Archives for: April 2008
I like reading the GenoType Daily e-mails. I read the latest three this morning. (I still have 10 or so that are unopened in my inbox. I’ll catch up on them, but it may be June when yearbook deadlines are behind me.) I may as well admit that I’m way behind on all my BTD mail. If you’ve sent a comment, I’ll answer eventually, but it may be June as well.
Sometimes the GT Daily contains a simple hint that’s easy to incorporate. Sometimes it highlights a food fact that I’ve missed – like reminding me that other oils are better for Hunters than olive and flax. But sometimes – like in the ones I read today – they remind me that I don’t completely fit as either a Hunter or a Gatherer.
Yesterday’s GT Daily was about body proportions. Hunters are symmetrical – yes that’s true of me. Hunters have longer legs than torsos. Nope that’s not me. A Gatherer’s lower leg is almost always shorter than the upper leg. Yes, that’s true of me. A Gatherer’s index finger is longer than their ring finger, their fingerprints are asymmetrical. Neither is true of me.
This is why I’m not totally following either diet. It’s why I’m comparing all the food lists and trying to find my own identity as a Type O who is a mixture of GenoType characteristics.
I really want apples to be beneficial. My personal experience with apples is beneficial. They are a wonderful source of fiber. There is nothing better to fend off the irregularity that often comes with travel. They are inexpensive and easy to take in the car or pack in my backpack.
But – don’t you hate that word “but” - it’s such a spoiler word. But, apples are rated exactly the same as apricots: limited toxin for Hunters and Gatherers; neutral for Os, but Infrequent Neutrals in all of the Health Library books that I own.
When I was first starting the BTD, I read a description in Heidi’s column of what oranges do to a Type O’s stomach. I’ve never been tempted with oranges or orange juice since. I wish I had a mental picture of what an apple might be doing inside of me. It would make it easier to accept them as Infrequent Neutrals.
The best thing for me will probably be to not eat apples on a daily basis at home. I’ll save them to enjoy on picnics and when I travel.
I mentioned last week that I have had trouble deciding what to do about Apples, apricots, carrots, grapes, strawberries and tomato. Apricots, I reluctantly said, were going to be infrequent neutrals for me. I have to decide about the other foods as well.
There are a lot of food lists out there. Everyone from grocers to doctors to holistic counselors have strong opinions. One theme that frequently reoccurs is the values of foods that are red or blue. Strawberries and purple grapes get high marks on almost everyone’s lists. But Dr. D. is not impressed with strawberries and grapes, at least as far as Hunters, Teachers, Type Os and Type As are concerned.
For starters, Dr. D doesn’t make a distinction between the varieties of grapes. He counts green grapes, red grapes and black grapes the same. For me, grapes are black dot toxins on the Hunter diet and neutral on the Type O diet. Normally I would consider them neutral, but there are little things in some of the other lists that make me cautions. Grapes are also black dot toxins for Gatherers. They are infrequent neutrals in all of the Type O Health Library books that I own except for the Cancer diet (frequent neutral).
They are even less favored for my Type As. The teacher diet lists grapes as toxins. They are neutral for Type As, but again, my Health Library books list them as infrequent neutrals except for the Cancer diet (frequent neutral again).
I looked at the Glycemic Index. That’s not the problem. They are not the lowest GI of the fruits, but all varieties are under 50 , and anything under 55 is considered low.
I love grapes. They are quick snacks and easy to pack in lunches and on picnics. They are readily available and inexpensive. I really want them to be neutral. But I can’t escape the fact that there’s something about them that Dr. D. doesn’t like. I have to classify them as infrequent neutrals for all of us.
Strawberries get a lower rating from Dr. D than grapes. They are toxin for Hunters and black dot toxins for Teachers. Though neutral on the Type O and Type A diets, they are infrequent neutrals across the board in the Health Library.
I like strawberry flavor, but when I eat them, I somehow know strawberries are not a super food. While it was hard to turn away from grapes, it’s easier to put strawberries down as an infrequent neutral.
