Food Combining:Fact, Fiction and Success Stories Part 1

In this Series of Articles I'm going to talk about a Nutritional Optimisation Strategy known as Food Combining. The basic idea of this method of optimising our eating is designed at reducing Toxins in the Body through the correct combinations of Food, and improving our digestion in line with evolutionary eating strategies. The Aim of Part 1 is to look briefly at the origins of this method.In Part 2 I will then go on to explain some of the Myths of the Diet as it necessary to clear up some of the negative Perceptions, and also Wrong Science. I will also expand on what this Method is and  how it can benefit you. In Part 3 I will explain how this method of eating relates to sport and other specific Conditions. Some have dismissed the Diet while others such as the Gracie Family have turned this Diet into a way of Life with The Gracie Diet and Product Range. Other Athletes such as Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes have credited this way of eating with increased quality of Life and performance. Indeed the Gracie Website itself lists many success stories of its own. It's for this reason I'll be giving it further examination here.

Ayurvedic Diet:Early Food Combining

One Example of early Food Combining is the Ayurvedic Diet. This was invented thousands of Years ago in India. The Great Rishis or Seers of Life set out to organise the basics of Life,and to lay out the deepest truths of Human Physiology and Nutrition. These tests formed part of the larger Veda of Knowledge. This one of the oldest Bodies of Knowledge in existence and has been translated into Chinese which massively influenced Buddhist Philosophy. This also had a big Impact on Western Medicine.

This Diet involves eating specific Combinations and types of Food for your Personality type or Dosha. There are are three Personality types which make up this Diet:Vita,Pitta and Kapha. In order to find your Dosha you're required to take  a Dosha Test for your Personality Type. The one advantage here is this removes all of the trial and error which can come with trying one of the many thousands of Diets which exist today. The Aim here is to enable you to consume the specific Food Combinations that benefit you on a Holistic level Mentally, Physically and Spiritually.

Food Combining in the Ayurvedic Diet

In this approach the focus of Food Combining is Holistic in this the aim not only to aid Digestion of food, but also to support the correct function of all Physical,Mental and Spiritual components of the Personality type you fall into. Even with this idea in Indian Culture this is still considered to be  "Medicine". The Theory being that Foods when Combines produced a wider Chemical Effect than if they were Digested on their own. Poor Combinations of Food produce Toxins, and when eaten over time can lead to gradual creation of Conditions such as Diabetes and many more. Yet when eaten separately, and with the correct Combination of Foods Toxins are not produced, Digestion is improved and more Vitamins/Minerals can be absorbed. Their are even Food Combinations which can remove and/or decrease the effect of Toxins already present thus preventing our Body losing Nutrients.

One example of such proper Combining in this System is Milk with various Fruits. Milk is laxative and should not be Combined with Diuretics such as Water Melon. Milk it is argued should also not be Combined with Banana as this leads to Sinus, Mucus and Congestion like Symptoms This is why this Diet suggests any one new to Food Combining should detox by eating Fruit on it's own as most don't Combine well with other Foods. It's from these incorrect Combinations that"Cell Confusion" is created thus leading to Disease.

Another aspect of Food Combing is Neutralisation, for example Honey and Butter eaten in say a Dessert at a Ratio of 1:1 is seen as Toxic but is you double the amount of Butter this will Neutralise the Toxicity of the Combination. Spices and Herbs are also added a lot in this Diet to affect the behaviour of the Combination for example adding Black Pepper to increase absorption of Nutrients thus increasing the effectiveness of a given Food Combination. Some Food Combinations are seen as Antidotes to Bodily Toxins for example Cardamom to Coffee to regulate the negative Effects of having a high dose of Stimulant Caffeine. While adding Black Pepper and Butter to Potatoes can alleviate Gas and Bloating. Turmeric absorption can also be enhanced by adding Ginger, Black Pepper and other Spices thus increasing the effect of this already potent substance.

Other Food Combinations act as aids for increasing the potency of other Food Combinations. Ginger and Rock Salt combined and eaten before each Meal produce a positive effect on Digestion and Water retention for Hydration. Yogurt, Ginger and Cumin after each Meal with enhance Digestion.There is also the example of "Anxiety Tea" Green Tea, Sugar and Cardamom is an effective Neutraliser and remover of Symptoms of Anxiety or Panic Attacks.

