Food Combining

food-combining-intro

Did you know that digesting food requires more energy than any other function in the human body? It’s no wonder we’re exhausted after a big lunch! It stands to reason, then, that the best way to free up some extra energy is to make our digestion as quick and efficient as possible.

Food combining is one of my favorite tricks to streamline the digestive process. Though food combining principles can get very complicated, depending on which expert you ask, I prefer to keep them simple. Simply pick just one dense food at each meal, whatever you’re craving most at that moment, and then fill the rest of your plate with raw and cooked non-starchy vegetables. Easy! By simplifying your meals, the digestive system doesn’t have to tackle too much in one sitting, helping you to avoid that bloated, sluggish feeling that can put a damper on the rest of your day.

Studies have shown that humans have a tendency to overeat when we are offered a wide variety of foods during a meal. (source) So, by simplifying our meals, we will naturally eat less, without counting calories or worrying about portion sizes.

Best of all, you don’t have to give up any food groups that you love– you just may not want to eat them all at the same time. The following guide should help!

food-combining-chart(click on chart above to enlarge or print)

As you can see in the chart above, the foods have been divided into four general categories:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Starches
  • Animal Protein
  • Nuts, Seeds & Dried Fruit

For a properly combined meal, simply choose ONE category and only eat foods out of that category for that particular meal. The foods listed within the same category combine well with each other, and you may also include anything from the “Neutral” column to fill out your plate.

Wait 3-4 hours between each meal, before switching categories.

For example:

A properly-combined starch meal might look something like this:

A sandwich on whole-grain bread, filled with avocado, mustard, lettuce, tomato and sprouts. Served with a leafy side salad and a baked sweet potato topped with butter. You could follow this meal with some dark chocolate for dessert!

A properly-combined flesh meal might look something like this:

A leafy green salad topped with cherry tomatoes and goat cheese, followed by a piece of baked fish served with a side of roasted broccoli and cauliflower. You could follow this meal with some dark chocolate or goat’s milk ice cream for dessert!

A properly-combined nut & seed meal might look something like this:

A leafy green salad topped with dried cranberries and raw walnuts, followed by a platter of raw hummus served with raw crudités. Dessert could be a slice of raw cheesecake, a few raw macaroons, or a couple raw almond butter cups!

Fresh fruit is best eaten in the mornings, on an empty stomach.

This is because fruit digests so quickly, typically within 30 minutes of eating. (However, fruit can be combined with leafy green vegetables in a green smoothie, if you like!) Fruit is not recommended as a dessert after a meal, as it could potentially cause fermentation, gas and bloating, and promote bacterial overgrowth in the body. You can eat fruit as an afternoon snack or post-workout, as long as it’s been 3-4 hours since your last properly-combined meal.

Note: There is a lot of debate over the science behind food combining, without much evidence to back it up. (There is little money to be made in this field, which probably accounts for the lack of funded studies.) Personally, I think why food combining works for me, and for many others, is that it encourages you to make better choices, without feeling restricted. When you’re choosing just ONE food category at a time, then filling the rest of your plate with raw and cooked vegetables, you’re bound to be making healthier choices! So, food combining may just work because it encourages the consumption of more whole foods and simpler meals.

I think it’s also important to note that there’s no need to be “perfect” with food combining rules all the time. I like to follow the 80/20 rule, because life’s too short to stress about what you’re eating!

Comments

    • says

      I would consider tofu to be part of the legume family– since it’s technically a bean curd made from soybeans. Legumes are complicated to digest, as they contain both starch and protein, so they are often not recommended for optimum digestion. Personally, I think it’s fine to enjoy legumes as the “density” of your meal. In other words, I wouldn’t mix them with any other dense starches or proteins, but rather eat them with plenty of raw and/or cooked vegetables. They make a great salad topper, and a filling vegetable soup. :) Hope that helps!

      • anton says

        Hey there,
        I have a question about mixing rice or pasta with ketchup for better taste. Or some fruit along woth oatmeal in the morning. Any advice?

  1. Carrie says

    Trying to follow along with the reply #17, i’m assuming lentils are also in the legume family, but which catagory would beans / lentils / etc be in? Nuts / Seeds or Flesh, due to the protein? Lentil Soups, Black Eyed peas, pintos, etc. Thanks Megan!

    • Dana says

      I’d flat out call them a starch and leave it at that. They happen to have some protein riding along, but so do grains.

  2. Lisa says

    The other sites I have visited regarding food combining tend to be confusing and also more focused on what not to do. Thank you for providing a chart to make things simple. By focusing on the positive things we can eat together, it makes it exciting to take on rather than scary/stressful. The sample meals are also super helpful!!!

  3. Alicia says

    I just stumbled upon your site…it’s great and very interesting. I definitely think this is something that could help me with my digestion discomforts. I saw the question above about lentils and other beans. I too am wondering about this. I do not eat a lot of meat and do not eat tofu, so I usually eat things like chic peas, lentils, black beans, etc. Where do they fit in? When I do eat them I usually mix them into a salad or make home-made “veggie burgers” with either black beans and veggies or chic peas and veggies. However, I notice that is not something you suggest?

    • says

      Hi Alicia! Lentils and beans are not very popular among those practicing strict food combining, as they are both a starch and a protein, and therefore are naturally “miscombined.”

      While I don’t eat them often, I do think they work perfectly fine in starch-based meals. Homemade veggie burgers are a great option, and you can also enjoy them over a leafy green salad, or in a vegetarian Mexican-style meal with rice and guacamole.

      Hope that helps!

    • says

      Avocados are unique! They combine with fruit (other than melon, which should be eaten alone) in a simple fruit-based meal or smoothie, OR they can combine with starchier foods, like breads and squashes. Just make sure you don’t mix the fruit with the starches in the same meal.

