Food Combining

February 12th, 2013 posted by Cheryl Gonzalez, RD, CCN

by Cheryl Gonzalez, RD, CCN

These tips will show youhow you can eat all the great tasting foods you want and still lose pounds and inches. As you lose weight, the goal becomes keeping it off permanently, AND do this while experiencing all the joys of eating. That does not mean depriving yourself, eating replacement type foods, or counting calories and eating foods you don’t like.

There are some very basic principles like proper food combining and eating known fat burning foods and learning ways to speed up your metabolism that can help you stay fit and trim. The concept of food combining is a simple and practical approach to eating which provides many benefits.

They include: better digestion, increased energy, weight loss and a sense of well-being. It is merely a way of eating foods you like in combinations that allow them to digest properly. When you food combine properly you don’t have to give up eating any of your favorite foods, you only need to change WHEN you eat these foods and WITH what other foods you eat them. This is not a new concept. It’s been around since 1890.

Let’s start with the basic rules:

1. Eat proteins only with vegetables 2. Eat protein foods and starches at separate meals 3. Eat starches with vegetables and other starches 4. Eat fats and proteins at separate meals 5. Eat fruits alone 6. Eat melons alone

Understand that different foods require different digestive juices to break them down and if the wrong ones are eaten together they will fight each other for digestion. If you eat the wrong combination of foods together, instead of being digested completely, providing the necessary nutrients to your cells, some of the foods will decompose in your stomach potentially causing indigestion, weight gain, and other problems.

Protein foods such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and nuts require acid based digestive juices to break them down. Starches such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes require an alkaline base for proper digestion. If you mix an acid and an alkaline they neutralize each other. Therefore, if you combine protein and starchy foods, they don’t digest well and will decompose and ferment instead, losing many of the nutrients. Improper digestion leads to both weight gain and health problems.

The benefits of food combining are numerous. Helps you lose weight, have better digestion, better waste elimination, more energy, a higher rate of metabolism, and you’ll feel hungry less often because of better nutrient absorption. Your body cannot be fooled. If you regularly eat large meals, eat too much fatty foods, and combine wrong foods, your stomach is bound to stretch and get larger and you will gain weight.

There are natural laws we must obey in order to have good health and normal weight. The body can’t deal with wrong chemical conditions that disrupt normal digestion. This leads to a depletion of energy and does damage to the body. It is possible to build up a tolerance to incompatible mixtures of food. This is what most of us have done who have not been trained in proper eating habits. It may take a period of time, but eventually eating wrong and being overweight will take its toll on your body. Now, you have the rules for food combining and you understand more about foods digestive power. Let’s look at some Healthy Ways to Eat.

Eat fruit in the morning. The live enzymes in fruit boost energy in the body and aid digestion. Fresh fruits are the “cleansers” of the body. Their high water content helps wash many toxins and impurities out of the system. Fruits should be eaten alone because they are unable to pass through the digestive system as they were designed to do when they are combined with other foods.

Combining fruits with other foods can cause fermentation, indigestion and gas. Fresh fruits are acid foods but they actually help neutralize acidity in the body because they become alkaline-forming once they are inside the digestive system. Cooked fruit promotes an acid condition in the body, and thus becomes an acid-forming food. Do not confuse acid foods with acid-forming foods because they are not one and the same. It takes more energy for the body to digest foods than to perform most other body functions.

In the morning you need all the energy you can round up to start your day! Therefore, it makes sense that you eat a fruit meal, or drink fresh fruit juice in the morning because fruits digest easily and provide energy to start your day. In the morning it’s best not to clog your body with hard-to-digest proteins and carbohydrates. During the night when your body is without food it goes through a cleansing phase. Morning is when the body goes through its elimination phase. Fruits help facilitate this elimination. Toxins accumulate in the stomach, so your first food in the morning should be a cleansing food.

While we sleep our bodies go through a type of fast and when we eat in the morning we break the fast. This is where the name “breakfast” comes from. Have you ever become sleepy after eating a protein and carbohydrate meal? Eat a fruit meal and then try taking a nap. You can reach your own conclusion about which one provides the quickest energy and helps you stay awake and alert.

Protein and vegetables are great for lunch. If it’s at all possible, you should have your biggest meal of the day at lunchtime. However, meat should be a complementary, not a dominating food, in combination with vegetables. In other words, vegetables should constitute the larger portion of the meal. Meats as a whole tend to be much higher in fats than any other foods except oils.

