Since I’ve been studying to become a nutritionist; I’ve noticed common themes among the different authors that I’ve read. One of these themes is: the importance of proper digestion. As Dr. John Matsen explains in his book “Eating Alive;” poor digestion can be the cause of many different health problems. One of the things that lead to poor digestion is the food we eat, and more specifically, the foods that we combine in a meal.
This is going to sound crazy, but ideally, carbs and protein should not be combined in one meal. I know what you’re thinking; what about pizza, burgers, pasta, sandwiches, etc, etc?! Hear me out. The reason for this is because when we eat carbs, our body produces alkaline juices in our mouth, and when we eat protein, our body produces acid juices in our stomach. This alkaline – acid combination is NOT good because it neutralizes the digestive juices, which causes the digestion process to take longer. The longer we have food sitting in our intestines; the more opportunity there is for bad toxins & bacteria to form. If we have an overload of toxins that our body can’t filter out fast enough, it can lead to a number of different health problems.
I’ve been trying to do proper food combining with my meals this week, and so far it’s proven to be pretty easy. Here are a few basic rules for proper combining:
- Fruit should be eaten alone; ideally 30 minutes before or after a meal
- Carbs and protein should not be eaten together. You’ll get the best results with this one if you avoid combining white, processed carbs such as white bread or pasta with heavy protein such as red meat. So a white pasta dish with a steak or white rice and pork is not an ideal combo for your digestive system.
- Avoid dessert right after a heavy protein meal. Again, this is not ideal for digestion because you’re combining a refined carb with a protein.
- This doesn’t mean that you can’t combine carbs & protein throughout the day; it just means that it’s better to not eat them together in one meal.
It sounds difficult, but the other night my husband and I made fajitas for dinner. In order to practice proper food combining; I had a choice between chicken or the tortilla wrap (it was a whole wheat flax wrap, not refined flour, but I still wanted to try the proper combo). I chose the wrap, and filled it with a black bean/red pepper/onion/tomato stir-fry, with avocado, salsa & spicy hummus, and it was delicious! I didn’t even miss the chicken. I know that black beans have protein in them, but they are not considered a heavy protein like poultry, red meat & eggs, which require more acid juices to break them down.
A day of eating with proper food combining can look something like this:
Wake-up: Lemon Water
Lunch: Salad with a protein (egg, chicken or tuna)
Snack: An apple with handful of almonds
Dinner: Roasted cherry tomato pasta with goat cheese & fresh basil (this is one of my favourite recipes. It’s what I call my ‘go – to’ recipe for when I have friends over for dinner…I’ll share it with you all in a future post)
If you eat healthy most of the time, take probiotics on a regular basis, avoid over-doing caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sugar & salt; proper food combining won’t make a big difference for you. If your diet could use some improvements; you will most likely benefit from proper food combining. This will allow your body to clear out the built-up toxins, improve your digestion, and your overall health.
I know that proper food combining is not always possible, but try and follow these rules as often as you can. Trust me, you’ll feel better.