Nowadays, we eat more and more badly with adverse health consequences. Different diets claim to reduce health, but what about diet combinations?
It is important to correctly associate food, that is to say to have a varied diet, to use the right foods on a daily basis so that they are digested and assimilated in an optimum way.
If the digestion phase goes badly (insufficient chewing, meal too rich, enzymatic weakness, etc.), the assimilation will be disrupted.
If digestion is too fast, the passage of food in the small intestine (too short) does not allow the latter to assimilate all the nutrients offered to it. This inadequate assimilation results in deficiencies.
Poor digestion is characterized by digestive problems, fatigue after eating, flatulence, bloating. These various problems are mostly simply due to a poor food association which, if this persists, disrupts our health.
The difficulty is to find the ideal match between the biological abilities of digestion and assimilation of our body.
The basic rules:
Before even talking about food combinations, it is important to apply the following rules:
1) Eat less
Our current society consumes far too much food and moreover is of poor quality. The important thing is that at the end of the meal, you would leave the table without being completely satisfied. If you open the button of your pants because you have no more space, this indicates that you have eaten too much. Do not sit back at the table.
2) Eating quality and vitalising foods
Indeed, our current diet is overcooked, or already prepared. If you only consume cooked food, you will necessarily be deficient in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, trace elements.
That is why it is important to add raw foods, which in naturopathy we describe as living, while cooked food is considered dead.
Those who are sensitive on the intestines plan will have to start with vegetable juices that can be diluted with water at the beginning, in order to habituate his body.
You can take a vegetable juice as aperitif. It will bring vital elements (vitamins, trace elements, minerals, enzymes) promoting the digestion of cooked food.
Then go to raw vegetables in the form of simple or compound salads, also consider adding sprouts (alfalfa, radish, leeks, mustard) which are a concentrate of vital elements, revitalizing, sources of health and youth.
Replace refined foods with whole or semi-complete foods. Refined foods have virtually no nutrients; vitamins, trace elements, minerals, enzymes and assimilable fatty acids are found in complete and semi-complete foods.
Thus, it is important to modify our old habits by integrating not only whole grains, but also cold pressed oils, Guérande gray salt and whole sugar.
3) Decrease the amount of animal proteins
Animal proteins consumed regularly have the defect of bringing to the organism too large amounts of toxins and fats of poor quality. The least harmful are fish, poultry and eggs. You can add a very fresh raw egg yolk at the last moment on rice, vegetables or eat the whole egg to the shell (unlike yellow, egg white should not be eaten raw)
A mixture of cereals and legumes can replace a good steak in terms of protein intake.
4/5 of half-full rice and 1/5 of coral lentils (orange color, very digestible) is a perfect mixture containing all proteins without any deficiency of amino acids.
What is the value of food combinations
From the search for the best possible digestion the diet of food combinations was born. Indeed, imperfect or slow digestion causes intestinal fermentations and putrefaction, sources, in particular digestive disorders and intoxination (absorption by the blood of toxins born in the intestine) and which can be at the origin of all kinds of diseases .
The right food combinations are based on the principle that the food families starches, farinaceous, proteins, vegetables and fruits digest very differently from the fact:
- Different digestion time for each food category
- From the different digestion site
- Different degrees of acidity for food digestion
- Different enzymes (enzymes allow food to be degraded into assimilable unit elements called nutrients: amino acids, fatty acids, bones). An enzyme only deals with one type of food to the exclusion of any other.
For exemple :
- Ptyalin is found in the mouth and especially in the saliva. It makes it possible to begin the degradation of the starches and needs an alkaline medium.
- Pepsin is found in the stomach and crushes proteins into peptides. To do this, he needs an acid medium.
- Pancreatic lipase associated with bile degrades fats in the duodenum into fatty acids.
This example shows that the digestion of meat (protein / acid medium) and that of cereals (starch, flour / alkaline environment) at the same meal are “contradictory”.
As regards the different digestion speeds, it should be noted that the sugars of the fruits are almost directly assimilable without undergoing digestion. Fats, on the other hand, slow digestion because they pass first and the other foods “wait” patiently in the stomach as the fats have finished their emulsion in the duodenum.
It was therefore from observations on the physiology of digestion that the basis of food combinations, favorable or not to health, could be drawn.
