Archives for: June 2010
I have a facebook friend who is having stomach trouble. I thought I would just post the link to a blog about how and why I started the BTD. After several searches, I realized that I’ve told about my experience in bits and pieces, but I’ve never written the whole story the way that I tell it in person when people ask.
I knew absolutely nothing about nutrition when I was growing up. Seriously, they didn’t teach health in school back then, and I was in college before I knew the difference between a carbohydrate and a fat. When I was young I ate meat, bread and dessert. Ok, I also ate apples, carrots, and prunes, but that was about all. The all-you-can-eat dessert bar in the freshman dorm was my undoing. I grew out of all my clothes. I bought a diet book at the grocery store and learned that everything I ate was high calorie and all the low calorie foods were the ones I didn’t like. I forced myself to eat vegetables and found out that I liked them. Thus began my yoyo years. I would eat what I wanted until my clothes were snug, then cut out the desserts until my weight went down.
When I had been married a year, my husband and I went to spend a few days with his aunt. She and I both love to read, and one night I looked at her bookshelves for something entertaining. I found Adele Davis’s book “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit.” It was a whole new world for me. I saw myself and my abominable eating habits on every page. I became a Health Food Nut. My poor husband, who had married a typical American girl, found himself plunged into the world of whole grains, no preservatives, vitamins, and very little sugar.
There were lots of really good things about being a Health Food Nut. My weight stabilized – no more yoyo dieting. My allergies got better and my resistance to infection improved. My skin and hair looked great, and I had a lot more energy.
But about the time I turned 40, I began to have indigestion. It started out mild, and I tried all of the home remedies recommended by Health Food advocates and vitamin companies. I got worse. By the time I was in my late 40s, I was uncomfortable a lot of the time. Having tried everything I went to my doctor. He put me on prescription medications – I believe he tried three different ones – but none of them worked. He sent me to a gastro specialist.
The specialist took my history and admitted that I ate healthier than any of her patients. She said, “I’m going to do an upper GI scope and this is what we’ll find. Your sphincter muscle is loose. We’ll go back and tighten it up and you will be fine.” I woke up from the scope and she said, “Actually your sphincter muscle was a little tighter than normal. But your stomach is very red and inflamed. I took a biopsy, and this is what we’ll find. You have the bacteria that causes ulcers. We’ll put you on antibiotics and you’ll be fine.” Her nurse called back in a few days and said the biopsy was normal. “Then why,” I asked, “am I in pain all the time?” Diet and stress, said the nurse.
I hung up the phone in frustration. I stormed around the house complaining to God. For more than 25 years I had eaten healthier than anyone I knew. I had done everything that was recommended for indigestion and GERD. The only stress in my life was that my stomach hurt all the time. Eventually I calmed down, and could listen to God’s still small voice. I drove to the Health Food Store where I had shopped for years. The owner, who I had hoped to talk with, was not in, so I began to look through the indexes of the books that were for sale. I didn’t know what I was looking for exactly – just something I hadn’t tried yet.
After looking at several books and returning them to the shelf, I followed an index reference to a page that said if your blood type was O you were more likely to have indigestion. Hmmm that was interesting. I was Type O. I kept reading. The two worst foods for Type O were wheat and dairy. That really had my attention. For more than 25 years I had eaten wheat germ, wheat bran, and yogurt for breakfast every morning. If this book was right, no wonder I had indigestion. First thing every morning I was dumping into my stomach the two worst foods for my blood type. What was this book? I looked at the front cover, and it was a book about the Blood Type Diet by Peter D’Adamo.
I bought the book. I went cold turkey in the diet that very day. In a week I was off of all medications. In 2 weeks my pain was 95% gone. The last of the pain was vanquished with ginger. I have been pain free since 2003, with rare exceptions when I stray from the BTD and eat more than a token amount of wheat and dairy.
This is my story. I believe that God heard my prayers that day and led me to the BTD. It is not an easy diet to follow. The American diet is incredibly wheat based, and sugar is addictive. But after you get used to feeling good all of the time, you begin to realize that the BTD is not really that difficult after all.
This summer DD and I have been baking pies. One year at Thanksgiving, she wanted to bake a BTD compliant pumpkin pie. We ground walnuts and used them for a pat in crust – sort of like a graham cracker pat in crust. The pie was delicious. Why we didn’t pursue pie, I don’t know, but we let the idea drop.
This spring we baked an apple pie. We used walnuts for a crust again. We put a layer of thinly sliced apples, then a sprinkle of cinnamon a drizzle of ghee, and a squirt of honey. Then another layer the same way until the apples were higher than the crust. We baked it at 350 degrees until it was bubbly and the apples were soft. Oh, it was delicious.
Now we are enjoying pie quite often. A friend from high school who is celiac, came for lunch last week. I assured her that a preparing a meal without wheat or gluten was no problem for me. DD and I baked an apple pie. We warned my friend and her husband that it wasn’t very sweet. She said, “I haven’t had pie in years, so I’ve forgotten how sweet it’s supposed to be. This is delicious.”
Our nephew and his family came last weekend to enjoy the Hill Country lakes and rivers. We baked a blueberry pie for Father’s Day. We stirred ¼ cup of honey and a teaspoon of vanilla into two packages of frozen blueberries. We baked them in the walnut crust. I bought vanilla ice cream so that those who were used to a sweeter dessert wouldn’t feel that our pie was too bland. No ice cream for DD and me. We found every bite to be delicious just as it came out of the oven.
