How Food Combining Will Transform Your Digestion

Back in 2010 I first came across food combining. And while I can absolutely say that it helped my digestion and health, it also caused a bit of anxiety because if I ever stepped outside the ‘rules’ I thought my body would go into a state of panic and candida would grow out of control!
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Ok, that might be a bit dramatic, but I am trying to highlight a point that food combining can seriously cause stress, which is why I wanted in today’s show to present some ideas that will make it super easy to implement at each meal.

If you are not familiar with food combining, it’s the understanding of how different foods digest. Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates use different amounts and types of enzymes, while stomach acid is stimulated very differently for different types of foods. This can result in some foods needing an alkaline environment and others needing an acidic environment, and when you combine acid with alkaline you end up with a stomach that is kind of neutral.

A neutral stomach means food can sit around for too long and start to ferment, leading to the growth of pathogenic bacteria like candida.

You know that bloated feeling after a meal? What I am going to share with you should drastically improve that, but first a quick disclaimer…

Food combining is a part of the puzzle, not the smoking gun. You have to heal your gut first from any candida or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) in order to really experience the benefits of good digestion. Which is why very soon I am going to be doing an episode called, How I Cured Candida and SIBO with Sweet Potato and Maple Syrup.

(Yep, I know, that heading is total clickbait, but the information is so important that I want as many people to click on it and find out how I did it.)

If you are dying to get started on a gut healing protocol that really works and trust me, I have done way too many to even mention because it’s almost embarrassing, then head to to be taken to a page with the protocol that finally healed my gut.

Before I make food combining really simple, let’s first dive into the complexity. These are the different categories of foods and how they are recommended to be eaten. This I believe may be the optimal way for your gut function, but maybe not the optimal way for your stress levels, which in turn wrecks your health. But anyway, here are the rules of food combining…

Food Combining 101

  • Proteins such as animal protein, nuts, seeds, dairy, soybeans, and eggs do not go well with lots of fat or carbohydrates.
  • Fats and oils like avocado, olive oil, butter, coconut oil, and ghee go fine with carbohydrates but not proteins.
  • Carbohydrates like beans, rice, grains, pumpkin, lentils, pumpkin, potatoes, and sweet potato go well with fats and oils, but not protein.
  • Non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, cabbage, lettuce, kale, parsley, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, go very well with protein, fats, oils, and carbohydrates.
  • Mild-starchy vegetables such as beetroots, carrots, and cauliflower go pretty well with proteins, fats, oils and carbohydrates.
  • Fruit is an easy one; eat it alone as a separate meal. If you want to get more specific, acidic fruits like grapefruit, lemon, green sour apples, and pineapple will digest better when eaten together. Sub-acid fruits like blueberries, cherry, kiwi and pear will also go well together. Sweet fruits like bananas and papaya are a good match. And then there is the melon family. Always eat melon on its own with no other fruits, unless it’s another melon.

And as always, you do need to understand what types of foods will make your body thrive according to your body type, so make sure you listen to my Ayurveda Series 1 and Ayurveda Series 2.

Food Combining Made Easier

Rule #1: Keep your meals simple

If you are adding loads of different types of foods and flavours, it’s just confusing to your body and confusing to your mind trying to figure out what goes with what. Think about food as data, you want to keep the data basic so that there is less decoding for the body to do. Less data = less decoding = better absorption.

Rule #2: Eat slowly

This is so important on so many levels and something I talk about in episode 34, Bless Thy Food. But also when it comes to food combining, eating slowly and allowing space gives your body time to know what’s about to come and it can prepare with the correct enzymes and hydrochloric acid production.

Rule #3: Eat from soft to hard

This is where food combining becomes much easier. I have trialed for many years the more complex way of food combining and I have done it this way, and to be honest I feel better eating this way because it allows my body to get all the different macros in that I need to thrive, while still being able to digest properly.

What you need to become conscious of is how soft and how hard foods are. This determines how fast they will move through your digestive tract. So in theory, if for some reason you wanted to eat fruit at a meal, you would eat the fruit first because it moves through your digestive tract very quickly.

A commonsense approach to food combining rules will radically transform your digestion.
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Just like the Italians have done for centuries with rockmelon. Eating fruit at the end of a meal is a bacterial orgy. But, I still recommend you eat fruit separately. You just don’t need to be having a large meal and fruit all in one go.

