The Food Combining Diet
The premise of the Food Combining Diet is that certain foods should be eaten together, while other foods should be eaten separately, or at a different time, as each food group requires different digestion times.
Different foods also require different digestive enzymes to assist in the digestive process – some acid, some alkaline. When acids and alkalines come in contact, they neutralize each other and this impedes digestion.
Dr. William Howard Hay first introduced the food combining way in 1911. He said that there was only one cause for health issues and that was the chemical condition in the body. Dr. Hay classified foods into three categories according to their chemical requirements for efficient digestion and here they are:
The Three Types of Food
Alkali Forming Foods
Alkali forming foods are basically fruits and vegetables. Alkali means the end product of that digestion, and even acidic fruits such as lemons can yield alkali salt in digestion.
Protein enriched foods such as meats, eggs, fish, poultry, game and cheese can all form acid in the end product after they are consumed.
Concentrated Carbohydrates and Starchy Foods
These types of foods form acid, and therefore should be avoided. Concentrated carbohydrates and starchy foods include bread, grains, all foods containing flour and all foods containing sugar (except for naturally occurring sugars like in fruits).
Protein-rich foods require a very acidic environment for digestion. Carbohydrates including; starches, fruits, sugars, as well as fats require a more alkaline medium. The digestive process is compromised when two or more foods are eaten at the same time, that require opposite conditions for digestion.
When starches and proteins are combined it often leads to indigestion, abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas, and poor absorption of nutrients. Quick digesting foods such as; fruit must wait to be digested until the slowest digesting foods leave the stomach this process can take up to 6 or 8 hours. As the fruit and starches wait to be digested the foods star to decompose and fermentation, producing gas, acid and even alcohol along with indigestion.
Food Combining Principles
- Don’t mix starchy foods with protein foods at the same meal.
- Eat carbohydrate foods and protein foods at separate meals. Protein foods require an acid medium for digestion.
- Eat starches and acids at separate meals. Acids neutralize the alkaline medium required for starch digestion and the result is indigestion and fermentation.
- Eat only one kind of protein food at a meal.
- Eat proteins and acid foods at separate meals. The acids of acid foods inhibit the secretion of the digestive acids required for protein digestion.
- Eat proteins and fats at separate meals. Some foods, especially nuts, are over 50% fat and require hours for digestion.
- Eat proteins, sugars, and fruit at separate meals.
- Eat starchy foods, sugars, and fruit at separate meals.
- Eat melons alone. Melons combine well with almost no other food.
- Don’t eat dessert after a meal.
- Chew all food close to liquid consistency.
In his theory, Dr. Hay said that although starchy foods and protein form acid in the end product of the body, they need different conditions for digestion and should never be combined at the same meal.
The Hay Rules for Health
- Starches and sugars should not be eaten with proteins and acid fruits at the same meal
- Vegetables, salads and fruits (whether acid or sweet) if correctly combined should form the major part of the diet
- Proteins, starches and fats should be eaten in small quantities
- Only whole grains and unprocessed starches should be used and all refined and processed foods should be eliminated from the diet
- Not less than four hours between starch and protein meals
- Milk does not combine well with food and should be kept to a minimum
- Don’t mix foods that fight, see below chart
|List A||List B||List C|
|All meat||Most vegetables||Biscuits|
|All poultry||All salads||Bread|
* Mix anything from List A with List B
* Mix anything from List C with List B
* Never mix List A and C!
* Mix vegetables or salads with pulses i.e. beans/lentils – make these and unprocessed foods the main part of your diet