On digestive fire

Do you eat ice cream after dinner? Drink ice water in restaurants?
These are two sure fire ways to slow down your digestion. Think of your belly like a soup pot. You want a nice warm simmer to burn up your meal and absorb all the nutrition from it.

Putting cold things such as refigerated salads (tuna, chicken, pasta) or even chilled fruit in the pot will clearly slow the process. But what about the meal itself? Do some foods digest better than others? Each food has a “thermal nature” to it. For example, salads are cold natured and best eaten in warmer times of year. Most people recognize this intuitively as evedienced by the popularity of salads for meals in Summer. When eating a salad in winter, it is important to offset its cold nature with a warming food, say a cup of soup or tea. Even adding cooked foods to the salad itself can make a big difference. Try toasted nuts, roasted vegetables, or lean protien such as chicken or fish that is still warm from cooking.

Food Combining plays an important role too. So not only do your choices matter, the items you choose to eat at the same meal merit careful consideration.

Protiens and vegetables combine well and will burn up completely. Think of stir fry like chicken & brocoli. Feels good after you eat it, right?
Protiens and starches are poor partners for your digestive soup pot.
Now think of grilled chicken and baked pototes. That ought to “stick to your ribs”. It is exactly that full, heavy feeling that signals a slow digestive process that can lead to bloating or weight gain.

Vegetables are king and combine with either protiens or starches. So that baked potato topped with steamed brocolli is a reasonable choice. Go ahead, add some butter to the potato and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese over the brocolli, fats and complex carbohydrates are OK together. Pasta with vegatbles works OK too. Just be sure you stick to only 2 oz of dry pasta, the serving size suggested on the box. It may sound like a measly portion, but when you add in lots of vegetables and “extras”, like olives or nuts, the dish will blossom into a satisfying one.

Any of the three categories are fine eaten alone. That’s a “no brainer”. It can also make for a spartan, if not boring meal. When planning a meal, think about how the foods will combine in your digestive system based on what you just learned. Be sure to pay attention to how you feel after eating. This is always the best guidance for you personally.


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