Category: Reflections and Commentary
Our Strong Son is just back from a medical mission trip to a Central American country. We had dinner with him this week and got to see his pictures and hear his tales. He was one of a team of 11 that included family practice doctors, a radiologist, a pediatrician, a local doctor, several nurses and several translators. SS was the physical therapist.
He worked in a mountainous region near the coast. The team did clinics in four farming villages and two fishing villages. He loved the culture, loved the people, and loved the food. The pictures he showed us were incredible. It is a beautiful country.
His description of locally available health care was interesting. Officially, everyone in the country has full health care coverage. It is a single payer system, and on paper it looks fabulous. So why was a team of American volunteers going there on a medical mission trip?
There are no doctors in any of the villages in the area where they worked. The nearest doctor is an hour away; the nearest hospital is 2 hours away. The people are poor and many do not have transportation. If they get to a doctor and need to see a specialist, an appointment is made in the capitol city. The wait for an appointment is about six months. Often when they made their way from their village to the doctor’s office in the capitol, they were told, “We’re sorry, your appointment has been cancelled. We have another opening in six months.”
Women and children can get this limited medical care, but working aged men cannot get a doctor’s appointment at all. If they are injured on the job and can get to the hospital, 2 hours away, they must go to the emergency room. There is no follow up care for young and middle aged men. The men who survive to senior adult status, can get the same type care as women and children.
This is why volunteer doctors from the United States team up with local pastors and missionaries to do medical clinics in rural areas in this country. SS said that there is a private medical care system that operates side by side with the government system. All of the wealthy people in the cities go to the private doctors where they get immediate care.
Our son saw patients with back, shoulder, knee, hip and ankle injuries. He evaluated the patients and gave them exercise sheets in their native language to show them how to do exercises that would improve their condition. The pastors promised to follow up on some needs that went beyond exercise. For instance SS saw a child whose legs were different lengths. Because of that she walked on her toes on the shorter leg. That put strain on her hips and back. Her problem would be easily solved with a shoe that was built up on the bottom.
The local diet sounded like the Type O diet. The people eat lots of fish with rice. They eat a good variety of vegetables with delicious seasonings. They have plenty of fruit. They get meat sometimes instead of fish. Local women prepared the food that the team ate.
SS told one interesting story of the unintended consequences of government policy. There was very little crime in the farming villages. The people were happy and the team felt safe. However, some time ago the government needed to raise revenue. They hired commercial fisherman to take in a huge catch of fish for export. Virtually all of the fish near the two villages where the team worked were caught. There were no more fish for the local fishermen to catch for their families or to sell for cash. Poverty increased. The drug lords saw an opportunity and moved into these villages. I’m sure the bureaucrats in the capitol never imagined what the end result would be of their money raising scheme.
Our son is back at work now. He gets a sense of fulfilment helping people at his clinic in Texas. He plans to save his money and his vacation days so he can do another medical mission trip soon.
Commercials for computer backup services always remind people that sooner or later they will have a hard drive crash. It’s been more than a decade since we went through a computer crash, but a week before Thanksgiving, the signs were unmistakable. The lifespan for our desktop computer was short. We wanted another Windows 7 computer, so we ordered online. Always thorough about backups, we became obsessive as we waited for the new computer to arrive.
If there is a BTD connection to my computer problems it is this - I protect my physical health by consistently maximizing beneficials, avoiding avoids and exercising daily. So when a “crash” comes my body is as well prepared to handle it as possible. A “crash” might be a virus, a physical injury, or a bacterial infection. Always be prepared, and during cold and flu season, it’s ok to be a little obsessive.
The computer arrived the same day our kids arrived for Thanksgiving. So for a few more days we limped along with a computer that took longer and longer to boot. After the holiday we began to move into the new computer - a process that is finally complete. That’s not a good excuse for neglecting my blog, but it’s the only excuse I have!
We had planned to have our big family dinner on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This was our wedding anniversary. I fixed red snapper almandine - what we ate at our rehearsal dinner 38 years ago. With the fish, we had a relish tray, fresh green beans, sweet potato puffs, and rice. All of the dishes and serving pieces were wedding gifts.
However, we got a call from DD about mid afternoon. They had been in an auto accident as they traveled to our house. All three of them were fine, but their car was not drivable. By the time they had the car towed to a body shop, rented a car and finished the drive, it was 10:00.
We didn’t get to all have dinner together, but I’m thankful to God that everyone was safe.
Thanksgiving morning our neighborhood had a 5K Turkey Trot. SS, DD, and I ran. My two kids were first and second place. I finished respectably in the middle of the pack. HH bought Baby Cakes to the finish line in his stroller, so we were greeted with precious smiles as we completed the race.
I’m thankful that my children are all living healthy, active lives.
