Archives for: December 2006
The past two days have been very stressful. On Thursday we took my Dad to the doctor. The doctor was thorough and thoughtful. His assistants were kind and patient. However the whole experience reminded me how cumbersome and bureaucratic health care has become. If anything could make me more committed to preventive health care and the Blood Type Lifestyle, this would do it.
They had told me that an aide would come to the car with a wheel chair to get my Dad. We called when we arrived in the parking lot, but 15 minutes later no one had come. My husband had to go roust the aide out of a visit with her friends and make her find a wheel chair. The doctor wanted to redo one sonogram test to convince himself that my Dad had not had a stroke. That was probably a good idea, but the sonogram technicians had no idea how to get a man out of a wheelchair and onto the table.
The doctor was willing to authorize a handicapped-parking permit for my Dad. But there were no applications in the office. One person at the county court house told me that I could get a permit if the doctor wrote a prescription. While my husband and Mom waited with Dad while he got blood work, I raced across town with the prescription, only to be told at the courthouse that the doctor had to sign an application. By the time I got back to the office with the application, the doctor was at lunch. By then I needed some lunch too! It was bad BTD planning to leave home for a doctor appointment at 9:30 without snacks!
When we finally got home at 3:00, my Mom and I were exhausted, but strangely enough Dad was energized. After lunch, he decided to see if he could operate the wheelchair by himself, and he could. He spent the rest of the day wheeling up and down the hall getting on the computer in one room and looking things up in files in another. I had an e-mail from him yesterday, so he must have been strong enough to get himself from the bed to the wheelchair. I have much to be thankful for!
I returned home Thursday night with my family to find a whole different set of stresses. It wasn't that there were an overwhelming number of things to be done, but it seemed as if there were problems with everything I tried to do. The lady at the post office didn't like the envelope I wanted to mail, and made me buy one of the post office envelopes. The copier at the bank was broken, so I had to make two trips. After a series of those events, I was ready to explode or cry.
My daughter said something that made me realize my sense of humor was missing. The stress of the past week had depleted my ability to deal with daily difficulties. I recognized that what I needed was protein - not just a normal Type O amount of protein, but a lot of protein. Within a half hour of an hefty serving of meat, my mood was returning to normal. Today I feel much better, and I'm even optimistic about dealing with the lady at the post office after I finish this blog!
I am again thankful for the knowledge of my body that I have through the Blood Type Diet. Without knowing that I needed protein, I could easily have lapsed into anger or depression.
I would say that all of my Dad's speech difficulties have gone away. His mind is as sharp as ever. Though his right leg improves every day, it is still painful and weak. We have an appointment with his doctor later in the week to get his stitches removed. I hope by then his leg will be considerably stronger, but if not, we'll explore options with the doctor.
My husband and children have arrived! It is wonderful to see them, and wonderful to have their support. My son worked last semester in the physical therapy department at a hospital. He has been invaluable in showing us how to operate the wheelchair and how to get my Dad safely in and out of it.
In addition to their enthusiasm they brought favorite Christmas movies. Tonight we sat around the tree - including my Dad in his wheelchair - and opened presents.
While it was just my Mom, Dad & me in the house, we ate a Type O diet - vegetables and meat. Now that the rest of my family is here, my Mom is bringing out the treats: pizza, fried oysters, cherry pie, cheese cake, turkey & dressing. I said no to pizza, but I ate a ton of oysters. As I did on the cruise, I'm limiting myself to one dessert a day.
We walked two and a quarter miles briskly tonight. I wrapped my husband's leg weights around my wrists to make the walk a little more strenuous. Some of our talk was serious, but most of it was optimistic and cheerful.
I have been careful today to eat right, knowing that I'm under a lot of emotional stress. It has been an avoid free day. My Mom and I ran some errands late this afternoon, and we could see dark storm clouds moving from the north. When we got home, I went for a quick run. It really felt good to pound the pavement and get my heart rate going. I made it home before the cold raindrops started.
For the past two weeks I have heard news reports that ended with, "and that's the real meaning of Christmas."
One of them said miracles were the meaning of Christmas. I feel like I've been watching a miracle unfold in front of me the past three days. If you saw my Dad tonight, you would think - Oh, he is so weak and so helpless. But if you had seen him Thursday, or Friday, or even this morning you would think - It's a miracle how he has improved. But miracles are not the meaning of Christmas.
I've heard at least a dozen times that family is the real meaning of Christmas. Being with my Mom and Dad, trying to help them overcome my Dad's injury has given me a new sense of family this Christmas. Being miles away from my husband and children is not fun, still it has made me appreciate my family in a fresh way. But family is not the meaning of Christmas.
My Mom had planned to decorate the house after she and Dad returned from their trip. But he got hurt, so the tree remains untrimmed. That's ok - decorations are not the meaning of Christmas.