With yesterday’s blog about why I eat a nut, seed, and fruit mix for breakfast as background, let me tell you my all time favorite combination. It’s the seed and nut mix as usual, plus one banana and a tablespoon of unsweetened carob powder. The flax seeds and carob plump up to a pudding like consistency. The banana offers sweetness. The combination is heavenly. It’s better than dessert.
Perhaps you’re skeptical about my last statement. Is it really better than dessert? If you have absorbed Dr. D’s theory or turning certain genes louder and softer, you may agree that indeed it is.
In my teenage years, I ate a lot of sugar. My Mom had a snack ready for my sister and me every afternoon when we came in from school. One snack that I remember was an orange cake that had Jello in the batter. I remember bowls of ice cream and brown edge cookies.
Of course there was a dessert in my school lunch, and dessert after dinner. I was eating a lot of sugar. I remember eating dinner at a boyfriend’s house. His mother served fruit for dessert. How odd, I thought.
I read my first nutrition book at 23 (Dr. D. was still just a kid). The focus was to get all refined food out of your diet. I got rid of lunchmeat, white flour, and white sugar on the spot. It was hard! You might say I was addicted to sugar. You might say that my genes had adapted to the point that they expected that much sugar. At any rate, I persevered, and in 6-8 months (about the same amount of time Dr. D. recommends giving up black dot toxins) my tastes had changed. Today I can appreciate a bite of dessert as much as anyone, but if I tried to eat three desserts in one day, I would get sick. Even the thought of it is not appealing. If I understand the vernacular of the GenoType Diet, I drastically turned down the volume on my sugar loving genes, and thereby made a change in my health.
If you still have a lot of sugar in your diet, you may not care for my “Best Breakfast Ever.” However, if you have been eating right for your type for a while, I think you will agree that it is delicious.
As I read my old breakfast blog, I realized I’ve changed a few things since 2004. I wrote that I used 1 Tablespoon of ground pumpkin seed and 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed every day. Now I change things up a little for variety. Sometimes I substitute a tablespoon of ground almonds walnuts or pecans. I currently use 1-2 Tablespoons of lecithin and 1 Tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
I planned to write about my absolute all time favorite breakfast. I was going to start with a link to a blog I wrote several years about the basic breakfast I eat nearly every morning. When I say almost every morning, I literally mean 29 days out of a month. But it’s not at all boring! There is infinite variety. Today’s blog was going to be about the best combination I've tried. It is so good I feel like I’m eating dessert for breakfast.
However, the link to the old blog is missing. The new blog won’t make any sense without the old one, so I’m going to repost today, and tomorrow I’ll tell you about the best Type O breakfast. Don’t let the title fool you; the blog really is about breakfast.
Type O and Constipation
Originally written May 14, 2004
While I was swimming this morning, I wrote a blog in my head about last night’s spaghetti dinner. However when I went on the website and saw today’s D’Adamo Clinic Column on Type O and Constipation, all plans changed.
First let me be clear that I don’t dispute the advice from the Clinic. I’m not an expert and this is just a blog with my experiences!
During my health nut years, I read a lot about wheat germ and wheat bran. “Eat these foods,” I read, “and your bowel movements will be fluffy.” Fluffy was an intriguing word since it was quite different from what I had experienced all my life. I tried it, and fluffy was an accurate description. I was never constipated in my health nut years, even when I was pregnant.
However that wheat germ and wheat bran every morning for breakfast was doing other bad things to my Type O digestive system. Those two were the first foods to go when I started the Type O diet. I was thrilled that indigestion was disappearing, but constipation was arriving. This was a problem that had to be solved!
I tried magnesium and it brought the indigestion back. I still have to watch how much magnesium I take, too much makes my stomach hurt. I tried psyllium, and while it did get things moving, I would not use fluffy to describe the outcome. Squeezing toothpaste comes to mind as a description of my psyllium results (hope I’m not getting too personal here).
