Choosing what to eat and when to eat and what to eat it with are questions that everyone faces daily. Most of us are calorie counters following mainstream diet trends that we pick up from beauty magazines, friends or hear that our favorite celebs are following. But few of us have been educated on the importance of food sequence or food combining. For me, it was a revelation that took pounds off, increased my energy and made my skin glow! I credit the books of Natalia Rose (guru and goddess) and the incredible Kimberly Snyder. Chapeau ladies! I wish someone had taught me these practices as a child. My daughter is reaping the benefits!
The trick is to maximize the benefits of the foods that we consume in order to gain crucial vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Proper sequential food ordering and pairing enable us to avoid diets and achieve glowing skin because this practice optimizes digestion. A glorious side effect will be greater energy and deeper sleep. The more effectively you can master this practice the less you will have to work at exercising to lose weight. Optimal digestion leads to natural skin toning!
EAT ALKALINE BEFORE EVERY MEAL
Yes, it is that simple. Raw, veggies, salad or fruit should be consumed FIRST. Why? Because all alkaline foods (fruits and vegetables) contain both water and fiber. Water and fiber will fill you up and reduce cravings for more food. Therefore, you should eat them in abundance before every meal. Additionally, fiber slows down glucose absorption in the bloodstream thereby controlling blood sugar levels. Fiber also moves food along the digestive tract while shepherding toxins on their way out. The more natural fiber you have the more optimally your digestive tract will function and the cleaner you will be. Cleaner digestive tracts mean less traffic back-ups and less food putrefying in your intestine. And that means that your body is better able to assimilate enzymes, vitamins and minerals that make your skin glow while slowing down aging and acid build up!
But my life is so busy! I have client and business dinners and no time! If you know you have a busy day where you are not able to eat optimally – get organized! Start your day with a green smoothie at home or find a juice bar near your office. Eat celery and/or carrot sticks, sliced bell pepper or grab a handful of green leaves and make a quick salad before a heavy lunch or dinner. Most restaurants serve green salads so this should not be a problem!
EAT LIGHT TO HEAVY
Lightest foods move the fastest through the stomach and the heaviest ones the slowest.
- Fruits moves through the stomach in 20-30 minutes – except for bananas which take 45 minutes.
- Starches stay in the stomach a few hours.
- Proteins more than a few hours.
- It is recommended to wait 3-4 hours before switching food groups.
With greens and non-starch vegetables we do not have to wait 30 minutes to eat other foods the way we do with fruit.
YOUR DAILY EATING SCHEDULE
Contrary to what we have been told, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day! Many people eat early to stock up “on energy” even when we are not hungry. An important new rule for you is:
NEVER EAT WHEN YOU ARE NOT HUNGRY! Listen to your body!
When you wake in the morning and have not put any food in your body yet, your body can still work on cleaning out what is already in the system from dinner the day before. This is often the only time (for many people) when your body is NOT pre-occupied with breaking something down and is devoted to cleansing the body.
When you wake, you have bad breath, coated tongues, crusty eyes etc. The stink and substances we are expelling are the outcome of your body’s cleaning system that is eliminating toxins. As soon as you start eating, your body shuts down the cleaning system and starts using valuable energy to breakdown food. Let the morning be your body’s time for elimination and riding itself of waste matter. Otherwise, toxicity builds, weight piles on and the aging process and acidification intensify. Not to mention the mid-morning slump you will fall into! (One of the greatest effects of not eating in the morning is incredible energy!)
Typical breakfast foods that are improperly combined: eggs with toast, bagels and cream cheese etc. See the second half of this article for more details.
Lunch is important because you can extend cleansing by eating lightly – or we can create a traffic jam in the gut. I know that many people like to have their heavier meal at lunch and have a light dinner but this means that you are putting harder-to-breakdown foods, like proteins, in your gut in front of a light dinner salad. Because the body takes time to process proteins and carbs and because a salad breaks down quickly, the salad will putrefy behind the protein thereby acidifying your digestive tract and creating fermented sludge. The slow passage of food = fast aging and weight gain. We must be mindful not to think about counting calories but to focus on optimal digestion first. Additionally, grazing throughout the day – or eating smaller meals – focuses your system on continuous breakdown with no respite and creates traffic jams galore. If you do need to snack eat something neutral like veggie sticks dipped in guacamole or salsa or more of your lunch salad.
Avoid concentrated proteins at lunch – chicken, fish, nuts and seeds. Otherwise, your body’s energy will be directed at breaking down your lunch and you will lose all your vigor. When this happens, we inevitably turn to caffeine and sugar for a quick ‘pick-me’up’.
If you have kept it light all the way to dinner – congratulations! Now is the time for some heavier foods – if your body needs them.
Always start with your green salad. If you want some animal protein – now you can have it. In addition, if you want to veer off course and have an improperly combined meal (as per the below food pairing dictates) you can do it because you will have the whole evening and the morning to digest. However, if you have eaten mis-combined meal at lunch and then had dinner you have compounded toxicity, acidity, putrefaction and aging!
By having cooked foods later in the day you are slowing the cleansing process so you can avoid detoxing too much too soon while still making important progress. By going all raw in order to lose weight or cleanse your system you can detoxify too quickly and end up feeling sick and even re-absorbing toxins.
