Archives for: February 2008
My Darling Daughter has been scouring the BTD and GTD websites for recipes. She does a lot of her searching after she finishes her schoolwork in computer lab. "Look Mom," she said excitedly one afternoon, "we can make our own snack bars."
I'll admit, at first I didn't share her excitement. There are a lot of really healthy snack bars and power bars on the market for a reasonable price. They're easy to keep in the pantry, ready to stick in a backpack at a moment's notice.
The recipe she brought was from the BTD Recipe Database. It is two similar recipes posted together. The names are Prune Nut Snack Bar and Date Nut Snack Bar. We decided to try them. Prunes and raisins aren't as beneficial for Teachers as other dried fruit, so we made some substitutions.
Basically both recipes call for 2 cups of chopped nuts and 2 Â½ cups of dried fruit, plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
We used 1 cup of almonds and 1 cup of mixed walnuts and pecans. We used 1Â½ cups of dates and 1 cup of mixed dried cherries and cranberries. Put them in the food processor and let it run on full speed until the mixture starts to get sticky. Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray and press the fruit/nut mixture into the pan. Cover and refrigerate. Cut into squares.
We ate them as a snack yesterday afternoon. They are heavenly! The cinnamon and dried fruit is a wonderful combination. Be forewarned. They do not hold together as well as store bought snack bars. We each had a bar in a Tupperware box. Rather than hold the whole bar in our hands like a cookie, we pinched off bites.
I started thinking about adding some neutral flour or an egg to make them hold together better. DD thinks the inconvenience of not being able to hold the bar is more than made up for by the fact that they are much lower sodium, and there are no fillers or binders at all. I've decided that she's probably right.
Cabbage is consistently neutral for Type O/Hunters. However for Type A/Teachers it changed from Avoid to Beneficial. This has made my Honorable Husband very happy, and my Darling Daughter somewhat unhappy. Ah well, you can't please everyone.
HH hates cooked cabbage, but he loves coleslaw. He likes it with creamy dressing; he likes it with vinaigrette. He just likes coleslaw. I've never been particularly good at making coleslaw, however. The bottled dressings had lots of chemicals and didn't taste nearly as good as the coleslaw at our favorite restaurants. So when I started the BTD in 2003, I stopped buying cabbage. But for some reason, while I would urge HH not to order beef in a restaurant, I was quite comfortable with him ordering coleslaw. I can't explain it, but I can't remember a time when I suggested substituting something else for coleslaw.
DD on the other hand never really liked coleslaw at all. When we talked about it this morning, she thinks it is because she never liked the dressing. She is more sensitive to the tang of vinegar than HH. Even before the BTD she would request her salad with dressing on the side, so she could add the minimum amount. Coleslaw is usually soaked in dressing. She is willing to admit that she probably never gave cabbage a chance because there was so much dressing.
We were thinking this morning about how we might make a truly beneficial coleslaw. A yogurt dressing is a possibility, but that would be avoid for me. We're going to try plain olive oil with some spices. That sounds good to all of us.
My favorite way to eat cabbage - pre BTD - was sautÃ©ed in a little milk and butter. The milk took away the undesirable flavor of cooked cabbage. It was delicious. Milk, is no longer an option, but now that all of us can eat cabbage, I may have to experiment with cabbage cooked in almond milk and ghee.
In these days of transition between BTD and GTD, I find myself going back to the overriding principle of nutrition that has guided me for more than 25 years. It is best to eat food the way God made it because he is the one who designed our bodies. When there is a lectin or a metabolic issue with a fruit or vegetable (like there is with cucumbers and oranges) I'm going to avoid it. But if one diet says it's good and the other says it's bad, I'm going to trust that God knew what he was doing when he made it good to eat.
There is another area where God was way ahead of modern nutrition science. He told His people long ago, "This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood." Leviticus 3:17. What a lot of grief and how many heart attacks could have been avoided, by following that simple rule. Remember, that Leviticus was written before science defined proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The fat referred to here (read the context for yourself) is animal fat. Oils are spoken of very favorably in both the Old and New Testament.
I've come back from paradise... or at least Saint Martin.
It was good to get some time out in the sun and swim in the beautiful blue Caribbean. I also rediscovered the pleasure of reading from books, versus all the reading that I do from computer monitors. With proper lighting it is just so much easier on the eyes. Everyone at the hotel was reading different books... except that they were all written by someone named Gresham.
I've never cultivated much of a taste for fiction, since you have to work so hard at populating a mental space to hold all the necessary components; the setting, theme, characters. I find that many people who do like fiction seem to have a type of RAM memory in a certain part of their brains that they can fill with all the plot details, then erase for use with the next novel. I feel sometimes that if I did too much of that it might push some of the other stuff out, so in the midst of all those murder mysteries, there I was with Paul Kennedy's â€˜Freedom From Fear' (a 900 page thriller on US history during the 1930's depression) and Larry Wall's â€˜Programming Perl' (made especially interesting by the fact that none of us took our computers with us).
I'm in the process of completing the SWAMI GenoType software (which is mostly written in Perl) and in a blitz of activity since my return it is now at the point where we can beta test it in the clinic. Pretty cool, if I do say so myself. It takes between 90 and 230 individual client parameters (blood groups, asymmetries, etc) and analyzes 700 individual foods according to 200 nutrient parameters (antioxidants, propensity to foster microbial overgrowth, acetylcholine content, etc.) For all those 12,600,000 individual calculations, the program is quite fast, though I do admit to a perverse pleasure sitting there for about 30 seconds watching it groan under the strain.
One of the mottos of Perl is that â€˜There is more than one way to do it' (TIMTOWTDI, usually pronounced "Tim Toady"). The more that I think about it, there is a lot of Tim Toady in my nutrition research as well.
Probably because at heart I am fundamentally a post-modernist.
Post modernists believe in AND more than OR, whereas modernists tend to give OR precedence in their lives and thoughts. The folks who get all bent out of shape about â€˜the GTD versus the BTD' are probably modernists and think that there is only one path to the truth. There is certainly one truth (or fact, or whatever) but that is not the same as saying that there is only one way to find it.
I spent the holiday weekend with my parents, helping with chores around the house and taking them to the dentist. I picked up a copy of "Women's Health" magazine in the dentist's office, and read a clever article about vegetables. It was a take off on the upcoming NCAA Basketball Tournament. They chose 16 vegetables and set them against each other to find the champion. Their winner was a Type O/Hunter avoid, so I'm not going to honor it with any post tournament hype. However, some of the recipes for the runners up sounded delicious. I asked about making a copy of the article, and the dentist insisted I take the magazine with me.
Last night we tried a recipe called Rutabaga with Nothing-but-Net-meg Butter. Here is how I prepared it.
Peel 1 rutabaga and chop into half inch chunks. Place in microwave dish with Â¼ cup water and cover. Cook on high for 5 minutes, or until they are just starting to get soft. Put the rutabaga in a small skillet with 2 tsp ghee, 2 tsp honey, and 1/8 tsp nutmeg. Cook until the rutabaga is starting to brown on the edges.
My daughter and I both thought it was wonderful. Yes, I know that nutmeg bad for Type O/Hunters, but it is good for Type A/Teachers. I do not to stress over spices used in small amounts.
The recipe reminds me that I never wrote a follow up blog about microwaves. I spent several days googling and here is what I learned.
In spite of the slang phrase "nuke it" there is nothing nuclear or radioactive about a microwave oven. Nor do microwave ovens cook with x-rays. Food is cooked with radio waves. If you are going to stretch the definition and say that the food is "radiated", then you would have to say the same thing about food that is kept warm by heat lamps on a buffet line.
Though there are thousands of websites that talk about pros and cons, there are really only two lines of thought. All of the websites just quote each other. Here are the two positions.
Pro - Microwaves preserve more of the vitamins and minerals in food because the food's exposure to heat and water is shorter than with conventional cooking methods.
Con - Microwaves kill 98% of the nutrition in our food. There might be changes in molecular structure
Any kind of cooking destroys vitamins and changes molecular structure. This includes heat from a stove or oven. Vitamins are even destroyed by exposure to air. The real question is - do radio waves destroy more vitamins than other methods of preparing food?
It appears that fewer vitamins are destroyed by microwaves than by conventional methods. Vegetables can be cooked with less water than by boiling and less time than by steaming. Leftovers are not exposed to over-cooking or drying out. If there is a legitimate scientific study that compares food cooked on a stove with food cooked in a microwave and shows the microwave destroying more nutrients, I couldn't find it.