Because SIL does not like celery, and there would only be 5 of us eating dinner on Thanksgiving Day, DD and I decided to cook a turkey breast with millet. We had two big pans of roasted vegetables on the side. While it wasn’t a traditional meal, it suited us just fine. BC had his vegetables pureed!
The Pilgrims thanked God for His protection over their little colony at the First Thanksgiving. We thanked God for His protection over our country this year. Ebola has been contained; protests did not become widespread riots; terrorism has been thwarted. I take none of that for granted.
It was DD’s turn for a recipe in the Picky Eater Challenge. It was almost too easy!
She cooked a Butterball turkey roast in the crock pot for 8 hours on low.
The turkey was tender, juicy, and delicious.
I have a recipe for turkey leftovers that I prepared the day after Thanksgiving. I’ll post it next time. It will be equally good for Christmas Turkey leftovers.
First of all, the Picky Eater Recipe Challenge is still on. It’s my turn and I have taste tested my recipe, but DD is a week behind, so we took a week off.
In September I mentioned that I had been to the doctor for two symptoms that I hoped were unrelated. I wrote a blog about my abdominal pain and how it had been resolved by making myself spend less time sitting at the computer.
The other symptom was a little bit of spotting. My doctor sent me for a sonogram, suspicious that my uterine wall was thickening. The sonogram showed everything was fine. However the sonogram showed something else that both the technician and the radiologist identified it as a fibroid. I thought that was good, because fibroids are almost never cancerous. After menopause they don’t give any trouble.
My doctor’s assistant wanted me to have an MRI. “Why,” I asked. “Just to be sure,” she said. “To be sure of what?” I asked. “Just to be sure,” she repeated. This was getting nowhere, so I asked her to send me a copy of the sonogram report.
When the report arrived it seemed pretty clear. My uterine wall measured normal, and they found a fibroid. But at the end it said, “MRI can be performed to find out if clinically warranted.”
I had not had any further spotting in several months, and I decided not to have the MRI.
I believe that doctors today over test. (Just to be clear, this is my personal, non-professional opinion. I have no idea what Dr. D thinks.) It is wonderful that medicine has advanced far beyond simple x-rays. Far better to get a good image of what is going on inside than to have exploratory surgery. But I have heard too many stories from friends who work in the medical profession. Many times tests are ordered because the doctor wants to live a more lavish lifestyle. Many times tests are ordered because the doctor or clinic is afraid of lawsuits.
One friend who works in a medical office joked that she spent a Saturday at a seminar on how to increase profits. She was taught how to nudge patients toward additional procedures that they didn’t need which would increase the clinic’s billing.
DD had to find a new dentist after she graduated. At her first appointment they told her they were going to do 16 x-rays. She said, “No. I just want my teeth cleaned.” They told her that if she didn’t have the x-rays they wouldn’t clean her teeth. She walked out of the office. It turns out that her dental insurance pays next to nothing for teeth cleaning, but it reimburses for x-rays. The doctor makes his income from unnecessary x-rays.
One year I was called back for two unnecessary mammograms because the clinic had bought new digital imaging equipment. I wasn’t supposed to know that, but one of the technicians let it slip.
On the other side, we have a friend who works in a hospital emergency room. It frustrates him that even when he knows what is wrong with a patient, the hospital requires tests for related symptoms - sometimes as many as ten tests. The hospital has learned from hard experience that a patient may come into the emergency room for one problem and leave with that problem with resolved. However, if a few months later they develop another problem, particularly if it is life threatening, they will sue the hospital for missing the second problem.
My father needed surgery for skin cancer when he was 90. It was outpatient surgery, but the dermatologist planned to use general anesthesia. No one wanted the responsibility for approving the procedure, so for weeks he was sent from one doctor to another for one test after another. All of the tests came out normal, but he never did have the surgery.
All of that played into my decision to decline the MRI. However, when I got my flu shot, I learned that I was over my deductible. I realized that if I had the MRI before the end of the year, it would be fully paid for by insurance. If I waited and started spotting again, I would have to start over again on my deductible. I had the test...and got the results this week.
Everything is normal. It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for the good results and thankful for the closure. But I still think doctors prescribe too many medical tests.
When I first started the BTD I was intrigued by the idea of eating dandelions. I remember buying a bunch at a specialty store. They were in pretty sad shape. I let them soak in water for a long time to perk them up. They tasted good in salad, but they were hard to find on a regular basis.
Because they are good for indigestion and water retention, I bought some dandelion capsules. I don’t take them every day, but I often put them in my vitamin box every other day.
In the city, dandelions are weeds, but when we moved to the Hill Country, we considered them wild flowers. If the rain comes at the right time, I have hundreds in our yard. I have often wondered if I could harvest them and eat them, but I’ve never had the nerve. There’s too much city girl in me, I guess.
I’ve been corresponding with a distant cousin about genealogy, and she told me a story that increases my interest in dandelion. Three of my great grandfathers fought in the War Between the States. I have been able to find out the service of all three of them. James left Texas with Terry’s Texas Rangers. He was wounded at Shiloh in 1862, but recovered. However, when he was injured twice on the same day in 1864 at Cassville, Georgia, he was discharged and sent home.
Today discharged and sent home, would mean getting a shower and clean clothes, then being put on a plane and flown back to your home town. Not so in the 1860s. There was no public transportation, and Southern soldiers had no money. Most of them walked home, camping out or stopping for rest at friendly farms or ranches.
My cousin says that oral history in her side of the family holds that Grandfather James said he would have starved to death if it hadn’t been for dandelions. Often he picked and ate those wild greens as he walked from Georgia back to Texas. History records that he started back in February. There is no record of when he arrived home, but he would have been traveling during the springtime, when the dandelions were blooming.
That doesn’t give me a clue about his Blood Type, since dandelions are beneficial for all types except Type Bs, However it makes me think more boldly about eating the dandelions in my yard.
As I ran this morning, I was listening to sermons on my MP3 player. A phrase caught my attention, “We are all evangelists about something.” He gave several examples - some people get excited about a sports team, and tell everyone about it. Some people get excited about a new exercise program, and they tell all of their friends how this new video or that new gym is better than anything they have ever done before. Some people are passionate about politics.
He said that he had always grilled on a gas grill, but someone told him about the Big Green Egg. Now he engages everyone in conversations about the superiority of the Big Green Egg. I had never heard of a Big Green Egg, but his enthusiasm, made me look it up online. It ought to be good, because it sure is expensive.
I find that I am a BTD evangelist. In conversations it is natural and easy to talk about the BTD. Someone says they are worried about their cholesterol - I tell them how my husband and I both lowered our cholesterol by eating very different diets. Someone tells me they have indigestion - I tell them how I found the BTD. Someone tells me they know they need to exercise but they don’t like running - I ask them what their Blood Type is. Someone on facebook posts in the middle of the night that they can’t sleep. The next morning I post my favorite calcium/magnesium supplement on her wall.
Our Strong Son brought a young lady to meet us, and we went for a picnic. As I was unpacking the basket, I said, “Did he tell you that I eat weird?” They both laughed and SS said, “I told her that you would ask what her blood type is.” I said, “So what IS your blood type?” She said that she didn’t know. My family knows that I can’t keep quiet about the BTD.
The point of the sermon was that while Christian people will tell others about all sorts of things that they are interested in, for some reason they keep quiet about their love for Jesus. So as I am running, I start evaluating myself, and my conversations about the things I care most about.
In this life - physically, here and now - to feel your best you need the BTD. It’s more than a diet - it is a lifestyle that includes eating, exercising, supplements, and stress reduction. I’ve experienced it, I believe in it, and I recommend it.
But the BTD cannot give meaning to your life. It cannot give you the promise of heaven. It cannot offer fellowship with God here on earth. Jesus is the only one who can do all of that. I’ve experienced him, I believe in him, and I recommend him to you.
We have had two groups of teenagers staying at our house for a church retreat the past two weeks. Did it throw us a little off of our retirement schedule - of course. Does the house seem empty today, and do we wish we had them back - absolutely yes!
I agreed to provide breakfast every morning. Their leaders bought food for lunch and dinner. The kids made their own sandwiches for lunch. I helped the sponsors prepare dinner. I haven’t done much baking since my children grew up, so I was excited to pull out our family’s favorite bread and muffin recipes. The first morning I made carrot bread - they barely touched it. The second morning I made cranberry crunch - they were suspicious of cranberries. The third morning I had planned to make pecan muffins, but I wavered. Pecans are expensive and pecan muffins are time consuming. Did I want to spend extra time and money on something the kids would not eat? No, I did not. So I bought 88 cent packages of refined blueberry muffin mix. The directions said just add water. Easy and fast! Every muffin vanished, and the kids said, “Mrs. Graham, those were delicious.”
For dinner, they basically had starch and cheese. One night we grilled burgers. We had lettuce, tomato, and avocado for toppings. The adults ate the vegetables; the kids ate burgers, buns, cheese, and chips. One night we had taco fixings, so the kids could make tacos or taco salads. The most popular dinner was to crush the taco shells and make nachos out of chips, beans, and cheese. The third night was pizza. Pepperoni was the most popular; supreme (with vegetable toppings) was the least popular.
The kids did love watermelon, and ate as much of that as we could cut.
Let me be real clear - I am not going to be critical of the kids or their parents. I was an extremely picky eater as a child. My parents were frustrated that I refused to eat anything except meat, fruit, bread, potatoes, and dessert. It would be highly hypocritical if I made disparaging remarks about our guests. However, from a nutritional and BTD standpoint, I am concerned about the future of this generation.
Statistically 43% of these kids are Type Os - yet they only ate meat one night that they were here. Statistically 40% are Type As. They can tolerate more grain than the Os, but also need lots of fruits and vegetables. Statistically, 12% are Type Bs - They are more likely to flourish on milk products, but all of the kids craved cheese for both lunch and dinner.
