Proper food combining relieves digestive problems, bloating, indigestion, and post-meal sleepiness. I love feeling really good in my body, and this approach to food choices makes a real difference!
Here is my scoop on Fit for Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond (1985): all about digestion cycles and food combining for good health and weight loss.
The body has natural cycles:
noon to 8 p.m. — APPROPRIATION (eating and digestion)
8 p.m. to 4 a.m. — ASSIMILATION (absorption and use)
4 a.m. to noon — ELIMINATION (of waste and debris)
(Cycle times would be different for a night-shift worker.)
Our digestive system builds up toxins in two ways: the debris of normal metabolism, and the residue left over from food that was not properly digested. The undigested residue leads to weight gain, increased toxins and acidity in the body.
Different foods require different amounts of time to digest. If we throw all types of foods into our stomach at once, digestion is slower, uncomfortable, and fatigue-inducing. (Poorly digested food clogs up, ferments, putrefies, causes gas.) If we combine our foods properly, we still may eat anything and everything we like (combined appropriately), but digestion will be easier and more energy-giving.
Fruits and vegetables have high-water content and lead to good elimination. (Recommendation is to drink water 20-30 min before meals but not with meals, as it dilutes digestive juices.)
Alkaline foods are easiest to digest: fruits, vegetables, raw almonds, beans (beans that are dried and then cooked, not canned).
Most fruits taken on an empty stomach require only 20 min to digest (bananas, dried fruits, and dates take up to 60 min). (Eat ONLY fresh fruits, as much as you like, every 20 min all morning. Try raw almonds after mid-morning, then wait at least 60 min till you eat lunch.)
Acid foods are concentrated and take more time and energy to digest: grains (pastas, rice, breads), meats (all ‘flesh’ including poultry & fish), cheeses, some beans. (Our bodies are usually too acidic overall. We tend to consume mostly acidic food, which causes disease, discomfort, and water retention to buffer the acid.)
Good Food Combining means:
* Always eating fruit by itself, apart from other intake (preferably in the morning, until noon).
* Not eating grains and meats at the same sitting; choose one or the other and eat lots of vegetables with it.
* Eat dairy products by themselves or with vegetables. (H & M Diamond don’t recommend dairy in general.)
Food Ladder for Your Best Energy & Vigor
(the order of preferred foods as the day goes on)
a.m. → fresh fruit and fruit juices till noon
midday → fresh vegetable juices and salads
→ steamed vegetables, raw nuts, seeds
→ grains, breads, potatoes, legumes
p.m.→ vegetables with meat, chicken, fish, or dairy
fruit – digests in 20 – 60 min
salad or raw vegetables — 2 hrs
Properly combined vegetarian meal (no flesh) — digests in 3 hrs
Properly combined meal with flesh — digests in 4 hrs
ANY improperly combined meal — digests in 8 hrs (on Thanksgiving seems even longer)
(Allow the above hours to digest fully before you throw in the next meal.)
Fit for Life is filled with nutritional and scientific facts. They give a great evidence-based argument that we get all the amino acids (i.e. protein) we need from plant foods.
(Yup: what do cows eat, to build all that beef?)
If you go looking you will find at least eight books written on this same material, since 1911 when Dr. Hay invented the Hay Diet (no pun intended 😉
— Diane Stallings RN, joystream.net