In Ayurveda, every food has its own taste (rasa), a heating or cooling energy (virya) and post digestive effect (vipaka). When two or more foods with a different taste (rasa), energy (virya) and post digestive effect (vipaka) are combined, the digestive fire (Agni) can be overwhelmed and disturbed, causing disease and creation of toxins (Ama). Poor food combinations can cause indigestion, fermentation, gas and bloating. Over time, this can lead to more serious health issues. The same foods eaten separately have the potential to stimulate digestive fire (Agni). Listed below are a few different tips to follow when combining foods.
You would think that a morning parfait consisting of yogurt, granola and fruit would be one of the healthiest choices you can make. According to Ayurveda, this is one of the most chaotic combinations for your digestive fire (Agni). Fruit should never be combined with any dairy products, because the fruit causes the milk to curdle and create excess acid in the stomach. This goes for the classic cheese and fruit platter as well. A banana smoothie with milk or yogurt can alter the bacterial mix in the intestines, and could also cause allergies or sinus congestion. It’s important to keep in mind that fruit metabolizes at a different rate than other foods. As a general rule when starting out in Ayurveda, try to eat foods and fruits 45 minutes to an hour apart from each other.
According to Ayurveda, honey should never be cooked. When honey is cooked, the molecules become like glue and stick to mucous membranes, clogs channels and produces Ama (toxins) in the body. Honey also doesn’t work well with ghee (clarified butter).
The cheeseburger has the potential to cause turbulence in the stomach, because meat and dairy should not be eaten together. The milk in the cheese has a cooling energy, while meat has a heating energy. These contradicting foods upset the digestive fire (Agni) and produce Ama (toxins).
The combination of fruit and starch is a bad combination due to the highly different rates of metabolization. The sugar in the fruit is digested quickly, but starches take a long time. This can result in the sugar not being properly digested in the body. Starches are also incompatible with eggs, milk, chai, persimmons and bananas. Black pepper and ghee combined with potatoes can make the digestive process easier, since potatoes cause gas. The ghee and black pepper pacify the gassiness of Vata and stimulate Agni (digestive fire).
Sip water throughout meals, it helps with digestion and absorption of foods.
Spices help aid digestion in Ayurveda. Using spices to balance out food energies is helpful for digestion, such as adding cool cilantro to hot, spicy foods.
Salt aids digestion and helps retain water.
Some people have built up resistances to bad food combinations for years and years. Though it may not cause negative effects in the body, this is because the body has adapted to this consistently poor food combining. Incompatible food combinations cause confusion in the intelligence of our cells. Food gives instructions to our cells in how to support us, and are not relayed properly by poor food combinations. Food combinations are so vital in Ayurveda, and we hope these suggestions help in your digestive journey!
Textbook of Ayurveda: Fundamental Principles by Vasant Lad
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