Archives for: December 2007
Well, the cat's officially out of the bag. The GenoType Diet ships to all locations from here on in. I can't help wondering how it will be received. Like anything with beginnings an endings, you have to make see possibilities even in that which you compromise.
- The book had to be accurate and truthful, but you can't bury people with every single fact. Metaphors and parables can often be used to animate complex principles so they can be seen as the commonplace occurrences that they are.
- The book was written from a non-defensive standpoint. By that I mean, if it was important that something be said a certain way so as to make the point more intelligible by a larger audience, it was. Early on I decided to not write a book to please skeptics or critics of my earlier works. They would never be happy no matter what I would be willing to do, and besides, they wouldn't buy the book anyway.
- The book had to be helpful and prescriptive. It is not very useful to write a tome on how epigenetics interacts with the environment and not make it relevant to the reader in some simple way: perhaps the repurposing of a food or supplement, perhaps a whole new perspective on looking at their diet and lifestyle.
- The book had to be in sync with the past, but also unafraid to change as new facts and methods of analysis developed. Most long term readers will see a direct thread from GTD back to my earlier work with BTD. Others may be somewhat shaken by the difference that result from the new ways of analysis and classification. There are differences. Blood Type Dieting is a more 'idealizing model' and the GTD is a more 'abstracting model'. They get at their information from fundamentally different avenues of approach. Hopefully everyone who has an interest in this type of work will be able to find a spot along the continuum that is just right for them.
I think this is the most profound book I have authored, and it is the work I would like to be most remembered for. To take nothing away from the "Right For Your Type' books, I'm just a more mature author at this point in my life, and many things came together for this book that are dependent on being alive long enough to have a certain number of dreams. It was certainly the most difficult book I have every written. I felt from the beginning that this book had to be as perfect as I could get it, and I was lucky to have people around me who felt the same way. Whether any degree of perfection was actually achieved will have to wait for the test of time.
Spent a pleasant morning yesterday with Mehmet Ã–z, his lovely wife Lisa and Michael Roizen. Mehmet has a radio show on XM that I was a guest on. I think it will air sometime mid January. Michael is the author of the 'Real Age' series of books, and together with Mehmet, they wrote a bestseller called YOU: On A Diet. Mehmet's wife Lisa was also part of the show. It was an interesting hour, and I was surprised by how much leeway I was given to go into some of the more technical aspects of the book. Both these guys are doctors and when their gears are turning you can see that they almost forget that they are doing a radio show.
Christmas day dinner was delicious and made more pleasant by the return of our guests from last year. Jon Humberstone is the head of NAP customer service but in reality does incredibly much more than that. He does a lot of the back-end programming for the NAP e-store, and was critical in aligning the new NAP GenoType store with the genotypediet.com site. Keith McBride is our marketing wizard who made the liaison with Random House so breezy and effortless.
The guys gave me an unexpected but entirely welcome gift: Edward Tufte's Beautiful Evidence having read in a prior blog that I was especially fond of his earlier great work The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. I am so looking forward to curling up with this baby.
All of the Christmas shopping is done. Family is starting to gather together. This afternoon I am relaxing, reading, visiting, and catching up on e-mail. I got some insightful comments after my November Blog about mints. Here are some of the best:
"As a pharmacist with many years of experience and a recent doctorate, I view both aspartame (Nutrasweet) and sucralose (Splenda) as chemical poisons. When Splenda first appeared on the market, our daughter called from college for advice and I said it was too good to be true. Upon researching I found that it is a substituted sugar. This means the actual sugar molecule is chemically altered. In this case 3 hydroxyls are substituted with chlorine molecules to retain the sweetness and subtract the calories. Another disaster for the public, which while not as dangerous as aspartame (a neurotoxin) it should not be consumed without long-term testing. We are seeing Splenda users with bright red rashes, abdominal bloating, gas, and pain; and one of the first questions I ask patients requesting my recommendation for any rashes or stomach pain is: "Do you use any artificial sweeteners?" I chew a Xylitol gum (Biotene and others) as unobtrusively as possible as it freshens breath and prevents cavities... My rule of thumb is to stick with natural products that are not chemically altered...Sugar is not the healthiest product but it will not harm you in small quantities. Xylitol and Stevia are both natural sweeteners that may be used safely"
"I know that any artificial sweetener is not good for me and I've heard all the negative publicity sugar gets. In the end I decided that sugar is mostly a natural product God has supplied for us so as long as I only use it sparingly I go for sugar."