  4. Laura says

    Megan, I <3 your website! Been on it for hours. One question, soy nuts? Where do they fall? Also, in many of your recipes you use almond, cashew, nut butters… do you think soy nut butter (I'm allergic to nuts) would be a good substitute for these both in recipe results and food-combining practice? Thanks! You're amazing!

    • says

      The grain-free flours will combine according to the ingredient– so coconut flour would combine as shredded coconut would, in the nut/seed category. Nut flours will combine in the nut/seed category as well, or in the overall “protein” category, depending on how strictly you combine.

  5. Ashley says

    Is there anyway you can post some more meal combining examples? I am a newbie and can use all of the help I can get. There are a few things that are confusing to me ( ex. in the starchy meal, tomatoes are included even thought they are not a “cooked” veggie.). I would truly appreciate your help. : )

    Thank you-
    Ashley

    • says

      People who practice food combining don’t necessarily agree with that idea, but bananas are an exception to the fruit rule– you can enjoy them with any nuts or seeds for a protein boost. Also, leafy green veggies are surprisingly protein-rich, and they combine with any fruit. Green smoothies are a good option!

  6. says

    Hi Megan,

    I would like to please ask a question about other vegetables not mentioned on the chart. I saw the raw leafy greens are under teh neutral category, but I am wondering how other veggies combine, like tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, mushrooms, and so on and so forth.

    Thanks so much! Your site is great!

    ~Alexia

  7. says

    this is great! I have a qurstion,

    I like to have oatmeal on the morning. so could i do then oatmeal, almond milk, coconut oil, but I like to add some protein like whey protein is that okay or would the whey be considerend as a flesh?

    I do suffer from a lot of tummy discomfort even after going wheat free and mostly dairy free except for the whey protein adn yogurt.

    • says

      I include dried fruit in some of my dessert recipes, which do combine properly with nuts and seeds. Fresh bananas also combine with nuts and seeds.

  8. Kath says

    What about hemp seed or hazelnut milk (store bought)- can this combine the same as almond milk (nuetral and with avacados in smoothies)? Thanks :)!

    • says

      Yes, all nut and seed milks can be considered neutral for our purposes, since the pulp has been removed. Be sure to look for store-bought milks with little to no fillers, for best digestion. I believe Pacific brand makes some good options!

  9. Ashley Lenn says

    I saw on some websites that artichoke hearts are considered a starch. In your opinion, or according to your studies, would you categorize it as a starch? Meaning I could combine it with avocado and non starchy veggies?
    What about tahini? it is made from sesame seeds so only add a tahini dressing on a salad with no flesh and no starch? Meaning just raw veggies?
    Thank youuu!

    • says

      I tend to keep my food combining as simple and easy as possible– there are definitely more strict charts out there! Personally, I know that if it’s too complicated, I won’t follow it. So, for my purposes, artichokes fall into the neutral category. If you find that they disagree with you in that category, however, you can change how to combine them! Combining will definitely vary from person to person– usually people start having simpler meals as they become more accustomed to combining over the years.

      Tahini does fall into the nut category, so yes, it can combine with raw veggies, dried fruit and bananas.

  10. says

    I have been making morning smoothies that combine fruits – bananas, pineapple, cantaloupe and berries with veggies such as kale, spinach, cucumbers, zucchini and other greens. I also add in some fresh ginger, almond meal and flaxseeds. Oh and occasionally avocado. It is jammed packed : ) Is this not a good idea?

  11. Joanna says

    Hi Megan,
    I have a question about baking with almond flour. I suppose using eggs in a recipe with almond flour (and coconut flour for that matter) would make it miscombined, is that right? If so, I guess it’s best to not bake too often then. Or just stick to your chocolate chip cookies recipe. YUM YUM!

    • says

      Yes, technically those recipes are mis-combined– though, they do still stick to the most basic rule, which is not to combine starches with protein. They should definitely be considered a treat!

  12. Michelle Francesca says

    Hi Megan,

    I like to use organic canned coconut milk in creamy soup recipes. Can I combine canned coconut milk with starches to make creamy squash soups? Also is it okay in curry recipes that contain flesh?

    Thanks!

    • says

      Canned coconut milk actually falls into the nut/seed category, because it’s made from mature coconuts. Unless you’re making your own coconut milk, blending together young coconut meat and water, it wouldn’t be a perfect combination to mix it with starches. However, I find that the more liquid a substance (such as a soup) the easier it is to digest overall, so it wouldn’t be the biggest deal to mis-combine there.

  13. Jenni says

    I have recently bBeen note rested in food combinig and have been doing some research but there are a lot of contradictions out there! Some say that avocado is in the protein category, and then some say you should only have one concentrated protein at a meal, and that dairy products should be eaten on their own… !? I’m also curious about fruit … Some sources say that you can mix acid fruits with protein? And then in some baking recipes use applesauce or other fruits with grain or nut flours and then add eggs to that as well… Any thoughts on how to sort all of this out? I’m also wondering if you have ever read the book “eating Alive” by John matsen? Thanks!

    • says

      I don’t like to get too complicated with food combining rules, so the chart above is what I follow to keep things simple. Also, I feature some recipes on my site that are not properly combined, but they could be considered helpful “transition foods” for people who are coming off the Standard American Diet. I always encourage people to upgrade the quality of their foods, even if they aren’t perfectly combined, so any step in the right direction is a good thing, if you ask me!

  14. RebeccaTedder says

    Hi,

    What about fruits that are thought of as vegetables in a culinary sense. I cant see Tomatoes, capsicums (peppers), zucchinis, cucumbers, pumpkin? Are these best eaten with nuts, seeds and dried fruit and neutrals? Can you have tomato with a grain meal?

    Also, where do we draw the line between seed and grain? I know that quinoa and amaranth are often referred to as “seed grains”. Also, seed grains have a lot of protein and carbs – so why are these better for us than legumes? Is it the particular types of protein??