When I was a teen, I was an anomaly. All of my friends ate vegetables. They ate lettuce and tomato on their hamburgers. I was the one who got funny looks at restaurants and frowns for not eating green beans when I was a guest at a friend’s house. Forcing me to eat was a complete failure.
The media periodically runs a story about a school district that passes a law decreeing that schools will serve vegetables for lunch. Follow up reports say that those vegetables are mostly thrown in the trash. So coercion is no more successful with today’s kids than it was with me.
I made my own choice to change my diet when I was in college, to the shock and delight of my parents. I hope these kids will eventually do the same. Otherwise I fear that they will face a lifetime of weight, vision, joint, inflammation, and other health problems.
With my own children, I was continuously cutting deals - “if you eat this, then you get to eat that.” They cooperated. It helped that I was an at home mom who liked to cook and experiment in the kitchen. My heart goes out to single moms who try to juggle jobs and after school activities and chores at home. There is no time to cook. Fast food and frozen dinners are so easy and so tempting.
I started this blog with great passion, but I’m ending a little flat, because I don’t know the answer. The best I can do is point to a few communities, like Denver, Seattle, Austin, Charleston, and San Francisco, where for some reason the culture shifted, outdoor exercise became popular, fast food chains were snubbed, and health became important. Positive peer pressure would be the best way to change what today’s kids eat.
March 26, 2004 I posted my first blog on the dadamo.com website.
Dr. D'Adamo had asked for volunteers to blog about their Blood Type Diet experiences several months earlier. I was intrigued by this new thing called blogging, but I had only been on the diet for a few months. I wasn't sure I had anything valuable to contribute. However, as I read the other blog posts, I began to see a niche that I could fill. When one of the original bloggers dropped out, I emailed Dr. D and volunteered.
My husband's father was on hospice for pancreatic cancer at the time. I got Dr. D's approval and received my password the day after the funeral. My first blog was about the importance of family, about eating wisely during stressful times, and about finding the best BTD choices in someone else's home.
In 2004 I had a son who was a freshman in college and a daughter in middle school. Today my son is a doctor of physical therapy, and my daughter is a new mother.
In these 10 years we have moved to the country, I have started a business, I have walked through the last illnesses of both of my parents, and we have been on lots of vacations. You have been along for the adventure.
I've tried to be open about our successes and failures; our illnesses and our health; our likes and our dislikes; our joys and our sorrows. The way I see it, a blog isn't going to do you any good if it isn't honest.
I've also been open about my faith in God. Part of that is because I believe that God specifically directed me to the BTD in answer to prayer. The other part is that my faith in Jesus Christ is integral to who I am. I couldn't write about my life without that topic coming up from time to time.
I have no idea how long Dr. D will want bloggers on his website. For my part, I'm still learning and still thinking of blog ideas, so I'll keep going as long as he wants me to. Here we go with year eleven!
I still find myself fuming at the MD who was on call the day DD and SIL left the hospital with BC, and I am very thankful for the PA they saw the next day.
DD didn't think she would find hospital food to here liking, so she had packed beneficial foods in her suitcase. She was glad when there was salad on her tray, which she ate with EVOO from home. She made herself peanut butter sandwiches. She brought fresh fruit, nuts, and oatmeal. So she ate like an A for herself and her little A baby.
In addition to all of the amenities I mentioned before, each bathroom in the maternity ward has its own whirlpool tub. A couple of times a day she got to sit in warm swirling water, which helped her to heal rapidly. Granted she had a fast labor, but her soreness disappeared quickly.
Day two was busy. The nursing staff was constantly teaching them something - like how to bathe the baby until the cord fell off. There were diapers to change and feedings and paperwork and more feedings.
The second night BC was more active and not quite as content, so DD and SIL started the day a little sleep deprived. That's when they encountered the pediatrician on call from the clinic. She was rushed. She had several babies to release that morning. She seemed to be more interested in protecting herself from any possibility of a lawsuit, than in making this a joyful moment for the parents.
BC's bilirubin was 8. She told them that the limit was 10, and he was too close. She would release him, but they would have to take him to the doctor first thing the next morning and have him retested. She did not encourage breast feeding. She wanted lots of fluid and lots of protein in his system. Colostrum, God's plan for a baby's nourishment for the first 2-4 days, was not satisfactory for this pediatrician. She wanted them to start supplementing formula. By the time they had finished the checkout process they were worried and feeling inadequate.
We had a wonderful afternoon at home together, taking pictures and getting settled. But BC was not a happy baby his first night at home. He wanted to nurse often. He woke up whenever they put him down in the bassinet. He cried a lot.
