by David Klein, Ph.D., H.D.
Director of the Colitis &
Food combining is the selection, preparation and consumption of foods which are compatible with our digestive physiology for our meals; this greatly enhances our digestion and promotes optimum health. Everyone soon benefits from this simple practice.
Why Practice Food Combining?
We need to practice proper food combining because constitutionally we are not omnivores. We are designed to eat simple meals of primarily one kind of food at a time which is suited to our fruitarian constitution, as we would procure in nature. While mono meals (one type of food per meal) yield the best results, simple meals of 2 or 3 different compatible foods also work well.
We have digestive limitations–we cannot completely digest haphazard and complex food combinations, as evidenced by indigestion, flatulence, acid reflux, diarrhea, vomiting, irritable bowel, body odors, colds, flu, pimples, dandruff, chronic pain, fatigue, earaches, colds, sore throats, fevers and countless other signs of toxemia. This is because meals of improperly combined foods limit or negate digestion–the foods will decompose or rot in the gut, poisoning us and potentially leading to irritable bowel, inflammatory bowel disease and many other maladies.
If we have chronic gastrointestinal gas, queasiness, bloating and body odors we are not healthy, even if we feel “fine” in some ways. Toxic matter and gases in the body erode our health, sooner or later leading to disease and suffering. Those who can seemingly eat “anything” are, ultimately, not going to get away with it. In fact, hygienic physiologists agree that over ninety percent of all known common maladies and major diseases are caused by autointoxication, i.e., self-poisoning, mainly from eating diets which are incompatible with our physiological constitution and systemic capabilities. The old Chinese saying holds true: “Disease enters through the mouth.”
The practice of food combining is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence. During the United States Civil War era a medical doctor named Beaumont performed many clinical tests on a man who, by virtue of an unusual injury, had a temporary hole extending to the exterior of his abdomen which afforded direct sampling of his stomach contents under various eating conditions. Those observations were used subsequently by 19th century physiologists Dr. John H. Tilden and Dr. Herbert M. Shelton in the formulation of food combining guidelines. Dr. Shelton’s classic book, Food Combining Made Easy, has helped millions. Furthermore, food combining instructions date back to ancient times, as revealed by Kosher dietary laws and ancient yogic texts.
The Physiology of Digestion
Specific digestive enzymes are required to digest specific food components, i.e., to split certain molecules into assimilable and usable components. Herewith are the physiological basics of digestion with regard to food combining.
Starch digestion begins in the mouth. Salivary amylase enzymes/juices are secreted when we chew starchy foods. Therefore, we must chew starchy food well, mixing our saliva with the food (the process known as “insalivation”). Our salivary enzymes are highly alkaline and their functionality is weakened when mixed with acids. When alkaline and acid enzymes are mixed the pH’s cancel out and digestion is impaired. Therefore, we must not consume acid fruits with starchy foods.
Strong acidic digestive enzymes (hydrochloric acid and pepsin) are secreted in the stomach when we eat high-protein foods (e.g., nuts, seeds and avocado). If we eat starchy foods with high-protein foods, the alkaline salivary enzymes will mix with the acidic stomach enzymes in the stomach, curtailing digestion and causing the starches to ferment and proteins to putrefy in the gut. Thus, it is obvious that nuts and white potatoes or grains cannot digest well together. This also applies to the conventional combinations of meat with potatoes, pasta with meatballs, pizza with cheese and meat, hamburgers and hot dogs on buns, meat and bread sandwiches with mayonnaise and butter, cereal with milk, and rice with tofu or beans.
Fruits are predigested by the ripening action of the sun and their enzymes. As such, they require little digestion in the body. Their nutrients need to be absorbed into the bloodstream within 10 to 60 minutes; otherwise, the sugars will warm up and ferment. The denser, bulkier fruits which have a bit of fat, such as bananas, require the longest detention time in the stomach–about an hour. There they are mixed with a small amount of bodily water and gradually released into the small intestine. Fruits digest best by themselves or with “neutral” green vegetables. The “neutral” vegetables (such as celery, lettuce and kale) are so called because their starch, protein and fat content is low and, thus, their digestion will not interfere with the digestion of fruit. In fact, the inclusion of greens with fruit meals generally aids digestion by virtue of their fiber and complimentary nutrient content. Energetically, greens with fruit is known to have a balancing effect.
