Skip to main content

Mindful Eating and Proper Food Combining

Food and Health

Health and energy depend first and foremost on the condition of the digestive system. The smooth functioning of the stomach and intestines must be considered in curing illness and maintaining health. Many people eat and drink chaotically, yet these habits prevent the organs and systems of the body from operating as they should.

Additionally, negative emotions and stress affect digestion, since it is controlled by the autonomic nervous system within the brain. Conversely, when we are calm, the digestive system functions smoothly. The following guidelines can assist us in our quest for a disease-free and energetic body. By not drinking liquids with our meals, properly combining the various types of foods and eating in a mindful manner, we can correct and avoid many problems.

1. Drinking water, milk, juice or other beverages during meals leads to a sluggish digestive system and contributes to the discomfort of gas and bloating. These symptoms occur when the enzymes which break down food are diluted. Drinking a half an hour before a meal and two hours afterwards is recommended in order to allow the stomach to break down foods for assimilation by the body.

2. By properly combining the different food substances we eat at each meal, we enable better assimilation. Stomach juices become either acidic or alkaline in reaction to the different foods we eat. An acidic medium is produced within the stomach to break down proteins, while acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, are broken down in an alkaline medium. Problems occur when food substances cannot be broken down due to unfavorable mixing. For instance, in the typical American breakfast, orange juice will prevent meat, such as bacon or sausage, from being thoroughly broken down causing indigestion in the stomach and putrefaction in the intestines.

3. The functioning of the stomach and intestines improve when they are not overfilled. We should only consume as much food as is comfortable to hold, in about twenty minutes. In fact, the size of one's stomach can be controlled by how much it habitually holds. It is best to eat three meals a day and wait three or four hours between meals. Eating after sunset is not recommended since digestion stops when the body shuts down for the night. Additionally, we get a better night's sleep when the stomach is empty.

Food Categories

The food categories include Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fruits and Vegetables. Unprocessed foods are wonderful and provide vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids. Complex carbohydrates give energy and are not fattening when eaten with vegetables only. Proteins provide amino acids which are the building blocks of the body. Vegetables provide minerals, vitamins and enzymes, (especially the green foods such as kale, spinach, broccoli, parsley, etc.) Fruits provide minerals, vitamins and enzymes and are good for a one day fast which helps cleanse the body.

However, there are some foods that should be eaten in moderation according to macrobiotic principles. These are tomatoes, eggplants and avocados which have an acidifying effect on the bloodstream. They are considered yin foods. Processed white flour and white sugar are also yin. These substances acidify the bloodstream. They also leach the B vitamins from the body because they are so processed.

Food Types


Oatmeal, whole wheat, brown rice, millet, and corn and all products made from whole grains - whole grain breads, corn bread, rice cakes, noodles, etc.

Starchy Vegetables:

Scroll to Continue

Carrots, squash and pumpkins, potatoes. (Potatoes are alkaline.)

Non-Starchy Vegetables:

Broccoli, cauliflower, lima beans, corn, chard, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, brussel sprouts, beets, artichokes, asparagus, peas, onions, mushrooms, celery, peppers, bok choy, cilantro, and parsley.

Seaweeds: Kombu, hijiki, arame, dulse and nori.


All meats, eggs, nuts and seeds, legumes, grains and dairy products - cheese, yogurt, kiefer, sour cream and cottage cheese -

(*Vegetarians: Combining grains, legumes and corn provides a complete protein.)


Acid fruits - pineapples, oranges, tangerines and lemons.

Sub-acid fruits - strawberries, berries, peaches, nectarines and apricots and apples,

Sweet fruits - raisins, grapes, dates, figs and bananas.

(Fruits are yin in nature and should be consumed in moderation, with the exception of apples which can be eaten every day.)


Cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew melons. Melons should only be eaten alone or with each other. Wait five hours before consuming other types of food, since melons are alkaline.

Do Not Combine

* Different protein types within the protein category, (e.g. eggs and bacon.)

* Meats and starchy vegetables, (e.g. steak and potatoes, carrots or squash.)

