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Food Combining 101, from Kate Towell

Poor food combining can wreck havoc on your digestion and your health. Ayurveda believes that all disease begins in the gut and the foundation of Ayurveda wellness starts by optimizing your digestive fire (Agni).
Bloating, gas, indigestions, lethargy, weight gain? Poor food combinations could be the reason. Photo credit: Kate Towell's Blog.

The following article is being reproduced with permission of its author, Kate Towell. Kate is a holistic wellness counselor who supports individuals to create the balanced, vibrant life they imagine.

Do you ever finish a meal and feel tired, heavy or experience gas and bloating? Well you’re not alone. About one in three Americans has some kind of digestive problem. Poor food combining can wreak havoc on your digestion and your health.

Ayurveda believes that all disease begins in the gut and the foundation of Ayurveda wellness starts by optimizing your digestive fire (Agni). Understanding proper food combining is key to maximizing digestion.

An easy way to begin thinking about food combining is to consider transit times. Some foods take a long time to digest while others move through the body relatively quickly. Eating too many different kinds of foods with different digestion times at oe—such as proteins with grains, fats, and sugars—results in a back-up causing slue timggish digestion and toxins (Ama) to accumulate.

Eating the appropriate food combinations not only helps improve digestion, it can also increase energy, regulate elimination, improve skin health and support weight loss.

The key to proper food combination is to simplify. The simpler the meal, the easier digestion will be. Simple meals, moderate portions, chewing food slowly, and proper food combining helps maintain healthy digestion. Try these simple food-combining guidelines to boost your digestion and overall wellness.

Three Food Combinations to Avoid

  1. Fruit with a Meal - I know you love your fruit and yogurt but fruit combined with anything, especially with dairy, weakens your digestive fire. According to Ayurveda, fruit is the purest food we can eat. It is the easiest and fastest food to digest, and for that reason should always be eaten separately. Melons—based on their high levels of acid and sugar— have their own set of guidelines and should definitely be eaten alone and at least 20 minutes before other foods.
  2. Two Types of Protein – Avoid having two types of protein on your plate, such as surf and turf, eggs and milk, beans and cheese or bacon on your burger. The body has a difficult time digesting large amounts of protein, especially animal protein. Instead, pick one type of protein and pair it with grains or non-starchy vegetables.
  3. Bananas and Milk - According to Ayurveda, milk, like fruit, generally should be eaten alone. Bananas and milk is an especially poor combination. It’s considered toxin forming and creates heaviness in the body and mind. So leave the bananas off your cereal and opt for coconut or almond milk in your banana smoothie and spice it with cardamom to aid in digestion.

Remember when making any change to start slow. Begin by eating fruit alone and see if you notice a difference in your digestion. It’s also important to remember that your body may have become accustom to your poor food combining habits and adapted in some way.

If your digestion is strong, you feel healthy and full of energy it may mean your body has the resources to deal with slightly more difficult food combinations. On the other hand, if you feel sluggish after meals, have gas, bloating, irregular elimination or poor skin health then you may benefit from experimenting with proper food combining.

Wishing You Vibrant Living


In my practice I support busy folks to create a life they love through the everyday wisdom of Ayurveda. By exploring food and lifestyle choices in a holistic way I guide you on a practical and personal journey into what it takes to create vibrant living; mind, body and Spirit.