Have I lost you?  (Listen , I got a D in Organic Chemistry as a college freshman, but even I am able to grasp the concept that acid + alkaline = cancel each other out!)  Essentially, eating protein and starch together stops the enzymes from doing their job; resulting in poor digestion, fermentation, etc.  (This may be why you feel like you want to take a nap after a plate of spaghetti and meat's sitting in your belly like a brick and all of your body's energy is working hard at trying to digest these two "incompatible" foods.)

Rule #3.  Always Eat Grains and Starchy Vegetables with Non-Starchy Vegetables
Starchy Vegetables include lima beans, acorn and butternut squash, corn, peas, artichokes, potatoes and water chestnuts.  These foods and any grain product should be eaten with non starchy veggies only (like greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, cucumber, etc).  

I have provided a food combining chart to simplify the rules of proper food combining.  Body Ecology is a great resource for anyone dealing with digestive issues like IBS, Chron's, Candidiasis, and also auto immune disorders.  There are some other important guidelines in this diet, so if you want further information I suggest her website or book.  

On a personal note, I was introduced to Body Ecology about a year ago after having some digestive problems.  I followed the Body Ecology Diet strictly for about 3 months and felt a tremendous improvement.  After 3 months I let up a little, allowing some of the restrictions in her book back into my diet.  But I still follow those 3 basic food combining rules about 90% of the time, and I would say that my digestion is greatly improved.  It does take some of the conventional "fun" out of eating your old favorites...but eventually for me it became second nature and just like anything else, when you get good results, it's much easier to keep doing.  It's not so much a "diet" as a different lifestyle!  So give it a might be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel!  :)

Jayme W, CNHP

This is Lindsey again!
Let me know what you think? Do you think that food combining is something that you see possible? Do you already food combine? I'd love to hear from you. 

Also - if you have any questions for about food combing, post them here and Jayme and I will make sure you get answers! 

One last thing --- I am adding today's comments to the GIVEAWAY drawing and will draw names tonight! 

Happy Friday!


  1. Thank you for posting this today. I am interested in trying food combining out to hopefully help my digestive issues. Thank you again!

  2. What a great post! I love this! And it makes so much sense too!


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