Food Combining For Health
The concept of food combining is of great interest to people seeking a healthy lifestyle and is especially important for those who suffer from digestive discomfort.
We think that healthy eating means eating a variety of foods that are full of vitamins and antioxidents.
While that is certainly a large part of health and wellness, how a particular food digests is important too.
If it doesn't digest effectively, the nutrients contained in the food don't get absorbed properly by our body and disease may develop over time.
Proteins and starches use different enzymes to digest. Foods that are protein based (meat, fish and eggs for example) require protein-splitting digestive enzymes be present at the time of digestion, while starchy carbohydrates (breads, pasta, rice) need carbohydrate-splitting enzymes to be present during digestion. These digestive enzymes are secreted by our body at very specific times and in very specific amounts.
If we eat proteins and starches in the same meal, the presence of the enzymes used to digest carbohydrates (starches) in the digestive track will neutralize the protein enzyme and result in the protein to be less than fully digested. The immediate result may be digestive discomfort, but the longer term consquences can be more serious.
Because of this effect, many natural health practitioners advocate food combining. It is a method of eating that Edgar Cayce spoke about many times in his readings over 60 years ago.
Edgar Cayce was a firm believer that what we feed our bodies is just as important to the mind body spirit connection as what we think, say or do. Thousands of Edgar Cayce cures mentioned in his readings include recommendations for proper nutrition and combining of foods.
Dr. William Howard Hay also developed a very detailed system of proper food combinations in the 1920s to help patients with health issues. Although their recommendations are just slightly different, the two of them are the major early proponents of combining foods properly for optimal health.
The first rule of any version of the food combining diet is that you should not eat concentrated starches (carbohydrates) with concentrated proteins (meat, fish, eggs).
In general do not eat, eggs, cheese, meat, chicken or nuts at the same meal as potatoes, pasta, rice, cereal or baked goods. That eliminates many of the standard meal combinations we are used to - meat and potatoes, spaghetti and meatballs, eggs and toast. Don't be concerned though. You can switch them around a bit to make them quite healthy choices.
Starchy carbohydrate foods, especially wheat, should never be eaten at the same meal as acidy fruits. So bread, potatoes or rice should not be eaten at the same time as you have lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruit. Dr. Hay also adds pineapples and tomatoes to that group. The reason is that the enzyme ptyalin, needed to digest carbohydrates, will only work properly in an alkaline medium. So fruit acids like that from lemons and other citrus fruits will prevent proper digestion of carbohydrates. Not only that, the mixture also produces a fermentation effect in the body.
Edgar Cayce particularly mentioned not to combine citrus with wheat. So no orange juice at breakfast time if you are eating toast or a wheat based cereal.
Most non starchy vegetables can be eaten with either starches or proteins. In fact both Edgar Cayce and Dr. Hay recommended that we should eat large quantities of leafy green and raw vegetables, particularly at lunchtime. A large salad with greens and lots of added raw crunchy vegetables is an ideal lunch.
Non starchy vegetables include lettuces, leafy greens such as chard, mustard greens, beet greens and collard greens, red green yellow or orange peppers, summer squash, zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and cucumbers.
Concentrated proteins are foods like meats, eggs, nuts and cheese. It is best to only eat one concentrated protein at a meal. Each of these proteins requires a particular kind of digestive enzyme to be secreted for proper digestion. Eggs, for example, require a different timing in terms of stomach secretions than either milk or meat. Combining them may cause digestive discomfort.
In combining foods in this recommended way bacon and eggs, cheeseburgers or cheese omelets are out. Again, there are many delicious alternative choices, so after a while it won't be an issue.
For some reason all proponents of food combining strongly suggest eating melons on their own, with no other food. All melons, such as honeydew melons, cantaloupe, crenshaw, watermelons need to be eaten separate from other foods.
A food combining diet is a healthy diet, not an "eat only one food to lose weight" scheme. The benefits of paying attention to how you are combining foods are many.
First of all, regarding food combining and digestion, anyone who experiences frequent digestive discomfort may immediately benefit from the separation of starchy foods from protein foods in the same meal because of the effects of the different digestive enzymes required to process these differnt foods. If you follow this method of eating, food will not be fermenting in your digestive system.
Many people try food combining for weight loss and find it very effective. It could be because your body is finally processing and digesting food much more effectively, so you do not have undigested food sitting in your system. It may also simply be because a food combining diet is simply a very healthy way to eat.
Improper digestion of food over a long period of time will produce disease, so eating according to these principles could well maintain your health and prolong your life.
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