The simpler the meal, the easier it is to digest.
Basic: Don’t combine carbohydrates with proteins.
- Concentrated proteins: meat, fish, cheese, soy, Quorn, seitan
- Concentrated carbohydrates: quinoa, lentils, beans, chickpeas, potatoes*, bread*, pasta*, rice*, cereals*
*These are fast carbohydrates, I rarely eat them because they release their sugars very quickly into the blood and cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Consider them comfort food.
The principle of simple food combinations is such an effective one that it can change your entire life.
We’re the only living creatures on earth that eat so many different types of foods at the same time. We don’t just eat so many different foods, we also eat them in large portions, which burdens our digestive systems and slows digestion to such a degree that the food starts to ferment and rot in our stomachs and intestines before it can be fully digested, resulting in cramps and the familiar sensation of feeling bloated.
Simple food combinations:
fish + vegetables
(proteins + vegetables)
meat + vegetables
(proteins + vegetables)
cheese + vegetables
(proteins + vegetables)
potatoes + vegetables
(fast carbohydrates + vegetables)
Each food group requires a specific enzyme to break it down. Moreover, proteins are broken down by enzymes found in the stomach that require an acidic environment to work. Starches are first broken down by the enzyme ptyalin (a salivary amylase found in your mouth) and which only works in an alkaline environment. Both of these together, an acid and an alkali, neutralize each other. The digestion of fast carbohydrates is inhibited by the presence of acidic digestive juices and proteins can’t be properly digested because of the presence of alkaline juices.
Those who respect these simple food combinations reap immediate rewards:
- no bloated stomach;
- no feeling that your stomach is overfull;
- no fermentation of food in your intestines;
- no feeling of tiredness after your meal;
- you’ll feel much fitter and you have much more energy because your body isn’t expending unnecessary energy on a slower digestive process and; because your food digests more quickly and you’re able to absorb the nutrients faster; (you are what you digest and not necessarily what you eat)
- it’s slimming;
- your skin looks and feels healthier;
- the good intestinal bacteria are stimulated.
All of my recipes are based on simple food combinations. Try them yourself and you’ll immediately reap the benefits.
What about fruit?
I eat fruit for breakfast.
One of the best decisions I ever made was to substitute fruit for bread in the mornings. It delivers a wealth of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, secondary macronutrients, and water. Peruse any scientific article on healthy eating and, more often than not, you’ll find a recommendation to: ‘eat more vegetables and fruit’. I’ve yet to read an article that recommends we eat more bread, on the contrary! Cereal products are increasingly coming under attack. Plenty of scientific studies and books have recently been published that oppose the idea of having ‘cereals’ as the basis of a healthy diet.
It was clear from a British study of 65,226 men and women that: the more vegetables and fruit you eat, the less likely you are to die from any disease, at any age. 7 or more servings reduced the chance of death by 42%. It decreased the risk of heart attack, cancer, stroke, etc. Dr. Oyebode*, who was in charge of the research also emphatically stated that ‘potatoes’ didn’t count because they were chiefly a source of fast carbohydrates. Vegetables and fruit contain micronutrients and fibers and these substances are the ones that are most important to our health.
Don’t be fanatical
Nothing in life is ever black and white, especially food. Every day I strive for a healthy diet and simple food combinations. I get exactly what I want and it’s no trouble at all. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a dessert or a bad combination. Remember, my way of eating isn’t fanatical and it leaves room to experiment. 70-80% is basic foodstuffs, natural foods that add strength to my body such as fruit, nuts, eggs, fish, meat, … and 20-30% is comfort food: desserts, chocolate, chips; this also includes potatoes and bread.
Where does the theory behind food combining come from?
Dr. Hay and Dr. Shelton pioneered the principles of food combining. Both doctors suffered from problems with their digestive systems and looked for a diet that would relieve the burden on the body. Intelligent nutritionists across the globe started to apply these new principles and noted positive results with their patients. This method has already been incorporated into many popular health books. The breakaway book on this topic was Fit for Life by Harvey & Marilyn Diamond. For years, this book was an international bestseller. In Germany, the concept was known as Trennkost. The always popular and beautiful English foodies, Jasmine Hemsley and Melissa Hemsley, are also mindful of food combinations. And the well-known American nutritionist, Kimberly Snyder, inspired many American celebrities with her healthy combinations.
Food combinations aren’t taken seriously by some conventional doctors who believe that omnivores (literally: all-eaters) should be capable of digesting everything together.
But if people aren’t deriving any health benefits, then why is this diet so popular? Why are these diets still doing so well, if they’re deemed worthless?
Instead of dismissing these diets as nonsense, I believe it would be much more helpful to know:
Why people feel more comfortable with this diet?
Why people have more energy with this diet?
Why is it easier for people to stick with this diet?
Why do people lose so much weight?
Why are people happier?
Why so many people who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome say that they have so much more energy?
Why people who suffer from chronic stomach and intestinal disorders say that their symptoms have been reduced or have disappeared altogether?
Could it be that the concept of ‘food combinations’ is encountering a lot of resistance because it wasn’t formulated by nutritionists? I borrowed this phrase from a particularly interesting piece about ‘Superfoods’ written by Professor Frits Muskiet, titled: Superfoods, it wasn’t formulated by nutritionists and that’s why it has encountered so much resistance.
* Dr. Oyinlola Oyebode, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCL