Archives for: August 2006
I like to read history and I'm fascinated by immunology, so how cool is it when you get a book as a gift entitled The History of Immunology?
Arthur M. Silverstein's meaty little volume for Academic Press (1989) does a very nice job of taking the reader through the myriad of ancient, medieval and renaissance concepts of immunity, including the Hippocratic and Aristocratic 'humors'; the very astute observations about smallpox by the Islamic physician Rhazes; iatrophysics and much more. I was surprised to discover that Cotton Mather, well know inquisitor of witchcraft in colonial New England, was an avid reader of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London and very much up to date with Jenner's discoveries about the ability to immunize against smallpox with the milder cow pox organism.
On Rhazes' observations, it's surprising (if still largely unknown) that the 9th and 10th century Muslim world was the scientific powerhouse of the day, producing profound discoveries in anatomy, pharmacology and physiology (often in concert and synergy with Jewish intellectuals) at a time when Northern Europeans were still crouched around smokey fires in mud hovels. Hopefully, one of these days, the current anti-intellectualism fad will give way to a reawakening of these latent talents.
And finally, how the debates between the 'cellularists' and the 'humorists' divided along nationality (French versus German) in the quiescent period between France's humiliation at the end of the Franco-Prussian War and their repayment of the favor in 1919 with the Treaty of Versailles. "It is worth noting", wrote Otto von Bismarck after the Franco-Prussion War, "That a generation that receives a beating is almost always followed by a generation that gives one."
A fact seemingly lost on many of today's political leaders..
The German camp, led by such famous scientists as Robert Koch and Rudolph Virchow, favored the 'cellular' theory i.e, the white blood cells munch up all the bad guys. Their observations eventually became the basis of Cell Mediated Immunity The 'humorists', mostly French and led by Metchnikoff and Pasteur, viewed the serum factors as being decisive, and their observations eventually became the basic of Humoral Immunity.
So they were both right.
Yet it tells much about the respective variations in national conciousness at the time. The Germans tended to view the immunological battle field as a mano-a-mano 'Test Of Will'. Us against them. The inevitable struggle. The more policemen the better. The French, on the other hand, tended to see things in terms of milieu: fixable with a change of wallpaper or a fresh coat of paint.
There are many more arguments ahead in upcoming chapters; for example whether antibodies bound one antigen (monovalent) or two (bivalent). These guys almost always had 3-4 different possible ways something could happen, and definitely enjoyed tearing into each other!
Sort of like Vanity Fair for the Nobel Prize set.
The AMA seems to be at it again. Despite their near monopoly on health care funding and their protests that they have no interest in combating other healing arts, new legislation being proposed make it amply clear that they are willing to risk possible restraint of trade problems in an attempt to limit the scope of practice of non-MD health care providers such as chiropractors, naturopaths, psychologists, nurses and acupuncturists.
The Health Care Truth and Transparency Act would make it illegal for any licensed health care provider who is not a medical doctor (MD), doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO), doctor of dental surgery (DDS) or doctor of dental medicine (DDM) to make any statement or engage in any act that would lead patients or the public to believe that they have the same or equivalent education, skills or training as an MD, DO, DDS, or DDM.
Now, I'll be the first to agree that I've met a few wacky naturopaths and chiropractors in my time. I've also met a few MDs, dentists and osteopaths who were even crazier and more dangerous than even the nuttiest naturopath. I'll even agree that naturopaths don't have the same education as MDs --NDs have more clinical nutrition training, for one, while MDs typically receive more surgical and emergency room training. So what benefit would there be in drawing specific conclusions about a single individual from the particular letters after their name?
On June 27, representatives John Sullivan (R-OK), Charles Bass, (R-NH), Michael Bilirakis, (R-FL), Michael Burgess, (R-TX), Joe Shwarz, MD (R-MI) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) introduced in the House the Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act of 2006, (H.R.5688). This proposal is a direct result of the AMA efforts to limit scopes of practice for health care providers who are not medical doctors. You want to contact your representatives and request that they limit any serious consideration of this misguided legislation.