I do have reservations about the plastic containers and wraps that are used in microwaves. If the plastic got hot enough, some of the plastic could mix with the food. So I use glass containers or paper towels in my microwave oven.
I have had a traumatic mammogram experience. I'll tell you about it, in the hopes that someone else will profit from my experience.
Every mammogram I have had since my Darling Daughter was weaned has showed calcifications on one side. Every time the report indicates that the pattern has not changed. I have not worried about it, and my doctor has not worried about it.
I had a mammogram last week. A few days later, the doctor's office left a message on my answering machine. I knew it couldn't be good news - they never call about good reports. It was the next day before I got any information. There wasn't really a problem, just something they wanted to recheck. Yeah, right. I spent the next few days on an emotional roller coaster.
When I went in for my follow up appointment, I started asking questions. Calcifications, I learned, are areas of dead breast tissue. Most women have some. They are caused by a variety of things including any kind of trauma. A seatbelt can leave them after a car accident. A bruise can leave them. The reason they watch for them on a mammogram is because cancer also leaves them behind.
I asked what would cause the changes. The technician said that they had switched from doing film mammograms to digital mammograms. Digital picks up more detail. The area where I had always had calcifications showed the same ones, plus some more. There were also calcifications on the other side. They might not be new at all; they might just be visible for the first time.
They took a bunch of pictures, I waited, and they took two more. I was pronounced clean and healthy.
Half of me was ecstatically happy that I was cancer free. Half of me was angry that I had been put through so much expense and worry, when they knew that the most likely cause of the different results was the different technology. They rubbed it in by saying that I needed to come back in 6 months and let them take more pictures for comparison.
I am left with the feeling that the company is paying for its fancy new equipment by calling women back for retests. Either that or the MDs who read the results are so scared of lawsuits that they are protecting themselves by ordering additional tests rather than make a decisive diagnosis.
My insurance does not cover mammograms. If I had been given full disclosure, I would not have worried so much. I might have waited a little while to take the comparison pictures. Then I would have known for sure whether it was the new technology or changes in my tissues.
I have decided to set aside my irritation and choose happiness. It is easy to be happy when you can plan for a holiday weekend rather than plan for a hospital biopsy!
Ladies, when you go for your next mammogram, ask a few questions. Find out if they have switched to digital. Find out how the results are changing and whether they are calling women back for retests. Ask if the new technology is identifying cancers earlier and saving lives. Don't waste even a few days worrying like I did.
I had an unsettling experience at school a few days ago. I've been mulling it over in my mind, and have decided to share it. An employee at the school came into my room and told me that he had been diagnosed with high blood pressure. He knew that he needed to make some changes to his diet, but he didn't know where to start. He asked for my advice.
Six months ago I would have engaged him in conversation. I would have asked his blood type. He recently had surgery, so if he didn't know, he could have easily found out. I would have given a basic stereotype for each of the four blood types. I would have talked about my family and how we eat.
That afternoon I froze. Worse, I punted. I talked in generalities. I didn't know whether to talk blood type of genotype. Even if I had wanted to talk about genotype, there is no way I was going to measure a man and a fellow employee.
He has serious medical issues, and I lacked the confidence to give him advice. What if I chose the wrong diet? What if I the measurements were too close to call? What if I steered him in the wrong direction?
I don't know why he came to me. Maybe it's because I am thin and fit in a society that is neither. Maybe someone told him I knew a little about nutrition and diets. I sensed that he was disappointed at my response, but my tongue was tied in knots.
I've gone over the conversation again and again in my mind. I feel bad about it, but not bad enough to seek him out and re-engage the topic.
I think about Peter when the little servant girl asked him if he knew Jesus, and he said - Who me? Never heard of the man.
I ask - would I falter like this if someone said to me, "Suzanne you are so happy and cheerful, what's your secret?" Or would I say "It's because I have Jesus in my life. I know that my sins are forgiven and that I am loved beyond measure by the God who created me."
I perceive a significant difference. God never changes. Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever. Because I know that, I can answer with assurance.
I really must get a handle on the changes in my diet! I want to again have the assurance that what I say is true and helpful.
My Honorable Husband is been working on our income taxes. My Darling Daughter is taking two dual credit courses on the internet. Between the two of them I couldn't get computer time to blog last weekend.
The Blueberry Flax Bread was outstanding!
