Archives for: March 2008
After I wrote my blog about my mammogram, a reader left me a note to look into the connection between iodine and breast tissue. That sent me on a Google search that lasted several days. It turns out that there are a group of doctors who believe that it is the lack of iodine in the American diet that has led to an increase in breast cancer, polycystic breast and ovary disease, ADHD, and low thyroid function since the 1960s.
I wouldn't dare to summarize all that I read. I am a volunteer blogger and I have no medical experience or expertise. But let me include two links to get you started if you want to do your own research.
The first will take you to some MP3 interviews about iodine and health. The second will take you to the Linus Pauling Institute, which I thought did a good job of presenting both sides of the issue.
Of course the thing in the interviews that immediately caught my attention was the connection between lack of iodine and calcifications like the mammogram found. In addition I remembered that I had for a long time been suspicious that my Darling Daughter might be low on thyroid. She is always cold, and her hands are icy. I have even given her kelp tablets from time to time, but never on a consistent basis.
I remembered reading years ago that one way to check for iodine deficiency was to paint a spot of iodine on your skin. If it is quickly absorbed, you are deficient. The place where I give blood uses iodine to clean my skin before the donation. There was always visible color when they wrapped my arm, and the color was always gone when I unwrapped my arm at night.
So I bought some iodine and painted DD, HH, and myself. Within an hour all of our spots had faded. Within 4-5 hours the iodine was gone.
In my 40+ years of being interested in nutrition, I have read about lots of megavitamin therapies, and I've avoided all of them. I believe in balance, not in extremes. I was uncomfortable with the 12 - 50 mg of iodine recommended by the doctors on the recordings. However clearly we needed more iodine than what we were getting in our diet plus the 150 mcg (RDA) in our multiple vitamins.
I was interested in the Linus Pauling reference to 1.1mg as the "tolerable upper intake level." I decided - somewhat randomly I admit - to up our kelp supplements to just below 2mg and to eat more seaweed.
After two weeks, I did another skin test on myself. The iodine stain again faded rapidly. Two weeks later I tried again. This time my stain stayed visible all day. DD's faded in a few hours, but not as quickly as it had in the first test. I cut my kelp supplement to the 1mg level, but left her at a little under 2mg.
If I had paid more attention to the Type O food lists that were right in front of my nose, Dr. D might have set me straight years ago. As DD and I have tried to reach a conclusion about the GTD and the BTD, we have built a database with the food lists from the GenoType Diet, the BTD, and the three books I own from the Eat Right Health Library. It makes it easier to compare the way the foods are ranked in the different books.
Seaweed is beneficial on the Type O diet. Three of the five specific seaweeds are either beneficial or super beneficial on the Hunter diet. Perhaps most important seaweed is both super beneficial and a top 12 food on both the menopause and cancer Type O diets.
Seaweed is only listed as neutral on the Type A diet. However on the Teacher diet three of the five seaweeds are super beneficial.
I had never eaten seaweed when I started the BTD. Because it was beneficial, I bought sushi nori papers and dried seaweed flakes. It took a while to get used to the taste, but I did. I ate them once every week or two, but I never realized that I really should be eating them daily. I'm looking for creative ways to include more seaweed in our diets. In the meantime, we will continue taking kelp supplements.
My subscription to the GenoType website has run out, so it is time to do some evaluation and decide where my family and I will go from here.
The main difference I noticed between the Type O diet and the Hunter diet was increased grain and dairy portions. I wasn't comfortable with this at first because I associate giving up most grain and dairy on the BTD with the healing of my stomach and GERD problems. I've enjoyed hard cheeses like Parmesan and Romano, and I haven't had a problem digesting them. Hunter grain portions are 2-3 per day, and I never got close to that amount. However, I have increased to one grain portion almost every day. Many times I isolate grain as an afternoon snack, but I have been bold on a number of days and had quinoa, kasha, or rice pasta with a meal. My weight has stayed about the same - I may have lost a pound over the 3-month trial. If so, it is probably because I had been eating a lot more nuts and legumes than either the BTD or the GTD recommend. I've scaled back quite a bit, but I still have more than 1 portion of veggie protein a day.
