Food Combining + Gut Health

Food combining? Sounds complicated right? I thought the same when I first started studying it a few years ago, but I can assure you it's much simpler than it sounds. Food combining is a great way to improve gut health dramatically. It helps to combat bloating and fatigue post-meal as well. 

Back when I "thought" I was eating healthy (insert muscle head diet of chicken and brown rice constantly) I was still experiencing daily bloat. I can recall this one day that I was so bloated that I felt like I weighed 1,000 pounds. My stomach was sticking out further than a 8 month pregnant lady. And it was so uncomfortable. I didn't even want to leave the house.  I was so confused because again, I thought what I was eating was "clean."

At that point, my daily diet consisted of some type of egg breakfast with gf toast, lunch was chicken and brown rice, and dinner (if I even felt like eating by then, was some type of animal protein and steamed broccoli. I was so strong and so lean, yet I felt TERRIBLE everyday. Something had to change.

This is when I started to research how food actually breaks down in our intestines and what I found was astounding.

Each type of macro nutrient (protein, fats, carbohydrates) digest at different speeds. In addition, each type requires different enzymes and body solutions to break the food down. 

Acid vs. Alkaline

Let's take the example of my chicken and brown rice go-to lunch. Chicken, a protein, requires an acidic environment in which a digestive enzyme known as pepsin releases. An acidic environment  Pepsin is an endopeptidase (enzyme) that breaks down proteins into smaller peptides (that is, a protease). It is produced in the stomach and is one of the main digestive enzymes in the digestive systems of humans and many other animals, where it helps digest the proteins in food.

Brown rice, a complex carbohydrate, requires an alkaline environment to digest that releases an enzyme known as ptyalin. Ptyalin is an amylase (another word for saliva enzyme) found chiefly in saliva and pancreatic fluid, that converts starch and glycogen into simple sugars.

Since you can see that these two foods require very different environment's to completely digest, the result is that the food confuses the body and releases too many enzymes at once. This, in turn, slows down the digestive process. (Insert "aha moment")

What happens then? Bloating, fatigue, post-meal sluggishness. (Ahaaaaaaaa!)

If your food digestion is slowed down then it makes it easier for food particles to get stuck in the intestines and villi. (For more info on the gut, see Gut Health 101)  The longer those food particles linger in your intestines, the more they are inclined to ferment and cause bacteria. This is what the bacteria Candida, an overgrowth of yeast, lives for. Fermented starchy food hanging out in the gut is a breeding ground for bacteria. (I know, so gross!)

Food combining 101

Let's dig into the "rules" of food combining so you can make smarter choices to improve your overall gut health and digestion. 

1. Pair protein with non-starchy vegetables

Since non-starchy vegetables are rich in their own digestive enzymes, they do not need an alkaline environment to break down. Combining them with high-quality proteins is an easy way to break down and absorb you meal quickly, leaving you full of nutrients and a boat load of energy. 


Wild salmon + Broccoli
Organic Chicken + Bell Peppers
Organic Turkey + Mashed Cauliflower

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2. Pair starches with healthy fats and vegetables

Keeping foods together that require an alkaline environment will help boost digestion of starches and help you absorb the nutrients more readily. I've had many clients call me and say they get bloated from quinoa or legumes and my number one response is, "What did you eat it with?"

9 times out of 10, they combined it with a protein, because that is what they thought they should do, and I don't blame them because I thought that too! Keep the starches together like a little starch family and you shouldn't have a problem. 

Disclaimer: soaking your grains, beans, and legumes overnight helps release phytic acid making them easier to digest as well. Might as well take all precautions!


Quinoa + Chopped Cabbage + Avocado
Swiss Chard Salad + Sweet Potato + Olive Oil
Brown Rice + Carrots + Toasted Sesame Oil

3. Eat fruit alone (sad sigh) 

This one can be tough, especially because there are 100 delicious smoothies out there that have been known to help gut health. It's important to remember that this may or may not be ok for you considering that every one is different. Keep a journal and track when you get bloated from meals. If everyday after your fruit filled breakfast smoothie you are experiencing discomfort, then it may be time to switch it up a bit. 

Fruit is the fastest digesting food with an average of 20-30 minutes. If you combine it with any other food, it will develop a traffic jam in the gut since most other foods take at least 3-4 hours to break down. The best thing to do is simply eat them as a snack in between meals on an empty stomach. Then you can absorb the fiber without all the discomfort.

However, combining leafy greens or celery with fruit does not usually cause a problem since these veggies are mostly made from water. This is where the Liver Detox Smoothie comes in and saves the day!!

