In 1939 Peter Kelder published his book "The Eye of Revelation” (download free here). It tells the story of the discovery of a sect of Tibetan Lamas who had seemingly discovered the fountain of youth - Colonel Bradford describes their amazing health and vitality despite their very old age. He describes not only the marvelous benefits one can achieve from a 10 - 15 mins per day practice of the five yoga-like postures they call "Rites", but also outlines the monks dietary recommendations for anti-aging and health.
These dietary recommendations are fairly similar to what we call “Food Combining” today. For full details of their diet, see my article "
Around the same time as 'The Eye of Revelation,' Dr William Howard Hay published (1933) a ground-breaking book, 'A New Health Era' in which he maintains that all disease is caused by autotoxication (or "self-poisoning") due to acid accumulation in the body:
…”Now we depart from health in just the proportion to which we have allowed our alkalies to be dissipated by introduction of acid-forming food in too great amount... It may seem strange to say that all disease is the same thing, no matter what its myriad modes of expression, but it is verily so.”… William Howard Hay, M.D.
Dr William Howard Hay, creator of the Hay diet, was born in Hartstown, Pennsylvania, USA University of New York in 1891, and practiced medicine for the next sixteen years.
He then became very ill, and was diagnosed as having Bright’s Disease, high blood pressure and a dilated heart, and thought his career was over. He decided to treat his symptoms himself by eating a healthy, natural diet, and after three months, he felt much improved, to the surprise of his doctors. His experience strengthened his belief that the medical establishment was approaching the treatment of disease in the wrong way; that it should be attempting to remove the cause of illness rather than treating the end-results of a condition.
By 1911, Dr Hay was convinced that he had discovered a successful treatment for diabetes. For the next four years, he treated his patients through diet, and successfully demonstrated that people could achieve optimum health with the correct diet, providing there was no irreversible organic change. He thus developed over the years the dietary system now known as the ‘Hay Diet’.
His assertion was that disease had one underlying cause: an incorrect chemical balance in the body, caused by the production and accumulation of acid end-products of digestion and metabolism, which the body is unable to eliminate. The result of this is a reduction in the body’s alkaline reserve, which causes a breakdown in good health. He maintained that there were four main causes of this accumulation of acid end-products: over consumption of meat; over-consumption of refined carbohydrates, e.g., white flour and refined sugar; ignorance of the laws of chemistry in respect of the digestion of foods; and constipation. He taught his patients that, although people could build up a tolerance of incompatible foods, they did so at the expense of the body’s vitality. He also taught the importance of daily baths, exercise, fresh air, rest, and sunshine.
Despite Dr Hay’s enormously successful treatment of many seriously ill patients with his system, it was criticized vehemently by the medical establishment, which, at that time, was focused on the germ theory of disease, and the increasing use of drug treatment. However, he defended his system courageously, continuing to treat patients, and lecture, until his death in 1940.
The Hay Diet, also known as ‘food combining’, consists of five basic rules - the first three are very similar to the recommendations of the monks:
- Monks: They were vegetarians but ate eggs, butter and cheese in sufficient quantities to "serve certain functions of the brain, body and nervous system." They had no need of meat, fish or fowl since they are strong and virile from practicing the Rites. Food Combining: Eat vegetables, salads and fruits as the main part of your diet.
- Monks: You should keep starches, fruits and vegetables separate from meats, fish and fowl. Starches clash with proteins. If you eat bread (starch) with meats, egg or cheese (protein) a reaction is set up in the stomach which not only causes discomfort, but more importantly contributes to a shorter lifespan. Food Combining: Do not eat carbohydrates with proteins and acid fruits at the same meal.
- Monks By obtaining the full nourishment from the food, less food needs to be eaten overall. Food Combining: Eat proteins, starches and fats in small quantities.
Dr Hay’s remaining ‘rules’ are:
- Eat only whole grain and unprocessed starches, excluding refined, processed foods such as white flour, white sugar, and margarine.
- Allow an interval of at least four to four and a half hours between meals of different types.
- The above information about Dr Hay and his diet is from http://www.vitaminuk.com
For anyone who is considering either one of the diets above, I suggest you speak to a qualified dietician.
An interesting article giving a counter view to “Food Combining” – can be read in “The Skeptic” Magazine Vol 16, No 2 by Glen Caldwell.
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Copyright (c) 2005 Carolinda Witt - author The Illustrated Five Tibetan Rites (Penguin/Lantern 2005) and The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan (Random House/Three Rivers Press 2007)