As you can see from these examples Food Combining can be as complicated and in depth as you want to make it. As you can probably see when we talk on the level of Combining Spices and Herbs we are moving to the level of Food Chemistry, as that is what it is, because Foods are concentrations of Chemical Substances mixed together. As many Chef has said before "Cooking is Chemistry". Modern Science has supported the use of Certain Combinations of Spices and Herbs, and it therefor correct that we should not discount fully any possible positive effects of Food Combining. Instead we should examine this fully in order to draw the correct Conclusions. In the next parts of this Examination I will be talking more about where Science does support the use of Food Combining.

Dr William Hay(1866-1940):The Father of Modern Food Combining

Some variation of the Food Combining method had been in use since Ancient times as we have discussed above. These habits had probably arisen due to Cultural Traditions of the time, or Traditions particular to a Region.

 The most famous Example of Modern Food Combining is what has been termed "The Hay Diet". This Diet has lead to many others such as the "Beverly Hills Diet" and the "Kensington Diet", it was Dr Hay the is credited with the creation of Modern variations of the method. Food Combining as Dr Hay presented it was the first step to preventing Disease, but in many cases it was vital to curing it. Dr Hay decided to question the link between Food and our Mental health along with other prominent Medical minds in Europe at the time. For the first half of his practise Dr Hay was very much a traditionalist in his treatment until his own ill health forced him to conduct his own research. Dr Hay Concluded that  an increase in Protein and refined Carbohydrates was to blame for many of the Medical Conditions he observed. Dr Hay proposed that eating in line with our Ancestors was the correct way ahead. He set about testing his Theories by curing his own ill health, the change in Habit lead to a rapid recovery of many of his Obesity related Conditions. Dr Hay devised his Program of Food Combining and applied is to thousands of Cases many would state as Incurable.

Another notable believer in this method was Dr Robert McCarrison an Officer in British Army Medical Services. He observed eating habits of People inhabiting the Himalayas. The Native inhabitants lived on a diet of Nuts, Vegetables,Fruit, Whole Grain Bread and small amounts of Milk or Cheese. He Concluded the same as Dr Hay that this Diet was responsible for the absence of many Diseases suffered extensively by Europeans.

The Hay Chart 

Although Dr Hay presented many aspects of the Diet which we have now with Modern Science been discredited(as shall be discussed in the next parts of this Series) the "Hay Chart" is what we will focus on for further Examination as it is this aspect of the Diet which has lead to Success in some hard core Advocates and Athletes. With adjustments from Modern Nutritional Science we can now update approaches to Food Combining as suggested in this Chart.

For the purpose of his Dr Hay created a simple A,B and C chart which made it easy to to create the correct Food Combinations in Recipes. It is following this simple Chart, and following an effective Exercise Program that lead to the dramatic curing of Dr Hays Symptoms by removing Toxins along with Weight Loss which comes with any effective Diet. The Chart is set out below:

A Foods:
-All Fruits including Tomato but excluding Avocados,Banana,Dates, Figs, Raisins, Sultanas, Currants,Pears and Papaya.
-All Meats, Fish and Dairy.
-Legumes, Lentils and Butter Beans.
-Soya and Tofu.
-Salad Dressings and Mayonnaise.
-Wines and Cider.
-Diluted Fruit Juices

B Foods:
-All Vegetables except Potato
-Nuts and Seeds
-Butter, Margarine, Eggs and Cream
-Honey and Syrup
-Olive Oil and Vegetable Oil

C Foods:
-All Cereal, Bread, Flour,Oat-Meal, Rice, Pasta
-Banana, Dates, Grapes, Figs,Raisins, Currents,Sultanas, Pears,Papaya
-Potato and Sweet Potato
-Beers and Lager

The concepts of the Food Combining Chart is simple along with some simple Rules you will eat the following way:
-You should Combine A + B Foods, B + C Foods, but never Combine A + C Foods(A quick look at some of the most harmful Foods available and you'll see they are combinations of large amounts of Carbohydrates,Sugars and Fats sadly for all of us this rules out Cheese Cheese Cake as an effective health Food).
-You should have Single Course Meals only.
-Leave Four Hours between each Meal.
-Eat one Meal Per Day of Foods from the B Group this will be a fully Vegetable Meal even though other meals will likely contain Vegetables.
-Eliminate Caffeine in take of reduce if not possible.
-Drink plenty of Water.
-Eliminate or reduce Alcohol.
-Eliminate Smoking.

In the follow up parts to this Article I will outline to you the Myths, and Facts surrounding Food Combining. I will also go into more Detail about the methods of Food Combining. In Part 3 I will Discuss Success Stories, and Talk more about why this Diet can be effective. I will also Outline what can be learned from this Diet in relation to specific activities and Conditions such as Sports, Diabetes and Hormonal Health.


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