Vol. 2, #1
January 1, 2005

Q: What is food combining and what is it good for? - Layperson

A: Food combining is the process of eating the proper combination of foods to maintain the optimal pH (alkaline urine pH 7.0-7.5) in the body necessary to sustain optimal health.

Food Combining

It is commonly believed that the human stomach should be able to digest any number of different foods at the same time. However, digestion is governed by physiological chemistry. It is not what we eat that is crucial to our health, but what we digest and assimilate.

Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes are secreted in very specific amounts and at very specific times. Different food types require different digestive secretions. Carbohydrate foods require carbohydrate-splitting enzymes, whereas protein foods require protein splitting enzymes, etc. It is the knowledge of the digestive process that has led many health practitioners to promote efficient food combing, the rules of which are briefly explained below:

Foods are classified into three types according to their chemical requirements for efficient digestion. These three types are:

  • Alkali forming foods such as fruits and vegetables. Alkali forming means the end products of such foods after digestion. Even acid tasting fruits such as lemons yield alkaline salts in the body.
  • Concentrated proteins such as meat, game, fish, eggs or cheese. These foods are acid forming in their final end products in the body.
  • Concentrated carbohydrates or starch foods, which are acid forming. These include grains, bread, and all foods containing flour, all sugars and foods containing sugars (sucrose), but not the naturally occurring sugars found in fruit.

1. Carbohydrate foods and acid foods should not be eaten at the same meal. Do not eat bread, rice or potatoes with lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, tomatoes or other sour fruits. This is because the enzyme, ptyalin, acts only in an alkaline medium; it is destroyed even by a mild acid! Fruit acids not only prevent carbohydrate digestion, but they also produce a fermentation. Oxalic acid, for example, diluted to one part in 10,000 completely arrests the action of ptyalin. And, there is enough acetic acid in one teaspoon of wine vinegar to completely halt salivary digestion.Many people who cannot eat oranges at a meal derive great benefit from eating them fifteen to thirty minutes before the meal.

Tomatoes should also never be combined with starchy food as the combination of the various acids in the tomato, which are intensified on cooking, are very much opposed to the alkaline digestion of starches. They may be eaten with leafy vegetables and fat foods.

What all this tends to mean is that people who say they cannot eat oranges or grapefruit as it gives them gas, could be blaming the fruit, when the problem may lie with the escape of starches and the bodies release of pancreatic juice and intestinal enzymes to break them down.

In cases where there is hyperacidity of the stomach there is great difficulty digesting starches. Fermentation and poisoning of the body occurs along with much discomfort. This is because the digestion of carbohydrates (starches and sugars) and of protein is so different, that when they are mixed in the stomach they interfere with the digestion of each other. An acid process (gastric digestion) and an alkaline process (salivary digestion) can not be carried on at the same time in an ideal way in the stomach. Before long, they cannot proceed at all , as the rising acidity of the stomach soon completely stops carbohydrate digestion. The highest efficiency in digestion demands that we eat in such a way as to offer the least hindrance to the work of digestion.

2. Do not eat a concentrated protein and a concentrated carbohydrate at the same meal. This means do not eat nuts, meat, eggs, cheese, or other protein foods at the same meal with bread, cereals, potatoes, sweet fruits. Cakes, etc. Candy and sugar greatly inhibit the secretion of gastric juice and markedly delay digestion and if consumed in large quantities can depress the stomach activity.

3. Do not eat two concentrated proteins at the same meal. Avoid nuts and meat, or eggs and meat, cheese and nuts, cheese and eggs, meat and milk, or eggs and milk or nuts at milk at the same meal. Milk, if taken at all, is best taken alone. The reason for avoiding eating these combinations is because each protein requires a specific character and strength of digestive juice to be secreted. Eggs require different timing in stomach secretions than do either meat or milk.

4. Do not eat fats with proteins. This means do not use cream, butter, oil, etc with meat, eggs, cheese, nuts, etc. Fat depresses the action of the gastric glands by delaying the development of appetite juices and inhibiting the pouring out of the proper gastric juices for meats, nuts, eggs or other protein. Fats may lower the entire gastric tone more than fifty per cent.