I read good things about ground flax seed. It helped. I tried apples, carrots and dried fruit. They helped also. Rice was neutral for Type O, so I bought a bag of rice bran. Now I was getting somewhere!!!
Every morning I put 1 Tablespoon of rice bran, 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed, 1 Tablespoon of ground pumpkin seed, 2 Tablespoons for lecithin, and ½ - 1 Tablespoon of nutritional yeast in a bowl. I moisten it with water or fruit juice. I add 2-3 different fruits (banana, blueberries, pineapple, frozen cherries, and grapes are all favorites).
I’m not going to lie to you. This does not taste like a Krispy Kreme donut. But it tastes a lot better than my old wheat germ and wheat bran! And I’m back to fluffy again.
My Honorable Husband was asking questions today about Infrequent Neutrals. When he read the description of them in the Diabetes Health Library book, he didn’t see much difference between them and avoids. I tried to explain the difference, but he didn’t grasp it until he realized that dates were Infrequent Neutrals for him. He loves dates, and would much rather have them infrequently than not at all.
Every time Dr. D. writes a book the names of the food categories change just a little. Of them all, I think I like the Health Library names the best. The original three Eat Right 4 Your Type names were certainly the simplest. The Live Right 4 Your Type tier system was probably the most complex. There’s something about the word Toxin in the GenoType Diet that gives me the creeps. I know it’s psychological, but there’s a difference between eating a food that’s avoid and eating a toxin! And if I watch my family eat toxins at a restaurant, I feel like they are eating rat poison. That’s not a pretty picture.
I like the Health Library system that identifies certain beneficials that are exceptionally helpful for a particular disease as super beneficial. I like that many neutrals are in a category called “Neutral allowed frequently.” The name acknowledges that while it isn’t a food that acts like medicine, it does have important nutrients and it can be eaten often without guilt. Some neutrals are labeled” Neutral allowed infrequently. Those foods are not quite as bad as avoids, but really shouldn’t be eaten on a daily or weekly basis.
As I compare the categorization of different foods on the different diets, I’ve had trouble deciding what to do with apples, apricots, carrots, grapes, strawberries and tomatoes.
Apricots were neutral on the BTD, but on the Hunter diet they are a black dot avoid. However on the Gatherer diet they are beneficial. That tells me that it’s not a lectin issue. All four of the Health Library books I own have apricots as Infrequent Neutral. TYPEbase 4 doesn’t shed any light on the difficulty. However it’s pretty clear that Dr. D sees something in apricots that he doesn’t think is helpful to a Type O Hunter. So though I love apricots, and I know that they are jam packed with nutrients, I’m going to eat them infrequently.
I heard this quote from a guy named Stephen Davey. It made me chuckle, so I’ll share it with you. “You can’t teach American history and expound the virtues of our heritage, and at the same time teach evolution. Because you can’t have the same kid quoting ‘we have been endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights,’ and at the same time, 'we evolved from animals.' Some 5th grader is going to catch on and say, ‘Hey wait a second, which is it?’”
From time to time I’ve blogged about our friends J and M who live in Alabama. J is diabetic and Type A. He read the Health Library Diabetes book and followed it for a while, but eventually stopped. It was too hard for him to give up beef, potatoes, and fried foods. He has chosen to take medication to control his diabetes.
His brother, also a Type A diabetic and only in his late 50s, passed away a couple of weeks ago. The brother had heart failure that was a complication of the diabetes. J and M came to Texas for the funeral, and we got to see them several times.
The same week other friends arrived from Oklahoma. D is also diabetic. However he has taken the diagnosis very seriously. He has lost a lot of weight, and carefully watches what he eats.
These visits came just after my Honorable Husband got his lab work that for the first time shows his blood sugar just over the line. When he got the lab report, it didn’t have too much of an impact. The doctor just scribbled a little note saying, “Watch your diet.” It didn’t seem to HH to be that big of a deal. But J’s brother’s funeral and seeing two friends diagnosed with diabetes got his attention.
