Archives for: September 2005
My husband and daughter have been very patient for the past week. I could not eat, so I did not cook. Part of the reason was psychological - I had no interest in planning meals when I couldn't enjoy them. Part of the reason was physical - I didn't have the energy to be on my feet in the kitchen.
My family didn't starve. They ate out some. I fixed soup, salad, and other simple meals. Both my As like raw vegetables. Chopping carrots, cucumbers, celery, and broccoli sticks was easy for me and healthy for them. My daughter helped out a lot.
Breakfast, especially, became pretty boring and routine. One night I had a burst of energy and made peach muffins. My daughter walked through the kitchen, smelled them baking and said, "You made me muffins!" There was no mistaking the joy in her voice.
I stumbled across one meal preparation shortcut that will become part of my repertoire.
Yesterday I dramatically increased the complexity and variety of foods I was eating. I bought a salmon filet for dinner. I had a meeting that would keep me away from home right as I should have been cooking. I left the vegetables for my daughter to prepare. I put the salmon in a glass baking dish with a lid and left it in the oven on a timer.
The best salmon is when I smoke it in the back yard. This was a close second. Being covered, the salmon didn't seem to dry out the way it often does when I just bake it in the oven. It was very moist and tender. I didn't use any seasoning at all, yet it was very flavorful.
Last winter there was a thread on the Forum about what to eat if you had an intestinal virus. I didn't participate, because since I had been on the Blood Type Diet I hadn't had any problems with unhappy intestines. Now I suddenly I have quite a bit of experience, so I feel qualified to write about the issue.
I came home from with from the hospital with two problems. First my intestines were completely out of whack. How shall I say this delicately? If anything went in one end, within 30 minutes an equal amount came gushing out the other.
Second I was on two antibiotics. Both of them had the potential side effect of upsetting my stomach. (No, that is not a joke) I was told to take one with lots of water and the other one with lots of crackers. I wasn't happy about the antibiotics, but remember, something inside of me had snipped that shouldn't have been snipped. For two weeks I am at risk for infection or ulceration at the site.
I thought a lot about what to eat. I remembered that when my children were little the recommended diet for upset stomachs was the BRAT diet - bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. It is a binding diet. If you're not familiar with that term, it was best explained in an article I once read about apples. Apples promote intestinal balance. If you are constipated apples will get things moving. If you have diarrhea, apples will slow things down. All of the foods on the BRAT diet are easy to digest and binding.
Toast was out. Manna bread would have been ok, but I didn't have any. Ezekiel bread was to coarse for a digestive system as damaged as mine. Bananas I had on hand, as well as apples and rice crackers.
The first order of business was to take the antibiotic that called for crackers. I remembered reading on this website that the butyrate in ghee was good for intestinal health. I put ghee on two rice crackers. The ghee tasted and felt wonderful.
The article about apples that I mentioned earlier, had said that instead of eating commercial applesauce to make your own raw applesauce. You peel and grate a raw apple, then leave it exposed to air until it turns an unappetizing brown. Then eat it. I had tried this successfully several times before the BTD for intestinal viruses. I hoped it would work as well this time, and it did.
I had read an article that said very soft cooked carrots were also binding. They were delicious with ghee.
By Saturday it was obvious that the binding foods were working, but I was eating a lot of fruit and grain. I needed to get some protein. I had cans of chicken and beef broth as well as a chicken and rice soup that contained no MSG. They were good, but seemed very salty. I wished I had saved some left over broth in zip bags in the freezer.
Still searching for protein, I mixed egg white powder with cherry and pineapple juice. The first time I did this I made it in a container with a straw like spout. I found myself drinking as greedily as a hungry baby. The next stage was scrambled eggs. Yum
Sunday I was continuing to improve. I desperately wanted meat, but every instinct warned me it was too heavy and too hard to digest. I thought of baby food, and went to the store. I bought pure vegetables - sweet potatoes, peas, and squash. I read the label on the meat and my face fell - cornstarch. It was a minor ingredient, just an additive to make the meat look tasty. I weighed the pros and cons, and bought baby beef, veal and lamb. The first bite gave me strength.
