Archives for: February 2006
We were traveling over the weekend. The daughter of some lifelong friends married on Saturday. Even though it was a large wedding, we were able to have a nice visit with our friends and to meet their new son-in-law.
I have conflicting emotions about wedding receptions. When my husband and I married almost 30 years ago, we had a reception at the church following the ceremony. We served cake, punch, nuts, and mints. That was typical in the 1970s. Wedding guests enjoyed a casual visit with friends and congratulated the family. The cost was modest. When I look back now, from a nutritional standpoint I realize there were no healthy choices for any blood type - except for possibly the nuts.
Today, a typical reception is a complete meal. Nutritionally the choices are certainly better. However the cost can be outlandish. I remember one friend who told me sadly that her daughter divorced in less than 2 years - but that she was still paying off bills from the wedding. I do not believe that going into debt is a good way to start a marriage!
The reception last weekend had several serving lines. There was a taco bar, a pasta bar, a sandwich bar, and a fruit and cheese bar. There were also a bride's cake and a groom's cake. Everything was delicious. There were plenty of options for any type.
For the most part I made good choices. Roast beef and blueberries were some of the beneficials. Zucchini, grapes, and tomatoes were among the fresh neutrals. I ate a spinach artichoke dip that was incredibly delicious, though I doubt the base was free of avoids. I steered clear of pasta, bread, and crackers, but I did have wedding cake.
As much as I personally benefit from the current trend in receptions, my priority at a wedding is not on the food served to guests but the commitment and covenant of the bride and groom.
So often people think bigger is better, but that is not usually true with vegetables. My vegetable guide says to look for small kohlrabi because it is more likely to be juicy and tender.
Kohlrabi has been hard to find in any size lately. Perhaps it has been out of season. This week it was back in the store. Among the large, woody kohlrabi, I found some nice small ones.
I often make Kohl Slaw with grated kohlrabi. Once I blogged that if I mixed the kohlrabi with olive oil and lemon juice it was similar to a tart vinegary Cole Slaw. But if I mixed it with olive oil and fig preserves, it was more like a sweet creamy Cole Slaw.
I was in the mood for sweet and creamy last night, but was out of fig preserves. I did have fruit only cherry preserves. I made the substitution, and it was delicious. It was a completely different flavor, but very nice.
I didn't get any Type O exercise Monday or Tuesday. It was just too cold and wet, and I was warm and dry by the computer. But last night I felt the need to get moving, so I promised myself that unless it was pouring down rain, I would run this morning.
I woke to mild temperatures and fog. I put my running shoes on. My run was on a winding path through a wooded area. It made me think of rural life and I began to imagine how nice it would have been to have lived 100 years ago when life was simpler. Instead of fighting traffic and stoplights, I would have walked down a trail like the one I was running on.
Perhaps this mood was heightened because on President's Day we saw the IMAX movie about Lewis and Clark. It was wonderful for both scenery and history. The expedition explored and lived off the land for three years. Of course, they nearly starved to death as well.
That brought me quickly back to reality. I thought about my great great grandfather, a farmer who had 3 wives and 19 children. He lived a much simpler life than I do - but two of his wives died young and 6 of his children never reached adulthood. The simple life was hard. The backbreaking work to survive left people little time to admire the wilderness they lived in.
Simplicity is one of the Christian disciplines I have been studying, and I have given some thought to how I can uncomplicated my life yet still live in the modern world. The Blood Type Diet plays a role in that. Fruits and vegetables are easier to prepare than gourmet dishes. Roasted meat is wonderful without sauces and breading. I certainly feel better eating simple foods rather than chemical laden processed food or deep fried fast food.
We don't have a big screen TV, and I could probably give up the TV we have. But don't talk about taking away my computer or my food processor. I don't want to be that simple.
I was studying for a biology test with my daughter this afternoon. We finished up about 6:00. It would take about an hour to get dinner ready, but I was hungry now!
The best thing when I am desperately hungry is a glass of juice with 1/4 tsp of
l-glutamine powder. It gets quickly into my system and relieves the craving. But today has been a chill damp day. It seemed to me that glass of cold juice would make me feel worse.
I put the teakettle on and brewed a cup of green tea. I added a teaspoon of pineapple juice concentrate and Â¼ tsp of l-glutamine. It was warm; it was sweet; it was just what I needed. I was content to wait until dinner was ready.
