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The Laws of Food Combining

These days it is not uncommon to consume a meal that has over twenty different ingredients – from herbs to spices, proteins, fats, oils, vegetables and starches. What most of us don’t realise is that each of these ingredients require a particular environment to be broken down into a form that our bodies can digest.



The human body is a complex network of precise form and function. It has methods for breaking down everything and anything it comes in contact with, including harmful bacteria. But often it is not able to perform these functions simultaneously as the methods for digestion of some foods are the opposite for others. Which leads us to the topic of the laws of food combining.


Digestion is governed by physiological chemistry and the power of digestive enzymes, which are reliant upon a specific pH balance within the stomach.

For example, starches require a salivary enzyme called ptyalin which relies on an alkaline environment in the stomach in order to carry out its duties. Whereas meat proteins require the enzyme pepsin which lives in a more acidic environment. When these foods arrive in the stomach together, a major pH digestive conflict arises as both foods require opposite environments to be broken down in.


So what happens next?

The hydrochloric acid produced to break down meat envelops and destroys the alkaline starch enzymes. This leads to fermentation of the starches, which results in the production of alcohol, carbon dioxides and acetic acids which then interfere with the production of hydrochloric acid that is crucial for the digestion of the meat. Meaning neither of the two foods are digested properly nor are their beneficial nutrients absorbed due to the fermenting starches and putrefying proteins.


Nutrient malabsorption is a huge problem in the Western World with most people suffering from an inability to absorb what is needed for optimum health and longevity. This is largely due to improper food combining as well as GMO foods, nutrient deficient soil from the use of agricultural farming practices as well as excessive consumption of trans-fats and preservatives.


As food combining can be quite restrictive and is certainly far from the complex culinary experiences we are used to in the modern diet, health advisors and medical professionals do not stress the importance of a properly balanced meal.


Here are some basic guidelines to get started:


Try to avoid

  1. Carbohydrates with acidic foods E.g: bread, potatoes, peas, beans etc WITH limes, grapefruit, pineapple, tomatoes or other sour fruits.

  2. Protein with carbohydrates E.g: nuts, meat, eggs, cheese, or other protein foods WITH bread, cereals, potatoes, sweet fruits, cakes, etc.

  3. Concentrated proteins together E.g: nuts and meat, or eggs and meat, or cheese and nuts, or cheese and eggs.. Also do not consume meat and milk, or eggs and milk, or nuts and milk at the same meal.

  4. Protein with fats E.g: cream, butter or oils WITH meat, eggs, cheese, nuts.

  5. Acidic fruits with proteins E.g: tomatoes, lemons, pineapples, etc WITH meat or eggs, except with protein fats such as avocado, cheese or nuts.

  6. Starches with sugars E.g: jellies, jams, honey, syrups, etc on bread, cake, or at the same meal with cereals, potatoes, etc.

And for the good news, proper food combinations include:

  • Green vegetables combine well with all starches and all proteins.

  • Starches combine well with fats, oils and green vegetables.

  • Meats combine well with green vegetables

  • Nuts combine well with green vegetables and acidic fruits.

  • Eggs combine well with green vegetables.

  • Cheese combines well with green vegetables.

  • Milk is best taken alone but combines okay with acidic fruits.

  • Fats and oils combine well with all starches and all green vegetables.

  • Sweet fruits combine well with other sweet fruits, e.g. bananas and dates.

  • Acid fruits combine well with other acid fruit.

  • Melons are best eaten alone.

  • Grains combine well with oils and butter and cooked legumes.

  • Legumes such as beans and peas combine well with green vegetables, cooked grains, oils and butter.

The easiest way to get started with proper food combining is to go by the rule ‘less is more’ and ‘simplicity is key’. We were designed to eat large quantities of one type of food before moving onto another so try to limit your dishes with either compatible foods or at least restrict the number of incompatible combinations.

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