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 Ayurvedic Medicine: Incompatible Food Combinations (Virudha-ahar)  

Some basic concepts of an Ayurvedic Food Combining program include the following:

  • Avoid taking milk or yogurt with sour or citrus fruits.
  • Avoid eating fruits together with potatoes or other starchy foods. Fructose (and other sugars) is digested quickly, whereas starch takes quite some time. In this case the sugar would not be properly digested.
  • Avoid eating melons and grains together. Melons digest quickly whereas grains take more time. This combination will upset the stomach. Melons should be eaten alone or left alone.
  • Honey should never be cooked. Honey digests slowly when cooked and the molecules become a non-homogenized glue which adheres to mucous membranes and clogs subtle channels, producing toxins. Uncooked honey is nectar. Cooked honey is poison.
  • Do not eat meat protein and milk protein together. Meat is heating and milk is cooling so they counteract one another, disturb agni and produce ama.
  • Milk and melons should not be eaten together. Both are cooling, but milk is laxative and melon is diuretic, and milk requires more time for digestion. Moreover the action of hydrochloric acid in the stomach causes the milk to curdle. For this reason Ayurveda advises against taking milk with sour fruits, yogurt, sour cream, cheese, and fish.

    There is a beautiful passage in the Sanskrit literature describing all types of foods and their actions. Among the digestive aids referred to there are:

  • Water, which imparts a liquid quality and helps in digestion and absorption of food.
  • Salt also aids digestion, and helps to retain water.
  • Alkalies help digestion and regulate gastric fire (HCL).
  • Ghee stimulates agni and improves digestion.
  • Milk invigorates.
  • Meat gives energy. Also in this literature are descriptions on influence of foods on the tri-dosha:
  • Pitta is increased by foods which are sour and pungent.
  • Kapha is aggravated by milk products.
  • Vata is over-stimulated by beans, dry fruits, astringent and bitter substances. The daily diet should contain:
  • 40 - 50% well-cooked basmati rice, barley, corn or wheat depending upon one's constitution.
  • 15 - 30% well cooked legumes.
  • 2 - 5% vegetable soups.
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickles

    In order to stimulate appetite one can chew and eat 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger with a pinch of rock salt before each meal.

    Ayurveda insists that iced water should not be drunk during or after a meal as it slows agni and digestion. Small sips of warm water taken during the meal serves to aid digestion. While eating one should properly masticate the food in order to soften it and ensure that it is thoroughly mixed with saliva. If desired, one can finish a meal by drinking a cup of lassi (or takram). This can be made by blending four teaspoons of yogurt with two pinches of ginger and cumin powder in one cup of water.

    When eating, only one third of the capacity of the stomach should be filled with food, one third with liquid and one third should be left empty. This will aid in proper digestion and also promotes mental clarity.


    Milk Is Incompatible With:

  • Bananas
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Melons
  • Curd
  • Sour Fruits
  • Kitchari
  • Bread containing yeast
  • Cherries

    Melons Are Incompatible With:

  • Grains
  • Starch
  • Fried foods
  • Cheese

    Starches Are Incompatible With:

  • Eggs
  • Chai
  • Milk
  • Bananas
  • Dates
  • Persimmons
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     About The Author
    Dr.Vasant Lad Vasant Lad is an Ayurvedic Physician and Executive Director of the Ayurvedic Institute. Dr. Lad brings a wealth of classroom and practical experience to the United States. A native of India, he served for three years as......more
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