Healthy Digestion

A simple method for digestive problems was developed by Dr. Stanley Bass. In this case, the individual foods of a meal are no longer eaten together, but in a certain order one after the other. This way, annoying digestive problems often go away in a few days.

Healthy digestion with the right order of eating

Since the 1950s, the American doctor Stanley Bass (1920 – 2017) has been studying the best order to eat. This is for digestion and health. He believed that fasting and a proper diet could treat diseases. You could also achieve healthy digestion with these two measures. On the other hand, he rigorously rejected the use of medication.

Dr. Bass spent much of his life testing his theories in practice. He did this to maintain and restore health, not least for himself. Dr. Bass was a practicing physician and author until the ripe old age of 92.

How a soldier with a gunshot wound became a guinea pig

During the American Civil War, a soldier suffered a gunshot wound. The soldier had a large visible opening in his abdomen. Through this opening, his doctors saw that the food he ate was not mixed in his gut. It was left in layers. They were in the order food was eaten and finally digested. It was digested layer by layer.

Many years later, the German physiologist Paul von Grützner (1847 – 1919) fed rats food morsels of three different colors. First they were given a portion of black food, then a white portion, and finally a red portion. Shortly after feeding, the stomachs of the animals were examined. It turned out that the differently colored portions were neatly stacked on top of each other, so they had not mixed at all.

Children often eat right – if you let them

Dr. Bass now conducted studies by himself. He ate different foods in a certain order. In the following stool test, he found that fruits are digested fastest, then the mixed salad, then the cheese, and finally the meat.

Children who are not influenced by their food choices start their meals with easily digested foods. They do so instinctively. They eat as much as they need until they have had enough. Only then do they move on to the next, more difficult-to-digest food. They also eat this until they don’t feel like it anymore. At the very end, they eat protein-rich foods that are in the digestive tract for the longest time.

Healthy digestion thanks to the right order

From these observations, Dr. Bass concluded that our food can not only be digested well. It can help healthy digestion if we eat it in the right order. The correct order is based on the digestion time of each food. You eat the fastest-digested foods first and the hardest-to-digest foods last.

Never watermelon for dessert!

For example, if you eat watermelon for dessert, then there will be extreme problems with digestion. This is for the watermelon and for the fried chicken and French fries you ate with it.

Normally, if the watermelon had been eaten on an empty stomach, it would have been digested after half an hour at the latest. But since it was only eaten after a hard-to-digest meal of chicken and chips, it is now on top and has to wait for the chicken and fries to be digested. Only then will it be digested.

But the watermelon doesn’t wait quietly for its turn. It begins to ferment, as all fruits do when eaten in the wrong order. Gases and alcohol are produced.

Some foods can take four, five, or more hours to leave the stomach. This is especially true for protein-starch combinations. During this time, the gases multiply and acids develop. These cause serious digestive disorders.

Example of the correct order of eating

In his book Ideal Health through Sequential Eating, Dr. Bass describes the order in which a meal is perfectly digested.

Each food group (fruits, grains, meat, cheese, eggs, vegetables, etc.) needs precise enzymes for digestion. Only if the individual foods are eaten unmixed and in the right order, the right enzymes can be produced, and only then can they work optimally, i.e. lead to healthy digestion.

For example, if you want to eat meat, rice, salad, cheese, and fruit in one meal, then the correct order would look like this:

  • As an appetizer, fruits such as papaya are served.
  • The second course consists of a salad (leafy vegetables, root vegetables, etc., so no pasta, sausage, or potato salads),
  • the third course of rice,
  • the fourth course of cheese and only
  • at the end, the meat is eaten.

Each food forms its layer in the stomach – in the order in which the food was ingested. In the mentioned meal, the papaya will be the first to leave the stomach, namely after thirty minutes. Then the second layer (the mixed salad) will take its place and leave the stomach after about thirty to forty minutes. This is followed by the third layer (rice), then the cheese is digested, and finally the meat.

No more tired after eating

Each layer is digested individually, without being mixed with the subsequent layers. If you eat in the right order, the meal will be digested completely undisturbed and quickly. With such healthy digestion, no gases are formed and there is no fatigue. Shortly after the meal, you feel energized and productive again.

