As the weather warms, melons seem to call us by name at the market, begging us to take them home.  I am a HUGE melon fan, but I used to feel incredibly heavy and bloated after eating virtually any melon, but particularly watermelon.  While there could be a number of reasons — both personal and universal — that this was occurring, I found one reason that trumped the rest…

I was eating melons almost exclusively AFTER meals, or alongside other (slow digesting) foods.  While this may seem incredibly normal for most people, food combining enthusiasts are face-palming that statement, hard.

Melons are some of the easiest and fastest digesting foods out there, so when paired with or eating after other foods that digest much slower — proteins and fats being the slowest among the rest — it can be a recipe for intestinal disaster.

Without going into too much detail on the concept of food combining, we should still cover WHY eating fruit (specifically melon) before other foods is a safer bet.

It is important to note the approximate digestion rate of particular macro-nutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) to further understand what happens when we unintentionally slow this process of digestion down.

How long do foods take to digest?

  • FRUITS/VEGS = ~15-30 mins
  • CARBS (starches)  = ~2 hours
  • PROTEINS = ~3-5 hours
  • FATS = ~4-6 hours

When you eat fast digesting foods, such as melons, on an empty stomach, you allow the nutrients to move through the digestive system with ease.  If you eat your delightful bowl of melon AFTER (or alongside) other foods, even slower digesting fruits like bananas, the melon can get blocked behind the other food you are consuming, leaving it to ferment inside your body, giving bad bacteria something to befriend.  This is what causes bloating, gas, constipation, abdominal pain, and generally yucky tummies all around… all because of timing!  Wild.

You don’t need to stick to all the rules food combining coaches might suggest if you’re not into it — since there are a lot of hoops and hurdles and jump through and over — but it is good to be mindful about WHAT you’re eating, and WHEN you’re eating it.

If you can help it, try starting your feeding occasions with faster digesting foods, and then head over to your slower digesting items.  Ideally, having raw fruit as your first meal (if your blood sugar levels/body in general will allow it), is the way to go.  And if you do that and you got melon on the counter, start with that.  

Again, this isn’t something to stress over, nor to deprive yourself of the delectable watermelon slice you see on a party platter… This is simply to share some dietary tips that have certainly saved my tummy, and potentially yours too.  🙂

Balanced, smooth, happy digestion contributes to a balanced, smooth, happy life.