Food Combining -
Fruits, Vegetables, Greens & Herbs
For the purpose of Food Combination, foods
can be divided into five groups:
1. Fruits - are the ovaries of a seed-bearing plant
that develop after fertilisation. Quite simply, if it
has seeds it is a fruit. So by definition, even nuts
are fruits. Grains, which are really just oversized
seeds, are also fruits, so too are tomatoes, olives
and cucumbers. But that is not all. Legumes are
also... you guessed it, fruit. Legumes are a type of
fruit," Professor Ladiges says.
2. Vegetables - are things that grow underground,
which includes most common tubers/roots
(carrots, beetroots, parsnips, potatoes, etc) and are usually high in starches.
3. Greens - are in the leaves and blossom family. They are the flat leaves of a plant, attached to the stem, that can be wrapped around a finger, with a very few exceptions, like nopal cactus leaves and celery.
4. Herbs - are any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavouring, food, medicine, or perfume. They are also any seed-bearing plant which does not have a woody stem and dies down to the ground after flowering. You might be surprised to know that Celery falls in this group, being part of the Apiaceae family of plants which includes herbs and spices like parsley, caraway, cumin and coriander. Celery is an alimentary herb as well as a special medicinal plant. Its leaves are used for spicing up foods and drinks. And interestingly "the banana plant is the world's largest herb".
5. Neutral food - Includes grains, legumes, nuts, greens, and some vegetables and fruits which are considered compatible with either the fruit or vegetable group. Examples are - herbs, greeens, grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and some fruits.
Please see our Food Combining Chart at the bottome of this page for a clearer view.
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to food combining and especially when it comes to making Green smoothies. It is not advisable to combine fruits and vegetables together because each group has different transit times in which they get digested, stays and leaves the stomach.
Greens, such as kale, romaine lettuce, spinach, carrot tops, and others are mistakenly classified as vegetables. They are completely different food groups to “vegetables” because they contain different sets of nutrients. Dr. Anne Wigmore, who pioneered raw food in the United States, taught that green leaves are the only food that can be combined with every other food group without any negative effects.
There are several benefits in adding greens to other foods. For example, besides having high nutritional value, greens contain a lot of fiber. The fiber in the greens slows down the absorption of sugar from fruit. This quality makes drinking green smoothies possible, even for people with high sensitivity to sugar, such as those who have diabetes, candida, or hypoglycemia.
Non-starchy vegetables/low sugar-content fruits can also be added to smoothies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, avocados, celery (green/herb), and others. Other choices are low–glycemic index fruit such as berries (any kind), cherries, plums, and grapefruit.
Placing greens in the same category as vegetables has caused people to mistakenly apply the combining rules of (starchy) vegetables to greens and so springs up the confusion that “fruits and vegetables did not mix well.” Yes, to combine (starchy) vegetables with fruits would not be a good idea. Such a combination can cause gas in the stomach/intestines. However, greens (including herbs) are not vegetables, and greens are not starchy. In fact, greens are the only food group that helps digest other foods through stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes. Thus greens/herbs can be combined with any other food groups.
Looking at nature, it has been recorded that chimpanzees often consume fruits and leaves from the same tree at the same feeding time. Jane Goodall and other researchers have observed them rolling fruits inside of leaves and eating them as “sandwiches.”
There is another great misconception that results from placing greens and vegetables in the same category. Such inappropriate generalizations have lead researchers to conclude that greens are a poor source of protein. Though contrary to this popular belief, greens are an excellent source of protein.
Therefore greens are and should be separate from vegetables. Greens have never received proper attention and have never been researched adequately because they have been incorrectly identified as vegetables.
Other reasons why you should not mix fruit and vegetables together:
(1) The stomach uses different enzymes for digesting both fruits and vegetables. When fruit is eaten, it should typically be eaten alone and on an empty stomach, because it digests faster than other foods. However, when mixing fruits and vegetables together (all of which takes a different amount of time to digest) can cause fermentation/gas. The same type of thing happens with juice and can cause some kind of flatulence. This means that while the fruits are waiting and sitting in the stomach it will cause fermentation in the stomach. So by the time the vegetables are completely digested, the fruits have already fermented, which will affect the nutrient content that was in the fruits and vegetables, resulting in less quality nutrients available to your system.
(2) Fruits have strong acid levels and since vegetables typically have far more protein, iron, calcium, antioxidants, complex B-vitamins and loads of other vitamins and minerals than most pieces of fruit, they tend to take longer to digest. Fruits, however, tends to have much more acid in it, that it literally breaks down and cuts the nutritional value of the vegetables (hence the gas). So you are actually getting a little less nutrients from the vegetables than you would if you were not to mix them.
