raw glow header

The Rationale of Food Combining

What is the rationale behind correct food combining?


From The Natural Hygiene Life Science Course
by Dennis Nelson
From Living Nutrition Magazine vol. 16
©Living Nutrition Publications. All rights reserved.



The principles of food combining were first explained in the earlier part of the 20th century by Dr. John Tilden, M.D., author of Toxemia Explained, and Dr. William Howard Hay, M.D. Their work was followed by that of Dr. Herbert Shelton and is continuing with the doctors and teachers of the Natural Hygiene movement.


This is not to imply that those people "laid down the law" about how we should eat, but rather that they observed how the human body works optimally in carrying out the processes of digestion. They found that nature's way demands simplicity, and any alterations of this plan will be met with less than ideal consequences.


It has been observed that animals in nature eat very simply and combine their food minimally. Carnivorous animals eat their meal alone, without any carbohydrate or acid foods. Birds and squirrels have also been observed to eat one type of food at a time. Certainly no animal in nature would at any one time eat the variety of foods that many humans are accustomed to eating at a conventional meal.


The basis for food combining is a logical application of the chemistry and physiology of digestion, with special consideration given to the limitations of our digestive juices and enzymes. The practical application of this knowledge has given us the rules of food combining, which we may use to ensure a greater degree of digestive efficiency.


In relating this concept lo nutrition, we should realize that the nourishment our body receives is dependent on what we can digest and assimilate. That which is not digested only wastes the body's energy in passing it through the alimentary canal. What is worse, the undigested food becomes soil for bacteria to feed upon, resulting in putrefaction and fermentation which irritates and poisons our tissues. This is a primary contributing factor in the causation of disease.


This is not to say that applying the principles of food combining will always lead to good digestion, as there are other factors which reduce our digestive capabilities, e.g., overeating and eating under stressful conditions. Some of these include: fatigue; preceding or following strenuous exercise; during a fever or when there is severe inflammation; and while experiencing strong emotions. All of these conditions hinder digestion and predispose to bacterial decomposition of food. In addition, the use of condiments, (especially salt), vinegar, alcohol, coffee or tea during a meal retards digestion considerably. All of these circumstances must be considered if one desires good digestion, and, consequently, a well-nourished body.


That people suffer greatly from indigestion is evidenced by the fact that billions of dollars are spent yearly on over-the-counter medicines in the U.S. alone, to suppress the pains and discomforts due to conventional eating and living habits. Diseases of the stomach, intestines, colon, and rectum are on the increase; conventional treatment with drugs and surgery does not remove their underlying causes. We need to adopt a saner plan of living that includes sound nutritional principles, if we are ever to remedy this situation. Simple meals of compatible combinations are a necessity for good digestion.


Dr. Shelton says in his book Food Combining Made Easy: "As all physiologists are agreed that the character of the digestive juice secreted corresponds with the character of the food to be digested and that each food calls for its own specific modification of the digestive juice, it follows as the night the day, that complex mixtures of food greatly impair the efficiency of digestion. Simple meals will prove to be more easily digested, hence more healthful."


The wonderful thing about the food combining concept is that anyone, no matter what their dietary preference, may benefit from the application of these rules to their particular diet. Whether you subsist on a vegetarian diet or one that includes animal foods need not be a concern in food combining principles. The digestive system works fundamentally the same for all humans, both chemically and physiologically. The idea that each one of us has individual needs and capacities is true to a certain extent, but this does not nullify the physiological limitations of the human organism.


To quote Dr. Shelton again: "There are great numbers of people who will object lo these simple rules on the ground that their own experiences have revealed that it is safe for them to violate each and every one of these rules. The rules, they will say, may be applicable to some people, but not to them. The individual, rejecting the existence of a general law as the basis of physiology and digestion in diet, in health and disease, and holding that what is most valuable to one person may not be helpful to another – that 'one man's meat is another man's poison' – and that what is best for each individual may be determined only by observation of each person's idiosyncrasies will, perhaps, find it impossible to accept the truth of any plan of living that does not meet with the approval of his/her habits and prejudices.


"If we accept the obvious fact that a general law underlies physiology and biology and that all are subject to this law, it becomes easy to understand that hard and fast rules may be established that will fit all human beings. Physiology is not as chaotic and unlawful as some people seem to think.

