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Food Combining: The Little-Understood Secret to Optimal Health & Weight Revealed

Steak and potatoes, tuna-noodle casserole, scrambled eggs with toast... these classic American meals are also classic examples of why the Standard American Diet is making us fatter and more prone to disease.

After eating one of those traditional American meals, you might experience bloating or feel gassy, dehydrated or tired. No wonder! They violate all the principles of food combining.

This meal might look healthy, but it actually cause weight gain and digestive problems. Learn why combining starches like rice with meat can actually harm your health!

Many diet companies, like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, tell you to eat less and exercise more, with little regard towhat you actually combine together in your stomach. What they don't know is that what happens in your stomach and digestive tract is important AND can be the key to long-term health and weight loss!

Many years ago, our ancestors worked hard at physical jobs and returned home each day to eat big meals of meat, breads, cheeses, and even sweets with no adverse effects. They had iron stomachs and digested everything. Our ancestors also had healthier inner ecosystems. A healthy inner ecosystem is made up of the friendly microflora (good bacteria) that reside in our intestines and keep us healthy and strong. A healthy inner ecosystem also means more beneficial microflora helping you digest the foods you eat.

Over time, the introduction of antibiotics, pasteurization and processed foods, along with a lifestyle of constant stress, has damaged our inner ecosystems. An unhealthy inner ecosystem can lead to fatigue, poor health and a digestive tract that functions inefficiently.

Today, more than ever, we need to take extra special care of our bodies because they have never been more under-nourished and overstressed.

The good news is that you can eat your way to better health... and achieve a naturally slim body at the same time! The Body Ecology system of health and healing teaches that it's more than just what you eat; it's alshowyou eat.

The "how" is indeed just as important and Body Ecology provides a roadmap for how to eat your way to health through our 7 Healthy Eating Principles. In this article, we will cover the principle of food combining in more detail.

Food combining is the little-known secret to eating that enhances your digestion to give you energy and to help you lose weight and keep it off!

Food Combining the Body Ecology Way

The process of digesting each meal takes a great deal of energy so you want to increase your ability to digest or your "digestive fire." But what happens if your digestion is not working properly, like so many Americans today?

The undigested food stays in your digestive tract and putrefies, creating a toxic environment that makes your blood more acidic and allows yeast, viruses, cancer cells and parasites to grow inside you. In essence, your inner ecosystem is damaged and you are more prone to illness.

Proper food combining is a system of eating f foods that combine together efficiently to assist digestion so that your digestive tract does not have to work so hard to give you the nutrients you need for energy. You can learn the basics with 3 simple guidelines.

Read more about the principles of food combining in the Body Ecology Diet. It's also packed with delicious recipes and sample menus!

#1) Eat Fruits Alone on an Empty Stomach

For anyone just starting on the Body Ecology program, I recommend avoiding most fruits -- they have a high concentration of natural sugars that encourage the growth of yeast and other pathogens.

The exceptions are sour fruits like lemons and limes, unsweetened juices from cranberries and black currants, and pomegranates. These fruits are very low in sugars and are safe to eat, even in the initial, more limited phase of the program.

Once your inner ecosystem is restored (usually within 3 months of remaining on stage one of The Diet), you can introduce other low-sugar fruits like grapefruit and kiwis, as well as pineapple, blueberries, and strawberry. These sour fruits combine best with kefir and yogurt made from milk and sprouted seeds and nuts. Nuts, seeds and dairy foods including cheese are called "protein fats" because they truly are a protein and a fat combined together by nature.

In the kitchen: Start your morning with a glass of warm water and lemon juice to hydrate your body and cleanse and tone your digestive system. Lemon and lime juice can be eaten with animal protein for flavor and to enhance digestion.

#2 Eat Proteins with Non-Starchy Vegetables and/or Ocean Vegetables

When you eat proteins like poultry, fish, meat, and eggs, your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid and the enzyme pepsin to break down the food in a highly acidic environment. When you eat starches like potatoes or bread, your stomach secretes the enzyme ptyalin to create an alkaline condition.