If, however, the above five foods had all been eaten together, i.e. if one had taken a bite of everything with a fork, digestion would have taken many hours. Many hours in which you would have suffered from stomach pressure, heartburn, bloating, flatulence and belching. And all because of the wrong order.

The main rule of proper order and healthy digestion

The main rule of the correct eating order and thus healthy digestion is: The higher the water content of a food, the further it moves forward in the order. The lower the water content of a food, the later in the order it should be eaten.

Water-containing foods are quickly digested and then give way to foods with lower water content, such as carbohydrates and protein- and fat-rich foods.

Incompatible foods suddenly become tolerable

Suppose you have suffered from digestive problems after eating nuts, avocados or fruit. So for you, nuts, avocados, fruit – or whatever – is bad for you, because you obviously can’t tolerate it.

In reality, however, you just ate the foods in the wrong order, or you ate them together with the wrong foods. If you eat nuts together with fruit, this leads to fermentation, which in turn leads to stomach pain, flatulence, heartburn, etc.

The fruit would basically be digested quickly, but it can’t be digested quickly because the nuts rich in fat and protein inhibit digestion. However, if you eat the fruit first and then the nuts, then both are suddenly wonderfully digested and tolerated.

Or take the popular honeydew melon appetizer with ham. The melon alone would be perfect, but both together bring inconvenience, as the protein-rich ham inhibits the fast and healthy digestion of the melon, which in turn leads to fermentation processes.

Why fruit juices and citrus fruits are often not tolerated

Have you ever had a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice for dessert? In your stomach are lettuce, fried potatoes, vegetables, and meatballs baked with cheese. On top is the orange juice. This would normally leave the stomach within a few minutes.

Now, however, the juice has to wait for many hours for his digestion. You can see his annoyance about this delay in stomach cramps, flatulence, and heartburn. It’s no wonder that many people think they can’t tolerate orange juice or citrus fruits. However, this is not the fault of the orange juice and certainly not the wonderful citrus fruits, but of people’s ignorance about the correct order of eating.

According to Dr. Bass, the following examples show big errors in meal composition. They lead to bad digestion, sickness, and, at least for a while, low energy for many people. They also thwart healthy digestion.

  • Drinking during or after a meal
  • Fruits (fresh or dried) for dessert
  • The mix has sweet and/or dried fruits with nuts or seeds. It may have a sweetener like honey or maple syrup. It’s in things like trail mix, muesli, or breakfast crunchies.
  • The mixture of sweet and/or dried fruits with acidic fruits
  • Eating sweet and/or dried fruits along with or after highly concentrated proteins.

The rules of the right order for healthy digestion

If you want to try Dr. Bass’s method, the rules for healthy digestion are as follows:

  • Drinks should be drunk 30 to 60 minutes before the meal.
  • Fruits are only eaten on an empty stomach, never together with other food groups and never for dessert. Within the fruit group, there is also another order that should be followed:
  • Melons are eaten before all other fruits.
  • Then, people consume acidic fruits. These include citrus, pineapples, blackberries, currants, pomegranates, and sour apples.
  • At the end of the fruit meal, eat sweet fruits (pears, sweet apples, persimmons, bananas).
  • After a fruit meal, wait 15 minutes until something else is eaten.
  • Vegetables are eaten before starch meals. So salads or vegetable dishes are always before the main meal and not together with it.
  • For healthy digestion, starch meals are eaten before protein meals. Carbohydrate-rich side dishes such as potatoes, rice, pasta, etc. are therefore eaten BEFORE meat, fish or egg meals and no longer together.
  • An important clue to the correct order in which the different foods should be eaten is the digestion time that each food takes. Those foods with the shortest digestion time are eaten first, and those with the longest last.

The digestion times of food

Below you will find the digestion times of some selected foods. However, the indicated digestion times refer to an optimal food combination, to the correct order and well-chewed foods. If the different foods are eaten in a colorful mix and/or insufficiently chewed, their digestion time is extended many times over!! According to Dr. Bass, paying attention to digestive times means that indigestion will disappear and nothing will stand in the way of healthy digestion.

