Archives for: June 2006
My son is home from working the first session at Camp Kanakuk in Missouri. Kanakuk is the largest Christian sports camp in the world. We were delightfully entertained last night with tales about the adventures of his middle school boys. You might be interested in what he said about the food.
There were no sodas served at meals or for snacks. One night each week they have a Western dance, and root beer is part of the refreshments. That is the only soda for either campers or counselors.
At meals they had lemonade, sports drinks, and fruit punch. However, before the boys and girls could get one of those drinks they had to drink a glass of water first.
Only one dessert item was served per day. If they had ice cream for lunch, there was no dessert at dinner. If they had a sweet pastry for breakfast, there was no dessert for the rest of the day.
Meals were served family style at tables. Kanakuk wants the campers to develop a heart of service, but rather than lecturing them, they give them opportunities to see people serving. My son said that at orientation the counselors were told that any time one of the serving dishes was empty, they were to get up, go to the kitchen, and get a refill. With middle school boys who have been playing hard all morning or afternoon, you can imagine how many times the counselors interrupted their own meals to serve the boys. But by the end of the week, when a counselor would start to get up, one of the boys would say, "Let me go get more."
There was fruit served at every meal: bananas, oranges, apples, or strawberries. There was either a salad or a vegetable served at both lunch and dinner. My son said, "Mom there was only one time I couldn't get a Type O meal. One night we had soup and salad, and there just wasn't enough protein. Other than that, I had all the meat I needed."
There was a lot of bread, which my son said the kids flocked to. However potatoes were served only occasionally.
Though this is radically different from the way most of the boys and girls probably eat at home, there were no complaints. The campers accepted the no soda and one dessert policies and filled up on healthy food.
There is no tolerance for ridicule at Camp Kanakuk. Counselors are with the boys and girls all day and all night. If any one starts to tease or make fun of someone else "we nipped it in the bud," my son said. Yet there were crazy skits to make the kids laugh and daily recognition of achievements to put smiles on their faces. That environment most certainly is the best for the digestive system and the whole person as well.
Sunday after church we ate at a Greek restaurant. The owners had distributed buy-one-get-one-free dinner coupons to entice new customers. My husband is suspicious of new food, but I told him to think of the Dancing Zorba in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".
I decided immediately on the gyro salad. The description sounded like a perfect Type O meal: Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese, lamb, beef, and olive oil. My daughter decided on a Greek salad without the lamb and beef. My husband ordered fish with potatoes and salad.
My husband said the fish was really good. I wish I knew what herbs were used in the topping. My daughter enjoyed her salad. Based on the description, I had expected to find a slice of roast and a slice of lamb on my salad. I looked gyro up on the internet when I got home, and indeed that was the original gyro. However, what is most common now is a meat loaf made with ground beef, ground lamb, and lots of spices. This was what I had on my salad. It tasted good, but had a texture like bologna.
Since I have been on the BTD, I've had very few headaches - maybe 2 a year. Sunday afternoon I had a pounding headache. I suspect MSG or nitrites may have been in the meat.
I'll be more suspicious if I go to another Greek restaurant. But the next time I have leftover lamb or roast, I may make my own version of a gyro salad.
Since our neighborhood pool opened I have been swimming laps three times a week. It is a wonderful way to cool off at the end of the day. Twice this week I swam a half mile without fins, which means I used my shoulder a lot more.
We're planning a couple of visits to the coast this summer, so my daughter and I bought snorkel gear. We took it to the pool Thursday night to learn how to use it. At first it was awkward. When I swim laps I exhale through my nose and inhale through my mouth. In the snorkel mask, I can't use my nose at all. I finally got into a rhythm and swam Â¾ mile. I still need to learn what to do when water builds up in the mouthpiece. If I have enough breath to exhale hard I can clear the tube, but a couple of times I had to stand up. I sure don't want that happening in deep water at the coast!
Last night we rented "Anatomy of a Murder." In the movie, the defendant pleads temporary insanity because of an "irresistible impulse." Those irresistible impulses often happen on the BTD. If I don't eat wheat, I don't miss wheat. But just a bite of cake or pizza makes me want more and more. Usually I resist, but sometimes the impulse is irresistible. Sometimes the impulse is for something sweet. I can usually steer myself toward a beneficial fruit or a small amount of sugar in a neutral snack.
Yesterday I was desperate for something crunchy. I was resolved not to eat any avoids. Almonds did not satisfy. 100% rye crackers finally did the trick.
What causes these occasional impulses? Temporary insanity - I don't think so. Reverting back to old habits - perhaps. More likely I'm low on protein. I upped my protein today, and the impulses kept their distance.
