According to hay’s food combining theory, there are three groups of foods. On the one hand the so-called base builders, on the other hand the acid-forming foods, which have to be combined with one another in order to achieve a balanced ratio. There is also a neutral group that has no influence on the acid-base ratio. Hay recommends consuming four fifths of basic ingredients and one fifth of acidic ingredients.
What are base-forming foods?
These are foods that shift the ph value in the digestive tract to alkaline. This includes mainly plant-based foods: fruit and berries, potatoes, beans and of course also lettuce, whole grain cereals and almost all types of vegetables.
Which foods are acidic?
These are mainly animal products: milk and cheese, fish, meat and sausage. Refined sugar and white flour and the products that mainly consist of them also belong to the acid former’s. For example, sweets and white bread or cakes.
What are neutral ingredients?
In addition to the two main groups, there are also foods that do not belong to one or the other group of ingredients. This group only includes fats such as butter and lard, (cold-pressed) oils and margarine. In any case, these should be used sparingly in order to save calories.
The core of food combining is the separation of carbohydrates and proteins
In addition to the acid- and base-forming foods that should be mixed, the core of the food combining is the distinction between carbohydrate-rich and protein-rich foods that must not be mixed. Here, too, there is a third neutral group that does not belong to either one or the other category and can be combined with both dishes as part of the food combining.
Which food should be separated?
The carbohydrate group
Foods containing carbohydrates in the sense of food combining are of course sugar and flour, but also dishes that contain them. This means that all types of bread, cakes and other baked goods fall under this category. In addition, pasta, rice and potatoes as well as pumpkins, all kinds of sweets and many sugary fruits such as bananas or pineapples. Dried fruits (dates, raisins, figs) as well as canned fruit and jams, where sugar is used as a preservative, also have a high carbohydrate content. Honey or agave syrup and syrup also belong to the group of carbohydrates in food combining.
The protein group
Unsurprisingly, the protein group includes eggs, meat and poultry, fish and seafood and dairy products with a fat content of less than 50 percent of the dry matter. Except for dairy products in the double cream category and some types of soft cheese, these are practically all types of (fresh) cheese, milk, yogurt, quark and cream. Many plant products also belong to the protein group: first and foremost, these are products made from soybeans and all berries except blueberries. In addition, citrus fruits as well as stone and poem fruits.
Side dishes in the separating food: the neutral group
If you look at the two groups to be separated, the list of ingredients looks rather bland. Fortunately there there is the neutral group in the food combining, which can be combined as a side dish with both carbohydrates and proteins.
Most vegetables belong to the neutral group. This also applies to salads and mushrooms. Avocados, cucumbers and melons can also be found in this group. Animal fats (lard, butter) are also included in the food combining theory as neutral ingredients. Cheese with more than 50 percent fat in the dry matter and peanuts, which are actually pulses, are also part of the neutral group.
Separating tables help with compiling meals
With a food combining table, a complete meal can be put together quickly and easily. Each ingredient belongs to one of the three groups. Critics of food combining complain that the group assignment is more or less arbitrary. Soy beans or nuts, for example, contain both carbohydrates and protein and should therefore not be eaten at all, according to the food combining theory. Nevertheless, they are assigned to the protein group. This also applies to many other ingredients; very few foods contain only protein or only carbohydrates.