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Food combining and mono meals for better digestion

Food Combining

You’ve probably heard the saying “You are what you eat.”  I believe this to be true.  But I also believe that you need to take it one step further.

“You are what you can digest.”

For someone who struggles with digestive dysfunction or symptoms of a sluggish digestive system, eating mono meals and/or paying close attention to food combining could be very beneficial.

What is a mono meal?

What exactly is a mono meal and why is it beneficial? Very good question which can be answered by taking a step back in time. You see our ancestors, for thousands of years, wouldn’t have had access to the diverse array of delicious foods we have when we open our fridge.  It would’ve been more of a scenario like you found a berry bush at it’s prime ripeness. Ancestrally we would’ve understood that with no way to preserve such bounty, we’d have to eat as much as we could right then and there. Our bodies and brains are much better adapted to this since it’s how humans ate for the majority of their time on this earth.

food combiningA mono meal is just a fancy way of saying, fill yourself up on a meal that consists of ONE thing. Eat a big bowl of just watermelon, eat four bananas, a big bowl of steamed sweet potato etc.  The benefits of mono meals are mainly to do with digestive health. They remove the burden of your digestive system having to differentiate from an array of different substances which all require different enzymes.

The way we eat doesn’t always make sense. Combining starches, proteins, fats and sugars is bound to create a digestive burden which shows up as discomfort, gas and other pesky digestive issues.  When you take a break from complex meals, your organs have a chance to rejuvenate. Detoxification naturally happens at this point and you might find that when you go back to eating as usual, you digest your food better and have more energy.

This leads me to my next point…

What is food combining?

Food combining is a system of eating foods that combine together efficiently to assist digestion so that your digestive tract does not have to work so hard to give you the nutrients you need for energy.  It takes into account the area of digestion for each food within the digestive system and the complexity of digestion for each food.

There are three primary categories of food: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.  Each category of food requires different enzymes for proper digestion.  So here are a few good rules of thumb to follow:

DO NOT EAT PROTEIN AND STARCHES AT THE SAME MEAL.  Proteins begin their digestion in the stomach where the stomach secretes hydrochloric acid and the enzyme pepsin to break down the food in a highly acidic environment.  When you eat starches, digestion first begins in your mouth, then your stomach secretes the enzyme ptyalin to create an alkaline condition.  Eating starches and proteins at the same meal will neutralize each other and will prevent proper digestion of either food.  Proteins need a highly acidic environment.  Starches need an alkaline environment.

food combiningEAT FRUITS ALONE, ESPECIALLY MELONS.   This is because when fruit is eaten, the digestive process works very quickly and our body uses different enzymes to digest the fruit. The simple sugars contained in fruit need time to be completely absorbed by your body.  If you eat fruit close to a meal, especially right after a larger meal and combine with other foods, it’s held in the stomach too long along with other foods and will rot and ferment in the gut.  Fermentation can lead to gas, rob you of energy, and slow down your digestion.  Now let’s talk about melons.  Melons do not digest well with other foods, period.  And they will frequently cause problems unless consumed by itself.

To recap, here are the best methods for food combining.  

  1. Eat fruit alone.
  2. Eat proteins with non-starchy foods.
  3. Eat starches with vegetables.

Your gut is really your first line of defense for sickness prevention and ultimate health.  It’s easy to forget so I always like to remind my clients that 80% of the body’s immune system lives in the gut.  If you have suffered for a long time with energy issues, poor digestion and inflammation, then you may want to consider food combining.  What have you got to lose?

Do you need support for your digestive health?  Nutritional therapy could be just what you need.  I work with clients across the US and specialize in digestive health, adrenal health, blood sugar and so much more!  Learn about my practice and services here.

Best Vegetarian Proteins

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Here is a list of some of the best vegetarian proteins you can add to any meal.

1.Protein Powders – Protein powders are a great option for building lean muscles and keeping up your energy. If you’re looking for a grain-free option, some of my favorite plant-based powders are hemp and pea. You can add a protein powder to your smoothie, to a dip or soup, or even a sweet potato as an afternoon pick me up. 

2.Spirulina – Spirulina contains the highest form of protein found anywhere in the world (70%). One ounce contains 16 grams of protein. This superfood is recommended for those seeking to lose weight and who want to maintain great health. I suggest adding a tablespoon to a smoothie each day, and you can even add one to water at night.

3.Bee Pollen – These granules, created by bees from flowering plants, are another nutrient-dense food that has 5 to 7 times more protein than beef. These immune-boosting, little seeds give you the power you need to fight colds and provide you with a great boost of energy.

smoothie-865632_960_7204.Goji Berries – These red berries are not only a source of complete protein with 18 amino acids, and all 8 essential amino acids, but have 500 times more vitamin C per ounce than oranges. You can add these to trail mix, smoothies, soups and salads, or you can eat them alone.

