Does Food Combining Actually Work?!

Food combining is not a new technique. It is an ancient philosophy of eating food that has its roots in our past. And today it has transcended the barriers of time and become increasingly popular. It is no wonder then that people from all walks of life are adopting its principles.

The idea behind food combining is incredibly simple! We know that different foods metabolise at different rates in the body and have differing requirements for an optimal digestive environment. And so, when foods with similar characteristics are clubbed together and eaten at specific times that complement these factors, we can reduce digestive stress and improve digestion. And allow for efficient and clean digestion.

Proponents of food combining believe that when foods belonging to these different categories are improperly combined and eaten together in a meal, it may eventually lead to toxicity build-up, inflammation and rampant conditions for disease and dysfunction.

Whereas, when food is combined and eaten properly, it can relieve these problems and alleviate stress. We receive more energy and nutrition. We feel satiated, nourished and rejuvenated.

In this week’s blog post I discuss the basic rationale behind food combining and why it works. And how we can benefit by following a few basic tenets in our own lives.

 

The theory behind food combining

Proteins need an acidic environment to be broken down, whereas carbohydrates require an alkaline environment. Different enzymes in the body digest proteins and carbohydrates, and if you eat them together it may cause digestive issues.

If you continue to eat the two together, you will have partially digested food in your system that just sits there in your gut while the other food you are intaking is being digested. During this period, the partially digested food will rot or ferment in your gut, causing a variety of problems ranging from bloatedness, gas, inflammation, constipation, diarrhoea to more severe issues.

 

The principles to follow

Other basic principles of food combining include NOT consuming fruit and vegetables at the same meal, and not drinking (cold) water during meals, or for at least one hour after the meal. Fruits and vegetables have different biochemical structures and therefore breakdown at different stages and at different time periods.

Here are the principles of food combining that you may follow:

  1. Eat a diet that is 70% alkaline and water-rich. Eat only one concentrated food (i.e. foods that don’t have much water content such as meat, potato and fish) at a time.
  2. Proteins and carbs should never be combined.
  3. A leafy green salad can be eaten with any protein, carbohydrate or fat.
  4. Eat fruits only by themselves. And, always eat fruits before a meal, not after.
  5. Fats inhibit the digestion of protein. If you must have fat with a protein, eat a mixed vegetable salad to offset the inhibiting effect on digestion.
  6. Never drink liquids with or immediately following a meal.

 

Why food combining works

The proposed benefits of food combining or eating foods that combine well together is that it will aid digestion. This way your digestive tract does not have to work half as hard to absorb the nutrients that your body requires for energy, as well as for alleviating any symptoms associated with poor digestion such as gas, bloatedness, constipation, diarrhoea, reflux, fatigue and tiredness.

There are many known benefits to food combining including – weight loss, improved digestion, enhanced energy levels, reduced acne and skin blemishes, better absorption of nutrients, improved detoxification, and improved sleep quality.

 

The science behind food combining is fascinating and people are only beginning to discover the benefits for themselves. If you are interested in finding out more or applying some of the principles to your own life, talk to me today.

As a health coach and nutritional expert, I have the right knowhow to guide you. I can help you create effective meal plans as well as monitor your progress as you implement the changes. Having faced health complications myself, I can really understand your issues and inspire you to tackle your challenges head-on!

Whole Fruit Vs. Fruit Juice: Making A Healthy Choice

Fruit juice seems to be a growing fad popular with everyone. People frequently consider drinking fruit juice as a healthy habit! We see juice bars cropping up at every corner and we see them crowded-full, teeming with people from all walks of life enjoying a beverage. This is a worrying symptom of a larger problem. It is easy to over-consume sugar-rich and calorie-laden juice. And if we don’t watch out, soon we’ll all suffer from diabetes, heart conditions, and eventually obesity too.

Let me reiterate – Fruit Juice is not the same as fruit. Not even close.

Fruit juice packs a significant number of fruit sugars, and unlike whole fruit, it doesn’t have the same fibrous or nutritional content. We may have to look closely, through the sheen of the marketing slogans that declare fruit juice to be beyond reproach – healthy and nutritious! And we may have to do our research. But once we have uncovered how poorly fruit juice truly compares to whole fruit, there should be no going back!

 

What makes fruit juice less effective?