My Honorable Husband has gained weight while he's been on the trial period, but I don't think it's the Teacher Diet's fault. As you know if you read my blogs, he doesn't think about his food very deeply. He mainly eats what is put in front of him. If he's still hungry, he forages for himself. When I read the Type A diet, I saw the big variety of beneficial grains, and I had fun baking for my two Type As. I didn't pay close enough attention to the grain portion sizes - only 1 to 1Â½ per day. When my Darling Daughter got involved with Teacher Diet meal planning, the grains were dramatically cut, and the vegetables increased. This did not please HH. He has not liked some of the new vegetables. He missed the baked goods, and he has foraged more. DD and I have teased him about becoming a starchetarian. However his recent blood work was no laughing matter. It showed a rise in blood sugar, and he is now just above the normal range. Since I probably can't convince him to eat less grain, I need to start baking again so that the grain he eats will be beneficial. He has liked the increased meat portions on the Teacher Diet.
The Teacher Diet has been a roller coaster experience for DD. There have been really good aspects and really bad aspects. Between my Type A baking and her teenage snacking, she had put on some weight in her hips and thighs. Last summer, she resolved to take it off, and she showed incredible self discipline. She not only took off the excess weight, she took off too much. She never crossed the line into eating disorders, but there were moments last fall when I worried she was getting close. We started the GTD about the time that she realized that she needed to regain some of what she had worked so hard to lose. She is afraid she will put the weight back in her hips and thighs, so she has been diligent to follow the Teacher Diet carefully. She has found it impossible to gain weight on the Teacher portion sizes. That should be a great comfort and encouragement to those of you who want to lose weight, but it has been a frustration for her. She also finds the Teacher Diet to be very difficult in restaurants. She is a teenager and she eats out a lot with her friends. On the Type A diet she could always have chicken and salad. Chicken as a limited toxin and lettuce as a toxin on the Teacher Diet has created a lot of stress. At Mexican restaurants she eats pinto beans, but fast food restaurants are hopeless. Several times she has been at nice restaurants where there was absolutely nothing on the menu for a Teacher. The best thing for DD about the Teacher Diet has been exploring unfamiliar foods. Without lettuce and celery as her standby foods she tried cooked vegetables for the first time since she was a toddler. She has developed a taste for a lot of new vegetables. Most of them like rutabagas and beets are not served in restaurants, unfortunately, but it has been good to see her expand her diet.
So where do we go from here? DD and I have been working on that, and I'll begin to share our conclusions in future blogs.
On Palm Sunday, the highly creative and energetic lady who plans social activities at our church asked my Darling Daughter and me if we would make a sausage and egg casserole for an Easter Sunday brunch. DD and I looked at each other and both of us were thinking the same thing. We weren't going to make the traditional casserole with pork and bread crumbs - we were going to make egg pie.
DD loves to bake pies, and she is remarkably good at making them healthy enough so that she can eat them herself. Most of her experiments have been successful - however there was a peach blackberry cobbler was rejected by everyone but the dog. One time a friend asked if DD could make an egg pie for breakfast.
She and I thought about it for a while and decided to start with a crust made from spelt biscuit dough. We filled the crust with eggs, grilled onions, turkey bacon, and tomatoes. We baked it in the oven, and it was a big hit. There was none left for the dog.
We baked two egg pies for the Easter Sunday brunch. I'll confess that we used a store-bought pie crust. We honestly didn't think that church members outside of our family would like or understand a spelt biscuit crust. They did however like the pie. We only brought one piece home. My husband has claimed it for his breakfast in the morning.
Two people brought deviled eggs to the brunch. One of the recipes used very little mayonnaise and lots of herbs. They were very tasty. The last time I made deviled eggs, I used only olive oil to moisten the yolks. I'm inspired to make them again, using more of the beneficial herbs.
After brunch we had an excellent worship service. The music and sermon were the right blend of celebration and contemplation about the meaning of the day. Then the children went out on the lawn for an Easter egg hunt. Easter eggs are a tradition, but as for me, I'd rather have the high protein ones from the brunch than the high sugar ones at the hunt.
