Proper food combining basics for optimal health

It’s not enough to eat healthy and avoid sugars or processed foods to say you are leading a healthy lifestyle. It’s not enough to also just be vegan. It’s not even enough to eat organic. None of that really matters or works for your optimal health unless you properly combine foods and learn which foods combine with what. Proper food combination basics will be covered in this blog post. To find out how to actually maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle, please read on!

6 years ago I discovered through a book the food combining principles and since then I was hooked and tried to eat as much as possible in accordance to what the principles stated. To understand the food combining principles you need to understand the categories of food, because each category of food can get combined or not with the other one. There are several classifications but to make it simple, as this is about the basics of food combining, this is what food is categorised into:

Carbohydrates (mainly containing bread, grains, pasta, starch, sugars) 

  • Starches: bananas, potatoes, all pasta product, rice, breads, cakes, pies, refined cereals etc
  • Sugars: whole, brown and raw cane sugar, fructose, honey, maple syrup, dried sweet fruits (dates, raisins, figs, prunes)

Protein (made up of light and concentrated protein) 

  • Light protein: nuts (almonds, cashew, hazel, hickory, peanuts, gooseberry, pecans, pistachio, soy, walnuts), seeds (sunflower, pine), peas, beans, lentils, coconuts, avocados (although some would class this as FAT)
  • Concentrated protein (meat, fish, fowl, eggs, milk, cheese, although milk and cheese also enter the DAIRY category)

Fat (animal and vegetable oils) 

  • Animal fat: butter, cream, lard, tallow, fatty meats
  • Vegetable fat: olive, soy bean, sunflower seed, sesame, safflower corn and ALL NUT OILS

Vegetables (starchy and non starchy vegetables) 

  • Starchy: acorn and butternut squash, lima beans, peas, corn, water chestnuts, artichokes, potatoes
  • Non-starchy vegetables: bamboo shoots, broccoli, brussel sprouts, romaine, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, cucumber, eggplant, endive, kale, lettuce (boston, bibb, leaf, romaine), parsnip, pepper (sweet), sprouts (mung bean, wheat, barley) turnip

Fruits (acid, sub-acid and sweet and melons) 

  • Acid fruits: currant, grapefruit, guava, lemon, lime, orange, pineapple, pomegranate, strawberry, tamarind, tangerine, TOMATO

Acid fruits also include VINEGAR 

  • Sub acid fruits: apple, apricot, blackberry, cherimoya, cherry, elderberry, gooseberry, grape, huckleberry, nectarine, peach, pear, plum, quince, raspberry, sapodilla
  • Sweet fruits: banana, carob, date, fig, prune, raisins, dried fruits, persimmon, mango, papaya, sapote
  • Melons: banana melon, cantaloupe, casaba, Christmas melon, Persian melon, Crenshaw melon, watermelon, honeydew melon, muskmelon, nutmeg melon
Proper food combining basics principles
Photo Credit: Brooke Lark

Now, all these may seem a bit confusing, especially when at a first glance you spot some foods belonging to more than one category. But it is actually not that difficult to comprehend why they belong into various categories. First of all, all foods have protein and carbs but some have a higher percentage of one or the other and based on that they belong to a different category. As an example and maybe also an exception, peanuts, lentils and all cereals are considered as protein and starch combinations. However, peanuts and lentils when you prepare them to eat, they are going to be PROTEIN. Cereals will always be carbs because of what our bodies do with it when we eat them. You will also notice that banana is a sweet fruit and also a starch (carbohydrate) and that’s because being a sweet fruit it has a lot of carbs. It is considered a sweet fruit, and because it is so sweet it is a carb, because of the amount of fructose it contains. The same goes for dates and figs and all dried fruits, that are sweet fruits yet also classify themselves as sugars, again, because of the amount of sugar contained through its natural form in the fruit, fructose, it is a carbohydrate because of it. Again, potatoes are vegetables but because of the amount of starch, they also fall under the starches (carbohydrates) category more being better combined with other vegetables and not with protein.

