What is the Hay Diet?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 17 May 2019
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The Hay diet is a diet plan named for Doctor William Howard Hay (1866-1940), who was a physician in New York. The plan Hay created requires dieters to avoid eating both proteins and starches in one meal. This approach is said to not only help a dieter lose weight, but also achieve better health.

Dr. Hay developed his special diet as an attempt to stay alive after he was diagnosed with a kidney-related condition, high blood pressure, and dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a heart condition marked by the heart's difficulty pumping blood. The diet he created for himself included lots of vegetables and healthier eating habits. Hay’s new eating plan was successful. He lost weight and experienced a reduction of symptoms. Eventually, he went on to perform further research and create a dietary system he believed could help treat medical conditions and allow patients to enjoy better overall health.

At the root of the Hay diet is the idea that certain diseases and medical conditions develop because the chemicals in a person’s body are poorly balanced. Hay believed that the chemical imbalance was caused by acidic substances the body created during digestion and metabolism but was unable to eliminate. He felt that this created a deficit of necessary alkaline substances, leading to health problems. Alkaline substances have a pH above seven.


To put an end to the body’s accumulation of acidic substances, referred to as acid-end products, Hay asserted that a dieter could stop overeating meat and refined carbohydrates, stop combing incompatible foods, and avoid constipation. The Hay diet once called for daily enemas, which are now excluded from its modern version.

The Hay diet separates foods into categories. The proteins and starches have their own categories, and there’s even one for neutral foods. The diet system includes detailed rules regarding which foods can be combined with others. Protein foods, such as meat and eggs can be combined with low-starch or no-starch vegetables. Sweet fruits, on the other hand, can be combined with nuts and seeds; fruits and vegetables are the mainstays of this diet system.

There are modern versions of the Hay diet that may include slightly different rules and food combinations. A person interested in following this diet plan may need to figure out his own portion sizes in order to maximize weight loss, as the diet doesn’t specify serving sizes. He may also do well to consult a doctor for treatment of serious medical conditions, as this diet shouldn't be considered a substitute for medical care.



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Post 1

Computers not my first language, as for the school kids of today. However, I’ve been an avid follower of the hay way for some 40 years, and have gone from an obese whisky drinker to now a tea-totaling non-smoker. I drink half a dozen skim milk with frozen peach tea drinks at the end of the day. It keeps me in tune with the workers on the job and good as a much younger person.

It is slow to learn, but the Hay Way, as I learned it, goes like this: First, do not mix starch and protein, or starch and acids in food or drinks at any one meal. It’s so easy when you know how, but quite hard

until you do.

Think of a delicious meat pie. Usually the pastry is basically starchy stuff and usually the filling is meat. So, you eat the meat at one sitting and pastry at another. That’s a big improvement on your digestive ability. You’ll notice the difference. You’ll have less, or even no heartburn.

Unfortunately the multimillion pie machines put milk and similar proteins in the pastry, (making it yummy), and the meat is expensive so it thickens up nicely with lots of starchy wheat products. So you need to make your own pies.

No milk in the pastry and no flour in the meats. Pies very occasionally is better.

Proteins: meat, eggs, fish, cheese, most nuts (not cashews). Starches: potatoes and root veggies that looks the same, sugar peas. Neutrals: almost all green vegetables (except peas). Neutrals will mix with anything. Acids: most fruits, certainly all the citrus.

There are so many things that don’t mix, but don’t worry -- plenty do. For example, acids do mix with proteins and

starches do mix with neutrals. Lesson no. 1: do not eat fruit, but let me finish. Do not eat fruit, except on an empty stomach.

Some sinful stuff we love to do, like eating a roast dinner, muesli bacon and eggs on toast, porridge and milk, corn flakes and fruit and milk. All this good stuff the mixing makes it sell. The unmixing makes it digestible.

My understanding is that Dr. William Howard Hay, was in fact, a chemist prior to becoming a doctor, and in the times of my childhood the chemist was the bloke who mixed up the potions that he sold.

It was this knowledge that led him to overcome his own semi terminal illness and then to open a few sanatoriums for better health.

Too much talk, but every person who has taken on learning the Hay Way has had significant improvements that I am aware of, and it’s all for free.

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