Archives for: June 2013
One day I looked down and there were bruises on my ankles. I didn't remember bumping my ankle. I felt around and they weren't tender. I suddenly recognized where I had seen that kind of blue mark before.
My father had read about benefits of Vitamin E and he began to take a supplement. He also read about the benefits of aspirin to prevent heart attacks. So he started taking a low dose enteric aspirin every day as well. Soon he began to have blue blotches on his arms. I remembered that Dr D does not recommend Vitamin E for Type Os. Our blood is already thin. It is the thick blooded Type As who benefit from blood thinning properties of Vitamin E and aspirin.
I challenged my Dad to take a break from Vitamin E and aspirin. The next time I saw him his arms were free of bruising.
I give my Type A husband a Vitamin E capsule every day, but I don't take it. I knew there was Vitamin E in my multiple. I thought it was a low dose. Wrong. It had 100 iu, more than 3 times the RDA. How did I let that slip by? Dumb, dumb, dumb.
I stopped taking the multiple right away. I decided I probably needed to take Vitamins A and D, B complex, and zinc. I eat less processed food and more fresh food than most people I know. In a perfect world, I wouldn't need supplements. However, I know that by the time my food is harvested, stored and transported, I won't get the quality of nutrients from food that God intended.
I read the label on the B Complex that I had on my shelf. Everything looked in order except it only contained 15% of the RDA for Biotin. That seemed peculiar until I read that Biotin is the one B Vitamin that your body can make for itself - if you have eaten food that provides the right ingredients and if you are in good health.
Biotin is necessary for healthy hair and nails. That caught my attention because my nails have been chipping. When I had searched the Internet for chipped nails, there were a few specific things, none of which seemed to apply to me. However the most common answer was that chipping nails and thinning hair were normal parts of aging. What if, I asked myself, as people age they lose their ability to make Biotin? I'm interested in these kinds of questions since I will turn 60 this summer.
I stopped the multiple. I added several supplements including Biotin.
In a month the blood in my ankles has reabsorbed. Hurrah! The blue blotches are gone. I think I see an improvement in my nails, but it's too early to tell. I'll have to see what happens as they grow out.
A few years ago I did some research on muscle loss in menopausal women. There are a lot of variables. In some women, the muscle loss starts as early as 35; other women don't notice it until about 50. Studies show muscle loss as high as a pound a year, but other studies say it is more like a half pound a year. Studies show percentage of muscle loss between half of a percent and two percent.
Obviously not all women experience the same amount or the same rate of muscle loss, but they do lose muscle related to menopause.
This is a double whammy for women my age. First, unless we are diligent to exercise, we are losing the muscle that holds our joints in place and gives us strength. Without adequate muscle we will be vulnerable to the back, hip, and knee injuries that plague some of my friends. Without adequate muscle, we can't exercise effectively, and exercise consistently shows up as a key to an active and healthy life.
But that is only half of the story. Muscle is more "metabolically active" than fat tissue. Muscle at rest burns more calories than fat at rest. So, if you continue to eat exactly the same as you ate in younger days, since you are losing muscle, you will be adding fat. It's inevitable - unless you are pro active you will gain weight and add fat after menopause.
Because I know this I take exercise seriously. To a certain degree I have been successful. My hiking, tubing, weight lifting and line dancing friends and myself have better muscle tone and lead more active lives than the other women around us. However it's equally obvious that my muscle tone isn't what it was 10 years ago. Last winter I put on several pounds - all of it around my middle. Unheard of! My weight has always gone to my legs, not my waist. (I'm going to blog about those pounds another day. They were perplexing for several reasons).
One day in April, Tricia, my weight lifting partner, and I were at the fitness center. I said that I thought I was accustomed to my current bench press weight and I was going to increase. Everything started fine, but after a few reps there was a sharp pain in my right arm.
