When Sally Beare wrote the original "the live-longer diet" that was published by Piatkus in the UK in 2003, it only contained 15 secrets. For the 2006 publication of "50 Secrets of the World's Longest Living People', the list of secrets, as the title implies, was expanded to fifty. Some of the new secrets seem superfluous and seem to have been created simply to reach the promise in the title. Even Sally Beare seems hesitant about strongly endorsing Secret 35. Basically, this secret states that is may be smart to combine/not to combine certain foods in order to enhance assimilation of nutrients during digestion or to minimize exposure to toxins due to faster movement through the intestines. There may be some truth in this as, for example, common lore states that combining a food that contains Vitamin C (such as a lemon) when consuming a food that contains iron (such as meat) enhances the uptake of iron. The idea of combining foods such as proteins, fats, starches, vegetables and fruit dates back to the 1900s, when an overweight, middle-aged American doctor by the name of William Howard Hay decided that the root cause of his health problems lay in his intestines. According to Beare Dr. Hays proclaimed that: "Death begins in the colon" (I thought this wisdom dates back to the Greeks). This may well be true, since the digestive system is the first point of contact between our bodies and our major source of energy (one could argue that oxygen enters our bodies via our lungs and ambient heat enters our bodies via the skin, however, our main source of energy still comes in via mouth and throat).
|Pizza: a popular staple in Italy, not an option for those who adhere to the Hay diet|
Hay's main premise is not to combine protein with carbs in the same meal.
Really? You should not eat carbs with proteins? How about Asians who enjoy rice and fish or rice and tofu? Italians who enjoy pasta and shrimp? Americans who like starting their day with cereal and milk? Germans who enjoy cheese on bread? Moroccans who like couscous with chicken or beans? Are so many cultures around the world getting it wrong? Or was Hays just not eating his vegetables and pigging out on junk food instead?
|Fish and rice -not allowed on the Hays diet (and don't dream of adding a few drops of lemon to that salmon).|
- do not combine protein and carbs and acid-containing foods
- eat more vegetables and fruit, less protein, carbs and fat
- replace highly processed foods such as white sugar and white flour with whole grain, less processed versions
- wait four hours between meals
|Nope. sorry, not allowed either if you are on the Hay diet...|
I prefer listening to my body. It has nearly 50 years of experience and has digested tons of food. In contrast to the Hay's rules, I enjoy my salmon with a few drops of lemon. The lemon seems to aid digestion, and the Vitamin C may enhance the uptake of iron from the salmon (and my anemic body needs iron). I choose to adhere to my own food combinations. One combination I avoid, simply because it does not feel good to me, is a meal that consists of different types of meats mixed together (as on a BBQ skewer). I prefer eating fish, chicken, beef, lamb etc. separately. Another combination I avoid is one that is very popular in the U.S.: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Uggh! I prefer a peanut butter banana 'sandwich' without bread i.e. I slice the banana length-wise and spread the peanut butter between the two halves. Delicious! (Hay would approve). When eating a hamburger, I never eat both halves of the bun. But my all-time favorite is a combination very few fellow humans care to share: bread with hard cheese and honey. Yum! I am sure you have your unique, favorite combinations. A combination my husband likes is a martini with olives (he can even enjoy it without the olives). Maybe some of your favorite combinations are Hay-friendly, others less so. Whatever works for you.
So in conclusion, Secret 35 in '50 Secrets' seems to be an empty stuffer rather than a serious recommendation. My suggestion? Combine foods the way that works best for your body!