Rules. Some people like rules, others feel constrained by them and like to break them. There are rules everywhere–some are quite concrete like laws, while others are more vague like social mores and a society’s concept of decorum.
In health, nutrition, and skincare, I’m sure you’ve read lots of rules. You can’t eat this after 7pm, you can’t put that on your skin if it’s oily, etc…and then you’ll likely hear the opposite as a “rule” from someone else. Sound familiar?
Personally I don’t necessarily like general rules, but I believe that each of us have our own unique rules for what our minds and bodies want and need to be healthy and well. In order to learn what those rules are, we go through a period of trial and error–most of which involves following–and breaking–certain steadfast rules.
I recently broke one of the food combining rules.
As I mentioned in a recent post, “food combining simply defined is the act of eating certain foods alone or only in combination with other foods in order to allow the body to release the correct type and amount of digestive enzymes, acids, and gastric juices needed to properly digest those foods.”
While I was going through the therapeutic stage of my diet–losing extra baby weight and healing my skin–food combining is something I tried that I noticed really helped me a lot. I was less bloated, more regular, was quickly losing weight, my skin was clearing up, and I felt energized.
Most of the rules of food combining made sense to me, except for one: the one that says that melon should only be eaten alone or with other types of melon (but not with other fruits or in a smoothie) because of the high sugar content. I reasoned that other fruits have high amounts of sugar too and don’t have specific addendums to the food combining rules applied to them. But I followed the rules anyway since they were working so well.
Fast forward a few years…
I’m now past the therapeutic stage of eating in that I have a really good idea what my body wants and needs to maintain a healthy weight, not get sick, and have clear skin. I don’t always follow food combining rules anymore and sometimes I notice feeling bloated or tired when that happens. What happened last week is a prime example of that.
I decided to experiment and see what would happen if I added melon to my smoothies. I know, I’m such a rebel. My kids wanted honeydew, and Whole Foods had organic ones available so I bought one. It stared at me each day from its shelf in the fridge every time I went to get my morning smoothie ingredients. Finally I decided to throw all care to the wind, be a conscious rule-breaker, and make a smoothie with spinach, kale, pear, banana…and GASP…honeydew.
Well, for one thing it tasted amazing (of course it did–it was sweet!). I had smoothies with honeydew every day that week and you know what I noticed? I was bloated, irregular, and tired. I even gained a couple of pounds. Everything else in my diet was the same so I can only point to the honeydew in my smoothie as the culprit.
I made my smoothies without it (and added extra kombucha) for the next few days and everything went back to normal so I know it was the honeydew without a shadow of doubt.
Will this be the case for you?
Maybe, and maybe not. Because your body has different rules than mine does. And that’s a beautiful thing. Food combining works great for some people, but it’s not necessary for others. People don’t like when I tell them that, because even though food combining can be a challenge, it is a pretty well laid out structure with a definitive set of dos and don’ts–and many people do well with set, black and white like that. Fortunately and unfortunately (depending on your perspective), there are a LOT of gray areas in holistic skincare and nutrition.
So while I don’t believe all “rules” apply to everybody I do feel it’s important to learn what your body’s rules are and try to follow them to avoid feeling yucky. Being aware and in tuned with how you feel after eating and combining certain foods at certain times a day is a great way to do that.
You asked, I’m answering…
After I published and shared my last post on this topic, I received a comment and a few emails asking me to create a sample meal template of properly combined meals. Of course I’m happy to oblige! Keep in mind that this is a generic example just to help further break down food combining rules–it’s not by any means a comprehensive diet plan.
- Breakfast is a fresh green smoothie or green juice with a spinach omelet (no cheese) or bowl of overnight oats or multigrain porridge.
- Lunch is a warm Brussels sprouts and tomato salad with veggie risotto.
- Dinner is a fresh arugula salad with my Raw Marinara sauce as a dressing, a veggie stir-fry and grilled chicken.
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*Image 2 by Church of emacs (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons