Archives for: November 2005
If you were going to make a case for vegetarianism from the Bible, one of the passages you would use would be what I have been reading in my Bible study for the past two days. It's from Daniel Chapter 1. Here is the story.
When the Babylonians carried the Jews into captivity, the Babylonian king picked the brightest and healthiest Jewish boys to get a higher education and train them to be leaders. He gave orders that they be well taken care of, including eating food prepared for the king's own household. Four of the boys, led by Daniel, asked the official in charge for different food. At first he refused. After all, the king had ordered the best food in the kingdom. If these boys ate something else and they weren't as healthy as the other boys, then he would be in big trouble.
Daniel convinced the official in charge to try a test. He and his three friends would eat only vegetables and drink only water for 10 days. At the end of the test, the official would compare their health. Here is the result of the test, "At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead."
Someone wrote a book based on this passage advocating vegetarianism and calling their plan the Daniel Diet. In my pre-BTD days, I tried to follow this plan, but eliminating meat always made me sick. The best I could do was to eat meat only once a day, but when I did that I gained weight.
So now, with my understanding of the BTD and my Type O body, what do I make of this passage of scripture?
First, if those Jewish boys were type B secretors, as Dr. D says Jews historically are, then they didn't need a lot of meat for optimum health. The passage doesn't say that this is how everyone should eat. It was an experiment for a particular group of boys.
Second, some translations use the words "rich food" instead of "royal food". That conjures up several interesting mental images - high fat gravies, high sugar pastries, and low fiber, high calorie delicacies. That would make sense. Even a Type O would do better on vegetables and water than on "rich" food.
The study guide I was using this week, had a third possibility. When Daniel talked with the official in charge, he said he didn't want to "defile himself" with the king's food. This indicates that the food had been offered to pagan idols. To eat food devoted to false gods would have broken God's law and compromised Daniel's commitment to God.
So I come away from this passage with a couple of thoughts. While my Type O diet is not all vegetables, it is none-the-less a simple diet. Meats are served without fancy sauces. Vegetables are eaten raw or lightly cooked and eaten with a little olive oil. Fruits and nuts are eaten in their natural form. Like Daniel and his friends, my health is better if I stay far away from rich foods.
While food offered to idols isn't an issue in my culture, there is a tendency in my culture to let food and health become like gods. There are people around me who live to eat. Thoughts of food are the focus of their day. There are also people around me who worship beauty and fitness. This passage would warn me against those extremes.
Our son has returned to college - taking with him as many leftovers as possible. My husband returned to work today, and my daughter and I returned to school. Thanksgiving is over, and life is returning to normal.
My husband is tired of turkey, so I gave him sardines for dinner tonight. My daughter and I enjoyed the last of the turkey. I cooked normal vegetables today: turnip greens, parsnips, and black-eyed peas.
I exercised a bit more than normal while school was out, and felt the soreness in my leg and shoulder muscles. I took a day off yesterday, to allow tired muscles to recuperate. As soon as I post this blog, I'm going get back on my normal exercise routine.
With Christmas approaching, things won't be normal for long. I love the excitement of Christmas music, Christmas foods, and Christmas presents. However, I'll also be watching our stress levels for the next few weeks. Christmas shopping, studying for finals, and yearbook deadlines have the potential for making this busy time of year tense and exhausting.
For now, I'm glad to have a few days of normal between the holidays.
Deborah often titles her blogs "Cooking Day." I had to use a variation on that title today. I started cooking at 9:30 when I got up, and I still have a few dishes to finish after I post this blog. We had many traditional Thanksgiving foods, all prepared with BTD adjustments. I ate only two avoids, which is well within Dr. D'Adamo's guideline of 80% beneficial and neutral.
I started the day cooking fresh cranberries with pineapple juice and honey. I set them aside to cool and prepared the turkey. My husband's mother says that the best way to get a tender turkey is to put half an onion and half an apple in the neck cavity. Put the other half of the onion and apple along with 3 stalks of celery in the main body cavity. It worked for me today - the turkey was moist and delicious.
