It’s Christmas! And what’s the over-riding feeling at this time of year? Full of energy and festive fun? Or bloating and brain fog from the endless overindulgence? Whilst I hope for my readers that it will be the former, I can’t help but feel that there might be some tendency towards the latter. As with all my solutions to common problems, there is never just “one thing” that makes the difference here, but if we eat 5000 to 7000 calories on Christmas Day, as many people do, then giving some thought to how we can aid in the digestion of all that stuff could be useful.
There’s plenty of information indicating that paying attention to food combining prevents bloating and poor digestion, so what does that translate to? Here are my 5 top food-combining tips dedicated to digestion.
1. Keep proteins away from carbohydrates. If you get this, you’re half way there already. Proteins are long complex molecules which require acidic digestion and adequate concentration of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Starches (carbs) require an alkaline or neutral pH for digestion, which starts in the mouth with the enzyme amylase. If you combine protein-heavy (nuts and seeds) with starch-heavy (sprouted grains) foods, what do you get? A mess, because proteins digest best in an acid pH and starches in neutral to alkali. And that’s a problem because enzymes work best within very specific temperature and pH ranges. Got it?
2. Eat fruit alone or leave it alone. Fruit digests quite fast, so eat it before other foods. Fruit salad at the end of a meal? Bad idea. A family friend is well known for his mantra “life is uncertain – eat dessert first”. In respect of fruit salad, he’s spot on.
3. Fats fight. It’s best not to mix too many fat-dominant foods to a meal. At Hippocrates, they have “avocado day” for a reason. When avocados are served, you won’t find any nuts or seeds, or nut-rich sauces on the menu. Too many fats fight. Keep it simple, OK?
4. Melons digest the fastest of all. Have it as a starter, on its own, or not at all. And where did the idea of serving it with Parma ham come from? You just wouldn’t, would you?
5. Greens go with most things. Greens and protein, greens and carbs, greens and fat – go right ahead. And if you like greens in your smoothie, there is evidence that mixing greens with fruit can be acceptable if everything is blended up. So – blend away!
For more information on all this, and how to aid your digestive system, take a look at my book The Whole Body Solution. Yes, your whole body will love you for it.