Written by John Immel,
Although our digestion can get used to some forbidden foods and combinations anything that aggravates doshas without expelling them is considered a bad food combination. Generally Vata has the most difficulty with poor food combining because they do not have enough fluids to adequately break them down. Proper food combining is important for anyone with a weakness, those recovering from an illness, or those wishing to cleanse or rejuvenate their bodies. One pot meals, preferably soups with a few simple ingredients, are generally the easiest to digest.
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Reduce the Enzymes You Need to DigestEvery ingredient demands separate enzymes and attention from the gut. With simpler food combinations our body can focus on each ingredient without too much multi-tasking. Here are some general guidelines:
Do You have a Traffic Jam in your Gut?Eat foods that are easy to digest first, hard to digest last. For example, eat rice before lentils, steamed veggies before nuts. The gut holds onto foods until all the nutrition has been extracted. Every organism loves foods that are easy to digest including the bacteria in our gut. When stuck behind a traffic jam, food that is easy to digest ferments.
Avoid proteins with foods that suppress stomach acidFatty foods and acidic foods reduce gastric acid secretions, specifically inhibiting protein digestion. For this reason, avoid mixing lemons with meats or oranges and nuts. Since meat is often fatty, it should be eaten with bitters to counteract the digestion lulling properties of fats.
Cooking & Bad Food CombinationsThe effects of bad food combination are less when foods are cooked together because their qualities blend together. A great example is a soup. For the same reason, carefully chewing poor food combinations may help you in situations where bad food combining is inevitable such as as restaurants. Avoid combining raw foods with cooked foods and fresh food with leftovers.
Common Bad Food Combinations to Avoid
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda biocharacteristics. His approach to Ayurveda is clinical, yet exudes an ease which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda, offering professional clinical training in Ayurveda for over 15 years.
John's interest in Ayurveda and specialization in digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, as well as public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well. Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and 6 kids, and pursuing his love of theology, philosophy, and language.
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I'm confused when two of the foremost experts on Ayurveda, Dr. Vasant Lad and Dr. David Frawley, disagree about food combining. In "Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing", page 188, Dr. Lad states, "Do not eat bananas with milk." On page 293 of "Ayurvedic Healing A Comprehensive Guide", Dr. Frawley states, "Milk combines poorly with bread, sour fruit, beans, nuts, fish or meat. It does combine well with whole grains, however, and sweet fruit like bananas." Regarding Dr. Frawley's comment that milk combines poorly with nuts, Dr. Lad recommends the opposite in a recipe he recommends using ten soaked almonds blended with a cup of warm milk (p. 240 "The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies"). I would appreciate it if you could shed some light on this. Thank you.
Dr. Lad was both Dr. Frawley's teacher and my teacher, so I follow Dr. Lad's guidelines as does Joyful Belly in this specific instance. There are many teachers of Ayurveda, so Dr. Frawley may have learned this from another teacher - you might try writing him to see what he says. Nuts blended into milk can be extremely nourishing to someone who is depleted. Soaked and peeled almonds are usually the best choice. Bananas are heating and sour, they do not combine well with milk.
Thank you for the article. Please would you clarify about milk combining as I'm very confused. Dr Vasant Lad has a menu suggestions by dosha section in his recipe book where in one meal he serves milk deserts like rice or carrot khir with other dishes that contain salty and sour tastes. Is it OK because of the spices used? So confused. Thank you so much in advance.
Hi Irina, great question! As always, it will depend on the constitution of the person. If you have a balanced digestion, you can withstand occasional complicated combinations without too much issue. Spicing and warming milk is considered helpful.