If you eat proteins and starches together, they tend to neutralize each other and inhibit digestion. The poorly-digested food travels through the digestive tract reaching the intestines where it putrefies and causes your blood to become acidic. It also provides a welcome environment for disease-causing pathogens!

To keep this from happening, avoid combining proteins and starches (including grains, like rice, and starchy vegetables, like potatoes) in the same meal. Instead, have non-starchy vegetables and ocean vegetables with your protein meals to achieve optimal digestion.

Non-Starchy Vegetables Include: Leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, carrots, bok choy, cabbage, celery, lettuces, green beans, garlic, fennel, onions, chives, turnips, sprouts, red radish, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumber, beets

Non-starchy vegetables and ocean vegetables digest well in acid OR alkaline environments, so they go with anything: proteins, oils and butter, grains, starchy vegetables, lemons and limes, and soaked and sprouted nuts and seeds..

Read Why You Need to Cook Those Vegetables for Maximum Nutrition to learn some important tips for preparing these vegetables for optimum health - and to avoid some risks associated with certain raw vegetables.

In the kitchen: Pair poached fish with stir-fried vegetables, roasted chicken with a leafy green salad and/or a non-starchy vegetable soup. Or try a salad that has veggies that are steamed and chilled (broccoli, cauliflower, green beans plus also a variety of raw vegetables (shredded carrots, cucumber, yellow squash) with lightly grilled salmon and a lemon-garlicy dressing.

#3 Eat Grains and Starchy Vegetables with Non-Starchy and/or Ocean Vegetables

There are four grain-like seeds on The Body Ecology Program: amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat and millet. These ancient grains are high in protein,gluten-free, rich in B vitamins and feed the beneficial bacteria in your inner ecosystem. Read more about the risks of consuming conventional grains and how to prepare Body Ecology grains at home.

Starchy Vegetables Include: Acorn and butternut squash, lima beans, peas, corn, water chestnuts, artichokes and red skinned potatoes (red skinned potatoes are the only potatoes included in the Body Ecology program because they have fewer sugars than other kinds of potatoes).

In the kitchen: Make hearty millet casserole with a green leafy salad and yellow squash sautéed in butter. Or try acorn squash stuffed with curried quinoa with the ocean vegetable hijiki and onions. Warming grain soups are also good, especially in winter.

Food Combining Details

Fats and Oils Choose organic, unrefined and extra virgin oils like flax seed, pumpkin seed, olive or coconut oils.

Combine With: Vegetables, grains and protein. Avoid large amounts of fat with protein (like the mayonnaise in tuna salad) because it slows digestion. Instead use a small amount of oil to cook and oil free dressings.

Protein Fats: Avocado, olives, seeds and nuts (except peanuts and chestnuts, which are starches)

Combine With: Non-starchy and ocean vegetables and sour fruits.

Be sure to soak and sprout your seeds and nuts to ease digestion. Learn more about How to Eat and Not Eat Almonds.

Dairy: Cheese and milk, are also protein fats. Dairy products are not on the initial phase of the Body Ecology program because the lactose in milk feeds pathogenic yeast and most people don't have enough dairy loving enzymes to digest the milk protein, casein.

After you've established a healthy inner ecosystem, you may be able to benefit from fermented dairy foods and drinks that help populate your digestive tract with plenty of microflora. Some people do well on dairy foods and some simply do not.

Combine With: Fermented dairy products, like milk kefir, combine with sour fruits, seeds and nuts and non-starchy vegetables.

In the kitchen: Make a Body Ecology kefir dressing with lemon juice and herbs and toss it onto your favorite lettuce with some soaked and sprouted sunflower seeds for a tasty salad. To learn more about kefir and how to make it at home, read Baghdad's Ancient Secret That Can Help Improve Your Health.

Dried Peas, Beans, and Soybeans: These foods are mainly a starch combined with a small amount of protein and are difficult to digest. This helps explain why many people have problems with gas and bloating immediately after eating them. Because they are so difficult to digest, they are not part of the initial phase of the Body Ecology program. Additionally, we only recommend fermented soy foods, To learn more, read: Soy Lecithin, the Risks if You Choose the Wrong Type, the Benefits if You Choose Right

Combine With: Non-starchy vegetables and cultured vegetables.