Peaches are sweet and inexpensive right now, so I think our next pie will be peach. Then, perhaps cherry. When the ingredients are so healthy and beneficial, why not enjoy pie more often?
My husband and I have gone to the same family practice doctor for 31 years. He has had an ideal balance being conservative about running tests and performing procedures yet staying up to date with the latest medical developments. I have found him to be wise and intuitive. He has weathered several crises with us, and delivered both of our babies. While he did not believe the Blood Type Diet, he admitted that it had worked for me, and he did not discourage me from following it. He is about the same age as my Honorable Husband. When we moved, we planned to make the long drive back to his office until he retired.
Recent political developments caused us to change our plan. HH turns 65 in the fall, and is mandated by our insurance company to go on Medicare. We have been warned that in the small community where we live, it is hard to find a primary care doctor that is accepting new patients, and almost impossible to find a primary care doctor that accepts new Medicare patients. We decided that we might be better off to establish ourselves with a local doctor now, before the big birthday.
HH began calling doctors that accept our insurance. The rumors were true, most doctors were not accepting new patients. Of the ones that were, some of the phone interviews revealed attitudes that HH did not like. The list got pretty short. Yesterday we had an introductory appointment with a potential doctor.
I could not be more pleased and more excited. She is as conservative as our previous doctor. She is an empathetic listener. When I got to the part of my medical history that dealt with GERD, I told her about all of the tests I had had, and how none of the medications had worked. I said that the first week on the BTD led to dramatic improvements, and that my pain was gone after two weeks.
She listened with great interest. She was familiar with the concept of the BTD, but didn’t know the specifics. She has been researching milk and immunity problems, and wanted to know what the BTD said about milk. She looked at my cholesterol numbers and observed that my bad cholesterol was very low, so the only way to get my total cholesterol (215) down would be to reduce my good cholesterol, which would affect my outstanding ratio. Obviously, she said she didn’t want to do that. She encouraged me to keep eating and exercising the way that I am.
The funniest moment came when she pressed the skin on my ankles to see if I was retaining fluid. She said, “The bottom half of you does not match the top. Your wrists reveal very small bones, but your ankle bones are large.” I told her that I was very much aware that I had two conflicting body types and that my daughter was built the same way. I decided not to go into the GTD and how the conflicting body types had made it hard for me to settle on a GenoType and impossible for DD to figure hers out.
Her meeting with HH was every bit as successful as mine. We left the office with a new local doctor, who assures HH that she will not kick him out when he turns 65. It’s hard to leave a doctor who knows us and our history so well, but I think we are going to get along with our new doctor just fine.
I was grinding flax seed yesterday morning, and I spilled some. I stopped to pick them up and put them back in the jar. I believe those seeds were created for a purpose – either to sprout and grow new plants, or to become nourishment for someone like me. It seems a shame for them to be swept into the trash and wind up compacted at a land fill.
I felt the same way this morning when I scraped every edible bite of mango out of the skin. Down in some tropical country, a plant did a great deal of photosynthesis to produce that mango. It didn’t seem right for me to waste any of it.
When I pause before a meal to thank God for my food, I am overwhelmed by His abundance. I want to enjoy it, but not to be careless or extravagant. I delight in the variety of tastes and textures. I am amazed that the knowledge about what foods build health and what foods contribute to disease has changed me so much in the past seven years.
I don’t ever want to take for granted God’s provision, the plenty we have in our economy, or this amazing diet based on blood types.
My honorable husband had a cornea transplant on Tuesday. He has a rare inherited eye disease that has diminished his sight and his ability to enjoy simple things in life. There is no cure. A transplant is the only way to restore his vision.
I have three quick observations.
1. If you have read my blogs for long, you know how passionate I am about preventive health and taking care of the bodies that God gave us. However, there are health issues that are beyond the scope of nutrition and exercise. This week I am very thankful for medical doctors, researchers, hospitals, nurses, insurance companies, and for everyone else involved in bringing us the outstanding medical care we are privileged to enjoy in the US.
2. HH made the decision to have the first transplant now because of Obamacare. He turns 65 in the fall. On that day, our health insurance becomes a secondary policy and he will be on Medicare. We have watched Medicare drag their feet paying the final bills for my Mom. We have read about other countries with socialized medicine where delicate procedures like transplants are denied. As the government expands its role in health care, we anticipate a decline in care and a scarcity of service. So, while he could have waited a year of two before the transplant would have been absolutely necessary, he decided to do it now while he still has private insurance.
3. Stress eating reared its ugly head again for me. I handled the pressure of making the decision about proceeding with the surgery calmly. I was a tower of strength the day of the surgery. I was optimistic and positive during the initial recovery. But as soon as we got home from the first follow up appointment, all of the tension from the past weeks overwhelmed me. I ate and ate and ate. The urge only lasted a couple of days. I am back to my old self again.
This is where my rule about no avoids in the house paid dividends. If there had been junk food around, I fear I would have been powerless. However, all I did was overeat beneficial and neutrals. Is it really pigging out if you’re eating carrots?