Food combining, or scientifically called, Trophology, is the science of correct food-combining, that is, the art of knowing which foods go best with which others. ‘Food combining’ may also mean the combination of foods which are compatible with each other in terms of digestive chemistry. Food combining is an essential component of optimal nutrition because it allows the body to digest and utilize the nutrients in our diets to their full extent.

Most would agree that “Food combining is based on the theory that different food groups require different digestion times. Digestion is helped the most by using foods which have roughly the same digestion time.” Thus, correct food combinations are important for proper digestion, utilisation, and assimilation of the nutrients in our diet. The principles of food combining are dictated by digestive chemistry. Different foods require different digestive enzymes to aid in the digestive process – some acid, some alkaline.

Below is a list of foods and their digestion time.

• Water when the stomach is empty leaves immediately and goes into intestines

• Juices o Fruit vegetables, vegetable broth – 15 to 20 minutes.

• Semi-liquid o (blended salad, vegetables or fruits) – 20 to 30 min.

• Fruits o Watermelon – 20 min digestion time. Other melons – Cantaloupes, Cranshaw, Honeydew etc. – 30 min. Oranges, grapefruit, grapes – 30 min. Apples, pears, peaches, cherries etc. – digest in 40 min.

• Vegetables -Raw tossed salad vegetables – tomato, lettuces, cucumber, celery, red or green pepper, and other succulent vegetables – 30 to 40 min. digestion.

• Steamed or cooked vegetables o Leafy vegetables – escarole, spinach, kale, collards etc. – 40 min. – Zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, yellow squash, and corn on the cob – all 45-min digestion time Root vegetables – carrots, beets, parsnips, and turnips etc. – 50 min.

• Semi-Concentrated Carbohydrates – Starches o Jerusalem artichokes & leafy, acorn & butternut squashes, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, chestnuts – all 60min digestion.

• Concentrated Carbohydrates – Grains o Brown rice, millet, buckwheat, cornmeal, oats (first 3 vegetables best) – 90 min.

• Legumes & Beans – (Concentrated Carbohydrate & Protein) o Lentils, limas, chickpeas, peas, pigeon peas, kidney beans, etc. – 90 min. digestion time soybeans -120 min digestion time

• Seeds & Nuts or Seeds – Sunflower, pumpkin, pepita, sesame – Digestive time approx. 2 hours. Nuts – Almonds, filberts, peanuts (raw), cashews, Brazil, walnuts, pecans etc. – 2 1/2 to 3 hours to digest.

• Dairy o Skim milk, cottage or low-fat pot cheese or ricotta – approx. 90 min. digestion time whole milk cottage cheese – 120 min. digestion whole milk hard cheese – 4 to 5 hours digestion time

• Animal proteins o Egg yolk – 30 min. digestion time Whole egg – 45 min. Fish – cod, scrod, flounder, sole seafood – 30 min. digestion time Fish – salmon, salmon trout, herring, (more fatty fish) – 45 min. to 60 digestion time Chicken – 1½ to 2 hours digestion time (without skin) Turkey – 2 to 2 ¼ hours digestion time (without skin) Beef, lamb – 3 to 4 hours digestion time Pork – 4½ to 5 hours digestion time