When whole fruit is pounded, blended and strained into juice, its nutrition profile changes. Consider the following ways in which fruit juice is less effective on our health:

  1. Whole fruit is a whole package that contains a bit of everything. When we juice the fruit, we rid it of essential fibre and roughage. Fibre adds to the bulk, improves digestion and keeps us feeling full and satiated. Without the fibre, we are only consuming the sugar-rich juice.
  2. Whole fruits contain powerful molecules called flavonoids that boost immunity and promote health. These molecules are found in the skin and pulp of the fruit. Some of these molecules are lost when the fruit is juiced.
  3. Whole fruits also contain trace minerals and vitamins. 10% of these minerals and vitamins are lost when the fruit is processed into juice.
  4. In the case of fruit juice, the sugars (fructose and sucrose) are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. This causes an instant spike in the blood sugar levels, similar to that caused by soft drinks and colas.
  5. 100% natural fruit juice contains about 10-11% sugar (natural fruit sugar). This is a high amount of sugar packed in a glassful of juice.
  6. Fruit juice can impact your health adversely, especially if you are trying to control your weight, manage diabetes or beat obesity.
  7. Fruit juices available in the market may contain additives, preservatives, taste enhancers, chemicals and added sugars. Even the more expensive juices are stored in oxygen-depleted tanks for over a year before they are packaged. The loss of taste from the oxygen depletion process is compensated for by adding ‘flavour packs’ to the juice. Compare that with a piece of fresh fruit. Even though the fruit may not be organically grown, it still contains fewer harmful substances than processed and packaged juice.

 

What are Australians choosing: whole fruit or fruit juice?

The question demands our attention! Studies show that while 60% of Australians eat some fruit, only 54% eat enough to meet the recommended limit of two serves a day. The statistic changes drastically when we consider fruit juice:

  • Over 83% of people drink fruit juice at least once a week.
  • Around 34% of consumers are concerned about the amount of sugar in fruit juices, but a striking 76% believe juice is healthy.

 

When is juice good?

Convenience in terms of packaging and year-round availability make juice a good option sometimes. Especially during hot summer months, when juice may help beat the heat with rapid rehydration. Juice is also effective during specific circumstances, when you are sick and recovering, when you are suffering from certain deficiencies and when it is advised and recommended by a healthcare professional.  People often get a variety in their fruit intake through juices than they would otherwise get by eating those many whole fruits!

Also, vegetable and fruit combination juices and smoothies are a whole lot healthier than plain fruit juice. And fresh fruit juice that is squeezed at home is definitely better than a packaged juice box from the store.

 

Bottom line?

It is all too easy to give in to the divine flavours of fruit juices, and over-consume. But it is wise to remember, that they won’t satiate, don’t pack the same nutrition and are calorie-rich. The natural sugars in fruit juices make their effect on the human body comparable to that of soft fizzy drinks. So, at best sip with caution. And if you can, swap it instead – with a piece of fruit and peace of mind!

Benefits Of An Alkaline Diet– From Maintaining Your pH Levels To Staying Balanced!

Do you often feel low on energy, like you do not have enough patience, stamina or strength to last the day? Maybe you are prone to bouts of illnesses – common cold, fever and/or upset stomach? There could even be some added stress from work or at home that is making things worse? All this makes your life absolutely no fun!

The good news is you can control how you feel by simply controlling what you put in your body!

Eating certain foods could influence the body’s acid-base homeostasis or pH levels. A healthy and balanced environment within the body can produce favourable effects on your overall health and wellbeing.

 

Why is the Alkaline Diet Most Suited?

Also called the acid-ash diet, the alkaline diet has been described by many as “miraculous.” And, it is so in a number of ways.

For one, it is balanced.  It encourages the consumption of whole foods – fruits and vegetables – rather than meat, grains, processed foods and refined sugars. From a purely nutritional standpoint, the alkaline diet is robust. It reduces your risk of developing chronic, diet-related diseases.

The foods recommended by the alkaline diet are low-calorie choices that are also nutrient-dense. The diet promotes eating organic, plant-based foods rich in selenium, vitamin C, iron, and zinc (among others). This revitalizes and supports your gut and immune system.

Foods recommended by the alkaline diet also happen to have a cleansing and nourishing effect on the body. Red peppers, broccoli, and carrots are rich sources of vitamin A, that help keep your skin and hair healthy and glowing.

 

Understanding the pH Scale

Here’s a basic review of how the pH scale works. It is important to understand this in order to understand the correlation between pH and your health.

The pH scale runs from 0 (acidic) to 14 (basic or alkaline). 7 stands at the centre and is neutral. Water has a pH of 7. Hydrochloric acid or battery acid both have a pH of 0 and are extremely acidic and corrosive in nature. At the opposite end of the scale, lye has a pH of 14 (nearly). And, lye is extremely alkaline.

