There are occasions when mixing foods have a larger benefit than the consumption of foods individually, in addition to creating delicious food options.
For those who eat a ‘depression-era’ favourite of succotash you are not only enjoying a cheap meal but one that has a lot of health benefits as well. The combination of lima beans and corn contain high concentrations of amino acids that are more absorbable in combination than as individual foods.
There are other examples of food combining; one of my favourites (easy to put together as a bachelor) is rice and beans which provide a complete array of amino acids and works well into a burrito with some salsa and cheese. Consuming avocados with tomatoes helps the body utilize the anti-oxidant lycopenes from the tomatoes (lycopene helps the body resist cancer and keep your heart healthy), and is a great mix in a salad.
For breakfast, oatmeal (slow-cooked rolled oats) with fresh-squeezed orange juice provides a very effective combination of phenols that are associated with reduced atherosclerosis and cancer.
These are just a few specific examples of food combinations of a more general nature in which proteins are combined with complex carbohydrates at every meal. By eating ‘combination’ meals regularly you ‘retrain’ your body’s metabolism. By consuming a ‘slow-burning’ food (many are low-glycemic foods) energy is supplied to your body for a three to four hour period.
What does this ‘slow-burn’ mean? It means that your energy utilization is optimized, your body gets more benefit for each calorie burned. Insulin levels are stabilized through the day. With time food combining can help your body become a ‘lean machine’, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, control weight, among many other health benefits. These benefits are particularly important to those who are hypoglycemic or pre-diabetic. Of course, it is always important to consult your doctor and/or nutritionist to determine what diet is best for you.
As you’ve heard from me in previous columns, vigorous exercise is also important (and in my opinion can never be talked about enough) but when combined with food combining the effects are magnified.
Vigorous exercise raises your body’s basal metabolic rate that means your body burns more calories even when you are sleeping or at rest. You will develop cravings for more nutritious foods (i.e. healthy food combinations).
I can tell you from personal experience the healthier you live the easier it gets. Living healthy has its own natural feedback system. The better I feel the more likely I am to eat healthily, the stronger I get (and frankly, the better I look) the more likely I am to continue exercising.
In essence, the healthier you get the healthier you want to be. Long-term results are enhanced health, a more active lifestyle, longer life and well being for you, your family and friends.