Combining Fruits and Vegetables in the Same Meal
Published in Townsend Letter, May 2006
A response to Jonathon Collin, MD, Editor of Townsend Letter
Dr. Collin writes in the December 2005 issue of TLDP about discovering that combining fruits and vegetables in the same meal does not cause digestive and other problems. He expresses his regret that all these years he subscribed to "some nut's food theory" and didn't properly challenge it.
Undoubtedly, the theory originated from someone who experienced digestive and other health problems after combining fruits and vegetables in the same meal. The observation may have been accurate for that particular individual, but the assumption that everyone is the same and reacts the same to a specific food combination is well, nutty.
Dr. Collin makes the same error in judgment when he assumes that because combining fruits and vegetables in the same meal works for him it will work for anyone; implying that the theory about not combining these two food groups in the same meal is therefore invalid. There is no reason to assume this is true because what works well for one person may not work well for another. We do not all look identical, why should we assume our nutritional needs are the same? I have had clients who could not eat raw fruits or vegetables; they had to cook them. Who am I to tell them they're wrong? Organic tomatoes are good, but some people break out in hives when they eat them. Does this mean we should all avoid organic tomatoes? Of course not.
Health is a state of balance, and that balance is often unique to the individual. Finding the right nutritional balance is a self-discovery process. It is the job of the nutritionist and other health professionals to help guide and support the patient through this discovery process; giving advice and building strategies to find what works best for the patient while maintaining a general state of nutritional balance and sufficiency.
John W. Cartmell, MSCertified NutritionistRedmond, WAwww.dietadvisor.com
Dr. Collin's response.
John Cartmell is quite correct about diversity in an individual's diet and the need for nutritional balance. In my December "Letter from the Publisher,' I complained that the theory that one must not eat fruit and vegetables in the same meal, in combination , was incorrect. I made the observation that food-combining taboos were wrong. I did not claim that everyone can eat fruits and vegetables in the same meal-just that the taboo itself was wrong.
Dr. Collin's original letter.
Over the summer and fall I changed a lifelong habit of making salads with vegetables only, adding fruits to my salads quite liberally. Apples, pears and peaches were delicious complements to a salad of lettuce, onions, tomatoes, peppers, carrots and cucumbers. I wondered at the time why I had never regularly added fruit to my salads in years past. And then the realization hit me. In the 1980's some nutritionist whom I can't recall, wrote a book about the secrets of healthy living, starting with "proper food combining." This dietary guru claimed that success in living well depended on a meal properly prepared with only the "right" foods eaten in combination. He further alleged that eating vegetables and fruits together would be absolutely taboo, leading to improper digestion and other body ills. His diet further claimed that only certain proteins could be eaten with vegetables but not grains. At the time I thought that this was a lot of silliness, but somehow I let myself buy into the idea that vegetables and fruits should be eaten separately. And what I discovered this summer was that, indeed, there was nothing wrong with eating apples with lettuce and tomatoes. I know that this may be very obvious to most of you, but I regret now all these years of subscribing to some nut's food theory and not properly challenging it. I invite all of you to send in a few lines about other diet theories out there which have been made and whether you have found them to be right or wrong!