They left for the doctor's office sleep deprived and scared. Why wasn't her milk in? Was he dehydrated? Would he have to go back to the hospital? Was his umbilical cord ok? Was his circumcision infected? BC looked like a normal, healthy newborn to me, but the doubts planted by that pediatrician dominated the thoughts of these two new parents.
At the doctor's office, BC was examined by a PA. The PA explained that all babies have an oversupply of red blood cells when they are born, and as those cells break down the bilirubin level goes up. No need to worry unless it gets really high. No need to supplement formula. Milk for first time mothers comes in at 3 - 5 days. Until then colostrum is just what a baby needs. Everything looked great, and he told them they were doing a good job as parents.
They were still sleep deprived when they got back to the house, but they were happy and confident again. What a difference bedside manner makes. Both the MD and the PA saw the same baby and the same lab reports. One focused on all the things that might go wrong. The other encouraged and informed.
I want my medical advisors to be knowledgeable. I want them to tell the truth and not hide things from me. I need to know when something is wrong. I need to know what danger signs to look for.
At the same time, I want them to tell me how I can be proactive. I need a reminder that worst case scenarios don't usually happen, and that I am competent to take care of my body.
I must be cautious about projecting what is happening in my limited sphere to the world at large, but what is going on with feet?
Since this time last year I have known three people who have had melanomas on the bottoms of their feet. Two have had surgery; the third has surgery next week. Of the two that have had surgery; one is not doing well, the other is now improving after a number of post op complications. The one who has surgery next week got good PET and MRI scans, so he is projected to recover completely - except for wearing compression garments the rest of his life.
We are bombarded with statistics about sun exposure and sunburn causing skin cancer - particularly melanoma. But who gets sun exposure on the bottom of their feet?
We are told that you identify melanoma when you have a changeable black spot on your skin. I have a changeable black spot that my dermatologists assures me is a seborrheic keratosis. The melanoma’s on these friend’s feet were neither black nor changeable. One of them started as a blister that didn’t heal up.
There are even worse foot complications in my corner of the world. A high school friend requested prayer for his wife. She had a blister on the bottom of her foot that didn’t heal. She went to the doctor when it started oozing blood, and she had a flesh eating bacteria. When she woke up after surgery, he held her hand and said, “I’m sorry. I had to choose between losing your leg or losing your life. I chose your leg.” Her leg was amputated above the knee.
He went home that night and as he got into bed, he felt something different on his own foot. He looked and saw a little blister. It was still there the next morning, so he asked the doctor about it when he went to visit at the hospital. They admitted him, and he also had the flesh eating bacteria. Because his was caught so early, he only lost three toes. They are both stable and doing rehab - her as inpatient, him as outpatient.
I have so many questions?
Where do you pick up a flesh eating bacteria in February? I could understand if it was summer and they were walking around barefoot, or wading in stagnant rivers or lakes - but it’s cold outside. Neither was doing anything remotely connected with the conventional way people get flesh eating bacteria.
Is there any statistical proof that sunscreen reduces the rate of melanoma? Don’t get me wrong - I use sunscreen - it’s worth it just to prevent the misery of sunburn. But is it really effective at preventing any kind of skin cancer, particularly melanoma?
And for me the biggest question of all - how in the world do you know when to seek medical help? If I go to the doctor every time I have a cut or a blister, they will label me as a hopeless hypochondriac. I risk not being taken seriously when a real problem does arise. Yet there is clearly a time when you put away the vitamins, herbs, and OTC remedies to seek medical intervention.
If you are reading this blog, you are probably proactively involved in your own health, as I am. I will continue to live a healthy lifestyle, and provide optimum raw materials to my body through nutrition. I can be aware of changes in my body. I can call a doctor when self help remedies do not work in a reasonable amount of time. But ultimately, I live by faith. I cannot control a lot of what happens around me. I cannot even control what happens inside of me. I choose not to live with worry or fear. Ultimately I put myself in God’s hands, knowing that he is faithful to heal those who love and follow him - either in this life or the next.
SIL has challenged me to read through the Old Testament this year in the order that the Jewish Canon. He says that I will see connections that are obscure in the Christian Bible. Here at the end of January, I am in Exodus, and today I read: There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer. Exodus 15:25-26
This reminds me of a book I read many years ago called “None of these Diseases.” I looked to see if it is still in print, and am delighted to find that the 1963 version which I read, by SI McMillen, has been updated for the 21st century.
The book was very careful not to say that Christians would never get sick and die. It was equally careful not to promote the false doctrine that God is obligated to heal sick people if they confess more sin, do more good deeds, believe harder or some such thing.
The book was talking about diseases that we bring on ourselves by our behavior. Smoking would be one example. No doubt it causes lung and mouth cancers.
Promiscuity is another example. It leads to AIDS, venereal disease, and cervical cancer.
God told Moses to instruct the Jews about washing their clothes and bodies after touching something dead or diseased. For years before modern medicine, that practice kept the Jews free from plagues that killed Gentiles who had poor hygiene.