"Check out longlifeunlimied.com they have xylitol products which are excellent. By the way their xylitol is NOT from corn, which most others are! Theirs is from tree bark!"
This comment is from Dr. D on one of the old message board archives, "Xylitol causes extreme flatulence in about 50% of the population."
The xylitolnow.com website deals with this issue saying, "Initial overuse can have a laxative effect with some people. If you have never used xylitol sugar before, start slow, allow your system to adjust to higher quantities. By doing this you are increasing the necessary enzymes in your stomach to digest xylitol."
I took the plunge and ordered both xylitol mints and xylitol gum. They arrived about a month ago. As Dr. D. predicted, I noticed a slight increase in gas. As xylitolnow.com predicted, it seems to be gradually diminishing.
If you Google xylitol gum or xylitol mints, you will find quite a few companies selling them under different brand names. I ordered from emeraldforestxylitol.com
I chose them because they had the best specials on the day that I ordered.
I really like the gum. I had previously tried a xylitol gum that began to digest and break apart after about 5 minutes of chewing. I was left with a nasty mush in my mouth that I didn't want to swallow. The emerald forest gum holds together for as long as I've ever tried to chew it. It leaves my mouth and teeth feeling really good.
The xylitol mints are powerful - more like altoids than starlight mints. I think I prefer the soft peppermints made with sugar, but I will probably continue to use xylitol mints.
Since it is the day before Christmas Eve, I thought this would be a fitting end to a blog about mints:
According to legend there was a candy maker who wanted to invent a candy that was a witness to Christ.
First of all, he used a hard candy because Christ is the rock of ages. This hard candy was shaped so that it would resemble a "J" for Jesus or, turned upside down, a shepherd's staff. He made it white to represent the purity of Christ. Finally a red stripe was added to represent the blood Christ shed for the sins of the world, and three thinner red stripes for the stripes He received on our behalf when the Roman soldiers whipped Him. Sometimes a green stripe is added as a reminder that Jesus is a gift from God.
The flavor of the cane is peppermint, which is similar to hyssop. Hyssop is in the mint family and was used in the Old Testament for purification and sacrifice. Jesus is the pure Lamb of God, come to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
So, every time you see a candy cane this Christmas, remember the message of the candy maker: Jesus is the Christ!
I can't believe it's been a week since my last blog. Every day has been filled with activity and food. Every paragraph of this blog could have been a blog in and of itself, there just hasn't been time to write.
Our son flew home after his first semester at graduate school. He was tired after the hardest semester of his life. I had to work late the night he came home. I picked up Chinese food so we could all eat together at a reasonable hour. The next night I fixed spinach and lamb. He has caught up on his sleep and is rejuvenating his spirits by working in the yard.
Our daughter volunteered for a part in the drive through Christmas exhibit where she goes to school. Some very creative people turn part of the campus into Bethlehem - complete with horses and sheep. As visitors drive through, they see the entire Christmas story reenacted. Our daughter and a friend had taken a belly-dancing course just for fun in the fall. I've watched her practice, and it looks like perfect exercise for a Type A. She wound up as a belly dancer at Herod's palace. One of the nights was perfect weather. The others were very cold. I've been giving her lots of water with Echinacea and elderberry drops.
Our son has a girlfriend. She is a delightful Christian young woman, and we like her a lot. His graduate school kept them several states apart during the fall semester. She came for a 4-day Christmas visit. She is a Type A. So I continued to plan meals in my usual fashion with choices for As and Os. They took lots of long walks around our neighborhood and out in the country.
I've had three big stresses to deal with. My Mom fell again. She got up in the night to go to the bathroom, and fell. When she couldn't get up, she decided not to wake my Dad. She just sat on the bathroom floor until morning. It is so hard to see her weak like this, even if she is 91-years-old. It makes me more committed to my own muscle strengthening program.