Some say that giving is the real meaning of Christmas. Fortunately all my shopping was done before my Dad fell. So there are gifts under the tree for everyone (except my sweet niece - her gift must still be on a boat somewhere between the US and Europe). I've learned a new perspective on serving as well, which is just another form of giving. My Dad needs help to do basic things that he has always been able to do for himself. I'm glad I'm able to serve him. But giving gifts, even giving myself, is not the meaning of Christmas.
The meaning of Christmas is found only in the baby Jesus. All babies are miracles - but Jesus was not just any baby. He was God himself who became flesh and dwelt on earth. Jesus' family was not just any family. His mother was a virgin who found herself pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, rightfully distressed to find that his fiancÃ© was pregnant, was told by an angel not to be afraid; that this baby was Messiah, who would save the people from their sins. The only fancy light that first Christmas was the star over a stable, which was certainly not decorated in a festive way. No amount of giving on our part can compare to God who "gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
While I have been typing, the computer clock has turned over another day. It's Christmas Eve. I wish you all a Merry and Meaningful Christmas.
My Dad fell on Thursday, cutting his head and losing quite a bit of blood. He was mad that EMS took him to the hospital, and even madder when a CT scan showed a bruise on his brain. It was everything my Mom and I could do to persuade him that he needed to stay in the hospital overnight. Once he submitted to being admitted, he became very lethargic and slept most of the day.
Today we took him home. He is much improved over yesterday, though in a way the improvement makes me sadder. His mind is going 90 miles an hour. He has all sorts of things that he wants to tell us. But his speech is labored and slow. He can't get the words to come out right, and it frustrates him terribly. His legs are very weak. He was so chipper in the car on the long drive home, that Mom and I both thought he'd be able to get in the house with a walker. He could not. Fortunately one of their neighbors, a strong young man, came to our aid.
I'll be with my parents for at least a week. That means I'll be separated from my husband and children. We all agreed that it would be best for them to follow through with the Christmas plans we had already made. I know it's the right decision, but I do miss them, especially at this time of year, and especially when my Dad is struggling so.
I knew I would need a beneficial lunch, so I rummaged through the refrigerator looking for stuff I could quickly throw into a bowl and take with me. I found steamed broccoli and ground turkey. I chopped the broccoli and tossed it with the turkey in olive oil. I also found a sweet potato. It was cooked really soft. I pealed it, mashed it, and put it in with the broccoli and turkey. It looked totally disgusting, but surprisingly it tasted good. The potato and oil sort of formed a sweet creamy dressing for the broccoli and turkey. I doubt this combination will ever turn up on a menu in a gourmet restaurant, but if you're in a hurry for something beneficial, you might like it.
My husband and I had something to celebrate; so a few days ago he took me out to a nice steak and seafood restaurant.
I ordered a sirloin steak. Normally it would have come with salad and a baked potato, but the menu had been changed to potato and broccoli. Curious, I thought. At that moment my primary concern was the potato. Fortunately they let me substitute roasted vegetables, which turned out to be delightfully seasoned onions, peppers, carrots and squash. It was a delicious and very beneficial meal.
Later I started thinking about the broccoli and wondering if putting cooked broccoli in place of raw salad was because of the increasingly frequent news reports about e-coli in raw produce. Two national restaurant chains have received really bad publicity, after customers got sick.
Last night we were all Christmas shopping and ate dinner at a cafeteria in the Mall. My daughter picked a piece of spinach out of her salad and asked, "Is it really safe to eat this?"
There is no doubt that raw foods have more vitamins and more enzymes than their cooked, frozen, or canned counterparts. However, it would only take one experience with e-coli or any other digestive bug to quickly wipe out all the benefits.
Mike and I lamented a year or so ago that about the only vegetable you can get in the currently popular restaurants is salad. They mostly serve sandwiches or pastas or potatoes. Very few offer any vegetable beyond lettuce and it's accompaniments. If restaurants become skittish about raw produce and stop serving salad, what will the Type Os do?
I almost ended my blog with that last question mark, but I feel compelled to add one more thought. If you only buy organic, and only eat in organic restaurants, do not kid yourself that you are safe. Because of the nature of organic fertilizers, improperly washed organic produce probably carries a higher risk than improperly washed commercial produce.
I got a flu shot on Friday. I debated a long time, but in the end decided it was the right thing to do.
My history with flu shots goes back to the mid-70s when I first started working. My employer gave free flu shots to all employees who wanted them. Free sounded good. The shots were given on a Friday. On Saturday and Sunday ran fever and felt terrible. After 2 years, I thought, "Why am I doing this? I might as well get the flu if I'm going to run fever and feel terrible. No wonder they give their free shots on Friday. I lose my weekend with side effects and have to go back to work on Monday."
