Do you seem to bloat every time you eat? Do you get gassy, cramping, etc? Do you have IBS, SIBO, Chrons or some other digestive issue? If so, you should be practicing food combining for better digestion!
Our guts get damaged over time from all the poor-quality foods we eat and the medications and antibiotics we take along with our crazy amounts of stress we undergo daily. Once our digestion gets hindered and our guts become leaky, our liver now has a HUGE toxic load to handle and as a result, it is not able to produce enough bile and enzymes to digest our food. Our pancreas becomes strained as well and this is when we start to notice awful digestion, bloating, fatigue after a meal, etc.
Food combining is a great way to reduce the stress on our guts and organs and it ensures proper digestion and assimilation of food and nutrients!
What is the purpose behind it? The idea is that you only eat foods with roughly the same digestion time together. Protein takes approximately 6-8 hours to digest whereas fruit takes 30 minutes to an hour. If you are to combine those 2 foods in the same meal, the fruit would digest very quickly while the protein takes much longer. This leaves the digested fruit in the gut or stomach to ferment and putrefy causing gas and bloating while it is waiting for the protein to digest. Fats take anywhere from 4-6 hours to digest and carbs take anywhere from 2-3 hours. These are all approximations, but the point is that you want to combine foods that have similar digestion times.
Before I get into the combining rules, I do want to say that you would greatly benefit from adding in pancreatic digestive enzymes before all your meals to assist your pancreas and liver until they are able to function at their peak again. It is also beneficial to steam all vegetables and blend tougher fruits during this time to further reduce stress on the gut.
So…. What are the 3 main food combining rules!?
1. Starch with non-starch – Ex: Sweet potatoes on with green beans
2. High protein with non-starch – Ex: Chicken and steamed broccoli
3. Health fat with non-starch – Ex: Avocado and Salmon or Avocado and cucumber
1. High protein with high fat – Ex: Chicken and avocado
2. High fat with High Starch – Ex: Quinoa and avocado (choose complex carbs with fat since they take longer to digest)
3. Starch and Starch – Ex: Sweet potato and quinoa bowl (add fiber or healthy fat like flax seeds to slow digestion and prevent cortisol spike)
1. Protein with Sugar (Fruit) – Ex: Chicken followed by dessert or chicken and pineapple. Fruit or dessert should ALWAYS be eaten 3 hours or more after a meal.
Those are the main rules but can be altered and changed based on your health condition. Fruit should always be eaten alone, HOWEVER, if you are diabetic, it should ALWAYS be eaten with healthy fats and/or fiber. For example, Strawberries with coconut flakes or coconut yogurt topped with mango and hemp hearts or chia seeds.
Remember that everyone is different and what works for one, may not necessarily work for the other ! Feel free to contact your doctor or a health practitioner for guidance as you begin to incorporate these rules into your diet.
Written by: Marla Pietruszko BSc RHN