Last night I had left 5 sweet potatoes in the oven on a timer. This morning I peeled them and adjusted my Mom's sweet potato casserole recipe.
Mash the sweet potatoes with Â½ cup soy milk, Â¼ cup honey, 3 Tbsp ghee, Â½ tsp cinnamon, Â¼ tsp nutmeg, Â½ tsp vanilla. Put the potatoes in a baking dish and bake at 350 for 20 - 30 minutes. (My Mom tops them with melted marshmallows, but that was an avoid I could live without)
Yesterday I had baked biscuits with half spelt and half rye flour. I had also made cornbread with cornmeal only - no wheat. Here is my Mom's dressing recipe with BTD adjustments.
4 cups of cornbread, 2 cups of biscuits, one onion diced, Â¾ cup chopped celery, 1/3 cup ghee, 1Â¼ tsp sage, Â½ tsp poultry seasoning, 3 eggs, 3Â½ cups broth (either canned or from the turkey). Cook the onion and celery in the ghee until very soft. Combine all ingredients. Bake in an 8x8 pan for 1Â½ hours at 325.
I do not plan to make corn - which is Type O avoid - a regular part of my diet. I ate only a modest portion. My As, for whom corn is neutral, will gladly finish the leftovers. This traditional favorite Thanksgiving dish is usually loaded with avoids. I was pleased that my version with one avoid tasted as good as the original recipe. My kids and my husband all said it was the best dressing they had ever eaten.
Dessert this year was non traditional. My husband requested cookies instead of pie. He wanted chocolate chip, but my son said "No chocolate." I designated my daughter as the official cookie baker. She started with an oatmeal chocolate chip recipe. She substituted rye flour for wheat and peanut butter chips for chocolate chips. (The cookies were neutral , but the peanut butter chips were avoid for me.)
I cooked green beans with basil and garlic. I brewed green tea and sweetened it with Welch's concentrated white grape/peach juice. Last I fixed a raw vegetable tray.
Conversation around the dinner table was lively. We talked about how much we have to be thankful for. We remembered funny stories from past Thanksgivings. We shared our hopes and dreams for the future. A day of cooking that nourishes the body and draws a family closer together in love and thankfulness is a day well spent.
Let me set the stage so you can picture a mealtime conversation at my parents' house last weekend. Saturday night my Mom had served shrimp and oysters - Type O neutrals, but Type A avoids. My daughter had never liked either of those seafoods when she was little, again illustrating child's natural inclination to choose appropriate food. She ate lots vegetables that night, and got her protein by dipping vegetables in peanut butter. My Mom was ok with that.
Sunday my Mom fixed steak. When she was little, my daughter didn't want to eat red meat either. In my BTD ignorance I had pushed her, and she had reluctantly eaten roast and steak. Now that she knows red meat is avoid for Type A, she has happily given up both of them. My Mom was not prepared for her to pass on meat two meals in a row, and hurt feelings were starting to show.
My Mom and Dad are both Type Os. I grew up in a home where we ate lots of meat because we all naturally liked it. (We also, unfortunately, ate a lot of baked goods and desserts because they are part of the Southern culture) My Mom looks at a child who doesn't eat meat as unhealthy. I had to intervene.
"Mom," I said. "You know she is Type A, and she's made different from you and me. Remember how she never wanted to eat meat when she was little?" (My Mom remembered) "She gets plenty of protein from good Type A sources. She had a soy shake this morning, and she's eating peanut butter now. She has plenty to eat. She's not unhappy about the meal. The only thing she is unhappy about is that she might be hurting your feelings."
I am so blessed to have a Mom who listens! The meal proceeded, and we were all contented.
Reviewing that conversation has given me several mental images. I picture a Type A mother serving her Type O children scant portions of meat, or worse, forcing them into vegetarianism. I picture a Type O mother making her Type B children eat chicken. I picture grandmothers pushing their Type O and A grandchildren to drink milk (and get those ridiculous milk mustaches) because milk is supposed to be the best source of calcium for growing bones.
Without a basic understand of BTD, confusion reigns in a mixed blood type home.
