Winter is a season of recovery and preparation
– Paul Theroux
As a follow up on my previous post and perhaps as a nuisance with my timing 😉 I have the compelling need to share with you some recommended seasonal foods for this winter (before dreading going on the scales in January) as well as the importance of food combinations.
December, January and February:
Apple, Banana, Beetroot, Beef, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Celeriac, Celery, Chestnut, Clementine, Chicken, Date, Goose, Grapefruit, Artichoke, Kale, Lamb, Leek, Lemon, Mussels, Onion, Orange, Oyster, Pak Choi, Parsnip, Pear, Pomegranate, Radicchio, Rhubarb, Salsify, Swede, Sweet Potato, Turnip, Venison and Whiting
If you don’t know the benefits of a seasonal diet please refer to my previous post ‘Seasonal Foods– Autumn’
The basic concept behind food combining is that one should eat foods which have roughly the same digestion time. Since different categories of foods are digested at varying rates, by using different enzymes and are broken down in a number of different areas, including the mouth, stomach, duodenum and jejunum.
By following this diet, one could potentially avoid gas, flatulence, heartburn, and upset stomach and perhaps in the long term symptoms of IBS, ulcers, arthritis, hypoglycemia, eczema, colon cancer and more. David R. Jacobs of the University of Minnesota calls it food synergy “The complexity of food combinations is fascinating because it’s tested in a way we can’t test drugs: by evolution”
This is not a new concept. As far back as the 12th century AD, the following advice was given to the founding Emperor of the Ming Dynasty in China:”Food and drink are relied upon to nurture life. But if one does not know that the nature of substances may be opposed to each other, and one consumes them altogether indiscriminately, the vital organs will be thrown out of harmony and disastrous consequences will soon arise. Therefore, those who wish to nurture their lives must carefully avoid doing such damage to themselves”.
But the Food combining nutritional approach was first developed and popularised by the New York physician William Howard Hay in the 1920s. It then took a life of its own, I have personally tested and retested the concept on myself and then advised loved ones and friends to try it ! I have found that it does improve energy levels and sleeping patterns as well as healthy weight loss , better skin, better absorption of nutrients, reduction of bloating and gas and more regular elimination.
But the scientific evidence behind this diet is controversial in some way . A study for example have shown that there was no difference in weight loss between a Low calorie diet and a Food combining diet except for a slightly better blood pressure and a loss of more fat in the group receiving the Food combining diet. Furthermore, some nutritionists claim this is nonsense, and that the human body is designed to digest lots of different foods at once.
While others claim that throughout human history, the likelihood was Man mostly ate one food at any one time and only recently did we get into making meals with mixed food types as we now know them. Either way if you are healthy and have no known chronic disease why not try and see for yourself ! if not , please consult your GP.
There are three primary categories of food: proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Proteins begin their digestion chemically in the stomach. Carbohydrates on the other hand, are divided into two categories: fruits and starches. While fruits pass through your digestive system with ease, starches require three levels of breakdown; the very first stage is in your mouth. That’s why it’s crucial to carefully chew starchy foods.
The Basic rules of food combination:
1-No proteins and starches at the same meal
Protein and carbohydrate are digested differently. The body requires an acid base to digest proteins and an alkaline base to digest starches. Proteins and starches combine well with green, leafy vegetables and non-starchy vegetables, but they do not combine well with each other. This means, no bun with your hamburger, no meatballs with your pasta and no potatoes with your chicken!
2- No fruits and vegetables at the same meal.
Generally fruits should be eaten alone or with other fruits. Fruits pass through the body so quickly that by the time they reach the stomach, they are already partially digested. If they are combined with other food types, they get trapped in the stomach and start to rot and ferment. This is also why it’s crucial not to eat dessert after a meal.
3- Always eat melons on their own.
Melons digest faster than any other food types. Therefore, you should never eat melons with any meal including other fruits or your stomach will moan.
4-Fats and oils combine with everything (except fruits).
But should be used in limited amounts because while they won’t inhibit digestion, they will slow it down.
5- Time Lengths.
Wait the following lengths of time between incompatible meals :
a. Two hours after eating fruits.
b. Three hours after eating starches.
c. Four hours after eating proteins.
Happy Winter and Happy Holidays!