Food combinations

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:

Om nom nom!

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?

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15 Comments

Filed under Diet, Photos

15 responses to “Food combinations

  1. Great post! Really interesting… I’m not sure I would be able to follow it though! So many details! And I love mixing my food into salads!

    I love the picture of your lunch though! YUM!

    • Agreed! I’m all about mixing. I often try to make that “perfect bite” – especially at dinner. You know, a little bit of chicken and a bit of mashed potatoes with gravy and a piece of steamed carrot all together on the fork to make that amazing bite? Plus I make a lot of stirfrys, with chicken or beef, all mixed up with veggies and served over rice. That’s all sorts of bad according to what I’ve been reading!
      That tends to be my typical lunch when I’m at the office. Changes slightly, of course, but mainly a whole plate of fresh veggies, a little fruit and some sort of protein. It is filling and helps prevent that mid afternoon sugar crash most takeaways etc cause. And it’s cheap, which scores points in my book. 🙂

  2. I suspect the only food combinations I’ll worry about are PB and J. 🙂

    Your lunch looks deelish, no matter in what order you ate it. 🙂

    • I love PB&J more than anyone should love any food combination, I think! And I have it on corn thins. Protein, sugar and carbs all together. Disaster! (But sooo yummy!)
      Thanks! Food has such a visual element to it. How can you not want to eat every last bit of something that looks so good? 🙂

  3. I remember this being a big thing many years ago. Maybe it was Suzanne Somers who started a kick. I wonder if it makes a difference. You’ll have to let us know.

    • I don’t know if I’ll follow it well enough to really tell one way or the other! Though next time my stomach acts up or get all bloated or something, I’ll try to think back and see what I ate and in what order.
      Then again, the thought of cooked meat sitting in my stomach for up to 5 hours while it digests is almost enough for me to think twice about testing it out!

  4. Thanks for the information. I had never heard that tip about milk before. Interesting. I wonder if some who think they are lactose intolerant really just need to drink milk separately from their meals?

    • Interesting thought. Could very well be the case for a lot of people…
      One article said that about citrus with carbs. That a lot of people say they can’t have a grapefruit with their cereal and they think they can’t digest the grapefruit. But if they have the grapefruit first, then the cereal 30-40 minutes later, they’re fine.
      Of couse, I know people who get sick after a spoonful of ice cream midafternoon. Maybe that’s the milk and sugars combined, though? It’s all far too complex and scientific for me!

  5. I’ve never tried the food combining way of eating. I have enough trouble just sticking to healthy foods without worrying about when and in what combinations to eat them! Your lunch looks fantastic!!!

    • I think I would go nuts trying to strictly follow the food combining recommendations! Plus, I really like mixing up foods and flavours, and it seems this frowns on that idea. :\
      Thanks! A while ago I would’ve thought a lunch like that would never be enough food, but I’m finding it’s quite filling and satisfying. And I feel better throughout the day than when I was grabbing pad thai and other takeaways for lunch.

  6. Jos

    Interesting post! I’ve never heard such thing like that..thanks for sharing 🙂 But don’t think I can remember that when eating… LOL
    As for me I don’t have any particular order eating my food…just whatever is available in front of me, I’ll chomp it down..haha. Mainly my dish usually contains lots of leafy greens and some meat here and there. If I’m still hungry, I’ll wash it down with fruits.

    Btw, thanks for your sweet comment 🙂 I was totally touched.

    • I definitely can’t remember all the details! I can remember meat takes longest to digest and that I shouldn’t eat fast-digesting food like fresh fruits and veg soon after finishing a large portion of complex carbs or cooked meats. Not that I’ll necessarily follow that…

      And you’re welcome. 🙂 I really do things start getting better for you soon!

  7. Jos

    Btw the only bad food combo I know is don’t consume soymilk and (raw) egg together…it’s hard for your stomach to digest.

  8. wow. you’re right, that is a lot to remember! i guess you get used to it though, i know my girlfriend is really into this and she’ll tell you everything off the top of her head. my food order? i eat the hot stuff first (to enjoy while it’s hot!) and then eat my salad. (genius, i know. 🙂 )

    • It is something you could probably learn and adapt to easily enough if you really tried. I don’t know if I have the commitment.
      I eat like you, too. Which is also why I wait to clean up the kitchen until after dinner’s finished. No sense in letting good, hot food get cold!

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