I rarely blog about the technical or scientific aspects of the Blood Type Diet. It's not my area of expertise. I share with you my personal experience about how I make the diet work in my own family. I wanted to say that at the outset, because I'm sure there is a scientific explanation for what happened to me this weekend, but I don't know what it is. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable will fill in the technical gap in a thread on the Forum.
My son is coming home for Thanksgiving, and I can hardly wait. Because his university is 400 miles away, we decided to spend Thanksgiving at our house this year. He will have enough time in the car, without immediately leaving on another road trip to visit grandparents. I hadn't seen my Mom and Dad since August, so my husband, daughter, and I went to visit them this past weekend.
My parents are very supportive of the Blood Type Diet because it has helped me get and stay off of GERC medication. My Dad has read "Eat Right for your Type." They don't follow the BTD rigorously, but they have implemented some of the broad principles. They know I don't drink milk or eat bread, and they know I eat very little grain*. But, as I wrote last time, the BTD can be complicated. They have a hard time keeping straight that rice is ok and corn is not.
I made it through the weekend without any dairy, except the neutral mozzarella cheese, and no wheat, except a bite of piecrust. However, my parents were able to get fresh oysters for dinner Saturday night. My Mom coats oysters in corn meal and fries them. They are fabulous, better than any restaurant's. Would I turn down my Mom's oysters for the BTD? No Way!! I enjoyed myself. I did not keep count!
If I eat wheat I gain 2-3 pounds and it takes 3-5 days for that weight gain to go away. I weighed this morning and I did not gain any weight over the weekend. I am not doubting that corn is an avoid. I'm sure that something reacted inside me when I ate all of those (delicious) corn meal coated oysters. But the visible impact is not as bad as with wheat.
What this probably means is that I will allow myself one serving of cornbread dressing (made from my Mom's recipe) while my son is home for Thanksgiving.
* No longer grain free. click here for more info
I heard a man on the radio last week say, "We are willing to settle for the better things of life when God wants us to have the best things of life." When I first heard I thought of people I know who go to church and pray for their families, but they want to keep some parts of their lives separate from God. They are satisfied with just a "better life." It takes a commitment to obedience, Bible study, and prayer to get to the "best things of life." It made me face what I would have to do to have the best life God has in mind for me.
There is a similar truth about health. You can make changes in your diet and have better health. Almost any diet will tell you to eat less sugar, salt & fat and eat more fruits, vegetables & whole grain. Eat less junk food and more fresh food. If you do that you will have better health. Definitely you will. I followed that philosophy for years, happy that I felt better. But until I subjected myself to the discipline of the Blood Type Diet, I did not begin to experience the best health.
I guess the reason this is on my mind tonight is because of a conversation with someone at school yesterday. We got to talking about the Blood Type Diet because I said that I didn't eat wheat. She was asking lots of questions, and she identified with some of what I was saying, particularly about the foods her children chose to eat.
Then she said, "Isn't it hard to eat and cook that way?" I said yes, that it was hard to cook for a two blood type family. "That's why this diet will probably never be accepted by the masses," I said. "It's not easy, but it's worth it."
Don't be satisfied with better health. Go after the best health, even if the way is hard.
Don't be satisfied with a better relationship with God. Seek Him with your whole heart, and you will find the best life.
The first year I was on the Blood Type Diet, I fell in love with pumpkin. My previous experience had been limited to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas. That first year I bought a pie pumpkin, cooked it in the pressure cooker, added pie spices but no sugar, and served it as a vegetable. It was outstanding. For the rest of the year I bought canned pumpkin. It was good, but I could hardly wait for fall when pie pumpkins would be back in the store.
Last year pumpkins came in early, about the end of September if I remember right. They were delicious, but the season was short. By mid-November they were out of the stores.
This year every store has had stacks of what were labeled pie pumpkins, but the quality has been poor. Some were stringy. Some lacked color. I've eaten them, but frankly the canned would have tasted better. I passed a display of pumpkins yesterday that looked smaller and had smoother skin. I'm beginning to think that the previous pumpkins were not pie pumpkins at all, but mislabeled decorative pumpkins.
