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!

Creating Your Very Own Blood Pressure Reducing Meal Plan

Keeping a tab on your high blood pressure, or hypertension, is not an easy task. It is a silent condition that often comes unannounced, presents no symptoms and escalates quickly.

It is a leading risk factor for more serious heart ailments – heart attack and stroke, disability and even death. And in Australia alone, close to 6 million adults suffer from it.

Over two-thirds of people over the age of 65 have high blood pressure. The people over the age of 55 who do not suffer now, have more than 90% chance of developing it at some point in their lifetime. These are staggering statistics.

However, with some systematic changes and healthy lifestyle improvements you can beat the statistic. All you need are some simple guidelines to follow – including exercising, eating healthy and practising moderation. Also, consider not smoking and reducing daily stress.

The foods we choose to eat every day are vital to our heart’s health. Some foods can help us lower our blood pressure and boost our health and vitality.

In this blog post, I give you some pointers to help you create your very own blood pressure reducing meal plan. I discuss the healthy ingredients to include and the unhealthy foods to skip. I talk about ways to cook and eat these foods without destroying their innate goodness with overcooking. And I give you a sample meal plan that you can try for yourself.

If you’re looking to spend minimum time in the kitchen but want to maximise the flavour in your food. If you want to lower your blood pressure and want to know how to prep and plan meals for your condition – This blog post is just for you!

1. Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Include 4-5 serves of fresh fruits and vegetables with your meals. Avoid processed and packaged foods to the maximum possible extent. Also, avoid junk foods and sugary drinks.

Buy produce from your local farmers markets. Go for seasonal produce and wholefoods. Buy organic certified foods wherever possible.

It is better to include a variety, however, a few vegetables and fruits are better than others for your heart. Such as beetroot, blueberries, dark beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, red pepper, squash, spinach, oranges, papaya, rockmelon, tomatoes, asparagus and broccoli to name a few.

2. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids and lots of nutritional support for your heart. Include healthy amounts of nuts and seeds in your daily intake.

Ancient grains such as quinoa and amaranth are considered superfoods. Almonds and walnuts are great to snack on and curb hunger. Flaxseeds contain phytoestrogens that boost heart health. Cacao nibs are delicious as well as healthy.

3. Lean Protein and Healthy Fats

Healthy amounts of lean protein are required for a meal to be balanced and nutritious. Tofu, tempeh and bean-curd are great options for vegetarians and vegans. Try a stir-fry with veggies for a heart-healthy meal. Non-vegetarians can consider portions of fish like salmon and tuna.

Similarly, healthy fats too are essential for a meal to be truly nutritious. Consider sweet potato and avocado. For those of us with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate with cacao and no added sugar can be a great natural substitute for a sugary dessert.

Keeping your heart health in mind and as a general rule-of-thumb consider dairy free and gluten free alternatives wherever possible.

Sample Meal Plan

Here’s a sample “blood pressure reducing meal plan” that is also dairy free, gluten free and vegan. It includes all the healthy ingredients that we discussed above.

Breakfast: almond yogurt parfait with smashed avocado.

  • 3/4 cup of non-dairy almond or coconut yogurt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. of slivered almonds

Top yogurt with almonds.

  • ½ medium-size avocado
  • Seasoning
  • Parsley to garnish

Smash the avocado into uneven pulp and season mildly. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Drink option: Green smoothie with celery, mint, spinach and cucumber.

AM Snack: ¾ cup of fresh blueberries.

Lunch: garlic grilled mushrooms and steamed brussels sprouts.

  • 2 cup fresh whole shitake mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Diced red pepper

Lightly drizzle the ingredients with butter and grill in an open pan.

  • 1 cup fresh brussels sprouts
  • Seasoning

Steam brussels sprouts and season mildly.

PM Snack: 2 cups cubed rockmelon.

Dinner: Mixed greens salad bowl with black beans and lentils, and a side of baked sweet potato

  • 1 cup mixed salad greens
  • 1 cup boiled black beans and lentils
  • ½ small brown onion diced
  • Coriander to garnish

Toss ingredients in a bowl and season with olive oil.

  • ½ small sweet potato

Slice into fine chips and bake in an oven until crisp.

3 Steps To Feeling Good With A Complete Liver Cleanse

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Plant-Based Sources Of Iron Perfect For Vegetarians And Vegans

There’s iron in your skillets and your traditional woks. There is iron in great many food sources. The question is – “Is it the same iron that your body needs?” The answer is, yes.

Iron is absolutely essential. It is a vital mineral that helps carry life-giving oxygen to every cell in our body. It is iron that connects you from your very core to the land you’re living on. It is amazing how large a role iron plays in our everyday living and many bodily functions!