If a family member were ill, I could make my own baby food - cooking the foods soft, running them through the food processor, and straining them. But I was still low on energy. Standing to cook was an oppressive thought.
Today I am ready to move away from the baby food. Canned salmon with olive oil is on my lunch menu, and I am looking forward to it.
So - here is the list of foods that have restored my digestive tract and my strength.
apples pealed and grated
carrots cooked very soft
cherry and pineapple juice
egg protein powder
chicken and beef broth
rice in broth
baby food meat
baby food vegetables
A couple of administrative notes first: I had said one more day on the events of last week, but I'm going to make it two. If you missed my last two blogs, then today's won't make any sense; first scroll down and read "Terrible Four Days" and "Doctor's orders and hospital food". Finally, I have read my mail from last week, but haven't answered any of it. I will respond soon, but in the meantime, thank you for your encouragement.
I have been open on this website about the fact that I am a Christian. Someone out there is bound to be thinking, "If God is so good and so powerful, why didn't he protect Suzanne from the pain and misery?" I did not ask that question. The Bible is very clear that God is not some cosmic sugar daddy who we can cajole into giving us what we want. God is the creator of the universe, who in spite of the rebelliousness and selfishness of mankind, loved us enough to provide a way for salvation.
I was surprised however to suddenly realize on Saturday that I hadn't prayed the whole time I was in the hospital.
I prayed the day I got the initial bad test result. The answer I got was a strong sense inside that I had to proceed with the colonoscopy, that it might not be easy, but that there was a purpose for it. The morning of my appointment with the specialist, I was reviewing scripture verses I had memorized. Each one seemed to speak a word of comfort (Bless the Lordâ€¦who heals all your diseases; All things work together for good to those who love God; Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows).
But aside from breathing an exhausted "Thank you, Jesus" when the tortuous diagnostic test was over, I don't remember praying in the hospital. I asked my husband to bring me my Bible Study book and a novel. (I wish I had also asked for a toothbrush!). As I read, certain scriptures took on new life (The Word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword), but I didn't pray.
Sunday we sang a song in church that made me cry. You can read all the lyrics on this website:
but here are a few of them.
You don't have to worry
And don't you be afraid
Joy comes in the morning
Troubles they don't last always
For there's a friend in Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say
I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands
Suddenly I knew why I hadn't prayed. Long ago I gave my life to Christ. My life was in his hands. I trusted him completely.
I remembered another thing about the hospital. I never felt alone. When my husband left to go home, when my roommate's IV beeped all night, when the doctor seemed to have forgotten me, I knew I was not alone. I didn't need to pray. Jesus was with me.
I don't know why I went through this. I'm not asking that question either. Perhaps I will find out that my experience helped someone else. Perhaps I will never know. But I know now more than ever, that I wouldn't want to be in any one else's hands.
I have not found that MDs are particularly interested in why things happen. They want to find the right drugs or the right therapy to make the symptoms go away. But once the problem is solved, they do not seem interested in figuring out what made it happen in the first place.
I, however, am very interested in the "whys" of things. I may know why I had such a bad reaction to the colonoscopy. When I called to report my fever, the nurse told me that they had given me more than the usual amount of anesthesia. I was restless and seemed uncomfortable so they upped my dose. But I didn't know that when I left after the procedure.
At the hospital, the CT scan showed that my small intestine had shut down. "Temporary paralysis of procedure" they called it.
Here is what I believe happened. The doctor's orders said that I could eat anything I felt like eating after I got home. I was hungry after a day and a half on a liquid diet. I ate a normal Type O meal. It got a good start through my stomach, but when it hit may small intestine it had nowhere to go. This started the cramping and fever.
If you have a colonoscopy, my advice would be to stay on a liquid or soft food diet for 12 hours after you get home. If your digestive system is tolerating the food, increase the complexity of the foods. If, however you sense that your system is not ready for heavy food, you can give your body the time it needs to get back to normal. That simple advice would have saved me much grief.
If you are young, idealistic, and living a natural lifestyle, you may be thinking "I'll never have a colonoscopy or any other medical procedure. Yes - you will. If you have a test that shows a problem in an area where you have a genetic predisposition to disease, you will have the procedure. Do not deceive yourself, be prepared.
