I’ve recently been reading about food combining, after some digestive symptoms for which I couldn’t figure out the cause.  Food combining takes into account the digestion of food. The process of digesting food in our bodies takes a large amount of energy, so if the food combinations aren’t digesting properly, the body has to work harder and sends out some symptoms such as bloating, gas, sugar cravings, heart burn, and reflux. Did you ever wonder why one day you are feeling bloated but you think you ate similar foods the day before without a problem?  This can be due to the combination of foods that you consumed.

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credit: optimum health institute


The three categories of food are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.  Only protein chemically breaks down in the stomach, requiring pepsin (an enzyme) and hydrochloric acid.  Hydrochloric acid is necessary for digesting protein in the stomach.  Carbohydrates are broken down into two categories: fruits and starches.  While fruits break down relatively easily, they only do so when they are consumed alone.  Starches are considered vegetables, grains, potatoes, bread, beans, lentils, cereals, pumpkin, and certain types of squash. When starches and fruits are in the stomach, the production of hydrochloric acid is inhibited, causing the contents of the stomach to remain there instead of moving into the small intestine.  When food remains in the stomach for too long, it starts to rot and ferment, releasing toxins from the creation of bacteria and yeast growth.  Additionally, the nutrients are unable to be absorbed properly.



Proteins and starches should not be combined in the same meal – which goes against everything that we know, right? Buns and burgers, rice with chicken, potatoes and steak, meatballs and pasta – no more?  Starches and proteins neutralize each other out – leaving the food undigested.   Wait 2 hours after eating a starch before eating protein or 3 hours after eating protein before eating a starch.

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Fruits and vegetables should not be eaten together. The digestion of starches begins in your mouth. Fruits count as a sugar or two sugars, and starches count as a triple sugar.  In the digestion process, fruits are not broken down until they are in the small intestine.  Fruit is a good breakfast, and as a snack, should be ALONE eaten 30-60 minutes before a meal. Acid fruits (such as citrus fruits) do not combine well with starches, making a very challenging combination to digest.



Neutral foods are most vegetables which can be combined with any foods, coconut oil, grass fed butter, olive oil &  avocados.

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Healthy elimination is a good sign of a working digestive system. By combining foods properly, we can aid in digestion. By making poor choices in food combining, we can contribute to uncomfortable symptoms.  You can give these combinations a try.


Breakfast and earlier in the day: fruit
Lunch: starchy, complex carbs
Dinner: protein

I realized that making the combination of a nut butter & oatmeal in the morning for the kids was causing digestive stress!  In trying these combinations over the last week, it is a tough adjustment, but over time, it is something that you can get used to.

I love this chart below that Detoxinista has on her website.  Her cookbook also has properly combined recipes, which I love!

Detoxinista’s food combining chart

Dr Mercola/Dr Pickering


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