However I had a pumpkin still at home to cook. This one had a huge number of seeds - again making me think it had been mislabeled. I decided to toast the pumpkin seeds. When my daughter was little one of her teachers had her class toast pumpkin seeds. The kids were so excited, and each brought home a little bag of toasted seeds to share with their families. I thought they were tougher than the pumpkin seeds I buy in the health food store, but I kept my opinion to myself. There was no need to dampen my daughter's enthusiasm for a newly acquired taste.
After I cooked my pumpkin in the oven, I washed and dried the seeds and put them on a cookie sheet with a little oil. I toasted them until they started to turn brown. When they cooled, I tasted them. The flavor was good, but they were so tough. I wound up with a mouth full of unchewable fiber.
Out came the cookbook (note to self - next time get out the cookbook first). It said, "Pumpkin seeds and squash seeds, like sunflower seeds must be hulled before eating." No wonder they were tough! I tried unsuccessfully to get the hulls off. Then I thought I'd put them back in the oven on a higher heat and see if the seeds would crack open on their own.
It was a good idea, but poorly implemented. After a few minutes at 425 degrees the seeds began to pop like popcorn. Flying hulls, coated in olive oil, landed on the bottom of the oven. Smoke filled the kitchen. I covered the seeds, and let them pop. I had a state-of-the-art air purifier in my home for a three-day free trial. This particular filter is not the right one for our family, but I was glad I had it today. It cleared the smoke out fast. The smoke alarm didn't even go off.
Though the hulls popped open, most of the seeds would not come free. I suspect that having been thrice cooked - first baked in the oven with the pumpkin, then toasted in their hulls until partially done, and finally toasted again at high heat that they were way too overcooked. Or it could be that pumpkin seeds in the store are a special variety.
Before I try toasting pumpkin seeds again, I will look up the proper procedure on the Internet. Before I buy another fresh pumpkin, I will grab the produce manager and get assurance that it is really a pie pumpkin.
I made ghee on Friday. I strain the ghee and add light olive oil to make my butter spread that I've blogged about before. Then I like to cook greens with the leftovers from the ghee-making. This time I cooked turnip greens, and I enjoyed them all weekend with ground beef.
One meal on the weekend is sure to be a bowl with all the leftovers from the week tossed in. I had yellow squash, green beans, carrots, 1 chicken liver, some canned salmon, and some dried beans. I grilled an onion and added half if it to the mix. It was tasty, and very filling.
I am going to have to find something else to order at my husband and daughter's favorite Italian restaurant. We ate there after church on Sunday. I've been getting "Meatballs in a boat." On the surface it looks like an excellent Type O choice: three meatballs with marinara sauce topped with mozzarella cheese and served with a side salad. There is no pasta.
However, I've begun to suspect that there is either a lot of breading in the meatballs or a lot of sweetening in the marinara. My weight was inexplicably up 3 pounds this morning. That usually means I've eaten wheat or corn. My weight will return to normal in a couple of days; I'm not worried about that. But the gain serves as a signal that I have eaten a stealth avoid.
The house dressing at this restaurant is a homemade Italian that I always thought was delicious. Now I see that it has too much vinegar for the Blood Type Diet. I requested plain olive oil. The oil they brought was delicious. It reminded me of the oil my sister often sends me from Europe. The oil I buy for everyday use is good quality oil, but it doesn't have the flavor that the premium brands have. It will be worth going back to this restaurant for the oil, even if I do have to find a new entrÃ©e.
If you are Type O and your doctor does the standard screen for blood in your stool, you have a HIGH probability of a false positive. Your doctor may not know to tell you this, and the consequences can be very painful and expensive.
I went to my family doctor yesterday for a follow up after the disastrous colonoscopy. The specialist (who I hope to never set eyes on again) wants to more tests (expensive of course) since he didn't find anything that would explain the blood that showed up in my original stool test. I told my doctor that I refused to have any more tests unless there was a medical reason for them. We compromised that I would do 3 consecutive days of stool smears at home. If no blood showed up he would close the issue, if blood showed up, I would do the tests.