* Breads and meats, (e.g. tuna or lunch meats in sandwiches.)

* Fruits and vegetables.

* Fruits and breads, (e.g. jam on toast.)

* Acid fruits and sub-acid fruits.

* Acid fruits and sweet fruits.

* Melons and fruits, or anything else.

* Nuts and seeds.

Do Combine

* Seeds and fruits.

* Nuts and fruits.

* Nuts and vegetables

* Dairy products and fruits.

* Dairy products and vegetables.

* Meats and non starchy-vegetables, (e.g. chicken and broccoli.)

* Seeds and vegetables, (e.g. hummus, which made with processed sesame seeds, and greek salad.)

* Grains such as rice, millet, wheat, barley and non-alkaline vegetables.

* Different types of meats, (e.g. steak, chicken and seafood.)

* Legumes and vegetables.

* Potatoes and Buckwheat noodles.

Foods to Consider

1. Miso (unpasteurized) pickles, sauerkraut, yogurt and keifer to create beneficial flora in the digestive tract.

2. Soy Sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos All Purpose Seasoning.

3. Sea salt.

4. Sesame butter/tahini.

5. All nut butters.

6. Rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk.

7. Spirilina.

8. Bee pollen.

9. Carob powder or chips.

10. Rice syrup, honey, maple syrup, etc. to replace processed white sugar.

11. Umeboshi Salt Plums or Paste: Quick remedy for stomach aches, heartburn, cramps and headaches.

When you feel out of sorts, catch a cold or the flu or have other symptoms, such as headaches or cramps, just adhere strictly to the boundaries outlined here. Eat lightly at first. Then, eat properly mixed meals so the stomach and intestines have a chance to function smoothly. Continue eating in this mindful manner until all symptoms disappear. These dietary boundaries are hard to follow at first, but as you begin to feel better, you'll be motivated to follow them. Afterwards, it is fine to ease up.


Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on October 15, 2018:

Hello, Kathryn, this is a good article on diet and nutrition. I welcomed all your suggestions like the combination of the food items. For example, in protein, chicken, meat, and fish is my favorite. Many in the vegetable series exist.

However, drinking water during and after a meal is not okay as you said. Yes, I subscribed to that health-wise idea. But sipping a mouthful or two of fresh water a minutes before any meal is right. This prevents hi-cupping, during eating yam or potatoes, and certain other cooked carbohydrates, where the natural water content has been lost in cooking.

This your article is very rich, informative, educative, and interesting. I have bookmarked it for my reference. Thank you, and have a nice time.

Kathryn L Hill (author) from LA on August 16, 2017:

Let us know if you feel a difference.

Pat W on August 14, 2017:

Didn't realize I shouldn't drink with my meal. Will start today drinking a half hour prior and 2 hours after. Thanks

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on June 14, 2017:

Thank again for such a wisdom found in your article.

Kathryn L Hill (author) from LA on June 11, 2017:

Our bodily systems were designed to operate well. We just have to figure out how they were designed to operate. Thank you for taking the time to consider the importance of my discoveries to your own life.

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on June 04, 2017:

No1. point in your article is very important for me. I used to drink water during a meal. 3 years ago an astrologer friend told me that drinking water in this way is like pouring water into a burning fire inside our stomach.

These days I have stopped that habit. I can feel the changes with my health,

I think this is one of the major causes to illness too. Thank you

Kathryn L Hill (author) from LA on February 04, 2016:

Yes. It is never too late. Glad you found it!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on February 04, 2016:

I wish I'd seen this article when you first published it. It is so interesting and does make sense. I had 18 inches of my colon removed two months ago because of diverticulitis. This seems to be genetic from my father's family. My mom, uncle and grandmother died of colon cancer, so I consider myself lucky to have my father's genes. I had been told by a medical student not to drink liquids with my meals, but not why. This diet may be difficult for me to follow since I have celiac and a dairy allergy. Milk gives me an asthma attack and hurting muscles.

Posting this on my fridge door may help. I noticed that most of the no-nos are my cravings, peanut butter sandwiches, meat and potatoes, etc., but I've already had to get over a lot of things, so what's to lose? Thanks!

