Making Hay


Redmond Cabot

The Hay diet, a food-combining dietary system, is a way of eating your meals designed by William Hay. The basic premise is that foods can be sorted according to their PH value, with foods classified into one of three groups, ‘alkaline’, ‘acidic’ or ‘neutral’. Quite simply, according to Hay, acidic foods should not be combined with alkaline ones.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Hay, a New York physician, was diagnosed with a serious heart complaint and ‘Bright’s condition’, a form of kidney disease. Through his own studies and holistic approach he cured himself and then his condition disappeared.
He adhered to five principles: 1, starchy foods and carbohydrates should not be eaten with proteins or acids in the same meal; 2, wholegrain, unrefined carbohydrates should be used instead of refined, processed foods (white flour, white sugar); 3, there should be an interval of four to five hours should be between meals; 4, proteins and fats, starchy foods and sugars should be eaten in small amounts only; 5, fruit, vegetables and salad foods should be prioritised.
Regardless of its merits as a curative diet, it certainly creates a new avenue for exploring different dishes, often generating interesting combinations, but a way perhaps of learning something new. It’s also a process of throwing up new combinations for your recipe store: Celery and garden peas cooked with cinnamon and cloves, fennel with green pepper, almond potatoes, spinach and nutmeg puree, carrot and lemon sauce, cheesy stuffed apples, coriander and lemon rice balls.
It makes for interesting reading. Food for thought. Here are three recipes that Hay would not disapprove of.

Walnut, raisin and banana couscous
(Starch dish)

What you need

  • 175g couscous
  • 75g raisins
  • 1 x tsp each finely grated orange and lemon rind
  • 1-2 bananas
  • 75g walnuts roughly chopped
  • Sunflower oil

What you do
Combine the couscous and raisins in a bowl, add the required boiling water (it varies according to the couscous brand, so check the pack) and leave to soak in. Mix the oil and grated rinds and 75ml water and pour over couscous mix, let stand to cool and soak in. Just before serving add in sliced banana and walnuts.

Coriander and lemon rice balls
(Starch dish)
What you need

  • 225g wholegrain rice
  • 225g carrots finely grated
  • 2 tsps lemon rind grated
  • Good bunch fresh coriander chopped
  • 175g hazelnuts ground
  • 225g onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 veg stock cube
  • 1 ½ tbsps tamari sauce (you can use soy or shoyu)
  • Olive or sunflower oil, Seasoning

What you do
Cook your rice, then combine with the carrot, lemon rind, coriander, nuts and tamari sauce in a bowl. In a frying pan with oil, cook the onion until soft, combine with the bowl mix and add in the stock cube. Shape into balls and place on a lightly greased baking tray or sheet for 20 to 30 minutes in 190ºc oven, until golden.

Cheese and cashew sauce

(Protein dish)
What you need

  • 25g butter
  • 100g cashews ground
  • 4 x bay leaves
  • ½ x tsp. paprika
  • 275 ml milk and 275ml water mixed
  • 75g cheddar grated
  • Seasoning

What you do
Melt the butter over heat and add your bay leaves. Stir in ground almonds to make a ‘roux’. Add the paprika, and add in the diluted milk steadily while stirring all the time. With the heat and action, the sauce will thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar, and season. Heat throughout again. Serve with protein-rich foods or as a vegetable topping.

Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.

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