My arm was sore for several days then felt better. I tried bench presses again and it didn't feel good. So the next time I saw my Strong Son, I told him about the injury and said that I was trying not to be scared, but that several friends had been through rotator cuff surgery. He did three quick tests and assured me that it was not my rotator cuff. It is wonderful to have a physical therapist as a son.
My arm continued to hurt. We had lunch with SS last week, and he asked how my arm was. I described the continuing pain. He began a complete exam, right in the living room. After checking me from shoulder to fingertips, he told me that I had strained a nerve.
I didn't even know that nerves could be strained. But evidently nerve strains are not uncommon.
He gave me a nerve stretching exercise to do three times a day. I am amazed how quickly my arm has responded. I am not doing bench presses yet. But I am doing other upper body exercises without pain.
I realize this blog may seem like it's sending mixed messages, but think of it as two sides of a coin. If you are a woman my age, you have to take exercise seriously, but don't push to the point of pain. Be active, but be smart and be patient.
Today is my 10 year anniversary on the Blood Type Diet. Ten years ago today, the last of the test results came back which were supposed to tell me why I had stomach pain. I had been a health food advocate since I was 23 years old - more than 25 years. But what had started as mild GERD after I turned 40, got increasingly worse, becoming annoying and eventually becoming alarming to my doctor.
The tests were supposed give me answers, but every test came back normal. "Then why does my stomach hurt all the time," I asked the doctor's assistant. "Stress and diet," she answered. I said, "I eat healthier than anyone I know, and my only stress is this stomach pain." She had no reply.
After storming around the house, I felt God leading me to go back to a health food store where I had shopped for years. I was looking for something natural that I hadn't tried yet. I don’t know how the Blood Type Diet had slipped under my radar. I did a lot of reading about nutritional issues. Perhaps it was the word "diet". Since I wasn't unhappy with my weight, I wasn't looking for a diet in that sense of the word.
When I read that Type Os were the most likely to have stomach pain, and that wheat and dairy were the worst foods for Type O, I was intrigued. I bought the book and went on the BTD cold turkey June 13, 2003. In a week I was off of all medication. In two weeks I was pain free. I have never looked back, and never wavered from my enthusiasm for the BTD.
I've learned a lot in ten years.
The BTD is not about how food tastes. Lots of avoids are very appealing when they are in my mouth. But more often than not, I don't feel good after I eat avoids.
When I think back to when my children were toddlers, I can see now that they naturally gravitated to foods that were right for their type. People seem to lose that sensitivity to what makes them feel good as they get older.
At first glance the Type O diet, might appear to be grain free, but it is not. It is important that I get 1.5 servings of grain every day.
The BTD doesn't have to be expensive. I buy certain hard to find items at health food stores and on the internet, but I do most of my shopping at a regular grocery store.
I don't have to be neurotic about avoids. I am highly compliant at home. At restaurants I do the best I can without being a burden to my server, and at a friend's home I enjoy what has been prepared for me.
Having two blood types in my family makes things more complicated, but certainly not impossible, especially when everyone in the family saw their health improve on the BTD.
I've been thinking of several blogs that I need to write; among them personal application to interesting news articles and concerns about turning 60. I've been too busy at work to do any serious pondering, but something happened yesterday that made me laugh. Maybe you need a laugh too.
I had finished unloading my groceries at the checkout line. The cashier picked up a box of rice crackers and said "Is this how you stay so thin?" My initial response was to tell her that I liked the crackers, but they were mostly for my husband.
The more I thought about it, the more I smiled. Finally I was chuckling. Then I said to her,
"They need to let you do training for new cashiers. Most of the time a cashier asks me whether I found everything I needed. That makes me think of the things I don't have. You tell me that I look thin, who cares whether I found what I wanted to buy."
I went on, saying, "You could say 'Your hair looks great,' or 'who does your nails' or 'what a cute outfit'. Customers would leave the store smiling."
By now she and I are both laughing out loud. Probably the people in other lines thought we were crazy. But I left the store smiling, and I didn't care about what I hadn't been able to find.