Archives for: December 2012
As we drove home on a cold and blustery Christmas day, we stopped at a Subway sandwich shop for lunch. We were fortunate to find a place that was open. Most restaurants were giving their employees family time for Christmas. This Subway was inside a gas station, and I hope the employees who served us got a good Christmas bonus!
I had packed salmon, peas and carrots for my lunch. While my husband and son ordered their sandwiches I indifferently read the menu. I had no intention of ordering anything, until I saw chicken livers among the choices at the kiosk next to Subway.
I never ate liver as a child. I'm not sure whether my mother didn't cook it because she didn't like it or because she knew that I was such a picky eater that there was no chance I would get beyond the first bite. When I read my first book on nutrition (Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit) the author was very enthusiastic about liver. I learned that I liked liver in restaurants where it was a featured item. However, the liver I cooked at home was not very good.
I also learned that I like chicken liver better than beef liver, and my absolute favorite - before the BTD - was chicken fried chicken livers.
On Christmas Day, I approached the counter debating whether eating a little batter would be worth it to get the livers. Then I saw a tub of flour by the fryer. These was not a pre-processed, pre-battered food product. They made the livers fresh on site.
I had a brainstorm. I asked if they could fry some livers without batter. The poor server who was stuck working Christmas Day, looked at me like I was crazy. "Are you sure you want me to do that?" she asked. When I said yes she took my money. The livers were delicious. The oil made them slightly crisp on the outside, but there was no wheat.
I'm thinking I could do this at home. I have a mini fryer that I got as a wedding gift long ago. I haven't used it in years because oven frying is so much healthier. But if I used grape seed oil it might work.
Where did the tradition to have ham for Christmas dinner come from? We are celebrating the birth of Jesus - a Jew who never would have eaten pork in his life. Lamb would be appropriate, or fish. My sister's family likes steak for Christmas dinner. The Honey Baked Ham Company and other pork purveyors have certainly come up with a Christmas marketing coup.
For me personally, ham has always given me headaches. I remember as a little girl, being sick after eating ham. I liked the taste, but it did not agree with me. I do not see the point of eating pork ribs. They appear to be mostly fat and gristle. The sauce is good, but I'd rather have sauce on chicken or brisket, which is better quality meat. Pork chops were always to dry too be enjoyable. However, before the BTD, I really did like pork tenderloin.
There are two aspects to my decision about whether or not to eat pork - the religious and the nutritious. The Old Testament is pretty adamant about not eating pork. But the New Testament declares that all food made by God is allowable. So as a Christian, there is no religious requirement for me about eating or not eating pork. However, there was a lot of wisdom in the dietary laws given by God to the Jews in the Old Testament. For instance the rules about washing hands and utensils protected the Jews from the Black Plague in the 14th century. The prohibition against pork protected the Jews from parasites that were common in pork until the past 100 years.
From the nutritious standpoint, Dr. D says that pork is avoid for all types. When Dr. D and the Bible agree, that is good enough for me. I consider pork to be a double avoid.
Our Christmas dinner was a buffet at HH's Mom's house. His sisters had decided on ham and pork ribs. I didn't want to be contrary, but I wanted another option. I brought some deli sliced turkey. I rolled the turkey around fresh spinach and sliced it in one inch bites. I said they were turkey appetizers. At the end of the meal the platter was almost empty.
I found plenty of neutral and beneficial choices. There were sweet potatoes and baked beans. DD made pineapple cranberry sauce. She also made a pumpkin soufflé in a pie pan and called it crustless pumpkin pie. The only avoid I ate was a salad brought by one of our nieces. It was made with fresh grapes and walnuts tossed in a little dressing made from light cream cheese and light sour cream. I think at home I could do a dressing with almond milk custard that would make this delicious salad completely compliant.
We are home from a four day Christmas trip to see my Honorable Husband's family.
His Mom continues to recover from her broken neck. On top of her fragile bones, she has also battled mild nausea. The nausea is serious because it makes her eat less. Then she doesn't have the nutrients for her bones to heal, and she loses weight. The sisters told me that she had been back to the doctor and he suggested taking her off of milk, tomatoes, and cokes. He told her to take ginger drops. She is much better.
I told them I wasn't surprised; that tomatoes, milk, and cokes were all avoid foods for Type As and that ginger was beneficial. They looked at me like I had two heads.
It is hard to have knowledge that would help people physically, but they are unwilling to receive it.
There is an analogy here to the Christmas story and Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmas time. Salvation is offered as a free gift to anyone who will receive it. But I had to understand that good works are not enough to get me into heaven, recognize that I needed a savior, and accept that Jesus' death took the punishment that I deserved for the wrong I have done.
It's pretty simple, really. It is knowledge that would help people spiritually, if they were willing to receive it.
If you want to feel better physically in 2013, investigate the Blood Type Diet with an open mind.
If you want to feel better spiritually in 2013, investigate the claims of Christ with an open mind.
I doubt that anyone does the BTD perfectly all the time. Even Dr. D has written that he has his favorite avoids and he indulges from time to time. I had one of those indulgent moments last night.
