Archives for: January 2009
Warning: if you are a BTD purist, you may not like this blog. However, if you are still struggling between following the BTD and enjoying old favorite foods, this might work for you.
My Honorable Husband is one of those who wants to be healthy, and wants to follow the BTD, but isn’t quite ready to make the break with foods he’s enjoyed all his life. Sometimes I try to make beneficial foods more enticing. Sometimes I try to make avoids more beneficial. I’m always nudging him toward greater compliance.
He tends to be a starch-a-tarian, and he loves Alfredo sauce. In a restaurant, if HH finds noodles with vegetables and chicken tossed in Alfredo sauce on the menu, he considers that to be an ideal BTD meal. DD, much more the purist, rolls her eyes.
When I began to prepare dinner tonight, I was facing a container of tofu that was about to go bad. HH denies liking tofu. But if I make a salad and put an equal number of chunks of tofu and soy cheese, he happily gobbles them both up. But tonight I had more tofu than I could hide in a salad, and I hate to let something good go to waste.
Then I had an idea. I had already started cooking ground turkey. I opened a jar of Alfredo sauce and put the tofu and an equal amount of Alfredo sauce in the food processor. I mixed them together and they were delightfully creamy.
He ate a large salad with a lot of beneficial vegetables and a bowl of noodles topped with ground turkey and 50/50 Alfredo/tofu sauce. He enjoyed his dinner, and complimented me on the sauce.
You decide. Is 50/50 sauce a compromise of principal? Or is it a clever way to get someone to enjoy an extra beneficial that they might otherwise have turned down? Not everyone will answer the same way. And that’s ok, because, after all, the Blood Type Diet is the one diet that recognizes the biochemical uniqueness of each individual.
We’ve eaten out quite a bit this week. When I first started the BTD, I thought that my Type As were lucky in restaurants. It seemed to me that everything was so wheat oriented, that they could always find something to eat, where Type Os were limited. As I have watched DD discover, that while wheat is neutral for As, they Type A diet is really plant rather than grain based, I’ve realized that restaurants are kinder to Type Os.
Last Saturday I met a college girlfriend for lunch. We went to a French restaurant, and I thought I’d be in big trouble. How wrong I was! The rosemary chicken was fabulous, and it was accompanied by green beans and broccoli. I was as Type O compliant as I would have been at home. Saturday night HH and I met a couple we’ve known for more than 20 years for dinner at a really cute Western café. I had chopped steak topped with onions, okra, and green beans. HH couldn’t find anything truly beneficial on the menu. He settled on grilled catfish.
Yesterday HH was on a business trip. Again he found himself at a restaurant where the Type A choices were really limited. In a restaurant Type Os can always order a sandwich & salad and throw away the bread. Type As, looking for beneficial fish or high quality vegetable protein, often have fewer choices.
DD is flourishing. She is a Marketing major and she has a new job in the Marketing department at her university. She is learning some new computer programs, and loves the work. Her slow but steady weight gain pleases us both. The root of her eating disorder was a spiritual one, and as she deals with the spiritual issues, she is seeing success. Here is an excerpt from an e-mail I received from her this morning. It starts with a paragraph from a book she is reading.
“Strive to trust God in more and more areas of your life. Anything that tends to make you anxious is a growth opportunity. Instead of running away from these challenges, embrace them, eager to gain all the blessings hidden in the difficulties. Don’t waste energy regretting the way things are or thinking about what might have been. Start at the present moment—accepting things exactly as they are—and search for God’s way in the midst of those circumstances.”
DD added, “Nothing I say can add to the sting of that one.”
DD has gone back to her university full of hope and enthusiasm. She has had several bits of really good news, and she said, “Mom, you need to blog about this.” I thought about several Type As who have written on the Forum that they wish they could gain weight. I thought about several others who deal with thyroid problems. I said, “DD, why don’t you write about it from your perspective. Your experience could be an encouragement to someone.” So today’s blog is from my Darling Daughter.
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As Marvelous Mom has blogged, I have been struggling with gaining back weight. My “Daring Experiment,” seems to be working, and I am getting close to what my weight was a year ago. I have two more pounds to gain. Then, I can level off for a while and see if my hormones will start up again. My new diet was very easy to stay on while at home for Christmas break. I was slightly worried about going to back to school though. I brought a blender back with me to make my tasty soy shakes.
The second day I was back at school, I suddenly dropped two pounds. It scared me. I began to think that the weight gain had been a fluke and that my experiment had failed. I continued to plunge ahead with the plan—eating mini-meals every 2-3 hours and emphasizing egg white protein and vegetable proteins like nuts, nut butters, and soy.