The fat in fatty foods (most of which are also high in protein) is primarily digested in the upper part of the small intestine. Fat is emulsified (broken down into small, assimilable droplets) by the strong alkaline enzymes in bile. Bile is made in the liver, sent to the gallbladder and secreted into the duodenum. When large complex meals are eaten, the food will be held up in the stomach for many hours and the fat will likely become rancid and rendered unusable before is can be acted upon by bile.
The complete digestion of starch, protein and fat requires time–approximately 1 to 2 hours for raw food meals and several hours longer for cooked foods. The digestion of these nutrients also requires full-strength enzymatic action. If starchy and fatty high-protein foods are ingested with water, beverages and watery fruit, the additional liquid content will dilute the concentration of the digestive enzymes, reducing their effectiveness.
If sweet, non-acid fruit is eaten with large portions of starchy and/or fatty high-protein foods, they will be detained for more than an hour in the stomach and will transit more slowly through the bowel. Their sugars will warm up and ferment, potentially causing all sorts of problems, including irritable bowel, candida albicans overgrowth, gassiness, diarrhea, vomiting and brain fog. Furthermore, simultaneous high concentrations of sugar and fat in the bloodstream causes problems with blood sugar metabolism, such as diabetes.
If small portions of starchy and/or fatty high-protein foods are eaten with large portions of sweet fruits or juices, this hinders the body’s ability to sense the presence of the starch, protein and fat. The digestive enzymes they require may not be secreted, and fermentation and putrefaction will likely occur. As an example, nuts/seeds/butters/avocado added to sweet, non-acid fruit smoothies will not be digested.
The combining of minimal amounts of acid fruits with fatty-protein foods (such as in a salad dressing) tends to digest well for some people because the acids in the fruits aid in the breaking down of protein molecules.
Test It Yourself and You’ll Quickly Know
The validity of the food combining guidelines (or “rules”) has been readily confirmed by everyone who has diligently applied them. A properly combined, alkalizing, low-fat, vegan diet of 75 percent or more raw, vegan foods will clear up most digestive maladies in short order.
In my own case, my g.i. system quieted down within 24 hours of adopting a fruit-based vegan diet and applying food combining protocol. I felt wonderfully well and healing was rapid. Previously, during my long siege of ulcerative colitis, my g.i. system had been a virtual erupting volcano when eating. Countless others have experienced similar relief of their g.i. ills. Everyone who adheres to these guidelines, avoiding overeating and incorporating other essential elements of healthful living, sooner or later derives the benefits of excellent digestion, absence of body odors, minimal or no gas, inoffensive feces, effortless defecation, clear urine, clearer skin, eyes and mind, more balanced composure, ideal weight level, greater physical stamina, faster healing, better sleep and youthful vitality.
Always follow food combining guidelines to a “t.”
* Eat melons alone. Exception: they may be juiced with celery and leafy greens.
* Eat all other sweet and acid fruits only on an empty stomach with or without green neutral vegetables and/or cucumbers.
* Do not eat acid fruits (e.g., citrus, pineapple, mango, berries, kiwi, tomato) with non-acid sweet fruits (e.g., apple, pear, grape, banana, dates, papaya).
* Eat acid fruits at least one-half hour before non-acidic sweet fruits.
* A minimal amount of acid fruits generally digests fairly well with avocado, nuts, seeds and young coconut (whole, or blended into dressings).
* Do not eat non-acid sweet fruits with or after fatty food meals.
* Do not eat non-acid sweet fruits with or after starchy meals.
* Don not eat acid or sweet fruits with or after cooked food meals.
* All vegetables and cucumbers combine well with any fruit except whole melon.