4. Drink water away from meals 

Gulping large sips of cold water during eating dilutes the digestive enzymes and slows the process. Rule of thumb is room temperature water is way better for the gut but in general it’s better to finish eating before you sip some water. 

You can assist the digestive process by drinking the room temp or warm water with lemon 20 minutes before meals or after you meals. Lemon contains natural absorbic acid which will stimulate and activate your digestive juices. (Oh yea baby!)

5. Keep it simple stupid

My mom has been saying that to me since I was a little girl (in the nicest, most playful way possible.) I kept that saying in the back of my head for my entire life. Anytime anything wasn't working out for me I would hear her saying it while laughing and pointing her finger. 

As a society, we tend to overthink and overdo EVERYTHING! This stands true for digestive health too. Keep your meals as simple as possible to avoid food gut bombs and traffic jams. 

Remember, gut health is the root of total body wellness. Happy gut, happy life. 

As a recommendation to understand your bio-individuality more, keep a journal when changing things around. Your body is your best guide. Keeping notes will help you become your own investigator and realize what does and does not work for you. 

In addition, if you’ve been struggling with bloating and giesting food for awhile, you can try a digestive enzyme to help your body break down food. My favorite digestve enzyme is the GI-ZYME by Mannatech. My clients experience less discomfort after meals and reported barely any bloating after taking for 1 week. Purchase here.

If you have been trying to break free from bloating for far too long and you can't seem to get a handle on it, sign up for my newsletter and receive my FREE 5-day Fix to BEAT THE BLOAT! My tips will help you break free from bloat and chronic inflammation of the gut for good.

I love hearing from you. Please leave your comments and concerns below! Got a friend who could use this info? Feel free to share!

Happy healing!

XO Jaclyn Renee


Turkey Sausage with Goat's Milk Tzatziki

You know how many people go to bed but have a hard time falling asleep because they can't stop thinking about stress or work? This happens to me, but with food and recipes! I guess it's not a terrible thing to think about all night. I'm constantly trying to come up with creative ways to make healthy food taste good and be easy to assemble. 

I've been reading a great book by Dr. Amy Myers lately titled, The Autoimmune Solution. I've lived with autoimmune for my whole life and have been working on healing it for over a decade. Keeping a healthy mind-set, exercising and eating well has helped me to a great place of healing today. If given the opportunity, the body has an incredible ability to heal itself. However, one person's food can be another person's poison.

One diet or way of eating may work for some people but not for others. Some people find that being vegan has helped them lose weight or lower their cholesterol. Some have found that eating meat has helped them, calm inflammation. There are many ways to eat, but the most important is to find the healthy way to eat for you!

For me and my symptoms, I have found that eating mostly Paleo with a small amount of goat's milk dairy and occasional gluten free grains or legumes has done well for my body. It keeps the inflammation down and my symptoms at bay. I stay away from sugar, alcohol, and caffeine as they only tend to ignite the problem and cause me to feel off track.

This recipe came to me in a dream the other week. Since I started incorporating goat's milk kefir, a recommendation from my good friend and colleague Nutritional Therapist Melanie Mack, and have been doing very well on it. Except for one thing. The flavor is boring! So, in this dream, I thought of how much I missed sauces in my life and that I could figure out how to make a tzatziki sauce from the kefir. I've paired the sauce with some turkey sausages and placed over a big bed of greens.

This recipe is easy and delicious and could be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The leftovers are great too!


1lb organic ground turkey
1 tsp sage
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp coconut oil


1 cup goat's milk kefir
1 cucumber (diced and chopped into fine pieces
1 Tbsp. fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste

Additional items:

Dark leafy greens like kale or spinach
1 tsp olive oil
half a lemon


1. Place turkey in a bowl and add seasonings. Form into 8 small sausage balls

2. Preheat a cast iron skillet or safe non-stick pan to medium high with coconut oil.

2. Put sausages into heated pan. Cook each side for about 5 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

4. Place goat's milk into a bowl and add chopped cucumber and spices

5. Place leafy greens at the bottom of a plat or bowl and sprinkle with melon and olive oil.

6. Add sausages and scoop come tzatziki into a side bowl.

7. Serve and enjoy.

XO Jaclyn Renee

** A core principle of the Jaclyn Renee Wellness program is to choose organic whenever possible. This includes all fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, flours, nuts, and even spices. Reducing your exposure to pesticides and chemicals is a major part in healing your body and preventing disease. 

