Combining Food in Ayurveda

In the modern world today people are used to eating a variety of foods that normally do not digest well together. Ayurveda teaches that the digestive fire or so called “agni” in the digestive tract and stomach are the main gateways through which nutrients enter the tissues and then pass along the individual cells to maintain vital functions of the body.

In Ayurveda each food has a taste of its own. Some have heating or cooling energies while others have a post-digestive effect and some even have an inexplicable effect. It is believed that a person’s digestive strength determines how good or bad food is digested, therefore food combining is of great importance for our health.

When you combine two or more foods that have a different taste, energy and post-digestive effect our digestion can become overloaded and can result in the production of toxins. However, these same foods if taken separately could stimulate our internal heat (agni) to digest more quickly and even help to burn toxins. Bad combining can produce indigestion, fermentation, putrefaction and the formation of gas and if these things remain to long in the digestive tract it can result in various disease.

An example of this is when eating bananas with milk. This combination diminishes our digestive strength, it changes the intestinal flora and produce toxins that can cause nasal cold, congestion, cough and allergy. Although both of these foods taste sweet and have cooling energies, their post-digestive effect is very different. Bananas are bitter while milk is sweet this causes confusion in our digestive system and can result in toxins, allergies and other imbalances. However, it’s important to remember that a healthy mind and body will have a strong digestive fire and can process even incompatible combinations.

Here are a few simple basic rules for food combining:

1. Avoid eating protein and starch together: Our body requires an acid base to digest protein and an alkaline base to digest starch. Proteins and starches combine well with vegetables and green leafy vegetables. 2. Eating fruit: Fruits must be eaten alone or with other fruits. Acidic fruits such as pineapple, grapefruit and strawberries can be eaten with other sub-acidic fruits such as apples, peaches and grapes. But one must remember not to mix with sub-acidic sweet fruits such as bananas, dates, or raisins. 3. Never eat melons with any other foods or fruits: As melons digest faster than all other foods it should never be consumed with any other food, even with any other fruits. 4. Never eat fats and oils with fruits: Fats and oils combine well with everything (except fruit) they should be used in limited amounts because they are very caloric which may slow down digestion. Therefore, keep your heavy meal with fat early or allow your body at least 4-5 hours to digest a heavy meal before eating again. 5.Never consume two meals in close intervals: Food must be consumed two hours after eating fruits, three hours after eating starches and four hours after eating proteins.

The key to living a healthy life is to eat with awareness and always maintain a balanced perspective regarding diet and lifestyle. We here at Santa Cruz Ayurveda hope these tips help support you during this holiday season. May you be peaceful, happy and healthy during this holiday season and beyond.

Many Blessings, Santa Cruz Ayurveda

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