The ancient lifestyle of Ayurveda has thrived for thousands of years because of the incredible health benefits gained by following these common sense principles. Ayurveda's approach to diet can be particularly helpful because of its focus on fresh food, high nutrition and combining foods correctly for good digestion. This last aspect of the Ayurvedic eating principle is key because when you don't combine your food properly you will end up with bloating, gas, indigestion and not absorbing nutrients well. By understanding the principles of Ayurvedic food combining, you can greatly improve your digestion and overall health, while avoiding the unpleasant side effects of eating the wrong foods together.
A ccording to Ayurveda, each food has a specific type of energy and similar foods should be combined together, or you risk lowering your agni (which means digestive fire). There is actually real science behind this belief because your body processes foods of different densities and textures differently. For example, your stomach needs only about an hour to digest a piece of cantaloupe--while a piece of bacon may take several hours. By eating similar foods together, you strengthen your agni and allow your body to create the optimal environment for fast digestion. Your will be able to avoid the problem of having a food putrefying in your stomach for a long time--this is what causes gas and bloating!
Better food digestion and absorption of nutrients will also help us have more energy and can even reduce cravings for unhealthy foods, because we feel more satisfied. For proper Ayurvedic food combining, begin with these guidelines. These principles can be applied regardless of your body type.
In general, all fruits should be eaten by themselves, because they digest so quickly. Fruits can be combined with each other, as long as they are similar in texture (citrus fruits go well together, apples go well with pears, etc). As a rule melons are so water rich and light that they should really not be combined with anything else. Popular combinations like banana and milk should be strictly avoided because the banana will actually sour, as it gets digested by the stomach, causing the milk to curdle and create extra gas.
Avoiding eating two types of meat together (for example, chicken and bacon) and never combine with dairy products like cheese or cream sauces. Again, the milk will curdle and the heaviness of this combination will stifle your digestive fire.
Raw honey is a wonderful food, but it should never be cooked because then it digests slowly and becomes a sticky gunk that clogs ups your digestive system.
Should be eaten with grains or vegetables, but not with dairy products, meat or starchy vegetables.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day but always room temperature. Water that is ice cold will be harmful to your digestive fire.
You can enjoy a hot drink with most foods, except fruit, starchy vegetables, dairy products, and proteins like meat and fish. Check our our golden milk recipe.
Vegetables and Grains.
Eat plenty of both! And you can combine them with cheese, eggs, beans, meat, fish or certainly with each other. But you should avoid milk or cream sauces.
Butter & Ghee.
Acceptable with most foods but ghee is a better alternative that will digest better.
Combining beans with cheese is popular in western diets but this combination is a total mismatch because both are so difficult to digest and will lead to constipation and bloating.