A GENTLE APPROACH TO
SUCCESSFUL AND HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS
How to beat the bulge without having to count calories
- Instead of just concentrating on calories, why not take an entirely different approach? These simple measures can actually help to improve the way the body digests and absorbs food. This means that the system is better nourished, immunity should be stronger, common digestive discomforts can be a thing of the past AND UNWANTED WEIGHT CAN BE EASIER TO LOSE.
- This is a dietary strategy that has an excellent track record in helping people with weight problems. You can find your own healthy eating plan right here in these pages.
- There are no extremes or difficult-to-follow rules or restrictions.
- Balance is the key word and great nourishment a priority.
- It’s enjoyable and easy to follow. I don't know how some people get the idea that if it tastes good it must be bad for you but if it's nutritious you're going to hate it. It's simply not true that healthy eating involves having to give up all the delicious things for a boring, hard to swallow menu.
- Everything in this healthy eating guide is designed to fit comfortably with a modern lifestyle.
- It recognises the importance of treats and comforts and that none of us is perfect when it comes to food!
Whether it's the dreaded post-holiday diet or the time of year when most of us are in the process of unearthing the shorts and swimwear, chances are we’ll also be bemoaning the spare tyres and flabby bits that have accumulated during the winter. Hopefully, we’re wise enough by now to know that carrying too much weight isn’t good for our health whatever the time of year but also that dieting is a thoroughly miserable occupation.
One of the most interesting things I've noticed in all the time that I've been doing this job is how a dietary strategy targeted at supporting the digestive system so often helps people to get their weight problems sorted out. While the mainstream medical and dietetic establishment still follows the line that the only way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more (a tried and tested recommendation that has practical common sense and years of success behind it), unfortunately it doesn't work for every overweight person, especially if there are also hormonal (thyroid, menopausal etc.) problems, toxicity or genetic factors involved. Exercise is, of course, essential and should be a regular part of a healthy lifestyle. However, while reducing calories can be just the ticket for getting weight off the body, it's also the case that the weight often goes right back on once the diet is completed, even if exercise is continued. In cases of serious obesity, calorie cutting clearly has an important part to play but, generally, I'm not a fan of the so-called 'calorie-controlled diet' as a single route to weight loss because there are times, I think, when it can create more problems than it solves. For one thing, the body needs a certain number of calories (or, if you prefer, kilojoules) each day in order to obtain all the nourishment it needs to function properly. If calories are cut too far, or the diet restricted too often, then it's a no-brainer that vital nutrient levels are reduced as well, which means that the system is likely to suffer. Continual calorie restriction, frequent dieting or 'yo-yo' eating habits can lead to metabolic malfunction, digestive and bowel problems, and even borderline malnourishment. Less serious but nonetheless annoying and doing nothing for your self-esteem is the fact that long-term low calorie dieting can leave you with lank hair, brittle nails and a zit load of skin problems!
So here’s a totally different way to achieve a balanced bodyweight. I first developed the system in the 1980s when my husband was ill. I knew about food combining from reading the works of Dr Herbert Shelton and William Howard Hay but always thought there were far too many contradictions and, anyhow, it was way too complicated for every day use. There had been several other well known books on the subject before that but all were quite formidable and hardly suitable for busy people with little time to cook. So I made some simple amendments, introduced some brand new ideas and tried them out on the family. They were hugely successful. From there, I then began to introduce it into my nutrition practice. Again, mega success. Little by little the reputation spread and in 1992, the publisher of these books approached me and asked if I would be willing to put my ideas into a new book because they thought that readers might find them easier to understand and to follow. This became the bestselling paperback, The Food Combining Diet. Not a diet as such, not a regime and completely devoid of calorie counting. But an effective weight loss programme none-the-less. That book has now been expanded and updated to include recipes and information on a range of health conditions known to be helped by this method of eating and is called The Complete Book of Food Combining, published by Piatkus. If you're looking for things to eat to lose weight, then you've just found a tried and tested system that just happens to be one of the very best healthy eating plans ever. And this isn't one of those websites that makes you read pages and pages of stuff, talks it up, tells you nothing and then expects you to pay money to get the answer. Everything here is free and available to you right now. No charge. Start right away and see results. You’ll certainly notice quite quickly that waistbands and belts will be slacker. The kilos will disappear slowly – which is the best way if you don’t want them to creep back on again. If you follow these simple steps, you can become your own Weight Management Expert. Here’s how it works – and believe me, it does work. What's weird (and no-one seems to know why this happens) is that if you DON'T need to lose weight but just want to get healthy, you can follow the same diet with no ill effects and your weight will balance naturally.