We had chicken with barbeque sauce, broccoli (steamed for me & my husband, raw broccoli sticks for my daughter) adzuki beans, rice (for my husband & daughter), spaghetti squash with garlic & ghee (for me).
I'm spending Saturday at school working on the yearbook pages that will soon be due at the publisher for our first deadline. It is a cold, icy day, and the heat is not on in my building. I have on two heavy sweaters, so I'm fairly comfortable. I wish I had gloves, but it would probably be hard to work on the computers wearing them.
Before I left home this morning I packed food for the day. For lunch I brought a hamburger patty with grilled onions, half of a sweet potato, and asparagus with ghee. I am not particular about the temperature of my food. Room temperature usually suits me as well as hot or cold. Today's "room temperature" meant that the ghee was still solid. Even I was wishing I could warm it up!
Last week when I saw a headline saying that a new study showed low fat diets weren't as wonderful as previously reported, I smirked. This week the low fat proponents are fighting back.
A Women's Health Initiative study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found no evidence that a low-fat diet protects against cancer in post-menopausal women.
This reaffirmed what I thought when I first read about the Blood Type Diet. My Type A husband never liked high fat foods. My Type A daughter, when she was a little girl, would blot the extra fat off of pizza before she ate it. However I did not feel well or satisfied on a low fat diet. I often craved butter or oil. I never understood why we were different until the BTD.
If you want to read all the details you can go to Google Health News and search for low fat. As for me, I haven't read much beyond the headlines, because unless the results were linked to blood types, they wouldn't be helpful. A study with more As would show a low fat diet to be beneficial. A study with more Os would show the opposite.
I did find a really funny joke on the subject in Reader's Digest. "Everyone is on this low fat craze now. The Mayo Clinic just changed its name to the Balsamic Vinaigrette Clinic."
Five years ago when I went to the fish counter, I had to choose what kind of fish I wanted: salmon, trout, cod, catfishâ€¦whatever was available that day. I factored in price and family preference and made my purchase. I long for those good old days. Now, I have too many variables, and the choices are harder, not easier.
The fish at the counter is marked "never frozen" or "previously frozen." Fresh is better, so I would choose "never frozen," right? It's not that easy. There is no commercial fishing within more than 100 miles of where I live. That means I will never find fish that was caught fresh yesterday. "Never frozen" means it has been in transport for several days. Was it properly handled and cooled all the way? I look at "previously frozen" and wonder how long it has been thawing in the display case.
The fish is also marked wild-caught or farm-raised. Wild is better, so I would choose that, right? Again the choice is not as easy as it seems. Wild-caught is much more expensive (especially never-frozen wild-caught). I've read the toxin reports, but I've also read the price lists. I cannot blow the grocery budget buying the perfect fish.
With all of this in my mind I approached the fish counter the other day. No one was behind the counter, so I spent a few minutes examining my choices. Still no one came. I looked behind the employees only door, and no one was there. Perhaps everyone was restocking the sodas or donuts. I didn't want to be impatient, but I was ready to move on.
I drifted over to the frozen fish. I pulled out a bag of perch (beneficial for Os and As). The back of the bag said "Product of China Wild Caught." I read the back of a bag of cod (also beneficial for Os and As). Again it said "Product of China Wild Caught". I was suspicious. Perhaps they put wild-caught on all their fish. But no, the talapia bag said, "Farm-raised in China."
I looked at the price. It was very reasonable - less than the "previously frozen" fish at the counter. I smiled, knowing it was probably the same fish, just marked up because it was in a display case. I bought a bag of perch and a bag of cod. I have tried both and was very pleased. The fish inside were individually wrapped. They were very tasty when I cooked them.
Can you buy this inexpensive wild caught beneficial fish? Yes - at Wal-Mart.
My husband and I went to a Valentine party tonight. Everyone brought a dish of food to share. After we ate each couple told the story of how they met and fell in love. We heard some hilariously funny and some sentimentally sweet tales.
Two people brought vegetable dishes that were unusual combinations. One was steamed asparagus and onions. I would never have thought of putting those two vegetables together, but it was surprisingly good. The asparagus was lightly steamed, so it held its shape. The onions were in long strips and were thoroughly cooked. I think they were just seasoned with salt.
