Jenny's Raw Recipe Blog

What Is Food Combining? Is it OK to Combine Fruits and Vegetables?

Posted on February 06 2013 | (8) Comments
Category:Fan Questions, Answered!

What Is Food Combining? Is it OK to Combine Fruits and Vegetables?

Fan Question: Your chocolate green smoothie calls for fruit (bananas) and vegetables (spinach). I heard about a food combining rule that you shouldn't eat fruits and veggies together--is that true?

The short answer is that fresh fruits combined with greens, such as spinach, are an easy-to-digest combination and just fine! But let me address what food combining is, so I can give a more thorough answer.

While there isn't a scientific basis for food combining, some people (including me) do find that certain food combinations are easier to digest than others. Here are some of the "rules" that many people find are helpful for best digestion:

1. Eat fruit alone or with greens. Fresh fruit digests very quickly, and is easiest to digest on an empty stomach. Some people find that eating a piece of fresh fruit after a heavier meal can cause bloating. If that's not a problem for you, though, don't worry about it. Fresh fruit is certainly a healthier dessert than ice cream or cake! But my favorite way to eat fruit is alone, for breakfast or a snack.

Note that the exception to eating fruit alone is that it digests well with greens. Greens are not the same as vegetables such as carrots or potatoes. They are very light and easy to digest, and work perfectly well with raw fruits, such as in green smoothies.

2. Drink green juices on an empty stomach. Green drinks also digest quickly, and are best absorbed on an empty stomach.

3. Eat concentrated proteins and starches separately. This rule applies mostly to non-vegetarian cooked foods. Typical combinations like chicken and rice and meat and potatoes can be heavy combinations that take a while to digest. Some people feel lighter when they choose either a concentrated protein or starch rather than both, and eat it with plenty of raw or steamed veggies/greens. But again, if this isn't a problem for you don't worry about it--people's digestions are different, and not everyone reacts the same.

In the raw food world, following this rule would mean eating nuts and seeds (concentrated protein) separately from avocadoes (considered a starch), grains, and starchy vegetables. So I might have either a nut pate or an avocado with my salad, but not both.

4. Don't eat too many different fats at one meal. Following this rule will automatically lighten your meals and be less taxing to your digestive system. For example, for your salad, choose avocado, olive oil, or nuts, not all three!

In summary, don't worry too much about these "rules". There isn't a scientific basis for them, and just eating a little more simply and healthfully in itself will probably help your digestion. But if you have digestive problems, you might want to test some of these principles--they might help!

And don't worry about combining fruits and greens in a green smoothie--that combo is just fine!

Related Recipes: Chocolate Green Smoothie

Previous Comments

On March 11, 2013 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

I am so refreshed by the way that you phrase things Jenny.
Thank you so much. I feel that I now have a new opportunity with food and eating.

On March 28, 2013 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

I was looking for an answer to that question of combining the fruits in the morning with greens. I have eaten smoothies for some time but have had my gall bladder out and digestion problems for years. And now my skin is turning kinda orange/yellow with the carrots so I am very frustrated with trying to eat healthier. I appreciate your website and the easy way you explain things! If you have any suggestions please let me know! Thanks Jenny!

On April 13, 2014 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

This is a great idea for food combinations

On May 25, 2014 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

Hello, I personally think that since there is really not proves scientifically of what not to combine when it comes to vegetables and fruits, I think that it also depends from how your metabolism works.
I personally has never experienced bowel movement problems even when I was drinking iron pills, I know for a fact the iron should not be combined with milk because it reduces its strength, and I know that banana might not be a good combination with orange,  but That’s something that I will still eat throughout the day. So lately, I have been blending kale, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, green apple, spinach, orange (which it helps to absorbe iron better and all the green leaves contains iron and vitamin C like oranges too) I add lemon, beat, salary and find it very helpful. I tried eating them separately and I noticed that I won’t eat them often and won’t even eat half of the mentioned fruits and veggies. I personally have been feeling great, my headaches went away, I don’t feel as exacted as I was feeling, I go to the bathroom often, my skin looks better and I finally feel that I have en energy and I feel in a good mood, opposite from how I used to feel. My side effects are none so far. I drink it on an empty stomach way to work. My kids didn’t like salads. Now they eat salads every single day because to all the mentioned greens,
I add a couple of dry cramberries, shredded cheese, croutons, straberries and dressing. And some times I add grilled chicken and they love it.
I drink my juice and my family eat their salads.
try this with your kids. They will love it, they won’t drink pure greens or juices but the salads with combined withbtheir favorite fruits they will. If their stomach can handle it, you are a winner. Better than eat no vegetables and greens at all, Don’t you think? Again this is me and I experienced the results.  I am amazed about my kids actually eating them too. My family specially my son and husband used to be anti-greens and vegetables, now they make their own salads too.
I hope it helps you, but again, it is your choice and keep doing your research if you have your doubt.

On September 12, 2014 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

    my question is…can I have glass of fresh fruit juice with my lunch daily .if yes then how it will help me…! and if no…then which is the perfect time to have juice…how much gap between lunch and juice…and in this case can I have glass of buttermilk with lunch…??

On September 14, 2014 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

Hi Aarti,

I would be careful of fruit juice as it’s high in sugar. But if you are having juice of any kind (veggie is preferred) it’s best on an empty stomach, 30 minutes before a meal.

I don’t really recommend dairy, such as buttermilk, but that’s just my preference!


On February 24, 2016 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

Hi Jenny,

Thank you for the informative blog. I am also learning more on the food combining. Two questions on this:

1. Can I combine greens with carrots and beets, for my juice? I usually juice spinach, kale, cucumber, dandeline greens, celery, beet and carrot. Is that ok to combine from food combination standpoint?

2. I used to eat rice and lentils together for lunch or dinner. Is that ok to eat rice with lentils? I know rice and chicken will not go together because of protein and starch. Would it be ok to do rice with lentils?


On February 25, 2016 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) said...

The three rules are the best

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