Food Combining Tips

combing food: strawberry and yogurt

Key information on food combining, and three good food combining plans to choose from.

I was planning to write a couple articles about two of my three favorite legumes this week — garbanzo beans and lentils (my other top legume is peas).

I decided to delve into my favorite food book on the planet, Healing with Whole Foods, to learn more about them.

However, once I got into the book and got to checking out the sections that discussed these legumes, I ran across an interesting section on food combining and got pulled into reading it (as well as some other sections). So, today, I’m thinking that I’ll actually write a bit about food combining.

Too Much Is Generally Not Good

As an intro to food combining, the book’s first paragraph in this section nails it:

“Too much elaborate food encourages nearly everyone — even people who normally live moderately — to overindulge. The consequence is digestive fermentation, contaminated blood, and a confused mind. Common digestive disturbances from poor food combining include decreased nutrient assimilation, intestinal gas, and abdominal pain and swelling. If such eating practices continue over time, degenerative conditions can ensue.”

So, if you want to assimilate those nutrients and not run into certain chronic degenerative problems, food combining is important (in particular, not combining the wrong foods too much).

However, there are some notable exceptions. (Make sure you check out the full post!)

The Key Element in Food Combining

The main issue here is digestive enzymes. Different foods require different digestive enzymes.

“When many different ingredients are eaten at the same meal, the body becomes confused and is not able to manufacture all of the necessary enzymes simultaneously,” Paul Pitchford, the author of Healing with Whole Foods, writes.

“At this point digestion still takes place, but partially through bacterial action, which always causes fermentation and the associate problems mentioned earlier.”

He goes on to discuss this in more detail, but the general point is just that the second option has clear downsides.

And, for anyone who is a fan of controlled, healthful fermentation of food (to make sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and such), note that this is a different thing.

Notice Who Doesn’t Want Complex Meals

Paul makes a few more rather interesting points before delving into recommendations that really stuck out at me. For one, for tens of thousands of years (with one notable exception, Plan C below), our ancestors didn’t combine a ton of foods all in one meal or dish. Today, we obviously benefit from, but also run into some problems from, our overabundance of food options.

But even today, he points out that children, more in tune with their instincts, prefer to eat more simply. Additionally, think of when you are sick. When we are sick, our instincts often kick in more than our desires and we tend to look to simpler meals.

Again, there are exceptions, so make sure you make it to the end!

–> Food Combining Plans A, B, and C on next page

Strawberries & yogurt via shutterstock (note about them on the next page)

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