5. Do not eat acid fruits with proteins. This is to say, oranges, tomatoes, lemons, pineapples, etc., should not be eaten with meat, eggs, cheese or nuts. Acid fruits seriously hamper protein digestion and results in putrefaction. Milk and orange juice, while by no means an indigestible combination, is far from a good combination. Orange juice and eggs form an even worse combination.

6. Do not consume starch and sugars together. Jellies, jams, fruit, butter, sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, etc., on bread, cake, or at the same meal with cereals, potatoes, etc., or sugar with cereal, will produce fermentation. The practice of eating starches that have been disguised by sweets is also a bad way to eat carbohydrates. If sugar is taken into the mouth it quickly fills with saliva but no ptyalin is present which we know is essential for starch digestion.

7. Eat but one concentrated starch food at a meal. This rule is more important as a means of overeating than as a means of avoiding a bad combination. While overeating of starches may lead to fermentation, there is no certainty that the combination of two starches will do so.

8. Do not consume melons with any other foods. Watermelon, muskmelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe and other melons should always be eaten alone. This is possibly due to the ease and speed in which melons decompose.

9. Milk is best taken alone or let alone. Milk is the natural food of the mammalian young, each species producing milk peculiarly and precisely adapted to the needs of its young. It is the rule that the young take the milk alone, not in combination with other foods. Milk does not digest in the stomach, but in the duodenum, hence in the presence of milk the stomach does not respond with its secretion. The use of acid fruits with milk does not cause any trouble and apparently does not conflict with its digestion.

A suggested combination of meals is included in the following plan of eating three meals a day :

Breakfast
Fruit. Any fruit in season may be used. It is suggested that not more than three fruits be used at a meal, as, for example, grapes, well ripened bananas and an apple. It is well to have an acid fruit breakfast one morning and a sweet breakfast the next. In season breakfast may be made of melons. In the winter months, one or two dried fruits such as figs, dates, raisins, prunes, etc., may be substituted for the fresh fruit.

Lunch
A large raw vegetable salad of lettuce, celery, and one or two other raw vegetables plus avocado and alfalfa sprouts or nut and seeds. As an alternative, a vegetable salad (omitting tomatoes), one cooked green vegetable and a starch.

Dinner
A large raw vegetable salad (if nuts or cottage cheese are to be used as the protein, tomatoes may be used in this salad), two cooked non-starchy vegetables and a protein.

Fat meats, sour apples, beans, peanuts, peas, cereals, bread and jam, or hot cakes and honey or syrup, are notoriously slow in digestion and are frequent sources of discomfort and putrescent poisoning.

If the body's reserves are carefully hoarded they will carry us well beyond the hundred year mark with youthful enthusiasm and zest. Their depletion is one of the most common calamities of modern life. The alkaloids and alcohols, with which gastro-intestinal decomposition charges our bodies, rob us of our reserves, greatly weaken our vital resistance and sooner or later produce a state of physiological collapse.

The following chart will be helpful:

FRUITS

ALKALINE
Apples
Apricots
Avocados
Bananas
Berries
Breadfruit
Cactus
Cantaloup
Carob
Cherries
Citron
Currants
Dates (dried)
Dates (fresh)
Figs (dried)
Figs (fresh)
Grapes
Grapefruit
Guavas
Kiwis
Kumquats
Lemons
Limes
Mangos
Melons (all)
Nectarines
Olives: ripened/sun dried
(if pickled or green, then acidic)
Oranges
Papaya
Passion Fruit
Peaches
Pears
Persimmons
Pineapple
Pomegranate
Quince
Raisins (most)
Raspberries
Sour grapes
Strawberries
Tamarind
Tangerines
Umeboshi Plums
(a pickled highly beneficial Japanese product)
ACID
Blueberries
Cranberries
Plums
Prunes

VEGETABLES
ALKALINE
Artichokes
Asparagus
Bamboo shots
Beets
Broccoli
Brussell Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Chard, Swiss
Chicory
Collards
Corn, sweet
Cucumbers
Daikon
Dandelion greens
Eggplant
Endive
Escarole
Ginger (fresh)
Horseradish
Kale
Kelp
Kohlrabi
Kudzu root
Leeks
Lettuce (all except iceburg)
Mushrooms
Mustard greens
Okra
Onions
Oyster plant