    Also, which category do sprouts fall under? One more question, noticed that raw hummus, is that made of chickpeas? Do you still consider sprouted legumes/peas as acidic/heavy. which category do they fall in once sprouted??

    Can you recommend a good book on food combining, something with a bit of detail and scientific focus?? Excited to read more, as everything I have recently started reading about food combining really reflects my experience.

    Bec

    • Joelle says

      I was hoping this question would be answered. I was kinda wondering this myself. I have read those should not be combined (unless with each other) because they are fruit.

      • Megan says

        Non-sweet fruits, such as zucchini or tomatoes, can be considered neutral for basic food combining purposes.

        To answer the other questions above, I consider quinoa and amaranth to fall into the grain category, even though they are technically seeds. Sprouts, like alfalfa or broccoli, are leafy greens and can be considered neutral. Even when they’re sprouted, I’d still consider chickpeas to be a legume, but they would be easier to digest than non-sprouted versions. I personally combine all beans/legumes as a starch.

    • says

      Jenna,
      You have a blunt approach to matters
      as I can clearly see in your B.S. response.
      As a healthcare professional for 38 years,
      I have struggled with indigestion and even
      underwent a total collecting 4 years ago.
      Nothing has provided me with more relief
      more than proper food combining and mean
      NOTHING! So maybe it just takes some
      folks a major health set back to wake ’em
      up.
      Best wishes,
      Mike L.

  15. Nea says

    It’s my understanding that melons do not combine well with anything else- including other fruits as they’re listed in category 1 of your chart. They’re good for you, but any melon should be eaten by itself.

    • Megan says

      Yes, that’s true! I didn’t make it clear on my chart, but I always recommend eating melons alone.

  16. Samantha says

    Hi, there! I really appreciate the spirit of this page, but a better approach to naturally aiding digestion is lowering your FODMAP intake. Here is a link to Sue Shepherd’s website, a doctor in Australia who has done extensive research into the low FODMAP diet: http://shepherdworks.com.au/disease-information/low-fodmap-diet

    Her advice was specifically formulated for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fructose Malabsorption (which I have), Gluten Intolerance, and Lactose Intolerance, which all cause pain and bloating after consuming different foods. However, even “normal” people will benefit from reading and understanding the mechanics of digestion of FODMAP’s, categories of foods that all people have trouble digesting. Those of us with intolerances have fewer of the enzymes that “normal” people have, but even “normal” people have a limited amount of each category of enzymes that deplete as the food is digested. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FODMAP)

    As an example, eating an all-fruit meal will overload your small intestine with fructose, one of the naturally occurring sugars. As the food passes through, the enzymes that move the fructose through the intestine wall are depleted. The fructose then passes into the large intestine, where the gut bacteria feed vociferously. This causes gas, bloating, flatulence, and pain.

    Hope this helps.

  17. Kins says

    Hi, I usually have overnight oats:

    oatmeal, almond milk- but the kicker here is chia seeds. Can I include those? What about Greek yogurt and chia seeds? So no greek yogurt and strawberries etc either?

    • Megan says

      Yes, it sounds like you got it! It’s not easy to adjust to new food combinations at first, but with practice, it does become an easy habit. Please don’t feel pressure to give up your usual healthy combinations, though, since food combining isn’t always for everyone.

  18. Tatjana says

    Hi!
    Am I allowed to eat fruit + yoghurt? Or milk?

    Or should I use soy milk?

    Is it ok to eat oatmeal with soy milk?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Megan says

      I don’t care for the term “allowed,” since you are always welcome to eat anything you like! For food combining purposes, fruit would be eaten alone, so without any dairy. I personally avoid soy milk myself, but non-dairy milks are generally considered neutral and can be enjoyed over cereals.

  19. Kins says

    Thank you so much for your reply. I think I will continue to add the chia seeds for breakfast but will incorporate the rest as much as I can without letting my diet dictate my life! I loved this website. Last night we went for mexican food, and I made sure to get a burrito with bean and avacado vs the typical bean and cheese thanks to your website. The fruit things an eye opener too- would never had known! Starch wise, whats confusing is “dry beans” are considered to be a starch while beans also fall under a low starch category on other websites. Can you define starchy veggies?

    • Megan says

      I personally consider beans, potatoes, and winter squash to fall into the “starchy” category. In terms of starchiness, it all depends on what you’re comparing it to. In comparison to leafy greens, beans would be considered pretty starchy. But, compared to a loaf of white bread, beans would be considered “low-starch.”

    • Megan says

      Caffeinated beverages should be consumed at least 30 minutes before eating, and not with or after, to avoid acidifying the food you’re eating.

  20. Katie says

    Hi, I just wanted to say I found your article super helpful. I’ve read through all of the comments and just have a few questions I couldn’t find answers to (here or elsewhere on the net!). What can chia seeds be eaten with? I know they’re a seed, but since they’re so high in protein I thought perhaps they would be chunked into that group instead. If it’s at all possible, I would really appreciate a specific food example or two, since I used to load chia into everything and now I’m lost! Also, I read that you said coconut milk gets lumped into the nuts and seeds catagory, but almond milk does not. I just wanted to make sure I understood that correctly, because I love coconut milk and find almond milk to taste kind of like plato.

    Regards,
    Katie

  21. says

    Wonderful website. Plenty of useful information here. I am sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you on your effort!

  22. says

    I’ve been using food combining for some years now – without it I get chronic indigestion, acid reflux, heartburn, etc, etc. By combining my foods properly, I can save myself a lot of pain and discomfort!

    Sometimes I go “off” the combining, and just have to put up with the consequences, but at least now I have a choice. Previously I was taking medication that didn’t do much, and the dosage had to be increased all the time – I hated that.

    One added bonus was that I lost weight without even trying when I first started food combining!

    Thanks for the info, the chart is useful!

