If you follow any sort of diet/health account on Instagram, or really anyone for that matter, I am sure you’ve heard the term food combining. As of late, it seems to be everywhere.
Just like all the other fad diets and information on the proper ways to eat, food combining promises to answer all our dreams. Our dreams of once and for all beating the belly bloat and any lingering digestion issues.
I first came across the term food combining back in June when I found this account on Instagram. I had sent the account to my little sister stating that she shared some great wellness related information. We both started following her and quickly started discussing the idea of food combining with each other.
After looking into it a bit, food combining seemed doable. Eventually, I decided to give it a try. Plus I’ll do anything to improve my digestion and reduce bloating.
What Is Food Combining?
The whole belief behind food combining is that some foods pair well together while others do not. When foods are improperly combined it wreaks havoc on our system. The improper combining causes digestive stress as well as the dreaded bloat we all despise.
Food combining derives from the Ayurvedic Medicine of India. Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic approach to health that dates back over 5,000 years ago. In Ayurvedic medicine, there is a huge emphasis put on digestion.
The rules that make up the food combining philosophy are based on two things. One is how fast each food group travels through our system. The second, being the pH-enzyme balance.
When it comes to transit times, if a fast-digesting food is combined with a slow-digesting food, the belief is that it causes a “traffic jam” within our system. Which in turn causes digestive issues and a slew of other health concerns.
It is also believed that different foods require different enzymes to be broken down. Because the enzymes work at different pH levels, if you eat certain foods together that require a different pH-enzyme balance this will also cause digestive issues within our system.
The Rules of Food Combining
Like I mentioned above, food combining, like any good fad diet, comes with a set of rules. These rules are as follows:
- Fruit should only be eaten on an empty stomach
- Do not combine different types of proteins
- Do not combine proteins and starches
- Fats and protein should be combined in moderation
- Fruits and leafy greens can be combined, however, melon should never be combined with other foods.
- Greens and veggies pair well with everything, except for melon.
As far as diets go, I found these rules to be fairly simple and doable. It didn’t seem like there was much restriction.
After following along on IG for a while, seeing the people who swore by this to combat bloat, I figured I would give it a go.
Before I get into my experience with food combining, I want to point out that when it comes to research, there isn’t a whole lot on this method of eating.
There has been one study published talking about food combining for weight loss, but as far as the transit time and pH-enzyme balance goes, there really isn’t much. There technically is no scientific proof that this method of eating truly does work or even if there are any benefits to it.
Basically, what I’ve learned through my research, is to take the claims of food combining proponents with a grain of salt.
Here’s the thing, I don’t have great self-control when it comes to food, so was I perfect with this, definitely not. The weekends are always free for all with me (I’m working on it).
With that being said though, I have been able to stick with this method of eating during the week and I’ve enjoyed it for several reasons:
- It helps me be more mindful of what I am actually eating.
- I rarely consume meat during the week.
- I’ve added a lot more veggies to replace the meat.
- I’ve come to love starting my day with a bowl of fruit!
Have I noticed a huge reduction in bloat? Are my digestive issues all of a sudden gone? No and no. But like I said, eating this way does help me to be more mindful of what is on my plate. That alone makes it worth it.
As with any other fad diet, there are pros and cons to food combining. I certainly don’t believe it is the magic fix we are all hoping to find, but I’ve enjoyed the benefits I’ve experienced even if the science isn’t there to back it up.