Is food combining natural and ethical?

What is food combining?

Food combining as a dietary discipline came out first with the so-called Hay diet in the 1920s, which advocated eating vegetables with either carbohydrates or meat and fat, and eating fruit in separate meals. This format has been advocated in various forms since then.

File:Food Combining Chart.png

By Qwesar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

However, the question arises, based on other posts in this blog: is food combing natural and ethical? See these posts for some background:

Is food combining natural?

This post is a follow-up on my previous high-protein or high-carb diet post

The reason why these two posts are part of the same argument is because what emerged from that post is the fact that certain animal species have certain body types that restrict what foods can be captured, eaten and digested, and these foods tend to be found in certain combinations of food components.

For example, take a lion. It has the build, power, speed, claws and teeth to be able to catch, kill, tear open and eat a large animal. Further, its digestive system is suited to eating a high protein (animal muscle) high-fat diet as it has a short digestive tract ensuring that rotting meat does not stay in the system too long. The nature of the difficulty of capturing animals ensures that lions don’t eat too often, so they don’t get fat despite the high fat intake and relative laziness they appear to display much of the time.

However, what arises from this observation is the list of food components eaten by a lion. It will consume meat, fat, blood, skin, hair, bones, digestive tract contents (fermenting vegetable foods normally) and possibly some soil. They may look for certain herbs or grasses to swallow to aid digestion. They may even eat berries if they are about. They don’t rush off and eat grains or dairy.

Here you can see what it takes to be a true carnivore in close up view (note the size and shape of the teeth and the lack of utensils, romantic music and wine):

On the other end of the scale is the herbivore: horses, cattle, deer, rabbits etc. On the whole they graze much of every day on grasses and any grains that come with them. A little soil may also be consumed. They don’t rush off looking for meat or fish to eat. They don’t make bread out of the grains. Certainly, dairy doesn’t interest them once they have stopped suckling from their mothers.

Their digestive tracts are suited to holding grains long enough to enable them to ferment, as this is the only way grains can be thoroughly digested if they haven’t been sprouted. This is because grains and seeds contain proteins and lectins that are difficult to digest, such as gluten in wheat, which can cause bowel inflammation, ulcers and insulin problems (  The reason why grains and seeds have these difficult to digest compounds is to protect the seeds long enough for them to germinate. Upon germination, most of the protective devices disappear, making sprouts a healthy alternative. Herbivores have digestive tracts that help ferment grains.

Here you can see a close view of a cow chewing the cud  (note the flat teeth):

Finally, we come to omnivores which eat some or all of these food groups: plants, fungi, algae, seeds, fruit, insects, eggs and small animals and birds that they can easily catch without tools or weapons. They do not eat dairy beyond babyhood. Primates (like us) fall within this category (see together with bears, squirrels and birds.

Here you can watch a monkey eating fruit (note the use of the hand to hold the fruit – carnivores and herbivores don’t do this):

There are three natural types of food combining

What this comes down to is that in nature there are three types of food combining:

  1. Carnivorous (mainly meat, fat, skin, bones and fermented digestive tract material)
  2. Herbivorous (mainly grasses and herbs)
  3. Omnivorous (a variety of herbs, fruit, nuts, seeds, algae, fungi, insects, eggs, small animals)

What is notable is that while animals eat combinations of foods suited to their species and makeup, they don’t suffer from obesity or disease. As soon as their diets are changed, their bodies come under stress. This can be seen with some proprietary dog and cat foods that contain mostly grains (often GM). These animals often have to be put on anti-inflammatory drugs from middle age onwards.Another notable is that not one of these groups consumes dairy foods beyond suckling age.

So this tells us that to eat naturally, one should consider which of the three groups one’s body belongs to, and eat accordingly. Also, consider that dairy should not be consumed by any of the groups, past babyhood. Ethically, the omnivorous diet covers humans who choose not to kill, or cause, or be party to pain or suffering of any creature. This could mean taking up a fruitarian diet or a vegan diet.

Which type of food combining is natural and ethical?

The way to decide it to compare a human’s dental make-up with that of other apes. To short-cut this process, the human dental makeup is closest to that of the Bonobo ape. You can see this in this interesting video:

Interestingly, what emerges from this is that the Bonobos with their flat canine teeth do not kill each other or any other creature, while chimpanzees will kill and eat each other and any other creature that they can catch. This means that you, as a conscious human, can choose to eat as a chimpanzee or as a Bonobo.  Choosing the Bonobo way ensures that you can eat ethically without any danger of your dying of hunger or malnutrition.

This video carries this message of choice across very clearly:

So, is food combining natural? Yes, definitely, providing the eater is eating foods that fall within the range of foods suited to their species and digestive makeup.

Is food combining ethical? For omnivores, it can be, should they choose foods that do not necessitate killing, pain or suffering.


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