P.S. I'd love to hear from you! Let me know how you liked this recipe. Did you add anything or try a different spin? Is there something you'd like me to post? Share the love! If you post your healthy creation make sure to tag me in it on Instagram @jaclynreneewellness and #jrwapproved 

Almost all of my dry ingredients come from Thrive Market and I get them at a fraction of the cost of what I'd pay at other stores. If you want to save money and score some of the great things you see on this blog, check them out! 

Want to save 20% off your first THREE orders? Use the link below! 


5-DAY FIX: Beat the Bloat

A 5-day guide to reducing bloat and healing gut inflammation significantly.

Eating for your macros: simplified

First things first... What is a macro??? A macro, or macro-nutrient, is a nutrient that provides calories or energy. Macro means large, so these types of nutrients are very essential to maintain a healthy body weight and keep your metabolism running properly. The second thing you need to know is that eating for your macros is not a fad diet. It is simply the daily nutrients and vitamins your body requires from food. By eating the right amount of these three nutrients, you can optimize your lean muscle mass, increase energy, fuel your brain, and stop cravings in their tracks. Plus, you can minimize the number of supplements or vitamins you take in a day since you will be getting your nutrients from actual food.

The 3 macro-nutrients are:  

•    Lean Protein
•    Complex Carbohydrates
•    Healthy Fats

The average person usually requires about 40 % carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30 % healthy fats. If you need an easy way to track this I suggest using the app My Fitness Pal. After you fill out your profile, you can see what your recommended macro and calorie intake should be for the day. You can find your macro percentages by scrolling down on your daily food log and tap on the bar that says nutrition. Although this is a great way to track your nutrients, I do not recommend using it for an extended period of time or to drastically count calories. Track for a couple days or so to get the gist of what an average day looks like, and then maintain by tuning into your body. 
Now we need to know how to properly fill our daily macros. Your body will tell you if you are not fueling properly by feeling tired or craving foods. The easiest way to keep in balance is understanding which foods fall under what category. Here is a list of healthy foods that will feed your body power energy.

Macro-nutrient list


•    All Vegetables (yes, vegetables are carbs, and the best ones that provide the most energy)
•    Fruit (berries are the best fruit because they are low-glycemic)
•    Sweet potatoes
•    Beans and legumes
•    Pumpkin
•    Oats
•    Buckwheat
•    Brown rice
•    Quinoa
•    Bread (my suggestion is Ezekiel bread or Udi's Gluten Free if it's not fresh)
•    Granola
•    Whole grain or brown rice pasta


•    Meat
•    Fish
•    Chicken
•    Eggs
•    Protein powders
•    Chia seeds
•    Hemp seeds

Healthy fats

•    Avocado
•    Olive oil
•    Coconut oil
•    Avocado oil
•    Butter or Ghee
•    Nuts (organic, raw)
•    Nut butters
•    Dairy (partial protein, partial fats; count accordingly)

As always, our food should be organic. Check out my blog How to read labels to get a better understanding of what to choose when grocery shopping. This will guide you toward making better choices and knowing what is added to your food. Now you have all this information but you have to somehow put it on your plate and in your mouth. Here are some simple healthy meals that will fill your macros, and fuel you with energy to be the best you.


•    1/2 cup brown rice or quinoa, 2 scrambled eggs half an avocado
•    1-2 pieces of toast with ghee, 2-3 eggs, almond butter on toast
•    Chicken sausage and veggie scramble over quinoa
•    Plain coconut yogurt or organic plain yogurt, top with berries and nuts
•    Overnight Oats
•    Pumpkin Shake
•    Buckwheat Breakfast


•    2 chicken sausages, sweet potato with coconut oil and cinnamon on top
•    big salad with tons of veggies, piece of protein, nuts, avocado, olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper
•    veggie or chicken stir-fry with avocado or coconut oil
•    tuna (made with olive oil sandwich) with tomato and lettuce on Ezekiel bread
•    3 hardboiled eggs and nuts on a big salad
•    quinoa bowl with kale, nuts, hummus, olive oil, balsamic vinegar


•    4-6 oz protein, 1/2 cup brown rice or quinoa, veggies with butter, ghee, or olive oil
•    sautéed tofu and spinach in avocado oil and sesame seeds over brown rice or quinoa
•    meat sauce over spaghetti squash, a little Parmesan if you eat dairy
•    brown rice pasta tossed with olive oil, tuna, peas, carrots and onion
•    breakfast for dinner?? 3-6 egg white omelet with a side salad and a piece of Ezekiel toast

I'm sure you are catching my drift now. These suggestions are in no way intended to be the only options of food to eat. Play around with it. If you go way over your macros in one meal (a huge bowl of pasta) you can even it out by lightening up on that nutrient the next meal. The most important thing is to fill your plate with healthy food first to eliminate the bad. Eventually you will crave less junk food and enjoy feeling better from real food. Remember to keep it simple. Staying in a normal balance of whole food macro-nutrients is a sure-fire way to reach your goals.