By the way, I think I should, at this point though, warn you that my particular specialty in clinical practice has always been the digestive system so if words such as farting, bloating, belching, parasites or poo offend your sensibilities, then - please - proceed no further. On the other hand, if dodgy digestion, a temperamental bowel or resistant and persistent weight problems are your constant companions, then you could just have landed in the right place.
So here we go with how to begin:
Most of us are used to eating meat with potatoes, pasta with parmesan, chicken with mashed potato, ham or cheese in bread, fish and chips or rice cooked with all kinds of poultry or game, such as in paella. But it might surprise you to know that dense protein foods such as eggs, cheese, fish, meat and soya are not digested as efficiently if they’re eaten with carbohydrates (also called starches) such as potatoes, rice, pasta, bread and cereals. And vice versa. That’s because protein foods require an acidic stomach, whereas carbohydrates need just the opposite, at least for the first stages of digestion. This is not a new idea; it’s a fundamental teaching of all physiology textbooks. But because we’re so used to shoving all manner of mixtures into our mouths and expecting our poor old intestines to sort out the mess without complaint, most people don’t give any of this a second thought, unless or until their health starts to crack up or they put on weight and then perhaps they might begin to wonder if it was something they ate!
By avoiding the combination of certain food types which don't digest well when eaten together, it's very often the case that bodyweight normalises over time without the need for any severe calorie cutting. Weight trickles away more gently and slowly but, once the target is achieved, it tends to stay where it should AND is less likely to go back on. This may be helped by the fact that the system I use is based on eating healthily for the long term, as opposed to the type of dieting regimes that you 'go on' and then 'come off'. I'm not making any outrageous claims here and, for sure, it's important to understand that the same results don't apply to everyone, but these are just some of the benefits I've seen in many patients over many years. That's why I think that making these changes is SO worth the effort. The system I'm talking about is sometimes known as Food Combining although I often wonder if it might be best to re-name it 'Food Separation'.
I read an on-line comment recently written by someone who decided not to follow food combining principles on the basis that it 'puts huge restrictions on what you can eat'. This is so way off the mark and if that's what they think, then all I can say is that either they haven't actually tried it or they're not doing it right. My kind of food combining (I prefer to think of it as food separation) doesn't restrict what you eat, it simply suggests that you try different food combinations. Any change to your normal diet is going to require a little application and thought and determination but once you've grasped the basics, the system is really easy to follow. And if your health is suffering, perhaps because of a digestive problem or excess weight, then isn't it worth doing something about it?
If you're still not sure, think on this vital little fact: For every inch that your belly fat hangs over your waistband, your risk of heart attack jumps up a few more percentage points. And latest research also tells us that being overweight can contribute significantly to cancer risk, too.
There's plenty of empirical evidence that separating proteins from carbohydrates is an effective way to lose those persistent pounds! So why not try these ideas, below, and see how you get along?
Let’s say that you were going for chicken. Instead of serving with potato or rice, have it with two or more fresh vegetables or a side salad. And no sauces. If jacket potato is your fancy, don’t put cheese or tuna on it, have it with avocado salad or baked beans or hummus instead. Scrambled eggs are protein so forget the toast and serve with grilled tomatoes or mushrooms. Porridge? Oats are starchy and don’t mix well with milk so make with water and serve with honey and yoghurt. Love grilled bacon? Go for eggs, mushrooms or tomatoes but no hash, fried bread or toast with that bacon.