We think our modern life is so stressful, but stress is not at all new. The Bible has a lot to say about thankfulness and praise as antidotes for stress. The Bible also deals honestly with the physical results of anger.
It has always fascinated me that while Dr. D’Adamo’s research was done from a purely scientific perspective, that there are very few clashes between the Old Testament food lists and the Blood Type Diet food lists. Most of the foods that the Bible says to avoid, are also avoids for all types. A few are neutrals, like shrimp for Type Os, but very, very few Bible avoids are beneficial for any type.
All of us are on this website because we desire a healthier lifestyle. Food and exercise are major components of good health. Stress management and rest also play a huge role. If you desire to add biblical dimension to your holistic approach to health, I would recommend None of These Diseases by McMillen. It will reaffirm your commitment to live a disciplined and healthy life.
I read an article the other day with a headline that screamed something like “Supplements cause Kidney Failure.” I can’t remember where I read it, probably either Drudge or Google News. I am suspicious of news reports like these, because I have watched for years as the FDA has looked for an opportunity to seize control of the vitamin and herb market. Any time I see such an article, I suspect it has been placed to influence public opinion in the government’s favor, and I suspect that it is based on excessive greed of supplement companies.
I read the article, and I was right on both counts. There are several documented cases of people using weight loss supplement concoctions that have resulted in kidney damage. This particular report focused on an extremely obese teenager, who is now on dialysis. The article pointed out that the supplement the teenager had taken was not required to have FDA approval. It also talked about supplements designed to change hormone balance, which can also have serious side effects.
I didn’t save the article, not intending to bore you with my strong opinions on the subject, but this morning I open my email, and there was a newsletter, bragging about - - you guessed it - - another weight loss supplement, guaranteed to work.
Aside from wanting the supplement market to remain free and unencumbered by prescriptions, my attitude about this subject is influenced by the one time that I fell victim to it. Long ago, in the early 80s, I was checking out at my favorite health food store, when I saw a poster. It showed pictures of extreme body types, and said that by taking a glandular supplement you could change your hormone balance and change your body type. I did not like my pear shaped body, and I bought the supplement.
It did change my hormones, but not the way I had hoped. My periods stopped. I was terrified, and went to my doctor. He laughed at me and gave me several reasons why glandular supplements wouldn’t work. He was not convinced by my personal experience. I threw away the rest of the bottle, and a few weeks later my cycle returned to normal. But the experience caused me to accept my body as being the way God had made me. While I keep in shape, I no longer try to alter my body type.
If you are overweight, my advice is exercise more, eat less, and focus on beneficials rather than avoids. Do not fall victim to marketers who are paid big bucks to detach you from your money.
If you wish your libido were like it was when you were younger, my advice is to exercise more, lose some weight, and be kind to your spouse. The last is particularly important, and more effective, in my opinion, than any amount of supplement or prescription medication.
I want to have free commerce of vitamins and herbs. I want supplement companies to have lots of motivation to do research and find out more about how our bodies work. I want no government interference in this part of the economy.
However, I also wish that supplement companies would do a better job of policing themselves. There is plenty of profit to be made from giving our health a little boost in a natural way. I cringe when they rush to market a blend calculated to appeal to the compulsion to be thin and sexy. And I cringe doubly when those blends cause someone serious harm.
We were going to have Cod and Quinoa for lunch. I opened the Tupperware container where I keep my rice and the measuring cup that goes with the rice cooker. There was a weevil in the cup. Oh no!
I look around in the rice and see two more of the little critters. I put the top back on the Tupperware and put it in the freezer. I washed out the cup, checked the quinoa for weevils (weevil-free thankfully) and started it cooking.
There were two more sealed bags of rice that had been bought about the same time. I pulled them off the shelf. Both were filled with healthy, active, hungry weevils. This was getting gross. Put both of those bags in the freezer - it’s the quickest way that I know of to kill the little pests. I began taking things off the shelf where the rice was stored. I saw several loose weevils, so I wiped down the shelf with an antibiotic wipe. I did not find weevils in any of the grain except the rice. Just to be safe, I put all grain and legumes in the freezer.
This all made me remember a story a missionary told me several years ago. She was working in Western Europe. They had a wonderful modern lifestyle, but their church planting work was hard. Most people were not interested in God or spiritual things. It was an affluent time, and the people were happy to enjoy life. One day some colleagues who served in Africa came to spend a few days on their vacation. My friend and her colleague went to the grocery store together. The colleague began to cry.
She said, “You have no idea how fortunate you are to have a grocery store. I go to an open air market every morning and buy food for the day. Then I spend the next few hours picking the rocks and bugs out of the rice and the beans.”
Later, they were talking about their ministries. My friend and her husband told about how easy it was to become discouraged in Europe. But the colleague and her husband’s eyes lit up when they talked about their church. The people in their African city were eager to know about God. Because of their poverty, they longed for the hope of a better world, and they responded to the message that God cared about them.
