Proper Food Combining

Proper food combining is based on the discovery that certain combinations of foods may be digested with greater ease and efficiency than others. Clearly, some meals make us feel better than others. We may love our Thanksgiving Dinners, but I don’t know of anyone who feels great afterwards. Most people just want to take a nap.

Proper Food Combining Has Been
Studied For At Least 100 Years

The principle of food combining was first studied in the early 1900s by Ivan Pavlov. Remember Pavlov and his dogs? In addition to his experiments on conditioned reflexes, Pavlov also did a great deal of study of proper food combining, and in 1902 he published a book entitled The Work of the Digestive Glands, wherein he revealed the basic fundamentals of proper food combining.

From 1928 to 1981, Herbert M. Shelton compiled even more extensive research data on the proper combination of foods. It is finally becoming more and more accepted and popular.

The Reasons Proper Food
Combining is Important

Food combining is important because: (1) the amount of time for different foods to exit the stomach differs (See Table on Transit Times) and (2) different foods, particularly proteins and starches, require competing digestive environments.

Digestive environment refers to the pH – the scale runs from 0 to 14 – with 7 being neutral, 0 being the most acid, and 14 being the most alkaline. We want to choose foods that are compatible for digestion.

The Rules of Proper Food Combining

The two most important rules are:

  • Eat Fruits Alone
  • Do Not Combine Protein and Starch
There are other rules about acid and sweet fruits, liquids and fermented foods, but these two are the important ones for beginners to remember.

The Food Combining Chart

Note that soaking raw (not roasted or processed in any way) nuts, seeds, grains and beans classifies them as sprouts. For the purposes of food combining, they are green vegetables.

Proper Food Combining Table


How Quickly Does Food
Move Through Your Stomach

See the Table below for the transit times of food and liquid.

Proper Food Combining Chart

Raw fruit is the only food that requires no digestion in the stomach. It contains its own digestive enzymes and when ripe, is virtually predigested. It requires less energy to be digested than any other food.

Fruit usually requires 20 to 30 minutes to pass through the stomach. Bananas may take 45 minutes, so the table allows for 60 minutes, to be safe.

Eat Fruit Alone

We always want to eat fruit alone, or with other fruits, never after other foods and never for dessert - it will cause the other food to putrefy (protein) or ferment (starch) and all to turn to acid.

You may have experienced this yourself, with consequences of gas, belching, tiredness, creation of toxins and clogging of the intestine. These are the results of improper food combining.

Do Not Combine Protein and Starches

Protein requires an acid digestive environment. Starches require an alkaline environment. The competing digestive juices cancel each other out, and nothing gets digested. (Try combining baking soda with vinegar to see what happens in your stomach with this combination of foods.)

This improperly combined meal (like meat and potatoes, fish and rice, chicken and pasta, eggs and toast, cheese and bread, or cereal and milk) just gets passed along to the intestine, un-utilized by the body. The elimination channels slow down, resulting in constipation or diarrhea.

Energy is being wasted on digestion, leaving none for healing or weight loss. The whole point of proper food combining is to get the maximum energy from your food.

Raw Food Combining

This is the easy part. Proper food combining is only an issue when we eat cooked foods. In raw food, remember all nutrients come packaged in the perfect, precise combination the body needs. Whatever protein or starch is naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables will be digested easily by its own live enzymes.

We can easily combine greens (green vegetables) with fruits in raw food smoothies or juices. If we soak raw nuts, seeds, etc. and turn them into sprouts (green vegetables) our entire diet is raw fruits and vegetables.

Also, as we increase the amount of raw food in our diet, our bodies become more efficient at digesting, and all other bodily functions. We are regenerating this wondrous creation we call a body. It’s time to thrive instead of merely surviving!

Return From Proper Food Combining to Raw Food And Weight Loss

Return to Raw Food For The Beginner Home Page

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