Food Combining Diet For Weight Loss
Most of us eat proteins and starches together in familiar combination such as bread and cheese, fish and chips, chicken and rice, and meat and potatoes. However, to be efficiently broken down, proteins require stomach acid whereas starches don’t. Mixing both together can mean that neither is fully digested, increasing the risk of indigestion, bloating and sluggishness. In fact, it’s been estimated that one in every two people doesn’t digest their food well enough or absorb enough nourishment to maintain ideal health and energy levels. Some people believe food combining helps to balance body weight by improving the way we digest and absorb nutrients which, in turn, helps burn off excess calories. It doesn’t mean you have to eat everything separately, but you will need to adjust to eating some foods in different combination. It may not be what you’re used to but it’s not that difficult to follow.
This diet was devised in the 1920s by Dr William Hay. Dr Hay had two concern:
- his health was not good
- he was overweight
In desperation, he decided to try not mixing protein foods such as meat, cheese or fish with starchy foods like potatoes, bread or rice. In a few months, he’d lost 50 pounds and his health was much improved. Next he tried the diet out on his patients and the results were just as impressive. Modern nutritionists have updated his principles over the years and the diet remains very popular.
- Eat starches and proteins apart
- Eat fruit separately
- Try and leave 15 to 30 minutes between main course and dessert
- Don’t worry about food combining seven day every week, five is fine
Which Foods Combine Best?
- soy milk
- tofu (beancurd)
- sweet potatoes
- cereals and grains (including anything made from oats, rice, rye, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, couscous)
- flour, biscuits, cakes, bread, pittas, pastry
- beans (except soy) and all pulses
- all vegetables (other than potatoes and sweetcorn)
- all salads
- herbs and spices
- nuts and seeds
- all types of salad dressings
- spreading fats
- cooking oils
- maple syrup
- tea, coffee and other beverages
What About Fruits?
You’ll see that fruit isn’t included in the list. Fruit is a ‘superfood’. Whilst it’s nourishing and packed with vital vitamins and minerals, it is digested so quickly, it doesn’t mix well with proteins or starches. The only exception is yogurt which is also very quick and easy to digest. Yogurt and all kinds of fruit go well together. Acidic fruits such as apples and oranges can be a particular problem if they are eaten too close to a starchy meal. Banana is the only really flexible fruit. It’s quite starchy so banana is good with porridge and cereals but it is also easy to digest so goes well with yogurt. Eat fruit as a snack between meals or as a starter to a main course. In other words, on an empty stomach. Or leave a gap between courses.
Milk and cream are in different groups, that’s because cream is classed as a fat and so mixed with proteins or starches whereas milk is a concentrated protein food. Almond milk is tasty and nourishing alternative to cow’s milk on cereals or porridge.
Everyday Food Combining
It may seem a bit complicated but it can become second nature. For instance, say you had to have a sardine or tuna salad with rice. All fish are protein foods. Rice is starchy. At this meal, forget the rice and serve a larger portion of tuna with a much bigger salad, or leave out the tuna and jazz up the rice by adding some thing like sweetcorn, avocados, red kidney beans and peppers.
Whenever you prepare a meal, make sure that you eat enough. For example with a protein meal, make sure you have two or three eggs rather than one, or a larger fillet of fish, or a bigger breast of chicken. When it comes to starch based meals, go up a size when you choose your jacket potato, or serve an extra spoonful of pasta or rice, and always serve plenty of vegetables or salad.
Top Food Combining Tips
- Forget about calorie counting. Whilst it’s important to cut down on the not-so-healthy foods (those high in fats and sugars) there’s no need to skimp on portion sizes. If you have a tendency to overeat, try serving everything on a smaller size plate.
- Be patient. You should lose 4 pounds in the first week and 2 pounds per week after that. Lose weight more quickly than this and it will almost certainly creep back.
- Start slowly. Why not begin with food combining for just one or two days a week? Your energy levels should still improve and just two days a week will start to balance the metabolism.
- Avoid sandwiches with meat, egg or fish. Try fillings of avocado, slices of red pepper, grated carrot or grilled mushrooms. Use salad dressings to add flavor.
How Many Meals From Each Group?
It doesn’t really matter which meals are protein and which are starch as long as you even out the balance throughout the week. One day you could choose a protein breakfast (scrambled eggs for example), lunch could be a starchy jacket potato or salad sandwich. Supper might be a protein based cheese salad. The next day, why not try porridge for breakfast, a chicken salad (protein) in the middle of the day, and a pasta dish (starch) in the evening? Make sure that lunches and dinners include plenty of vegetables or salads from the mix-with-anything group. For a light snack, why not choose an attractive selection of fresh fruit or a dressed green salad?
Food Combining Recipes For Success
Based on the ‘mix but make sure they match’ theory of food combining, these delicious recipes show you how to eat well whilst you try this diet for yourself.
- Scrambled Egg and Bacon In Mushroom Caps (Protein)
- Turkey Stir Fry (Protein)
- Brown Rice With Beans (Starch)
Try this Creamy Porridge (starch) for breakfast. Pour 3 cups water into a non stick pan and stir in 1 cup oat bran. Simmer, stirring for 6 to 8 minutes until creamy. Stir in 1 tbsp honey, and pour into 2 bowls. Chop half a banana over each and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Serve with Almond Milk.
To make Almond Milk, put 250 ml water in a food processor with 12 blanched almonds and blend for 20 seconds. This creamy liquid is often better digested than cow’s milk and can be used on cereals, in desserts or in coffee.
Enjoy Honey Bananas after a starchy meal. For 2 servings, cut 2 large bananas length ways, place in a greased ovenproof dish, spread with a little butter and drizzle with 1 tbsp clear honey. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 200°C/400°F for 12 minutes. Serve with creme fraiche.