The NEW Food Plan Summarized
Don’t eat until hungry. Lack of hunger means your body does not need food. If you do get hungry, stick to light foods (fruit, veggies) or green juices.
Lunch is light and properly combined/paired so we can maintain optimal digestion and on-going cleansing throughout the day. Often, I just have a green smoothie for lunch. Because it is liquid, the stomach doesn’t have to work as hard to break down food and I am getting tons of fiber and water.
We can relax about our food choices since we have eaten so well during the day and allowed our body to cleanse all day long. We do start dinner with a big green salad! We eat dinner 3-4 hours before we go to bed so our bodies have time to digest properly.
The idea here is to free up energy from digestion. Little energy leads to holding onto weight longer. As well, it causes you to reach for sugary drinks, caffeine and snacks throughout the day. You want to digest food optimally within the body in ordering to be running at your peak levels. Dr. Herbert Shelton, an expert on food combining, has this to say:
“Digestive enzymes have certain well-defined limitations and different digestive juices are secreted for use in digesting different kinds of food substances.”
Kimberly Snyder breaks down food combining into 7 rules in her book The Beauty Detox Solution:
- OUR BODIES CAN PROPERLY DIGEST ONLY ONE CONCENTRATED, NON-WATER-CONTAINING FOOD AT A TIME
Concentrated foods are those that contain no water like all proteins and starches. Non-concentrated foods are ripe fruits and non-starch vegetables. Obviously, non-concentrated foods are easier to digest. When you eat two different kinds of concentrated foods at the same time like a protein (chicken) and a starch (potato), you are creating digestive backlog.
- PROTEINS AND STARCHES DO NOT MIX
Yes – sushi rolls, chicken or turkey sandwiches, eggs and toast, bagels and cream cheese, fish and rice, steak and potatoes/fries, fish/chicken pad thai, grilled fish and rice – are all improperly combined foods. So what happens in your gut when you eat this way?
- Protein requires an acidic environment to be broken down. Starch requires an enzyme that can only operate in an alkaline environment. Because an acid and an alkaline environment neutralize each other, food will not break down quickly. The stomach secretes more and more digestive juices but the process takes a long time and during this time, we become sluggish, feel gassy, and experience heartburn and bloating. The food is never 100% digested and stays in our gut putrefying (proteins) and fermenting (carbs) into toxic residue at our 98.6 degree body. We have lost most of the value of the food and we have sped up the aging process rapidly. We will pack on the belly bulge as the food tries to wind through the 30 feet of our intestines. Always wait 3-4 hours after eating one concentrated food before eating another.
- VEGETABLES ARE NEUTRAL
This is the good news. You can eat ANYTHING with fresh, raw, alkaline vegetables. Steamed veggies and raw green salads go with all proteins and starches.
- MIXING TWO STARCHES IS OK
Though they are concentrated foods, they are not as hard to digest as proteins.
- MIXING TWO KINDS OF ANIMAL PROTEINS IS NOT OK
Proteins are the hardest group to break down. They are comprised of complex chains of amino acids that each have a different character and chemical make-up. Because so much energy needs to be used to break proteins down, only one protein should be consumed at a time. Otherwise they will not be efficiently digested and will putrefy in the gut creating traffic jams and an acidic environment. That said, this rule applies to animal proteins. Plant proteins – nuts, seeds, sea algae – break down more easily so you can mix seeds and nuts. Two kinds of fish or poultry at a meal are fine but ham and eggs, eggs benedict with ham or salmon, or a fish appetizer followed by a meat main course do not work.
- FATS SHOULD BE EATEN MODERATELY WITH PROTEIN (ANIMAL OR PLANT) BUT ARE OK TO EAT WITH CARBOHYDRATES
Starches and fats mix well together but fats and protein slow the digestive system down. Even in an all raw meal – avocados and nuts or seeds should not be mixed or weight gain could result. Green veggies can counteract the interaction between a moderate amount of protein and raw fat. For instance, fish on a bed of greens is great but go easy on the oil in the salad dressing. Better yet, skip the oil and let the protein digest itself.
- FRUITS SHOULD BE EATEN ONLY ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
Fruit is the most pure food on the planet and filled with vitamins, minerals and water. However, WHEN we eat fruit is important. Because fruit breaks down quickly (20-30 minutes), if it comes into the digestive tract AFTER a meal it will sit on top of foods that take longer to digest and it will ferment and acidify your gut. All fruits except for melons combine well with raw greens.
FOOD PAIRING CHEAT SHEET
- Starches DO combine with vegetables
- Proteins DO mix with vegetables
- Proteins and starches DO NOT mix
- Different starches DO mix
- Different proteins DO NOT mix
- Fats DO NOT mix well with proteins; pair moderately
- Fats DO mix with starches
- Fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach
- Fruit DOES mix with raw greens (except melons)
A NOTE ABOUT WATER
- Hydrate throughout the day especially when you wake up and throughout the morning. This will give you lots of energy naturally.
- Drink lots of water 30 minutes before meals or an hour following meals. However, during the meal you should drink as little water as possible. Too much liquid dilutes our digestive juices and delays optimal digestion – thereby increasing the opportunity for putrefaction, fermentation and gut sludge!
- Try to remember to squeeze alkalizing and vitamin C filled lemon in your water for added zing!
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