  23. says

    Hi, in the morning, I usually make a fruit smoothie with coconut milk almond milk and frozen berries. Is that okay to combine??

  24. Mary Ann says

    Hello!

    I have a question about the fresh fruit category. So is it not a good idea to let’s say, have yogurt in the morning topped with fresh blueberries? Or even putting a sliced banana in your cereal?

    Thanks so much!

  25. says

    Hi Megan,

    I am new to your site… (I have hardly been able to work I am so addicted to your site!!). I have the Raw Food Detox Diet and I LOVE IT. I have recently picked it up again and started to make a HUGE lifestyle change. I have a hard time quitting grains completely… and I was wondering how you felt about Ezekiel Breads and Tortillas? I like to make delicious (mostly raw) wraps with them, and also avocado sandwiches. I admire you going grain-free!! I may try sometime in the future. I am trying to lose weight and get my health back (I fell completely off the wagon after 15 years as a juicing, almost raw vegetarian). Oh I also wanted to ask about Brown Rice. I find it easier to ask for brown rice as a substitute at restaurants and I also love to eat it at home with roasted and grilled veggies. One last thing- I recently bough bulgur at Trader Joe’s (I live in LA too) and I was trying to come up with some recipes with it. How do you feel about bulgur?

    Thanks for your help and advice!! And thank you so much for this amazing website!!!!!

    Namaste.

    • Megan says

      I think high-quality grains can definitely be a part of a healthy, detox-lifestyle! I’m not 100% grain-free, so I still enjoy Ezekiel products and whole grains, as well. I’ve never worked with bulgur, but it sounds like something fun to experiment with!

      Best of luck to you!

  26. Angie says

    Just want to say i love love love your blog!!! So thankful i stumbled across it as your recipes are quick easy and simple ingredients that are easy to have around!!!! Just wondering if you have an instagram i can follow? I am currently at uni studying to be a nutritionist.

  27. Peggy says

    Hi, just came across your site, and can’t stop reading, going to give it a try, after all I’ve tried everything else in hopes to shed unwanted wieght gain and nothings been working.

  28. Lisa Stice says

    I was wonderimg about BBQ sauce on meats and butter on breads, I am confused about the condiments.. so what spread do you put on breads? How to flavor potatoes? Butter yes/no?…. ok for Honey to be used with butter on toast? I think I understand the rest of it but not quite sure how to flavor foods? No artificial sweetner either?

    • Megan says

      Butter and honey, and small amounts of other condiments, can be considered neutral. Flavorings, such as herbs and vinegars, are also considered neutral. I avoid all artificial sweeteners.

  29. Weedlab says

    Hello there. I have a few questions. If I wanted to eat oatmeal for breakfast, what other foods would you suggest with it? I’m also looking at blood sugar levels.

    Secondly, I tend to make a smoothie that contains blue berries, spinach, kale, a cup of blue berry kefir, a banana and I throw things in like maca and cinnamon in it. Is this okay? I’m worried about the combining, particularly the kefir and now the banana after reading your post.

    Let me know what you think. Thanks!

  30. Brittany S. says

    Hello!

    I stumbled upon your site and now I follow regularly. I love your recipes! If you have the time I was wondering about your feelings on combining fresh fruit with a raw vegan protein powder. In the mornings I usually do a spinach, fresh fruit, almond milk smoothie with some sun warrior protein which is a blend of pea, cranberry, and hemp protein fortified with coconut oil. I feel great having this for breakfast but is it miscombined?

    Thank you! :-)

  31. henk says

    How the hell can you ever get enough calories if you’re a vegetarian (vegan +eggs) and limit yourself to food combining rules..?

    I should be eating nuts all day.. i’m nearing anorexia (on the bottom of my bmi score and still falling)

    What the hell should i do.. my brain is starting to hurt (though that could be because of a lack of some vitamins or whatever??)

    I eat a whole lot of vegetables but those things dont have calories..
    i might be lucky if i get over 1000 calories a day, but i think i don’t even get there, while an adult male should at least get over 2000.

    If i eat nuts i’m not allowed to eat anything for 4 hours correct? if i eat eggs i can’t eat nuts and can’t eat for 4 hours correct? if i eat starch i can’t eat nuts and can’t eat for 3 hours correct?

    There’s absolutely no way to get enough calories unless the only thing you eat is nuts all day.. or a rediculous amount of nuts at once..

    • says

      hi! i dont know how old your comment is but i hope this helps!
      i dont follow food combining completely, but i hope this helps. food combining as detoxinista said, isnt for everyone.

      try this: in the morning, have a big bowl of berries or melon (or some fruit), about an hour later, a bowl of oatmeal with some protein powder and non dairy milk

      for lunch, leafy greens w 1+c lentil or bean salad with diced raw veggies or roaseed vieggies, roasted squash or other carb also

      for snack, 2 sevrings trail mix (1/4c nuts & 1/4+c dried fruit)

      for dinner, a big sald (2+c leafy greens), 2 eggs, 1c diced raw veggies, 1 roasted veggies, salsa, etc, yogurt

      add in snacks, like she said dark choc or milk or non dairy milk as you see it! hope it helps and good luck<3

  32. says

    Megan
    Thanks for this very simple explanation of food combining. I have hereditary gout and recently cut way back on my protein consumption. I had instinctively followed many of these guidelines and it is great to have some understanding behind it. I went from a 33 to 30 waist in about one month(nice side benefit). Keep up the good work.
    Dominic

  33. Piet says

    On what do you base that nuts and dried fruit combine well, since every other site about food combining explicitely says that that’s a very bad combination?

    I hope you’re right cause i’m making bars with that stuff now.. but we’ll experience that soon enough probably.