My journalism class needed to put out one more issue of the school newspaper before the holidays began. The lead story for the front page didn't get approved by the administration until yesterday. That gave me very little time to finish the layout and print the paper. Today was the last day of class. I printed as I ate my lunch (cooked spinach, feta cheese, raisins, cubed chicken and olive oil) The class stuffed and distributed the paper. It was on time, but without a moment to spare.
I did most of my Christmas shopping early, but I still have the two most difficult people to shop for left on my list. I don't even have a really good idea. As soon as I finish this blog, my daughter and I are going to wander through the mall. I hate it that shopping stresses me at Christmas time. That is the antithesis of the season. No more shopping stress after today! I'm going to relax and enjoy the break from work and remember the miracle of Christmas.
Now you're caught up with all my activities. In some form or other the Blood Type Diet has been a part of each and every one, because the BTD is an integral part of my life.
Today is the Christmas luncheon at my husband's office. The company provides turkey and ham. The employees bring all of the side dishes. For years I have baked homemade bread. Before the Blood Type Diet, I made the same whole wheat bread that I made for my family. Now, at home, I bake rye bread, which is better for my Type As. But I don't think that the people at the office would appreciate the rye texture, so I go back to the old wheat recipe when I bake for the party.
This morning as I took the last loaf out of the bread machine I thought of something that I should have noticed long ago. The old recipe has extra gluten. It was about the time that I started baking bread that my indigestion got so much worse, and it was indigestion that eventually led me to the BTD.
Here's the irony - it was a health food store that recommended adding gluten to my recipe!
When I first got my bread machine, I followed the recipe for whole wheat bread. It was not at all appetizing. The flavor was nice, but the loaf was hard and heavy. Friends said to mix half white flour and half whole wheat. I recoiled against that idea. I had been reading for years about the evils of white flour and the benefits of whole grains.
I went to my favorite, independently owned health food store. One of the major organic, health food brands packages pure gluten powder. My friends at the store told me to add two Tablespoons of gluten to my recipe. I did and the results were fantastic - a 100% whole wheat loaf that was light and delicious.
I baked bread often, and I ate a lot of what I baked. All of the ingredients were natural and whole grain. According to conventional wisdom, what better food could I eat?
It was about that time that indigestion changed from a mild, occasional annoyance, to an every day aggravation. I never made the connection. I looked at lots of other foods and factors in my diet and lifestyle, but I never questioned my natural, healthy, delicious bread.
Providentially I found the BTD, learned that wheat is avoid for Type Os and that gluten is one of the culprits that makes it avoid. I started looking for wheat free bread recipes, and the gluten went into the back of the pantry. This morning is the first time I've connected the dots about the role that bad advice about "healthy" gluten played in my finding the BTD.
One more thingâ€¦After my blog about feeling like a short order cook, Joe wrote about his 3-Blood Type Family. He said, "In spite of the inconvenience, I think it is much better than eating incorrectly." I couldn't agree more. We are all healthier when we eat right for our types. I would much rather spend a little extra time in the kitchen than a lot of extra time at the doctor's office.
When I started the BTD, my family had two Os and two As. Then my son left for college, and I was outnumbered except on holidays. I adjusted by fixing myself Type O lunches and serving dinners that we all could eat. That worked really well until this year. My Type As are going in different directions.
My husband is craving grain. There are a lot of grains that are beneficial for As, and I'm serving them. But what he really wants is more rice, noodles, and wheat rolls, all of which are neutral.
My daughter on the other hand is shunning grain. She read that avoiding wheat is one of the keys to Type A weight loss. She is over compensating and eating very little of even the beneficial grains. What she really wants is lots of salad and lots of fruit.
Today we got home from church and everyone was hungry. My husband wanted soup, salad and rolls. "Don't just thaw out one," he said. My daughter wanted raw vegetables and peanut butter with fruit. "I'll warm up a little bit of last night's chicken, too," she said. I had leftover parsnips and ground beef. There weren't any green vegetables in the refrigerator, so I quickly sautÃ©ed some okra. I felt like a short order cook!