He asked both J and D a lot of questions. He asked me what the Blood Type Diet had to say about diabetes. I went online and bought the Heath Library Diabetes book. (Since the GenoType Diet book came out, there are some really good deals on some of the Health Library books. I’ve been adding to my collection.)
The book arrived and he is reading it! Not only that, he is discussing it with me. He has agreed that he wants to get his blood sugar down now, when it is just over the line. He already takes blood pressure and cholesterol medication. He does not want to add another daily med for diabetes.
I am thrilled to have him consciously on board, rather than a passive participant in the BTD. The first step has to weed out the non-compliant food that I have allowed in the house to keep him happy. He has grieved over ice cream. I’ve said, “If you keep your blood sugar under the line, you don’t have to say that you’ll never eat ice cream again. We just won’t have it in the house. But you could splurge a little when we are out with friends. However, if you let yourself develop full blown diabetes, that is when you have to give it up altogether.” The second step will be to enter the Diabetes food lists into our database.
I mentioned a few days ago that I had been listening to Dr. D’s interview with Dr. Oz on my MP3 player. Someone wrote to ask where to find the interview, and I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t answered that question yet. This is the most frantic part of my year. I have one deadline after another racing at me. On top of that are DD’s graduation activities. I’ve sadly neglected my mail – both my BTD mail and my personal mail. I’ll get caught up when school is out. In the meantime, I’m going to return to the Dr. Oz interview today, so I will give everyone the link.
Toward the end of the interview, Dr. D’Adamo said something I found to be quite profound. It may become my third favorite quotation about food. (The first two are in my blogger biography) Here is what he said in context. What I found so helpful is in bold.
“I’ve been in this naturopathic thing for 25 years. That actually was the way I was taught. You get the patient and start taking things away until they get better…I was looking at the wall one afternoon because a patient cancelled, and I got this brilliant break through that it wasn’t what I was taking away from people that was going to make them better. It was what I isolated that they should consume that was going to make them better…Where you should start is not where the book tells you avoid foods. Go straight to were it says, eat this stuff. I think it’s a good idea. And try to actually get a few of those things in your life. You will only get slightly less sick if somebody takes food away from you, but you will not get more healthy. You will get more healthy by eating stuff.”
This was precisely the direction my thinking about the BTD and the GTD was taking. But I was reluctant to go out on a limb, until I got some confirmation.
When I think of myself as a Type O and Hunter, I’m both. I’m not one or the other. If I look at the BTD that I’m familiar and fond of and the GTD that I’ve had fun experimenting with, and focus on avoid foods, my diet becomes restrictive and legalistic.
Just take greens for example. On the BTD I could eat all greens except mustard greens. On the GTD collard greens, beet greens, and spinach became black dot avoids, but mustard greens were super beneficial. If I focus on avoids I stop eating all four because I’m not sure. That limits the variety of greens I can eat, even though I know that greens are good for me. However if I look at the beneficials, I see that mustard greens are super beneficial on the GTD; spinach and collard greens are super beneficial in the Type O Health Library. Turnip greens, beet greens, and Swiss chard are beneficial. I am surrounded by greens that will build health for one aspect of my self or another.
As I peruse DD’s and my database, I am looking for beneficials – both Type O and Hunter beneficials. I am both. And if it’s beneficial or super beneficial for one, in some way it is beneficial for me.
I can be comfortable with this view of the diets, because they are a work in progress. The next book or the details behind the food lists will add another layer of knowledge and understanding. Until then, my focus is going to be building health. And as Dr. D said, “You will only get slightly less sick if somebody takes food away from you, but you will … get more healthy by eating stuff.”
I haven’t written about exercise in a while, but that does not mean I’ve been neglecting it. Especially as I go into the high stress part of my year, with end of school activities and yearbook deadlines, exercise is extremely important to my frame of mind.
DD and I continue to go to the fitness room in the subdivision three days a week. I’m always pushing myself to increase either repetitions or pounds on the weight machine. I know it’s good for my bones, and it certainly is strenuous.
