Limes & Tangelos & Pears, Oh my!

I had an interesting conversation with a coworker, let’s call her J, on Thursday about fruit. Apparently, in a meeting, someone mentioned that fruit should be eaten alone and not until 4 hours after a meal.  This is something I learned 6 months ago in my detox class and have been practicing since (but generally I say 2-3 hours not 4). There are many thoughts about fruit combining from the many food modalities. Some agree and some disagree. Some are based on more intuitive reasoning while others are validated by science. This theory on fruit is generally proven by both thoughts. Ayurveda and modern science supports this.  Ayurveda believes that fruit is best in the morning and separate from other foods.  Modern science explains that fruit decomposes or breaks down quicker than any other food and should not be eaten in combination with other foods to gas and indigestion.  If you eat fruit after a large meal, like say a hamburger with fries and a chocolate shake, the hamburger, bun, and fatty shake will be digested first. During the time that those components are being digested (let’s not even start at how big a food combining no-no that meal is), your banana is sitting in your esophagus rotting away. This starts to cause gas and indigestion and you’re most likely not going to get all, if any, of the nutrients from the fruit at that point.
So, after my convo with J on Thursday, I thought I would send her an email with some links on food combining charts.  She responded and asked “Can you tell me again why it matters what combinations of foods we eat?”  Here below is my response. I apologize for the choppy writing but I was writing it at work ;)

Well, there are a combination of reasons.  One is the enzymes that it takes to digest the food, second is simply being able to digest the food.  I’m very logical when I think of our bodies so excuse me if I don’t get a specific body part or nutrient correct. 
I’m going to TRY to be short and sweet with this but the answer to that question is multi-faceted:
  1. Enzymes: your body needs enzymes to digest food.  We produce a good amount of enzymes ourselves.  Also, raw foods have enzymes in it but once we heat/cook our food up to about 117 degrees we kill the enzymes-hence the popularity of a raw food diet.  When the food we ingest does not have the enzymes to digest it, we have to produce it. This takes some time and is taxing on the body.  I also think that when some enzymes are present, others are not. I have to brush up on some of this info.  A little good to know-amylase, the enzyme that breaks down starches, is only produced in the mouth, so chew your bread, oatmeal, etc. more.
Oh that brings me to another point-Americans tend to INHALE their food.  Larger food chunks going down to the stomach have to break down to smaller pieces before being broken down to the nutrients. So chew your food.
  1. Digesting: So combining foods can affect a lot of things including your energy level and nutrition absorption which can stem from how you digest your food.
a. Energy level: So your body spends A LOT of energy on digesting your food.  Proteins are very difficult to digest b/c of the amino acid chains that make up protein.  Your stomach has to take apart and rearrange the chains to make them appropriate for your body.  Plus most of the protein we eat is cooked which means more enzymes.  And there is info on how carbs and other things break down, but the long and short of it is that there are 1) certain foods that are plain bad for you; 2) the more food you eat, the harder it is to digest and 3) the more variety in the foods you eat, the harder it is to digest.  Think about the concept of food coma.  It’s not fictional. Try to think of the last time you had food coma-it probably wasn’t after have a large green salad or place of fruit, but probably after you had a plethora of foods (e.g., Thanksgiving dinner).  These large meals really affect our energy levels or even smaller meals with 10 different ingredients can do that
b. Nutrition absorption: I don’t know enough about this to say a lot but basically eating certain foods can together can inhibit the absorption of nutrition.

Hope this was helpful and a stepping stone to discovering what food combining is all about.  I’m going to start my warm-up classes so look for future posts!

Until next time,
Eat fruit, but only alone!


  1. http://thehealthylivinglounge.com/2009/06/16/12-great-reasons-to-start-alternate-nostril-breathing-today/

    I thought you might find this page interesting. Check out # 3, they say "70% of our body's waste products are eliminated via the lungs".

    Took a great yoga class today at NYSC and the instructor helped me break up an extremely stubborn cough I've had for about a month now using the alternate breathing....

  2. Hey there! Thanks for posting :) I actually learned this method in my meditation class last year but have forgotten about it. It's a good reminder as I'm hoping to start meditating again :) That's awesome that you felt such instantaneous results from it! There are so many benefits from alternative health that needs to be explored!

  3. Hi Lisa - thanks so much for your comment! Very encouraging.

    The beans are fresh beans - is that still OK?

    Please email me at elisabeth.w inklerATyahoo,co.uk


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