Thursday, January 10, 2013

Food Combining for Health

I have written before on this blog about the dangers of mixing the wrong foods together. Read about it in my post "Watch What You Mix". Thoughts of that were brought back into mind when I read an excellent article on the same subject, titled "Don't Eat Chicken with Rice" by Carole Jackson of Daily Health News.

I have long been aware of the health dangers of mixing sugars and protein, so I try to have sweet things like fruit, fruit juice etc before a meal rather than after it and leave a big gap between the main meal and desert. If we go out to dinner I seldom have desert because I can't separate the two by anywhere near enough time for it to be healthy.

What I have not really taken into account, though, was a similar problem with starchy food. I don't know why I didn't make the connection, I just didn't apply enough of my brain cells to the problem even though I knew the answer all along. I remember clearly in about Grade 4 or 5 the teacher of our hygiene class telling us that saliva converts starch into sugar, so we must chew our breakfast cereal thoroughly to mix it with saliva, which would start the digestive process even before it reached our stomachs. For some reason that memory kept recurring in my brain ever since, which has been a long, long time. Obviously my sub-conscious mind was trying to tell my conscious mind that this is important, so please pay attention. The Carole Jackson article made the final connection to get me to take note.

Sugars are simple carbohydrates and starches are complex carbohydrates. Ptyalin and amylase in saliva convert complex carbohydrates into simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are easily digested and move quickly though the digestive system. They should not be consumed with or after anything that is tough to digest, which is exactly the case with any kind of animal protein.

Animal protein takes a long time to go through the digestive system and it holds back any sugars that are with it or behind it in the queue. The sugars complete their digestive process quickly but can't get to where they can be absorbed into the blood stream. They sit around in the warm and cosy intestine and start to ferment, which produces toxins. While they are hanging around waiting, they cause bloating, heartburn and other very uncomfortable sensations. When the animal protein finally gets to where it can be absorbed into the blood stream, the fermented sugars and toxins go with it into the body.

I am a lover of stews and casseroles, generally containing potatoes and other vegetables, along with some pork or chicken and served on a nice bed of brown rice or yellow rice. I also love grilled salmon on rice and with a pile of steamed veggies. Now I realise that this is a toxic mix and may be contributing to my psoriasis symptoms. I must ditch either the animal protein or the starch from these combinations.

Although I don't have a lot of animal protein, I don't really want to go vegetarian. So, I must rather watch my food combining more carefully. The Carole Jackson article has some good advice on healthy combinations and has a link to an easy-reference food-combining chart. Basically, eat sugars and starches together or with vegetables. Eat animal proteins by themselves or with non-starchy, non-sugary vegetables.

You need only keep these basic principles in mind to modify your normal recipes and come up with slightly different ways to create tasty interesting meals.