Sugar: Sugar encourages the growth of yeast, suppresses your body's natural immunity and does not combine with anything! Instead of sugar, use Stevia in your tea to satisfy sugar cravings or add it to a glass of lemon water. To learn more about the health benefits of stevia, read: The One Supplement that Should Be in Everyone's Cooking Cupboard.

Combine With: Nothing (if you must eat sugar, it should be eaten alone as in a cup of tea with no other foods).

Fermented Foods and Drinks: These are the "stars" of our Body Ecology program because they are packed with vitamins, minerals and healthy microflora that heal your inner ecosystem. Cultured vegetables and Young Coconut Kefir are just two examples of superfoods that help us stay healthy, slim and youthful.

o Combine With: Everything, even with fruit (in fact we sometime ferment green apples in our cultured vegetables).

Weight Loss: You might find after just a few days of following food combining principles that you have lost weight. Your body will no longer be bloated and you'll rid yourself of toxins.

You might also feel hungrier...just eat more frequently. As long as you are combining properly and eating when you are hungry, you will not gain weight!

As your energy increases, you will find you now have more energy to exercise. This then will result in your becoming more slender and well-toned.

Some Final Notes:

  • Wait 3 hours after eating a grain-based meal before you have a protein meal.
  • After a protein meal, give yourself 4 hours to fully digest. (You may even want to try all grain meals one day and all protein meals the next.) Assist enzymes are a must for helping digest these meals.
  • Try not to drink cold water during meals. A cup of warm tea, however, will aid digestion. Avoid ice when you drink water. Stick to room temp water that doesn't shock your body and do not drink for at least 15 minutes before you eat or 1 hour after a meal.

With food combining and the Body Ecology principles, you'll find yourself eating simpler meals that nourish your body. You'll also digest your food better and supply your body with even more nutrients. As your digestion improves, you'll have more energy and vitality, freeing up your body to come into balance, heal and stay naturally slim!

I believe that Body Ecology is the foundation for wellness that can turn around our current health crisis. Try the principle of food combining today and read an overview of the 7 Body Ecology principles to familiarize yourself with other components of the program. With Body Ecology, you can truly eat and drink to good health!


  • Karen says:

    Is it okay to combine fermented vegetables with raw goat yogurt?

    Posted on Dec 21 at 9:40 pm

  • Margarite says:

    KRISTEN - thank you for your comments. I agree with your comments. I found this information very useful. A lot of people have grown up with the Fast food world hence this information is beneficial to them. There are so many out of the tin, addictives & preservatives in food that are so much more easier to eat because of busy schedules, stress and other contributing factors.

    At times people are looking for solutions and with some much on the net globally you never know who is writing the truth. I am currently doing an intestine cleanse with kefir & flaxseed flour. I figured I need to be kinder to myself and look for healthier options.

    You've obviously eaten healthy all your life, kudos to you. My Great Grandfather lived till he was 99 years old. My mother until she was 69. I hope to live well into my 80's.

    I am currently doing kefir/flaxseed flour every morning for breakfast, this can only improve my ecosystem I'm sure. I look forward to my future ahead.

    Thank you all for your comments they are all valid in one way or another.

    Posted on Sep 28 at 5:05 pm

  • Julie myers says:

    Just like JDR, I am in the process of recovering from severe mercury poisoning. If anyone has any input//suggestions I would very much appreciate it.

    Posted on Jul 8 at 8:23 pm

  • So if what's the deal with sweet potatoes then? Less starchy?

    Posted on Jun 14 at 3:37 pm

  • Kristen says:

    I honestly don't know where THIS came from lol. I've been eating healthy all of my life, literally. No fast food, soda, desserts, etc. Just healthy small portion foods. I'm very fit and have a great figure. My mother modeled at my age. She's 53 and is still in shape. We eat organic and so do my grandparents (they are 90 years old, can walk, grandfather still drives, neither has cancer nor diabetes or heart problems. As long as you eat healthy foods and remain fairly active then you will be fine.

