Six Laws of Food Combining

Six Laws of Food Combining

Six Laws of Food Combining

Food Combining

Pairing food in the right way can make all the difference to our digestion. Even fresh, wholesome food, if paired incorrectly, can overwhelm the digestive system and cause indigestion, fermentation, gas, bloating, and the creation of toxins. This is why proper food combining is so important.

Foods are natural chemicals. For the sake of understanding, imagine your body similar to a test tube in a laboratory. As in other chemical experiments, reactions ranging from sedative to explosive can be created in our bodies, depending upon the combination of elements. The more ingredients there are in a meal, the greater the chance for a digestive explosion.

Imagine a highway. Three categories of vehicles can enter this highway –

  • Scooters
  • Cars
  • Trucks

Scooters are fast. They move quickly through the highway. Trucks are heavier and move very slowly. Cars fall somewhere in between – neither too slow, nor too fast.

This highway can be compared to our digestive tract. Scooters represent fruits – light and quick. Cars represent vegetables. Trucks represent grains – heavy and slow.

On an average, fruits take about of 3 hours to digest and eliminate. Vegetables take a little longer – about 6 hours. Grains (such as wheat, rice, lentils, millets) take about 18 hours to digest, absorb and eliminate from our body. This explains why we often feel lazy and sleepy after eating too many grains, because all our energy goes into digesting it and little remains to keep us awake.

Of course these timings are just estimates to give us an idea. They vary from person to person, age to age, but the point is – the more water in a food substance, the faster it passes through our digestive system. Grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruits are water-poor foods and hence take longer to digest. Fresh fruits, vegetables and juices are water-rich foods and digest and eliminate quickly. For optimum health, at least 70% of our diet should be composed of water-rich foods.


  • Legumes, nuts and seeds also take about 18 hours to digest.
  • Neutral vegetables (such as lettuce, celery, spinach, coriander, cucumber) are quicker to digest than starchy vegetables (such as potato, peas, pumpkin, cauliflower).

Six Laws of Food Combining

Now that we have learnt about the digestibility levels of different foods, let’s understand the laws of food combining.

1. Restrict to eating grain only once a day

As stated before, grains (wheat, rice, lentils, legumes, millets, quinoa) take an average of 18 hours to digest, assimilate and eliminate from the body. If we eat grains twice, or thrice a day – a practice commonly observed amongst Indians- it means that even before our previous grain meal was digested, we give our body more to digest. Then, instead of finishing the digestion of the previous meal, our body shifts its energy to address the new food that has just entered the stomach. The residue of the previous meal is then left at the mercy of bacteria, yeast, mold, etc., and results in the accumulation of undigested food, or waste in the body.


  • Lentil pancakes (cheela) for breakfast, rice for lunch, sabzi-roti for dinner
  • Poha (puffed rice) for breakfast, sabzi-roti for lunch, daal (lentils) for dinner


  • Fruits for breakfast, Satvic sabzi-roti for lunch, salad for dinner
  • Fruits for breakfast, salad for lunch, Satvic cheela for dinner
  • Salad for breakfast, brown Rice and vegetables for lunch, fruits for dinner

Note Children, athletes, and people engaged in rigorous physical work can afford to eat grains more than once a day, because their digestive powers are stronger than others.

2. Eat only one grain at a time

In our modern day, sedentary (always-sitting) lifestyles, it is difficult enough for the body to digest one grain at a time. If we give it two grains at once, it becomes even more difficult, and many a times, even impossible. So, eat only one grain at a time. If eating chapati, eat only chapati, with a sufficiency of vegetables. Don’t eat rice and chapati in the same meal. If eating brown rice, eat only brown rice, mixed with a sufficiency of vegetables.


  • Rice with chapati (wheat)
  • Rajma (kidney beans) with rice
  • Daal (lentils) with rice
  • Chana (chickpeas) with rice


  • Brown Rice with Vegetables
  • Chapati with Vegetables
  • Sprouted daal (lentils) with salad

3. When eating grains, mix them with 3 times the vegetables

When making chapati, instead of using 100% wheat flour, use 50% wheat flour and 50% vegetable (such as spinach, carrot, cucumber, beetroot, fenugreek, etc). The method of making composite chapati has been clearly explained later in this book. If eating one chapati, eat 2 bowls of vegetable (sabzi). If eating 2 chapatis, eat 4 bowls of vegetable (sabzi). Adding a sufficiency of vegetables to grains makes the grains easy to digest.


  • 3 chapatis with 1 bowl of vegetable


  • 1 composite chapati with 2 bowls of vegetable
  • 1 bowl of brown rice with 3 bowls of vegetables
  • 1 bowl of quinoa with 3 bowls of vegetables

4. Do not eat fruits & cooked food in the same meal

Fruits require different types of enzymes and acid secretions to be released by the stomach than cooked vegetables and grains. Fruits digest best by themselves or with “neutral” green vegetables. The “neutral” vegetables (such as lettuce, cucumber, coriander, celery, and kale) are so called because their starch and fat content is low and, thus, their digestion will not interfere with the digestion of fruit.


  • Fruits & cooked vegetables in the same meal
  • Fruits & grains in the same meal


  • Fruits alone
  • Fruits with neutral green vegetables

5. Don’t mix sweet fruits with citric fruits

Sweet fruits (mangoes, bananas, chikoo, persimmons, etc.) should not be combined with citric fruits (oranges, mandarin, pineapple, lemons), since they require different digestive juices to be released by the stomach. It is best to eat similar kinds of fruits together.
Note Bulkier fruits like banana, coconut and avocado require more digestion time.


  • Any one single fruit
  • Only Melons (Watermelons, Muskmelons, Honeydew Melons)
  • Apple, Pear and Peach
  • Berries (most)
  • Oranges and Mandarin

6. Don’t drink while you eat

If you’re eating solid foods, stick to solids; conversely, if you’re drinking liquids, stick to liquids. Drinking anything while eating dilutes the digestive juices, and causes indigestion. Let us explain how. As soon as we put food in our mouth, a digestive fire lights up inside the stomach to break it down. If we gulp down a glass of water immediately after eating, we extinguish that fire, which was necessary to digest the food. The undigested food rots and causes disease in the body. It is best to drink water at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after our solid meal. Once we start eating Satvic food, which is rich in water and low in spices & salt, we do not feel the need to drink water with or after meals. If drinking water becomes necessary while or after eating food, sip 2 sips of water & let it stay in the mouth for a while before swallowing it. You will not feel thirsty after that.