Later today I will pick through the rice in the Tupperware and pick out the weevils. I’ll rinse the rice before I cook it. The two unopened packages will be returned to the grocery store for a refund.
I find myself wondering how weevils get into and out of sealed packages? And how in the world do they get inside Tupperware containers?
Our lunch was delicious. The quinoa cooked perfectly in the rice cooker. I seasoned the Cod with one of Mrs. Dash’s salt free blends. I also ate left over black beans with collard greens. HH had Cole Slaw and grapes.
I am a part of two groups of people who are in the news.
As an independent contractor, my business has picked up the pace this year. It's not that the economy is good. If you look at any indicator except the stock market, the economy is flat at best and perhaps shrinking.
While that is bad for people who need solid full time jobs - it is great for independent contractors like me. A company that does not want to hire someone full time to do their media work, hires me by the job. They don't have to pay me every day - just the hours I work. They don't have to give me vacation time or pay my health insurance. They just pay by the job.
I started out planning to work 20 hours a week - 30 at the most. The past month, I've come close to working a full 40 hour week. My husband is starting to complain. He had a different plan for retirement.
We took a two day trip to see some Texas historical sites. It would have been a good blog, but I worked both nights from our hotel room. There are so many things I want to blog about BC, but there is no time to write. I love blogging, but my paying clients take precedence over my volunteer jobs.
So when you see a news report about increasing numbers of people doing contract work or part time jobs - that's me. Great for retirement, but not so great for parents or people trying to pay off mortgages.
The second way I am in the news is that I have lost my health care insurance. When my husband retired, part of his retirement package was medical insurance for both of us. At first it was fully funded by the company, but as prices have risen, we picked up part of the cost. Two months ago, we got a letter saying that our plan was cancelled. The company will still pay part of HH's Medicare supplement, but they will no longer provide me with anything.
When he signed up for the Medicare supplement, he found out that he will be paying the same for the supplement as we used to pay for both of us together. So far, I haven't even been able to get a quote about what plans are available to me and what the cost will be.
When you hear news reports about how many millions or what percent of Americans are losing their health care coverage...they are writing about me. I'm not a statistic. I'm a real person, 60 years old, with no good choices.
DD texts me this week that Baby Cakes can smile and frown. Is that not fascinating!?! There in the womb at 14 weeks BC can express pleasure and pain.
I've got blogs half written in my head about exercise in pregnancy, plus what BC likes DD to eat, but something funny happened last night, and I'm going to do a silly; tongue in cheek blog.
I have several friends whose young adult children have been trapped by prescription upper and downer drugs. What I am told is that someone in college will get a prescription for one of the medications that makes you more alert and gives you more energy. Someone else will get a prescription for one of the medications that calms you down and lets you sleep.
They see their friends having trouble focusing or sleeping and they share their medications. (This is, of course illegal) Why doctors give unlimited refills on these things is beyond my understanding, but evidently they do. The students become dependent on uppers in the day to help them focus in class and downers at night to calm themselves down so they can sleep. By they time they are young adults and have jobs, some of them are seriously addicted.
I have heard horror stories about depression, suicidal thoughts, and inability to function when the supply of the drugs are cut off.
None of that is funny, silly, or tongue in cheek. It is a serious problem.
However, this is how a 60 year old health nut who wouldn't dream of polluting her body with that kind of prescription drugs experienced the same thing - - - naturally.
Yesterday afternoon I fixed myself a big glass of green tea. I got distracted by many things and about 9:30 I noticed the tea still sitting on its coaster beside the computer. I was thirsty, and I didn't give it a second thought; I just drank it down. The caffeine hit a few minutes later, and all of my creative brain cells were firing. I was energetic and enthusiastic.
To get 8 hours of sleep, I've got to be in bed by 11:00. At 10:45 I was still on a caffeine high. I had no interest in relaxing to go to sleep. If I didn't think of something, it was going to be a short night. What relaxes me? What sends me to sleep in 20 minutes? Chewable Calcium Magnesium (favorite brand is Country Life). I crunched up two tablets; climbed in bed; closed my eyes; and had a great night's sleep.
I am not recommending this as a lifestyle. Stay away from prescription uppers and downers, no matter what. Enjoy your green tea early in the day. Take cal/mag in the right doses for nutritional purposes.
But I do have to laugh at myself for one day of "natural" uppers and downers.
I posted two blogs about calcium in 2012. They were both related to a study that linked calcium supplements to calcium buildup in arteries. At first I discounted the study. As I kept reading more and more articles warning about taking too much calcium. I decided to experiment.
After 13 months, the experiment is over. I need calcium and magnesium supplementation. So does my Honorable Husband. Unless the study was done with people taking hard pressed calcium tablets alone without magnesium -- in my opinion -- the study is bogus.