I get fresh veggies from the University dining hall every day. They have an excellent salad bar that is quite accommodating for my new eating habits. My fellow students do not think that I am eating enough—since they just see me eating fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch, and a nut butter soy shake for dinner. However, they just do not understand that I am literally eating ALL day long. I am sure that my roommate finds it strange that I drink a shake for dinner (she is much too sweet to say anything though).
The next day, after my scare, my weight was up a little, and the day after that, I was back to where I had been when I left home. My morning temperature has been in the low 98s three of the last five days, which is a huge improvement. Then I got the best news - the doctor’s office called Friday to say that my latest lab report showed my thyroid is within the normal range. I was so excited. I had a lump of happiness swell up in my throat. I immediately e-mailed my Sunday School teacher and told her of all the AMAZING and unexpected blessings that God had showered down upon me. Who would have thought that having my wisdom teeth extracted would lead to weight gain, which led to a diet breakthrough, which led to my thyroid going back to normal?!?!?!
As much as I have learned this past year about my physical, as well as spiritual, weaknesses and strengths, I ought not be worried about my weight gain. I know with all of my heart that God is going to take care of me. He has said so in so many ways—especially through this new diet.
I found this verse in my daily Bible study: Deuteronomy 8:3
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Prior to Christmas break, I was eating meat in an attempt to gain weight. I have never liked the way a whole serving of meat makes me feel. Forcing myself to eat 3 ounces of meat was very stressful, and I looked for any excuse to cut back. I knew I could gain weight by eating more bread and grains, but that's how I ended up with an unattractive kind of fat. While I can admit that I lost too much weight, if I have to gain it back, I want to gain muscle, not lumpy fat.
It was not until I came before the Lord desperate for His answer to my problem, that I finally began to see that I needed soy, egg white, and vegetable protein to gain healthy weight, nourish my thyroid, and feel better all the way around.
I have mentioned in past blogs that my right knee is weaker than my left one. It doesn't hurt all the time, but if I move it in the wrong way it is sore for several days. I particularly notice the soreness when DD and I do exercises that involve lunges. My right knee does not like lunges or pliés.
SS has started his first physical therapy internship. When he was home for Christmas, I asked why my knee was that way. He got a mad scientist gleam in his eye and had me stretch out on the floor. He twisted and turned my leg. He did strength tests. He told me that my right knee cap slips out of the groove when I put it in certain positions. He promised to look up the exercises I needed to do to strengthen the muscles that hold my kneecap in place.
He mailed me nine exercises. The muscle and ligament that support the knee cap also attach to the hip joint, so I am doing quadriceps strengthening and stretching plus iliotibial band and hip adductor strengthening.
In the past when injuries or disease got so painful that surgery was required, physical therapy was prescribed to aid recovery. Then orthopedists began prescribing PT before surgery. Some patients improved so much that surgery became unnecessary. The momentum for the future is that physical therapists would become primary care physicians for muscular skeletal problems. People like me who have a minor problem will use PT to solve it early rather than waiting until pain is acute.
Think of the way dental treatment has changed in the last 60 years. In my grandparents' day tooth decay and gum disease were normal. If someone lived long enough, a dentist pulled all their teeth and built dentures for them. Now children and adults go in for preventive dentistry once or twice a year. Decay and gum disease are stopped before they do damage. Hardly anyone needs dentures any more. PTs can imagine a day when joint pain is dealt with early and routinely, and surgeries are limited to repairing broken bones and other accident related injuries. I guess I'm a guinea pig for the new ideal.
SS says the hospital where he is working has a lunch special for employees: meat and vegetables for $2.50. He said, "I can't buy groceries and cook for myself for that price. The food is really good too." He is eating like an O and thinking preventive health care. I couldn't be more pleased. Now, I'm going to go do my exercises before I go to bed.
Paul, one of the Hall of Fame Bloggers, first introduced me to the concept of “Thinking like an A.” He helped me realize that the way to be happy on the Blood Type Diet is not to look for substitutes for avoid foods, but to embrace the way I am made and relish the foods that build health. He got me “Thinking like an O” and constantly reminded me that my Type A husband and daughter were made differently. I thought I had learned the lesson well, but DD is carrying me to the next level.
DD and I had the same fear about getting her wisdom teeth out – the fear that she would lose more weight. Since the day that she got the lab report about her thyroid not functioning correctly, she has been committed to gaining weight. We worked closely together, planning beneficial meals based on the portions outlined on the BTD and the GTD. There were areas of conflict. We would look at a portion of meat or fish and see 2-5 ounces. She pushed for 2; I pushed for 4; we compromised on 3 – neither of us happy. The same was true of grain portions. However, I never had to urge her to eat nuts or fruit or salad. She was adamant that she would not eat high sugar foods, high fat foods, or other avoids in order to gain weight. In two months she had painfully put on two pounds. We were both terrified that she would lose that much and more by being on a liquid diet for several days.