One of the things I want to do this summer is try new recipes. I'm off to a slower start than expected because I've been working on some computer slide shows. Sometimes I have to make a recipe several times before I want to recommend it. I tried a chicken recipe that relied on an avoid to make the sauce work. My first attempt at a substitution was ok but nothing to brag about. The flavor was good enough to make it worth the effort to try again.
I tried a new kale recipe. The flavor was good, but it was way too salty. I may have copied the recipe wrong. If not, I'll need to adjust the seasoning to my taste before I pass it along.
For months I've had Debra's Parsnip Cherry bread recipe on my counter. I put the ingredients in the bread machine last night, and woke this morning to the wonderful smell of fresh bread.
My greatest difficulty with this bread was the name. Though parsnips are beneficial for my Type As, neither likes to eat them. My daughter prefers raw veggies over cooked. Everyone talks about steaming parsnips, mashing them, or cooking them in a stew. She tried steamed parsnips, but rejected them on the same grounds that she rejects cooked carrots and cooked broccoli. I've never heard anyone talk about eating them raw. I tried them raw today, dipped in pumpkin seed butter, and they tasted fine. I'm going to see of she will give them another chance raw.
My husband does not have a good sense of smell. So when he eats parsnips he only tastes the tartness, not the flavor. If I told the As they were eating Parsnip Cherry bread for breakfast they would have balked. I thought about calling it Chewy Cherry bread but that seemed to imply a sweet bread rather than a yeast bread.
When Debra first blogged about the recipe she said "It has a sweet and 'spicy' kick to it!" When I tasted it, I knew what she meant. It has a similar impact to a sweet and sour sauce. I decided to call it Sweet Tart bread (or Sweetheart bread). I hoped that name would prepare my As for the unusual flavor.
My strategy must have worked. This very Type A beneficial bread (all beneficials and neutrals for Type Os too) got a favorable rating from everyone. Here is the link to Debra's original recipe. I used 2 Tablespoons of sugar instead of 4 teaspoons. That was my only change.
There are three CDs in the John Sarno "Healing Back Pain " audio book. I was fascinated in the first two CDs as he gave example after example of people he had helped. I was reminded of people I have known who have spent many years and huge amounts of money to be free of pain. I was eager to get to the third CD and find out his solution to the anger that he says is at the root of back and other pains.
I was disappointed. He doesn't deal with anger at all. He writes that 80% of his patients become pain free by realizing that their pain is not a structural problem. The other 20% he sends for psychotherapy. If someone's pain returns he puts them through a group refresher course where they are reminded about TMS basics.
His techniques are undeniably useful. I once blogged about a high school knee injury that would periodically return to haunt me. It has all the characteristics of TMS, and is already showing improvement.
However as a Christian, it bothers me that I have enough subconscious anger to cause physical symptoms. It seems important to me to deal spiritually with that anger. When Sarno deftly skipped over that part, I turned to another book ""Competent to Counsel" by Jay Adams. His section on anger and resentment have given me a lot to think about. Here are a few quotes:
"Christ did not allow his anger to turn into resentment. He, therefore, was angry but did not sin." â€¦ "Ventilating sinful feelings is simply unbiblical." â€¦ "Christians must not allow one single day to pass with unresolved anger stored in their hearts. The principle is clearly set forth: Do not let the sun go down on your anger. In other words, every day Christians must handle the problems that have arisen." â€¦ "All he can do, all that God requires him to do, is to confess any known sin, ask for forgiveness, and earnestly seek to make restitution wherever necessary and possible - all in order to bring about reconciliation."
There is, of course, a lot more than those few quotes to what Adams says about anger, just as there is a lot more than my brief summary to what Sarno says about pain. If you are dealing with painful back, shoulders, or knees, I would recommend you get both books and read them side by side. I am indebted to Dr. Sarno for focusing my attention on areas of unconfessed sin that had both spiritual and physical significance.
Because of my frozen shoulder, I have been interested in the variety of treatments and ideas in the "torn rotator cuff" thread on the Forum. Dr. John Sarno, an MD who treats people for back, shoulder and neck pain and has written several books, has been mentioned several times. In early June there was a spirited debate about the merits of his philosophy. Several things in my past made me curious to know more about him.
Then by strange coincidence I kept coming across verses in my Bible study that linked the state of mind with the health of bones.
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Psalm 51:8
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. Proverbs15:30
For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones are consumed. Psalm 31:10
These are not isolated verses - a concordance finds many more.
So I checked out "Healing Back Pain" on CD from my local library.
Sarno does not say that there is no such thing as a back injury. On the contrary he insists that his patients have a medical evaluation before they come to him, and he urges readers to have a thorough physical exam before starting his program.