Origins of food combinations
The principle of food combinations was developed in the United States by hygienist Herbert M SHELTON.
Here are the rules set out by Shelton: (see “Food combinations” editions of the book)
- Eating acids and starches at separate meals
- Eat protein foods and carbohydrates (starch / meal) at separate meals
- Eating at the same meal a food containing a concentrated protein
- Eating protein and acids at separate meals
- Eating fat and protein at separate meals
- Eating sugars and protein at separate meals
- Eat starches and sugars at separate meals
- Eating melons alone
- Take milk alone or do not take it at all
- Leave the desserts
An example of a menu based on Shelton’s food combinations theory would be:
- Breakfast: A meal of fruit
- Lunch: A meal of flour and green vegetables
- Dinner: A meal of protein and green vegetables.
It is actually a matter of dissociating rather than combining food.
The dangers of the SHELTON regime when it is practiced permanently
This method has been very controversial. Indeed, food is so dissociated that it approaches the so-called naturopathy “monodiete”, that is, the consumption of a single food at a meal.
The interest of a monodiete is to lighten the digestive system, to increase the quality of digestion and to save the vital energy.
The monodiete is therefore practiced over a fixed period when we have difficulties to digest, to lose weight, to rest the enzymatic system and to save vital energy.
It is detrimental to apply it continuously for two reasons. The excessive dissociation of food, on the one hand, generates deficiencies and toxic waste, on the other hand it accelerates the digestion in a harmful way, leaving no time for the small intestine to assimilate the nutrients present.
After 3 weeks to one month, it is possible to have deficiencies especially for people who have few reserves such as the elderly, and for those who have important vital needs such as children and pregnant women. There is a risk of stunting in children.
The absence of proteins is dangerous because they have 4 important important functions and ensure:
- The growth
- The nutrition of the cell
- Cellular restoration
- Cellular and sexual reproduction of cells
Proteins have a ubiquitous action, they are everywhere: bone, muscle, tendon, skin, cartilage, digestive tract, toxin, bacterium, hormone, enzyme, immune cells. In a child, it is easy to imagine what can happen with such a diet.
In the absence of carbohydrates the organism is deprived of its basic energy source (the glucose, necessary for the production of ATP or energy).
It must therefore resort to back-up systems for its energy production: neoglucogenesis and b-oxidation:
- The absence of carbohydrates during a protein meal leads to deamination by the liver of almost all the amino acids which has the effect of increasing the production of urea and ultimately producing protein deficiency. The body will also draw into the muscles, the glucose reserves which can lead in the long run to slimming muscle.
- The absence of carbohydrates during a lipid meal results in b-oxidation of lipids, a mechanism allowing the use of lipids for the production of ATP (energy). At the same time there is production of ketone bodies in abundance and in the long term one can arrive at a ketosis.
It is thus seen that this regime, striving to spare the digestive system and not to produce intestinal toxins mobilizes other systems which are rescue systems producing other toxic waste.
The right food combinations
I think we should be inspired by nature. In nature, it is difficult to find foods that do not have several components at the same time, it associates them fairly. However, foods have a dominant carbohydrate, fat or protein. Why should we disassociate them to the extreme?
I think that an excess in all is a defect and I generally prefer the middle way. Indeed, some of Shelton’s principles are very interesting but this method, pushed to the extreme, quickly reaches its limits.
To concentrate too much on digestion, one forgets the question of assimilation. However, if digestion is too fast, the small intestine simply does not have time to assimilate the nutrients. And one misses the primary function of diet, nutrition cells.
You will find below the food combinations respecting both digestive physiology and good assimilation.
