4 Food Pairing Rules To Radically Improve Digestion

Fresh fruit salad in bowl on wooden background.

Making sure to eat in a way that supports your gut and optimal digestion is key for both long-term health and sustainable weight loss. A few of the things that help to keep a healthy gut include eating lots of prebiotic- and probiotic-rich foods; cutting out refined starches, excess sugar, and processed foods; as well as proper food combining.

Food combining emphasizes the importance of eating certain foods simultaneously for efficient, optimal digestion and avoiding certain foods that, when paired together, are difficult for our bodies to properly process.

Improper food combinations can leave undigested food in the digestive track, creating symptoms such as bloating, gas, fatigue, and ultimately leading to a buildup of toxicity.

Paying attention to food combining is extremely helpful for staying healthy, feeling vibrant, and losing weight. Here’s my simplified list of the food combining “rules”:

1. Eat fruit on its own.

And in between meals (except lemon/limes and very low-glycemic sour fruits, which can be eaten with other food).

2. Pair fats only with nonstarchy vegetables.

Fats like avocados, olives, seeds, and nuts are good options. Small amounts of unrefined virgin oils can be paired with everything.

3. Avoid eating more than one protein at a time.

No steak and eggs, no beans and chicken, no surf and turf.

4. Avoid combining starch and proteins.

No rice with chicken, no quinoa with fish, no pasta with meat or dairy.

Note: Beans and legumes are inherently a combination of protein and starch so are often difficult to digest. They are best eaten in small amounts, after proper soaking, and paired only with nonstarchy vegetables.

If you’re thinking this is way too hard (as was my reaction), don’t fret! Stress will worsen your digestion. Instead, follow my simplified approach:

How do I plan a meal?

For each meal, choose one main ingredient.

Either a protein or a starch — this can include starchy veggies like sweet potatoes; squash; grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, beans, and lentils; or animal protein, including dairy — and combine this with as many nonstarchy veggies as you’d like.

Then add small amounts of neutral items like lemon/lime, cold-pressed virgin oils, and nondairy milks.

And if you want to add any other ingredient apart from the veggies and neutral foods, keep it to less than 10 percent of your meal. (This little exception can keep you sane!)

Essentially, keep your meals simple.

What about fruit?

Eat alone and in between meals (adding 1 tablespoon of nut butter is okay), 30 minutes before a meal, or blended in a green juice/smoothie.

What are considered nonstarchy veggies?

ALL vegetables except potatoes, butternut and acorn squashes, artichokes, chestnuts, peas, and corn.

Worried you’ll be hungry without the carbs (if you’re having protein) or without added protein (if you’re having starch)? Then add more fiber-rich veggies!

And if doing starch, go for a high-protein, gluten-free grain (like quinoa and brown rice) and use protein-rich veggies such as broccoli and kale.

Filling up on veggies and adding healthy fats (cold-pressed virgin oils) can really do the trick to keep you satiated, your metabolism on high gear, and your digestion at its best.

Try applying this basic food-pairing principle and you will quickly see a huge difference with your bloated belly, afternoon slump, and overall weight-loss efforts.

2016-03-01T11:55:52+00:00

Related Questions

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: Is necessary to continue food combining after completing FULL BODY DETOX in 20 Days? For example can you consume sweet fruit with sub acid & acid fruit also starches and vegetable (beans) proteins together? I learned in Nutrition that starches (rice) and beans are complete protein when combined together that our body needs. Are you at risk for protein deficiency if consuming vegan diet?

    A:

    IT'S YOUR CHOICE! OF COURSE IT'S BEST TO CONTINUE TO DO SO. IT'S UP TO YOU, BELOVED! I PERSONALLY DON'T RECOMMEND IT. NOT TRUE! YOU CAN'T GET PROTEIN FROM COOKED FOODS REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE FOOD IS. OF COURSE NOT, UNLESS YOU ARE IGNORANT TO PROTEIN, REAL PROTEIN, HOW AND WHERE TO GET IT.

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    Q: I have heard things about starch not being good for you, but foods such as potatoes, rice, and corn naturally contain starch. So should these foods be avoided?

    A:

    Just don't eat a lot of them, if you can't avoid them completely. Moderation in all things (within reason)!

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    Q: I eat a lot of fruits and, veggies, I don't consume a lot of meat but I'm concern about the raw veggies and fruit lately because I read and article how washing your fruit and veggies isn't helping to clean fecee and other environmental mishaps that plaque out food so what do you recommend is there a organic wash or what?