I have Irish ancestors on both sides of my family. One of my great grandfathers came to the United States around the time of the potato famine. So I always look forward to Saint Patrick's day. I didn't realize until today that this year the date was changed from March 17th to the 15th. I missed it! However, we did go on a picnic yesterday and I ate lamb and feta cheese in a sushi nori wrap. Food that green has to count for something!
Our Strong Son's Spring Break was last week. He spent part of it visiting college friends, part of it visiting his girlfriend's parents, and part of it with us. One night while he was here we went out to eat. Our waiter said they were running a special all week in honor of Saint Patrick's Day. It was cabbage and corned beef with carrots and potatoes.
In my pre health nut days, corned beef was my favorite deli sandwich. I gave it up because of the nitrites. But this was fresh corned beef - something I had never eaten before. I asked if I could substitute sweet potatoes for the Irish potatoes. The waiter agreed, but looked at me as if I couldn't possibly be Irish and ask for sweet potatoes. It was a delicious meal. I wish I knew how they had seasoned the cabbage. It was outstanding.
It makes you wonder - if the Irish had known about the Blood Type Diet in 1845 and had planted sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, would it have changed the course of history?
The health crisis that originally brought me to the Blood Type Diet was heartburn. It had been steadily increasing for 10 years, but I didn't match any of the risk factors. Experts from both the medical and health perspectives said risk factors for heartburn were: being overweight, a hiatus hernia, drinking alcohol, smoking, eating spicy foods, chocolate, caffeine, fried food, eating before bedtime. None of those applied to me at all except occasional spicy food. But I had heartburn every day and it was getting worse.
Then I found Dr. D'Adamo. He said a Type O's stomach inflammation was caused by wheat and dairy. I had been eating wheat germ, wheat bran, and yogurt for breakfast every day. I gave that up along with all other wheat and dairy. I was off of my medication in less than a week. Within a few months I was pain free, and I have remained so for 4 1/2 years. My doctor still doesn't believe it.
Now I find my self with a different but similar problem (dÃ©jÃ vu all over again, as they say.) I am battling hemorrhoids, but I have none of the risk factors. I am not constipated, I do not strain, I am not overweight, I am not a couch potato, and I am certainly not pregnant. I did not have hemorrhoids until the last 2 years. I can battle them back with big doses of rutin and stone root along with extra helpings of grilled onion. But suddenly they appear again.
As I've been comparing the BTD and the GTD, I've noticed one thing that may be a factor. On the BTD there are no beneficial citrus fruits for Type Os. Lemon, lime and grapefruit, are neutral, but I've neglected them in favor of other beneficial fruit.
The GTD has lemons, limes and grapefruit as beneficial for Hunters and super beneficial for Gatherers. (I know Dr. D says there are absolutely no combination types, but my finger measurements are very close. The top half of my body is more like a Hunter, but the bottom half is more like a Gatherer. So, I often look at both food lists.) The Blood Type Cancer, Menopause, and Aging diets have grapefruit, lemons, and limes as Frequent Neutrals.
Since bioflavonoids play an important role in curing hemorrhoids, I've begun to wonder if I've been deficient in citrus. Whatever diet or blend of diets I eventually settle on, I think citrus will have to be more a part that it has been on the BTD alone.
There is a Fitness Center in our subdivision. We hadn't taken advantage of it until recently. Several weeks ago my Darling Daughter and I started going together. There are two treadmills, one elliptical trainer, and one weight machine in the room. I usually start with the weights while she starts with the treadmill or elliptical trainer. We work out for 30 minutes and switch.
It's been a lot of fun. Sometimes we talk while we work out. Sometimes we listen to Christian music. On the way home, we drink smoothies made with egg white protein.
DD had a bad experience with aerobic exercise when she was in Middle School. Her Type O brother had excelled on both the swim team and track team. She tried to follow in his footsteps and got only frustration. At the end of a race she would feel faint and dizzy. When we made some connections to the Type A diet, she backed away from track, swimming, and aerobic exercise.
What she has learned in the Fitness Center is that it was the competitive part of swimming and running that gave her trouble. When she uses the treadmill to cycle between running and resting, she does not get dizzy and she feels good at the end of the workout. Her stamina has increased, and her legs are stronger.