  34. Lucy says

    Is it acceptable to have oatmeal made with almond milk when following the rules of food combination? Thankyou

  35. Diana says

    Hi Mega, I wanted to know on what category would put tomatoes. I thought tomatoes were fruits and tht they could not be pares with staches. I saw your spelt pasta recipe that has marinera sauce and was confused becasue the sauce has tomato which is technically a fruit.
    Thanks, Diana.

    • Megan says

      Non-sweet fruits, like tomatoes and zucchini, can fall into the neutral category with other raw vegetables.

  36. says

    Hi,

    I’m allergic to almonds, coconut, peanuts, and much more. I was wondering if you have any suggestions for flours I can use that serve the purpose of food combining. I love to bake, but I want to make it better for digestion. Also, what category would you put quinoa in?

    • Megan says

      Any type of flour can work with food combining, if you pair it correctly. Traditional grain flours would work best in vegan baking, since they don’t combine with eggs or flax. I consider cooked quinoa to combine as a grain, but it may also fall into the nut/seed category for some, since it’s technically a seed/pseudograin.

  37. Diana says

    Hi, many smoothies have veggies and fruits with some kind of nut added for fat. I was wondering, isn’t that a bad combination since nuts and seeds are in one category and fruits in another ( I know that veggies are neutral so they would not be a problem).
    Thanks, Diana.

    • Megan says

      Since wine is a liquid, it does not involve much digestion and can be enjoyed in moderation with almost any meal.

    • Megan says

      Cooking the fruit will slow down its digestion, so in that case I will occasionally combine it with nuts and seeds (like in a grain-free peach cobbler) and it doesn’t seem to cause too much of an issue.

    • Megan says

      Yes, nut butters do fall into the nut/seed/dried fruit category. Peanuts are not a nut, they are technically a legume, so they fall into a “gray area” with food combining and are best consumed with simple meals (like a raw salad) for best digestion. Many food combiners avoid peanuts in general to avoid potential aflatoxin exposure, but I consider them fine as a treat if you stick to the organic variety.

  38. Piet says

    Dried fruits (sugar) and nuts (fat/protein) is the worst possible combination you can make, this is the only website that says the opposite.. and out of experience i know it’s a bad combination..

    Ofcourse tastewise it’s great combination, but that’s not what this is about.. it’s about digestion.

  39. Devendra Madhavan says

    In India people have yoghurt with Rice and vegetables with necessary spices regularly and maintaining good health please advise the Health benefits.

  40. Antonio Spellman says

    How about a meal with plant protein and starch? I didn’t notice too much of a problem with a small sweet potato with tofu and salad.

  41. josie says

    Hi Megan:

    This website is beautifully done. I appreciate all of the information, recipes, and creativity you generously share. I was wondering if you would please tell me how soon after a meal do you wait until you eat dark chocolate?
    I find your food combining information a breath of fresh air; there is a daunting amount of confusing charts and such online, and yours is the clearest.

    Thanks!
    Josie

    • Megan says

      I usually wait 30 minutes or so for dark chocolate, just because that’s when I usually crave something sweet after a meal, but since dark chocolate is pretty neutral, there’s no need to wait a specific amount of time.

  42. Adam Stenftenagel says

    Love this blog. The food combining chart makes a lot of sense. Do you have any more in depth charts with “all” foods listed? What things count as fruits and what counts as a vegetable? Are there other exceptions to the rule? Like, what about sprouted grain breads (Ezekiel)? What about fresh corn (as opposed to corn chips)? Vegetable or starch or both? Regardless, there are so many foods out there, it’s hard to know where everything fits. Is there a bigger list that we can reference?

    Thanks a bunch!

  43. Kenric L. Ashe says

    What actual scientific peer-reviewed evidence is there to support the alleged benefits of food combining? Maybe there’s something I’m not aware of but this is starting to look more like an unsubstantiated hypothesis than a well proven theory.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=food+combining

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10805507

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/food-combining

    http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/ask-diet-doctor-does-food-combining-diet-work

    • Megan says

      As I’ve mentioned above, there is definitely a lack of scientific studies in regards to food combining– most likely because there is very little profit to be made from it, so no company is willing to fund this type of research. I personally think that food combining works because it encourages the consumption of whole foods in simple combinations, rather than the complicated, processed meals our society has come to expect at mealtime. From personal experience, I do feel better eating this way and so do many others, but it may not be any more scientific than the fact that this way of eating encourages making healthier choices overall.

  44. Andrea says

    Hi, I’ve tried this diet before and it’s great. I ran into a problem in the winter, though, as fresh fruit is hard to come by. Are there other breakfast options for the winter months? thanks!

  45. says

    Hi Megan,

    Thanks for the article! Is it possible to go through detox when one starts food combining? Seems strange, but I was curious because since starting I feel like I’ve had detox symptoms. I would so appreciate your thoughts!

    Jade

  46. Dwight Juras says

    What do you mean that bananas are exception the rule and can be eaten with seeds and nuts. Where did you get this from?
    Dwight

  47. Zoe says

    Love your website! Question that I have not seen answered above but is mentioned in other food combining sites I have found. Typically, how many items from each category can be eaten together? Especially in the flesh category

  48. Stacy says

    You may have answered this, I may have missed the answer on my scan through the comments, where do legumes sit on this chart? Peanuts are supposedly out, but you put in hummus as an example on the nuts and seeds group. Where exactly do chickpeas, black beans, etc. sit?

  49. Brad says

    Anything that has a flower and then ‘fruits’ is botanically a fruit. Tomatoes, yes, but also cucumbers, winter and summer squash, eggplant, peppers, peas, and beans.

    Saying that, this is not really relevant to their nutritional content. It would be wise to separate the botanical definition of fruit from the nutritional one, especially for this list. Here, just assume if it’s sweet to eat raw, it has a high fructose content and would be in the fruit column.