This morning I read the instructions for the standard stool smear test. It said, "DO NOT EAT red meat, turnips, broccoli, horseradish, cantaloupe, parsnips, radishes or cauliflower" for two days before taking the sample.
What is this?!? I eat red meat and broccoli daily. I eat turnips and parsnips multiple times each week. I had probably eaten three or more of those items before my original test.
I called the test manufacturer, and talked with a very knowledgeable man. He said it was extremely important to follow the instructions or I would get a false positive. He said that even fish and chicken can cause a false positive if they are not thoroughly cooked. He said that doctors use this test because it is easy to do and inexpensive. There is a more advanced test available that is specific for human blood, but the kit is more complicated and more expensive.
He offered to send my doctor a free sample of the newer kit to test me. I have faxed the doctor this information.
Here is what you need to know. If you are eating a Type O diet you are likely to get a false positive on the stool smear they do in a routine physical. You can lessen your chances by not eating red meat or the vegetables on the testing company's list for two days before the test. If you get a positive test result, before submitting to the next round of expensive, invasive tests insist on another stool smear that is human blood specific.
In the first few months that I was on the Blood Type Diet, I was eager to try beneficial vegetables that I was not accustomed to eating. I found some new favorites like parsnips and collard greens. But a few beneficials just weren't appealing. One of them was turnips.
I had read a recipe that called for cooking several root vegetables with a roast. Since roast was avoid for the Type As in the family I had substituted a chicken. The recipe did not take into account that some of the vegetables needed a shorter cooking time than others. The meal was a disaster. My daughter, who likes her vegetables raw, wouldn't eat any of it. My husband, who is suspicious of anything new, ate a little chicken and a few carrots. Even my son, who normally eats anything, said the turnips were squishy and the turnip flavor overpowered everything else. I ate it, but it totally turned me off to turnips.
Some time later I was in the store looking for frozen turnip greens. They were out of plain greens, but had greens with diced turnips. I cautiously tried them and they were good. The turnips were crisp, and they didn't have that nasty flavor.
A week ago I got it into my head to try turnips again. I read about them in my vegetable cookbook, and learned some things. The author, Sallie Williams, said, "One of the major reasons that Americans stay away from turnips is that they have never eaten a good oneâ€¦They have fallen victim to the idea that bigger is better, which usually results in unappetizingly woody vegetables. Small, freshly pulled turnips are crisp and sweet, good enough to eat out of hand, like an apple."
So I dug through the grocer's bin and found small turnips. After I washed them, I decided to try them raw. They tasted a lot like a radish. My husband and daughter love radishes, so I put cubes of raw turnip in their salad. Both of them liked it.
I don't particularly care for radishes, and I'd rather have my vegetables cooked. I put ghee in a saucepan and added cubed turnips, cooking until they began to turn light brown (about 5 minutes). Then I added a little beef broth and some salt. I simmered them over low heat until they were almost tender, but not quite (maybe 5 minutes more).
They were ok. The turnip taste was there, but it was not strong. Crisp turnips are definitely better to me than soft ones. The next day I was having grilled onions and beef for lunch. I tossed in the leftover turnips. This was actually good! The crunchy turnips added a nice texture to the beef, while the onions kept the turnip flavor under control.
Turnips have triumphed at last and will be a part of my regular meal planning.
Last night the Bible study group that my husband and I belong to had a dessert party. We were celebrating the recent marriage of one of our members. Everyone brought a gift for the newlyweds and a dessert. I knew that there wouldn't be anything good for a Type O unless I brought it. I took Cranberry Crunch, a recipe that I got off of this website. My plan was to get a plate of my own dessert and stay away for all of the avoids.
There was a flaw in my plan. As we went around the dessert table, I passed the first few selections. A woman behind me in line said, "Don't pass that one. I made it and it is really good. It has apples, pineapple and blueberry." I could see that it also had a thick wheat crust, but what was I to do? I put some of her dessert on my plate, as well as some of my Cranberry Crunch.
