Myth: You need to follow food combining principles for optimal digestion
Fad diets are everywhere, I don’t need to tell you that again. But is food combining a fad diet? Or is there some truth to the rumours.
Advocates for the food combining principles claim that it is necessary for optimal digestion. They claim, as different enzymes in the body are used to digest different foods, eating protein and carbohydrates together for example will cause digestive issues.
They claim that eating foods together will leave you with partially digested food that sits in your gut, basically claiming the body is unable to digest two different things at once.
Fact: Your digestive system is more complex than this ‘diet’ suggests
While this ‘diet’ doesn’t lead to the elimination of any food, just focusing on eating one food group at a time. It is still a diet, leading to obsession over food and well I think we all know my opinion of diets….
But my bias aside, lets dig into the actual facts so you can determine what works for you.
Food Combining principles suggest that the digestion system is very black and white. While one type of food is being digested, nothing else can be digested because it requires different enzymes.
For example, the enzyme amylase works to digest carbohydrates meanwhile proteases are needed to break down proteins. And while carbohydrates are being digested it means that protein sits around in the digestive system waiting its turn, causing it to ferment and create issues for your body.
However, the digestion system is not a sack as this theory might suggest, it is a track or a process. Digestion happens over multiple hours after consuming a food, starting with enzymes and chewing in the mouth going down to the acid in the stomach and enzymes within the small and large intestines which continue the digestion process.
The body is an amazing thing, it runs multiple, even thousands of processes at once. It allows you to breathe, pump blood through your arteries, move muscles in your hands as you type, run messages allow neural pathways from your brain all around your body and digest the food you ate a few hours ago.
Your digestive system alone has the ability to digest carbohydrates, fats and protein all at the same time. It is true that the process of all of these takes different lengths of time, but eating them separately will not make this process faster.
So whilst the basis of why people food combine is important – to increase your optimal digestion, eating different foods at different times is not going to do this. Instead to look after your digestive system is it more beneficial to focus on mindful eating, allowing yourself to chew food properly, eating slowing and eating lots of fibre rich and prebiotic rich foods for a healthy digestive track.
Myth: Healthy Foods are expensive
Yes, I agree. ‘Healthy’ food is expensive. Or more specifically fad dieting super foods that are cleverly marketed are expensive.
But those foods are not what you really need. They make up an elitist form of health or nutrition.
This perception that following a diet made up of expensive food is the only way to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle has become a barrier for a lot of people.
However, a study run in 2015/2016 by the Queensland university of technology actually showed that a healthy diet is cheaper than an unhealthy diet, when following the Australian national dietary guidelines.
Fact: Eating well doesn’t have to break the bank.
In 2017 alone nearly 46% of Australians were actively trying to lose weight and half of them spent money on a particular program or specific diet. All of these diets are pushing costly ingredients, powders and supplements that are nutritionally similar or inferior to healthy everyday options.
Let’s look at my weekly shop for a start. I shop for my partner and myself. I do a lot of baking, cooking and can never pass up a good cheese platter. We spend between $150-$200 a week on our grocery bill. This includes everything from toilet paper to dog food and well Jackson eats a lot!!
$150-$200 might seem like a lot, but an average meal at a fast food joint for the two of us would cost $30. So that’s only 5-6 meals in total, however that grocery bill feeds us for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 6-7 days.
It is about stripping it back to what is actually healthy and keeping it simple, especially when on a tight budget! Some of the ways I do this is through batch cooking for my freezer, eating in season and stocking up when things are on sale.
Last night I made a big batch of Bolognese sauce – enough to freeze 8 meals worth and dinner last night. We had it with traditional pasta (aka white pasta) cheese and a little side salad. The ingredients for the whole thing cost me $31.50 and will cater for 9 meals between us so $3.50 a meal or in other terms 1.75 per serve.
That is nuts. $1.75 per serve for a balanced meal of good protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats that is loaded with vegetables and well absolutely delicious!
The trick to eating healthy, or starting to eat healthy when on a strict budget is to start to incorporate small changes. Try to focus on including more fresh or frozen vegetables in your meals.
Don’t stress it. Eating healthy, or following a healthy lifestyle should cause stress. If it is, check in with yourself and see where that pressure is coming from? It is from trying to fit into a certain diet program, or making sure you have the exact right about of calories and nutrients you need in the day?
There is nothing exact that you can follow, as everyone is different. Do what feels right to you, and fits within your budget. Ignoring the marketing out there that is trying to get you to spend your $$$ on supplements and that latest fad diet ingredients.
Reply to this email if you need cheap and delicious recipe suggestions or tips on navigating the grocery store to fit your budget!