"I frequently get another objection lo any effort to regulate the diet and eating practices according to any law of life. It runs this way: 'Diet is not all of life. Other things are also important.' Nobody stresses this fact as emphatically as does the Hygienist; but the objection is not raised by those who wish to emphasize the importance of the factors of life. It is made by those who desire to find a reason to disregard all the sane rules of eating and living. "


Digestion of Foods


Digestion is the term that applies to the processes by which the complex materials of food are broken down into simpler substances in preparation for their subsequent entrance into the bloodstream. For example, proteins are broken down into amino acids; carbohydrates, composed of starches and sugars, are converted into simple sugars; and fats are broken down into fatty acids. These are the simple substances which the body can use to build new tissue. Let us now discuss this process and how it works.


The human digestive tract may be divided into three cavities: the mouth, the stomach, and the small intestine. Each of these cavities contains its own distinct digestive secretions with which to carry on its own specific work of digestion. In each of these three stages, the work carried on at one stage prepares the food for the digestive work done at the next.


For purposes of this article, we need only concern ourselves with first two stages of the digestive process, that of salivary and gastric digestion. However, it must be understood that the efficiency of their work will determine the efficiency of digestion that is subsequently conducted in the intestine.

When food enters the mouth, the mechanical process of mastication along with the chemical process of insalivation initiate the digestive process. The taste buds are excited and these tiny nerve endings send signals to the brain to determine the type of food ingested. Immediately, specific juices are secreted, and an environment is created for the efficient digestion of that particular food. If this contains starch, then a specific enzyme called “salivary amylase” (ptyalin) will also be secreted in the saliva. However, this enzyme acts only upon starches and will not be secreted if the food does not contain starch.


After leaving the mouth, the food passes down the esophagus and into the stomach, where the digestive process continues. Here we find gastric juice containing primarily hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes. The pH of this gastric juice is variable, ranging from highly acidic to a mild acid or nearly neutral medium, depending on the type of food eaten. This variable range is secured by the degree of concentration of the hydrochloric acid.


Also present in the gastric juice are three primary enzymes: pepsin, which acts upon proteins; gastric lipase which acts upon fats; and rennin, which acts upon milk proteins. This third enzyme is present in sufficient quantities only in the gastric juice of infants. When the child has a full set of teeth, the secretion of rennin begins to diminish. This phenomenon indicates the time for weaning and feeding solid food. There is no physiological need for milk from this time forth.


The important fact lo understand here is that each enzyme can act only upon one class of food. For instance, the enzyme salivary amylase which acts upon starches, cannot act upon protein or fat. In fact, enzymatic action is so specific that each one of the different forms of complex sugars, such as maltose or lactose, requires its own specific enzyme for digestion.


An additional consideration is the fluid medium in which the digestive process takes place during the gastric phase. In the case of starches, salivary amylase requires an alkaline medium in which to continue its work and will be destroyed by a highly acid environment. This is also true of fats, whereby the enzyme gastric lipase and its action upon fats is inhibited by a highly acid medium in the stomach. However, in the case of proteins we have the opposite situation; they require a highly acid environment for the enzymatic activity of pepsin to take place. This is created by a sufficient outpouring of hydrochloric acid into the gastric juice.


Now as previously stated, there are three stages of the digestive process. Each one of these stages requires the action of different enzymes, and the efficiency of their work is determined by the digestive efficiency of the preceding stage. It is a sequential operation. For example, if pepsin, the enzyme secreted in the stomach during protein digestion, has not converted the proteins into peptones, it follows that erepsin, the enzyme secreted in the intestine, will not be able to carry on the final stage of protein digestion, that of converting the peptones into amino acids. The work of each enzyme is designed specifically for the stage of its secretion.


So, if there is to be efficient digestion of a food, the limitations of each stage of the digestive process must be respected. This requires that a food be eaten by itself or in combination with other foods that will not interfere with the distinct activity of different enzymes. When two foods are eaten that require opposite conditions for their digestion, the secretions will clash with each other and digestion of both foods will be limited or even suspended.


Another observation concerning the efficient digestion of various foods pertains to the emptying time of the stomach into the intestine. Fruits, when eaten alone as a meal, will remain in the stomach from ten minutes to an hour. However, when concentrated starches are eaten, their digestive time in the stomach takes from two to three hours. In the case of concentrated proteins, the digestive time required in the stomach is about four hours. In fact, some foods may require five or six hours to complete gastric digestion, as in the case of Iegumes or grains.