Truth is a funny thing, as Pontius Pilate once noted. We should be wary when professional and governmental institutions purport to wrap themselves up in it.
When I woke this morning I was still a little sluggish from last night's avoids and over eating. I had a very beneficial breakfast and went to school. For lunch I had a steak salad that was mostly beneficial (only two neutrals, no avoids). After lunch I felt completely normal. I thought to myself, "Well, last night was dumb, but I got away with it."
I had planned to run today, but it was way too hot when I got home from school. We had dinner, and I waited until the sun had set and the temperature was cooler. I started off on my usual two mile run. I was a little sluggish at first, but I blamed it on the weather. About a mile and a half into the course, I realized that my joints were achy. Nothing serious; I kept on running; but I was aware of pain that I haven't felt in a long time. Specifically that I haven't felt in three years since I started the BTD.
I finished the run, fully aware that I hadn't gotten away with anything. My body knows what's good for it.
Today was the first day of teacher in service. I was not used to getting up so early or sitting so much. (I'm laying the groundwork to excuse my later behavior).
Tonight was the back to school dinner for faculty and spouses. It was to be at a Mexican restaurant, so I packed a really healthy lunch - a ground beef patty, turnip greens, and parsnips. (My behavior was inexcusable because I had ample warning that temptation was coming.)
When my husband and I arrived at the restaurant, we were given four menu choices. Normally taco salad is one of the choices, but tonight it was not. All of the choices were dinners with rice and pinto beans. I chose a grilled chicken breast (because it had the least grain), but it was covered with queso (avoid cheese sauce).
If I had stopped there, I would have been ok, but one of the teachers had baked a huge, beautiful carrot cake. I was away from the table the first time they brought the cake around, so it would have been really easy to not eat the cake. But I watched everyone else eating, and I grabbed a piece when they walked back through the second time.
I was enjoying my cake, and hadn't started feeling guilty yet, when the teacher next to me said, "Suzanne, I don't know when I've seen you eat a piece of cake." Ouch!!! People are always watching to see if I follow through on what I say I believe. It is true of my Christian walk, and true of the BTD.
By the time I got home I was tired and hungry (wheat does that to Type Os). Instead of drinking lots of water, I ate. Looking back, I didn't eat any more avoids (good grief, cheese pinto beans and carrot cake were enough). I just ate too many neutrals too late at night.
I am writing this feeling too tired, too stuffed, and too foolish to do what I ought to do - go to bed and get a decent night's sleep. I'm going to post this because confession is good for the soul. Then I will put tonight behind me and get a fresh start tomorrow. (Thy mercies are new every morning. Lamentations2:23)
The first time I blogged about making homemade nut butter, several people wrote me about walnut butter. Some were telling me how wonderful it was, but others warned me that it was bitter. I let the warnings deter me from trying it.
With my new machine, I'd like to get away from adding so much oil to my nut butters. I had finished the first batch of almond butter. Today I decided to try 2/3 almonds and 1/3 walnut. It had a very pleasant taste - no bitterness at all. Because the walnuts are a softer nut, they made the nut butter much creamier.
Whether you are using a food processor or a hydraulic machine, don't be afraid to mix walnuts with your nut butter.
Last fall I blogged about a section in my daughter's biology book that said in spite of its name, practically all commercial fructose is made from corn. A study at the German Institute of Human Nutrition just reinforced that fact. The researchers divided mice into four groups and gave them either fructose sweetened water, a soda sweetened with table sugar, diet soda, or water. The mice that drank the fructose water ate less food than the mice in the other groups, but they gained the most weight (21% of their body weight).
Here were the conclusions of the study, "Fructose is converted to fatty acids in the liver at a greater rate than glucose. That may lead to weight gain." BTD food lists agree. Sugar (in moderate amounts) is neutral for Type O secretors. Corn syrup and fructose are both avoids.