This table lists the major families of foods that are important to distinguish:
|Strong proteins||Meat, fish, poultry, crustaceans, eggs, cooked cheeses, gouda, county|
|Low protein||Soya, legumes, fresh peas, mushrooms, seaweed, tempeh, seitan, tofu, sesame, almonds, hazelnuts, …|
|Protein cheese||Yogurts, white cheeses, fresh goats, fresh ewe, petit suisse, ricotta, …|
|Farineux forts||Rice, pasta, oats, spelled, wheat, barley, rye, wholemeal bread, buckwheat, millet, corn, …|
|Low starches||Rusks, pilpil, bulgur, cereal flakes, potimarrons, pumpkins, potatoes, sweet potatoes, chestnuts|
|Fruits||Acids : Lemons, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, pineapple, passion fruit, kiwi, blueberries, cherries, currants, strawberries, raspberries, apricots, blackberries, …
Mid-acids : apples, pears, plums, mangoes, peaches, …
Sweet : Bananas, prunes, dates, figs, grapes, …
|Green and colorful vegetables||Green or colored vegetables, raw or cooked|
|Specific foods||Melons, watermelons, honey, sugars|
Here you will find the right associations with good assimilation.
Rather than giving you a list of compatible or non-compatible foods, I prefer to give you a summary table that allows you to understand the principle of food combinations between large food families.
This table summarizes the plate developed by Daniel KIEFFER that can be found in his book Health Naturopathy forever with the Grancher edition.
The following table shows the green and red combinations that should be avoided.
By way of illustration, the following are examples and principles derived from them:
1) Eat raw fruit away from meals
Indeed, the fruit is digested in a few minutes in the intestine, it only passes into the stomach. If he is consumed as a dessert he must remain there for several hours, trapped.
This causes fatigue after the meal, digestive acid fermentations, intestinal gas and various digestive disorders.
The best time to consume the fruits is ½ hour before meal or at least three hours after the meal (10/11, 16/17).
2) Avoid a strong protein with a strong flour (because acid digestion of the protein would instantly block that of the starch)
3) Do not mix an acidic meal and a farinaceous meal at the same meal because the acidity inhibits the salivary enzyme starting digestion of farinaceous plants.
Example of bad mixes : tomatoes then rice, pasta tomato sauce …
The following combinations are not favorable:
|Proteins strong||Farineux forts|
|Fish, steak, poultry, crustacean, cooked cheese, egg||Rice, paste, oats, spelled, wheat, barley, rye, bread, buckwheat, millet|
By cons are acceptable on the digestive level:
|Proteins strong||Low starches|
|Fish, steak, poultry, crustacean, cooked cheese, egg||Potato, pumpkin, chestnut, sweet potato|
|Low proteins||Farineux forts|
|Mushroom, soybean, lentil, fresh peas, tempeh, seaweed, nuts, sesame, tofu, almond, hazelnut||Rice, paste, oats, spelled, wheat, barley, rye, bread, buckwheat, millet|
It is possible to associate animal proteins with starches to promote assimilation. (Eg fish / potatoes). The egg can also be associated with flour (eggshell / pasta).
Cooked or raw vegetables have a favorable association with everything except a few specific foods such as honey, melon (see list above).
Combining vegetable protein with flour is digestible, not fouling. It is something to promote in winter and in the evening.
Fresh cheeses, yogurts other than cow (goat, soy, ewe) can be combined with cooked or raw fruits or vegetables. Do not put them at the end of the meal.
4) Lipids without excess accompany the food. A trace is needed.
5) Here are some favorable combinations of the same meal that arise from the table
- Vegetables raw or cooked with mussels and potatoes (but not fries!)
- Potimarron with Gruyère cheese
- Vegetables cooked with semolina and chickpeas (this is the vegetarian couscous), provided that the following proportions are observed: starches 4 / 5th + legumes 1 / 5th of the total quantity, for an optimal assimilation of vegetable proteins.
6) Typical menu for food combinations
white cheese with fruit (banana, apple, pear, fruits of the season, avoid oranges or mandarins in winter because too acid)
or crushed banana with grated apple and almond powder defatted
green tea or herbal tea (thyme, rosemary, Mint, green anise, …)
vegetable juice as aperitif
fish + bean + potato
4/5 rice complete or half complete with 1/5 coral lentils
or vegetarian couscous vegetables cooked with semolina 4/5 chickpeas 1/5
The diet based on food combinations allows to take into account the physiology of the man who is anatomically closer to frugivores than carnivores. It is important to associate foods appropriately in order to achieve the primary function of food: cell nutrition. It is therefore a compromise between the physiology of digestion and that of assimilation that will provide health. Shelton went so far as to lose sight of assimilation. Inspired by his work without falling into the extreme, we can put in place a diet that greatly promotes health.