XO Jaclyn Renee

** A core principle of the Jaclyn Renee Wellness program is to choose organic whenever possible. This includes all fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, flours, nuts, and even spices. Reducing your exposure to pesticides and chemicals is a major part in healing your body and preventing disease. 


5-DAY FIX: Beat the Bloat

A 5-day guide to reducing bloat and healing gut inflammation significantly.

Almost all of my dry ingredients come from Thrive Market and I get them at a fraction of the cost of what I'd pay at other stores. If you want to save money and score some of the great things you see on this blog, check them out! 

Want to save 20% off your first 3 orders? Use the link below! 

Top ten super foods you should be eating now

What is a super food? A super food is a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. They are packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. Eating them will help reduce the risk of chronic disease and prolong your life. Super foods are very versatile and can easily be added to any meal. 

I have many recipes on my blog that include at least one super food per recipe. You can start small and work your way up to incorporating more each day. They can easily be sprinkled over soups, salads, or even blended into smoothies. Because these foods are in the "super" category there are at least 10 benefits to each. I will showcase the most important benefits from each food to help you incorporate it into your diet appropriately.

1. Hemp seeds

This seed is what Jaclyn Renee Wellnesas is all about.  Small in size but boasts many benefits such as improvements in digestion, hormones, and metabolism. You will find hemp seeds to be an incredible source of protein with 10 grams in just one scoop. I use hemp seeds in all of my smoothie recipes as my source of protein instead of a packaged protein powder.  

2.  Chia seeds

Beleive it or not, chia seeds have more calcium than dairy. Many people develop an intolerence to dairy as they get older so this is a great way to strengthen your bones without the negative side effects. You can make chia seed pudding for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

3. Sunflower seeds

Healthy sources of fats like those found in sunflower seeds are actually the building blocks for cell membranes.  They allow your body to balance hormones and help low down absorption of food during meal time.  This allows you to go longer without feeling hungry.  Sprinkle some sunflower seeds over your salad or have a jar on hand as an easy snack.

4. Flax seeds

Flax seeds are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and phytochemical lignans which are known to decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.  A teaspoon or two a day can lower you LDL cholesterol. The soluble fiber content of flax seeds trap fat and cholesterol in the digestive system so that it unable to be absorbed. It is also a great way to get your daily dose of omega fatty acids if you don't like fish. Add to smoothies, soups, or simply sprinkle it on any food as it only has a mild nutty taste. 


5. Walnuts

There is a reason that walnuts are shaped like a brain. Walnuts contain a number of neuroprotective compounds including vitamin E, folate, melatonin, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants. Research shows that eating an ounce a day can help protect the brain from degeneration and improve cognitive function. Start your day out with the breakfast to fuel your brain for the day.

6. Cacao powder

Like chocolate, cacao powder contains flavonoids which are known to help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. With fewer than 15 calories per tablespoon and zero sugar, cacao provides a strong chocolate flavor without the guilt. Cacao is also high in magnesium which many people are deficient in. Magnesium fights acid buildup, neutralizes toxins, and calms the nervous system. Try a scoop in your smoothie for a rich chocaltely taste. 

7. Goji berries

Looking for something sweet in the afternoon? Replace the office candy with this vitamin C and fiber packed  fruit. The list of benefits include the ability to help you fight disease, effectively manage your weight, and experience better digestion. They have also been used in traditional Chinese medicine to boost vitality, energy, and stamina. Add them with other nuts to make your own trail mix for travel or a long day at work.

8. Coconut oil

Known as the oil that can "cure everything" coconut oil contains more health benefits that I can fit into one tiny blog. Many of my collegues who write about coconut oil end up with 25-100 benefits in one article. The most important thing you need to is that it has incedrible anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. The list of ailments that rise from those two issues are huge. From major diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer to small symptoms like digestive issues, joint pain, and the common cold .  For a better list and more information on coconut oil, check out Dr. Axe's article on how coconut oil may save your life. 

9. Ghee

Ghee is simply organic butter that has been clarified to remove the lactose and casein component. If you have a hard time digesting dairy products but want all the health benefits of it then ghee will be your saving grace. Ghee (unlike other oils) is rich in butyric acid which is a short chain fatty acid. This is very beneficial in healing and stregthening the digestive track. Research shows that adequate production of butyric acid also supports the production of killer T cells in which can assist in healing and strengthening the gut.

