As I ran this morning, I was listening to sermons on my MP3 player. A phrase caught my attention, “We are all evangelists about something.” He gave several examples - some people get excited about a sports team, and tell everyone about it. Some people get excited about a new exercise program, and they tell all of their friends how this new video or that new gym is better than anything they have ever done before. Some people are passionate about politics.
He said that he had always grilled on a gas grill, but someone told him about the Big Green Egg. Now he engages everyone in conversations about the superiority of the Big Green Egg. I had never heard of a Big Green Egg, but his enthusiasm, made me look it up online. It ought to be good, because it sure is expensive.
I find that I am a BTD evangelist. In conversations it is natural and easy to talk about the BTD. Someone says they are worried about their cholesterol - I tell them how my husband and I both lowered our cholesterol by eating very different diets. Someone tells me they have indigestion - I tell them how I found the BTD. Someone tells me they know they need to exercise but they don’t like running - I ask them what their Blood Type is. Someone on facebook posts in the middle of the night that they can’t sleep. The next morning I post my favorite calcium/magnesium supplement on her wall.
Our Strong Son brought a young lady to meet us, and we went for a picnic. As I was unpacking the basket, I said, “Did he tell you that I eat weird?” They both laughed and SS said, “I told her that you would ask what her blood type is.” I said, “So what IS your blood type?” She said that she didn’t know. My family knows that I can’t keep quiet about the BTD.
The point of the sermon was that while Christian people will tell others about all sorts of things that they are interested in, for some reason they keep quiet about their love for Jesus. So as I am running, I start evaluating myself, and my conversations about the things I care most about.
In this life - physically, here and now - to feel your best you need the BTD. It’s more than a diet - it is a lifestyle that includes eating, exercising, supplements, and stress reduction. I’ve experienced it, I believe in it, and I recommend it.
But the BTD cannot give meaning to your life. It cannot give you the promise of heaven. It cannot offer fellowship with God here on earth. Jesus is the only one who can do all of that. I’ve experienced him, I believe in him, and I recommend him to you.
Tuesday night I wanted dessert. I had eaten well all day, so I can’t say I was hungry. But after dinner as I was working on pictures, I wished for something cold and sweet.
Since I don’t keep avoids in my house, and we live 20 minutes from town, my choices were limited. I roamed around the kitchen thinking that I would have to make do with a LaCroix.
Then, in the back of the freezer I saw a bag of frozen mango. I put some in a bowl, and let it partially thaw - it was still frozen, but not hard. I ate it with a spoon. YUM! Cold, sweet, delicious. It satisfied my craving, and it was 100% beneficial.
We have had two groups of teenagers staying at our house for a church retreat the past two weeks. Did it throw us a little off of our retirement schedule - of course. Does the house seem empty today, and do we wish we had them back - absolutely yes!
I agreed to provide breakfast every morning. Their leaders bought food for lunch and dinner. The kids made their own sandwiches for lunch. I helped the sponsors prepare dinner. I haven’t done much baking since my children grew up, so I was excited to pull out our family’s favorite bread and muffin recipes. The first morning I made carrot bread - they barely touched it. The second morning I made cranberry crunch - they were suspicious of cranberries. The third morning I had planned to make pecan muffins, but I wavered. Pecans are expensive and pecan muffins are time consuming. Did I want to spend extra time and money on something the kids would not eat? No, I did not. So I bought 88 cent packages of refined blueberry muffin mix. The directions said just add water. Easy and fast! Every muffin vanished, and the kids said, “Mrs. Graham, those were delicious.”
For dinner, they basically had starch and cheese. One night we grilled burgers. We had lettuce, tomato, and avocado for toppings. The adults ate the vegetables; the kids ate burgers, buns, cheese, and chips. One night we had taco fixings, so the kids could make tacos or taco salads. The most popular dinner was to crush the taco shells and make nachos out of chips, beans, and cheese. The third night was pizza. Pepperoni was the most popular; supreme (with vegetable toppings) was the least popular.
The kids did love watermelon, and ate as much of that as we could cut.
Let me be real clear - I am not going to be critical of the kids or their parents. I was an extremely picky eater as a child. My parents were frustrated that I refused to eat anything except meat, fruit, bread, potatoes, and dessert. It would be highly hypocritical if I made disparaging remarks about our guests. However, from a nutritional and BTD standpoint, I am concerned about the future of this generation.
Statistically 43% of these kids are Type Os - yet they only ate meat one night that they were here. Statistically 40% are Type As. They can tolerate more grain than the Os, but also need lots of fruits and vegetables. Statistically, 12% are Type Bs - They are more likely to flourish on milk products, but all of the kids craved cheese for both lunch and dinner.
When I was a teen, I was an anomaly. All of my friends ate vegetables. They ate lettuce and tomato on their hamburgers. I was the one who got funny looks at restaurants and frowns for not eating green beans when I was a guest at a friend’s house. Forcing me to eat was a complete failure.