Sandwiches? Sorry, not so digestible with protein fillings so instead of the usual egg, tuna or cheese, try lettuce, avocado, tomato, cucumber, watercress and grated carrot. If you can’t live without the egg, tuna or cheese, then make them part of a salad instead of using bread. Hummus or avocado make great sandwich ‘spreads’.
Get the idea? Still a bit confused? There's no need to worry. All you have to do is:
START SLOWLY AND SIMPLY
To begin with, follow the diet for only one day each week. Whenever suits you. Then, as you feel more confident, up to 6 days each week at both lunch and evening meal. Take a day off, then begin again. Notice how much better you feel on these healthy eating days. You can’t do this without making some effort but honestly it really is worth it. To be successful, you need to remember only a few basic rules:
THE FIRST RULE – Always eat fruit on an empty stomach - or with plain yoghurt; that means before meals or between meals, but not as a dessert. Fruit needs fast access through the stomach. If you pile it on top of slow transit foods that need a lot of digesting, the fruit gets held up and ferments. Fruit travels well with yoghurt because yoghurt is also very easy to digest.
RULE 2– Don’t combine concentrated proteins with concentrated starches at the same meal. Use the boxes below to guide you.
RULE 3 – Check your existing diet for unhealthy habits. Watch your alcohol intake, avoid beer, spirits and fizzy drinks, and stick to a max of one glass of wine per day. Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners. Be sensible about fat, fatty foods, cakes, pastries and sweets. And drink more water.
RULE 4 – Portion sizes should be satisfying. Eat until you are comfortably full, not overloaded and stuffed!
RULE 5 - Take more exercise!
EXTRA NOTES WHICH MAY HELP YOU:
For the purposes of my style of food combining, PROTEINS INCLUDE:
Beef, Cheese, Chicken, Eggs, Fish, Game, Lamb, Pork, Quorn, Soya Milk, Soya Products, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Tofu (Beancurd) and Turkey
PROTEINS COMBINE WELL WITH:
Vegetables (but not potatoes, yams or corn)
Oils, butter, spreading fats & cream
Nuts & seeds
Herbs & simple dressings
BUT REMEMBER THAT, FOR SOME PEOPLE, PROTEINS DON’T DIGEST WELL IF THEY ARE MIXED WITH STARCHES
For the purposes of my style of food combining, STARCHES INCLUDE:
Potatoes, sweet potatoes & yams, Corn, Hummus (made from chick peas), Barley, Biscuits, Bread, Buckwheat, Bulgur, Ciabatta, Couscous, Crackers, Kamut, Matzos, Millet, Oats, Oat biscuits, Pitta, Pumpernickel, Quinoa, Rice, Rye, Ryvita, Semolina, Spelt, Wheat and Wild rice.
STARCHES COMBINE WELL WITH:
Oils, butter, spreading fats & cream
Nuts & seeds
Herbs & dressings
BUT KEEP IN MIND THAT STARCHES DON’T ALWAYS DIGEST WELL IF COMBINED WITH PROTEINS
Why not try the system I've described above and see if it helps you? By the way, it also works really well for all kinds of digestive disturbance including irritable bowel, acid reflux, gas, wind pain, bloating and constipation.
Here's wishing you the best of better health.
© Kathryn Marsden 2000/2002/2005/2007/2008/2010
Important note: There are lots and lots of different books and articles available on the subject of food combinations. I use and write about the method that I first introduced into my own nutrition practice in the late 1980s and first wrote about in published form in The Food Combining Diet in 1992. I follow it because it works for me and my family and has shown itself to be very effective in practice. This does not mean that I think other food combining methods are ineffective or a waste of time. On the contrary, what suits one person may not suit another and vice versa. I believe it's important to keep an open mind and try all kinds of healthy eating programmes to find which one suits you the best.
The Complete Book of Food Combining by Kathryn Marsden is published by Piatkus, available from bookshops and online sellers including www.amazon.co.uk
Kathryn's views are completely independent. She is not employed by any pharmaceutical company, supplement supplier or food producer nor is she persuaded in any way, financially or otherwise, to recommend particular products or services.