    A:

    YES! VEGETABLE & FRUIT WASHES are sold at good health food stores such as Whole Foods Market.

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    Q: I have the alternative diet and lifestyle manual and want to make sure that this applies to the respiratory condition as well. Can I have the rice bread with no gluten or wheat? or rice pasta being that I have sarcoid? Can I eat cold water fish or venison in small portions along with veggies? What about rice or soy milk or protein whey shake for breakfast once or twice a week? Thank you once again my breathing has improved greatly and I have ordered many more supplies to maintain what I have accomplished thus far due to your regimen. I am not a vegetarian so I want to make sure it is okay to have white meats. I will do whatever I have to do to live. I love and appreciate everything you have done to change and help me to heal myself.

    A:

    The manual applies when you are FINISHED with a cleanse or kit. Follow the regimen's diet. It clearly states NO COOKED FOOD. You are asking us about cooked food here. Stick to the diet plan and you will be alright! You are asking about foods no good for your condition. Whey is crap. Meat is no good. Grains are no good for you as well. They all produce too much mucus!

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    Q: I have ordered the detox cleanse, and the weight cleanse. Both state to eat a raw diet of veggies and fruit, nuts, nut pastes??, legume sprouts, seeds, plant oils, sea veggies??,and fresh juices. It mentions Vegan Diet. What are my options when it comes to these choices? What do I eat and how often to keep my sugar from dropping, and feeling sick? Usually mid am, and mid afternoon?

    A:

    The best way to balance blood sugar and keep your body in a fat burning zone is to eat low fat and every 3-4 hours. Also high raw and high carb. Here are some options. Just a general outline.

     

    6am 

    Muesli - fruit smoothie-green smoothie

    9am

    2-3 pieces of fruit

    12pm

    Raw wraps-raw pasta-salad with legumes

    3pm

    2-3 peices of fruit

    6pm

    wraps-raw pasta-salad with legumes

    9pm

    Sorbet

     

    I suggest reading "Beauty detox solution" by Snyder, "Crazy Sexy Diet" by Karr, or 80-10-10 by Graham.

     

    I also recommend to check out my health coaching program www.theveganefect.com for more info.

     

    I hope this helps,

    Gary Gibson HHC CPT BMI VLC

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    Q: Which are the best fruits and vegetables that promote weight loss during the detox and should the nuts be excluded? Do I need a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fats in order to lose substantially and if so, are there fruits and vegetables in these categories and is there possibly a limit to certain ones?

    A:

    All fruits and vegetables help to tone you to the weight you desire. Why exclude nuts? Weight comes from meat, dairy products, refined products, etc. Not natural foods! Don't worry about protein, carbs, etc. It creates confusion! Real food doesn't cause problems. Let all the dietary confusion go and you will be fine!

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    Q: I am on day 4 of the FULL BODY DETOX and was wondering what else can or should I eat besides toss salad and fruits and veggies. I know I can do organic non-salt nuts, steamed veggies, fruits smoothies and wild rice but is they’re anything I am not suppose to eat besides meat and sweets (sodas)? I have eaten toss salad was it ok that I put cheese on it? I am struggling to find other food options. Please help!!

    A:

    I WOULD SUGGEST YOU ORDER OUR ALTERNATIVE DIET AND LIFESTYLES MANUAL E-BOOK. IT HAS WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. IT'S A GREAT RESOURCE.

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: I just began the cleanse. My concern is that I am not getting enough protein. I have been eating nuts, and I will not eat uncooked beans or peas. What can I do to get more protein while I am on this 20 day regiment?

    A: Great question. There is protein in a lot of the vegetables that we eat. Think about it like this, elephants are vegetarians, and they are some of the biggest/strongest animals around. Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, etc.), goji berries, nuts, broccoli, avocados, beets, cauliflower, and asparagus.

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    Q: When looking at the Food Combining Chart I was wondering if smoothies are not a violation of all of the "recommendations." If it is suggested that certain items not be combined, how can smoothies actually be "healthy" to our bodies aside from the absolute nutrition they provide? Although I make them all the time, are we not potentially setting ourselves up for trouble? Just wondering. Thanks in advance for your expertise.

    A:

    Hi! Thanks for the question.

    The food combining chart is a suggestion for "optimal" digestion. It suggests we should eat mono meals optimally. This is often impossible and there is no evidence scientifically for this method. I am not sure how it would be studied anyway.

