Many people, when they start trying to adopt a healthier diet, simply focus on which foods are good and which foods are bad. Eat this, don’t eat that. They start shopping at natural/organic food stores like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, but they haven’t considered food combinations for better digestion and overall health. Here are a few basic guidelines for what kinds of foods to eat together.
You can eat vegetables any time you want. They’re always good for you, always easily digestible and usually alkalizing. Vegetables should make up about 80% of your diet. As discussed in my first post, this coincides with my first rule for eating. However, make sure you know what a vegetable is. Some common misconceptions:
- Corn is a grain
- Potatoes, sweet or otherwise, are starch. That includes yams.
- Squash and artichokes are examples of starchy veggies, so they need to be seen as kind of half and half. You’ll see why in the next section.
Protein should only be combined with vegetables. If you’re trying to lose weight, this rule alone should have a significant impact on your efforts. Protein requires a lot of acid in order to digest. Starches and grains dilute this acid and add bulk to your stomach, making it very difficult for your body to digest the meal. So if you avoid carbs at a protein meal, you’ll avoid this situation.
In the most general sense, we probably aren’t meant to eat grains at all. The human body simply doesn’t lend itself to it. In our modern world, we eat grains all the time. Pasta, rice, and various forms of sandwiches are our primary meal choices. However, grains are probably one of your biggest health problems. See here and here for some in-depth explanations. If you’re going to eat grains, they should only make up 20% of the meal and can be eaten with vegetables. You should also consider healthier versions of grains that don’t contain gluten, like quinoa, millet, buckwheat, etc. Don’t eat meat with grains. (I know, that wrecks most people’s diets.)
Your body doesn’t need a lot of sugar, but it can always use some. By far the best time to eat sugar is in the morning on an empty stomach. Having fruit and only fruit for breakfast is a nice start to the day. But don’t combine fruit with anything else. Of course, if you’re like me, having fruit first thing means you’ll need something else in a few hours.
In order to eat this way, there are some things that you’ll have to wave bye bye to that may hurt (emotionally, of course).
- sauces – they’re almost always fatty and/or sugary
- pasta and rice dishes as we know them – if we started making vegetable dishes with some rice in them (80% veg, 20% rice), then it would fit this diet, but not the way most people make them.
- sandwiches – Yep, some of the worst types of grain with sugary sauces, meat, dairy and maybe a few vegetables. Not very good.
As always, I’m not a doctor, nutritionist, nurse, bed pan or anything even remotely medical. I’m just using information that is available all over the place, and I hope I’ve been able to bring it all into one post and simplify it so you don’t have to spend so much time searching and reading a hundred articles to get this stuff. However, if you would like to read more, here are some of my sources: