Food Pairing in Ayurveda: 3 combinations to avoid

In Ayurveda, nutritional recommendations are given to strengthen the metabolism, support the digestion and avoid the formation of ama (metabolic waste products). In addition to considering all six flavors in dishes and using appropriate spices, the right combination of different foods is crucial for healthy digestion. There are no strict rules like “You can only have celery” or “Do not eat raw food” – it’s more about eating the right amount of food at the right time. Nevertheless, there are some suggestions about how to and how not to combine certain kind of foods as they can create ama or slow down the digestion.

Ⓒ Bakd&Raw by Karolin Baitinger via Unsplash
FRUIT & YOGHURT

Yoghurt (plant based or not) usually contains a lot of fat and protein, has heavy qualities and is cold. That’s why it gets digested slowly. Fruits on the other hand are made from simple sugars and are easy to digest. If you combine fruits with grains, nuts or starchy vegetables, the simple sugars from the fruits can not pass the digestive system quickly and start to ferment which is leading to gas building and bloating. 

According to Ayurveda, raw fruit should therefore always only be eaten alone as a snack and it is best not to eat with any other meals for 2 hours before and after eating it.

Second reason is: Yoghurt is sour and fermented and does not make a good combination with sour fruits – especially for pitta constitutions.

Because of the heavy qualities of yoghurt, it should also not be eaten in the morning when the digestive system is still a bit weak.

But don’t panic – you can still have your yoghurt for breakfast. Just be mindful about it, have it temporally and separate from orange juice or fruit smoothies and don’t add 3 tablespoons of almond butter to it.

PORRIDGE & RAW FRUIT

And what about warm porridge? Porridge is a beautiful breakfast in ayurveda – but don’t top it with raw fruits. This has a similar effect then combining raw fruits with yoghurt and can lead to bloating and the creation of ama.

Better: Enjoy your oats or quinoa porridge with steamed fruits or compote. Steamed apple with cinnamon and cardamon or banana cooked in a little coconut oil and sprinkled with coconut sugar and not only better digestible, but also add a whole new level of flavour to your breakfast bowl.

COLD DRINKS & HOT FOOD

Ice cold lemonade with your favorite chickpea curry? Hm. The combination of cold drinks and hot food has a toxic effect in the intestine which leads to the formation of ama. The reason: Our body wants to heat up cold drinks or ice cold food in the stomach. Until the body has heated up the stomachs contents back to the ideal digestive temperature (37°C), the food components that are already in the stomach begin to ferment, thus creating ama.

Do not drink anything for half an hour before as well as after and of course during meals. Alternative: Sip on a cup of warm tea or hot water during your meal.

better digestible, but also add a whole new level of flavour to your breakfast bowl.

OTHER INCOMPATIBLE FOOD COMBINATIONS ARE:
  • hot drink with ice cream
  • fruits and nuts together
  • raw fruits and grains
  • nightshades and milk products
VEGAN FOOD PAIRING

Traditionally, there are many unfavorable combinations with meat, fish, milk, eggs or honey. The combinations of a vegetarian and vegan ayurvedic diet are much more versatile: If we omit meat, fish and eggs and use mainly legumes as a source of protein, we don’t have to be so careful about combining and pairing food. Just another reason to go plant based I guess ?