I never realized what a problem hospital food is to Type Os. When I filled out the paperwork, I said, no wheat, dairy, caffeine or chocolate. Wheat and dairy are my two biggest Type O avoids. Caffeine is avoid except for green tea - like I'm going to get green tea in the hospital. I break out in hives when I get chocolate. I thought saying no to four foods was very reasonable.
They brought me chocolate pudding, coffee, tea, milk, and creamed soup. They also brought jello, and a drink that was 15% juice and 85% who knows what. The only things that were not avoid were apple juice and chicken broth (unless the chicken broth was commercially canned, in which case it probably had MSG).
Some of it I sent back, requesting more apple juice. I got dirty looks for being hard to please. Some of it I ate anyway. I was so very weak and thirsty. And I knew the only way they would release me from the hospital was if I appeared normal.
If I knew I were going to be in the hospital, I would plan ahead and sneak food in. If I am ever unexpectedly in the hospital, I will have my husband sneak food to me. Hospitals do not serve foods that heal the body of a Type O.
If you are young, idealistic, and living a natural lifestyle, you may be thinking "I'll never go to a hospital." Yes - you will. If you are in a car accident, they will take you to a hospital, and you will wake up from surgery thankful for the doctors who put you back together. Don't be naÃ¯ve, be prepared.
One more day on this subject tomorrow - then on to happier things.
It is not the hurricane that has kept me from blogging this week. I have friends and relatives in Galveston, Houston, and Beaumont. But our house is out of the path of the storm. We will get some rain, but little else.
No I have had a trauma of another kind - one that relates in various ways to the Blood Type Diet. A few weeks ago when I had my annual physical, all went well until my doctor found blood in the routine stool smear. He admitted that false positives are common, but because my mom has had polyps removed and my grandmother had colon cancer, and I was over 50, he said I was having a colonoscopy.
So I wound up in the office of a specialist who sneered at the idea that eliminating wheat and dairy from my diet had ended my GERD. Perhaps I should have fled the office right then, but I doubt I could have found a specialist with a different opinion - perhaps just one who was more polite about it.
I followed the prep procedures exactly because I wanted this to be over fast and easy. I woke up from the anesthetic to hear the doctor say he had found and removed one small polyp but had found nothing alarming. I was sent home with instructions to eat whatever I felt like eating. I slept all afternoon, and ate some of my favorite foods - meat and vegetables for dinner.
Sometime in the night things started to go wrong. I was restless and achy. I was running fever. I called the office in the morning and reported a 101.5 temperature to the nurse, but she wasn't particularly concerned. However after lunch the doctor called. He wanted me to come in.
After poking and listening, he said, "I have the lab report back already. You know I removed a polyp? Well it is benign. But it wasn't a polyp. It was something vascular. I am concerned that your colon might be perforated. I'm going to put you in the hospital."
I listened to this with horror, found myself in the car on the way to the hospital, and the next thing I knew I was being stuck with needles. They did a CT scan that was incredibly painful. Thankfully the CT scan showed no perforation.
I wanted to go home, but the doctor wanted me in the hospital overnight. I was too tired to argue. More in my next blog.
I said a week or so ago that I would tell you a story about my children and milk. No story is told without a purpose, and the purpose of this story is three fold. 1. There is a certain natural inclination toward foods that are beneficial and away from foods that are avoid. (It's not 100% accurate, but it's there). 2. You can train yourself to like something that is avoid. 3. Once a taste is developed for an avoid, giving it up may prove very difficult.
I nursed both of my children for a year. During the first year of his life, my son hardly ever tasted milk. My husband and I were so thrilled to have him that we took him with us everywhere, rarely leaving him with a sitter. The only time he had a bottle was if he was staying in the church nursery.
As he entered his second year, I introduced him to milk and he didn't like it. I had read pros and cons about milk, and had decided to believe the pros. It looked to me like milk was the best source of calcium for a growing boy. I tried all kinds of bribes but none worked, until one day at the grocery store he noticed a brand of milk that had a bright green label and a green cap. Green was his favorite color. "Look Momma," he said, "green milk." I not only looked, I bought that brand. At home I asked if he would like to try the green milk. "Can I have it in a green glass," he asked, "with a straw?" I agreed, thinking how wonderful this turn of events was. And so my son learned to drink milk. More than that, he learned to love it.
