Two Simple Principles of Food Combining to Help You Beat the Bloat

Yesterday I was chatting away to one of my soul-sisters at the gym who has recently been experiencing lots of highly embarrassing, poorly timed bloating and gas after meals.  After talking through her typical daily meals, it struck me that there were two food combining principles that I have been following for a few years now which greatly improved my digestion and helped me to believe that I could beat the bloat.

It was a pretty funny conversation if you are up for some light toilet humour but I’ll spare you all of the hilarious details…  Through our laughter (the best medicine) I remembered what it felt like to suffer from these symptoms on a daily basis.  I recounted to her the hilarity of being offered a seat on the Metro in Barcelona by a 80 year old woman with a walking stick who though I was 6 months pregnant (true story, I promise) and after the initial awkwardness of the situation, the shame of how my body was reacting to the foods I had eaten for lunch. 

It wasn’t until I adopted these principles and a few others into my life that my embarrassing symptoms dramatically improved and I learned to make peace with my body. Are you ready for this? I promise it will boost your confidence as the bloating and gas you experience after meals diminishes with proper food combining.

Why should I bother?

  • Improper food combining results in foods fermenting in your gut and it stresses out your sensitive digestive system;

  • If the food you eat is not digesting properly, not only can painful gas, bloating, heart burn, acid reflux and other stomach problems arise, but your body will also be deprived of critical nutrients which keep it in balance.

What are the benefits of food combining?

  • Your stomach will feel more settled and at ease and you will no longer look 6 months pregnant after meals

  • Symptoms like gas, cramping, nausea and stomach gurgling with disappear

  • You will have more vibrant energy as you get more of the nutrients from the foods you nourish yourself with

So with no further ado, I present to you RULE 1 of food combining:

1. Eat fruit alone and on an empty stomach

Ok, this is tough I know and it completely goes against our beloved meals of overnight oats with banana and berries, apple pie and mango salad but I promise you I can explain why.

Fruit will pass through the digestive system very quickly if eaten alone, taking around 30 minutes.  When you consume fruit with protein, fats or starchy carbs your body will break these macro-nutrients down first before it breaks down the fruit.  This means the fruit can spend from 3-5+ hours in your gut, fermenting and causing alcohols and sugar gasses to build up.  And those gasses don’t escape which means you get bloated.  Or if they do escape, then you know there are only two ends these gasses can come out!

Are you read for the next rule?  It’s a biggie:

2. Do not combine starches (grains and starchy veggies like potato) with protein in the same meal

So spaghetti and meatballs, teriyaki chicken with rice, bangers with mash and the old ham sandwich are now off the menu if you plan on getting this bloating under control.  I know this is challenging, but I truly promise you it is worth it.

Proteins and grains/starchy veggies are broken down by different enzymes in different parts of the digestive system.  When you eat them both in the same meal there is too much work for a fragile digestive system, foods are not broken down properly, they ferment and cause you an array of uncomfortable symptoms.

So I urge you to give food combining a go and see if it helps you beat your bloating symptoms – you are your best case study.  If you follow these two basic principles and notice a big improvement, then happy days! If not, you might have some more serious underlying digestive issues going on that need a bit more understanding and support. 

If you want to know more about the principles of food combining, I have found Donna Gates’ book The Body Ecology Diet to be exceptionally helpful.  It wasn’t until I adopted these principles and a few others into my life that my embarrassing symptoms dramatically improved and I learned to make peace with my body.  This book provides huge insights into recovering your health and wellness that have changed my life.

Happy experimenting!