The acidity or alkalinity of a substance can be balanced with a buffer that resists a change in pH. Alternatively, you can balance an acidic substance with a basic substance or vice versa.

In order to function properly, the human body needs to maintain the pH in a very narrow range – between 7.35 and 7.45. This range provides the ideal working environment for the body’s tissue, fluids as well as organs and hormones.

That being said, each organ or fluid within the body maintains its own acidity/alkalinity. For example, the stomach is highly acidic at about 3.5 on the pH scale. It must remain so in order to effectively break down and process food. Blood, on the other hand, is mostly neutral. This characteristic enables it to channel and transport substances across the body without reacting with them.

 

Help Your Body Maintain its pH

Clearly, maintaining a proper pH is critical for your health. A pH imbalance can lead to several issues, and an extreme imbalance can quickly become fatal.

Alkalosis is a condition that occurs when your bodily fluids become alkaline. It can be induced by – pre-existing ailments such as liver or lung diseases; a low oxygen intake; or a sudden loss of electrolytes. Alkalosis, however, is not a common condition.

Acidosis, on the other hand, is characterized by high acidity of the body’s fluids. There are several different types of acidosis –  respiratory, metabolic, lactic, and renal. Diet-induced metabolic acidosis results when the primary diet is animal-based rather than plant-based, and not enough vegetables and fruits are consumed. Symptoms include confusion, dullness, fogginess, fatigue, shortness of breath, and lethargy.

The kidneys protect your body against acidosis. The excess acid is sent to the bladder to be expelled as urine. Kidneys also maintain a tight control over bicarbonates in the body. The lungs assist in protecting as well. Carbon dioxide which is a product of cellular metabolism becomes acidic when it mixes with the blood. The lungs are able to dispel carbon dioxide through normal respiratory function.

Fortunately, the body has these mechanisms in place to keep pH levels in check — regardless of what you eat. But eating right helps your body greatly!

pH-scale-food

How to Take Charge of Alkaline and Acidic foods in Your Diet.

Recently when I visited a health professional, I was advised not to take juice. I must have had this confused look on my face, so the health professional said, skip juice for a few days as it is acidic. That got me thinking; do most people think of juice as acidic because they think it is fruits blended together? Or at the mention of juice they picture only orange juice and immediately think that orange is acidic? 
So I thought that I would list alkaline and acidic forming foods for you so that at one glance you know what is in your diet.

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ALKALINE FORMING FOODS (80% of your diet)

Almost all fresh foods (includes dried fruits)
Most fresh vegetables (whole)
Millet, quinoa, amaranth, sprouted grains
Raw goat's milk, goat's milk yoghurt
Tofu, tempeh, miso
Eggs
Almonds, dry roasted chestnuts, whole sesame seeds, fresh coconut
Apple cider vinegar, brown rice vinegar, homemade pickles and sauerkraut
Agar-agar, arrowroot flour
Honey (raw), brown rice syrup, stevia, carob powder
Dandelion coffee, herbal tea, green tea
Sprouted legumes
Fresh fruit and vegetable juices
Sea salt, Tamari, spices, nutritional yeast
The best alkaline body is when you have lots of LAUGHTER, LOVE, HUGS, FRESH AIR, PRAYER, MEDITATION, PEACE, KINDNESS and REST and SLEEP

ACID FORMING FOODS (20% of the diet)

Unripe bananas, plums, cranberries, prunes, blueberries
Rhubarb, peeled potatoes
All grains except those mentioned in the Alkaline foods
All processed grain products
Salted butter, sweetened yoghurt, homogenised milks, 
Most processed dairy products 
Meat, fish, fowl, whole cooked eggs
Unsprouted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, cashews, dried coconut
White malt, wine, balsamic vinegar, store bought pickles, ketchup, mayonnaise
Gelatin products
Sugar, jams, candies, heated honey, unprocessed maple syrup, fructose, barley malt syrup, artificial sweeteners, sulphured molasses, brown sugar
Coffee, coffee substitutes, cocoa, black tea,
Unsprouted dried legumes (pulses)
Soft drinks, soda water, alcohol
Iodised table salt
The acidic body is formed when you have WORRY, ANGER, JEALOUSY, RESENTMENT, STRESS, LACK OF SLEEP, STALE AIR, AIRCONDITIONED AIR

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Hope this quick reference to alkaline and acidic foods will help you create a more alkalined body for yourself and your beautiful family.