Tuesday night for the first time I lifted 60 pounds! It was on one of the leg machines. I often say that my lower body is larger than my upper body. My lower body is also much stronger. There are some of the upper body exercises where I still struggle with 20 pounds. I was pleased. Sixty pounds is a milestone.
I can tell a difference in my overall muscle tone since we started this routine. I can see flesh and muscle covering some of my upper body bones, where there was none at the first of the year. This inspires me to keep pushing myself.
I can also see better muscle definition in my legs. I fight the menopause skin on my thighs and upper arms. But there is nothing to do for that but take HRT, and I’d rather have goosey skin than take a chance on cancer.
DD finds herself liking aerobic exercise more and more, in spite of being a Type A. She never enjoyed competitive racing, and she abandoned aerobics in favor of dance and stretching when we started the BTD. However, when she wanted to lose weight and tone her legs, she realized that there was no substitute for the harder work that aerobic exercise demands.
One thing DD and I are both struggling with is the competition between exercise and sleep. She is every bit as busy as I am, as high school senior with three dual credit courses. There is not a spare minute in her day.
Both of us just run out of hours sometimes. Last night at 11:15 we had a choice to make. I chose sleep; she chose exercise.
We had two sets friends in from out of town last week and over the weekend. One came for a funeral. The other came for fun. We had a wonderful time visiting with both, and we ate out at restaurants more than we usually do. I was able to find delightful beneficial food everywhere we went. One avoid snuck in unexpectedly, but that will have to wait for another blog. Today I’m reminiscing about a conversation yesterday at school.
The librarian – a Type A who integrates a lot of BTD principals into her diet – grabbed me in the hall and said there was a student in the library doing internet research about being a vegan. She wanted me to talk to her.
The girl does not know her blood type. She thinks her mother said she was something with a B in it, but she didn’t remember if it was B or AB. She told me that the reason she wants to be a vegan is not because of health or weight issues. She just loves animals and thinks it’s wrong to mistreat them.
I agreed with her on both points. I love animals and don’t want to see them mistreated. But I also said that if you go back to the Bible, God created animals for many purposes and one of them was a food source. I can say that in a Christian school – I’d probably be fired in a public school.
I told her that if she wasn’t a Type A, that she would probably not be happy or healthy long term on a vegetarian diet. She said that she hadn’t eaten meat in 3 years, and that she felt fine. I began to talk about essential amino acids, and that everyone including vegetarians must have protein. I encouraged her to look into food combining.
I reminded her that vegan came from the same root word as vegetable, and that she needed to be careful to get most of her foods from vegetables, fruits, and legumes. I began to suspect that when she stopped eating meat, she began to eat what was easily available – bread, candy, and potato chips. Beware, I said, of too much starch and sugar.
She countered with concern about hormones and antibiotics in meat. I agreed, but added that meats are not the only foods altered and changed by food processors. I asked if she knew about GMO and pesticides that affect the quality of grains. She did not know. I told her that white flour, white rice and other highly processed food could actually be worse for her than the meat that she was afraid of. I told her that if she was going to be a healthy vegan or vegetarian, it would involve lots of research and planning.
Eventually the conversation worked its way back to her primary concern – her love for cute animals. I reminded her that it is possible to buy naturally raised beef, lamb, and poultry. I don’t always do it because of the expense – but if that is her main concern, it is not hard to find in our area. By then there were several students gathered around listening, and one asked whether dogs went to heaven. Everyone had a strong opinion about that topic.
I said that I was very cautious to be dogmatic in areas where the Bible was silent. The Bible says that God created all of the animals. The Bible says that a sparrow doesn’t fall to the ground without God knowing and caring. But the Bible says nothing about animals in the afterlife. I am content to know that God’s plan for animals is good, even though I have no idea what it is.
I have blogged several times that beets are not my favorite vegetable. I love beet greens, but could easily pass on beets. Sometimes I've eaten the beet greens and juiced the beets. Sometimes I've cooked the beets for HH, who likes beets.
