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Please keep in mind that I am not a registered dietitian or doctor. My posts are based on my own research and personal experience, and this blog is not intended to be used as medical or nutritional advice. You should always consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet and exercise routine. You are ultimately responsible for your own health!
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Food Combining

The discomforts of indigestion are so common in today’s society that indigestion is almost considered normal. The fact that over 2 billion dollars are spent each year on antacids is proof of this. Rather than using drugs to suppress symptoms, wouldn’t it be wiser to remove the causes of indigestion?

Food combining is based on the theory that different food groups require different digestion times. Digestion is helped the most by using foods which have roughly the same digestion time. [source]

Food combining is the little-known secret to eating that enhances your digestion to give you energy and to help you lose weight and keep it off! [source]

I almost always have food combining principles in the back of my mind as I make decisions about my meals– both at home, and when dining out. Following these guidelines has quickly become habit for me because I feel so much better when I eat this way!

Here’s a break-down of how certain foods combine:

(*click on chart above to ENLARGE!)

Now, what are you supposed to do with this chart??

At each meal you simply pick ONE category (i.e. starch, flesh, nuts & seeds, etc.) and only eat out of that category during your meal. All of the foods listed within the same category combine well with each other, and you may also include anything from the “Neutral” column in any of your meals.

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 side salad and a baked sweet potato topped with butter. You could follow this meal with some dark chocolate for dessert!

A 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 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) If you eat fruit after a meal, it will sit in your stomach fermenting, causing gas and bloating, and promoting bacterial overgrowth in the body. You could also eat fruit as an afternoon snack or post-workout, as long as it’s been 3-4 hours since your last 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 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, despite the lack of scientific evidence, food combining may just work because it encourages the consumption of more whole foods and simpler meals.

Remember, you can eat ANYTHING you want– just not necessarily all at the same time.

Happy combining!!

198 comments to Food Combining

  • Gail

    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

      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?

  • […] Wait 3-4 hours between each meal, before switching categories. (source : http://detoxinista.com/about/food-combining/ ) […]

  • […] ya sabes cómo combinar para tener una mejor digestión y provechosa para tu organismo. Comiendo de una forma más ordenada podrás, entre otras cosas, […]

  • Joy

    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

  • Tony C

    Do you have a list of “starchy vegetables”?

  • Kris

    I was wondering where beans (kidney beans, black beans, etc) would fall into the chart?

    Thanks!

    • Megan

      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.

  • Ayesha .

    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 ?

  • bel

    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?

  • Semara

    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!

  • 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.

  • Sara

    If you eat a meat meal, how long after can you eat fruit so it doesn’t rot in your intestines

  • Brianna

    Would bread made from almond flour be in the nuts/seeds category?

  • nefel

    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?

  • 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

      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.

  • I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this
    post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty.
    You are amazing! Thanks!

  • […] supports the digestive process and it allows the body to absorb the nutrients more effectively. How to here. ~ EPSOM SALT BATH helps with detoxification of the body.  It also adds a hit of magnesium to your […]

  • Kate

    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!

  • lynne

    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!

  • Mo

    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!

  • Joy Dauble

    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.

  • Robin

    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?

  • […] I want to talk to you guys about food combining. I first came across the topic on Megan’s site and, although intrigued, I found it to be too much work. Because of past struggles with dieting, […]

  • Doreen

    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.

  • 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!

  • chloe c

    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!

  • Julie Masdicot

    I would like to have your combining recipes

  • Rachel

    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.

  • Briana

    Can you mix carrots and pineapple together

  • Jennifer Gruener

    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

  • Kendra

    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.

  • […] A simple overview is attached from Detoxinista. […]

  • Maja hranilovic

    What about oatmeal,how can we eat that? Whiat to put in it?

  • Alexa

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

    • Megan

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

  • Robin

    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)?

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