Matchmaking isn’t just for the romantic, it’s for the health conscious as well. Pairing your food choices properly and educating yourself on the best timing to eat particular food groups is the perfect opportunity to optimize your digestion, enhance weight loss and improve general well-being. Work with your body, not against it.
The concept is similar to wine pairing. We can all agree that a dry white complements a fish entree and a sweet Moscato enhances dessert. Let’s expand the pairing protocol to foods by making conscious choices and being more mindful of when and what we are eating.
Just as certain wines simply do not flatter certain meals, certain foods eaten together can challenge and distress your digestion. If your digestion is out of whack, the rest of your system will follow a similar pattern. Why demand excess energy from your body to break the foods down when you can prioritize and preserve that energy to keep your metabolism speedy and your hormones balanced? Before you can integrate, you must educate.
If you’re having any sort of digestive upset, consider incorporating these food pairing enhancements. I don’t like to think of them as rules, that feels restrictive. The science behind food pairing is based on the transit times of specific foods as well as food enzymes. The incentive here is that certain foods you have labeled as irritants may be much easier on your digestive system once you know when and what to eat them with. You can still banish your bloat and gas while enjoying the foods you love.
Order here is key. Prioritize eating the foods that will digest the quickest, first. If you are piling the quick digesting foods on top of the slower digesting foods, that impairs your digestion and triggers all of your uncomfortable symptoms.
Eat fruit by itself — between, or at least 30 minutes before a meal
Your mother was right, always eat your fruit and veggies. The addendum is, just not together. Blended in a smoothie is my favorite and most convenient conduit to enjoying my daily fruit fix. I recommend only eating melon by itself, otherwise, it will ferment with the other fruits and enhance the odds of gas. Also, be sure to only eat fruit when it is ripe, otherwise you are giving your digestive system reasons to wreak havoc. Do feel free to add a nut butter for a protein punch. (It’s ridiculously easy to make your own).
Be exclusive when picking your proteins
One at a time, so make it a good one! Don’t overwork your digestive by overdoing the protein. Choose steak or eggs, not the couple.
Say farewell to the starch and protein pair
Sorry, no more pasta drenched in dairy. Enjoy them both exclusively and separately, with less guilt. As common as chicken with rice is, avoid doing them at the same time—your belly will thank you later. Starchy and carb-rich foods are best eaten only with veggies. Stick to eating either protein by itself, or complementing your protein with one or two veggies. One of my favorite protein veggie combos to start my day is pairing eggs with peppers! They go together. Speaking of veggies…
Simplify your veggie choices. Throwing various veggies together to create a beautiful colorful salad will not be beautiful on your tummy. Go green to get lean. If you have to combine your veggies, do it at a minimum.
Oils are your friend
Oils are fair game. Olive oil and avocado oil are a few favorites—unrefined and organic, of course. They’re the perfect compliment to any food. I love to combine spinach and avocado oil for a super nutrient punch.
What about water?
Last not but least, let’s talk beverage. Eliminate the habit of chasing your bites with water. Water makes digestion more challenging and we want to ease the responsibilities of your digestive tract. Drink water separately from your meals and feel the difference.
So, put a match-making mindset to more than your love life. Your plate is the perfect place to create killer couples. Mastering food pairing and incorporating it into your daily routine and meal planning will beat your bloat. Decrease your tummy troubles, enhance your energy and get your system operating at optimal levels. Don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself. You can still enjoy all of your favorites, just be methodical about pairing your food choices.