I fixed protein shakes every two hours – fruit juice with egg white protein, soy milk with Spirutein, soy milk with egg white protein and peanut butter. We added lecithin to everything. I juiced carrots, beets, celery, and other vegetables. What we thought would be a few days on a liquid diet stretched to almost two weeks. Amazingly, she did not lose weight. She began to gain. We decided it was because she was not exercising. Just walking through the house made her stitches throb, so going to the gym or jogging was out of the question.
Gradually she added soft foods, and gradually she began to walk for exercise. Still she gained weight. She began to add little bits of salmon and chopped turkey to soft vegetables. After a good report from the surgeon, I pushed her to up her meat intake to 3 ounces again. Within days she lost 2 ½ pounds. Perhaps it was just a fluke, we hoped, but her weight stayed down. We were both devastated.
On January 2 she called me at my Mom’s house and said. “Check your e-mail. I want to try a daring experiment.” She had gotten up early to do her Bible study; then she began praying and rereading everything she could about the Type A Diet. She wrote, “Could it be that as an A, upping my meat and grain portions aren't going to help me gain weight, because they are not the best for my body. Could it be that if I started adding in more soy, nut, fruit, bean, and veggie servings instead of the meat and bread that I might gain?" She went on to quote line after line from Live Right that supported her hypothesis.
As I read, it just had the ring of truth. I called her back, and said, “Do you have a plan for the day?” She did, and I said, “Go for it.” The next morning she had gained a half pound. She has now regained everything she lost after Christmas, plus another half pound.
She has lost the gassy, bloated feeling in her stomach that had bothered her since she had increased her meat portions. She is enjoying her food. I actually caught her licking the knife the other day after she made a peanut butter sandwich. “This does not look like a girl with an eating disorder,” I said. She laughed at me.
She has a long way to go to get her hormones back to normal, but somehow I feel she is on the right track. I have a lot to sort out about understanding a daughter who really is “thinking like an A.”
SS went to spend the New Year’s holiday with his girlfriend. DD spent the New Year’s holiday working nine hour shifts. HH planned to spend the holiday watching football. I saw an opportunity to go check on my Mom. It was a good thing I did.
She is really doing well. She is lonely, but that is understandable after 57 years of marriage. She is eating pretty well. There were plenty of fresh fruits and salads in her refrigerator. There were comfort foods too – crackers and ice cream – but I’m not going to pass judgment about that. The problem came when we began to go through her mail.
My Dad had been very carefully arranged to have all the utility bills paid automatically through his checking account. He did not want basic services to be in jeopardy if he were ill or incapacitated. He also had my Mom’s name and my name added to his checking account several years ago. I knew all of that, and the system worked well last summer when he was sick and confused.
What I didn’t know was that there are laws that when someone dies, the funeral home has to report the death to Social Security. In turn Social Security reports the death to financial institutions using that Social Security Number. The banks then freeze the accounts. The purpose is to keep angry ex-wives, unscrupulous children, or mercenary cousins from pilfering the assets before the will is executed.
My Dad’s account should not have been frozen because of the multiple signatures, but the bank made a mistake. They bounced all of the utility payments for December. Not only that, they refused to deposit a dividend check. As Mom and I opened the mail, we found a letter threatening to cut off the electricity. This was a stress I did not need!
It took more than two hours on the phone to trace the problem. We raced a check to the post office. A very apologetic bank manager promised to call the other utilities involved and attempt to resolve the issue before gas, water and phone are disconnected.
Why am I blogging about this? Two reasons. First – remember that comfort food I mentioned. When at last I got off the phone, and we sat down to a very late dinner, I ate a big slice of pound cake. There are stressful moments when comfort food is very difficult to resist. This, I regret to admit, was one of them for me.
Second – My mom is fortunate that she has her own checking account with enough money to buy groceries. I am horrified at the thought of couples whose only account is frozen when one of them dies. I can easily imagine a scenario where the widow or widower would have to borrow money from family or friends to pay for basic necessities during the 2-3 months it takes to probate a will. Don’t think you could depend on credit cards! One of my Dad’s cards was cancelled out right. The other card was frozen until my Mom could reapply.
I know that no one wants to think about death. but I strongly suggest that you ask your banker what would happen if someone in your family died. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to unneeded stress.