A friend was in from out of town and we went to our favorite steak restaurant for dinner. I love this restaurant because they serve sweet potatoes. I intended to have a 6 ounce sirloin, a salad with olive oil for dressing, and a sweet potato without margarine. (The server confessed that even though the menu says butter, they don't use the real thing.) It was a good and beneficial plan.
Our friend ordered onion rings as an appetizer. When onion rings are covered in thick dough, they are not a temptation. But when there is a lot of onion and a thin coating of spicy dough, my mouth starts to water. A basket of almost perfect onion rings arrived at our table.
Each of us tasted one. Our friend said, "Those are really spicy. I don't like spicy onion rings." My husband was too busy eating rolls to eat many of the onion rings. So I ate one, after another, after another. They were delicious.
I don't eat a lot of avoids. When I eat them I like to make them count. I don't waste my time on a dinner roll or a piece of pizza, much less a piece of toast. If I'm going to eat an avoid, I want to savor every bite. It should be memorable.
The timing on this splurge was probably good. Christmas dinner this year is going to be pot luck. There are a lot of people coming, so I'm sure there will be all kinds of wheat. But none of it will be as good as those onion rings. I'm thinking that it will be easy to bypass avoids and eat a healthy Christmas dinner.
Wishing for you a joyful Christmas focused on the important things - love of family and worship of the Christ child.
My husband and I are involved with the Christmas music at our church. He is singing and I am playing clarinet. We had an extra rehearsal on Saturday morning. As we were driving home after the rehearsal, I saw signs for the Farmers Market.
I'm rarely in town on Saturday morning. I knew there was a Farmers Market, however I tend to think about it every day except Saturday. But yesterday - there we were, and I asked HH to stop.
I had three goals: find kohlrabi, buy lettuce, and get lunch.
Nine years ago when I started the BTD, I read that kohlrabi was a beneficial vegetable. I had never heard of it, but I found it at the grocery store. I followed a recipe and cooked it. In my opinion cooked kohlrabi tastes terrible. No one in the family liked it. I probably threw it out.
However another BTD blogger wrote that he grated raw kohlrabi, tossed it with olive oil and lemon juice, and served it like Cole slaw. I tried that and it was delicious. Unfortunately my family's initial experience with cooked kohlrabi was so bad that they didn't really give it a chance.
I experimented with several options for dressing, and wound up liking it so much that I ate it at least once a week.
Unfortunately, not enough people bought kohlrabi, and my grocery store stopped carrying it about three years ago.
I hoped to find kohlrabi at the Farmers Market. There were eight to ten booths selling vegetables. Only one had kohlrabi, but one was all I needed. This farmer had the green kohlrabi I was familiar with and he also had a purple kohlrabi. I bought the green after being assured that he brought both kinds to the market every week.
All of the vegetable booths claimed to be organic. What that meant was that lettuce was twice the price that I was used to paying at the grocery store. I bought some, realizing that I wouldn't save anything if I spent time and gas to get to the grocery store. I had high expectations for organic lettuce, but I was disappointed. It didn't taste any better than less expensive grocery store lettuce.
The lunch options were outstanding. I got my lunch at an Indian food booth. I had spinach that was coated with a spicy wheat free mix and cooked until it was crunchy. I also had garbanzo and chicken dish topped with a ginger sauce. HH got his lunch at a pastry booth. It was a pocket sandwich with a chicken filling.
I enjoyed "kohl slaw" for dinner last night, and I am looking forward to enjoying it in the future - if I can remember to drive to town on Saturday morning.
Two friends in my neighborhood have a cookie exchange every year at Christmas. It started small, but it has grown each year. Every one brings three dozen cookies. For the first hour we eat hors d'oeuvres and visit. Then we move into the "cookie room". We select three dozen cookies to take home. What fun to walk around the table selecting cookies to enjoy during the holidays. Most ladies print out their recipes, so as you pick up cookies, you can pick up recipes as well.
The first year I made one of my favorite recipes. It's a wheat free recipe with oats, pecans, and coconut. You bake it in a cookie sheet and cut it into bars.
The second year I took the power bar recipe that DD and I developed. It is a no bake recipe made with only dried fruit and nuts.
Both years my cookies were passed over in favor of cookies with fancy decorations and lots of sugar.
This Year the cookie exchange was in a week when I had lots of business appointments. There was little time for baking. The day before the cookie exchange I didn't even have a plan. I was at the store and saw a packaged peanut butter cookie mix. I bought it along with a bag of Hershey kisses. It took just a few minutes to throw the mix together. I baked them half way then stuck an (unwrapped) kiss in the middle of each cookie and finished baking.
At the cookie exchange a lot of the conversations revolved around health. Friends talked to me about diets that worked and diets that didn't work. I heard about surgeries, exercise, and undiagnosed physical problems. It seemed to me that most of the ladies were serious about making lifestyle changes to improve their health.
Then we went into the cookie room. I watched as those same ladies grabbed up the fancy, high sugar cookies. My plate quickly emptied. Not one peanut butter kiss cookie was left.
