Food Combining: Improve Digestion and Lose Weight

How often do you feel bloated or tired at the end of a meal? Perhaps you suffer from disturbed sleep or your stomach is constantly grumbling or groaning. You may have aggravating aches and pains. Lethargy, chronic fatigue and digestive disorders arrive when we strain our digestive systems and the modern diet which mixes many varieties of foods can contribute to this strain.

Foods in our digestive system should be able to agree rather than conflict, so why not change the habits of a lifetime, try food combining and see the difference it makes to your well being and energy levels?

The conventional idea of mince and potatoes, fish and chips or macaroni cheese means that at the same meal we are eating protein and carbohydrate. These two groups of foods need totally different environments for digestion.

Proteins need hydrochloric acid which our systems produce when the relevant food enters the digestive tract.

Carbohydrates, on the other hand, require an alkaline environment.

If we eat both these food types together then the alkaline digestion of the carbohydrates is delayed because hydrochloric acid is working in the stomach on the digestion of protein. These digestive processes are only fully completed when they are done individually. Thus simultaneously eating foods, which are not the correct combination, could impede the complete digestion of other foods. The protein is digested first, whilst the carbohydrates are ‘shelved’ waiting for their turn. Unfortunately the next meal frequently arrives too soon and once again the protein is sorted first, which could result in the carbohydrates being stored as fat. Weight loss can come as a side benefit to food combining because you are not storing food in a digestive queue.

Many people have rushed lives today but they are extremely organised in order to enjoy a large number of activities. If we compare the digestive tract to an office: mail is coming in all the time, some useful and some junk. In order to be totally efficient it is vital that this mail is sorted into piles. Likewise food has to be sorted into types so that it can be digested correctly.

These foods are either predominantly protein or predominantly carbohydrate – a gift from nature.

Pulses, which are dried peas, dried beans and lentils contain some combination naturally. These need to be eaten with grains in order to complete the amino acid chain and make a complete protein.

Fat, which in its correct form, is something we cannot survive without, may be combined with either proteins or carbohydrates.

Vegetables and salad ingredients are neutral foods and these together with sprouted legumes and seeds may be combined with either proteins or carbohydrates.

Herbs and seeds are also considered neutral.

Fruits do not mix with other food types and thus the traditional apple crumble, gooseberry pies or strawberry shortcake will again make the digestive system struggle.

Fruit should be treated with great respect and eaten either 20 minutes before any other food or at least three hours after a meal. The easiest and best time to eat fruit is first thing in the morning for breakfast, when it will be digested more rapidly, putting no strain on the body’s system when other activities such as elimination are taking place.

Several years ago I had a client who decided to give his whole family the chance to food combine and his local greengrocer thought he had imported a gorilla because he was buying so much fruit!

We can thank the early pioneer, Dr William Hay, for this discovery. He suggested that the easiest way to implement the programme is to have one meal each day, which is protein with salads or vegetables, and another meal, which is carbohydrate, with vegetables and salad. The up-side will result in eating more plentiful varieties of vegetables and salads, which in itself is helpful. Some suggestions for your carbohydrate meals will be rice with steamed vegetables or baked potatoes with a salad. Salad sandwiches should be used instead of the familiar cheese roll, which contravenes all these rules! Likewise protein meals will consist of perhaps grilled fish or poultry with vegetables or salad. Dr Hay actually advocated that those who are active among us should eat their protein meal at lunch and the carbohydrate meal in the evening as the body can cope better with the carbohydrate meal at night.

It is fun to food combine and your friends will not even notice so you won’t get caustic comments about your eating habits! Try not to eat between meals as this allows your system to refresh before the next goodies are sent down the chute. It is also better not to drink immediately after eating. If you have any emotional problems or are feeling particularly tired, this is not a good time to start eating as your body will not want to cope with anything else.

My diligent client Allan says: “I consulted Lizee after suffering acidity, bloating and fatigue, plus fluctuating weight which went on easily but stubbornly refused to come off. After a 12 year stint as Chef/Proprietor of a hotel restaurant I thought I knew a lot about food but realised I knew nothing about digestion after consulting Lizee. Following her recommendations the bloating and acidity disappeared and there was an immediate steady reduction in weight followed by an increase in energy. One year on my weight has stabilised and, provided I stick to her recommendations, I no longer have digestive problems. Another benefit has been since taking the supplements specified I haven’t, for the first time ever, had a cold this winter.”

- Lizee McGraw