Optimizing Digestion: Mono Eating and Food Combining

Rule #1 of food combining for optimal digestion:

Fortunately, there is only rule to remember—don't combine different types of food at mealtime. Mono eat your meals instead.

Mono eating is simply eating one type of food at a time during each meal. For example, eat a watermelon for breakfast, bananas for lunch and papaya for dinner--nothing else. There is no such thing as optimal digestion when two or more different foods are being consumed at the same time. Each food consumed requires its own unique digestive environment with the release of specific enzymes for each food in order to be properly digested. This means that if two different fruits are eaten together the chemical environment is not correct for either of them. Digestion will be compromised.

Why is proper digestion important? Proper digestion is necessary for proper assimilation and elimination. Food that is not properly digested cannot be assimilated into the body correctly which could lead to nutritional deficiencies. Poor digestion also causes slower transit time of the food through the digestive tract, causing fermentation, which leads to gas and bloating, and a toxic colon. Optimal digestion is impossible when 2 or more foods are consumed together at the same meal. This is the one and only rule that you need to know if you are truly interested in optimal digestion.

It sounds like an incredibly boring way to eat, doesn't it? It really is not. It is the only way to taste food in its uniquely beautiful, unadulterated form. We have become accustomed to eating complexly prepared cooked foods. “Gourmet” means complicated dinners that leave us with a bellyache. We typically do not question the supremacy of these complex dinners because that is how we have always eaten. The artful combining of flavors is what tastes best, right? It's not. Cooking food removes much of its natural flavor and texture, leaving it bland and mushy, so we have learned that in order to enjoy the food we have cooked we must reintroduce the lost flavors and textures. Preparing food in this way has become an art form and we see it as “good”.

Most of us who transform our diet from a cooked to raw one do not initially see that this method of food preparation is completely unnecessary. We believe, without question, that we can improve on the flavor of a papaya by adding other flavors to it. In actuality, the exquisite taste of the fruit only fully comes out when it is eaten in its whole, natural state, unmixed with other flavors. But it may take a bit of time for our palette to change in order to appreciate this. Over time, we realize that when we eat a banana at the same time we eat a papaya we cannot fully appreciate either of the flavors. The integrity of each of the fruits' flavors has been compromised.

So, what is the length of time one must wait in order they are able to move onto the next food without experiencing the ill effects of combined foods? Here is a list of transit times for various foods:
  • water: 15-30 minutes
  • juices: 30 minutes
  • high water content foods: up to one hour
  • vegetables and high fiber fruits: 1-2 hours
  • fatty fruits: 1-2 hours
  • heavily combined, oily, dried or processed foods: 2-4 hours
  • cooked meals, meat and dairy: 4-24+ hours

I have been told that the total transit time through the digestive tract for food should be quite fast; we should be eliminating our breakfast around lunch time. This has never been the case for me. For me, even my mono meals take 24 hours, or slightly longer, to travel through my system.

Unfortunately, our palettes need to be readjusted to a simpler way of eating before we can recognize the superiority of eating in this manner. In addition, leafy greens are an important aspect to the raw frugivore diet in order to meet all of our nutritional requirements and a eating a simple salad is the the most enjoyable way to add them to the diet. None of us will ever purely mono eat 100% of the time.

Below are the basics of food combining for salad preparation, or if you are just not yet quite ready to eat one food at a time:

Generally, no water should be consumed 30 minutes before your next meal and should not resume until about an hour after you have eaten.

Watermelon; Cantaloupe; Honeydew; Canary; Sugar melon

Cucumbers are technically a melon, but in terms of food combining, they are best categorized as a non-sweet fruit.

Melons should be combined with no other food. I personally would not even combine different melons with one another.

Acid Fruit:
Citrus; Berries; Pomegranate Tomatoes are an example of an acid fruit that is better placed in the non-sweet fruit category.

Acid fruits can be combined well with one another. They also combine fairly well with sub-acid fruits.

Sub-acid Fruit:
Most fruit fall into this category. Mango; Papaya; Pear; Peach; Plum; Apple

Sub-acids combine well all other sub-acids They combine fairly well with acids and sweet fruits. It is my experience that combining sub-acids with sweet feels less good than when they are combined with sweet fruit.

Sweet Fruit:
Dates; Bananas; Figs; Mamey; Grapes

Sweet fruit combines well with other sweet fruit. They combine fairly well with Sub-acid fruits as well.

Non-Sweet Fruit:
Cucumber; Tomato; Zucchini; Bell Peppers
This is the category of fruit that are treated as vegetables, culinary speaking. They can be combined well with sub-acids and acid fruits. They do not do too well with sweet fruits and like everything else, combine terribly with melons.

Fatty Fruits:
Avocados; Young Coconut; Nuts and Seeds

Fatty fruits should be eaten in moderation for proper digestion, especially those low in water content such as nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds should be soaked before eating to help with digestibility.

Tender Greens:
Romaine; Head Lettuce: Butter Lettuce; Green and Red Leaf Lettuce; Arugula; Parsley; Basil

Tender greens can be eaten with all other categories except for melons. Adding greens to the fruit based diet is essential in order to receive an adequate amount of nutrients.

Starchy vegetables, refined sugars and oils, and concentrated proteins should be avoided.