So I stopped taking flu shots for many years. Most years I did not get the flu, though occasionally I did. Five years ago - Darling Daughter was in 7th grade - the flu hit our community particularly hard. DD was sick for nearly a week. My son swam the regional qualifying swim meet with the flu. My husband and I both had it. The next year, we all got flu shots. It was another bad year for flu, but my family stayed healthy all winter. Not only that, I learned that the new vaccines only make your arm sore - no more fever and flu-like symptoms.
I was convinced. I would get a flu shot every year. Then came the winter of the flu vaccine shortages. We were made to feel guilty because if we got flu shots we would be depriving someone who needed them more. I didn't get the flu that year, and the pattern was broken. My husband went back to getting them, but I couldn't psyche myself up to volunteering for a needle stick. Besides, I was on the BTD by then, maybe that would protect me.
This year flu is ravaging our school already. Friday we put out the last issue of the newspaper before Christmas, and only half of my class was there to help with distribution. DD said, "They're dropping like flies!"
She began early in the week bugging me to get her a flu shot, saying "I don't have time to be sick!" It was a lesson in the inefficiency of bureaucracy, but at last I got her an appointment for Friday afternoon. On the way, she asked if I was going to get a shot, too. I said yes, I said no, I said yes, I said no. I finally decided to do it. If flu is bad in December, this could be another really bad year. We will be spending time with family in the next few weeks, which will include tiny babies and octogenarians (those at greatest risk) as well as toddlers (germ carrying machines). I don't want to catch it, and I don't want to spread it.
So I rolled up my sleeve and got the shot.
When my husband and I married 30 years ago, the country was in the middle of a cultural shift. Our generation was much more casual because of the influence of the hippie movement, but like so many brides and grooms, for weddings, we reverted to the traditions of our parents. So I registered for and received fine Wedgwood china as wedding gifts. I remember with a smile inviting friends for dinner and setting the table with my china, only to have everyone, including my husband wear blue jeans.
I hardly used the china when our children were young, but in recent years I've begun to get it out at holidays. I've noticed some of the pieces were cracked. It seemed impossible; they sat untouched and protected in a china cabinet. At Thanksgiving when I found a beautiful china casserole dish broken in half, I contacted Wedgwood.
What I found out is so frustrating. I should have been washing my china twice a year even when I wasn't using it. China (at least china made in the 1970s and 80s - my mother and her generation's china seems to keep quite nicely in a cabinet) likes water, and it will spontaneously break if it gets too dry. So today I am washing what is left of my china.
What, you ask, does this have to do with the BTD? First - if you have china, wash it occasionally even if you don't use it. I wish someone had told me this 10 years ago.
Second, there's an allegory here. There are physical laws that govern how our bodies work. Knowing your Blood Type and eating accordingly are among those physical laws. For the first 49 years of my life, I didn't know anything about the Blood Type Diet, (just like I didn't know that my china needed moisture), but that didn't keep the laws from impacting my body. All of the avoids I was eating were causing damage (fortunately damage that was more reversible than cracked china!) Once I found about the physical laws and began to change my behavior, my physical health improved dramatically.
Here's the point - I thought I was taking care of my china and taking care of my body, but I was wrong on both counts. My good intentions did not protect either my china or my body. I only hope that the changes I am now making in my home management are as successful as the BTD changes I made 3 Â½ years ago were to my physical well being.
I was at the fish counter and to my delight saw wild caught salmon for about the same price I usually pay for farm raised. I bought the biggest piece they had.
After I cooked it, I knew why the price was so low. I think it had been used as a training tool at a fish filleting school. There were bones everywhere. It took the joy out of eating the salmon, because we had to pick through it so carefully. In addition it was dry and tough, not moist and flaky.
I hate to admit it, but though I occasionally get an outstanding piece of wild salmon, as a general rule it is not as tasty as farm raised.
That is not the case with hormone free chicken. I much prefer the taste of hormone free chicken over ordinary grocery store chicken. I buy hormone free chicken almost exclusively. Frankly, I can't tell the difference between natural beef and the more processed variety. Since my health food market puts their natural beef on sale on a regular basis, we eat natural beef most of the time.
But salmon is giving me a problem. It is hard to justify paying 3 times the price for fish that doesn't taste as good.
I've never tried a hormone free turkey, but my health food market ran a promotion during November. Each time I shopped I got a coupon. I saved enough coupons to get a free turkey. I'll be roasting it for Christmas. I'm just hoping it will not turn out to be a "tough old bird."
Yesterday I began to worry that I'm not feeling the Christmas spirit. A full week into December, and my mood is one of rushing and listing and planning rather than joy and excitement.
