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Got Digestive Problems? Eat Foods that Don’t Fight!

by Barbara Minton
See all TBYIL articles by Barbara Minton

(The Best Years in Life) It’s no joke that over half of Americans experience digestive distress on a regular basis. Experts point to the fact that we have abandoned the simple diet eaten by our ancestors, which often consisted merely of animal protein. Processed carbohydrates had not been invented back then, and neither had Rolaids. How can we get back to that good time? Dr. William Hay said the practice of food combining can be our salvation.

Dr. Hay practiced what he preached, having been a physical wreck once himself, with high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. He examined not only what he was eating, but how he was eating it. What he discovered was a tremendous improvement in his health in just a few months, after developing an understanding of food combining. Like all theorists who find solutions outside of mainstream medicine, Dr. Hay was ridiculed for his observations. But today he is being vindicated by research that shows a connection between processed carbohydrates and modern maladies such as diabetes, depression, allergies, migraines, chronic fatigue skin problems, and psychiatric disorders.

What is food combining?                       

The theory of food combining reflects the principles governing digestion, and is based on the idea that a healthy body is slightly alkaline. Foods for a meal are selected and combined based on these principles. When the right foods are combined, digestion is effortless, and nutrients are used to their fullest extent to sponsor vibrant health.

It has been fully documented that digestion is facilitated by enzymes produced in response to a cue from the food one is eating, and these enzymes are only active in suitable media and a well defined acid-alkaline range.

Foods high in protein require the secretion of enzymes designed to break down protein, while foods high in carbohydrates require secretion of enzymes made specifically to break down carbohydrates. The same goes for fats. The enzyme pepsin is produced by the eating of protein, to break down protein for digestion. Pepsin is only active in an acid medium, and is destroyed in an alkaline environment. The enzyme amylase is produced by the eating of carbohydrates, to break down carbohydrates. Amylase is only active in an alkaline medium, and is destroyed in an acidic environment.

The crux of Dr. Hay’s theory is that combining foods requiring acid medium with those requiring alkaline medium leads to fermentation in the gut, a situation that is behind 90 percent of digestive issues.


Follow the basics of food combining to feel better

These are the basic rules of food combining:

*Protein and carbohydrates -The number one contenders for foods that fight are the American dietary standard – meat and potatoes. This is because meat needs an acid medium for pepsin to be effective, and potatoes need an alkaline medium for amylase to be effective for digestion, but each cancels out the other and digestion is severely impeded. Add in the fermentation of the potatoes, and this is a recipe for a digestive nightmare. Instead, Dr. Hay recommended eating protein concentrated foods with a fresh green salad. He also recommends pairing nuts or seeds with acid fruits like berries or citrus.

*Protein and fats – Fats require an alkaline media for lipase to be effective. So the digestive breakdown of fats is delayed until acidic based enzymes complete their work on protein concentrated foods. This means fats can remain undigested in the stomach for as long as six hours. Fats such as oils, butter and milk fat create even more problems by coating the gastric mucosa and slowing the release of the enzymes need to digest the protein items. This why eating fried chicken slows you down for hours.

*Two concentrated proteins eaten together - Each protein type has a timing of enzyme secretions, and no two types are the same, meaning that only one kind of protein should be eaten at a meal. It is why a ham, egg and cheese biscuit for breakfast can drag you down for the rest of the day.

*Acid fruits combined with carbohydrates - When acid fruits are eaten, the action of the alkaline enzyme needed to break down starch is neutralized. Thus acid fruits should not be eaten at the same meal as sweet fruits or other starches. This combination is what makes spaghetti and other dishes combining tomatoes with starch such a gastric challenge.

*Non-starchy vegetables are neutral and can successfully combine with starch or protein.

*Starch combined with sugar - Eating starch disguised as sweets is a bad idea. These treats produce plenty of saliva, but none of the alkaline enzymes needed to digest the starch because the sugar has turned the environment acidic. The starch ferments, and this is why fruit filled cookies or Danish settles on the stomach link a box of rocks.

*Melons are a special category - Melon is nature’s most perfect food, because it is the most easily digested -- that is, if it is eaten alone and away from all other foods. Digesting melon and receiving its bouquet of nutrients takes only 15 minutes. But if you eat melon for dessert after a meal, you will learn the meaning of misery.

What’s the bottom line?

  • Starches, fats, and green vegetables may be eaten together as they require either an alkaline or neutral medium for their digestion.

  • Protein foods, green vegetables, sugars and acid fruits may be eaten together as they require an acid or neutral medium for their digestion.

  • Starches and proteins, fats and proteins, starch and acid fruits, and starch and sugars should not be eaten together for those people looking to attain optimal digestion and gastric comfort.

Eating meals made up of very few courses will produce the best digestive outcome. Meals consisting of a single course, the way out ancestors ate, would be ideal. Simple meals are more conducive to overall health than elaborate meals. If you doubt the truth of this, think about how you feel after eating a holiday meal!

For the best digestion, eat a fruit meal for breakfast, a starch meal with a vegetable salad or non-starchy vegetables for lunch, and a protein meal with a green salad and non-starchy vegetables for dinner.

See also:

10 Tips for Good Digestion – The Foundation of Good Health

Aloe Vera for Healing Burns and Digestion

For more information:

About the Author:

Barbara is a school psychologist and the author of Dividend Capture, a book on personal finance. She is a breast cancer survivor using bioidentical hormone therapy, and a passionate advocate of natural health with hundreds of articles on many aspects of health and wellness. She is the editor and publisher of AlignLife's Health Secrets Newsletter.

See other articles by the Barbara Minton here:

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