The other was a salad with raw broccoli, raisins, and almonds with some kind of dressing. As much as I love carrot and raisin salad, I would never have thought of broccoli and raisin, but it was very good.
This blog will eventually get around to the topic, but you may have to be patient with me while I set it up. My Bible study this year is about the Christian disciplines. When I started on January 1, I didn't plan to blog about it. It's fairly personal, and on the surface it doesn't have a thing to do with the Blood Type Diet. However because I am a holistic person, and thus my mind, body, and spirit are connected; I keep seeing such interesting applications to the BTD.
One of the disciplines is fasting. I have fasted for religious purposes in years past, but not recently. Two of the purposes of religious fasting are to remind us that we are sustained not by "bread alone," but by the Word of God, and to help us focus our thoughts on God rather than being distracted by daily routines.
I have been doing a 36-hour fast once a week. That means I eat dinner one night at the regular time. I skip breakfast, lunch, and dinner the next day. I eat breakfast as usual the following day. Because I have some blood sugar issues, I have been doing a juice fast. That means that I drink fruit juice, vegetable juice, and green tea during the day if I start to feel weak. I don't do protein powder or smoothies - just clear liquids and plain juice.
What I have noticed is that not only am I physically satisfied with a light liquid diet for one day, but the effect carries over for several days afterwards. When I start eating again, I am content with three normal meals.
I had reached a point where I was snacking a lot. Especially when I got in from school every afternoon, I wanted nuts or nut butter or a similar heavy snack. I felt very hungry, then because of the big snack, I would delay and eat a full dinner later than is customary
I often get mail from people who initially lost a lot of weight on the BTD, but have gradually seen a few pounds creep back in. I saw that happening to me, and I blogged about it last winter. My weight had been steady at 127 for more than a year, but last year it crept back above 130. I read posts on the Forum from people who want to lose more weight, but have plateaued.
What I have seen in the past month is that fasting has leveled out my hunger pangs. When I get in from school, I am satisfied with a glass of juice or a piece of fruit. I'm ready to cook and serve dinner on time. I have lost a couple of the pounds I had regained.
Because focusing my attention on God is such an integral part of my fasting; I can't say for sure what your results will be if you just fast for health reasons. However it has been interesting that my enjoyment of all my meals during the week has increased and my desire for extra food has decreased since I started fasting.
I had planned to print the February issue of the school newspaper on Friday, but there was a conflict between my computer and the print server. The tech support guy fixed the problem Monday morning. I went in at noon to print the paper so my class could distribute it during class.
I took my lunch with me and ate as I worked in the workroom. Three girls came in while I was there to use the microwave. One of them had a pre-packaged cup of soup. They warmed it, and the three of them shared that one cup of soup!
I do not know what those three girls did after their meager lunch, but it is common practice for teenage girls at our school to eat practically nothing at lunch while they talk about losing weight. By the time school is out they are very hungry, so they race to the snack bar. There are no good choices in our school's snack bar - everything is junk food. They get a diet soda, a muffin, and a bag of chips, which they eat on their way to athletic practice. (I later asked one of the girls and she sheepishly said she had M&Ms and chips rather than a muffin and chips.)
The girls did not ask me about my lunch. If they had, they would surely have wrinkled their noses. Kale was on sale last week for 99 cents a bunch. I bought two bunches and cooked up a big batch of Beneficial Veggie Trio (I posted the recipe on RECIbase long ago) This is my favorite way to eat kale.
I put a generous amount of the trio in a plastic container and sprinkled it with ground beef. It was an enjoyable lunch, and it kept me satisfied until almost dinnertime.
Yesterday I took a friend out to lunch for her birthday. We went to a nationally franchised Italian restaurant. I always feel like I'm in enemy territory in an Italian restaurant. Hot fresh bread is brought to the table even before I'm through studying the menu. Every entrÃ©e, even the salads, have wheat.
I settled on a salad with a fancy international name. The description said spinach, grilled chicken, orzo, pine nuts, tomatoes, capers, and black olives. I asked the server to leave off the orzo and black olives. It was a delightful salad. In addition to the spinach there were other dark green lettuces and radicchio. I later discovered that capers are avoid, but I didn't know that at the time. Except for those few capers, I survived enemy territory.