    On peanuts, I’ve never really understood the statement from the raw food community that they are not a nut and why that’s really relevant. Sure, a typical jar of peanut butter isn’t that good for you, but that’s because of the added sugar. If you actually compare raw peanuts to an ‘actual’ nut like almonds, they are nutritionally very similar – http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4355/2 vs http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3085/2 (switch the second almond link from ground to 1 cup whole to compare). Peanuts actually have a slightly higher nutrient balance, protein quality, and lower inflamation factor, tho they do have double the saturated fat than almonds per weight.

  50. Pankaj says

    What about having a meal that contains Bread(made of wheat) with cooked vegetables followed by Rice and lentil. This is very common diet mostly in India.

  51. janet says

    Love this too….just a bit confused on Avolcado, can you combine it with say tuna, feta, tomato and onion? it’s by favourite salad and I see it should be eaten alone?

  52. Ivy says

    Love this site – just so well done.
    First thing in the morning I use a protein powder in a smoothie with almond milk, frozen berries. Sometimes I use a vegan protein mix – is that OK. Or should I drop the protein altogether?

  53. Gail says

    Question about ground flax seed: Is it OK to combine with my daily oatmeal breakfast? I’ve also been adding 1/2 cup of blueberries without any discomfort. Sound OK to you?

    • deb says

      I have been eating bear naked fit granola with ground flaxseed,Chia seeds, organic coconut, a few walnuts and blueberries topped with kifer and have not seem to have any adverse effects as well. Wonder if the flax and kifer help to balance it out?

  54. Joy says

    Hello Megan

    Thanks for your info. I am just a little confused about your suggestion for a starch meal. I thought avocado and butter come under protein category. So how comes you combine those into a starch meal? Thanks

    Joy

    • Megan says

      Nope, as you can see in the chart above, avocados fall into the “starch” or “fruit” categories. And butter is neutral, since it’s nearly all fat and used in small quantities.

    • Megan says

      They are naturally miscombined (hence, why they are called the “musical fruit”) but can be considered more on the starchy-side for food combining purposes.

  55. Ayesha . says

    Hi !
    This is great information and thanks for that .

    I heard that Apples are acidic and should not be taken on empty stomach , is that true ?

  56. bel says

    Hi There, i’m curious with eating fruits on an empty stomach because they digest so quickly and therefore will ferment if eaten after meat, potatoes, etc … does the same not apply for salad? as salad digests quickly as well?

  57. Semara says

    Hi there!

    Thank you for this post :). The principles look quite similar to Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Food Pairing principles.

    How does your daily meal plan look like when you follow this food combining ideals, also do you use protein shakes right after a workout?

    Thanks again!

  58. says

    Hi Megan, just wanted to say that since I started following food combining principles, I’ve noticed that my IBS symptoms have been almost non-existent. I used to get terribly bloated and gassy after meals but by following food combining principles, I have greatly improved my digestion.

  59. nefel says

    hello,
    i love juicing but they said nuts and vegetables combination is ok and nuts and fruits too.but how about fruits to vegetables, is it ok?

  60. says

    Hello Megan,

    I was wondering (as a nutritionist) what advice would you give for children. My 12 year old son has lot of issues with ADD/ADHD and I just came across all this research on grains and gluten free etc. what would your advice be on this? Thanks

    • Erin says

      Gigi, I would highly recommend you take your son off dairy and refined sugars. Most diseases /disorders start in the gut, like 90%. So if you clean out the bowels and get them working properly, it will help his ADD /ADHD. Grains and gluten can also be the cause. Eliminate dairy and refined sugars and refined flours and put him on Dr Christopher’s Lower Bowel Formula. The formula is made up of herbs, so no harmful side effects, and it will help clean out the bowels gently and promote healthy intestines. Do some research on Dr Christopher, he was an amazing herbalists /vitalist, who cured hundreds of people from herbs. Hope this helps.

  61. Kate says

    I love your recipes! So far, everything I’ve made from your site has turned out fabulous! You’ve mentioned food combining several times in recipe posts, and I decided to give it a try. I like your simple and easy chart! Unfortunately, I have a bit of a sweet-tooth… Where would you place sweeteners like real maple syrup, honey, sucanat, etc.? Do they go with the fruit category? I hardly ever need sweeteners with fruit, though…and eating a spoonful of honey on its own..is..well..a bit much–I’d rather eat some fruit instead! I’d be super happy if sweeteners were in the neutral category, but I’m guessing they wont mix well with starches and proteins..Is there a certain amount of sweeteners that I can add without upsetting the digestion of other foods too much? I guess they can be mixed with neutral foods–maybe for a salad dressing! Thank you for all of your wonderful posts!

  62. lynne says

    hi! i had a question and was trying to find out for myself…but i am interested in giving this a try, if nothing else to become more aware of how my body processes the food i eat. every morning after working out i have a smoothie with almond milk, chia or hemp seeds, ground flax, whey protein (isolate, free of hormones) or sprouted protein (garden of life RAW), blueberries, fresh ginger and spinach…sometimes i mix up the fruit a bit but these are my staples. i have chronic neck pain and this combo i feel helps with the inflammation (maybe) :)
    i was wondering how i could to this and adhere to the rules while still having an easy vehicle for the seeds and so forth. today i just mixed the sprouted protein, almond milk, seeds, spinach and banana and it was pretty tasty…figured it would be easier to have a cup of blueberries later in the day. you have been awesome answering all of these questions and i know mine is specific, but what would you recommend? i don’t know where the whey classifies…is it dairy? and then the sprouted would be from grains and legumes…just a bit confusing. would love to hear your solution! thanks!

  63. Mo says

    Hi I am new to food combining. I am a big time athlete and frequently consume smoothies after weight training. I usually have a smoothie made with blueberries, strawberries, coconut milk, and a powder vegan plant protein powder called Plantfusion. It has never given me any gas or stomach pains but after reading the laws of food combining I wonder what I can put in the smoothie to sweetin it up as opposed to fruit? Why can’t you combine the plant protein – can you only combine fruits with raw plants? Any help would be appreciated!

