If you are someone who suffers from the results of poor digestion like gas, bloating, constipation, or the opposite you may find this topic very interesting. There are extremes that may manifest as gut wrenching pain or mild symptoms of heaviness with a little bit of gas. Either way, Ayurveda believes we must look to our diet first. What have we been eating or in particular, what foods have we been combining?
People with underlying health concerns especially need to pay close attention to the foods they consume in unison. If you have been ill your digestion may have become weak. You may have travelled and eaten food your body is not accustomed to and you need a reset. If your constitution is primarily Vata or Kapha dosha, you may also find your digestion is not as strong as someone who is primarily Pitta dosha. Whatever the reason, most of us at one time or another have suffered from gut problems.
Where to begin?
The list of food combining rules to follow below has been shortened to cover the most important ones. Begin there.
Keep your proteins separate and keep your meals simple. If you feel the need to give your system a rest, eat soups or simple meals that include as few ingredients as possible. For example, simple soups that contain only a few vegetables will help tremendously. (Carrot/Ginger, Zucchini, Butternut Squash are just a few examples.)
Avoid mixing animal and vegetable proteins together in a meal. Beans and meat require unique enzymes to digest and putting these together will overload and overtax your system. We always blame the beans for the gas they produce but when combined properly and with spices that aid digestion, they are just fine.
Milk products don't play well with many other foods. The milk will often curdle in our stomachs when combined with other foods especially fruits. It is best to be enjoyed alone. Warm milk with turmeric or nutmeg before bedtime at least two hours after a meal can be soothing to the body and aid sleep.
I have always felt that if you are trying to solve a problem, you need all the facts. Start a food diary. Keeping a daily notation of the foods you ate, a list of symptoms and other observations will help you look back and honestly examine your intake to determine the cause of your tummy troubles.
Build your meals with three ingredients that work well together. Grains and vegetables are a great place to start and add only one protein.
Choose spices that aid digestion to enhance the flavor of grains or vegetables rather than sauces or dairy products. For example: Cumin, coriander, fennel, or ginger.
We hope this is helpful,
Angela, Breanna and Janis