What would be even more amazing is if more people understood the role of iron. Iron deficiency is rampant across the world’s populace. And people suffer from symptoms such as lack of energy, shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches, irritability, fogginess, dizziness and anaemia.

Vegans and vegetarians are particularly affected since the diet is restrictive (I’ll explain more here in this article.) Eating a balanced, healthy, varied mix of foods that includes – pulses, legumes, grains, nuts, vegetables and fruits, helps. But if you are a vegetarian or vegan keep a close lookout.

Take it from me- we really need to pay more attention to iron in our diet. I am writing this article from a vegan and vegetarian perspective, including plant-based sources of iron. Iron is greatly misunderstood as a nutrient and I hope to dispel some myths.

 

How much iron do we need?

The recommended daily intake (RDI) for iron is 18mg per day. However, individual requirements may vary significantly based on a number of factors like – the person’s gender, life stage and special circumstances. It is advisable to get an accurate recommendation from a chosen and trusted healthcare professional, such as your Health Coach.

For example, men and women generally require about 8mg of iron per day. This amount increases further to around 18mg per day for menstruating women, and to 27mg per day for pregnant women. The RDI for vegetarians and vegans is 1.8 times higher than that for meat eaters.

 

Iron from plants for vegetarians and vegans

There are two types of iron — (1) heme, which is found in non-vegetarian and animal-based foods, and (2) non-heme, which is from plant-based sources. It is true that heme iron is better absorbed than non-heme iron.

Painful as it is for vegetarians and vegans to hear, it is not all that difficult to get the iron you need on a purely plant-based diet. Here are some fantastic sources to consider:

  • Legumes: lentils, tofu, natto, tempeh, lima beans and peas
  • Nuts and seeds: pumpkin, sesame, hemp, flaxseeds, cashew, pine and pistachio
  • Vegetables: leafy greens, potatoes, collard greens, mushrooms and spinach
  • Fruits: tomato puree, prune juice and mulberries
  • Grains: quinoa, amaranth, oatmeal and unhulled sesame
  • Other: blackstrap molasses, coconut milk and cacao

 

5 ways you can absorb more iron

The iron in plant-based foods is not as easily absorbed as the iron in animal products. The trick is in knowing how to eat, nearly as much as understanding what to eat.

  1. Avoid coffee and tea with meals. Drinking these beverages can reduce iron absorption by 50-90%. Consider this tip as you eat iron-rich foods to heighten the impact.
  2. Eat smaller amounts throughout the day and spread your meals. When you consume iron-rich foods it is good to pace your meals, this way the body actually works on absorbing the iron more evenly and effectively.
  3. Eat foods rich in vitamin c together with your iron-rich meals. Traditionally these combinations are already available – beans and salsa, hummus with a touch of lemon and quinoa and fresh orange juice. Eating foods like this together increases the absorption rate of iron significantly.
  4. Soak, sprout and ferment foods. These techniques are great for reducing the amount of phytates naturally occurring in foods, thereby increasing the chances of iron absorption when they are eaten.
  5. Use a cast-iron skillet or wok to cook your food in. Cooking foods this way increases the amount of iron in it.
  6. And finally, if you feel that your busy life doesn’t permit you or that you are unable to meet the required levels of iron in your food just by following these tips, consider dietary supplements. But please talk to a Health Coach in order to map out your exact dosage.

I will be happy to consult with you and make suggestions based on your lifestyle. Don’t take your health for granted. Start now and take charge.

How Do You Create Your Own Salad – an Amateur’s Step by Step Guide

For some people putting a salad together is like blinking an eye. For some however, especially if your cultural background doesn't involve eating salads, then putting a salad together can be a very daunting job. I must admit; I find it very challenging.
So with summer just round the corner, I thought it would be timely to put together a simple step by step 'create your own salad.'

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Choose 3 LEAVES

1. Romaine lettuce
2. Ice berg
3. Rocket leaves 
4. Spinach 
5. Kailan
6. Mixed salad leaves

Choose 4 VEGETABLES

1. Cherry tomato
2. Broccoli
3. Beet root
4. Capsicum
5. Carrots
6. Mung Bean sprouts
7. Onion
8. Green beans
9. Cucumber
10. Alfalfa sprouts

Choose 3 CONDIMENTS

1. Green olives
2. Black olives
3. Walnuts
4. Almonds
5. Capers
6. Chickpeas
7. Tempeh croutons
8. Tofu croutons

Choose 1 DRESSING

1. Tahini
2. Olive oil and lemon juice dressing
3. Honey and Balsamic vinegar

Choose 1 SIDE

1. Quinoa
2. Brown Rice
3. Rye bread
4. Raw seed crackers
5. Brown rice chappati
6. Couscous
 
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There you go. Dozens of salad recipes all in one place. Let me know if you found this helpful.