Parsley
Parsnips
Peppers (all colors, bell)
Pickles

Potatoes (with skins)
Pumpkin
Radishes
Rhubarb
Rutabaga
Salsify
Sauerkraut
Seaweed
Spinach
Squash
Swiss Chard
Taro
Tomatoes
Turnips
Water chestnuts
Watercress
GRAINS
Acid-forming grains become alkaline-forming when sprouted and 4.5

ACID
Amaranth
Millet
Quinoa
Wheat, Whole/bleached

ACID
Barley
Basmati Rice
Brown Rice

Buckwheat
Corn Meal
Oats
Rye
Spelt
BEANS
Acid-forming dried beans become alkaline when sprouted.
Breads (Organic & cooked)
Millet
Corn
Oat
Rice
Rye
Wheat
Breads (Sprouted & Cooked)
Millet
Rye
Wheat
Cereals (cold)
Cereals (hot)
Crackers
Pastas
Pastries
Popcorn
Tapioca
NUTS
Cooking, smoking, roasting reduces alkaline/acid number & destroys enzymes, etc. Soaking is the preferred way.
ALKALINE
Almonds
Chestnuts
Coconut
Pignolias
ACID
Brazil
Cashews
Coconut (dried)
Filberts
Macadamia
Peanuts
Pecans
Pistachios
Walnuts
SEEDS
ALKALINE
Alfalfa (sprouted)
Chia (sprouted)
Radish (sprouted)
Sesame (unsprouted)

ACID
Pumpkin

Sunflower
Wheat germ
MEATS
ACID
Bear
Beef
Chicken
Deer
Fish
Shellfish
Goat
Lamb
Pheasant
Pork
Rabbit
Turkey
ANIMAL PRODUCTS
NEUTRAL OR ACID
Butter
Cheese
Milk
Cream
Custards
Eggs

Goat’s milk (best fresh, slightly alkaline)
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Lactobacillus Bifidus
Whey
Yogurt
OILS
NEUTRAL OR ALKALINE
Almond
Avocado
Castor
Coconut
Corn
Olive
Safflower
Sesame
Soy
Sunflower
Comfrey
Ginseng
 
SUGARS
ALKALINE
Brown rice syrup
Barley malt sweetener
Dried sugar cane juice (Sucanut)
Honey
Maguey
ACID
Artificial Sweeteners
Barley Malt Syrup
Beet
Cane Fructose
Honey
Maple syrup
Milk sugar
Molasses
Turbinado
BEVERAGES
Chemical-free, organic
Fruit juices %
Vegetable juices
MParsley
Wheat grass
Carrot
Celery
Beet
Herbal Teas (roots)
Ginger
Comfrey
Ginseng
Herbal Teas (leaves)
Mlfalfa
Clover
Mint
Sage
Spearmint
Raspberry
Strawberry
Comfrey
Ginseng
ACID
Liquor
Wine
Beer
Coffee
Coffee Substitutes
Caffeine drinks
Carbonated drinks
Fruit juice soft drinks
Tea (black)
CONDIMENTS
ALKALINE
Agar-agar
Cayenne pepper
Garlic
Gelatin
Herbs
Ketchup (homemade)
Mayonnaise (homemade)
Mineral boullion
Miso salt soy sauce
Spices
Tamari
Vanilla
Vinegar (apple cider vinegar)
Yeast

ACID
Gelatin
Ketchup (refined, sugar)
Mayonnaise (refined, sugar)
Mustard
Salt (refined, table)
Soy sauce (chemically processed)
Spices: dried mustard, nutmeg
Vinegar, white processed


December 25, 2004 Newsletter

DISCLAIMER:  The information in this column, is NOT intended to diagnose and/or treat any health related issues and is provided solely for informational purposes only. Consult the appropriate healthcare professional before making any changes to your healthcare regime. Even what may seem like simple changes in the diet for example, can interact with, and alter, the efficiency of medications and/or the body's response to the medications. Many herbs and supplements exert powerful medicinal effects. Neither the author, nor the website designers, assume any responsibility for the reader's use or misuse of this information.

© 2002 Nature's Corner