food diversity
Credit – Brooke Lark

And this is how we reach the food combining principles. There are 9 RULES to properly combining food and the reason we apply and we must start to obey them is because different foods activate different enzymes in the body. Different enzymes in the body mean that the food is digested easier, faster or slower, harder. For this reason, we always want to eat first the fruits as they are digested within 40 minutes maximum. And we always eat fruits on an empty stomach. We also never combine fruits with anything else apart from vegetables (and we exclude potatoes from ever being combined to fruits, as potatoes are actually carbs as discussed above) Why do we need to combine foods? To properly digest the food we eat. And why do we need that? Because that’s the only way the food nutrients can end up enhancing, boosting and maintaining our optimal health levels. That’s how we do not get sick. That’s how we have maximum of energy. That’s how we properly enjoy food and we properly fuel our bodies to take us where we want to go. Now, the main thing about digestion is that to actually happen we need a specific type of acidity or alkalinity environment to our stomach and that’s because a certain type of environment is needed to be able to break the food and get the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and all the good stuff out and into our cells. So that this can occur in our stomach and in our intestines we must eat certain foods with certain foods. These are the rules of food combining:

  1. We never combine carbohydrates with carbohydrates (as an example would be bananas with oats, dried fruits with cereals, rice with syrup, sugars with cereals, jam on bread, bread with honey, you get the point)
  2. We never combine carbohydrates with acid fruits (as an example tomatoes with rice or any other cereals, lime or lemons with rice, vinegar in rice, tomatoes with bread etc)
  3. We never combine carbohydrates with protein (WE SHOULD NEVER EAT rice with chicken, rice with meat, with fish, with eggs, with dairy products as cheese, cheddar, we SHOULD NEVER EAT any cereals or bread or pasta with any type of protein no matter if it is light or concentrated, therefore cereals with nuts and seeds it is not properly digested)
  4. We never combine carbohydrate with sugars (never – this will trigger your insulin resistance, this is a calorie bomb too, it is a lot of toxicity for the body to work with, as sugar is TOXIC)
  5. We never combine protein and acid fruits (meaning as an example fish and lemons, tomatoes and meat, tomatoes and eggs, milk and dairy products with strawberry, orange, grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine, guava, currants)
  6. We never combine protein with another protein (fish and eggs, meat and eggs, eggs and dairy, cheese, cheese and meat, nuts and seeds with eggs or fish or other type of meat)
  7. We never combine protein and fat (butter, cream, oils with meat, eggs, cheese etc)
  8. We never combine melons with anything else. They must be eaten on their own on an empty stomach.
  9. We NEVER combine MILK or MILK PRODUCTS (DAIRY) WITH ANY OTHER PRODUCTS (so milk or yogurt and cereals and fruits, it’s a NO NO)

And you might wonder and ask in total confusion Then, what can I eat? 

Edgar Castrejon proper food combining basics and principles
Photo Credit: Edgar Castrejon

Proper food combinations that are beneficial to our health include vegetables with any kind of other food category. You can have vegetables with carbohydrates, with protein and with fruits. They go with everything. You can have fats with carbohydrates such as butter, oils with cereals, pasta, bread. You can have protein with vegetables. This is how we should actually have protein in our bodies to properly be digested. Concentrated protein must always be eaten in combination with vegetables because protein has other harmful substances that go through out liver and to properly clean that out, we need green vegetables (and lots of it) to be able to have a functional cleansed (all the time) liver.

I mean when you look at all the food combination basics, you will think a)this is non-sense, there is not much I can eat (yes, you can, you simply need to re-arrange the foods you eat) b)if this is the correct way, why is it that everyone on the planet does not eat like this (because as with lots of other things, we are made believe that this is the right way, society, our grandparents, parents, school, so called doctors that are actually thought in their studies how to treat and not how to prevent and so on; I bet rich healthy people do not eat the junk food we all eat, and would most likely have access to the best of the best, including information which in turn transforms people, and this food combining principles should transform yours too, in a very good way!) c)but I have no digestion issues (you might not experience this now, as you might be younger, you may not have had the experience of not having this experience now, that you believe to be right, just try it, what are you going to lose?).

proper food combining basicsHey, this is not an opinion I have, these are researched information and knowledge that I have known about 6 years, yet more recently I have noticed that more and more people abide by the basics of food combination and they do see positive breakthrough in their diet, lifestyle and overall health. Of course, if we confront yourself with a disease now, you might not be able to cope with the information and I urge you to document yourself and do as much research as possible to start eating more the foods you do eat in the proper healthy way. I wish you all best of health, but honestly, you do need to avoid sugars if not all the time, at least as much as possible from processed foods. Nowadays, it is very hard to actually avoid it as even bread has sugar. But if all other foods we eat have it, and then we top it up with more processed sugars, what does that do to our health, I ask you, what do you think? We should have about 20-25 grams per day of sugar. And to me, that’s quite a lot still. But that’s the maximum recommendation if you really need to get sugar. But if you go even to a vegan or organic food health store, and take a look at their organic vegan sweets, you will immediately notice that a small bar of chocolate has at least 10 grams, and that if you are lucky. Most of them have at least 25 grams already. In one bar. Imagine having 3-4 snacks like that in a day. TOXIC. That’s all I am going to say.

