The more I learn about diet and nutrition, the more I realize how absolutely little I know about the whole thing. Never mind simply trying to eat mainly healthy, nutritious foods – apparently there’s a whole science behind what type of foods should and shouldn’t be eaten with each other, what order to eat foods in and a whole lotta talk about digestive times and why you shouldn’t eat melon after a meal. Just as I thought I was getting the hang of this!
Similar to the reason why I
semi attempt to track foods and calories/nutritional value, I started reading about food combinations and ideal order of eating foods because I thought it was all quite fascinating. And while I know I’m not going to overhaul my eating – again – I might learn a thing or two that may stick.
Some things I’ve learned:
- Fruits and vegetables digest the quickest, so should be eaten first. If you eat a steak and then a fruit salad for dessert, the fruit will get digested in your stomach, but have to wait until the steak’s completely digested before it can move on. That can cause fermentation, gas, etc.
- Carbs and acids don’t play well together since carbs need an alkaline environment to properly digest. If you usually have a grapefruit or orange with your cereal in the morning, try having the fruit first and then carbs about 20-30 minutes later, when the fruit has digested. Your stomach should be much happier.
- Acids aren’t great with proteins, either.
- Non-starchy vegetables mix well with proteins, sweets and starches.
- Milk get digested in the duodenum, not the stomach, so should be taken completely by itself if you want it to digest properly.
Basically, most foods don’t play well with each other, unless you’re talking about non-starchy vegetables, which seem to do well with everything. Also, you should eat your plate in order, finishing one food before moving on to the next, in order from quickest/easiest digested to hardest.
General digestion times: fruits (20-30 min), raw veggies (30-40 min), fish (30 min), cooked veggies (40 min), starches (60 min), grains (90 min), skim milk (90 min), legumes & beans (90-120 min), chicken (2 hr) seeds & nuts (2.5-3 hr), beef/lamb/pork (3-5 hr) and, finally, hard cheese (4-5 hr).
…you can see why I’m not suddenly jumping into this program headfirst! Can you imagine trying to remember all the little details of what combines well with what and how long everything takes to digest?!
That said, though, I think I actually managed to stick with the general rules with my lunch today:
Raw carrots, cucumber, yellow pepper and cherry tomatoes, which were all mostly eaten before the chicken. The grapes are still there, for now. I’m pretty satisfied with the veggies and chicken and am saving them for a little sugary pick-me-up in an hour or so.
Do you eat foods in a particular order? Would you be able to follow such an intricate structure of what, when and how to eat?