My nephew is also Type O, and he also hated milk. One night we went out to eat together and my son ordered milk in a little carton. His cousin watched in envy as the carton was opened and the straw unwrapped. The next thing we knew he was begging for milk. My sister was delighted. My nephew still loves milk today.
My daughter was different. She was not fooled by colored caps or straws. She hated milk, and would drink it only if threatened and only if it was ice cold. One year on vacation she refused to drink milk from the ice chest because it was not cold enough. It developed into a conflict of wills. Dad and I said, "No snacks, no desserts, unless you drink your milk." She did not drink. She was 4 or 5 at the time, and she watched everyone around her eating treats with a stoic expression. One of the happiest days of her life was when I said, "According to the Blood Type Diet, milk is not good for you. You never have to drink another glass."
My daughter stubbornly followed her natural inclination. My son and nephew developed a taste for an avoid. Now, though the boys know that milk is not good for them, they don't want to give it up.
Think about the avoids that are the hardest for you to stop eating. Try to remember what pressure or bribe or tradition made you overcome your body's warning signals. Don't think about how that avoid tastes when you are eating it. Think about how it makes you feel an hour or a day later.
We have been friends with another couple for more than 13 years. Our sons met when they were in elementary school. We share the same values as well as many of the same interests. Over the years we have often gotten together on Friday nights for pizza and a movie. Because we share a love of travel, many times we get together to relive each other's adventures.
We have our pictures back from our vacation, and they are arranged in a nice presentation. My husband called our friends and invited them over for last night, and I heard with horror as he said, "We'll buy the pizza." I know it's tradition - but after nearly two and a half years on the BTD, I wish we could change the tradition.
Yesterday afternoon my daughter said, "What are you going to do?" I told her I was going to fix a big vegetable tray. Also right before they arrived I was going to eat a normal helping of meat. Then for dinner I would have lots of vegetables and two small pieces of pizza.
That is what I did. I was a gracious hostess. We enjoyed our meal, and had a wonderful time talking about traveling in the Southwest.
Then as we were saying our goodbyes I found myself thinking, "I'll have another piece of pizza while I clean up the kitchen." Wait a minute - where did that thought come from? A few minutes later, my mind wandered and I wondered if we had any cookies in the house. Hold On!! I haven't had a wheat craving in months.
That's exactly what it was. I don't understand why, but when we type Os get a little wheat we wand more and more and MORE. I knew that if I caved in, and had another bite of wheat that it would not be enough. I also knew that if I ate something else (even something beneficial) that it wouldn't satisfy the craving. I would still want wheat. I resolved to eat nothing else last night. Water only. I stayed true to myself, and I am fine this morning.
If you are new to the Blood Type Diet, you will read pros and cons about going cold turkey or easing into this lifestyle. Either way will work - except for wheat. A type O doesn't ease out of wheat. Eventually you have to stop.
Even after you have been on the BTD for a long time, you must keep your guard up. You will find yourself in situations where wheat is unavoidable. Expect that after a little wheat you will want more. The good news that if you resist, it doesn't take long for the cravings to go away.
Psalm 107: 31 Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Be thankful today for the food that the Lord provides and for the knowledge of what food will bring you good health.
I have blogged before about how quickly women my age lose muscle tone. "Women lose muscle mass at a rate of roughly one-third to one-half a pound each year after age 35," I read in one study. In the last two years I think I have made progress in rebuilding muscle. But I lost some ground during August.
We came home from a vacation in the mountains to really hot summer weather. I was swimming two or three nights a week and running one morning a week, and that was good. But walking with my husband at dusk when the temperature was still in the mid 90s or riding my bicycle on errands in the mid-day sun was oppressive. It was even too humid to enjoy exercising indoors with a video tape, unless I turned the air conditioner way down (which would make the electric bill go way up).
Excuses, excuses - suffice it to say that I slipped into exercising every other day instead of every day. Then I hurt my shoulder, and couldn't do upper body exercises at all.
