Recently I wrote a review of the book listed above.  I won’t go into my impressions of the book as
a whole.  I just wanted to talk about the
author’s bizarre diet.

She’s a proponent of “food combining,” which means certain
foods should only be combined with certain other foods, but never with the
foods with which they should not be combined. 
If you think that sentence was confusing, look at the chart.

Now, the way the author explained it, you eat protein for
breakfast and lunch, and carbs for dinner. 
Ok, so far it sounds like Slim Fast plus Lean Cuisine.  But apparently it is much more
complicated.  You can’t eat sweet fruits
with acid fruits, but sub-acid fruits are ok. 
Melons are so volatile they get a category of their own.  So much for scooping cottage cheese from the
cantaloupe half.  It seems lettuce and
celery can be combined with just about anything, but heaven help you if you put
tomatoes on your salad.

The chief celebrity proponent of the food combining diet is
Suzanne Somers, famous for her role as the iconic Dumb Blond in the 70’s sitcom
“Three’s Company.”  The show ended some
25 or so years ago, and Somers has been making a steady living as a Hollywood
Has-Been ever since.  She specializes in
helping American women obsess over the inadequate quality of their body parts.

Two words: Thigh Master.

Like all diets with web sites and books, this one has
assorted medical professionals and scientists (who presumably were not trained
by the Kansas State Board of Education, but who knows?) that attest to the
validity of the principles espoused. 
Since all the diets have principles which conflict with the principles
of other diets, one can only conclude that one ought not to combine diets.  Or combine scientists.  Send ‘em all to Kansas.

The scientists defending this diet explain that because of
the way human digestion works with enzymes and hormones and stuff, if you eat
the wrong things together you get all mixed up and don’t digest it
properly.  This somehow results in
American humans being, on average, the size of whales, who sensibly never
combine pasta with their seafood.

For reasons not explained by the scientists, this principle
does not affect the Japanese, who have been combining rice (starch!) and fish
(protein!) for centuries.  Nor does it
seem to bother the Italians who recklessly top their spaghetti with
marinara.  Perhaps Ameicans have
particularly sensitive enzymes. 

Well enough of that. 
I’ve got to go pack the kids’ school lunches.  Alas, the chart does not address the question
of peanut butter and jelly.


26 thoughts on “

  1. I actually think there’s something to this.  I remember reading about it; how we shouldn’t eat meat with potatoes because the body uses different enzymes, which are mutually exclusive, for each.  The potato gets digested first, and the meat has to wait.  And because it takes longer anyway, it can be sitting in your gut, rotting for three days before your body gets around to doing anything with it. I actually started eating my food separately because of this.  That diet was short-lived, as might imagine.  Didn’t Ms. Somers beat breast cancer using diet and herbs instead of chemo?

  2. I’m laughing at the grammar errors in that chart. How can something be “combined alone”?And how about some subject/verb agreement: “Vegetables combines well with most foods” and “Melons–does not combine”.I can’t see living a normal life and following a diet like that. Can you imagine being a guest at a dinner party, and saying, “I can’t eat the shrimp scampi, because it combines protein and starch.”

  3. Sounds a bit ridiculous.  And as you’ve said, it excludes the eating habits of Japanese, Italians and the French…and they all manage to be skinnier, on average, than Americans.  My cousins in Rome eat pasta at least once day, complete with marinara (or alfredo, or pesto, whatever they feel like), and they’re in far better shape than myself and my parents.

  4. It must be some sort of mistake, but your chart left out cheeseburgers, french fries, cherry streudal and ice cold coca cola. Maybe they’ll be on the revised edition. Regards…

  5. A new variation on an old diet idea?  This sounds much like “The Beverly Hills Diet” that was so popular in the ’80’s.  Except it didn’t allow you to combine anything with anything.  No cross-enzyming allowed.  What a PITA, especially right before Thanksgiving dinner. 

  6. Here’s the only diet that works: Eat less, exercise more. I’d write a book, but four words covers it all nicely. But, what the hell do I know? I’m no ex-sitcom star.

  7. I’ve decided to start my own diet plan.  It’s called “The Beverly Hillbillies Diet.”  All you’re allowed to eat is possum, and you have to either shoot it yourself or hit it with your car.

  8. You can have protien with salad or starches with the salad. But not protein and starch. So you can have meat on your salad but not croutons or vice-versa.
    It sounds almost like the reverse of the fit for life diet that was popular back in the mid to late 80’s.

  9. Oh shit…on this LA weight loss thing, I’ve been combining all sorts of fruits. I think suicide is the only answer. By the way…on the chart it says “Melons: best combined alone”  Isn’t combined/alone an oxymoron?

  10. I just finished reading your novel. I thought it was so good! Honestly, I’ve paid money for reading that was less entertaining. I loved the lighthearted writing you did. It was fun.
    However, as you know I printed it out and the other night I took it home intending to read it. But there was a NetFlix DVD that I watched instead. So later, my son picked it up and read, “Transvestite Rabbit Writes a Novel.” He said, “Mom, WHAT have you been reading lately?”

  11. argh! i hate all those fad-diets.  there are so many and people don’t seem to want to know that they just don’t work.  you cannot live on these for the rest of your life – use it as a springboard to better health, but don’t expect miracles, because they ultimately don’t work.  i’m with toddbert above – eat less, exercise more, but allow yourself to indulge occasionally.  food should be fun and enjoyable, not something to be avoided and feared.

  12. I’ve read about the food combining principle.  There’s some good science behind it.  I tried to do it, but couldn’t make it work, if only because others in the household would not cooperate.  Now that I’m on my own again, I may have to look into it.  The difficult part, aesthetically and practically, is that it makes food a lot of work, so much thought going in to what to eat when and with what other foods.  I imagine once you got the hang of it, it would become second nature.  I dunno.  But I have time, so I’ll look at the info again

  13. I’m sure you can lose weight with food combining.  I know people who’ve done it.  Or by eating all protein all the time (clog your arteries, but lose weight, right?).  Or by eating grapefruits all day.  But I am generally skeptical of “diets.”  Americans are overweight b/c we eat too much and don’t excercise enough.  It’s pretty simple really.

  14. The only jelly that goes well with peanut butter according to this diet would be the clear stuff that surrounded the pseudo-meat in a can of Spam.
    I mix all of my acid fruits, semi-acid fruits, veggies and such all the darn time. I’m still 6′ 3″ and about 167 lbs. Seems I couldn’t get fat if I drank the fry grease that McDonald’s throws away every three months or so. It’s not what you eat with what, it’s what you eat. Junk science is pretty much worthless, and this diet is full of junk science.
    Or as Kip Adotta (an 80’s icon) used to say, “this hole here (points to mouth) is much BIGGER than this hole back here” (points to ass). I guess that means that until you can shit as much as you eat, you will gain weight.

  15. *blinks* I don’t think it’s possible to follow such a diet.  I’ve been mixing all these categories together ever since I could open the refrigerator door, and I haven’t died yet, so I guess it doesn’t matter if I follow the chart or not.
    As for the PB&J, I think you’re supposed to look at the nutrition label and the ingredients lists of the PB and J and place the things in their proper categories from their raw materials.  Then, you factor in preservatives, food colouring, and throw away all your mental charting and calculations and just give the kids some PB&J.
    The more pressing problem, though, is how you’re going to incorporate food combinations with your Thanksgiving dinner.

  16. I still have two thigh masters.  LOL  And she sponsored the concept of the grapefruit diet, the eating of certain foods like sunflower seeds before others.  Ah…our wonderful diet gurus…..somebody send me a dance tape!

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