Ever meet someone that has been vegan or had a plant based diet for a few years and all of a sudden they had to go back to eating meat, dairy, etc. and the excuse is that they were not getting enough protein and/or B-12/Complex B vitamins? Well this could be part of the reason. Then there's always that vegan or plant based person who has been that way for 20-30 years who are vibrant, full of energy and you wonder, how do they do it? These long time vegans and plant based life-stylers are the people that know this detailed information and are quite careful about mixing their fruits and vegetables.
Although there is an exception to the rule! Apples (which is a fruit and vegetable), bananas (which is a fruit and an herb) and carrots (which is a root and a vegetable) are exceptions to this rule. Apples and bananas can be combined with vegetable meals and juices/smoothies, and carrots can be mixed with low-sugar content fruits/vegetables in meals and juices/smoothies without it affecting the nutritional value.
Studies show that mixing the Leafy Greens with any of the medicinal foods and protein/amino acids sections shown in the pyramid below will not affect the nutritional value of the greens. The same goes for mixing with fruits. You can mix fruits with greens, the medicinal foods/herbs and protein/amino acids sections without affecting the nutritional value.
Contrary to traditional believes or ideas, much scientific evidence points out that foods from plant based sources are the optimum choice for feeding our bodies.
“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat (Genesis 1:29).” And Further “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.” Genesis 3:18
Generally water takes 20mins to leave the stomach, Fresh fruits take 30-40 minutes to digest before it clears the system, (green) smoothies take about 40mins to clear, while startchy vegetables/greens/herbs take 1-2 hours and neutral foods like grains and nuts can take 1.5-3 hours. Compare this to animal products, which can take up to 8 hours.
Therefore it is generally best to eat fruits or smoothies on an empty stomach on their own. Although if fruits and vegetables are consumed together, not only will this create a longer transit time before it leaves the stomach but the properties in fruits and vegetables clash and it will affect and reduce the nutritional content of the meal. Now although grains and nuts do take longer to clear the stomach but since their properties are neutral and do not clash with that in fruits, it is acceptable to combine them with fruits.
“It is not well to eat fruit and vegetables at the same meal. If the digestion is feeble, the use of both will often cause distress and inability to put forth mental effort. It is better to have the fruit at one meal and the vegetables at another (Ministry of Healing, 299-300).
This fermentation process is also why it is wise to not eat between meals. Every time you put something into your stomach, the stomach has to start the digestive process all over again from the beginning, even if it's almost done digesting food from a previous meal and the first meal ends up being over-digested and starts to ferment in that warm, acidic stomach; and in turn will cause the entire meal/food in the stomach to be fermented.
This practise greatly taxes the system because the stomach does not get to rest.
It will "... produce acidity of the stomach; then impurity of the blood results, and the
mind is not clear because the digestion is imperfect." CDF 112, Ellen G. White.
If the digestion is feeble it "will often cause distress, and inability to put forth mental effort." CDF 112, Ellen G. White.
Therefore people who continue to eat and snack throughout the day will have food in their stomach for over 15 hours and you can imagine how much fermentation will occur in their stomachs. That is why the theory of eating frequently and often like 5 or 6 small meals a day is in fact an unwise and damaging choice.
Thus in this condition their stomach never gets a break. As a living machine, the stomach needs to be given time to empty completely and get some rest before it starts up again. Therefore like every other organ in our bodies, the stomach needs a chance to rest otherwise they become weakened and will not be able to work optimally.
Green Smoothie Guide - How to make the most of it:
1. Drink your smoothie by itself and not as a part of a meal. Do not consume anything while you are having it, even a little cracker. After you finish your smoothie it would usually take about 40 minutes to clear your stomach. So you may eat anything you want approximately 40 minutes before or 40 minutes after you finished your smoothie. If you were to eat anything else with your smoothie, it will delay the transit time of the smoothie causing fermentation and affecting the nutritional value in the smoothie. Your goal is to get the most nutritional benefit out of your green smoothie as possible.
2. Do not add (starchy) vegetables such as carrots, beets, etc to your green smoothies. Starchy vegetables combine poorly with fruit and will cause fermentation.
3. Always rotate the greens that you add to your smoothies. Almost all greens in the world contain minute amounts of alkaloids. Tiny quantities of alkaloids cannot hurt you, and even strengthen the immune system, fight cancer etc. However, if you keep consuming kale, or spinach, or any other single green for many weeks without rotation, eventually the same type of alkaloids can accumulate in your body and cause unwanted symptoms of poisoning. Fruits on the other hand do not have to be rotated in the same way as greens as most common used fruits have very little or none of the alkaloids and cannot cause the same toxic reactions as greens. At the same time, rotating fruits will enhance the variety of flavor and nutrition in your smoothies.