10. Chaga mushroom

Chaga contains structural polysaccharides which provide energy, improve cardiovascular health, and promote healthy blood sugar levels. It is also very beneficial for people who suffer from digestive issues. The appearance of chaga can be deceiving as it looks like a big hunk of clay, but don't let its appearence fool you. Chaga is mostly consumed in tea form. Steep one chunk in hot water and sip throughout the day.  

All of these super foods can get quite expensive. I buy all my dry pantry and smoothie making goods from Thrive Market. They have all the brands I love at a fraction of the cost. Plus, they give back to the community. Click here to check out my Thrive Market offer for 20% off your first 3 orders!

I understand that it can be overwhelming to introduce new foods into your lifestyle. You do not have to eat every single super food to get the benefits of better health. Try one or two that speak to you and incorporate them daily. Check out some of the smoothie and breakfast recipes on my blog. Many of them include the superfoods right in there. As well as incorporating healthy foods into your diet.  Stress can play a huge roll on your immune system and energy level as well. Reduce stress on the body by taking deep breaths, a long walk, or a hot bath. 

Happy, healthy healing!

XO Jaclyn Renee


5-DAY FIX: Beat the Bloat

A 5-day guide to reducing bloat and healing gut inflammation significantly.

How to read labels

 How many of you have been confused by marketing tools on food labels? I know I've been tricked a time or two. The point of a food label claim can be to ensure you the food you are about to purchase is "healthy" for you, but in reality it  may be feeding you a bunch of bull. So, how do we know which food to choose? Here I decode all the food label claims one by one and and share what is most important for you to consume.

Antibiotic free

means that an animal was not given antibiotics during its entire lifetime. other phrases could include "no antibiotics administered" or "raised without antibiotics"

Cage free

means that the birds were raised without cages. However is does not indicate whether the bird was raised indoor or outdoors. If you are looking to buy eggs, meat, or poultry it is best to look for a label that says "pasture-raised."

Fair trade

means that the farmers and workers have received fair wage and worked in acceptable conditions while growing and packaging the product


This term is unidentified by the USDA. It does not indicate that something is antibiotic free or hormone free, it only indicates that the birds have access to the outdoors so they can engage in natural behaviors.


GMO's or genetically modified organisms. are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses, or other plants and animals. This is one of the most important labels.


means the animals were fed a grass diet, their natural diet, rather than grains or animal by product, synthetic hormones, or antibiotics to promote growth. However, they may have been given antibiotics to treat disease so make sure it's antibiotic free as well.


raised without added growth hormones. If they are given it, you will be eating it when you consume. Also look for "no hormones administered" and "no added hormones." Get a local butcher or farmer for your meats so you know where it comes from and how they are raised.


indicates that the animal was raised on a pasture where it is able to eat nutritious grasses and other plants rather than being fattened on grain. Farmers that pasture raise allow the animal to live in a humane manner and move freely to carry out natural behaviors


Recombinant bovine growth hormone or recombinant bovine somatropin is a genetically engineered growth hormone that is injected into cows to artificially increase their milk production. It is completely illegal in European countries and Canada so why is it allowed in America?? Organic milk is rBGH free.

and last but not least...


For something to be labeled organic it must meet the following guidelines to qualify...

  • Abstain from the application of prohibited materials; synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and sewage sludge
  • Prohibit the use of GMO's 
  • Employ positive soil building, conservation, manure management, and crop rotation practices
  • Provide outdoor living and pasture for livestock
  • Refrain from antibiotic and hormone use in animals
  • Sustain animals with 100% organic feed
  • Avoid contamination during processing of organic products
  • Keep records of all operations

The best way to stay away from the bad labels and invite the good is to find a local farmer or meat manufacturing company that follows these protocols. DO your research! You may find buying from the local farmer will save you money in the long run. Personally, I get my meats from C Roy Farm in Yale, MI. They produce their own and get meats and poultry from other farmers in Michigan and have insanely good prices on Organic. I try to buy local for vegetables and fruits too, so do some Googling and try and find the best local spots in your area!

XO Jaclyn Renee


5-DAY FIX: Beat the Bloat

A 5-day guide to reducing bloat and healing gut inflammation significantly.

Almost all of my dry ingredients come from Thrive Market and I get them at a fraction of the cost of what I'd pay at other stores. If you want to save money and score some of the great things you see on this blog, check them out! 

Want to save 20% off your first 3 orders? Use the link below!