    Posted on Jan 29 at 10:17 pm

  • Jenni says:

    Hi there, very informative! I suffer from digestive issues (IBS-severe distention/bloating and constipation), and have been following recommendations for IBS which is to always eat soluble fiber at Evey meal and to.make it the foundation of each meal. It has really helped me but I would like to try food combining as well... How would I do this and still get adequate protein, all of my meals would.then be grain based with no fruit or protein or dairy etc. Is tempeh an exception because it is plant protein? Could I combine it with grains? I'm also wondering about banana I have been baking with it and adding small amounts to oatmeal is this ok? There are few foods that make me feel ok, and I seem to be good with banana...

    Posted on Jan 23 at 6:35 pm

  • Eugene says:

    I read everywhere that (acid) fruit doesnt combine with plain yoghurt. Except for a dr hay diet chart which lists both under protein. So now im a bit confused. I seemingly have no problem combining dark cherries crsnberries or apple with greek yogurt. But who knows maybe kidding myself?
    The diamond method says pineapple can help protein digestion. But am stiil wary if i could combine with my yogurt. They even say ripe frsh banana can help digestion of carbs like oatmeal. Dr. Hay says milk is ok with fresh fruit. But not say specifically yogurt as well. Yes I live yoghurt. Why do most say no and some say yes?

    Posted on Dec 16 at 5:52 pm

  • I have been eating fruit alone on an empty stomach for many years. They do not need to be digested like other foods. They jut pass through the stomach in about 15 minutes.

    Posted on Nov 16 at 4:21 pm

  • joylite says:

    Ok , then how about breakfast muesli we used to have?were they a good combination or bad one? Because i thought we should never have fruits during or after meals, the muesli contains nut , dried fruit and all , they were mixed together!

    Posted on Nov 12 at 5:44 pm

  • robert arena says:

    I've been a health nut for years, but now all these rules are new. My wife has scleroderma, my son in law is a phisical mess frombad diet . They make me crazy!! Americans are robots, eating and getting sick from big business advertising. Microwaved food!! Junk food, poisons that we eat. Then we get these aweful diseases and pay our doctors a fortune to give is drugs. God help this crazy country!!

    Posted on Nov 11 at 6:56 pm

  • Sue says:

    Help! What food group is quinoa? Can I mix it with salmon (organic) and lots of salads-salad leaves, tomatoes, beetroot etc (all organic)?

    Posted on Sep 14 at 8:08 am

  • Carla says:

    I'm taking a nutritional vegetarian course and this was very vvery educating. Thank you. It all goes hand in hand. Your protein should only be 1/8 of your meal... But very important to your diet...

    Posted on Jul 22 at 5:31 am

  • thomas james lowe says:

    I have followed proper foodcombining for many years and I am five percent body fat with muscular body and plenty of energy I require four hours sleep per night have a thirty inch waist. my face hasn't changed in twenty years I can work out at LAfitness for 3 hours at a time I use no dairy products eat organicly severly limit fish chicken and re meat to six ounces once a day raw rainbow salad and fruit is most of my high energy diet. I take ginseng extract and royal jelly and green tea daily the more raw food you eat the better feel fre to contact me royal jelly and other supplements actually slow down or reverse the aging process while on this diet.

    Posted on Jul 18 at 10:11 pm

  • Zachary says:

    I find your advice on food combining very useful. I have suffered since I was a child from general body pain, itchy rectum, itchy skins on particular part of the body and sometimes swollen and painful patches around my neck, headaches, fatigue, cough and flue, sinus, stiff waist that comes suddenly, drowsy after eating some types of foods and some pain on my right leg starting from the knee downwards to the heels. I finally landed on your site as I searched for more information about candida which I concluded was the cause all my problems. I had tried all medical treatment and all I was told is that I was suffering from stress. Anyhow, I found your site very educative and would have loved to have more information on stage one of the treatment regime. Some sites suggest that eating yellow beans if okay but you seem to suggest otherwise. Can one combine a protein, such as poultry (chicken) with millet? In the part of the world where I live, millet (finger millet) is a staple although it is giving way to more imported and processed foods. We also ferment the millet to make porridge.

    Posted on Jul 6 at 1:45 pm

  • Brooke S says:

    @kevin there's nowhere that says dairy combines with grains....