So the magic in this rule comes by eating your starchy carbohydrates first. If you ever eat a meal with me, you will notice I eat my white rice or sweet potato in its own before I put anything else on my plate.

If I am eating avocado I will only have it with a non-animal protein meal and would eat that second.

I will then take a breather, and go and get my steamed veggies and eat those on their own with olive oil and lemon juice to improve iron absorption and digestion.

Next is animal protein, and last of all is a raw salad or raw vegetables.

If I do eat nuts, it’s usually in the form of 10 almonds I have soaked overnight, then peeled, and I will snack on them at the end of a meal, usually after my dinner when I am in a more relaxed state to digest harder foods like nuts and seeds.

Can you see how that all makes sense? It may not get the full tick of approval from food combining aficionados, but I believe we need to test what works for us, and this my friends has worked very well for me and countless others my mentor Stephen Cabral has worked with. Credit where credit is due; thank you to Stephen Cabral for, as always, making the world if healing and nutrition actually doable.

I would love to hear from you, so please tag me @iamnickbroadhurst on social media. Please also leave me a comment below (I read every single one!). And if you could take a minute to leave me a review on iTunes I would be very grateful. Tell me what you want more of! I am at your service.

P.S. Always listen to your intuition (and your doctor or practitioner) before trying any new health practice.


    • Hi Nick,
      This food combining info makes so much sense and I really want to implement this. I’m confused about my breakfast though as I currently have berries, bananas, cinnamon and maple syrup with my oats because I don’t have the time where I can wait the hour for a smoothie. I think I’m a Vata Pita like yourself. If I can only choose 1 breakfast option, would I be better off having just the oats/maple syrup option OR the Smoothie?
      I know you say we are all different and to find what works best for us – but you are just so damn knowledgeable and I’d love your advice.

      November 13, 2018
      • Hey Jodie, right now I am doing oats, berries, maple syrup with some nut mil on top. And a small side of Cabral’s protein (2 scoops). That for me is working best but I will switch back to smoothies again soon to see how they feel. In Summer I tend to do more smoothies. Just have a play around and see what feels best for you :)

        Nick Broadhurst
        November 13, 2018
    • So you ate all of this with sibo?!.. I also do food combining, had to learn about it the hard way..

      June 14, 2019
      • I did yes, but of course was doing a CBO Protocol at the same time.

        Nick Broadhurst
        June 17, 2019
    • Hi Nick, I know I’m pretty late to the party regarding comments, but what about smoothies? What are some smoothie ideas that are okay with food combining? Thanks in advance, absolutely loving your posts!!

      Isaiah Rademacher
      June 25, 2020
      • Hey Isaiah, I tend to avoid the popular smoothie fruit which is banana. My smoothies are highly digestible and approved by my own physician. Coconut water/water, berries, ground chia/flax, plant-based protein, spinach. Just make sure it’s warm, not cold :)

        Nick Broadhurst
        June 29, 2020
    • Hi Nick,

      Thanks so much for your podcast. I am weak and foggy headed or I would go on with the gratitude. How much time between each course? Thanks,Macie

      December 2, 2020
      • Never eat until your last meal is digested. Otherwise eating in that order will help with each meal. Always take your time, chew well! :) xxx

        January 14, 2021
    • I have candidiasis but am from far Africa. I need help

      December 8, 2021
    • Please i am suffering candida overgrowth i need help please

      December 8, 2021
    • Thank You so much! I am going back to Ayurveda. It has always worked best for me. I was on the verge of a breakdown, when I found your podcast about maple syrup and sweet potatoes! It was exactly what I needed to hear.
      I have been healing from a surgery, after a long journey…. I will leave it at that.
      No one knew what was wrong with me; but everyone had suggestions.

      I had been following my body, and what it seemed to want. I had nothing else to go on.
      Thank you for your podcasts. It is a helpful reminder, and I had been wanting to get back into Ayurveda; but my mind had been scattered… I had been in a panic, trying to figure out, “what was wrong now?” And how do I fix it.
      The answer was right in front of me, and my body was working on it.
      Thank You. I feel better about how to best support my body in healing.

      October 26, 2022
      • I love this comment Tea. I am so happy this has been supportive for you.

        October 31, 2022
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