Photo by Jonathan McInotosh
As promised in my post on post-holiday detox diet plans, here come the food combination theories that will help you minimize chances for bloating, constipation and lack of energy. Below is an overview of this concept from the Amazon Best Seller The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder.
What is Food Combination?
As you can tell from the name, the theory of Food Combination reveals the fact that it is not just what we eat, but how we eat the foods as well. It talks about the right order of eating different foods: e.g. which foods should be eaten alone, what kinds of foods can go well together to help with digestion and absorption of nutrients, and which combinations should raise the red flag.
Why Food Combination?
The concept of Food Combination is very powerful because it respects how our body really works by maximizing the digestion. A good digestion will lead to more energy, because, with good digestion, our body takes fewer efforts to break down the hard-to-digest foods and can absorb nutrients easily. A proper digestion also helps get rids rid of bloating and avoid constipation, which can increase chances for breakouts on the face. This reminds me of a sentence: “If you want to heal your skin, you have to heal your gut,” says Chris Kresser, licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of integrative medicine and who owns a blog based on his own research and analysis to reveal truths that may not be known to the general public yet.
With good digestion, more energy, less bloating and constipation, we help our body properly detoxify itself and extract the most benefits from foods. As a result, the skin can restore natural glow and reflect the inner truth of excellent health.
Rules to Follow
Below are seven rules to follow. Let’s dive right into them!
Rule #1: Eat one concentrated and non-water-containing food at a time.
Simply put, the foods that we eat right now can be categorized into concentrated and non-concentrated. Concentrated foods include proteins and starches, which do not contain water, whereas non-concentrated ones include ripe fruits and non-starchy vegetables that are water-containing. Accordingly to Kimberly, anything that is not a fruit or non-starch vegetables is a concentrated food. Non-concentrated foods are much simpler for the body to digest. And, we want to have only one concentrated food at a time to minimize the body’s burden and to maximize digestion.
Rule #2: Do not mix proteins and starches.
Speaking of this, we immediately think about sushi rolls (which are actually on my favorite food list), bagels and cream cheese and turkey sandwiches. Does that mean we have to give up everything? Fear not. The good news is: we can still eat them in moderation, just not everything at one time.
Next, let’s take a look at how our body works. To be properly digested, a concentrated protein needs an acidic environment that includes hydrochloric acid and an enzyme called pepsin. On the other hand, a concentrated starch requires an alkaline environment with an enzyme called ptyalin (salivary amylase). Based on the knowledge, what happens when we put both a protein and starch together? The stomach will simultaneously provide an acidic and alkaline environment. But the chemistry study we had years ago tells us that an acid and an alkaline neutralize each other. And there comes the vicious cycle: our stomach will again secrete more juices, both acidic and alkaline; the two opposing enzymes will then neutralize each other once again; and the stomach will work harder on secreting more juices…
Because of the inefficient digestive process which takes hours, we may experience lack of energy, bloating and gassiness.
Rule #3: Vegetables go well with proteins or starches.
This is probably the 1,000th time you have heard this. Yes, eat more vegetables! Here is why: they are wonderful alkaline and non-concentrated foods, which are simple for the body to digest in a neutral environment. That means the digestive process will not influence the digestion of proteins or starches. And I’d like to chime in here: usually vegetables are rich in fiber, which helps with digest and balance blood sugar levels as well.
Rule #4: It’s okay to mix two starches.
If we really want, we can also mix two starches, as they are not as hard to digest as proteins. However, having simple meals with only one concentrated starch at a time is still recommended.
Rule #5: Do not mix two types of animal protein.
As said in the book, proteins are the hardest food group to break down. To digest proteins, the body first needs to break them down into amino acids, the process of which consumes a lot of the body’s energy. And we don’t want to add additional burdens to the body while it is digesting one animal protein. On the other hand, plant proteins such as nuts and seeds are more easily digested and can be mixed without a problem.
Rule #6: Fats should be eaten moderately with both animal and plant proteins but are okay to eat with carbohydrates.
According to the book, “fat mixes well with starches but has somewhat of an inhibiting effect on the digestion of protein”. Avoid a large amount of fat with any protein; but, instead, pair minimal amounts of fat with both animal and plant proteins. For example, be cautious when you are a big of mixing nuts (protein) with a whole fat avocado.
Rule #7: Leave fruits alone.
Fruits break down the quickest of all foods; and can be digested within 20 to 30 minutes. If they sit on top of other foods (i.e. concentrated starches and proteins) that take longer to digest and leave the stomach, it will ferment and acidify the whole meal! However, fruits (except for melons) go well with fresh and raw vegetables.
So there you have it – seven rules to maximize digestion. These rules come in handy no matter you are seeking for a detox diet, or preparing for a holiday bloating-free meal. Always remember: good digestion leads to great skin. We can’t go wrong with that.
P.S. Even though I finished the book six months ago, I still feel refreshed after picking it up. I hope you have learned something new here and let’s stop eating animal proteins and starches at the same time from now. Well, with moderation at least ; – ) Shall we?
Food Combination Cheat Sheet from The Beauty Detox Solution