Because beets are super beneficial for teachers, DD wanted to try them. Beets are neutral for Hunters and Type Os, however, they are beneficial on the Type O Aging diet in the D'Adamo Health Library. I agreed to try them again with an open mind.
While I was cooking the beets, I asked DD to look in the BTD Recipes and see what she could find about seasoning beets. DD said that she had been thinking about them, and that she thought we could season them with ghee and honey.
I took one bite and said, "These are great beets!" Both DD and I liked the honey flavor. HH, I confess, prefers regular beets with more of a vinaigrette dressing. I do not think it would work to combine the flavors. However, it would be easy enough to cook beets and serve them with two separate toppings.
In June of 2003 when I started the Blood Type Diet, I totally identified with being Type O. As I read about the disease susceptibilities, the food lists, and the exercise recommendations, it was like looking in a mirror. Everything I read about Type O said - "This is me!"
I have not found that kind of identification with the GTD. Don't get me wrong!. I am fascinated by the ideas of epigenetics and turning down the volume on genes. I am reading and listening and applying. I want to understand all of this and to make it work in a positive way for my health. Yesterday I listened to Dr. D's interview with Dr. Oz, and I'll have to hear it again before I begin to absorb it all.
It's just that it was so easy to determine who I was by blood type, and it has been difficult to determine who I am genetically.
As soon as we had access to the GTD calculators, my Darling Daughter and I began to measure each other. We weren't particularly precise. We just measured, and the calculator said I was a Gatherer. I read the description and looked at the food lists, and was dismayed. I didn't match physically, I wasn't close to the personality, and foods were recommended that had caused disease in the past. I remeasured very, very carefully. When you are trying to measure in millimeters, it's easy to make a mistake. Sometimes my ring finger was a millimeter or two longer than my index finger. Sometimes it was a millimeter or two shorter. I eventually put in the calculator that my fingers were the same length. The calculator said I was a Hunter. The physical and personality characteristics were a much better match, and I was happy with the food list, but there was a nagging doubt. The measurements were so close.
I was glad when Dr. D posted his online quiz to see whether someone should follow the BTD or the GTD. I answered the questions quickly, going with first impression. The quiz said BTD. Whew, that settles that, I thought. I'll go back to the BTD. But there was one question that I had hesitated over. I went back, read it again, and changed my answer. The quiz said GTD. Again I was so close.
I'm not alone in my confusion. The Forum and my mailbox are full of people like me who feel like we are on the fence. In my own family, DD and HH measured solidly as Teachers. They both like the Teacher diet, but neither of them has the characteristics of a Teacher. By temperament HH would be a Warrior. DD acts more like an Explorer/Warrior.
About this time a reader sent me a link to a body type website. It claimed - perhaps copying the success of the BTD - that there were four body types and a different diet for each. So off I went on a sidetrack, looking at body types. Dr. D uses only three, and I'm not any one of the three. Several books identify four types, including as the 4th a small bony upper body and a padded lower body. (Frankly if you walk around a shopping mall, this 4th body type is fairly dominant). The most interesting site identified 25 body types. There were 6 which matched my general physique, and I would have had to buy the book to fine tune my results. (I didn't buy the book, but I may try to check it out of the library.)
As I read more on the 4-body type sites, I realized that they said my body type was estrogen dominated - which was just opposite from the Hunter genotype. To add to the confusion, by body type DD and I could be clones. I'm 4.5 inches taller than she is, but other than that we are built exactly the same. However we are different blood types, so it couldn't possibly be right for us to eat the same.
I am left with the question - On the GenoType Diet, who am I? I wish there were room for combination types, but (sigh) Dr. D says "no". I wish that he had gone with 32 or 16 GenoTypes like he originally planned, but (sigh) he narrowed it down to 6. As I work through the process of making diet decisions for the future, I take a great deal of comfort in the fact that Dr. D supports the validity of both of his diets, and that he has encouraged some on the Forum to choose what seems best for them.