  • Watermelon, fruit and vegetable juices: 15 to 20 minutes
  • Mixed green leafy vegetable salads (fruit-free green smoothies): 20 to 30 minutes
  • Other melons, oranges and grapefruits: 30 minutes
  • Other fresh fruits: 40 minutes
  • Green salad: 30 to 40 minutes
  • Most steamed or cooked vegetables: 40 to 50 minutes
  • Starchy vegetables (e.g., potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, green peas, sweet corn, plantains, beetroot): 60 minutes
  • Cereals, legumes and lentils: 90 minutes
  • Seeds: 2 hours
  • Nuts: 2 1/2 to 3 hours
  • Skimmed milk or low-fat cottage cheese or ricotta: 90 minutes
  • Cottage cheese from whole milk: 2 hours
  • Hard cheese made from whole milk: 4 to 5 hours
  • Egg yolks: 30 minutes
  • Whole egg: 45 minutes
  • Fish (cod, cod, flounder, sole): 30 minutes
  • Fatty fish: 45 to 60 minutes
  • Skinless chicken: 1 1/2 to 2 hours
  • Skinless turkey: 2 to 2 1/2 hours
  • Beef or lamb: 3 to 4 hours
  • Pork: 4 1/2 to 5 hours

No healthy digestion with pizza, cheese bread, and cereal?

Some readers may wonder how you are supposed to eat a pizza or muesli with these rules, since these dishes already have several foods mixed. The short and painless answer is: Not at all! According to Dr. Bass, healthy digestion is not possible with such mixed meals.

Thus, those who decide to try the method according to Dr. Bass do not eat pizza, cheese bread or muesli. Instead of muesli, for example, you could eat a fruit plate and later some porridge (porridge) with vanilla. If you want to eat a cheese sandwich, you eat the bread first, then the cheese. Instead of pizza, you eat a vegetable platter, followed by pizza bread with oregano and then some cheese or salami.

Do all people have to eat in the right order?

The method presented here is a possible course of action to achieve healthy digestion again in case of digestive problems. If you understand the background to this and want to try it out, just test Dr. Bass’ method and see how you feel about it.

Nevertheless, it does not mean that every recipe has one of these “wrong” combinations. Or that a carrot salad with apples, a peach curry with lentil noodles, or a plum cake are unhealthy.

Not everyone has to eat in order. Not everyone is so sensitive. And, not everyone is affected by the wrong order and mix, according to Dr. Bass. Every person has their digestive power. They also have their gut bacteria and their constitution. So, “wrong” food combos don’t bother many people. But, they are a disaster for others. Therefore, everyone has to try out for themselves which form of nutrition is optimal for them and their digestion!

Dr. Bass’ Tips for Eating Right and Healthy Digestion

In addition to the right food combination or order, according to Dr. Bass, other measures are necessary to achieve healthy digestion and thus freedom from symptoms after eating.

Chewing well promotes healthy digestion

Dr. Bass recommends chewing all foods for as long as possible for healthy digestion. Food that has not been chewed properly requires a much longer digestion time, and significantly more digestive enzymes and can often not be optimally utilized despite these efforts. People who don’t chew their food properly often feel exhausted. This is because their body requires an inappropriate amount of energy for digestion.

Small amounts for healthy digestion

The smaller the amount of a particular food that is ingested, the less time it takes to digest it. According to Dr. Bass, small meals are more likely to lead to healthy digestion than large meals.

Mono diet instead of multi-diet

The fewer different things eaten in a meal, the easier and healthier digestion is and the lower the risk of overeating.

Focus on food

You should not eat next to the TV, read the newspaper at the same time or even handle your mobile phone, tablet or laptop. The food deserves our full attention. We should devote ourselves to the taste of the food. We should also focus on the long chewing process. Both the body and the mind notice if you are eating. This greatly helps digestion. Also, in this case, the risk of overeating is not so great. You can choose to end the meal. You don’t have to mindlessly stuff all available food into yourself until you fall off the chair.

Natural Foods for Healthy Digestion

Prefer natural foods. Avoid foods with artificial flavors, sweeteners, or flavor enhancers. These added chemicals keep the body from knowing when it is full.

What else can you do for healthy digestion?

The right order of eating can fix many digestive problems. But, not all. For example, food intolerances, intestinal flora disorders, and the like. Perhaps the method according to Dr. Bass is too complex for you and you would like to test other procedures for healthy digestion first.

Healthy Digestion

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