  64. Joy Dauble says

    My question is about peppers. Are they considered fruits? I love peppers, bell peppers mostly, and cook with them frequently or eat them raw in salad, or with hummus. Is that bad, though, if they’re fruits? Do they classify as neutrals? I’m hoping! I only skimmed all the previous comments and I’m still a little at a loss, because I think of peppers as sweet (at least the red & yellow ones, not so much the green ones) and there was some discussion on things being considered fruits if they are sweet, verses savory. I.e. cucumbers, botanically classified as fruit, but for the purposes of food combining, they’re seen as neutrals because they’re not sweet.

  65. Robin says

    I saw ur website for the first time the other day and thought food combining “science” made sense and then went in to see my GP about getting off the prescription proton pump inhibitors I’ve been on for more than 15 years. She handed me something on histamine intolerance. Have you heard of this and if so what do you think?

  66. Doreen says

    Hi Megan! I’m new on here and hoping to get on a gluten free diet. I’ve read that a gluten free diet can help with hypothyroidism. I also wonder if gluten free diet can help with my digestion issues. I was curious upon seeing the food combining chart and wondered where most veggies fall on it…like green beans, carrots, corn, pumpkin, etc.

  67. says

    Hi Megan,
    I had a few questions:
    Is corn considered a starch in this chart?

    What is the distinct difference between dried fruit and regular fruit? i.e. prunes?

    How long should you wait after a fruit meal before eating in a different category? You say it takes only about 30 minutes to digest… if I eat fruit in the morning/on an empty stomach, can I just wait 30 minutes before I switch categories, or do I need to wait the typical 3-4 hours still?

    Thank you so much!

  68. chloe c says

    Is it possible to update the chart to include a “veggies” column? I am using this chart as a shopping guide and if it were holistic, that would be awesome!

    regardless, thanks for providing!

  69. Rachel says

    Hi Megan, just wondering where coconut flour fits in to the mix? Would it be a starch such as young coconut meat or in the nuts and seeds category with dried coconut? I see that you have some recipes that contain both coconut flour and eggs. Most of the recipes I can find to use coconut flour have eggs in.

  70. Jennifer Gruener says

    Hi, I recently learned about food combining and I am very interested since I suffer terribly with IBS, gluten intolerance and a casein allergy. I was wondering about vegan protein powder made from Chua, hemp, and pea protein. Would that mix with a morning shake of banana, sunbutter, and almond milk? I didn’t know where the sunbotter or pea protein fell. Thanks

  71. Kendra says

    Since becoming pregnant I have switched to the mono food group way of eating. From the time I conceived I was sick all the time suffered terrible digestive issues tired and at times could not drag myself out of bed. Everything I ate made me throw up, made me bloat to full distention and everything including water gave me heartburn. Had to take medication regularly for constipation no matter what I ate. The doctors tell you to eat a combination of proteins starches vegetables fruit and dairy in meals to provide the best nutrition for the baby and drink 8 glasses of water. This combination is a digestive nightmare Doctors should know better. I’m no expert however since eating the mono food group way I’m having regular bowl movements my energy is restored headaches gone acid reflux ceased no more vomiting. Most of all I feel like I am providing proper nutrition for my baby because I can actually keep my food down and drink 8-10 glasses of water a day with out the upset. I get to enjoy creating life now instead of being miserable every second. It’s an amazing feeling! Thank you for the wonderful information. My only request is that you include more meal options.

  72. Alexa says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful information Megan. May I ask what category do beans fall into? Protein?

    • Megan says

      Beans are naturally miscombined, as they contain protein and starch, but they lean toward the starchier side, so that’s how I combine them.

  73. Robin says

    Hi Megan! I’ve made many of your recipes – main entrees, morning shakes, hot drinks and desserts. Most recently, made the cauliflower pizza crust – yum! Also, pretty hooked on the avocado shakes for my breakfast! Think all of your recipes are wonderful! Also, enjoy receiving your emails. I’m going to give this food combining a try as I have a lot of digestive issues (already gluten free). What category would you group raw honey and maple syrup (as well as raw coconut sugar)?

  74. Brianne says

    Hello,

    I am very interested in food combining. I have stomach issues a fair amount of the time and I still to very clean eating. Question, how would you combine yogurt? I absolutely love it with fruit and my homemade granola but that might not be the best option. I don’t notice too much bloat from it. Truthfully I get my worst stomach aches and bloating in the evening. I feel/look like I am pregnant my tummy is so full of bloat. Any thoughts?

  75. Ali says

    Hi, Im interested in food combining but am so detail oriented that im confusing myself. I do berrie smoothies with greens in the morning, but add superfoods to make it more nutritious due to my adrenal fatigue like: chia seeds, flax meal, raw cacoa, and maca powder.

    is that an okay combo? i can finde chia, flax, cacoa and maca anywhere on food combo charts????

    Please assist :)
    I would also like to know how many veggies are too many to combine?
    I made a delicious quinoa, avacado, kale, beet and carrot bowl and am very bloated after :(
    what did i do wrong???
    Thanks in advance

  76. says

    I make a chocolate pudding that I really like. Could you please tell me how to make it properly combined, if possible? 1/2 cup dates (soaked in boiling water), 2 Tblsp honey, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 avocados, 1/3 cup raw cocoa, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup of the water the dates soaked in. Mix in a food processor and chill.

  77. amrutha says

    A few questions:
    Young coconut meat: Can I combine young coconut meat with bananas or any other fruit. There are so many raw dessert or smoothie recipes that combine young coconut meat with bananas or date paste or with avacados and honey. They also add in a nut crust. Is this bad?
    – What happens to digestion rules in baked items like healthy fruit muffins, or french toast made vegan or with egg whites/ What about soups and stews?
    -Can I combine korean yams with bananas?