5.Hemp – A complete source of protein (36%), hemp is also a rich and balanced source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, including the rare form of GLA (Gamma Linoleic Acid). Just three tablespoons has 10 grams of protein.

6.Chia Seeds – These contain essential fatty acids and protein, and are a soluble fiber. The protein content is 4 grams per ounce, they taste delicious, plus they can be added to soups, smoothies and salads.

7.Tempeh – Unlike other forms of soy, this fermented form is easy to digest. A half cup has a whopping 15 grams of protein.

8.Kale and Greens – Greens are loaded with protein, so adding these to your smoothies is essential. Just one cup of kale is 2.9 grams of protein. You can juice kale, make a kale salad or add it to your smoothie.

9.Non-Dairy Milk – You can get a nice amount of protein in hemp milk, almond milk and even coconut milk. On average, one cup holds 5 grams of protein.

10.Coconut Milk Yogurt or Coconut Milk Kefir – This is a great way to load up on a medium chain fatty acid, which most people are deficient in. Plus, you can add a plant-based protein to this drink, and you have a simple drink loaded with calories and protein to keep you satisfied.

11.Sunbutter and Seeds – Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) is the perfect on-the-go trick for getting protein into your body. Simply top an apple with sunbutter for a healthy dose of protein. Or, add seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, etc.) to any salad, soup or vegetarian meal to boost your protein levels. On average 2 tablespoons equal 5 grams of protein.

12.Nutritional Yeast – This is loaded with B vitamins and amino acids, and 2 tablespoons equals 8 grams of protein.

13.Avocado – Adding 1 whole avocado to a salad is 2.7 grams of You also get a healthy dose of fat, which will help you lose weight and detox properly.


Breakfast. Kids. And why it’s the most important meal of the day!

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?  Is it okay to skip breakfast?  What if I am just not hungry? 

I get tired of eating the same breakfast foods.  I have no time for breakfast.  My kids will only eat cereal.

Do you have these questions?  Or can you relate to the statements above?  Then read on….

YES!  Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day.  Think of the name.  Break/fast.  When you break it down, the word means to ‘break a fast.’  While you have been sleeping, you have been fasting.  Breakfast will break that fast.  It is important that you give your body the nutrients that it needs to have fuel and energy for the day.  You are setting the stage for how your body will perform the rest of the day.  Fill up on good protein, healthy fats and a small amount of complex carbohydrates.  You may find that you are more prepared to work, move and make better decisions throughout the day.  Eating a nutritious breakfast can help you to avoid eating too much at your next meal and snacking throughout the day due to low energy, low blood sugar and low nutrient intake.

I strongly believe that our kids need to have a healthy breakfast every day.  They are growing, learning and playing all day long.  I don’t know about you, but in my house some mornings are a little chaotic.  But we still make time for breakfast.  My kids do like breakfast foods but sometimes they get tired of eggs every morning and beg for cereal.  Can we talk about cereal for a minute?  Moms, cereal is full of SUGAR.  Take a look a the box.  For every 4 grams of sugar that is equal to 1 tsp of sugar.  Then also look at all the other crap. The artificial flavors, preservatives, colorings, etc.  But I know the struggle of getting your kids to eat breakfast can be hard.  My suggestion: don’t feel like you have to stick to a breakfast type food.  The point is to feed them a healthy meal.  FullSizeRenderThere are mornings where my 5 year old son will eat a grilled cheese sandwich and a side of fruit with peanut butter.  He is getting protein from the cheese and natural peanut butter, the healthy fats from the grass-fed butter and some good carbohydrates and vitamins from the fruit.  It’s okay that it is not eggs.  Don’t fight it.  Think outside of the box.  My older kids LOVE a healthy smoothie as it’s super easy and quick while being tasty! Or what about making pancakes with a protein powder?




No time for breakfast?  Then plan ahead.  You can make egg cups, chia pudding and many other healthy foods ahead of time.  Or enjoy a quick healthy smoothie!  There are options.  You just have to make it a priority.  Pinterest is amazing, my friends!  There are many great options for you.   Check out this great recipe!

Ingredients_ Nonstick cooking spray 2 cups cooked quinoa 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 2 large egg whites%2

Just not hungry in the morning?  Cut back on the coffee.  Caffeine suppresses the appetite.  Introduce small amounts of food for breakfast, like half an apple with a tablespoon of almond butter.  As your body gets used to digesting food in the morning, you might notice a bigger appetite in the morning.

Happy Eating!!