The point I wish lo make here is this: If foods are eaten together which require different time periods for gastric digestion, then we create a situation in which a food requiring the shorter time is held up in the stomach awaiting the more lengthy digestive time required by the other food. When this occurs, as when fruit or other sugars are eaten with protein, for example, the sugars ferment and nutrition is impaired.


Thus, with these considerations in mind, we may realize that we have the possibility of creating two distinct experiences when taking food. In the case of carbohydrates, during digestion they are broken down into simple sugars called monosaccharides, which the body can make use of to provide us with nutrients. However, if carbohydrates undergo fermentation, they are broken down into carbon dioxide, acetic acid, lactic acid, alcohol, and water; all, with the exception of the last, are poisonous substances. In the case of proteins, during digestion they are broken down into amino acids; however, when putrefaction occurs, they are broken down into a variety of ptomaines, leucomaines, and other poisons.


This is true with all other food components: enzymatic digestion of foods prepares them for the nutritive needs of the body, whereas bacterial decomposition of foods makes them unfit for its needs, poisoning it with the products of fermentation and/or putrefaction. The responsibility for harmonious digestion rests with us. Failure to observe digestive requirements results in subsequent pathology of mild to acute indigestion.




Food Combining For Optimum Digestion


© by David Klein, Ph.D.


Why do we need to practice proper food combining? Because our digestive systems cannot digest haphazard combinations, as evidenced by indigestion, flatulence, acid reflux, diarrhea, vomiting, body odors, colds, flu, pimples, dandruff, chronic pain, fatigue, and countless other signs of autointoxication. If we have chronic gastrointestinal gas, queasiness, bloating and body odors, we are not healthy, even if we feel good and happy. Toxic matter and gases in the body do erode our health and will sooner or later lead to disease, with no exception! Those who can seemingly eat “anything” are, ultimately, not going to get away with it! In fact, hygienic physiologists agree that over ninety percent of all known common maladies and major diseases are caused by autointoxication, i.e., self-poisoning, mainly stemming from eating diets which are incompatible with our physiological constitution and capabilities.


A properly combined diet of 75 percent or more raw food will clear up most maladies. The correct diet for the human species, as revealed by studies of anatomy, physiology and biology is, predominantly, whole, ripe, organic raw fruits and succulent vegetables, with minimal amounts of nuts and seeds.


The validity of the food combining guidelines (or“rules”) has been confirmed by virtually everyone who has applied them for a while, and they are supported by physiological science. During the Civil War era, a medical doctor named Beaumont performed clinical tests on a man who, by virtue of an unusual injury, had a temporary hole extending to the exterior of his abdomen which afforded direct sampling of his stomach contents under various eating conditions. Those observations were used subsequently by physiologists Dr. John H. Tilden and Dr. Herbert M. Shelton in the formulation of food combining guidelines. In my own case, within 24 hours of adopting a vegan diet and applying food combining, my g.i. system, which had been a virtual erupting volcano when I suffered with ulcerative colitis, completely quieted down, leaving me feeling wonderfully disease-free and allowing me to heal at a rapid rate. Countless others have experienced similar relief of their g.i. ills.


Test the guidelines out and learn for yourself. Everyone who diligently follows them, avoiding overeating and incorporating other essential elements of healthful living, sooner or later derives the benefits of excellent digestion, no body odors, minimal or no gas, inoffensive feces, effortless defecation, clear urine, clearer skin, eyes and mind, more balanced composure, ideal weight level, greater physical stamina, faster healing, better sleep, and youthful vitality. Basically, mono meals yield the best results. “Simple 3” salads (e.g., lettuce, tomato and avocado) also work very well. In sum, the simpler the digestive task, the better the results.


Guidelines for correct food combining


* Eat melons alone.


* Eat all other sweet fruits on an empty stomach with or without green neutral vegetables (e.g., lettuce, kale, celery) and/or cucumbers.


* Do not eat acidic citrus fruits with other types of sweet fruits.


* A minimal amount of sweet acidic citrus fruit might digest well with avocado, nuts, seeds and young coconut (whole, or blended into dressings) – test it and learn.


* Tomato, Cape gooseberry and tomatillo combine well with nuts, seeds and avocado.