As I read labels, I notice that more and more processed foods that used to say sugar, now say high fructose corn syrup. Maybe most consumers don't notice the difference, but I put them back on the shelf.
I was reading Psalm 78 which is a poetic history of God's dealings with Israel. Tucked among the verses were these words, "Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat."
The primary connotation is to manna, the bread that God miraculously provided his people as they returned to the Promised Land after being in slavery in Egypt. A secondary meaning is that God is the source of the food that we need, and he is faithful to provide for us. Jesus taught us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread."
All of the biblical references to bread have been somewhat troubling to me as a Type O. Like when Jesus said, "I am the bread of life." Why would God use the image of bread so often when Type Os, the most numerous of all the types, don't do well eating wheat? There is some evidence that ancient bread was made of grains more like the neutral kamut and amaranth. What we call wheat today is a modern hybrid that people of Bible times wouldn't have recognized.
It is also a consolation that God's recipes, Ezekiel bread that is neutral and Essene bread that is beneficial, are good for Type Os. But still I have been uncomfortable reading such inspiring words about a food that brings me poor health.
The Christian worldview teaches that God created a perfect world (garden of Eden), which has been corrupted by sin. The evil things in today's world are the results of sin. The good things are merely a shadow of the perfection that God intended.
That's what I thought of when I read the words, "bread of angels." Bread, as we know it on earth, is a poor imitation of God's idea of bread. When he fed his people in the wilderness, he did not give them sliced white bread in plastic wrappers. He gave them the bread of angels. One day when all is made anew, and we see how God really intended things to be, even Type Os will be able to eat our fill of bread.
It was good to get back to Texas last night. We spent most of today with my parents. In one sense their house will always be home.
My Dad's leg is much better. His doctor released him on Friday. My Mom still has to change his bandage once a day, but he is no longer using antibiotic creams on the wound. A week ago I took him some flax oil and some bioflavonoids. These seemed to be the two things most likely to help his bruising and fragile skin problems. I told him that the bioflavonoids would work with the vitamin C he already took. This morning he sheepishly showed me a new bottle of vitamin C and admitted that he hadn't been taking any extra C for quite some time. He has taken all three supplements for a week. He didn't have any big bruises on his arms today. I really hope this will help.
I assembled the Norwalk juicer and made almond butter. It is much creamier than the almond butter I make in the food processor, and I didn't have to add nearly as much oil. The machine hasn't been used in more than 20 years, but it leaped to life as if it were brand new. I brought it home and made room for it on my counter. I can't wait to try carrot/celery/beet juice.
My mom made a delicious stir fry for lunch with turkey, broccoli, snow peas, and red peppers. I hope I am still a creative cook when I am 90 years old!
This afternoon my husband and I drove the rest of the way home. The kids have taken good care of the house. I'm really proud of them for handling the responsibility so well. They cooked at home more than they ate out.
It's good to be home, and it will really be good to sleep in my own bed tonight.
My husband has a cousin who lives in New Orleans. We spent yesterday afternoon and this morning visiting with her. At dinner time, she said we were having rice and gravy. I thought, "I'm in BTD trouble, big time" but I was so wrong. Her idea of gravy was a stew loaded with beef and vegetables. It was so delicious that I asked for the recipe.
She asked if I knew how to make a roux. I said I had never been very good at it, so she gave me detailed instructions that made it sound easy. I'm going to play around with the recipe and see if I can make it work with another kind of flour. If so, I'll post the recipe.
It's a good thing I didn't worry about the wheat in the rice and gravy, because there was more to come - peach cobbler and ice cream for dessert. My stomach gurgled a little the rest of the evening, but I'm fine today.
This morning she took us on a tour of the Katrina damage. Did I really write a few days ago that we hadn't seen much hurricane damage? I take back those words. We saw devastation today that was unimaginable. I believed the news reports last August about flooding. What I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen it myself, was how many houses are still uninhabitable a year later.