My eyes were drawn to a young couple at a nearby table. They laughed a lot and seemed to be celebrating something. They had a baby girl with them, who must have been 9 or 10 months old. Her daddy, especially, gave her lots of attention. As the couple ate their dinner, they broke off pieces of bread for the little girl to eat with her fingers. "This is how we get addicted to wheat," I thought. "It's such a convenient food for babies to pick up, and it keeps them happy while their parents eat."
When the couple was ready to leave, I saw him push away from the table in a wheel chair. I saw that one leg was gone from the knee down. I noticed his short haircut. The truth hit me - he was a soldier back from Iraq.
It made my thoughts about wheat seem pretty trivial. Here was a man who had truly been in enemy territory. He not only survived, but he conveyed no bitterness - only joy and enthusiasm for his family and for life. I would have liked to have said, "Thank you!"
I was reading at an old issue of a magazine and saw an editorial by Andree Seu. The headline was "Eating as entertainment" and the subhead was "Americans have the same problem with food that Imelda Marcos had with shoes." I laughed out loud, causing the other people in the waiting room to look at me with raised eyebrows.
I did not agree with much of what Mrs. Seu proscribed as the answer to obesity, but she described the problem in vivid language. "If the Philippine first lady's fetish for footwear showed a shift from necessities to entertainment, America is also guilty: Sex is entertainment, shopping is entertainment, eating is entertainment." "I advocated eating for life, rather than eating for pleasure."
None of us wants food that tastes nasty. But the quest for texture (best offered by white flour and saturated fat), sweetness, and saltiness, leads us to foods that entertain our taste buds, while providing few of the raw ingredients our bodies need for life and health.
I blogged several days ago about rice and As, saying that rice was beneficial. An observant reader called my hand on that. Rice flour and rice cakes are Type A beneficial. Rice is Type A neutral. I don't understand why, but none-the-less I stand corrected.
Over Christmas Laura posted a recipe for flour free banana bread. I made it for breakfast this morning, but since bananas are avoid for Type As, I substituted frozen peaches. Since peaches are not as sweet as bananas, I added honey - about 1/3 cup. My daughter loved it - I should say she practically inhaled it. I had some for a snack this afternoon and it truly was remarkably good.
That thread has already rotated off the forum, so I will copy Laura's original recipe here.
Banana Walnut bread
3 cups walnut flour (you can use other nut flour but I like walnut)
1/2 cup zucchini
2 mashed bananas
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
If you want you can add a sweetener, I think the Bananas are sweet enough though
Bake for an hour at 350 degrees F (180 C).
A Type A friend who has recently started the Blood Type Diet e-mailed me over the weekend. She said that she was doing pretty good, and that she could already see some improvement in the health issue that led her to try this diet. However, she expressed concern that since so many favorite foods were avoids that the diet would get boring.
She has a legitimate point. I remember that at first when I stopped eating avoid foods, and just ate the beneficial and neutral foods I normally ate, my diet was really limited and boredom threatened. But as I would look at the food lists, there were so many beneficial foods that I had never eaten. I went on a campaign to try every beneficial food on the list. I discovered so many new and delicious foods, that boredom vanished.
I now count parsnips, mango, and Swiss chard among my favorite foods, and I would never have tried them without the BTD. I have introduced new legumes and new grains to the family because they are beneficial to my husband and daughter. Fava beans and adzuki beans have become staples.
I would say to my friend and to anyone else new to the Blood Type Diet. If you place your emphasis on not eating avoid foods, you will probably find this diet to be restrictive, even boring. But if you keep your attention on the long list of foods that you can eat to build your health, you will have so many new foods to try that you can't possibly get bored.
Here is one quick example. Before the Blood Type Diet, the only cooked greens I ate were spinach. Now I like collard greens, Swiss chard, beet greens, turnip greens, and kale. I eat cooked greens almost every day. I usually cook enough for 2-3 days. I can go for more than two weeks without cooking the same greens twice.
An added amusement is watching checkers at the grocery store try to figure out what I am buying. This week for instance, a girl scanned the bar code on a package of parsnips and got an error message. I did not remember what the price was, so she called the produce manager on the intercom. The produce manager said, "Parsnips, what are parsnips?"
There is no boredom in that kind of variety.