The positive side of this is that the BTD leaves room for a lot of individuality. This is a diet that starts with the premise that we are not all alike. Even within the blood types there is plenty of diversity. The negative side is the complexity of serving a family style meal.
I wonder, sometimes, how we come to like some foods and dislike others. There are avoid foods that I naturally dislike. I think, "It's my body telling me that cucumbers are not good for me." But there are also avoid foods that I love, and turn away from only with the greatest degree of self discipline. I don't understand it.
I have noticed, that the longer I eat like an O, the more I seem to like the foods that are beneficial for me.
For most of my life I have not liked onions. I eventually learned to eat cooked onions, and since starting the BTD, grilled onions have become one of my favorite foods. But I still didn't like raw onion. If by mistake I crunched into a bit of chopped onion, I would gag. Many times I simply could not swallow it.
But I am changing. There are two Mexican restaurants near the school where my Darling Daughter and I can get a quick taco salad. One of them serves black beans - that's a big plus. Unfortunately, that restaurant also tops their salad with raw onions. Even if I ask them to leave off the onions, a few pieces always escape.
Last year I picked through the salad, looking for stray onions. A missed piece would greatly distract from my enjoyment of the meal. When school started this year, I noticed a peculiar thing. If I crunched an onion in the salad, nothing happened. I chewed it and swallowed it as if it were a piece of lettuce or carrot. Was I - after 54 years - learning to like raw onion?
Tonight we had a Middle School basketball game and an Elementary Christmas music concert to photograph, so we stayed late at school. DD went to pick up salads, and forgot to tell them no onions. As I began to eat, I was aware that there were lots of onions. But they didn't make me wince or gag. I ate them along with everything else.
I guess my tastes are changing. I can't think of a single Type O beneficial food that I flat out refuse to eat. I have gradually come to like the foods that are beneficial for me - even the ones I had disliked for 40 years.
Now, if I could just get DD to give mushrooms a fair trialâ€¦
My husband and I were at a party the other night and I wound up in a group of young women who were talking about appliances they had received as gifts, but never used. It was interesting to hear them talk. One said she had been given a blender but had never found a use for it. I smiled inside because I use my blender at least once a day to make my daughter's soy shake - twice a day if I'm grinding nuts or seeds.
One said bread machines were a waste of counter space. There was general agreement with that sentiment. I didn't argue, but I thought to myself, if you're baking beneficial bread for Type As, a bread machine is wonderful.
One young mom said that she would like to get rid of every small appliance she owned except for her microwave and her rice steamer. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. She had ripped every appliance that I depend on for cooking, then said her favorite appliance was one that I had mocked as totally unnecessary. So I asked - what's so great about a rice steamer?
It turns out her husband is from Thailand and wants rice at every meal. She says the rice steamer makes perfect rice every time. You put in the right amount of rice and water and turn it on. It turns off when the rice is ready. She says it works for white and brown rice as well as her husband's favorite, jasmine rice. It almost makes me want to put a rice steamer on my Christmas wish list.
My favorite appliance for years has been my food processor. I depend on it for grating and chopping. It saves me hours of work. I bought a Robot Coupe 25 years ago. The motor was still running beautifully when the shredding disk fell apart last summer. I couldn't get replacement parts, so I bought a new Cuisinart.
It is my first experience with a politically correct appliance. There are so many safety features to keep me from shredding or chopping my fingers, that it takes twice as long to prepare food. My old food processor had four basic parts - bowl, lid, blade, pusher. My new processor lid alone has 3 pieces that must be put together in the proper order. If I'm shredding or slicing a lot of items, I can't just pull the pusher out and add more food. No, I have to turn the Cuisinart off, disassemble the lid, add more food, and reassemble the lid.
The old processor was easy to clean. Many times if I had been using it for raw veggies, I just rinsed the parts with hot water and put them in the dish drainer. Nothing is that easy with the new one. There is one part of the lid that slides, but does not come apart. It is particularly difficult to get clean.
I began to sympathize with the appliance-hating young women at the party. Perhaps the simple appliances I received as wedding gifts 31 years ago have all been replaced by unfriendly, politically correct models. Perhaps these young brides are not really frustrated with cooking, but with corporate lawyers who spend so much time making an appliance safe that they forget its purpose.