I got a few brownies for HH - a treat that I knew would put a smile on his face. But I was really looking for healthy cookies. They were easy to find, because they were left behind. Someone brought zucchini cookies. I took several of those. I found chocolate covered nuts - wheat free. I found no bake oatmeal cookies - also wheat free.
HH was happy because there was a plate of cookies on the kitchen table. I was happy because most of those cookies were relatively Type A friendly.
However, I couldn't avoid the observation that whatever people say, they will choose sugar over health, at least at Christmas time.
I had a mammogram last week. After an unnecessarily, scary experience with a call back a few years ago, I get my mammograms done at a clinic where they let me wait for the results. I can sit in the waiting room and read until they have looked at the images.
Last week I had my results in less than 10 minutes. "Everything is normal. We don't want to see you for another year." I left the clinic thankful and happy.
Yesterday while I was shopping, I left my phone in the car. I came back to find several texts and three missed calls. Two of the calls were from DD and one was from an unknown number - probably a solicitor, I thought. I called DD back; then I saw that there was a voice mail...from my primary care physician's office. I got a sinking feeling in my stomach...it had to be about the mammogram. By then the office was closed for the day.
This morning when I called, the office assistant said, "Hmmm...let me see...here it is...Hmmm"
I broke in saying, "Is everything OK?"
"Oh yes," she said. "Your mammogram results are fine. But the doctor wrote a note. Are you still a patient? We haven't seen you since last year."
I laughed, partially with relief, and partially at what I considered to be an odd question. I haven't been to the doctor because I haven't been sick. (Thank you, BTD!) That's a good thing, it seems to me, but I guess for the doctor's office, it is unusual.
I explained that yes, I was still their patient; that I had been healthy and hadn't needed a doctor. I went on to say that with the mixed study results about mammograms, I had decided to get on a schedule where I had a mammogram, then nine months later a physical, nine months later a mammogram, and so on. That way I would get a mammogram every 18 months and a physical every 18 months. I ended by saying that I would be calling for an appointment in about nine months. The assistant was satisfied.
I feel comfortable with this schedule because there is no history of breast cancer in my family, but I can't end this blog without saying that the prompting to schedule a mammogram last week is because two friends have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
One had made the decision not to have mammograms. She found the lump herself, and it has already metastasized. She is pursuing treatment, but realizes the statistics are against her.
The other is a young woman. She not only has breast cancer, but she is pregnant. I do not know how the cancer was found, and I do not know what treatment she will be receiving.
If you have read my blogs for long, you know that I am a Christian, and that I am pro life. But I understand - and I know that God understands - that there are times when the life of an unborn baby is lost to save the life of the mother. I fully support this friend in whatever decision she makes.
In my earliest memories, my family ate eggs for breakfast. Sometimes we had them with bacon, sometimes with cheese, sometimes with biscuits. We all liked eggs. Then there came a day in the 60s when my Aunt Cora got a devastating medical test report. Her cholesterol was high. "Through the ceiling," my mother said. This was before medication was routinely prescribed for high cholesterol. The doctor said she was headed for certain death if she did not change her diet. The first thing that had to go was eggs. She stopped eating eggs. Stopped eating meat. Stopped eating shrimp. Her cholesterol stayed high. I'm guessing it was because of all the margarine we were eating in the 60's, but that's a different story. She never did get her cholesterol under control and she lived to be 2 months short of 90 years old. Except for her last year, she was active and mentally sharp.
The effect on the family was that we didn't eat eggs for breakfast anymore. Instead we had cinnamon toast, donuts, cereal, and honey buns. This was supposed to be healthier than eggs. Arrgh...perhaps this explains why I don't trust anything the establishment says about health.
After four decades of denigrating eggs, now they are back in style. Here are quotes from a recent article about a study from Surrey University that says eating eggs for breakfast can help you lose weight.
"Eggs keep one fuller for longer compared with other common breakfast foods, and are also better for people who want to resist afternoon snacks on biscuits, cake or chocolate," according to the researchers.
Prof Bruce Griffin, said: "This study provides yet more evidence that eating eggs at breakfast can help keep us feeling fuller for longer and may help people to eat less at subsequent meals, thus helping with weight loss."
The article refers to "the growing body of evidence to support eggs as a key ingredient of weight loss diets." It refers to a previous study that found that women who ate an egg for breakfast felt fuller and had less desire to eat other foods for the next 24 hours compared to those who ate a bagel (a breakfast of equal calories).
I'm not trying to lose weight. Thanks to the BTD, my weight has been stable at an attractive and healthy level for nine years.
However - I do have a sensitive digestive system and in the first year after the publication of the GenoType diet Dr. D wrote " Hunter: To help heal and regenerate your digestive tract, aim to eat seven to nine eggs a week" Again Dr. D was ahead of the establishment research studies.
I'm so far out of the habit of eating eggs for breakfast, that I'm not sure I could every go back. However, one of my favorite suppers is an egg and spinach frittata with a sweet potato on the side. I have this combination at least once a week.