    Posted on May 21 at 4:27 pm

  • Amber says:

    Eezageeza, will you be my friend? You're awesome.

    Posted on May 9 at 3:37 pm

  • Jameson says:

    Nice! I want to read more about that!

    Posted on Mar 10 at 12:52 am

  • Wennie Sasotona says:

    thanks, I've learn a lot

    Posted on Dec 27 at 6:07 pm

  • alli says:

    i have found this to be the best diet for me as i have gluten and dairy problem and i often loose weight fast and any other way of eating does not work. But it hard to stick to

    Posted on Nov 21 at 4:15 pm

  • On the food combo chart I notice proteins can be combined with corn. My question is, is Grits or as it is known in SA "mealie pap" ok to combine with eggs ?

    Posted on Nov 11 at 2:20 am

  • Eezageeza says:

    Eat what you want - in moderation.
    If you want to have a more effective digestive system to compliment your body temple, then food combining can be very helpful.
    If you want a beef burger in a bun, then you can bake your own bread and prepare your own delicious beef pattie. If you want, you can go to Mcdonald's, but there is less benefits to be gained, and maybe even some detriments. If I feel like socialising, I may go a party. I'll feel good for a while and then I'll feel bad. Just DO WHAT YOU WANT. IF DOING THAT HELPS OTHERS TO GET WHAT THEY WANT, LIKE OR INDEED, NEED... then that's even better and you'll be ok. 8o)

    @ KEVIN : We all have our moments of shared experiences, mutual understandings, love, excitement, fear, happiness, pain, togetherness and morbid hatred.

    THE FUNNY THING IS - WE HUMAN BEINGS SEEM TO APPARENTLY EXPERIENCE LIFE FROM INSIDE OUR HEADS... So yes, she IS completely in her own world... as are you... as are we silly pudding.

    Debbie is free to express herself and we (including you, 'Kev' The GreenFascista) are free to regard those expressions of hers. I am also free to criticise your manic outburst too...


    go and have another coffee and shout at an organic shop clerk somewhere. There's a good chap...

    Posted on Aug 24 at 10:39 am

  • KEVIN says:

    most confusing ill advised info I've seen on food combining!!! Sour fruits with dairy, grains and proteins together???? Are you completely in your own world???

    Posted on Aug 6 at 2:05 pm

  • merle says:

    How about apples? Is it horrible to follow a meal with an apple?
    Doesn't the fiber make it slow to digest?

    Posted on May 30 at 11:46 am

  • Gregory says:

    I've read the book, but find it very confusing. Step one of the diet is referenced regularly in the book but where is step one within the book, it's not listed listed in the table of contents? What is step one.

    Posted on May 10 at 1:21 am

  • Kim says:


    Posted on Mar 18 at 11:29 am

  • Genci says:

    do you have any recepies, that are tasty for eating and respect the role you describe?
    because that what i read it make feel very naive about what i am eating every day, i rely do not have combination on my meal that respect these role of eating
    please tell me where i can find such recepies

    Posted on Mar 6 at 1:12 pm

  • claudia says:

    This is very useful info. Thanks!!!
    .....amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat and millet. ... are they starches or protein?
    Can they be combines with sprouted seeds like sunflowers?
    And can they be combined with a nut patè?


    Posted on Feb 29 at 5:46 am

  • JDR says:

    I've tried eating many different ways, but this way has some very unique rules to it, and I''d bet it will help me. ACV is good, but mixing it with raw honey too early on can be a big mistake, as I found. It's hard not to throw out the baby with the bathwater with all the online info, but this way of eating may actually be the best way for many or most of us to proceed to rebalance our GI tract. I have a long standing Mercury toxicity issue that I'm working on with ALA . I bought your Kindle eBaok and I even want to get the paperback edition as well.

    Posted on Dec 29 at 2:36 am

  • Nadira says:

    This is exactly what I need. It will really help wtih leaky gut syndrome. Thanks

    Posted on Oct 31 at 7:45 pm

  • sandra barwell says:

    Hi I found your web site very very interesting, thank you i will give it a go

    Posted on Oct 10 at 5:31 am

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