Think salmon with rice makes a healthy dinner? Think again. Follow these rules to improve digestion—and learn why not to eat proteins with carbs, why fruit should be eaten on its own, and why you shouldn’t indulge in a sweet dessert immediately after dinner. From 1 Pound a Day: The Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox and Plan for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating.
1. Do not eat proteins and starches together. Avoid eating simple carbohydrates and protein in the same meal. Bread, rice, potatoes, and cereals should not be mixed with fish, eggs, meat, dairy products, or tofu. This is the worst food combination there is. Your body requires an alkaline base to digest starches and an acid base to digest proteins. Digestion begins with the salivary glands producing the alkaline enzyme ptyalin when chewing begins. The enzyme begins to break down the starch, but the presence of the alkaline enzyme prevents the digestion of proteins in the stomach by pepsin and other acidic secretions. The meat putrefies in the digestive tract and bacteria attack the undigested meat, resulting in a heavy, bloated feeling and toxic waste. Proteins and starches each combine well with green leafy vegetables and nonstarchy vegetables, but they do not work well together.
2. Eat protein with vegetables only.
3. Eat starches like rice, bread, potatoes, pasta, and foods made from flour with vegetables only.
4. Fruits should be eaten alone or with other fruits, two hours before or after meals. Fruits digest so quickly that by the time they reach your stomach they are already partially digested. If they are mixed with other foods, they will rot and ferment.
5. Always eat melons on their own. Melons digest more quickly than any other food. You should not eat melons with other food, including other fruits.
6. Do not mix starch and sugar. Those pastries and cookies may be tempting, but they stress your digestive system. When sugar and starches are combined in the mouth, the alkaline enzyme needed to digest starches, ptyalin, is stopped and starches remain undigested. Sugar ferments in the digestive tract and creates an acidic environment that further inhibits the digestion of starches.
7. Avoid milk or drink it by itself. Pasteurization destroys the natural enzymes in milk that make it digestible. Milk curdles when it reaches the stomach, coagulates with other foods, and prevents other foods from being digested. If you have to drink milk, drink raw milk or almond milk.
8. Skip the sweet desserts. Eating sweet, starchy desserts or sweet fruits after a meal will interrupt the digestion of carbohydrates or protein already in the stomach. Eating something sweet right after a meal essentially stops digestion. If you have to have something sweet, wait at least two hours after a meal.