No matter how you choose to eat, food combining comes in to play. It is actually very simple and doesn't take much getting used to. Our body can only produce a certain amount of digestive enzymes at a time. Having a meal with starches, protein and carbohydrates is not an ideal combination. When optimal digestion cannot occur, nutrients will not be absorbed and our body won't get the nutrition that it needs. The old starch, vegetable, protein at dinner needs to go out the window. It is just not ideal for our digestive systems, and it will leave you lethargic and nutrient deficient.
So, how do I food combine? I have to admit I do not follow this 100%. My main issue is fruit. Fruit should be eaten ALONE or with nuts or seeds. That's it as far as it goes regarding fruit. So for breakfast if I have chia seeds soaked in home made sesame milk with chopped up apples and goji berries, that is proper food combining. If I have home made oatmeal (made with raw oat groats) with bananas and raisins on top, that is not proper food combining because oats are a starch and not a seed or nut. My problem with fruit is that it is such a perfect dessert. So if I do eat it after a meal, and not alone, I try to have it an hour or so after dinner. Not sure if that's "proper" or not, but oh well!
Here is pretty much the only other rule for food combining. 80% veggies, 20% starch OR 20% protein at lunch and dinner (even breakfast if you want). So, 80% of your plate is vegetables. Greens, broccoli, cabbage, brussell sprouts, bell pepper, cucumber, zucchini, anything green! Then the other 20% of the plate can be starch OR protein. Protein can be any form you want it to be, but try to avoid soy because it is acidic and extremely hard on the hormones and endocrine system. This can even be more vegetables since they contain protein. Starch is anything like roots, squash (butternut, spaghetti squash, kabocha, etc) or grain like seeds like millet, buckwheat or quinoa. So, 80% veggies, 20% starch OR protein. Aim to do this for lunch and dinner. And that's basically food combining!
Some meal ideas can be veggie salad with protein of choice for lunch, veggie soup with homemade bread, roasted cruciferous veggies (cauliflower, romenesco, brussell sprouts) with mashed up root veggies. It's very possible to do! If 80% veggies freaks you out, try for at least 50-60%.
Include Raw Fermented Foods
Again, no matter how you choose to eat, fermented foods should have a place in your diet. They contain pre and pro biotics and nourish the delicate inner ecosystem of the intestinal flora. 80% of our immunity comes from the flora in our gut, and the gut produces more serotonin then the brain, so keeping it balanced is absolutely necessary for good health. There is more and more information coming out about the importance of a balanced digestive tract. It makes just makes sense!! Fermented foods are a part of every culture on the planet except for modern, western culture. It is something we have removed from our diet in the last 100-150 years, and its time to put it back!
Fermented vegetables can be found at any health food store, Whole Foods, and even COSTCO! Yes, Costco (at least in the SF Bay Area) is now carrying Farmhouse Culture raw fermented sauerkraut. Yay!! Make sure they are in the refrigerated section and do NOT contain vinegar. This is not part of the fermentation process. Ingredients should read very simple, veggie, salt, water, that's it! Go for organic, as always. You don't want to eat fermented pesticides!!
Some people get very experimental and like to ferment their own veggies. It can be done, takes about 2-8 weeks depending on your desired outcome, and doesn't take much prep time. I say if you want to be adventurous, read up on it, watch tutorial videos, and make sure that your end product is not spoiled or moldy.
A few brands that are great are Farmhouse Culture, Pickled Planet, Wild Brine and Bubbies. Bubbies is not organic, but they are an awesome "gateway" kraut if you need to be eased in to the taste and idea of eating raw sauerkraut.
Some tasty, easy recipes with sauerkraut:
- Mash up an avocado, add chopped sauerkraut and eat! Or use this to top salads
- Soak 1 cup of cashews in water for 4-8 hours. Drain and rinse. Add cashews, at least 1/2 c sauerkraut and 1-2 cloves are garlic to blender. Blend until creamy. May need to add water. Makes a delicious sour cream substitute!
- Make a morning veggie saute with onions, cabbage, kale, sun dried tomatoes, shredded carrot and top with sauerkraut
- Steam potatoes and beets, top with cold pressed sesame oil, dill, raw garlic, and sauerkraut
The possibilities are really endless! I'm waiting for a jalapeno cilantro sauerkraut to be made by Farmhouse Culture so that I can top veggie tacos with it, yum! I have already sent them an email expressing how much they need to make this new combination :-)
Eat a Variety of Foods and Enjoy
Have fun with the way you choose to eat! Whether it's Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, gluten free, soy free, grain free, whatever, just have fun with it!! Remember to eat mostly on the alkaline scale, combine meals properly, and take in plenty of fermented veggies. Now matter how you choose to eat, being mindful of these principles will lead you to a more balanced way of eating for optimum digestion and nutrient assimilation. And enjoy your meals! Be thankful for them, eat them slowly and with intention, and make them tasty and delicious <3