He does not say that back (or shoulder or neck) pain is imaginary. He says that it is very real and has a physical source. He says it is caused by oxygen deprivation. His is not a mystical program.
He says that it is illogical to believe that an injury, once it is healed, should continue to reoccur year after year after year. He does not accept the idea that a relatively minor injury could do so much physical injury that it leads to debilitating pain. (He uses frozen shoulder as an example of this point.)
At the risk of oversimplifying, he says that rather than confronting anger, stress and fear, the subconscious mind will create a diversion or distraction in the form of pain.
There are several things that I have no control over, that make me angry. Because there is nothing I can do about the situations, I squash the feelings back inside. Is it a coincidence that I have had shoulder pain three times in less than 10 years?
I am finding many of his ideas to be extremely helpful. I also have one disagreement with him. I'll write about that next time. In the meantime, go to the library or bookstore and get his book (or CDs). You may well see yourself in his examples more often than you expect.
I heard a tale recently about a lady in an eastern state who gave her toddler a bunch of grapes. As the child was eating, a spider crawled out of the grapes and bit him. It sounded like an urban legend to me, and sure enough I checked the Snopes site tonight, and there it is along with several variations involving snakes and coats.
I came pretty close to living out that urban legend at over the weekend. For a party, my friend and hostess had finger food catered. There were lots of avoids in the form of breads and chips. I had eaten before the party, and planned to snack only beneficials and neutrals. There was a good veggie tray, and an amazing assortment of summer fruit. I filled my plate and began to nibble and visit.
I noticed that there were spots on the grapes, but I assumed that they must be hard water spots. It never occurred to me that a caterer would serve unwashed fruit. Then I pulled off a grape, and underneath was a spider web. No spider, and certainly no bite. This is my real life, not some urban legend.
But I confess it made me lose my appetite. Any rinsing of those grapes would have dislodged the spider web. I was eating grapes fresh from the field, sprayed with who knows what. I looked at the strawberries and blueberries, now suspicious of them as well.
I'm pretty zealous about washing produce at home. People who pick fresh fruit and vegetables do not have sanitary facilities in the fields. Non organic produce needs to have any pesticide residue washed off. Organic produce needs to be washed even more thoroughly because of bacteria in manure and other natural fertilizers.
I blogged some time ago about my method of washing produce, and I won't repeat myself today. If you need instructions, you'll find them at this link
There is no good way to end this blog. I do not want to become so fanatical that I refuse to eat away from home. But it is disconcerting to find that a caterer, who also owns a restaurant, has such low food handling standards.
I thought Don made a profound statement on a recent post. It's about a topic that comes up both on the Forum and in my comments. I've never seen anyone give a name to it, as Don did when he said, "Are they foods or food products?â€¦ With food products you just have to read the ingredients list and compare them against your appropriate BTD food list to determine if you should use the product or not."
I remember the first time I encountered the difference between food and food products. I was reading through an old food list in Eat Right for your Type, and saw that string cheese was listed as an avoid. I wondered why, since the string cheese I bought was plain mozzarella.
As I continued to read, I learned that in the early food lists, Dr. D. had tried to include name brand foods, but that it quickly became impractical because different companies used different ingredients in their food products. He could not possibly investigate all the brands. So TYPEBase4 deals almost exclusively with foods, not food products. Ezekiel and Manna breads are examples of exceptions to that rule..
Foods are single ingredients. They can be plants like carrots, watermelon, spinach or mangos. They can be animal like beef, turkey, or eggs. Some are chemical like MSG, salt, or maltodextrin. Some are herbs or spices; some are processed like oil or cheese.
Food products involve recipes and a list of ingredients. I have to be responsible for reading the ingredient lists for the food products I buy. I was going to use as an example that the major brand sloppy joe mix contained corn syrup as the second ingredient, but that the store brand used sugar instead. I went to my pantry and pulled out a can of store brand, just to check, and saw to my horror that the ingredients have changed. There is corn syrup in the store brand now, and I didn't take the time to check the label when I bought it.
I, then, have decisions to make. I can decide to be 100% compliant. Realistically, that would mean not buying many food products. Because on almost every label there is an avoid hidden somewhere toward the bottom. It would also mean paying outrageous amounts for certain products. For example the major brand of salt contains a tiny amount of a corn derived additive - however sea salt without that additive costs 15 to 20 times as much.
Since I am healthy, I am comfortable with my decision to say that I am 95 - 98% compliant. I'm allowing for a few avoids near the bottom of ingredient lists in food products. If I were dealing with disease, I would avoid all traces of avoids.
There are some avoid ingredients that I know give me trouble. I don't buy food products that contain MSG, nitrites, or aspartame. However, if I find a gum or starch near the bottom of an otherwise compliant food product, I may buy it. I don't eat Italian dressing because of the white vinegar, but I sometimes use canola mayonnaise. The amount of vinegar is small relative to the main ingredients, which are neutral.