Debris lines many streets where people are still gutting their houses. It is horrible to see a house with the windows broken out and realize that there was so much damage from the flood that protecting the house from further damage by rain would be futile. Sometimes there was only one house on a block that had been repaired enough to be lived in. Many houses are marked for demolition - they just aren't repairable.
The wonderful seafood restaurants around Lake Pontchartrain are gone. Just the foundations are left. The French Quarter was not flooded and it looks great, but many of the restaurants can't open because they can't find workers.
It was common to see signs posted on houses and businesses. In front of one house was the desperate message, "Where are you Billy?" Some signs expressed anger at the government at the insurance companies. But many expressed hope for the future, like the one on a church that said, "He is risen, and we will too."
We spent yesterday and today doing family history research in Brandon Mississippi. I'm looking for information on one of my great-great grandfathers. I found some interesting tidbits, but not the clear link I was looking for.
We ate dinner at a local restaurant that specialized in home cooking. I had brisket, beef tips, turnip greens, and black eyed peas. All were delicious. I ate so much meat and vegetables that it was easy to pass on the dessert bar.
After dinner my husband and I went to the cemetery. It is in quite a lovely setting, part on the top of a hill and part on the bottom. There was a nice gravel path for him to walk while I wandered with my camera among the tombstones. I found the grave marker for my great-great grandmother. She died at age 24, leaving 3 small children. Her tombstone read in part: Blessed are they that believe in me for they shall have everlasting life.
After taking some pictures I joined my husband and walked briskly until it was dark. The hill made it more an aerobic walk than a stroll.
Today we went to Callaway Gardens in Georgia. There were so many things to do. We saw gorgeous flowering plants at the horticultural center. There is a huge glass building filled with flowers where butterflies fly free. Walking among the butterflies and taking pictures was just beautiful. Callaway Gardens is famous for azaleas, but of course they bloom in the spring. However on one of the trails we found several bushes still blooming. They are called encore azaleas, and their red and purple blossoms were a delightful surprise in the August heat.
We did a lot of walking. There are miles and miles of trails through the various specialty gardens and around the lakes.
We had lunch at a sandwich and salad shop on the grounds. As I approached the order desk, I saw a basket of fruit. I got a hamburger and a huge apple. As we ate we could see children outside feeding ducks. I took my discarded hamburger bun to the bridge, where I realized that they were not only feeding ducks but huge turtles. Hope the turtles were not Type O, because they sure enjoyed all that bread.
For dinner we took a side trip to the Talisi Hotel for a Southern cooking buffet. I had baked chicken, black eyed peas, green beans, butter beans, and yams. Everything was delicious, but the yams were especially good. When they brought around the dessert tray, they had coconut pie. That is usually an avoid that I have trouble avoiding. But tonight I told our friends I was going back for a second serving of yams for dessert. I pretended that it was sweet potato pie.
Yesterday we drove across four states. We were on the road for about 12 hours. After breakfast in Texas, scattered showers obscured our view of the Atchafalaya Swamp in Louisiana. There was less hurricane damage visible from the highway than we had expected in Louisiana and Mississippi. Alabama was beautiful and green. I wish we could share some of their rain, we are so very dry in Texas.
At last we arrived at Jim and Margaret's house. They had a delicious dinner waiting. Jim grilled some of the best chicken I have ever eaten. They had marinated it for 24 hours, then cooked it outside on a grill. The marinade was soy sauce, lemon pepper, Lawry's Seasoned Salt, and garlic powder. They couldn't give me measurements, they say they blend those ingredients until they just feel right.
Margaret showed me how to put fresh mint in my water and mash it with a spoon, Southern style. It was so refreshing. I want to start growing mint when we get home.
I keep assuring them both that I will do fine on the blood type diet at their house. There are a few things I will pass up, but I don't want them to worry about fixing anything special. We are sure having a lot of fun catching up on what's been going on in each others lives.
We got a call from our kids. They were fixing egg and turkey bacon tacos for dinner.