Mmmm…cheesy spaghetti!! Well, not quite Spaghetti squash is a huge favorite of mine; it can be baked until soft and stringy, leaving a dish reminiscent of spaghetti. In my opinion, it beats starchy, sticky pasta any day What I love in particular about the spaghetti squash is that it combines perfectly with goat cheese for an incredibly satisfying-yet-light Winter meal. I’ve spoken in passing numerous times about food combining but have never really bothered to spell out the details. I know many Veggie Kitchen followers are familiar with this idea, but for those of you who are not: certain foods, when eaten together, can take much longer to digest. As much as 2-3 times as long. Food that spends excess time in the stomach robs you of energy that I’m sure could be used for something more inspiring than an after-lunch nap or a trip to the coffee shop. There is plenty of controversy around this (I actually rather enjoyed the article “Sorry, but food combining is just a silly fad!”) but as usual, I like to experiment. Improper food combinations are just something that don’t work well for me. Food combining was one of the first things I toyed around with when making my transition from junk-food-vegan to veggie-obsessed-health-nut and I noticed differences right away. My voice felt clearer (a lack of acid reflux I assume?), I no longer experienced heartburn, or crazy digestive troubles. If I mess up a combination here or there it’s not the end of the world…just a drain on my energy…and who wants that?? Again, I think it’s important to get to know YOUR body- some people (men especially) have particularly strong digestive systems and don’t have to worry to much about things like this. Everybody. Is. Different. This has just been my experience.
Another important note: even if you’re combining flawlessly but you’re overeating, your digestive system will still be taxed and good food combos won’t save you. Or, for that matter, will they save you when you’re eating while tense, stressed, or angry. I’d like to pull a quote from the food combo skeptic above
This mind-body effect is why relaxation and meditation can work with people with digestive problems, as they can reset the way the gut works.
The converse of this is that if we’re feeling happy and positive about the food we’re putting into our body, the muscles of our gut are far more likely to relax and be in the best state to digest the food – which explains why we can feel good after eating specific foods.
Our state of mind has an enormous impact on how comfortable we feel eating different foods. Hormones released when we’re feeling negative or angry (such as adrenaline and noradrelaline) make the muscles of the stomach and the intestine tighten.
These hormones also constrict the blood vessels supplying the gut, therefore our food can feel very uncomfortable inside and can cause symptoms of irritable bowel or indigestion.
So what makes an energy-depleting vs. energy-efficient food combination? Megan at The Detoxinista has a fabulous chart that you should take a look at- my roommate has been using it as a guide during the Rose Cleanse. Marlena Torres also has a wonderful post that would be worth reading. For the purposes of the cleanse, “starches” and “fleshes” are kept separate and eaten with veggies, keeping everything really simple. “Starches” (again, for the purposes of the cleanse) are things like sweet potatoes, squashes, and grains like millet or quinoa. Avocados also fall into this category. “Fleshes” are the animal products like raw goat cheese, fish, and free-range eggs. So for a meal that will digest easily and leave quickly (thereby leaving you with more energy) eat either a “flesh” with veggies or a “starch” with veggies.
A great meal example would be to have the Spiced Avocado with Veggies and Romaine and a side of sweet potato fries. On another night you could have the Portobello Salmon Sandwich following a salad with raw goat cheese and baked cauliflower. For right now, those are the basics. After the cleanse I’ll get into important details regarding fruits, nuts, seeds and other items that I’m omitting this month. Feel free to ask questions below and I’ll share what I’ve experienced, or check out the informative and helpful links from my friends above! I’ll leave this section of the post with a great food-combo video I discovered earlier:
Now onto the food
1/2 a spaghetti squash, halved, seeded, and baked for 40 minutes at 375
4 oz raw sheep pecorino, shredded
1/4 cup chives, chopped
small handfuls of fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme, minced
2 cloves raw garlic, minced
salt, pepper, stevia, and red pepper flakes
Scoop flesh out of baked spaghetti squash and add remaining ingredients. The cheese will melt and the herbs will infuse the dish with delicious (herbalicious?) flavor. Season to taste. I tossed mine with baby spinach for a big, cheesy, hot salad!