There have been several Flax Bread recipes posted since the GTD rated it beneficial or super beneficial for everyone except Explorers. This is the recipe I chose. It is not like a loaf of sandwich bread. It is a flat bread that you cut in squares - sort of like cornbread.
Basic Flax Bread Ingredients
2 cups ground flax seed
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons sugar or other sweetener
5 beaten eggs
1/2 C water
1/3 C oil
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 10X15 pan with cooking spray
Mix dry ingredients
Add wet to dry, and mix thoroughly
Let batter sit for 2-3 minutes to thicken. (Leave it too long and it's not easy to spread.)
Pour batter onto pan, it may not reach all the way to the edges
Bake for about 20 minutes, until it springs back to touch and is browning around the edges.
To make the Blueberry Flax Bread, add 1 cup frozen blueberries. Reduce the water and oil. I used 1/3 cup water and Â¼ cup oil. Bake in a 9X9 pan, so the bread will be thicker. It took a little longer to cook because it was thicker. When it is done it will begin browning and pulling away from the sides of the pan.
The best change so far on the GTD is my Darling Daughter's willingness to try new foods including (drum roll please) cooked vegetables. As you know, if you've read my blog for long, DD likes her vegetables raw. On the BTD raw salad greens and raw veggie sticks were the main stay of her diet. When the GTD took away salad, she knew she had to branch out. She's been scouring the GTD websites for recipes that are good for me as well as her and her dad. She's come up with some winners.
Tonight we had steamed artichoke with lemon and Parmesan. I started with a bag of frozen artichokes from the local grocery store. I cooked them in the microwave with 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. While they were still hot I topped them with Â¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
This is a very tasty way to eat artichokes. DD has already requested some in her lunch tomorrow. She has eaten cooked zucchini and cooked carrots in restaurants recently. This is a good change.
DD likes salmon, mahi mahi, and tuna, but she has never liked cod. She found a recipe for baked cod with basil. We tried it and she liked it. Mix 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice, and drizzled it over some frozen cod fillets. Sprinkle 1 tsp dried basil over the fish. Bake in 400 degree oven until cod is opaque in the center.
The big difference here was the oven temperature. I've always baked cod at 350 degrees. It comes out soft. DD likes her fish firm, and the 400 degree cooking temperature gave her what she liked.
The best recipe we've tried is for flax bread. I thought it would be hard and time consuming. It is neither. Tomorrow morning DD has requested flax bread with blueberries. If it comes out a good as we think it will, I'll post the recipe.
I have not become committed to the Hunter diet as quickly as I would have liked. There are too many toxins in my kitchen.
Thirty something years ago when I read my first book on nutrition, I was horrified that my modern kitchen was a cesspool of processed food. It was easy to go through the pantry and throw the bad stuff in the trash.
Five years ago when I found the Blood Type Diet, my stomach really hurt, so it was again easy to go cold turkey and make a clean break. Besides, many of the whole grains and dairy products that were bad for me as a Type O, were neutral for the Type As in my family.
This time it's harder. The week before I got my GenoType food lists, I had been to the store. I had just stocked up on prunes, raisins, figs, cherries, and collard greens. I had put two gallons of soy milk in the pantry! All of those were recommended for some of us on the BTD, now they are toxic for all of us. Mozzarella and feta cheese were two of the few neutral dairy products on the BTD. I had both in my refrigerator when the GTD declared them toxic.
For several days when I thought I was a Gatherer, I was very distressed about losing so many favorite Type O foods. One of the bright spots was gaining sunflower seeds. I bought 2 pounds. When I switched to Hunter, sunflower seeds were off the list again. What do I do with them? I think I'll mail them to SS in his birthday box. He likes sunflower seeds and continued to eat them, even though they were Type O avoid.
I had just bought 16 pounds of chicken for the freezer. For 5 years it was a frequent family dinner because it was neutral for everyone. Now it's toxic for the Type As. We're eating more fish for dinner, and I'm eating chicken for my lunch.
HH is happy to eat the Type A beneficial/Teacher toxins. In the future, I may feed him more like a Teacher, but I think he will always consider himself Type A.
As far as the Type O beneficial/Hunter toxins - I just can't make myself throw away expensive food that until so recently was supposed to bring me good health. I'm not buying more of the toxic foods, but I'm gradually eating them up. That makes it harder to tell how the GenoType diet is working for me, but it's easier on the family budget.