The media periodically runs a story about a school district that passes a law decreeing that schools will serve vegetables for lunch. Follow up reports say that those vegetables are mostly thrown in the trash. So coercion is no more successful with today’s kids than it was with me.
I made my own choice to change my diet when I was in college, to the shock and delight of my parents. I hope these kids will eventually do the same. Otherwise I fear that they will face a lifetime of weight, vision, joint, inflammation, and other health problems.
With my own children, I was continuously cutting deals - “if you eat this, then you get to eat that.” They cooperated. It helped that I was an at home mom who liked to cook and experiment in the kitchen. My heart goes out to single moms who try to juggle jobs and after school activities and chores at home. There is no time to cook. Fast food and frozen dinners are so easy and so tempting.
I started this blog with great passion, but I’m ending a little flat, because I don’t know the answer. The best I can do is point to a few communities, like Denver, Seattle, Austin, Charleston, and San Francisco, where for some reason the culture shifted, outdoor exercise became popular, fast food chains were snubbed, and health became important. Positive peer pressure would be the best way to change what today’s kids eat.
In the little Blood Type A book, Dr. D wrote that a Type As exercise regimen should be made up of calming centering exercises. In the little Blood Type O book, he says that a Type Os exercise regimen should be intense physical exercise.
When I first started the BTD, these two statements stood out to me because they were true in my family. My Strong Son and I, both Type Os, loved long runs, bicycling, swimming, and other kinds of aerobic exercise. My Honorable Husband and Darling Daughter, both Type As, preferred brisk walks and less stressful exercise. My daughter was a twirler at her school. She was very flexible and enjoyed dance as a form of exercise.
Seeing that we naturally gravitated to the forms of exercise that Dr. D said were best for us, confirmed the truth of his research to me.
However the summer after DD’s junior year in high school, she developed an exercise and eating disorder. She became obsessed with aerobic exercise. She ran long distances, worked hard on treadmill and elliptical machines, pushed her body every day to exercise more intensely.
Part of her recovery was being accountable to limit her exercise to 45 minutes a day. Emotionally that was difficult for her. She would say things like, “I can do 10 minutes of warm up before the 45 minutes and 10 minutes of cool down after, right?” Or, “I can do situps while I watch TV. That won’t count against my 45 minutes.”
When I reminded her of Dr. D’s Type A guidelines, she would either say that she didn’t think he was right or that he might be right for some Type As, but not for her. We negotiated constantly, and she drove a hard bargain.
She did recover, and after going more than three years without a period, her hormones begin to work again. We were so thankful for God’s healing - but those are all topics of other blogs from years past. She persisted in liking intense exercise. Though she was no longer obsessive, she still pushed her body beyond what I thought was advisable for a Type A.
Then she became pregnant. Her first trimester she didn’t feel like exercising. In her second trimester she was so excited to exercise again - until the night that she overdid it and started spotting. She and her husband were scared, but again God blessed them and the spotting stopped. However, they both knew that there would be no more intense exercise during the pregnancy.
She walked a lot. She kept the intensity way down on the treadmill and elliptical. She modified when she used her collection of aerobic exercise videos. And she did lots of leg lifts when she watched movies on TV.
And to her surprise, her body loved the lower intensity exercise. Her muscle tone actually improved while she was pregnant. The baby is now 3 months old, and because she is nursing and eating right, she has lost all of her pregnancy weight. She told me sheepishly the other day that she is in better shape than she was during the years when she was pushing herself with intense exercise.
She finished by saying, “I think Dr. D is right after all. My body does respond better when I do serious, but less stressful exercise.”
For the most part I can do without the little graphics that have become popular on facebook. I would rather read what my friends write in their own words than see a graphic designed by a marketer who is paid to influence my opinion.
However, the designers of Dr. D's newsletter have put up two graphics recently that have fascinated me. I saved them because they have valuable information in a quick to absorb format. Here they are. Does the same thing jump out at you that jumped out at me?
For Type O me, there are two foods that overlap - top 5 for both energy and brain. They are seaweed and blueberries.
For the Type As in my family, there are also two foods that overlap - kale and cherries.
I buy fresh cherries every time they are on sale. Competition from Chili for domestic cherry growers has caused cherry prices to drop at a time when the prices for most produce is going through the roof. When I can't find fresh cherries, I can always find frozen cherries at Sams Club. So my Honorable Husband gets cherries often.
He does not particularly like kale. If I cook it, I invariably wind up eating it all. However, I've seen baby kale in the organic salad section of the grocery store. I think I could sneak this raw, tender kale into his salads. I'm thinking that it will be pricy, but probably worth it for a food that will boost both his brain and his energy.
We both eat blueberries often. They are in my breakfast at least two days a week. Seaweed however I have neglected. I have sushi nori papers in my cabinet that I use to make wraps. They are great for a picnic, but if I'm at home I usually make a bowl with meat and several vegetables instead.
