Dylan Charles, Contributor
Food and drink are relied upon to nurture life. But if one does not know that the natures 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. – Chia Ming, Essential Knowledge for Eating and Drinking, 1368
Trophology is the science of food combining to allow for optimal digestion, optimal absorption of nutrients and optimal expulsion of waste. Primarily chemistry, food combining explains how certain foods induce the necessary enzymatic secretions for proper digestion. When this chemistry is thrown out of balance by demanding that the body process incompatible food combinations, undigested food remains stagnant within the intestinal tract, leading to putrefaction, fermentation, overgrowth of bacteria and toxicity. This, in turn, leads to myriad illnesses, chronic conditions, food allergies, bloating, metabolic problems and the bulging and distorted body shapes we see everywhere these days.
Every food is different; some are alkaline, others acidic, some are high in fat, others high in fiber. Because foods are different, paying attention to the basic rules of food combining can give your body the chance it needs to properly use food.
Have you ever left a steak and a tomato on the counter for a week and watched what happens? They clearly have unique processes of decomposition, and it won’t take long to realize that a rancid steak is not something you want sitting on your counter top, let alone inside your body, for very long.
In order to improve digestion and address certain chronic illnesses, it is advisable to heed these ten powerful food-combining tips as often as possible.
1. Protein and Starch – The combination of proteins and starch in a single meal is the worst possible food combination there is. The body begins by producing the alkaline enzyme ptyalin when a starch is chewed. This begins to break down the starch, but when the food reaches the stomach, this presence of this alkaline enzyme prevents the digestion of proteins in the stomach by pepsin and other acidic stomach secretions. The meat begins to putrefy within the gut and bacteria attacks the undigested meat. The result is a heavy bloated feeling, gas, and toxic wastes bleeding into the blood stream.
2. Protein and Protein – Different proteins require different processes to digest. For example, when meat is consumed, the strongest enzymatic reaction occurs during the first hour, whereas milk or eggs take longer to be digested. Combining similar meats, like lamb and beef, is typically fine, but complex combinations should be avoided.
The Rule – Avoid meals that combine multiple concentrated proteins, such as fish and cheese, meat and milk, or meat and eggs.
3. Starch and Acid – When an acidic food is taken with a starch, the secretion of ptyalin in the mouth is disturbed, and the alkaline enzyme needed to break down the starch is absent when the food reaches the stomach. Oranges, lemons, acidic fruits, and vinegars interrupt the body’s ability to digest starches and they begin to ferment within the gut.
The Rule – Separate starches and acids at mealtime, avoiding combinations like cereal and orange juice, or rice with a vinegar dish.
4. Protein and Acid – Proteins require acids present in the stomach to digest properly, but adding additional acidic foods disrupts the stomach’s ability to produce the acids that breaks down protein. Consuming acidic fruits with meats, for example, slows the body’s ability to break down meat, leading to putrefaction.
The Rule – Avoid meals that combine concentrated proteins and acidic dishes.
5. Protein and Fat – Fats inhibit the stomach’s ability to produce gastric juices, greatly slowing the digestion of any foods take with the fatty food, especially so for proteins.
The Rule – Separate concentrated proteins and fatty foods when possible.
6. Protein and Sugar – Sugar also prohibits the stomach’s ability to produce gastric juices and so it passes through the stomach to be processed in the small intestine. When combined with a concentrated protein, sugar inhibits the digestion of the protein, then is itself prevented from reaching the small intestine as it is combined in the stomach with undigested proteins. This causes fermentation in the gut and an explosion of bacteria, which are both highly toxic to the body.
The Rule – Combining proteins and sugars together in the same meal should be avoided.
7. Starch and Sugar – When sugar and starches are combined in the mouth, the secretion of ptyalin, the alkaline enzyme required for digestion of starches, is halted and starches remain undigested. Sugar fermentation in the gut creates acidic compounds that further inhibit the digestion of starches.
The Rule – Eat sugars and starches separately.
8. Melons – Melons are a unique food in that they are not digested within the stomach, but pass instead to the small intestine for digestion. This process is only possible when melons are consumed alone or combined only with fresh, raw foods. If melon is prevented from passing quickly to the small intestine then rapid fermentation of this soft fruit occurs, creating many problems.
The Rule – Consume melons alone or not at all.
9. Milk – Many people feel that milk should be avoided entirely, but that if consumed it is best in raw form, as pasteurization destroys the natural enzymes in the milk that make its digestion possible. Milk immediately curdles when it reaches the stomach, which coagulates with other foods if the belly is busy trying to digest anything else. This prevents other foods from being exposed to gastric juices and encourages the onset of putrefaction.
The Rule – Raw milk is to be taken by itself, or not at all.
10. Desserts – Sweets after a big meal can interrupt the digestion of almost anything else in the stomach, especially so with carbohydrates and proteins. Once a sweet is introduced, digestion all but stops and putrefaction begins.
The Rule – Sweet, starchy desserts, as well a sweet fruits should not be consumed within a few of hours after large meals containing carbohydrates or concentrated proteins.
To be sure, this is an impossible list of rules to follow at all times, but by being mindful of these food combinations and attempting to eat in accordance with these guidelines, the body’s digestion will naturally improve. At each mealtime, attempting to follow at least one or two of these rules, while choosing healthier foods overall, will leave you instantly feeling lighter, more nourished and healthier, while improving your metabolism and addressing chronic illness.
Sources: Reid, Daniel P. (1989). The Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity. New York: Simon & SchusterLtd.