Though the plan was in danger, there was still time to salvage it. I didn't have to eat any of the crust. I could have picked out the fruit. We were all moving around eating and talking. No one would have known if I hadn't eaten it at all.
But I abandoned the plan and ate the dessert. Not only that, having abandoned the plan and the BTD, I tried a piece of pumpkin pie as well. It was as if having eaten one avoid, I just decided to make a night of it.
This morning I was really ashamed of myself. I was also faced with a choice. Was I going to reclaim control and limit this to a one-night lapse? Or would I compound the error and binge for a day or two? Discipline returned. I ate no avoids today.
Fortunately I did not feel any problems with indigestion. I did however feel drowsy all day. I nearly fell asleep in church this morning, and I am tired earlier than usual tonight. The temporary pleasure of the avoids was not worth it. Next time I plan to stay with the plan.
When you read the title of today's blog, perhaps you thought it would be about scripture. But you would be wrong.
Perhaps you thought it would be about the Supreme Court vacancy and whether a woman has the right to choose to kill her unborn baby. Nope, wrong again.
I have just spent an hour and a half on the phone and the internet, only to find that my body belongs to my doctor.
We have medical insurance, but the deductible is very high. I had never met the deductible except in the two years that I delivered babies. But this year, because of the colonoscopy mishap and the resulting day in the hospital, I'm over the deductible. So I began to think, is there anything medical that I have been putting off? If so, I need to get it done between now and the end of the year.
The only thing that came to mind is a secretor test. My doctor does not advocate the Blood Type Diet, but he readily admits that it has helped me. If I ask, I think he will order the Lewis Blood Type test.
I wanted to know the cost, so I called the two labs that my doctor uses. Neither of them wanted to give me any information. I was told that I had to get a procedure code from my doctor.
I went on the internet to try and find the procedure code. It took a long time to locate the test. It is not listed as Lewis, but rather it is one of many tests under the umbrella of Red Blood Cell Antigen Typing. I must specify which antigen I want to test for. I called back and they still couldn't give me a price without knowing my doctor's account number.
Let's pretend, I said, that I'm just going to pay for this without insurance. Reluctantly they quoted a price. At one lab it was $51 and at the other it was $60. If my doctor authorizes the test, insurance will pick up more than half of the cost. That sounds like a good deal to me.
What is not a good deal is that I have no standing as a patient. Only my doctor can authorize what tests to do, and the results will only be sent to my doctor. There is no pretense of my being responsible for my own health. According to the lab and the hospital, I belong to the doctor.
But they do not have the last word. I do not belong to the doctor. Neither am I my own.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
I took a speech class in high school. A boy in the class rarely put much effort into his speeches, but he made one presentation, which will be forever remembered by everyone who heard it. He described okra. Among other things he spoke of its "umbilical chord of slime."
My daughter likes raw vegetables, so she probably wouldn't eat okra even if it wasn't slimy. My husband will eat okra in a gumbo or a stew, but he does not like okra alone. Sometimes when I've fixed a grain dish or pinto beans for the As, I eat okra for dinner. When I do, I get raised eyebrows from the family, because my favorite way to eat okra violates all decent rules for table manners.
I am not a prim "Mabel, Mabel, if you're able, get your elbows off the table" kind of a mom, but I do have certain minimum standards. Some of my son's friends learned that they were not allowed to fully express their creativity with grapes and carrot sticks when they were at my house.
My daughter thinks I might owe those friends apologies because of the way I eat okra. For that reason I usually eat okra by myself at lunch, as I am doing today.
I melt butter in the bottom of a sauce pan. If I am cooking fresh okra, I add a tiny bit of water. If I am cooking frozen okra, I add no water at all. I always cook whole okra, never sliced or chopped.
I have some miniature baking dishes, the kind you could use to serve a dip or to bake custard. I put olive oil and salt in one of the dishes. I pick the okra up by the stem end, dip it in the olive oil, and bite it off of the stem. I think it is delicious hot or cold.
I suppose for dinner I could cut the okra into bite size pieces and dip it in the olive oil with a fork, but I like okra as a finger food.