    It is considered best to try to adhere to the rules to the best of your ability. However, mixing fruits and veggies as in a green smoothie is absolutely fine. The benefits of the nutrition you receive will out weigh any digestive disturbance that may occur. Feel safe to have green smoothies in your diet and cleanse.

    Hope this answers your question,

    Gary Gibson HHC CPT BMI VLCE
    www.theveganeffect.com

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    Q: I am currently undergoing testing for sarcoidosis and found your site. I am already mostly vegan, but I read in your article that complex carbs should be greatly reduced or eliminated. I was just wondering what that might include, rice, and oats? Should I be eating only fruits, veggies, beans and nuts?

    A:

    That would include rice (only eat a little brown or wild rice), potatoes, yams, etc. Yes, eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.

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    Q: What do you tell someone that believes that eating meat is better than eating products not made of meat such as wheat pasta, brown rice, etc. My wife eats way too much meat, and she always says that she needs it for the protein. She doesn't work out or exercise regularly so I see it as just an excuse to continue the same old behavior. She's 5'6" and 205lbs and I think she should weigh 140 - 145 max. She's 43 years old and suffers from high blood pressure and swelling in the legs.

    A:

    We provide you with all the ammo you need in our free articles. Read the articles WHAT IS MEAT?, PROTEIN PROPAGANDA, THE DANGERS OF EATING MEAT, etc. You'll have all the ammo you need to counteract or retort any meat-eater's argument about eating dead animal flesh!

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    Q: Thank you for always answering my questions. I have about two more. Okay, I'm currently living overseas where I'm limited on raw fresh foods (vegetables and fruits). I want to do the detox but I'm concerned that I won't have everything as far as raw food to be successful. I have access to basics (apples, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, avocados, melons, lettuce, cabbage, bean spouts, carrots, celery, peppers, green beans, peas, bagged nuts,) but nothing exotic by any means. Then I was told to safely eat some of the food in the local economy that we should wash it with a 5% bleach solution (is that safe...and if on the detox I'm thinking that would be a no go). Two questions?Given the mentioned availability of raw foods could I be able to successfully complete the detox (I don't have an issue with eating the same things over and over again) and two what can I do to clean local produce so that its safe for consumption? Apparently part of the issue is that they use human feces to fertilize. Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response

    A:

    Yes, it seems you have enough raw food available to you to complete the cleanse.

    In order to clean local produce, rinse thoroughly with apple cider vinegar to "disinfect" it. If apple cider vinegar is unavailable, just use water.

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: I’m wondering about your 20 day raw food diet, are you saying no cooked veggies at all. (I have a form of PARKINSON; I'm interested in trying your recommended raw food diet for 20 days) Please answer this question as soon as possible, thanks.

    A:

    No cooked veggies at all!

  • Click here to view in a new window

    Q: I am thinking about purchasing your Full Body Cleanse program, but I am concerned about one thing... too much weight lost. I am already thin, and do not want to fade away as I think three weeks on nothing but raw fruits and veggies may leave me looking sick. What is your suggestion? Are there any foods high in protein I can eat while cleansing? Also, thank you so much for your wisdom and insight. I listen to you on Blake Radio, and one of the reasons why I am buying your product is because you speak with so much passion. There are a lot of cleaning products out there, and to be perfectly honest, I have been so overwhelmed by the products out there that I ended up not buying anything. At any rate, thank you for your time and let please let me know if you have any suggestions on keeping up my weight while I cleanse.

    A:

    If you are concerned about getting enough food while maintaining a raw foods diet over a 20-day period, make sure you are consuming plenty of healthy fats to keep you full and satiated. Avocado, Coconut Cream or Oil, Raw Nuts, Raw Seeds, are great sources of nutrients and healthy fats that will keep you from losing weight.

    To get the protein you need, you can try making a smoothie with Vegan Protein Powder.