For food you can rely on TYPEBase4.
For food products, read ingredient lists! Think twice about avoids in the top 3-4 ingredients. Balance caution and obsessiveness regarding avoids near the bottom of ingredient lists.
Someone decided to load my comment box with spam. The graphics, of course, don't load because this isn't an e-mail address, so what I see in my comment box is just a bunch of garble.
Whoever is doing this is wasting their time. We have a family rule that we never (emphasize never) respond to telephone or e-mail solicitation. You are irritating me, as well as the legitimate readers who want to make comments. It's too easy for a real message to get lost among all of the unreadable computer symbols.
Spam - either the pork product or the computer variety - is decidedly avoid.
I was stuck in a long check out line at Wal-Mart today. (They really do have organic produce now.) The best way to control my impatience in a long check out line is to pick up a magazine and start reading. It doesn't make the line move any quicker, but it does make the time go faster. I picked up a Prevention magazine, and learned two things.
First they did a study in Israel about grapefruit and cholesterol. They found that ruby red grapefruit lowered total and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) twice as much as white grapefruit. Triglycerides dropped three times as much with red over white.
Second, somebody did a study about doing crunches for a flatter stomach. The way most people do them, doesn't work according to the study. However, if you pull in your abs before curling off the floor, you will generate twice as much muscle activity. Here is what they said, "Before you roll up, pull your navel toward your spine. Keep the abs hollowed throughout the move, imagining your ribs flaring out to the sides."
Saturday afternoon we went to a wedding. It was the first of my son's friends to marry, and I kept remembering the groom as a 4-year-old, playing GI Joes in my den.
There were good Type O choices at the reception. I had roast beef, salmon with some kind of delicious green garnish, and fresh fruit.
Conversation at our table covered a lot of topics. Then out of the blue someone said to me, "Aren't you involved with that Blood Type Diet? What's an A supposed to eat?" I tried to keep my answer brief, knowing that my husband and daughter were thinking, "Oh no! Don't get her started." But the people at the table were really curious, and asked lots of good questions. So I talked a little about why I started the BTD and how the diets for each type are different.
About that time, the bride and groom got ready to cut the cake. Everyone at the table rose to get a piece, except me. Having just said how much better I felt when I didn't eat wheat, I couldn't very well make an exception. I was held accountable by my own words.
I'm sure the cake would have tasted good. However, I'm also sure that I felt better for the rest of the evening by avoiding it.
By each plate was a little gold bell with this on the tag, "Join us in ringing the bell to celebrate a lifetime of love and happiness." What a cute idea instead of throwing rice or birdseed!
I went to the grocery store yesterday afternoon. It was so good to have food back in the house again. It was even better, after three busy days, to have time to cook.
My daughter had requested salmon for dinner, so I stopped at the fish counter. They had farm raised salmon for $5.99 a pound and two kinds of wild caught salmon. One was $14.99 and the other was $19.99. I prefer wild caught fish, and buy it - unless the price differential is too great. This wild caught salmon did not fit into my budget, so I asked the butcher for a large piece of farm raised.
She said that most people didn't buy the large fillets, and that the day before her manager had cut some $19.99 wild caught salmon into smaller pieces. It hadn't sold, and he had just told her to sell the wild caught salmon at the farm raised price.
I did some quick thinking. If I had shopped late in the day yesterday and cooked the fish today it would have been exactly the same as buying yesterday's fish today and cooking it right away. This salmon had never been frozen, so I could cook some for dinner and freeze the rest.
I told her I would take all four pieces. When she weighed it, the original price was more than $70. I paid about $20. There are two morals to this story. First, - it always helps to be in the right place at the right time.
Second, unless you are independently wealthy, you are constantly making choices about how to spend your food budget. There are some things that I buy at the health food store, and I accept that I will pay more. There are other things that I buy at the grocery store. I don't have a problem with anyone who pays top dollar for the highest quality or the latest food fad.
However, from time to time, I feel the need to reassure, those of you on a tight food budget that you can follow the Blood Type Diet buying all your food on sale from a regular grocery store. As long as you can find meat, vegetables, and fruit, you can benefit from the Type O diet.
I don't believe I am much better off today for having eaten $19.99 wild caught salmon last night than I would have been if I had eaten the farm raised. Perhaps the cumulative effect over 100 years would be measurable, but it would be hard to prove. However I know with absolute certainty that I am healthier eating salmon and vegetables for dinner than I would have been if I had eaten pizza or a hot dog and fries.
So make the best choices you can with the food budget you have, and don't let anyone make you feel guilty!