We went to a Christmas concert last week. The music was wonderful. It included a handbell choir playing intricate music with perfect timing. But we were running late, and we had trouble finding a parking place. We were fortunate to find a seat in the far right balcony. Those arriving after us had to sit on the floor. Somehow the shadow of anxiety robbed me of the full joy of the concert.
We are in the middle of a big family project, and my husband suggested that we cut back on Christmas decorations this year. "Let's just put up the tree and the nativity scene," he said. "Next year you can go all out and decorate every room." I know he is right. At one level I'm glad to be relieved of three days of decorating, followed, inevitably, by 3 January days of restoring order. Decorations have absolutely nothing to do with the meaning of Christmasâ€¦but putting up holly and angels do set a mood, and they do trigger memories of Christmases past.
When my children were little, we began to celebrate Christmas on December 1. Now my college son is studying for finals. Even when finals are over, he will stay at school to work for several days before coming home. My high school daughter has 5 research papers and 3 projects due before school is out. Last night she and I both literally dozed off as I asked her questions about moles and empirical formulas. Late nights of study do not foster Christmas cheer.
There is the added difficulty of following the BTD. Say what you will, food is a big part of the cultural Christmas environment. Is there a single traditional holiday food that is truly beneficial? I seem to be surrounded by cookies and fruit cakes and egg nogs. They are all lovingly prepared by people just as busy as I am. When I say "No, thank you," I see disappointment in their eyes. When I say "Yes, I'll take some," I kick myself later for not having more self discipline.
This morning as I opened my Bible, I asked God to slow me down enough to enjoy the true wonder and excitement of Christmas. A few minutes later, I read these words by Thomas a'Kempis, "Willingly would I speak my word, and reveal my secrets unto thee, if thou wouldst diligently watch for my coming, and open unto me the door of thine heart."
I thought of the shepherds, out in the fields that first Christmas night, watching their flocks, watching the sky. The rest of the world was rushing around worrying about details of Caesar's census and taxes. All of the details that seemed so important caused them to miss the heavenly hosts glorifying God that Christ was born. Christmas is more than decorations and food - it is even more than family. I want to watch, with an open heart, for God to reveal himself during this season when we celebrate that "God so loved the world."
A popular entrÃ©e in my part of the country is chicken fried steak. It is a thin steak, dipped in egg, dredged in seasoned flour, and fried in a skillet until it is done. It is usually served with green beans, mashed potatoes and white gravy. (I can make a pretty good BTD imitation using rice flour. I quickly brown it in a tiny bit of oil, then transfer it to a baking sheet and let it finish cooking in the oven.)
Some restaurant chef decided to cook a thin slice of chicken breast the same way. He called his new dish - chicken fried chicken. The name has always amused me. The name of today's breakfast experiment is also amusing in a similar way.
We were out with friends a few days ago, and the topic turned to oatmeal. I'll admit it was a strange choice of conversation, but each of us commented on whether we liked oatmeal, and how we liked it cook. One of the men said, "On weekends I make oatmeal for the kids that tastes like an oatmeal cookie." Because it was a man describing the dish, it is more of a list of instructions than an ingredient list.
Put the amount of water in a saucepan that you would normally use for oatmeal. I was going to use 1 Â½ cups of oatmeal, so I used Â¾ cup of water. As the water heats up, peel and dice an apple and put it in the hot water. When it starts to boil, cover it and turn the heat down. When the apples are soft, add a hand full of raisins, some maple syrup or brown sugar (or both) and a little bit of vanilla. Then add the oatmeal, and cook it as you normally would. Serve with a little soy milk and olive oil, if you like.
My honorable husband and darling daughter both liked it a lot. DD said it is her 2nd favorite oatmeal, peanut butter oatmeal being her favorite. HH says oatmeal cookie oatmeal is even better than peanut butter. It is a good choice for a cold morning.
I've been trying new recipes. Since I have to adjust the ingredients to make them compliant for both As and Os, they don't always come out right on the first try. The process would be faster if I could go for a second attempt at the recipe the next week, but the family wants more variety than that.
As soon as I have a recipe that's a keeper, I will post it. In the meantime, I thought I'd share a website. http://homecooking.about.com/library/archive/blalcohol6.htm
My husband and I do not drink alcoholic beverages. For many years the reasons for that decision was based on genetic and religious components. When I started the BTD nearly 4 years ago and realized that alcohol is avoid for Type Os and Type As (except for some wines) it was confirmation that we were making a good decision.
I don't have anything against cooking with alcoholic beverages, except that since we don't drink them, I don't usually have any available in the house. One of the recipes I've been experimenting with calls for sherry.
The above website suggests substituting pineapple juice for sherry. It worked beautifully in the recipe, adding just the right flavor - and it was beneficial for both As and Os.