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    Q: Good morning. I tried the WEIGHT RELEASE CLEANSE AND REGIMEN and followed the diet. I must say that I am amazed at how good I feel. Energetic and focused but alas, I only lost 3 pounds in the 3 weeks. I am 5'5 and currently at 181 pounds. My body is extremely resistant to weight loss. I have done several different types of detox including the IZO juice cleanse in the last year and had not lost weight. I don't even seem to respond to a very low calorie diet. I do have elevated liver Enzyme levels and a recent blood test showed low B6 vitamin and not proper protein digestion. I exercise 3 times a week and I eat rather health and mostly organic. Please HELP. Thanks

    A:

    This means that your body focused on another area that was of more importance than weight release. your mind wanted weight reduction but your body intelligence focused on something else. Go with the flow of the body intelligence and trust it. You apparently have an energetic block that prevents you from physically releasing weight (since you've tried other programs). Consider scheduling a consultation so we can get at the energetic/emotional root of your problem. Simply stop worrying about "losing" weight. Focus on what you desire (to see yourself in the size you desire). Don't focus on what you don't want (i.e. to lose weight).

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    Q: I've been taking the Full Body Cleanse for almost 2 weeks. In general, I feel much better. My question is if I can eat spirulina. and/or Ultimate Meal (mainly is Quinoa, millet, brown rice, yellow pea protein, spirulina and another natural ingredients) as breakfast or lunch. In case you do not know Ultimate Meal you can see it at www.ultimatelife.com Thank you. Ricardo. Your customer service rep told me after full body detox is good to take cholesterol formula. Is enough or Do I need to take lose weight tabs? after the full body cleanse? I am taking care of my diet and exercise 3 -4 times a week 2 hours each with stationary bike or tread mill and exercises with weights.

    A:

    Spirulina and Ultimate Meal are excellent supplementary products to take in order for your body to receive an adequate amount of protein while on the cleanse.

    Yes, take Cholesterol Formula (and Intestinal Cleanser) after you complete the cleanse. These products will serve as a transitionary period as your body slowly accustoms to returning back to normal routines.

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    Q: I am a 55 year old female. I have an overactive bladder. I am trying to control it myself, without medication. I have not tried herbs. I eat fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins (not beef or pork). I added back more meat proteins 1 1/2 years ago because I was becoming so tired and lacking energy. (I read The Schwartzbein Diet, which helped convince me to add more protein.) I don't eat much sugar, salt (only 500 mg./day) or hardly any processed foods. I drink water and licorice tea, because it makes me feel good. I believe in the power of positive thinking. Can you help me with this?

    A:

    The steps you are taking in your diet are a great start. Try going raw, and eliminating grains and meat altogether. You can get enough protein and healthy fats with avocado, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, brazil nuts, coconut. You can also add Vegan Protein Powder to smoothies.

    I also recommend you give our Full Body Cleanse a try to further detoxify your entire body. After detoxing, the ideal formula for you is our Kidneys Bladder-Adrenal formula.

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    Q: I have read about your detox system on your site and others. Here is the product that I am thinking about purchasing: Full Body Detox I have some questions... 1) Is there a diet plan or eating plan that comes with this order? and 2) I have 100 pounds to lose and am thinking about going on the Medifast plan. That is a high (vegetable) protein diet with no fruit and not a lot of vegetables allowed. Would these supplements in the detox plan help my organs that might be taxed a bit on this diet with very little vegetables and no fruit? I am skeptical about #2...I think raw fruits and vegetables are so important inour diets, yet, I do need to drop weight fast. I look forward to any thoughts that you might have.

    A:

    Yes, the Full Body Cleanse comes with a dietary regimen prescribing an all-raw foods diet (fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds). This means no meat, dairy, grains, or processed foods.

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    Q: I notice that my 5 year old son as a cavity, and also his teeth are of a grayish color. He does not eat a lot of sweets, and artificial foods. I try to eat food that is organic, lots of fruits and vegetables. My concern is that, he is not getting enough vitamins, protein, and calcium. Is there of particular diet that you would recommend for my child?

    A:

    To make sure your child is getting enough nutrients, give the child Dherbs.com Children's Nutritive Formula 9, Calcium Extract, and Moringa Seed Extract. (Read our article on Moringa in the articles section of our site).

    Article:
    Moringa

    Product Links:
    Children's Calcium Extract
    Children's Iodine Extract
    Moringa Seed Extract

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    Q: How often should one eat cook food? I'm a vegan, I do not consume any meat, seafood, milk what so ever. I eat water cresses like everyday so as cook food. Like white rice with black bean sauce, spinach, and pasta at time's I'll eat some Chinese fried rice, veggie roll, steamed vegetables, any advice?

    A:

    You can eat cooked food as much as you like. However, try to incorporate as many nutrient-dense raw foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, into your diet to make sure you are receiving an adequate amount of nutrients.