My shoulder is almost 100%, so I began a little weight work this week. I have lost muscle strength if not muscle mass. Reps that were easy in July make me tired now. If I were 20 or 30, I wouldn't have lost ground so fast. But as Popeye the Sailor used to say, "I yam what I yam!"
Rather than chide myself for a lapse, I need to plan my exercise the night before, so that I don't let the weather dictate my mood. Tomorrow I will swim at the indoor pool, and Friday I will run before it gets hot. This lost ground can be regained.
There are only two television shows that I watch on a regular basis (I would rather read than watch TV and I would rather watch movies than shows). Those two shows are Monk and Gilmore Girls. Rory Gilmore is the same age as our son, and we started watching the show back when they were both 16. The original theme of a wacky impulsive mom's relationship with focused and clear thinking daughter has given us hours of laughter. We were disappointed last season as Rory's character seemed to change and she made a series of bad decisions leaving her in quite a crisis in May. Tonight is the season premiere, and I'm looking forward to it.
Non-Gilmore Girls fans are wondering, "Does this have anything to do with the BTD?" Well, sort of. One of the main characters is Luke, who owns a diner. Luke is an excellent chef, who believes in lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. But he spends his life cooking hamburgers, fries, and coffee for his less discriminating customers.
Our daughter is out of town on a leadership retreat, and my husband took me out to dinner last night. I could have picked any restaurant in town, but I chose a diner where I had eaten lunch with a friend. The food is well prepared and there are lots of vegetable choices. It is easy to get a Type O or a Type A meal.
When we walked in, my husband was disappointed. He had pictured a fancy restaurant with a romantic ambiance. I assured him he would love the food, and said, "Just imagine you are at Luke's." I had steak with onions, spinach, and yams. He had fish with black-eyed peas, salad, and corn bread. The food was delicious. The conversation was just as good at our chrome and plastic table as it would have been if we had been eating an overpriced baked potato off of a white tablecloth.
I grew up on the Gulf Coast, and my father worked for the electric company. Every time there was a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, he would pack his bag and cot and keep them in the trunk of his car. He knew that if a hurricane came ashore, he could be sent, at a moment's notice, to one of the facilities to keep the power on and restore electric service to customers as soon as possible.
That meant that my mom and sister and I were alone at home during hurricanes. My mom is a strong, clear thinking woman, who didn't waste time feeling sorry for herself. When a hurricane was in the Gulf, she made sure we had plenty of water, food, candles, matches and batteries readily available.
When we were first married, my husband found it amusing that at the start of hurricane season I would prepare a hurricane box and set it aside. Three years later we moved inland, and preparing for disaster was forgotten until 1999. I didn't believe all of the hype about Y2K, but just to be on the safe side, I did put together a box of emergency supplies for the first time in years.
I was about ready to disperse that box, when the 9/11 terrorist attack came. Since then I have kept at least a 2-week supply of food and water on hand. We have a camp stove, and several bottles of fuel. My plan was that if the power went out, I would cook the perishable food on the camp stove first, then switch to canned food. I made a few changes after I started the Blood Type Diet, but after hurricane Katrina, I realized it was time for an overhaul.
This week I have pulled everything out of storage. Some of the food that was nearing expiration date, I put in the pantry, and replaced it with new. I had a lot of tuna, thinking that my daughter and I would eat that. After the recent articles about mercury, I became aware that after 2 weeks of eating tuna, we might not be thinking too clearly. I still have a few cans of tuna, but most of it has been replaced with salmon, sardines, and chicken. I have not found canned beef without nitrites. Even beef jerky in the health food store has nitrites.
I have peanut butter for the As to eat with rice or rye crackers. I have some sesame butter for me. I have jars of dry roasted peanuts and bags of walnuts and almonds. I have a lot more canned vegetables than I used to. Black-eyed peas, black beans, green beans, peas, spinach, carrots, and pumpkin are beneficial or neutral for us all. I have fruit canned in fruit juice. I'm thinking we can eat the fruit and drink the juice. Dried fruit is also part of the plan.
I don't dwell on the possibility of impending disaster, but I want to be prepared. If calamity comes, I do not want to be like the helpless masses waiting for someone to come rescue me. I would rather be like the man interviewed from the balcony of his 2nd floor French Quarter apartment. He said, "My home is dry, I have plenty of food and water. I've been comfortable and safe."
