Food Combining for Better Digestion & Metabolic Function

Did you know that eating protein and fruit together is slowing your digestion and metabolism??

Or that drinking water during your meals dilutes the nutritional value?

Our Standard American Diet has taught us that eating protein and grains together like steak and potatoes, fish and quinoa, or chicken and rice is a healthy and substantial meal.  Add a side of kale “the new beef” or a small salad and you may consider yourself the picture of perfect health.  Or perhaps you’re crazy about veggies and love to build glorious salads with an array of veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, avocados, and rich home-made dressings.

While any of these meals sound healthy and surely substantial, there is one caveot.  Certain foods when eaten in combination with other foods do not digest well.  Due to various transit times of food and alternate digestive enzymes needed, you may be left feeling heavy, fatigued, bloated, gassy, and straight up not so hot.

Food Combining is a theory based on food enzymes and the transit times of foods. It can help you determine how efficiently food will be broken down and utilized, so you reap maximum benefits. I consider these ‘food rules’ rather than ‘food laws’.  While these guidelines may or may not resonate for you, they are a great guide to follow if your digestion is often overwhelmed.  You may even discover a food you thought you couldn’t digest well before becomes your new power food once eaten it in proper combinations.

Here are the 4 Ideal Food Combining Rules:

  • Don’t eat protein and carbohydrates together.  Proteins go well with veggies and carbs go well with veggies, but proteins and carbs don’t mix well.
  • Eat fruit only when it’s ripe and only when you are healthy.  Fruit contains sugar, and while getting sugar from fruit is much healthier than getting sugar from alternate places, it does still feed disease.  Sugars tax our pancreas, and when pancreas function is low, so is insulin – the hormone that takes sugar out of the bloodstream and into your cells to be used.  Once you have achieved optimum health you can reintroduce fruit as 15% of your diet.
  • Don’t eat fruit and veggies together.  Fruits digest quickly and should be eaten on its own.  Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard, collards, etc are the only vegetables that will combine okay with fruits.  Consider tossing them together in a blender to make a green smoothie.
  • Eat melon alone or leave it alone.  With the highest sugar content of all the fruits, melon should be eaten sparingly.  It digests the quickest of all the fruits, typically in a 20 minute time frame.  If eaten with other foods the melon will ferment causing gas.
And The 2 Major Principles:
  • Don’t neutralize digestive fluids.  Drinking water while eating dampens the digestive fire.  Eating alkaline carbohydrates and acidic proteins together neutralizes the stomach acidity making it hard to break down the acid food.  Thus when protein and carbs are eaten together, digestion slows increases the chances of indigestion.
  • Don’t slow down quick exit foods.  Eat the foods that will digest the quickest first.  Piling food that is quick to digest on top of food that is slower to digest will impair the digestive process, thus causing bloating, gas, and poor assimilation of nutrients.
There are many variations on this set of rules…many  charts will get into combining fats and sub divide the fruits as well, but this is the basic theory.  While this might seem at first overwhelming, simply make a mental note of what you typically combine and pay attention to how you feel with each meal.  Consider trying a few of these food combining rules and notice if it creates any difference for you.  

5 Steps to better digestion

  1. Don’t mix fruit with veggies, grains, or proteins.   If combining fruits, don’t mix acidic fruits with sweet fruits.
  2. Don’t mix carbohydrates and starches with proteins.  Instead combine carbs and starchy foods with veggies and proteins with veggies.
  3. Keep your meals simple.  When combining veggies try not to combine more than a few.  All greens mix well with one another.
  4. Avoid drinking with your meals.  It dilutes the enzymes and your digestive fire.
  5. Eat quick to digest foods and raw food first before any cooked food or food that will take longer to digest.

*reference the chart below as a visual on what combines best together.

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16 replies
  1. James says:

    Food combining is needed for healthy diet.We need to in cooperate digestive enzymes in our diet.Digestion enzymes are very vital in our bodies. We need to take digestive enzymes because Enzymes Are Vital to Human Survival,Our Typical Diet & Cooked Foods Drain Our Enzyme Supply,Even Some Raw Foods Contain Enzyme Inhibitors,Many Factors Cause Our Bodies to Use up Enzymes Faster and Enzyme levels drop significantly with age.Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. James Gonzales II says:

    Eating alkaline carbohydrates and acidic proteins together neutralizes the stomach acidity making it hard to break down the acid food. This doesn’t make sense because most carbs are acidic and all vegetable’s are alkaline so why wouldn’t vegetable have the same effect?

  3. Kevin says:

    Is it good to mix lemons with vegetables when making juice in my cold-press, slow juicer?

    I saw Dr. Joel Robbins talking about the digestive enzymes once, from his seminar on enzymes, and Health Through Nutrition, but I forgot to ask him if lemons mix well with green vegetable juice.

    I like to add a lemon to my celery juice, along with fresh beet root, turmeric root, ginger root, parsley, cilantro, dill weed, and leafy greens like kale and leaf lettuce. So I’m hoping it isn’t creating any problems.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Where would nuts fall into these rules? High fat, moderate carb, and moderate protein.
    How about consuming nuts with fruit such as trail mix?
    Nut milk is another odd ball.


  5. Chris Califano says:

    To say that the sugar in whole fruit itself feeds cancer is simplistic and not true. Everything you eat including steak has to be converted to sugar to be used by your cells. The confusion that leads to wrong statements stems from refined sugar being the culprit, even if it is DERIVED from fruit, not eating fruit itself.

  6. Anita says:

    I am not a big fruit eater, but have started eating fruit for breakfast. I am hungry a few hours later. What can I snack on to hold me over till I fix a veggie sandwich for lunc?

  7. Lori Ann says:

    I love your information about food combinations. I would love to try it. However I do not know a slow to exit food from one that is not in such a hurry. I would love a list of examples of the different categories of foods you mention.

  8. Austin says:

    Hello, what about foods packed high in calories and fat like cashews? Lookin at the picture does that mean you should eat that and starches like potatoes last? Or just bread and what not. Thanks for the reply 🙂

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