Introduction to Trophology and Food Combining
Visiting Costa Rica, and specifically Tamarindo, exposes you to a plethora of healthy lifestyle alternatives. There are people who love surfing of course, and all the wonderful health benefits that come along with it. There is also access to other great activities here like deep sea diving and swimming, beach volleyball, mountain biking, horseback riding, sailing, the list goes on.
The other great thing about the Costa Rican lifestyle is that there are plenty of opportunities for healthier eating. All of the various activities you can do encourage adopting a healthy diet. In this first blog of a 2 part series, we’re going to explore trophology, or food combining.
Food combining, or trophology, as it’s know in the scientific world, is the concept of combining specific foods to optimize nutrition, energy, and weigh loss. It’s based on the simple concept of how our bodies process the food we eat.
You’ll be happy to know that trophology is NOT about limiting what you eat. Instead, it’s about eating the right combination of food that allows it to pass through your body as quickly as possible, without leaving excess calories that can cause added weight gain and sluggishness.
In most developed countries there are traditional food combinations that actually cause damage and toxicity to our bodies. For instance, Americans often eat food combinations of meat and potatoes. While these combinations are not inherently bad, we’ll break down the five major food categories and some of the healthiest ways to create these combinations.
The 5 major food groups of Trophology
Proteins are a complex food group that can be broken down into more specific groups. These include Red Meat (Beef, Lamb, Veal, Venison, & Rabbit), White Meat (Chicken, Fish, Pork, Turkey), Dairy (Cheese, Eggs, Cream, Yogurt, Sour Cream), and Nuts/Seeds (all dry nuts, plus avocados and coconuts).
Carbs include breads (white and whole grain), rice, cereal, wheat, grains and pasta. Not all carbs are created equal of course, with conventional wisdom favoring unrefined and whole grain carbs over white and refined carbs.
Fruits are essentially carbohydrates, but because they vary so much, they should be in their own category. Further variations include Acidic fruits (Lemons, Grapefruits, Tomatoes, Pineapples), Sub-Acidic Fruits (Apricots, Mangos, Papaya, Peaches, Pears), Sweet Fruits (Bananas, Dates, Figs, Raisins, Prunes), and Melons (Watermelon, Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Casava).
Vegetables are probably the single healthiest food group here, and mainly consist of non-starchy and starchy vegetables. Examples of Non-Starchy vegetables include Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Celery, Peppers, Kale, Spinach, Collards, Mushrooms and Onions. Starchy vegetables include Corn, Cauliflower, Peas, Carrots and Beets.
Fats may be the most misunderstood food group. Everyone needs fats, but there are good fats and bad fats. Examples of good fats include Unsaturated Fats (Olive Oil, Peanut Oil, Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil), while bad fats include Saturated Fats (fats from meats, whole fat dairy, butter, palm, lard). Then there are omega-3 fatty acids, which are like superfast. These are really good for the heart and brain, and can be found in certain species of fish or algae.
These food groups may be organized a little differently than what you may have been taught in school, and proper combinations of these foods may be something that takes getting used to. In our next blog, we will examine these proper combinations. Hopefully this will help you make food choices that promote a healthier lifestyle, which goes right along with awesome lifestyle activities like surfing.
Visit us at Neptuno Surf Shop for more information on healthy lifestyle, surfing, Costa Rican life, activities, and more!
Remember when you are surfing in Tamarindo, you can always take a break for a healthy meal at our Neptuno Deli, right next to our surf shop. Try our delicious Salads, Cakes, Panini, Tartas, or our delicious Gallo Pinto (full costarican breakfast) with a fresh smoothie, natural fruit juice or coffee.