What I have learned at the Fitness Center is that I don't push myself enough when I run in the neighborhood. The elliptical trainer makes me work harder and harder until my pulse gets to a level it thinks is appropriate for a 54-year-old woman. At first I was wiped out! I had been satisfied if by the end of a run I was breathing hard and had worked up a sweat. Now that I can see what my pulse is doing, I'm finding a new definition of strenuous.
Both of us are very bony on top, and both of us carry our weight in our hips and thighs. (That pattern does not match with either of our GenoTypes, but that is a topic for another day) We would both like to add enough muscle so that our shoulder bones and sternum don't stick out. That is our goal on the weight machine. My strength has increased since we started, and I can see a little muscle when I flex. I've got a long way to go before I don't look like a scarecrow when I wear a scoop neck top.
DD, because of the years of swimming, had more muscle on her shoulders than I ever did. However, when she tried to loose weight from her hips and thighs, she also lost upper body tissue. She is trying to restore her upper body muscles without adding layers on her lower body. She is definitely working against her genes in this attempt.
I'll let you know how we do as far as reaching our goals. In the meantime, it's good exercise and good discipline to go to the Fitness Center 2-3 times a week.
I'll admit that I found Dr. D's February 26 blog shocking. In my circles, postmodernism is a negative. Creeping postmodernism in our culture is something to be on guard against. I had never seen someone I respected brag about being postmodern. Yet Dr. D, who I have great respect for, proudly admits to being a postmodern thinker.
He makes this statement, which I find to be insightful, "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."
I have received a huge volume of mail since the GenoType Diet book was released. It can easily be divided into two categories. One group says, "Dr. D said it and I believe it. The conflicts don't matter. If he says both are true, then both are true. I'll just work out the little details according to how I feel." The other group screams, "What is Dr. D doing? Doesn't he see that the two diets contradict each other? How do I choose? How do I know what to eat?
I've spent some time this morning looking at characteristics of postmodernism. I'm not going to bother to cite my sources - after all this is a blog about post modernism, so the fact that somebody said it somewhere makes it just as true as something that somebody else said somewhere else. If you get lost in the verbiage, skip to the bottom for a delicious recipe.
Postmodernism is one of several worldviews. An individual's worldview is his "big picture," a medley of all his beliefs about the world. It is his way of understanding reality. A worldview is the basis for daily decisions and is therefore extremely important.
One sociologist lists 4 worldviews
Postmodern-ironist, which sees truth as socially constructed
Neo-romantic in which truth is found either through attaining harmony with nature.
Scientific-rational in which truth is found through methodical, disciplined inquiry
Social-traditional in which truth is found in heritage.
Another group divides worldviews along spiritual lines
Here are a few characteristics of postmodernism, some pro and some con.
Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. It relies on experience over abstract principles, knowing that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.
Postmodernism denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth, which will explain everything for everybody
Nothing has any meaning, words have no meaning,
Largely influenced by the disillusionment induced by World War II, postmodernism tends to refer to a cultural, intellectual, or artistic state lacking a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, and interconnectedness.
Our postmodern world is pulling each individual into a vacuum of self-centeredness, whispering, "It's all about you. It's all about your own pleasure, peace, prosperity, and comfort. It's all about what you think."
Because postmodernism says that values do not matter and that truth is relative, it's no surprise that many children are growing up in a world increasingly saturated with crime, divorce, sexual immorality, abortion, drug abuse and a general sense of ambivalence about the difference between right and wrong.
With this in mind, I present to you my Darling Daughter's Postmodern Spinach & Artichoke Dip. She started with an artichoke dip from the BTD site and another artichoke dip from the GTD site. She deleted ingredients that weren't good for both Os and As (mayonnaise, ricotta cheese, peppers, etc). She substituted ingredients that were good for both types on one diet or the other.
Â½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Â½ cup grated romano cheese
Â¼ tsp garlic powder.
1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, cooked
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
2 Tbsp lemon juice.
3 Tbst olive oil
Blend together in a food processor.
She ended with a dip that we ate with sushi nori wraps. Hers was made with tuna, mine was made with roast beef. My Honorable Husband does not eat seaweed. He loved the dip with corn chips. I think this is probably the best vegetable dip I've ever eaten. If you don't "feel" good about it, you can make your own substitutions.