THE FOOD COMBINING “TRICK” FOR WEIGHT LOSS AND OPTIMAL DIGESTION

When I discovered food combining about 7 years ago through both Natalia Rose’s book The Raw Food Detox Diet and Donna Gates’ Body Ecology Diet, it was life-changing.  I am, by no means, exaggerating when I say that.  My digestion improved, I had more energy than ever before, my skin looked clear and bright, and stubborn weight effortlessly fell off of me.  Even my mood improved.  I never felt better!  This way of eating was also so incredibly freeing.  I didn’t have to worry about labels, whether I should or shouldn’t eat meat, calorie counting, or portion control (which I’ve always been terrible at, anyway!).

 

Putting these simple food combining guidelines into action will ensure food moves through you smoothly and efficiently, without getting stuck in your intestines, clogging you up, and weighing you down.  It’ll also ensure you absorb more nutrients from your food, leading to healing, incredible energy, and losing and keeping the weight off.

EAT FRUIT ALONE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH, OR NOT AT ALL

Think you’re doing yourself a favor by eating fruit for dessert?  Think again.  Because fruit digests so quickly (30-60 minutes), if you combine it with other foods or after a meal, it can sit there and ferment, causing gas, bloating, and promoting bacterial overgrowth.  Stick to eating fruit on an empty stomach, in the morning, or as a snack in-between meals.  Just make sure it’s been 3-4 hours after your last meal and 30-60 minutes before you’re next meal.  It’s best to eat fruit alone, but most people do well combining it with non-starchy vegetables, in a smoothie, for instance.  Just be sure to skip the nut butters!

 

DON’T COMBINE YOUR PROTEINS AND STARCHES

When you eat proteins (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, soy, dairy), your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid and the enzyme pepsin, creating an acidic environment in order to break the proteins down.  When you eat starches (potatoes, root vegetables, grains, pasta, bread), your stomach secretes the enzyme ptyalin, creating an alkaline environment in order to break the starches down.  When you eat proteins and starches together, they neutralize each other and inhibit digestion.  So, eating chicken and sweet potatoes or eggs on toast wouldn’t be the best digestive-friendly meal.  Instead, stick to combining your proteins only with non-starchy vegetables and your starches only with other starchy and non-starchy vegetables.

 

NUTS AND SEEDS

Nuts and seeds are considered a protein-fat and therefore should not be combined with proteins or starches.  Because nuts and seeds are so difficult to digest, I always recommend eating them with leafy green vegetables and to soak or sprout them before eating.

 

 

A FEW OTHER RULES & EXCEPTIONS

  • Non-starchy vegetables combine well with all foods.
  • You should wait at least 4 hours before switching over to another category of foods, in order to fully digest the previous meal.
  • Fats and oils (butter, ghee, coconut oil) combine well with all foods.  Adding large amounts of fat, however, will slow down the digestion of your food, so use sparingly, especially when it comes to proteins.
  • You should avoid combining different protein types at one meal.
  • Avocados are considered a starch.
  • Peanuts are considered a starch, but I don’t recommend them because of mold.
  • Beans are mainly a starch, but they have a small amount of protein, so they can be difficult to digest, which is why I don’t recommend them.
  • Bananas combine well with other fruits and also with starches.

The best part of these guidelines is that you don’t have to stick to them 100% of the time.  I often “cheat” with sushi (protein & starch combination), but I’m sure to do it for dinner, where my system will get plenty of rest before my next meal.  Do I feel great when I mis-combine foods?  No, not at all.  I often feel bloated and tired, but sometimes it’s worth the delicious meal – just not ALL of the time!

 

Was this helpful?  Have you tried food combining?

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22 replies
  1. Polished Professionals
    Polished Professionals says:

    Thank for this article. Very helpful. Would I be correct that a smoothie with some form of vegetable protein like a pea protein combined with fruit is a bad idea for optimal digestion? Any smoothie combinations that you do recommend?

    Reply
    • Amanda Carneiro
      Amanda Carneiro says:

      The only fruit I recommend in a protein shake would bananas or acai, as they’re more versatile. I love protein powder with hemp milk, chia seeds and banana!

      Reply
  2. Deborah
    Deborah says:

    Fantastic article. I completely agree on the power of correct food pairing for easy digestion, optimal absorption and natural weight loss. Proteins and starchy foods are definitely a big no-no, but some of the best combinations that worked for me were salmon and asparagus, chicken salad, ricotta cheese and berries, fish and garlic, walnuts and raspberries, or apples and chocolate and many other such combinations. Food pairing also works by making you feel satiated sooner rather than later.

    Reply
  3. Kristie
    Kristie says:

    Hello, I just today started learning about food pairing and your article is the best I’ve found. Since I don’t know much about this, forgive me if the question has already been answered, but… I see you do not add any dairy anywhere. Is dairy forbidden in this diet?

    Reply
    • Amanda Carneiro
      Amanda Carneiro says:

      Hi Kristie! Thanks for stopping by! Dairy is considered a protein. It’s listed as raw goat or sheep milk/cheese – I don’t recommend conventional dairy options. If you do well with dairy, try a grass-fed option. It’s best to have dairy on it’s own, but it’s okay to combine with other proteins. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  4. Casey
    Casey says:

    Please answer some questions for me. When you say pick from one category…can you pick more than one item from that category (i.e. protein – eggs and beef). Also can you eat as much as you want?

    Reply
    • Amanda Carneiro
      Amanda Carneiro says:

      Hi Casey! Yes, you can pick more than one item from each category. Some people do best with mono meals, but I think it’s fine. Eat as much as you want – until satisfied, about 80% full.

      Reply
  5. Pat
    Pat says:

    I’m just learning about food combining and am hopng for the benefit of weight loss. What do you recommend for drinks? Only water or herbal tea? I enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, is that allowed? Your article is by far the easiest to understand. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Amanda Carneiro
      Amanda Carneiro says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by! Water and herbal teas are great, and coffee could be great. It’s individual with coffee. If it doesn’t give you side effects (anxiety, sleep issues, digestion), then you’re probably okay. I would just stick to organic, mold-free coffee.

      Reply
  6. Audrey
    Audrey says:

    Thanks for the article, real eye opener as i ave been exclusively focused on individual foods health benefits and the idea of food combinations never crossed my mind! Will definitely be looking closer at this now. Cheers.

    Reply
  7. Laura
    Laura says:

    Great article! I noticed oats are not included in your starch list. Are they to be avoided. I’m thinking of gluten free oatmeal, oat bran or steel cut oats.

    Do you have a example food plan for a day you could share?

    Reply
    • Amanda Carneiro
      Amanda Carneiro says:

      Yes, oats would be included in the starch category!

      I don’t have an example food plan, I’m sorry! I work with clients to come up with one that works for them.

      Reply

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  1. […] so many of you had questions about food combining after my last blog post, The Food Combining Trick for Weight Loss and Optimal Digestion, I wanted to create an easy-to-read chart for you to use.  A cheat sheet, if you […]

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