food combining principles basics

AVOID SUGAR AT ALL COST. START LEARN HOW TO PROPERLY COMBINE FOOD and you should be fine. You will feel the difference, I guarantee. When I first started combining foods based on those rules, the immediate most recognisable benefit or change was that I did feel bloated anymore. When you are bloated, it’s because whatever you ate did not combine well and was not able to be digested. It happens because certain foods require an acidic environment and some of them need an alkaline environment. When you mix the plus and the minus, you neutralise the effect of the enzymes that work to provide that environment. When you neutralise that, no digestion occurs. The food just rots in your stomach. Undigested. That can trigger fungus, bacteria, candida and all sorts of other diseases.


These food combining basics actually teach us to eat not to feel full (although even with these rules, we can still eat and feel full) but to actually feel lighter and energised by the food we have.

proper food combining basics 5 steps I am changing my lifestyle and health habits in 2018

Examples: In the morning you can eat fruits on their own or fruits with vegetables in smoothies (spinach, kale, apples). In the afternoon, you can eat pasta with vegetables/soup/rice with vegetables or any other cereals with different vegetables (there’s lots of recipes online). At dinner, you can have protein with vegetables. You actually do have a lot of options, but you just need to re-arrange the way you eat all the food categories. It does not mean you discard one type of food. It means you incorporate it in an optimal food combination for proper digestion and full intake of its vitamins, minerals, nutrients.

You also have to take into consideration the time each food category takes to be digested and broken down in all the nutrients. So fruits are the fastest to be digested in around 40 minutes. Carbohydrates take around 2-3 hours and protein needs between 3 to 4 hours. This means that you will feel hungry after that amount of time has passed. And it also means, once those hours have passed, you can now eat something else, of course, properly combined again.


I am following this for a couple of years and more recently have taken a big change in these basics and around 70% of the time I follow the rules of food combining. Obviously I am not able all the time to reach 100% (although there are a lot of days in which I do attain that and my energy levels, mental clarity and health is optimal) but I strive on achieving it. I also have been dairy free (apart from organic butter) for around a year now, do not really eat that much meat and have 5/7 gluten free days. So, my choices in terms of health are even more restricted, but I choose to do this because milk, cheese, cheddar, yoghurt have a toxic effect unfortunately for me and have had to learn this on the hard way. Through years of trials and errors and hopes and eventually acceptance. I choose to not have meat except when I really crave it and that’s usually rare (once every couple of months). I do have eggs and that’s the organic ones. Not free range. There’s a big difference and if the chicken is fed with GMO, it’s pointless to get free range (I mean in a way, I get it, for the chicken lives, but it is actually more a marketing strategy than actually something beneficial to your health). You must buy organic eggs. I try to eat as much as possible organic and vegan. See here, how I am changing my eating habits in 2018! But again, that would mean absolutely nothing if I would not follow the basics of food combining.

Eating this way, will prove to you that your body really knows what is doing and you must trust it when it sends you signals that specific food combinations or specific foods are not desired.

Try the food combining basics for one week. Let me know how it went, until then, have a sneak peak in my “room kitchen pantry”! 

real life kitchen food combining principles

You might want to save up or bookmark this page for any future references to the principles of food combining!

12 thoughts on “Proper food combining basics for optimal health

    1. I know, it does feel a little overwhelming as it feels there’s not much I could eat but we just need to shift our mindset and then it’s so easy so follow the basics of healthy food combination, thank u for reading!! 🙂 xoxo


  1. Thank you for posting such great and inspiring info. I’m definitely going to follow the rules it makes so much sense to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so happy you found it helpful! thank you for reading! hope you can see the differences prety soon – you can try it for a couple of weeks and then eat as you would do know – instantly you will know doing right proper food combining is how we should eat 🙂


    1. Hi! Thank you for reading, I am glad I could help, everyone makes those nasty combinations- even I did – from time to time like once every couple of months I would indulge but feel the difference straight away – so that’s how you know you’re on the right way – if you will try the good healthy proper good combinations you will notice a lot of differences in digestion, mood uplift and energy – and pretty soon it will become second nature to know what you could eat with what- lots of health wishes to you!


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