Vegetables are best if they aren’t overcooked. This helps preserve the enzymes and other nutrients found in them AND they will taste better. It’s best to lightly steam your vegetables or eat them raw- salads are excellent and can be very tasty. A vegetable salad with chicken or tuna is delicious and nutritious.

Vegetables and grains are a good combination for dinner. Vegetables and grains are very compatible and their digestion time is much shorter than that of proteins. This is very important when eating a late dinner because a large, late dinner with proteins that take longer to digest can contribute to weight problems. Its hard for the body to digest proteins in the evening and one consequence of this may be fermentation and indigestion. Vegetables contain the important minerals needed by the body. The body can manufacture some vitamins, but minerals must be obtained from our food and supplements.

Grains contain amino acids, minerals and supply roughage or fiber. This is very important for the health of the colon and entire digestive system. There are many grains and dishes made from grains that are delicious and healthy. Pasta and potatoes are also excellent foods that combine well with vegetables to make healthy dinners.

It’s best not to drink any liquids with your meals. Liquids dilute your digestive juices and interfere with proper digestion. Liquids are appropriate one half hour before or after meals.

There are many ways to fix delicious, low-fat, healthy meals while using proper food combining. You can have fun trying new recipes while you are actually eating your way to losing weight!


Let’s take a closer look at what foods Combine Well (Notice that the Green Vegetables Non-Starch category works with all other categories, except fruit.) and what the Fat Burning Foods are.

Protein Flesh

(such as beef, chicken, egg, fish, lamb, pork, seafood, turkey or veal) *Combine Well With*

Green Vegetables – Non-starch (such as artichokes, broccoli, lettuce, peppers, turnip tops, asparagus, brussel sprouts, collard greens, garlic, mushrooms, cabbage, spinach, zucchini, celery, eggplant, onion, green peas, cauliflower, squash, radishes, etc.)

Protein Starch (such as dry beans, dry peas or soy beans) *Combine Well With*

Green Vegetables – Non-starch (as listed above)

Starch (such as bread, cereal, yams, rice, potatoes, peanuts, corn, chestnuts, crackers, pasta, lima beans, pumpkin, grains, etc) *Combine Well With*

Green Vegetables – Non-starch and Fat (such as butter, cream, margarine or oils)

Mild Starch (such as Beets, Turnips, Rutabaga, Parsnips, carrots, caladium root and salsify) *Combine Well With*

Green Vegetables – Non-starch and Fat Protein Fat (such as avocado, yogurt, cheese, nuts (except peanuts and chestnuts), sour cream, seeds, olives, etc.)

Green Vegetables – Non-starch and Fat Acid Fruits–ONLY lemon and/or tomato can be combined with Green Vegetables – Non-starch.

Acid fruits, sub-acid fruits, sweet fruit-dried, sweet fruit-fresh, melons and milk—should always be eaten alone and never mixed with other types of food. I’ll bet some of you skimmed to find these Fat Burning Foods!

Apples and Berries –it’s the pectin content…applesauce counts, too. Bananas –it’s the fiber content Citrus fruits–vitamin C and the pectin Melons –high in vitamin A and C, plus cellulose content Papaya –vitamin C, fiber, potassium and papain (digestive enzyme) Pineapple –contains bromelain (digestive enzyme) Asparagus –contains asparagine which stimulates kidneys to break down fat Beets –acts as diuretic and flushes away fatty deposits Brussel sprouts –natural diuretic and high in vitamin C Cabbage –high in minerals, particularly sulphur and iron Carrots –stimulate metabolism and high in fiber Garlic –most effective when used raw or in form of garlic oil Lettuce –especially darker shades source of iron and magnesium Onions –contain natural volatile oils and minerals to control fatty build-up and dislodge fatty wastes > Tomatoes –vitamin C and natural citric acids to speed metabolism

Now that you understand food combining it WILL take time to adapt your own eating style. Start by practicing these principles for one meal every day. Notice the difference in how you feel after that meal. Everyone wants increased energy and when you food combine you’ll get it! Everyone always seems to be looking to lose weight. Once you get all 3 of your meals properly combined, you’ll find you can successfully lose 4-7 lbs each month until your body is at it’s balanced level.

Cheryl Gonzalez, RD, CCN (1 Posts)


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