It has been awhile since I have posted anything and before my next post which will be about our changing season from summer to fall, I felt it important to first discuss the Ayurvedic perspective on food combining.
To start let me explain briefly how foods are viewed in Ayurveda. Each food has its own taste (rasa) which can be heating or cooling, then it has its own energy (virya) which is heating or cooling and lastly it has a post digestive effect (vipak). If two or more different foods are eaten of different tastes, energies or post digestive qualities the combination can weaken our digestive fires causing the food not to be digested and eliminated properly resulting in the production of toxins in our bodies causing many problems especially when done repeatedly over time.
Here is a list of some of the foods that Ayurveda recommends that you DO NOT mix:
- Fruit with milk
- Cheese and fruit (I know there goes those platters that you see served at almost every party)
- Meat and milk
- Fish and milk
- Milk and salt
The following is a list of foods NOT recommended in excess:
- fermented foods such as pickles
- milk and yogurt
- wrong diet for the season you are in
- cold foods at night such as ice cream or ices
The first question I am usually asked about mixing milk and fruit (especially for smoothie lovers) is: Why!?!?! Simple answer is milk is a laxative and fruit is mostly a diuretic. The qualities of milk (best taken warm) in Ayurveda are sweet, heavy, and cool. Fruits eaten alone are digested quickly and foods such as milk take a longer time to be processed. Therefore, fruit will curdle the milk which can create acidity in the stomach, giving you that sour feeling. Also while many fruits like bananas are sweet, the post digestive effect of a banana is actually sour. The post digestive effect of milk, on the other hand, is sweet, causing indigestion when mixed together creating toxins and changing the intestinal flora.
Taking milk with fish again creates an incompatibility in the stomach. Milk has a cold quality and fish as well as meats have a heating quality. Ayurveda tells us that this combination can cause the channels in our bodies to become blocked over time. The same holds true with salt and milk - heating and cooling.
The one season that Ayurveda, according to the classics, tells us to eat yogurt and cheeses is winter, but they should not be eaten at night. They are best eaten during the lunch hours of 10am-2pm when your digestion is the strongest.
We want to work at keeping our digestive fires high. In Ayurveda, the definition of health is not simply to be free of disease but as stated in the Sushruta Samhita is:
“He/she in whom, the dosas (body humour),agni (digestive powers), dhatus (tissues), malas (waste product) and their activities are normal, his/her soul, sense organs and mind are calm and clear, is called ‘Svastha’ (healthy person)”.