The neighborhood pool has closed for the summer. We got home in time for a Labor Day swim. After I blogged about riding my very old bicycle to the pool, there was a request for a picture. My daughter snapped this one, and I hope you enjoy it.
If you can't see the photo here in the blog, try this link.
I am happy to report that my shoulder is almost healed. My doctor said I had strained my latissimus dorsi. He said to keep doing the neck and shoulder exercises that I was doing. He offered a prescription for muscle relaxers, but I declined. Of all the supplements I tried, I think extra calcium and magnesium worked the best.
I have a little stiffness and pain when I first wake up, but before breakfast is ready I am feeling fine. Even the swim did not set me back this week. It seemed like it hurt for a long time, but when I look at the calendar, it was really just three weeks.
I have been a boring cook lately. It is so hot that I hate to turn on the oven. We've eaten lots of fish because it cooks fast. I've fixed hamburgers (turkeyburgers for the As) several times in a skillet on the stove. We've eaten lots of salad and of course, lots of fruit. I have been making pumpkin seed butter and almond butter and can almost make a meal out of carrot sticks and nut butter.
As soon as we get a hint of cool weather, the cookbooks will come out.
We have spent the Labor Day weekend with my husband's family. They know I am on the Blood Type Diet; they know I blog; but they have never asked what it is or why I do it. I don't talk about the BTD unless someone asks. I figure that if they ask, they are more likely to listen; and if they don't want to know, I'm wasting my time explaining.
Because of my mother-in-law's increasing problems with arthritis and osteoporosis, I am doing more and more of the meal preparation when we are here. That suits me fine. I plan meals for As and Os the same as I would at home. In fact in this weekend, I only wound up eating one avoid. My sister-in-law was over one night, and she wanted to do a breaded chicken entrÃ©e.
The interesting thing is that the truth of the BTD is right in front of them, but they don't want to see it. This morning at breakfast my husband's mother asked if I had found the last banana for my breakfast. I answered in the affirmative, and she began tell a story.
"My husband loved bananas," she said. (His dog tags from WWII are framed in the hallway, and he was a Type O) He ate them like a monkey. I've never cared for them much (She is an A), but I feel like I ought to eat them. There were two left this morning. Bubs and I split one and the last one is for you."
I was glad for the banana. I felt sorry for my poor husband who has never liked bananas and who hadn't eaten a bite of one since I started the BTD - until this morning.
Natural inclinations are not a sure fire way to determine blood type. Some foods like wheat have addictive qualities. Sometimes early training over rides natural inclinations (note to self: blog about my son and milk). But anyone seeking the truth about the BTD would see that it is not an accident that a Type O would love bananas and a Type A would wish to avoid them.
I have been listening to the radio as I washed the dishes after dinner. People have been calling in with personal reports from Louisiana and Mississippi. I am a little reluctant to write about insignificant events in my ordinary life, when so many are suffering so greatly. However life goes on for all of us. I donate to relief efforts, but I still search for beneficial food for my family.
Today I went to the oriental market to buy miso. I had bought miso originally because of a recipe for a tofu sauce. Miso is beneficial for Type As, and my husband discovered that he liked it stuffed into celery sticks and spread on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise or mustard.
The oriental market is a cultural experience for me because all of the food labels are in Korean or Chinese. The employees are talking to the customers in Korean. I realize that the stockers speak no English. The easy thing to do is pick up the first tub of miso that I see and buy it. Fortunately, I turned the first tub over and found an ingredient list in very tiny type - it included MSG.
I'm sure the others in the store thought I was nutty. I pulled tub after tub out of the refrigerator. I found one without MSG, but it contained ethanol. That didn't sound good! I kept looking and eventually found a brand that didn't seem to have any avoids.
I had bought Wakame seaweed flakes at the health food store, and had enjoyed mixing them with meat and vegetables (after soaking them in water of course). I found seaweed flakes for a much lower price at the oriental market.
If you go to an oriental market, watch out for MSG; but enjoy great prices on beneficial foods more common in other parts of the world.