I also have some seaweed flakes that, after they are soaked in water, make a fair substitute for noodles. They don't have much taste by themselves, but if I mix them with a sauce or some spices, they are ok. However there are almost always several leftover vegetables in the refrigerator, so I forget about the seaweed in the pantry.
Knowing that seaweed is not just beneficial, but top 5 for two important aspects of my health motivates me to eat more wraps, and mix a few seaweed flakes in with the vegetables in my bowls.
So spare me from political graphics, but keep the nutritional graphics coming. They are a good way to remind me of super beneficials.
Tonight starts the Jewish holiday of Shavous, which commemorates the time when G-d spoke to the Jewish People at Mount Sinai and gave us the Torah. This is when the Jewish people were first commanded to keep kosher, and dairy foods were quicker to prepare than meat in those days. So, it’s become a custom to eat dairy foods for this holiday.
Cheesecake is a common Shavous food, and in the past we’ve baked it in such huge quantities that one of my kids dubbed it “the cheesecake holiday.” In the past, I’ve experimented with making healthier cheesecakes for myself. I’d use goat cheese and agave instead of cream cheese and white sugar. The end result is usually that I end up over-eating “my special cheesecake” because nobody else really wants it when there’s “traditional cheesecake” available. And I don’t do all THAT well on goat cheese or too many sugars anyway- even sugar from compliant sources such as agave. Plus, these ingredients are much more expensive than the traditional ingredients, and normally I consume these special foods in much smaller quantities.
So, this year we’re trying something different. We baked two large cheesecakes; one plain and one chocolate. Both are made with real cream cheese, sour cream, and white sugar. The chocolate one also has a small amount of cow’s milk added. Both are also made with rice flour rather than spelt flour, so they’re basically safe for me. Not 100% compliant, but free from my worst avoids. I’m hoping that I’m better able to “have a taste of each one and then stop” since they’re not baked special for me. I suspect that I’ll react as well to a tiny amount of cow’s milk as I will to a larger amount of goat cheese.
We also got the first CSA box of the year today! I just ate a salad of locally grown, organic greens. I plan to have a lot more salads over the next few days.
For the longest time I have been avoiding beans other than green beans because most are bad for me as an O Blood Type. Recently, my wife asked me about Pinto Beans while we were at Chipotles.
Since I have my SWAMI report on my phone, I looked it up and what do you know… Pinto Beans are a neutral for me. Since I trust the SWAMI software and realize that as an individual certain foods might not be good for me even thought SWAMI says its ok I gave it a shot. I didn’t have any awful reaction but I did get gas. ( It wasn’t stinky ;-) .) I didn’t have any other particular digestive issues associated with the Pinto beans so I guess adding the Pinto Beans back into my diet might be alright. They are a good source of protein and add bulk to Chipotle bowl that I’m paying for anyway.
Revisit your particular SWAMI or Blood Type Diet every once in a while and you might be surprised at what you are allowed.
I don’t know why I never tried Greek yogurt before now. I’d seen it in the shops but didn’t ever have the desire to try it. I thought maybe it was just a new fad, a new way to sell yogurt. But last month while on vacation the “cleanest” yogurt I could find at the local Winn Dixie was a Greek style yogurt. Wow, what a revelation! I was so amazed at how creamy it was and how satisfied I felt after eating it. When I came back from my trip to Florida I did a little research and here’s what I found out.
Greek yogurt has more protein, thus explaining the satisfying feeling after eating. It is strained three times removing more of the whey, which gives it the creamy texture that knocked my socks off. Regular yogurt is usually strained twice. It has fewer carbohydrates, about half the sodium, but higher fat content so you’ll want to purchase the low fat versions. But what I like the best of all is that you can cook with it, so far I’ve made a creamy spelt pasta dish, a grilled veggie dip, and a lovely sweet potato salad using Greek yogurt. I’ve tried using regular yogurt in these types of dishes in the past and I never liked how they turned out. The Greek style has really changed my mind on what I can do with yogurt. For those of you that bake, I’ve read that it’s also great in baked goods.
So if your blood type or Swami list allows you to eat yogurt I highly recommend you give it a try. You just might love it. It’s always nice to find a new way to make your food more interesting and varied. And Greek yogurt has really made my summer. And I owe it all to a chance trip to the grocery store far from home.
As some of you know I’ve been in a battle against Lyme disease for the past four years. Lately, I’ve been starting to feel like I’m winning. My health has improved so much this last year that I’m actually hopeful of a full recovery. Our health can be such a fragile thing, I’m really glad that while I had good health I thoroughly enjoyed my body. I took it hiking, kayaking, water skiing, and cycling to name a few of my favorite sports. Recently I’ve been able to start swimming again and last week I went on a 2.3 mile walk. Small things compared to what I used to be able to do. But to someone like me who enjoys the outdoors so much, it’s huge.