The principle of food combinations, or food association, involves combining the right foods together. This helps to better digest and assimilate nutrients to be healthier and have more energy.
Every food family is different. Also, some of them can associate together while others do not. Digestion is a complex process and we all have a digestive system that does not work the same way. This is why you will need to experiment and apply the following tips based on what you think is right for you. On the other hand, many people wrongly associate bad foods together. Indeed, most mix starchy foods with an animal protein such as meat for example. It is therefore not surprising to suffer from more or less important digestive disorders, to feel tired (e) but also to gain weight.
The pioneers of the concept of food associations
This notion was studied and put forward by Dr. Howard Hay (1866-1940). After conclusive experiments on himself, he developed a way of eating that assumes that some foods need an acid PH and others an alkaline PH to be well digested. This is the reason why you can not mix a food that needs an acidic medium with another that needs an alkaline medium. Subsequently, Dr. Shelton popularized the concept in 1951 in his book "Food combining made easy".
Basic concepts for understanding food combinations
Each food is characterized by the digestion time, the acid-base environment and the energy needed for digestion. Let's look at the first two to understand the art of food combinations.
- The time of food digestion
This can vary from a few minutes to several hours. Here is the digestion time of the major food families:
- Water and juice: 15 to 30 minutes
- Fruits: 15 to 35 minutes.
- Vegetables and cooked vegetables: 30 to 50 minutes.
- Starches and grains: 1h to 1h30.
- Legumes: 1h30 to 2h.
- Dairy products: 1h30 to 2h.
- Seeds (squash, sunflower …) and oleaginous (almonds, walnuts ..): 2h to 3h.
- Animal protein: 45 minutes (whole egg) / 30 mins to 1h (fish) / 1h30 to 2h (chicken, turkey) / 3 to 5h (beef, lamb, pork).
The main rule that emerges from this principle is as follows: never eat fruit for dessert after a meal. The fruits are digested quickly. They must be consumed 20 to 30 minutes before a meal or outside during a snack. Also, if they are eaten after a meal, they will be stored in the stomach with the rest of the bolus and will ferment. This causes problems with digestion with bloating and gas or even stomach ache.
2. The acid-base environment
The pH of your body must be constantly balanced: neither too acidic nor too alkaline. For reference, a pH of 7 is neutral while a pH of 1 to 6.9 is acidic and a pH of 7.1 to 14 is alkaline.
Digestion is done in different acid-base media depending on the food and this is very important to understand.
- To digest starchy foods (pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, quinoa, etc.), the body will secrete alkaline agents (ptyaline). Starch requires an alkaline medium to be digested.
- To digest the proteins (meat, poison, egg, cheese, oleaginous, etc.), the body will secrete acidic agents (hydrochloric acid). Proteins therefore require an acidic medium to be digested.
Also, if you mix starchy foods and proteins during a meal, there will be a mutual neutralization of the acidic and alkaline agents. Indeed, the proteins will be treated first with an acid production that will impede the secretion of ptyalin. Starch starch will wait and ferment. This will greatly disrupt digestion and will cause a lot of disorders: bloating, gas, stomach pain or diarrhea and a poor assimilation of nutrients.
Avoid mixing starches with a protein!
Another piece of advice you need to remember to eat well and keep your health is: limit "acid" foods and favor "alkaline" foods. This is the basis of the concept of acid-base balance that you will find here. Too acidic pH promotes inflammation of the body and diseases. It is then necessary to have a diet mainly composed of alkaline foods rather than acids.
The 10 golden rules of good food associations
- Combine your protein with vegetables and not starchy foods. For example: fish + raw vegetables, fried eggs + steamed vegetables. Prefer a single type of protein rather than a mixture of different proteins during a meal (avoid mixing meat and fish).
- Combine your starchy foods with vegetables. For example: vegetarian spaghetti with baby vegetables, rice-peas, quinoa tabbouleh.
- Combine your legumes with vegetables. For example: lentils + green beans, chickpeas + raw vegetables.
- Always eat your fruits before or after meals.
- Do not mix dairy products with other foods but consume them alone. For example, a muesli with milk or yoghurt is prohibited to digest well. Remember to favor goat's milk and ewes that contain much less growth hormone than cow's milk. Another option is plant milks.
- Alternate a meal of starch + vegetables and vegetables + protein separately during a day. Avoid starchy foods in the evening and opt for the vegetables at will, which should represent half of your plate.
- Avoid desserts at the end of the meal except for exceptions (outing to the restaurant, cheat day, family meal etc.).
- Avoid mixing sweet fruits (banana, figs, mango, dried fruits …) with acid fruits (citrus, kiwi, pineapple, strawberry …). On the other hand, sweet fruits are good with sub-acid fruits (pear, peach, apricot, raspberry …). Eat melon or watermelon separately as they contain a lot of water and disrupt digestion.
- Stop the mixture of animal proteins and dairy products. It is an explosive cocktail "acid" that harms your health: rheumatism, arthritis, osteoarthritis, cancer, overweight etc. This cocktail is even worse if we add an excess of sugar and / or bad fats.
- Put yourself on the food synergy to bring to your body more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Food synergy: 1 + 1 = 3
I advise you to read the Food Synergy Guide. With this book, you will discover which specific foods to associate together to deliver even more vitamins, minerals or antioxidants in your body. These preventive associations will allow you to boost your health, to protect you from diseases, to have more energy, to help you lose weight, to stimulate your libido or to preserve your youth capital. Finally, as a bonus, you will find 26 food synergy recipes.
Dr. Shelton, "Food combining made easy", 1951.
"Composition and Facts about Foods," Mokelumne Hill & Calif, Health Research by Ford Heritage.
"Food Synergy Guide"