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Food Combining: Why it Matters

Posted on July 7, 2017 at 10:20 AM

When was the last time you thought about whether the food you were putting in your mouth was healthy? Probably not that long ago. But have you ever considered whether the combinations of food you’re eating are healthy? Probably not, but you should be!


Let me tell you a little story. Several years ago I was teaching a vegetarian cooking class. Unbeknownst to me, one of the attendees believed he was allergic to one of the ingredients I was using, let’s say it was rice. His belief stemmed from the fact that he always got severe stomach pain after eating rice, so he surmised it must be an allergy. He didn’t mention anything to me in this session however, and he ate the dish we prepared, including the rice. The next day I received a phone call from his wife, who was quite surprised over the state of her husband. Not only did he feel no stomach pain after eating the rice, he actually stated he’s never felt better.


So if this man wasn’t allergic to rice, why was he getting stomach pains when he was eating it other times? The trick, in this case, is to look at what else he consistently ate alongside the rice: meat. “Oh, so he’s allergic to meat?” you say? Wrong! He’s not allergic to either ingredient, the stomach pain is simply a result of improper food combining.


When eaten in conjunction, grains and meats do not digest well. The rice is a carbohydrate and digestion begins in the mouth, whereas meat is a protein and digestion begins in the GI tract. The rice sits in the stomach while the body is trying to digest the protein, where it ferments and may even rot. This means the food may not be fully broken down, which, over time, can be problematic in the instances of leaky gut, and can contribute to the development of allergies. (If you missed our previous blog post about this, you can read it here.)


There are four cardinal rules of food combining:


  1. Eat fruits on their own
  2. Do not combine proteins and starchy vegetables (you can combine proteins with non-starchy vegetables)
  3. Combine starches with non-starchy vegetables
  4. Do not eat more than one protein per meal 


In my story above, you can clearly see that there are marked benefits to food combining. Apart from ridding the symptoms of stomach pain and flatulence, proper food combining can (Quizlet 2017):


  • “Increase metabolism and weight loss
  • Promote proper digestion and food breakdown
  • Desensitize the body to reduce allergies
  • Repair digestion” 


If you are interested in seeing the benefits of proper food combining for yourself, contact Harmony in Health for some great tips on how to begin!

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