I love combining foods. Perhaps a little too much. I have my limits, but I’ll add hot sauce or lemon juice to just about anything. There’s too much potential in flavor and texture not to try most–okay, many–food combinations at least once.
The concept of food combining extends, of course, well beyond simple pleasures of the palate. Entire diets have been structured around the idea that certain food combinations can have an effect on health. Plenty of cultural and religious norms dictate the pairing, ordering, or non-compatibility of different food items. The way in which humans consume the components of our various culinary repertoires can be as important as the components themselves.
This is a topic that probably warrants an extended treatment at some point, but I’ll keep it brief and narrow for now. While I don’t see food combining being or becoming an issue of particular divisiveness in the primal/paleo community (because, after all, it’s not a cult! I swear! We just eat raw meat while we grunt and carom through the trees), it was brought to mind for me with the recent bull’s eye the UK’s Daily Mail slapped on produce.
I read the article with some glee, mostly because it’s just entertaining to see the caustic British mind at work, even on the website of a stolid news outlet. As for its author’s assertion that fruits and veggies are overrated, count me in. I’m in the camp that fruit’s status in the ideal diet is at best moderate; that veggies need fat for most of their vitamins to be absorbable; and that if you put in the work, all the nutrition you need can be had on all-meat diet. Plus, fiber’s overrated.
It’s the veggies that are the focal point for me in this, because in order to get at their nutritional value, they need to be combined. With fat. And since I’m still working on developing a taste for liver, I’m going to continue to rely on veggies+added fat for some of my nutrition, even if Grok didn’t have access to the stuff I do.
Some in the paleo old guard like De Vany (and Cordain, though he seems to have softened his stance) are opposed to the addition of more fat to foods than is found in their natural forms. And I can see the sense in that stance. I’ve weaned myself away from the “pour tons of grease on everything I eat, including fatty meat” phase, something I know anecdotally a lot of other paleo and primal folk have also passed through at some point.
But I don’t see anything wrong in cooking my California-sourced broccoli in lightly processed tropical coconut oil or turning a plate of bacon into even more of a savory delight with the addition of a handful of brussels sprouts. I might even decide to pour a little ghee over those sprouts. Grok couldn’t and didn’t do it, but he also didn’t blog on the internet, and that’s probably having a much bigger impact on my health.
So if this is as heretical as things get with this way of eating, I’m cool with that. In the end, I’m going to trust how my food choices make me feel, and be open to their shifting at some point. Especially because I have the tacit support of a community that values science and personal experience over tradition and blind assumption.
Now I’m off to combine hot sauce (I know Grok didn’t have this either, but seriously–my cold dead fingers) with whatever’s for dinner.