I felt particularly inspired to write this post now although I’ve been meaning to write it for months, and the reason is because I tend to really be reminded of the benefits of food combining when I travel to tropical destinations.
Traveling as a plant-based foodie makes things difficult 90% of the time if you’re not adamant on sticking to your values or putting in effort to find stomach AND soul fulfilling meals. But if you like fruit, it tends to make it at least 10% easier.
Breakfast was always a massive trump until I learned about food combining. Food combining has a long list of benefits, including improved digestion, clear skin, better nutrient absorption and less bloating/gas. There are maaany rules to food combining, but one to note in particular is to eat fruit *alone*. Meaning- don’t eat fruit alongside pancakes, eggs, bacon or whatever else you usually eat fruit with. This is because fruit digests more quickly in your gut than other foods, and if you eat it with slow-to-digest foods, than it will sit in your stomach and ferment until the rest of your food is digested. I quickly learned fruit to be a great substitute for breakfast because “breaking your fast” after a long nights sleep with hydrating, easy to digest, nutrient dense food sounded like common sense. So, I tried it...
...and now I’m a loyalist. It makes things so much easier, because it’s one less thing to think about in the morning, it’s yummy, and it’s detoxifying and replenishing at the same time. Wins all around in my book.
How to do it while giving your body the most benefit: After you wake up, try to give your body some time to adjust from sleep mode to wake mode. Rise, drink a large glass of water, splash your face with cold water, get dressed, brush your teeth (and tongue for optimal digestion and to wash out the toxins your body purged over night) THEN you eat. Start with one piece of fruit; maybe an apple which has trace amounts of natural caffeine to help get your system going. Then maybe some berries. Are you still hungry? Be intuitive. Listen to your stomach, not your mind. If you’re still hungry, eat another peace of fruit. Maybe some cantaloupe or a plum. Smuggle some antioxidants. Fruit on an empty stomach is one of the more common principles of food combining, but there are many other widely accepted principles as well:
Dairy on its own - dairy products should not be combined with pretty much anything aside from leafy greens and non starchy vegetables. That means no yogurt and fruit, no cheese pizza, and no frappuccinos. On the plus side, an organic goat cheese salad fits the bill. Or parmesan on roasted broccoli. Whatever suits your fancy (as long as the dairy came from a humane-certified farm :))
One protein per meal - this is relatively straight forward. No beans with eggs, no steak with lobster, no cheese with chicken. Choose one and run with it (until your next meal, that is).
Avoid drowning your meals - remember that age-old question of what you want to drink with your meal? Forget about it. It's best to have your last drink 15-30 minutes before your meal and about 1-2 hours after a meal to allow the enzymes in your mouth and stomach to do their thing without getting flushed around.
While the three guidelines listed above are the most commonly recognized food combining principles, there are plenty of others (they're just slightly more controversial) so I encourage you to be intuitive and see what works best for you. I can personally testify that my experience with trying a fruititarian breakfast a few days a week helped me become more lean and shed a few extra pounds. The antioxidants from the fruit likely helped push out stubborn toxins that were preventing me from getting rid of stress weight. If you think you might be in a similar scenario, it’s worth trying out!
Happy belly and happy food combining :)