* Avoid or minimize strong herbs and vegetables that are bitter (e.g. eggplant, chicory, endive), sharp (e.g. arugula, dandelion, mustard), high in oxalic acid (e.g. chard, rhubarb, parsley, beet greens) and irritating (e.g. garlic, onions, radish, chile peppers, oregano)–they can paralyze the flow of digestive enzymes and the stomach.
Fats & Proteins
* Digestion is enhanced when nuts, seeds and avocado are eaten with green neutral vegetables and/or cucumbers, as additional digestive juices are secreted.
* Nuts and seeds can be eaten together.
* Raw nuts and seeds become much more digestible and lower in fat when they have been soaked and germinated/sprouted. However, not all nuts are viable (capable of germinating).
* Avoid combining nuts/seeds with avocado and coconut.
* Do not eat fatty high-protein foods (nuts, seeds, avocado and coconut) with sweet fruit or starchy foods (squash, tubers/potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, mature peas, grains, mature coconut meat). Exception: a minimal amount of avocado combines fairly well with starchy foods.
* Avocado combines well with any kind of vegetable and non-sweet fruit (bell peppers and cucumbers), and fairly well with squash, tubers/potatoes, grains and acid fruits.
* Starchy foods combine well with all vegetables and fairly well with minimal amounts of avocado.
* Sweet peas, sweet corn and young, fresh carrots are non-starchy; older ones are starchy; these combine with all vegetables, squashes, potatoes and minimal amounts of avocado.
* Do not eat starchy foods with acid or sweet fruits or with fatty high-protein foods, except avocado in moderation.
* Some fresh squashes are low in starch (especially zucchini); most other squashes are starchy; these combine with all vegetables, potatoes and minimal amounts of avocado.
* Sweet potatoes and yams contain some starch and become sweeter as they are cooked; these combine with all vegetables, squashes, white potatoes, grains and minimal amounts of avocado.
* Sprouted grains are only somewhat more digestible than cooked grains; these combine with all vegetables, squashes, potatoes and minimal amounts of avocado.
* Legumes/beans are poorly digested because of their high protein and starch content.
* Legumes/beans combine with vegetables and minimal amounts of avocado.
* Sprouted legumes/beans are only somewhat more digestible than when eaten fresh and raw.
* Fresh green beans are non-starchy and low in protein and combine well with all vegetables, squash, tubers/potatoes and avocado.
Put It Into Practice
Proper food choices and combinations bring a sensible routine to daily eating. This makes life easier and better because we soon feel great, have more energy, spend less time preparing meals, attain our healthiest weight, are clean inside and out and have more sex appeal. After a week or two of practice, it becomes a natural and automatic habit.
Keep it simple. Space out your meals, allowing time for your system to digest, assimilate, build, detoxify, evacuate and rest. Based on our digestive physiology and bodily rhythms, the best meal sequencing is 2 to 4 fruit-and-greens meals during the day. You could follow that by a glass of raw vegetable juice, then, at least one-half hour later, a properly combined dinner of vegetables, sweet potatoes and/or squash and, optionally, one fatty food, i.e., avocado, nuts or seeds. Note that it is not necessary and, in many cases, it is unhealthful to eat fatty food every day. Furthermore, it is OK to have a dinner of simply more fruit or fruit and greens. Never eat starches and nuts/seeds on a given day even and never eat sweet or acid fruit after eating cooked food, even if spaced apart by many hours.
Continue studying, observing and refining your practice. When optimized, your digestion and elimination should be silent and effortless, and healthful eating should be a total pleasure. For more in-depth information on food combining, read Digestion Perfection by Drs. Herbert M. Shelton, T. C. Fry and David Klein and study the Food Combining Chart by Dr. David Klein. These and other health publications are available in e-book and laminated chart format, respectively, from the Colitis & Crohn’s Health Recovery Center’s online bookstore and at the Vibrant Health & Wealth Bookstore.
To your perfect digestion and glorious health!
From: “Vibrance” <email@example.com>
Date: June 17, 2011 9:56:12 PM EDT
Subject: Food Combining For Digestion Perfection