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The hay system: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help


The hay diet involves avoiding foods that so called 'fight' with each other, it is a food combining type of diet, which means that you avoid eating certain foods together because it is supposedly bad for your digestion. Protein is not eaten with starch, they can both be eaten but at separate meal occasions.

Scientifically this is impossible to achieve since most starchy foods such as bread and potatoes contain some protein anyway. The body is well adapted to digest both proteins and starch, and the enzymes necessary to digest them are secreted in response to the food being in the stomach.

The diet first gained credence as a method of weight loss since most dietary restrictions usually mean consuming less calories than the body needs. It is not better than any other diet that is low in calories, any weight loss should only be achieved through a sensible diet. This diet should always be avoided by anyone who has diabetes since carbohydrate should be spread evenly throughout the day and not kept to one meal only.

Description of the Hay System

The Hay System is primarily a normalising system. To put it in its simplest terms: -

  • 70% of the food intake should be fresh fruits and vegetables, as much as possible in their raw state.
  • The remaining 30% should be made up of proteins (Meats, fish, eggs, etc) and starches (carbohydrates, e.g., pasta, bread, etc). These two categories of foods should be kept apart, i.e. eaten at different meals.

Generally, the effect of not eating 'foods that fight' at the same meal gives improved digestion. Proteins 'fight' starch', and citrus fruits 'fight' carbohydrates.

You eat your fill at every meal (not over-eating, as with any sensible system) , then you wait about four hours before taking anything else, or until your tummy 'rumbles'.

Each day you need to aim for:

  • One protein meal (lunch is best)
  • One starch meal (last meal of the day is best for this)
  • One purely 'alkaline forming' meal

This regime seems to suit the human digestion, and you should find your digestive system feels much more comfortable as a result.

The Hay System will regulate body weight up or down, to a suitable healthy weight for your body. You can do this without feeling 'starving': you should never go hungry, yet your weight will stabilise to suit you best.

The diet is in no way 'punitive', and is based on sound nutrition. It encourages a delight in , respect for, and greater enjoyment of good food.

While organic foods are preferred, it still works out as good value, because your body makes full use of what you give it, and you should find there is no need to spend large sums in order to eat well.

'Everything in moderation' is a key phrase. Very few items are discouraged, except the obvious cakes and biscuits, etc. Even alcohol in moderation is o.k. - gin, whiskey, beer, wine, cider, etc. All are allowed, if used in correct combinations with other items from the correct category of meal. For example, sweet liquors come in the category of 'starches', as you might expect, because they have a lot of sugar in them. At the other end of the spectrum, dry white wine, for example, goes with the 'protein' category, because it will not 'fight' with protein, as sweet sugary substances do. This may sound a little baffling at first, but it all makes sense, as you should find if you read more about how to choose foods and drinks that complement each other. It comes as second nature after a little while, and is not difficult to understand.

There have been reports of previously very stubborn medical conditions that have unexpectedly responded to correct food combining. Widely occurring conditions <