The idea behind food combining is to eat — or not eat — specific food groups together to achieve optimal digestive health and weight loss. For instance, according to food combining specialists, proteins and starches are not beneficial to mix at the same meal. There is a long list of rules for food combining, and loyal followers believe the concept has changed their health for the better. But does food combining have to do with weight loss or is it just a theory to enhance your digestion? I spoke with Caitlin Weeks, a certified holistic nutritionist, on the subject. Here's what Caitlin had to say on the popular weight-loss method.
"For most people, the issue isn't the combination of foods they eat but rather the foods themselves. Factors like food allergies, too many antibiotics, and poor quality proteins can have more of an impact on your body than the order you eat them," says Weeks. It's often a combination of these factors that put a wrench in digestion. And while Weeks doesn't believe food combining aids in weight loss, there are a few aspects of the approach, she says, that make sense.
See which food combining rules to adopt after the break!
- Choosing the right fats: Choose organic, unrefined oils like flax seed, sesame, olive, or coconut oils when cooking. This concept has been emphasized so many times it has almost lost its star power. These are the oils that have not been processed and therefore are the highest in nutrients and flavor.
- Soaking seeds: Many cultures soak and sprout their seeds and nuts to aid in the digestion of these natural protein fats. Nuts naturally have enzyme inhibitors that prevent them from sprouting prematurely. By soaking them in water you are essentially starting that sprouting process, making it easier for your body to digest and absorb nutrients from nuts.
- Targeting stressors: When your body is in a stressful state, it is depleting a large amount of that valuable stomach acid you need for digestion. As a result of eating without enough acid in your system, food stays in the stomach longer, which can lead to bloating and heartburn. Weeks says to avoid this by calming your body, chewing slowly, and eating in a relaxed state of mind.