Kathryn L Hill (author) from LA on April 25, 2014:

Yes! Why not?

taylor on April 25, 2014:

Thanks a lot for your article! Good information

I have one query, though : In your 'Do combine' list, you have included 'dairy and fruits'. But you can't mix milk and bananas can you?


Kathryn L Hill (author) from LA on February 06, 2013:

Hi Deb. Thank you for stopping by and having some tea! hehehe. :)

Deb Welch on February 06, 2013:

Good work and good information. I love tea and I just bought some Sir Jason Winters tea which has wonderful healing elements that I found through a fellow Hubber. I am interested in the Bancha or Kukicha Twig teas. Great and useful.

Kathryn L Hill (author) from LA on November 01, 2012:

Oh! Yes, that sounds similar to macrobiotic theory. But with that great Ram Bansal uniqueness.

Thanks for stopping by!

Ram Bansal from India on October 31, 2012:

About mixing of foods, my opinion is against mixing foods produced in opposite seasons, or produced at places climatically opposed to each other.

Kathryn L Hill (author) from LA on October 31, 2012:

Yes, these will definitely help you. Remember to try to find some Umeboshi salt plum to help with gas, cramps, headaches and stomach bloating. You just need a little bit. Make a broth or take it straight. A lot of people complain about how salty it is... you just need a little bit! Sometimes just a taste. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Sparklea from Upstate New York on October 31, 2012:

Kathryn this is one of the best hubs I have come across! Thank you!

Starting NOW I will make sure I do not drink 1/2 hour before a meal or 2 hours after.

You have no idea how it is Divine Order that I read this hub at this time as I am facing colon surgery next week. Your diet suggestions will be extremely helpful for my recovery.

God bless and I am thrilled that I came across this hub. Blessings, Sparklea :)

Kathryn L Hill (author) from LA on October 30, 2012:

Try Bancha tea, also known as Kukicha twig tea. It is a Japanese tea. It will give you a coffee boost with a minute amount of caffeine. It is an alkaline tea. Most problems stem from acidic substances, right? Try no drinking anything with your meals. (half hour before, two hours after) Miso soup, if it is not pasteurized will also help.

Good luck.

Howard Schneider from Parsippany, New Jersey on October 30, 2012:

Great Hub, Kathryn with many helpful tips. Several I already have incorporated into my diet to control my Ulcerative Colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I have found that regulating my diet works much better than taking maintenance drugs. I have control of these conditions and I will use several of your suggestions to maintain this control. I found that eliminating coffee from my diet went a huge ways to helping me. I was a big coffee drinker so it was a difficult adjustment but it has been two years and I am doing fine.

Kathryn L Hill (author) from LA on September 29, 2012:

If people who are considering gastric bypass surgery or any other stomach altering surgery would follow these guidelines they might not have to have the surgery... which I think hurts the mental state of those who have them. They would have to have faith , though, and take time to put the colon, intestines, etc. back in working order. It takes time and a change in habits. It is an exercise in self mastery and self discovery.

Joyette Helen Fabien from Dominica on September 28, 2012:

Thanks Kathryn. I was referring to the usual diet suggestions/guidelines/tips

Kathryn L Hill (author) from LA on September 18, 2012:

What are the contradictions to the mean the usual guidelines?

Dr. Bernard Jensen is the authority for keeping the colon clean. It is very useful for being healthy and properly mixing food types is well worth the effort. Susanne Summers just wrote a book about it.

Nice to hear from you, Joyette. :)

Joyette Helen Fabien from Dominica on September 18, 2012:

Impressive hub! Very informative, however, there seems to be quite a number of contradictions to the usual. It calls for a certain level of discipline for successful results. As the saying goes "nothing good comes easily".

Kathryn L Hill (author) from LA on September 17, 2012:

That is so true! You are welcome and thanks for stopping by.

Harsha Vardhana R from Bangalore on September 17, 2012:

Thanks for many valuable suggestions.

Looks like we need to observe many of our meals and see where we can make improvements. Only effort is to guard the taste-buds!

Related Articles