  78. Patricia Husted says

    I would like to download the Food Combining Chart for reference however when I click on the image as suggested it doesn’t do anything. Any suggestions? Thanks very much.

  79. Patricia says

    Megan – Thanks so much for the food combining chart! I am wondering where my protein powder would fit into the categories? I use “RAW PROTEIN” which is derived from organic sprouts including sprouted brown rice protein. I am not clear if the protein powder would be a starch (since its from rice)? But since it’s from sprouted rice does it change that? Previously I have combined the protein powder with Almond Milk, ground Flax Seed, and usually a cup of Blueberries. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Very much looking forward to your BOOK!!! Thanks, Pat.

  80. Kyah says

    Thank you for this chart! I appreciate how clear and easy to use it is. Fantastic free resource. Today, I food combined and felt great afterwards. I intend to test it for the month.

    PS – I would love to see your recipes and knowledge on YouTube! Will you be creating a channel?

  81. says

    hey! Wow what an amazing article! I have one question..I had a salad today with greens and chicken as well as chopped up strawberries grapes mango and dried figs. It was so delicious but I have the worst cramps and bloat now as well as terrible gas. I guess it wasn’t a good food combination but some people mix fruit with salad so I’m not sure. Anyway thanks in advance love your site!

  82. Missy says

    When and with what combo do we ear fermented foods such as sauerkraut?

    Thank you for all the wonderful info.

    Btw: Choosing a real light grey font colour in this reply box as well as a tiny font size is really hard on the eyes.
    It’s definitely NOT reader friendly! I can barely see what I have typed. :(

  83. says

    I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing problems with your website.
    It appears as though some of the written text on your posts are running
    off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and
    let me know if this is happening to them as well?
    This could be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this
    happen previously. Thank you

  84. kara says

    Hello,

    One thing I’m confused about, you said to pick One main item, whether it be Starch, Animal Protein etc and then combine that with a Leafy Veg. When you gave us an example of the sandwich option you said we could take a potato and put Butter on top of it, along with the Bread which is the starch . I thought we are only suppose to select 1 Item to pair with the Leafy Green. This is a little unclear to me.. please advise?

    Thank you!
    KK

  85. A. Corona says

    Thanks for answering questions. I use carob powder as a substitute for chocolate because I am allergic. What type of food is carob considered and how should it be combined?

  86. Julie E says

    Hey Megan! I bought the cookbook and love it. Thanks for making so many easy and fun recipes in the book and on your site.

    I’m giving food combining a try and really like it so far! Any thoughts on where kombucha would fall?

  87. Tracy says

    Hello, I have been following this diet for the last week and feel great! I also just purchased your book to help me along. One question I haven’t seen asked and it may be because its so obvious but I was wondering about meat broth or stocks. Are those considered Protein? I was thinking that it was maybe mainly the flesh that is digested as protein and the broth/stocks would just be neutral.

    Thanks!
    Tracy

  88. pat says

    I don’t understand about the fruits. When can and what can you combine dried fruit with? What about berries, can you you always combine them with leafy vegetables instead of eating them by themselves. Can you combine any raw food together, e. g. raw plant protein with berries in shake?

  89. Frances says

    shouldn’t tomatoes count as fruits? they are a fruit and are VERY similar in their sugar content to other fruits. why are they considered here a vegetable? it doesn’t make sense!

  90. Bee says

    Hi :)
    I’ve been reading all over about this and still cannot find the “right” answer.
    What can I eat olive and coconut oil with? Meats or starches or grains? What would you suggest?

    Thank you.
    B

  91. Annie says

    I just found this site so I apologize if this question has been asked already.
    I’m wondering about legumes. Where do they fit in?

  92. Lisa says

    Wow Megan, II admire your paience with some of these questions where you have provided the reply. I am about to start food combining but on a day to day basis so Day 1 will be protein only, Day 2 starches and Day 3 Fruits & vegetables as a detox – what are your thoughts on this? I am doing it for weight-loss and also just to see how it makes me feel as I work as a Personal Trainer and amd always trying to find ways to help my clients lose weight and feel generally healthier.

  93. Marcel says

    Hi Megan, thanks posting the chart!
    I have simple question, would it be okay if i have nuts as my afternoon snack (around 3-4pm, in small amount)? Also what can i combine with? Can i drink hot unsweetened cocoa (without sugar) together with it plus some acidic fruits such as citrus? Thanks before

  94. aford says

    The most helpful thing I’ve learned about fruits is that they are digested in the small intestines as with all sugars. Starches begin digesting in the mouth, and proteins in the stomach. If you combine fruits or sugars with starches or proteins they will not digest. Eat time alone, except for limes and lemons. Don’t over think it:)

  95. Megan says

    While tomatoes are technically a fruit, the sugar content of a medium tomato is 3.2 grams, while the sugar content of a medium apple is 19 grams. That’s a pretty drastic difference!

  96. Annie says

    I just scrolled down a bit and saw your comment on tofu and beans in general. Thank you, that clears up this question for me.

  97. Megan says

    That’s definitely one way to do it! Make sure you’re including raw and/or cooked non-starchy vegetables, like leafy greens, zucchini, broccoli, etc. on your protein and starch days, so that you don’t overload your body with too many concentrated foods– even when properly combined, too much concentrated food will make digestion more difficult and drain your energy. Hope you enjoy the results!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Poor food pairing can back up your digestive system and create flatulence (see aforementioned fresh fruit example). Each food type is broken down by a specific set of enzymes that your stomach produces when it recognizes the food you eat. Poor food pairings will cause a back up in waste, leading to blockage and difficult digestion. Proper food combination keeps separate fresh fruits, nuts and seeds, starches and legumes, whole grains, and animal flesh (allowing for some exceptions). Non-starch vegetables can be combined with all foods except fresh fruit. For more information, see the Detoxinista. […]

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