As we all know, exercise is just one component of health and fitness. I would even argue that nutrition is the most important aspect of both. A poor diet can lead to a variety of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. A poor diet can also completely sabotage all of the hard work you’re putting in at the gym.
Lately, I have been reading a lot about food combining. Essentially, this refers to the effects that certain foods have on your digestion and absorption of their nutrients when eaten together. It turns out that certain foods can block the absorption of the nutrients of another food that you may be eating at the same time, and some foods take longer to digest than others. I have heard these concepts by various health gurus/practitioners on YouTube, and I am currently reading the Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity by Daniel P. Reid, which is reinforcing these concepts.
The book begins with diet and nutrition stating that when food is not digested properly it leads to putrefaction and fermentation in the body, causing “gas, heartburn, cramps, bloating, constipation, foul stools, bleeding hemorrhoids, and colitis.” Nobody wants any of this!
Some basic rules that the book provides are to not combine the following types of foods: protein and starch, starch and acid, protein and sugar, and starch and sugar.
- Proteins include your meats and cheeses.
- Starches include bananas, potatoes, pasta, bread, and cereals.
- Sugars would be cane sugar, fructose, honey, maple syrup, and dried fruit.
- Acid would be certain fruit like oranges, grapefruit, lemon, berries, and pineapple.
The basic reason for not combing these foods is that each activates different digestive enzymes in the stomach that can neutralize one another, leaving some food undigested and nutrients unabsorbed, which then leads to gas, heartburn, cramps, bloating, etc. Like I mentioned earlier, some food digests more quickly than others, such as fruit. Fruit/sugar digests more quickly than protein and carbohydrates. This means that it’s typically best to eat fruit first or earlier in the day only. (So all of the people out there who eat dessert first, y’all know what’s up. :P) When eaten after a more slowly digested food, the sugar in the fruit is then allowed to ferment, leading to all of the comfortableness listed above.
I understand that food combining can be difficult, especially when first introduced to it. I’m just starting out myself, and it does seem daunting. However, with practice, everything is possible. Sticking to eating fruit earlier in the day only is a great first step and something I have begun to implement. Another thing to keep in mind is that salads and veggies basically go great with everything. I do highly recommend getting the book the Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity. It goes into much more depth about each food category and even provides a week’s worth of recipes, making it that much easier to visualize what a diet that follows the above rules looks like.
If anything, the key takeaway here is that food, when eaten correctly, can be therapeutic and medicinal. Becoming conscious and aware of what you put into your body, and how you react to it, is an important part of nutrition.
Hope you’re all doing well.