For those of you who don’t know (and there can’t be many now), I follow the food combining diet. I do this for four big reasons: for pain-free and efficient digestion, to keep my weight consistently down, to boost my immune system, and to keep me looking (relatively!) young and healthy. And all that means plenty of energy, too. Personally, I don’t think you can beat it.
Briefly, the diet is based on not mixing foods that fight. In other words keeping mainly carbohydrate and mainly protein foods separate, eating fruit on its own, eating a “neutral” alkaline meal every day, avoiding processed food and drink where possible, and drinking at least two litres of water daily.
Sound complicated? Restrictive? Hard to maintain? Not at all, it just takes a bit of practice. Difficult to eat out, though? Again, no. And, in an effort to prove it, my intrepid companion and I went to the same restaurant over the course of a few days for lunch and dinner to show that menus can be as flexible to the discerning diner as they are tasty.
So, a few Saturdays ago we headed for 45 Jermyn Street, just off Piccadilly. And, as we both love beetroot, we started with a “neutral” red salad with baby beets and balsamic dressing.
The beauty of this dish means not only did we pack in some of our “five a day” but we could also choose either a carb or protein dish to follow it, as it combines well with both. The menu also offered salmon, squid, crab, vegetables, lobster or snails, so we didn’t choose a salad because there were few other options.
For the main course, we also both went for roasted aubergine with wilted Treviso and goat’s cheese, plus a side dish of autumn greens, including cabbage and kale.
So a wide range of vegetables and leafy greens, plus protein in the form of cheese. No potatoes, pasta, rice or quinoa in sight – and no need, as the dishes were filling and tasty. And there were other meat, fish and vegetarian options that were also carb-free, such as chicken with greens and ceps, as well as carb mains without protein, such as tagliatelle or pumpkin risotto.
Being a food combiner also doesn’t mean you have to avoid alcohol. A glass of Ruinart Rose mixed wonderfully with the aubergine. And the ever-present bottle of sparkling mineral water on the table means that fluids and clarity are maintained between courses!
Back for dinner a few days later, and we both went for proteins again but there were plenty of delicious carb options. I started with smoked salmon, minus the soda bread, then a superb coq au vin with generous side dishes of cauliflower cheese and autumn greens, which we shared.
My companion went for the chicory, shaved fennel and blue Vinney cheese salad, followed by the roasted aubergine again, as he enjoyed it so much first time.
This was accompanied by a fantastic Saint-Aubin burgundy, and we shared a treat (yes, even food combiners have them) in the form of a float: strawberry, neroli and orange blossom syrup, cognac, soda and peanut butter ice cream. A little bit of what you fancy does you good. Just a little…
And in Art Deco surroundings as tasteful as 45s, lunch or dinner is also an elegant and fulfilling experience in ambience and presentation, as much as it is in eating well – and in knowing that you can eat healthily.