Mindful Eating and Proper Food Combining
Food and Health
Health and energy depend first and foremost on the condition of the digestive system. The smooth functioning of the stomach and intestines must be considered in curing illness and maintaining health. Many people eat and drink chaotically, yet these habits prevent the organs and systems of the body from operating as they should.
Additionally, negative emotions and stress affect digestion, since it is controlled by the autonomic nervous system within the brain. Conversely, when we are calm, the digestive system functions smoothly. The following guidelines can assist us in our quest for a disease-free and energetic body. By not drinking liquids with our meals, properly combining the various types of foods and eating in a mindful manner, we can correct and avoid many problems.
1. Drinking water, milk, juice or other beverages during meals leads to a sluggish digestive system and contributes to the discomfort of gas and bloating. These symptoms occur when the enzymes which break down food are diluted. Drinking a half an hour before a meal and two hours afterwards is recommended in order to allow the stomach to break down foods for assimilation by the body.
2. By properly combining the different food substances we eat at each meal, we enable better assimilation. Stomach juices become either acidic or alkaline in reaction to the different foods we eat. An acidic medium is produced within the stomach to break down proteins, while acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, are broken down in an alkaline medium. Problems occur when food substances cannot be broken down due to unfavorable mixing. For instance, in the typical American breakfast, orange juice will prevent meat, such as bacon or sausage, from being thoroughly broken down causing indigestion in the stomach and putrefaction in the intestines.
3. The functioning of the stomach and intestines improve when they are not overfilled. We should only consume as much food as is comfortable to hold, in about twenty minutes. In fact, the size of one's stomach can be controlled by how much it habitually holds. It is best to eat three meals a day and wait three or four hours between meals. Eating after sunset is not recommended since digestion stops when the body shuts down for the night. Additionally, we get a better night's sleep when the stomach is empty.
The food categories include Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fruits and Vegetables. Unprocessed foods are wonderful and provide vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids. Complex carbohydrates give energy and are not fattening when eaten with vegetables only. Proteins provide amino acids which are the building blocks of the body. Vegetables provide minerals, vitamins and enzymes, (especially the green foods such as kale, spinach, broccoli, parsley, etc.) Fruits provide minerals, vitamins and enzymes and are good for a one day fast which helps cleanse the body.
However, there are some foods that should be eaten in moderation according to macrobiotic principles. These are tomatoes, eggplants and avocados which have an acidifying effect on the bloodstream. They are considered yin foods. Processed white flour and white sugar are also yin. These substances acidify the bloodstream. They also leach the B vitamins from the body because they are so processed.
Oatmeal, whole wheat, brown rice, millet, and corn and all products made from whole grains - whole grain breads, corn bread, rice cakes, noodles, etc.
Carrots, squash and pumpkins, potatoes. (Potatoes are alkaline.)
Broccoli, cauliflower, lima beans, corn, chard, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, brussel sprouts, beets, artichokes, asparagus, peas, onions, mushrooms, celery, peppers, bok choy, cilantro, and parsley.
Seaweeds: Kombu, hijiki, arame, dulse and nori.
All meats, eggs, nuts and seeds, legumes, grains and dairy products - cheese, yogurt, kiefer, sour cream and cottage cheese -
(*Vegetarians: Combining grains, legumes and corn provides a complete protein.)
Acid fruits - pineapples, oranges, tangerines and lemons.
Sub-acid fruits - strawberries, berries, peaches, nectarines and apricots and apples,
Sweet fruits - raisins, grapes, dates, figs and bananas.
(Fruits are yin in nature and should be consumed in moderation, with the exception of apples which can be eaten every day.)
Cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew melons. Melons should only be eaten alone or with each other. Wait five hours before consuming other types of food, since melons are alkaline.
Do Not Combine
* Different protein types within the protein category, (e.g. eggs and bacon.)
* Meats and starchy vegetables, (e.g. steak and potatoes, carrots or squash.)
* Breads and meats, (e.g. tuna or lunch meats in sandwiches.)
* Fruits and vegetables.
* Fruits and breads, (e.g. jam on toast.)
* Acid fruits and sub-acid fruits.
* Acid fruits and sweet fruits.
* Melons and fruits, or anything else.
* Nuts and seeds.
* Seeds and fruits.
* Nuts and fruits.
* Nuts and vegetables
* Dairy products and fruits.
* Dairy products and vegetables.
* Meats and non starchy-vegetables, (e.g. chicken and broccoli.)
* Seeds and vegetables, (e.g. hummus, which made with processed sesame seeds, and greek salad.)
* Grains such as rice, millet, wheat, barley and non-alkaline vegetables.
* Different types of meats, (e.g. steak, chicken and seafood.)
* Legumes and vegetables.
* Potatoes and Buckwheat noodles.
Foods to Consider
1. Miso (unpasteurized) pickles, sauerkraut, yogurt and keifer to create beneficial flora in the digestive tract.
2. Soy Sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos All Purpose Seasoning.
3. Sea salt.
4. Sesame butter/tahini.
5. All nut butters.
6. Rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk.
8. Bee pollen.
9. Carob powder or chips.
10. Rice syrup, honey, maple syrup, etc. to replace processed white sugar.
11. Umeboshi Salt Plums or Paste: Quick remedy for stomach aches, heartburn, cramps and headaches.
When you feel out of sorts, catch a cold or the flu or have other symptoms, such as headaches or cramps, just adhere strictly to the boundaries outlined here. Eat lightly at first. Then, eat properly mixed meals so the stomach and intestines have a chance to function smoothly. Continue eating in this mindful manner until all symptoms disappear. These dietary boundaries are hard to follow at first, but as you begin to feel better, you'll be motivated to follow them. Afterwards, it is fine to ease up.