8 Food Combining Rules for Raw Foodists

By Tera Warner

Though the subject itself has only really come under investigation in the last 100 years, it has been covered in so many ways by so many different people that there are entire shelves in bookstores devoted to this very subject. Unfortunately, this makes for a whole lot of confusion for the average health-seeker.

No other creature on the planet seems to need elaborate charts and pyramids before they dive into their daily feast, so let's see if we can't come up with something simple so we can get out of our heads and on with the joys of eating and feeling good!

One of the first things to understand about food combining, is that the need for these principles comes from the fact that we have removed ourselves from our "natural environment". Meaning that most of us can't go out and pick our own mangos and then graze on the green leaves we find along our merry way. In modern society we have an infinite selection of food stuffs available to us at any moment. Combine that with our seemingly endless need for stimulation and we find that even though some apples, bananas and celery sticks would be a perfectly acceptable, nutritionally complete meal, we seek complication. The end result has been some marvelously elaborate recipes and a whole lot of indigestion.

The main problem with our combo-abombos and "gourmet" meals, (raw or otherwise), is that different foods digest at different rates. Generally, in order of speed of digestion, it's sugars, starch, fats and then proteins. If you put something in your stomach that takes a long time to digest, followed by something that would normally digest very quickly, well the latter is forced to sit in the pipes and wait. Given the nature of the environment in the stomach, this leads to fermentation (sugars) and putrefaction (proteins). The byproducts of this gastric volcano is alcohol, indigestion and a whole lot of hot, smelly air. LITERALLY!

So, how can we avoid these physically and socially uncomfortable experiences? If you are going to get adventurous in your raw food play, take the following simple guidelines into consideration:

1. Fat and Sugar do not mix well.

Fat, which takes several hours to digest, and sweet sugars, which digest and are assimilated very quickly, do not make great belly-mates. Unfortunately, when you look around at most raw food recipes, you'll see there is a discouraging number that contain mixtures like dates with nuts, banana with avocado, or sweet fruits with coconut. These recipes are an open invitation for digestive fermentation (never mind what they do for blood sugar issues)!

2. Bananas and Acid do not mix well.

Mixing bananas with oranges, for example, is less than ideal. Bananas are a starchy sweet fruit and where other fruits are concerned, combine best with other sweet fruits (like mangos) and sub-acid fruits (apples, pears, berries etc.) You should always listen to your body's response to the combinations you try, but we definitely advise you to avoid combining bananas and durians. Other fruits generally mix fairly well together.

3. Acidic Fruits and Fats are okay for some.

Some people have no problems combining acidic and even sub-acid fruits with fat. The understanding is that these foods can actually help digest fats. The idea makes for some nice salad dressing combinations:

Tomatoes and tahini - Orange juice and avocado

4. Avoid Mixing Different Fats in the Same Meal.

Mixing different sources of fat like coconut, nuts, seeds, avocado or durian at the same sitting can make for a heavy-duty digestive workout and is best avoided. It's just a lot more work than necessary for that beautiful body of yours.

5. Dark, Leafy Greens Go With EVERYTHING!

Mix them in your smoothies, or smother them with your favorite avocado dressing. Either way, leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, celery, etc. combine well with anything! (Green vegetables like broccoli, and cabbage do NOT mix well, and are not considered dark, leafy greens. They can be mixed with fats without any problem, however.)

So What About Cooked Foods and Other Vegetables?

If you want to eat fruit in the same meal as other foods, (salads with fatty dressings or cooked foods) then allow at least 20 Minutes for the fruit to make its way through the system, thus avoiding the uncomfortable side-effects of bloating, gas and digestive fermentation!

The Sweetness of Simplicity

Ultimately, we recommend simplicity because it most closely resembles the way things would be in nature. When you permit yourself the luxury of enjoying foods for the individual wonders and works of biological art that they are, you also allow your body to digest in "layers."

Eating one food at a time, follow the following guidelines:

1. Eat Your Watery Foods First!

Because of its high water content, melon digests very quickly and within minutes of eating, it has already left the stomach!! While it does mix with other fruits very well, in sequential eating watery foods first, please!

2. Eat Acidic Fruits Before Sweet or Starchy Foods!

Things like citrus, kiwis, pineapples, and tomatoes should be eaten before other fruits. Again, if you think that most oranges tend to be less "concentrated" than a mango or a banana, this makes sense. *Dried fruit can be considered a concentrated food and should be eaten after fresh fruits, if eaten at all. We do not recommend more than occasional consumption of dried fruits.

3. Fat, Protein and Other Vegetables To Follow.

That's it. Think generally in terms of eating your least concentrated foods first, and you'll pretty much have it covered.

We hope these tips are comfort to your tummy and help to simplify what can appear to be an awfully complicated subject. The simpler you keep your foods the better you'll feel!

Here's to your health!

About the Author

Writer and online entrepreneur Tera Warner, is co-creator of "The Raw Divas." She and her co-diva, Amy De Wolfe, have created the sassiest (and the ONLY) online raw food resource for WOMEN! Register today for their FREE 7 Day Diva Detox at http://www.therawdivas.com/ and watch the pounds and toxins melt away. Be sure to sign up for their free newsletter: Health In High Heels, loaded with inspiration, recipes and support for women passionate about health and LIFE!

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