* Do not eat fatty high-protein foods (nuts, seeds and coconut) with sweet fruit or starchy foods (squash, tubers, carrots, peas and corn).


* A minimal amount of avocado might combine well with starchy foods.


* Nuts and seeds can be eaten together. Avoid eating nuts/seeds with avocado and coconut.


* Eating nuts, seeds, coconut and avocado with green neutral vegetables (e.g., lettuce, kale, celery) and/or cucumbers typically enhances digestion as additional proper digestive juices will aid in the digestion of the fat.


* Legumes are poorly digested because of their high protein and starch content. Sprouted legumes are somewhat more digestible. These are best eaten with green neutral vegetables (e.g., lettuce, kale, celery) and/or cucumbers.


* Sweet peas and young carrots fresh from the garden are nonstarchy; older ones are starchy.


* Starchy foods combine well with all vegetables and non-sweet fruits except tomatoes-–-do not mix tomatoes with starchy foods. Protein/fatty foods combine well with nonstarchy vegetables and cucumbers. Avocado combines well with any kind of vegetable, tuber and non-sweet fruit. Eat avocado minimally until you have overcome illness.


• Space out your meals, allowing time for your system to assimilate and rest.


* * *




The efficacy of correct food combinations is negated by:


* Overeating on fats and starches.(eating beyond your body’s ability to secrete sufficient digestive juices).


* Diluting the enzyme-food mixture (chyme) in your stomach by drinking more than a few sips of juices or water.


* Eating when tired.


* Eating when stressed.


* Eating when not hungry.


* Eating foods which do not appeal to your senses.


* Eating before the digestion of your previous meal is complete. (Wait an hour for fruit, 4 hours for starches and 6 or more hours for fatty foods.)


* Eating when the stomach and intestines contain fermenting debris or digesting food from a previous meal.


* Eating quickly.


* Incomplete chewing.


* Exercising vigorously soon after eating.


* Going to sleep soon after eating.


* Shallow breathing.


* Powerful seasonings.


* Toxic irritants. (E.g., vinegar, onions, bitter herbs, pepper. Vinegar is acidic – it destroys alkaline digestive secretions.)


* Medicines.




Flu Viruses or Combos Abombos?


©by David Klein, Ph.D.


Holiday meals have the dubious tradition of knocking people out with abominable food combos. Belch . . . grumble grumble . . . plop plop fizz fizz (Alka Seltzer) . . . zzzzzzzzzZZZZZ . . . Then there's the aches and flu – and people blame it all on flu viruses. Not so! When we eat a haphazard meal of anything and everything, we turn our warm bacteria-laden bellies into toxic fermenting chambers that will boil over like Mount Fluvious. It's not the viruses in the turkey (if any) that make you sick--you do it to yourself. Viruses are tiny bits of DNA which are nontoxic in the g.i. tract, thus they cannot cause influenza. When you have gastritis or flu symptoms, your body is urgently trying to get rid of a toxic mess that is fermenting food/chyme, in order to restore inner purity.


That was the cooked fooder’s scenario. If you think that you are immune to this because you eat all raw, you are mistaken. Gastric eruptions can and will happen almost every time if you eat combo abombo raw meals such as this: cranberry sauce, almond milk, avocado soup, veggie loaf with nuts, seeds, spices and salt, salad with oil dressing and sprouted chickpeas, sweet fruit and nut dessert. That spells G.I. DISASTER and calls for a simpler way of eating.


Simple combos or mono meal eating is a beautiful experience, and creates peace, serenity, purity, slimness and youthful vitality, while saving us money and time. There is no reward for gluttony. By eating simply, savoring each food item separately, and living healthfully, we’ll live longer and, thus, be able to eat many more delightful meals.




Food Combining Educational Materials


Living Nutrition offers the following:
Health Reports Volume 1, Report No. 5 by Dr. T. C. Fry
Food Combining Made Easy by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
Food Combining Simplified by Dennis Nelson
Food Combining Chart by Dr. Douglas Graham
Food Combining and Raw Food Pearamid Chart by David Klein
Your Natural Diet: Alive Raw Foods by Dr. T. C. Fry & David Klein


Available at www.livingnutrition.com/bookstore.html


Raw Glow also has a Raw Food Combining Chart for Correct Food Combing


raw food combining chart


<<Back to Articles lime Next>>