06.05.12 Wellness

Dietary Tip: Proper Food Combining

Dietary Tip: Proper Food Combining

BY Hacer Bozkurt, IMD

Let’s face it, whether you’re in great shape or not-so-great shape, many feel as though they have a mysterious “bloat”.  All that time in the gym and passing on breadbaskets and dessert, we still might not get the results we want, on the timeline we want. Did you know that simple food combination could help?

Trophology (or the study of food combining) may help you reduce bloat, help weight loss, increase energy, relieve digestive discomfort and improve absorption of nutrients.  In an effort to keep it simple, it’s about digestion.  Different foods require different digestive environments to aid in the process – some acid, some alkaline.  And foods have different transit times, meaning some are quicker to digest than others. Therefore, combining foods that are not compatible usually complicates digestion causing bloating, indigestion, gas, fatigue and poor absorption of nutrients.

Below, are 3 simple tips to get you started on proper food combining to help you to gain energy, feel lighter and be friendlier to your gastrointestinal tract.

Eat fruit alone on an empty stomach: 
Do not mix fruit into your meal or consume fruit after a meal.  Fruit digests at a much faster rate than other foods and when consumed with anything else, gets destroyed and cause unpleasant side effects.

Make fresh vegetables and/or salads the centerpiece of each meal:
Salads and vegetables should be the dominant part of one’s diet. These go with any meal, except fruit.

Choose a protein or a carb to have with your vegetables: 
Do not combine proteins and carbs together at the same meal. 

I understand this is not how most meals are currently packaged. I understand we have mostly inherited ways of doing things, including eating and have been very often misinformed. I know it is tasty and convenient and mostly a habit that has been formed over many years – to use fruit as a condiment and to wrap everything in bread and to sideline vegetables.

All changes, especially the positive ones are uncomfortable at first. But I encourage doing it to have the energy and improved appearance and feeling of well-being you may desire. Or maybe you’d like to get more in touch with the inside of your body and what are some ways to take better care of yourself.

To help animate how this looks, here are some meal ideas demonstrating proper food combining:

Rising: Few apple slices or small handful blueberries or ½ grapefruit.

Morning/ Breakfast (30min later if desired): Nutrition shake (blend of protein powder, green nutrition powder, unsweetened almond milk) or scrambled eggs with spinach.

Lunch: Sweet potato, salad and vegetables or small portion quinoa with mostly vegetables or turkey burger patty with salad & vegetables.

Afternoon Snack: Celery & jicama with tablespoon almond butter.

Dinner: Large salad with white beans, cucumbers and sautéed vegetables.

Dessert (sparingly): Coconut ice cream, unsweetened chocolate almond milk, couple of quinoa cookies (Andean Dream brand)

Once you get the hang of it, new habits form and you feel motivated by the improvements you may experience – it may become tasty and convenient.

If you have questions, please feel free to post them in the comment section below so I can get back to you.

Image via Matt Hutchinson on Flicker

Hacer (Ha-jair’) Bozkurt is a Doctor of Integrative Medicine. Her Beverly Hills practice, Virgil Place, Inc. helps clients including celebrities, athletes, executives, families, with health goals through custom, practical nutrition and supplement plans, detoxification, weight management and conditioning programs.


  • Rachel

    Hi Hacer, Thank you for this post – it is really interesting. I am just learning about proper Food Combining and am wanting to give it a go, but I am vegetarian. I am wondering what my options could be, besides eggs, for bulking up a meal? Are things like soy sausages ok, or veggie burgers, for example (if served with salad and veggies? Thank you!

    • Hacer Bozkurt, IMD

      Thanks for the good question. You can do beans, nuts, seeds. I recommend supplementing your diet with vegetarian protein powders blended with unsweetened almond/coconut/hemp milks (more protein), B complex (among other essentials). I recommend you avoid fake foods like veggie/ soy based foods. Besides the GMO issues with soy, they are highly processed, artificially flavored/colored, and usually full of wheat/gluten, which should be strictly avoided.

      On your follow up question below, I recommend having the carb at lunch, to use for energy during the day, keeping the portion very small unless you are at your ideal weight and workout regularly, and use protein later in the day. A protein shake could be consumed in the evening before or after a vegetable meal/ salad.

      I hope this helps.

    • Rachel

      Thanks Hacer, will give those suggestions a try and see how I go. Thanks again!

  • Rachel

    Me again Hacer – one more question I forgot to include – is there a preference to what is best to have a dinner time in the evening (protein or carbs)? I have read different things so am a bit confused! Thank you!

    • Hacer Bozkurt, IMD

      I recommend protein in the evening because you’ll store the carbs you don’t use for energy and most people are less active in the evening.

  • kateb

    Hi, After reading this, I was wondering about green smoothies. I blend up 2 cups of spinach, two carrots, a banana, 1 cup of berries, and a cup of water (sometimes add almond milk) for breakfast (it makes 2). Is this still a bad way of combining foods? Thanks!

    • Hacer Bozkurt, IMD

      Hi, I appreciate your interest and self-care! Firstly, its just great you’re doing non dairy and incorporating vegetables & fruit. Strict food combining says fruit isn’t a good mix with anything. But I find when raw and pureed into a smoothie- where everything is a liquid you’re drinking together, it is less of an issue. And if the great taste helps incorporate more vegetables, then we have to prioritize. Some people have more sensitive digestive tracts than others. If you don’t bloat or have gas or feel tired after, then you can probably do ok with the mix. However, I would encourage you to increase the volume and variety of greens and vary the fruit. For example, try adding cilantro, parsley, cucumber, celery, kale.. then maybe one day an apple, another the banana and blueberries, etc. The kind of blender may be an issue. But that’s for another post 🙂

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