real raw kitchen: how-to: food combining basics

Monday, June 10, 2013

how-to: food combining basics

We are one gassy nation. There, I said it. And it's mostly because our country was built upon the meat-and-potatoes mentality (and I'm sure many other countries were, too). This isn't a coincidence and it's time we stop living with the bloat. You know what I'm talking about. The ohmigod-I-can't-button-my-pants bloat. It's uncomfortable, it's painful, it's embarrassing, and it mostly makes you wish you had never eaten anything at all if it means you never had to feel that bloat.

Luckily, there's a very simple way to reduce your bloat-time and possibly eliminate it altogether. Now ... We've all rushed through meals--which definitely leads to some bloating due to the air bubbles we gulp down during the rush--so we can't say for sure that you will never be gassy again. But what I've noticed since I've started making more conscious combinations in my meals is that I have eliminated much of my bloat easily. YES!

The neatest thing is that when I do rebel and make poor combination choices, anyway, I notice my body angrily bubble up in protest (i.e. dried fruit, a fatty avocado, greens, seeds ...) and to clarify, it's neat that I can understand what my body is doing. Not the gas.

The best way to reduce this bloating is by combining your foods in a way that allows for easy digestion. Different kinds of foods activate different kinds of enzymes in the stomach. While some enzymes are working, others back off, and vice versa. At the same time, some foods digest very easily and quickly while others take quite a bit of time to break down. For example, fruit can enter and exit your digestive tract within 30 minutes, so it's best to either eat this alone or on an empty stomach (or both!). Raw greens are next and digest fairly quickly as well. Next in line for digestion time are non-starchy veggies, then starchy vegetables, and then lastly proteins and fats. The idea behind "food combining"--as it's called--is to order your food intake in a way that allows easy digestion. Otherwise, food can get backed up and your intestines can get confused. When this happens you definitely notice. It is that uncomfortable gassy and bloated feeling that many of us experience after every meal.

 I've made a quick cheat-sheet (soon for purchase!) to help you see how foods combine, and how to avoid bad combinations. 

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And to help you--and myself--out, here are the different food groups broken down:

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Don't stress over this and don't beat yourself up if you don't follow it. Life and food are not supposed to be stressful! Instead, take a look, understand the concept, and then make a conscious effort to order your food wisely as you're eating. I promise you, once you get the hang of it it's really easy and you will rid yourself of that food baby once and for all!



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