Hey hey all!
Well I am still without power. I hope it’ll get fixed today (root for me!) but until then, I am confined to going through my greens, veggies & fruit asap before they spoil. Also, without power for my juicer, Vitamix, dehydrator or even oven or stove, there’s very little creativity in my meals . It sucks balls!
Going through bunches of green is a lot more easy having a blender…
Stuffed sweet bell peppers: leftover yellow rice, spring onion, olives, raisins, capers
I finished the Beauty Detox Solution (I went through an entire book in 22 hours whilststudying for exams not too long ago :p) and although it’s not the best book ever (in style of writing, etc), there are some very interesting concepts I am eager to try out! The whole concept of food combining gets discussed in this book as being one of the biggest contributors to energy drainage and inefficent food digestion (and all the consequences that derive from it, such as gas and bloating and inefficient nutrient absorption). Until now, I only thought of food combining to be necessary for those with very sensitive digestive systems, but after reading what Kimberly wrote on the subject I have to admit it does ‘fit’ with my other beliefs. We, as a society, always only try and strive for survival, instead of thriving. Yes of course, we can drink alcohol, consume sugar, eat animals, and not drop dead in an instant. But why strive for simply surviving, instead of thriving and looking and feeling your best because of it? The latter is what always intrigues me and I plan on trying out some of the principles myself and see the effects, although I still need to get the hang of certain things, like proper food combining.
The principle of food combining is based on the study of the human digestive tract. There is no ‘hard science’ to back up the theory, but as I found out last semester when I had to do some research of my own (e.a: study the human disgestive system and conclude from there) I realized the theory is not as far-fetched as most people seem to believe. Or perhaps, want to believe, because honestly, this theory puts a huge damper on traditional meals like steak and potatoes, fruit with yogurt, a bagel with cream cheese, a cheese sandwich, fruit for dessert.
And full disclosure: that’s why I initially didn’t buy into it either. Hello, haven’t we all been consuming tragically miscombined meals for ages, doing just fine? Well, yes and no. Yes, we have been consuming miscombined meals for ages, but how fine are we really doing? I am not in any way suggesting horrible disease like diabetes and cardiovasculair disease are the result of poor food combining, but here’s where surviving versus thriving comes in. Not being in the hospital or even on medication doesn’t mean we’re in our best health! Things like constipation, stomach/bowel discomfort, gassiness, bad skin, limp hair, brittle nails, lack of energy, trouble sleeping, weakened immune system, malnutrition (even when overfed…) are huge modern day problems that sadly enough, everyone seems to take for granted.
I never do though which is why I am willing to read about, and try, some of the more ‘alternative’ or holistic approaches out there. Because no, we are not doing just fine! And I truly believe our poor eating habits are the root cause of, well, 99.% of all that’s wrong with us, and everyone can be radiantly healthy and fit, if we ate (and lived…) the right way. But what the ‘right’ way is, seems like a difficult question to answer. I am starting to see little glimpses of what, at least in my opinion, should be part of our everyday lifestyle and diet to be actually healthy. The more obvious things such as less meat, no dairy, no refined grains and sugars, but also the far less conventional practises such as eating much more raw foods, detoxing. And who knows, perhaps food combining? Food combining seems like such a weird and most of all time-consuming habit, but that’s only we’ve formed such strong habits for different food combinations.
So, why food combining?
The human digestive system is immensily complicated and is actually the base of our health and immune system. I’ll try and keep it short and simple! Our body breaks down foods with the aid of enzymes and digestive juices. Food comes with its own enzymes, but only if its raw, which is believed to make digestion easier (enzymes get destroyed above a certain temperature so cooked foods have no enzymes left). Our body has its own enzymes too, though, digestive enzymes. Examples are lipase (breaks down fats) and amylase (breaks down carbs). The stomach excretes digestive juices when it gets the signal for this, to help emulsify the enzymes with the food.
Here’s the kicker: the different macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) all require different enzymes, and therefore a different pH! Protein needs an incredibly low pH (acidic) in order to be digested, because the protein enzymes (proteases) are only activated in an acidic environment. Carbs, on the other hand, require a much higher pH (base). Fats fall somewhere in between. You can see how things can get messy now. But there’s more: foods take different times to break down. Protein takes by far the longest, simple carbs (sugars) take well under an hour. If you eat foods with very varying digesting times in the same meal, or right after each other, the breakdown of the easier digestible foods gets delayed. Since our bodies are very warm on the inside, the foods sitting there being undigested can even start rotting (proteins) and putrefying/fermenting (carbs).
If we miscombine foods, the whole of the meals stays much longer in our systems than need be. An inefficient digesting system can cause a whole slew of problems. Bad bacteria can feast on the rotting and putrefying foods because a) they are attracted to it and b) it stays in our bowels that much longer. The more bad bacteria have to eat, the more they crowd out friendly bacteria. The less friendly bacteria, the less efficient our vitamin absorption and synthesis, and the weaker our immune system. But there’s the more obvious things as well: impaired digestion can cause gas, bloating, burping, heart burn, etc.
How to Avoid Poor Food Combining
Here’s a few simple rules:
- Fruits should always be eaten seperately (they digest the fastest)
- Concentrated carbs & concentrated proteins should always be seperated
- Non-starchy vegetables are neutral (they are not concentrated)
- Leafy greans are neutral
- Fats can be combined with carbs moderately, with proteins very sparingly
- Two carbs in one meal is ok, two proteins not (since proteins are the hardest to digest)
Now, in execution this make some time to adjust. Personally, I think the fruit and carb/protein rules are the most important. During my detox I avoided combining carbs & proteins most times, and I could tell a difference in my stomach.
The funny thing is that Mother Nature actually gave us a very good clue on proper food combining: legumes! Legumes are chockfull of both carbs and proteins and, maybe not so surprisingly, most people experience some sort of discomfort eating them (gassiness, bloating, feeling weighed down). The proof is always in the pudding…
I certainly intend on experimenting more with this from now on and see what I find for myself!
Note: most of this is based on my knowledge from my studies, and supplemented and refreshed by Kimberly Snyder’s book Beauty Detox Solution.
Have you ever heard of food combining before? Thoughts? Experiences?
Tip of the day: re-using is even better than recycling! Instead of throwing out old glass jars or plastic containers from food, clean & sterilize them (by dipping them in boiling water) and create your own collection of containers for homemade nut butters, pesto, cookies, granola, etc. It looks good & is eco-friendly to boot!