How many of us eat fruit with muesli and milk in the morning? Lots of you I would guess!
I’ve had a couple of clients lately who have been struggling with their digestion and bloating even though they were eating really healthy foods. But with further investigation I found they were combining foods that can lead to bloating and sore tummies. A few of these tweaks have really helped – they didn’t need to change their foods – just eat them differently.
The Ayurvedic perspective is that each food has a distinct combination of tastes and energies—and a corresponding effect on both the digestive system and on the body as a whole. Combining foods with radically different energetics can overwhelm the digestive fire and can cause indigestion, fermentation, gas and bloating. Some people say they don’t have any problems mixing these foods but I will always say but maybe your digestion could be even better if you tried not to mix certain combinations! Mixing these food combinations usually affects vata types more due to their lack of water to break them down.
I’ve included these combinations to Reduce or Avoid from Banyan Botanicals – a leading Ayurvedic product supplier.
Yikes! As you can see some of these foods are very commonly eaten together in the Western culture.
Here is some rationale behind not combining these foods:
Bananas and Milk
Bananas become sour as they break down. So now our digestive fire has to process a sour substance and milk at the same time. Ever added a squeeze of lemon to milk? Or maybe you’ve poured a little milk into a tangy, fruity tea… only to watch it curdle instantly? This is what happens inside your gut when combining these foods. This combination also frequently causes congestion, colds, coughs, allergies, hives, and rashes. A similar situation arises when we combine any sour fruit with milk.
Eat Fruits Alone and two hours either side of other foods preferably!
The reason fruits are best enjoyed on their own is that fruit is usually somewhat acidic, fairly simple to digest, and often digests quite quickly. When fruits are eaten with other foods, there is usually a significant discrepancy between the amount of time required to properly digest the fruit versus the more complex food. Inhibited by the more complex food, the fruit tends to move through the digestive tract too slowly and can cause fermentation, gas, and bloating. In addition, the combination typically introduces a number of conflicting qualities into the digestive tract all at once, which has the potential to overwhelm or stifle the digestive fire.
Nightshades and Cheese
This combination is simply too taxing for the digestive fire. Avoid potatoes and cheese mixed together. Nightshades contain alkaloids, primarily as a means of defense against being damaged by insects. The alkaloids can be anywhere from mildly to fatally toxic to humans. As a result, diverse cultures around the world have long held an intriguing relationship with the nightshade family. Some have been used to make poisons, some contain incredibly addictive compounds such as nicotine, some are mind altering. When we mix these inherently challenging nightshades with cheese—which is heavy, oily, and also difficult to digest—we can quickly overtax the digestive fire.
Beans and Cheese
Beans and cheese are similar in that they both tend to be heavy and are often difficult to digest.
I have an amazing book from Vasant Lad that goes into more detail – if you have any questions – flick me an email.