When I first lowered our cal/mag supplementation, I went through a period of nighttime cramps and cricks. However, I adjusted to the new levels of calcium and magnesium. At first there was a funny taste in my mouth, but it went away. It was nice to cut down the number of pills I swallowed every morning, and nice to save the money. Life went on. I forgot that I was experimenting.
I didn't think about the experiment the first time HH's shoulder muscle knotted up. He said he had slept funny. Our Physical Therapist Strong Son gave him a stretching exercise that took the pain away.
I didn't think about it when HH's shoulder muscle knotted up a second time with even worse pain. The stretching exercise took care of it again, and HH decided to add stretching that muscle to his daily routine.
I didn't think about it when I got the pain in my right arm that I feared was a rotator cuff injury. SS examined me, said my rotator cuff was fine and gave me a stretch for a strained nerve. The stretch has helped. I have very little pain, but I have not regained full range of motion.
I didn't think about it on vacation when I was carrying too many water bottles and felt a muscle pull in my right hip. The pain didn't last long, but I'm aware that two months later, there is still a dull sensation in my upper right leg.
I didn't even think about it two weeks ago when HH, who had back surgery in 1985, began to have back pain. Over a period of several days it grew from being annoying to being debilitating. He was terrified that he had ruptured another disk. He could not put on his own shoes and socks.
We drove to see SS, who after a thorough exam told him it was muscular rather than nerve pain. SS gave his Dad some exercises, and told us to go to the doctor to get anti inflammatories and muscle relaxers. The doctor did her own exam, and concurred with SS's conclusions. She identified two specific muscles in his back that were in hard knots. She increased his ibuprofen and said to use a heating pad.
Gradually HH got better. Then yesterday, for no apparent reason, the muscles knotted up again. He did not lift anything; he did not twist; he had mostly been at bed rest. Frankly, we were both scared. Living with this kind of pain is not what we expected out of retirement.
I was off on a photo shoot, when I got a text asking how soon I could come home. He felt terrible. I finished up my work, and as I drove home I prayed. As I prayed I remembered all I had read for 35 years about calcium/magnesium, and how essential it was for muscles. I remembered the study that discouraged taking calcium supplements. I remembered my experiment.
HH and I immediately upped our calcium. My goal is to return to our pre-study dosage, but right now we're both taking a little more than that. Again I have a funny taste in my mouth. That seems to happen whether I increase or decrease my dosage. I am optimistic that we will return to our previous level of wellbeing. We will continue to take Vitamin K. That seems to be one way to prevent calcium from building up in soft tissues.
If my two previous blogs influenced you to cut back on your cal/mag intake, take a moment and think about how your muscles and nerves have functioned in the past year. Be more aware of changes in your body than I was.
If you have never taken a cal/mag supplement, and you struggle with muscle pain, all I can say is cal/mag worked for my family for years. I regret letting that study influence me.
These are links to my original two blogs.
This morning my weight is within a half pound of what it was last December. This has been an unexpected struggle. I thought I would share what I have learned.
1. I know I run the risk of appearing hypocritical when I am happy that I have lost weight. After all, it was not many weeks ago that I wrote a blog called "Skinny Jeans Can Kill You." In a way that blog was a warning to myself not to let my desire to lose the weight I put on in January become an obsession with fashion fads or trying to change my body type. I walked through several years with DD as she fell victim to an exercise/eating disorder. It is dangerous territory both physically and spiritually. I stand by the Skinny Jeans blog. And you can hold me accountable if I ever express the hint of a desire to weigh less than 125 - a healthy weight for my height and body type.
2. For many years I have put on a few pounds in the winter. I remember one year when SS was running middle school track. I put on a pair of shorts on the first warm day of spring and took them off again. I mentally called this "winter weight gain." It was 3-5 pounds, and I didn't worry about it because it always seemed to melt away when the weather got warm.
3. This is not holiday weight gain. Because I'm focused on health, I don't overindulge in rich holiday foods. My weight going into January is normal. Then the scale starts to go up.
4. I think part of it is that I'm not doing as many outdoor activities in January and February. There's no yard work. I don't stop exercising, but my lifestyle is not as active. I work out at the neighborhood fitness center or with a video in my living room, but that's not the same as an outdoor excursion or a project in the yard that takes half a day.
5. I think it's also that I'm cold. Those of you who live north of Dallas, will laugh at me. South Texas doesn't really get cold, compared to most of the country. However it is colder than the rest of the year, and I think my metabolism slows down a little to compensate.
This year was different.
* I put on more than 3-5 pounds. At one point my weight was up nearly 10 pounds.
* Instead of storing weight in my legs and thighs, it went to my tummy. I have always had a small waist - a decent trade off for having "big leg genes." But this year I found myself identifying with belly fat commercials. Belly fat is dangerous and has serious consequences for long term health.
* The extra weight didn't disappear when the weather turned warm.
At Memorial Day I faced the fact that I was going to have to be proactive, if I wanted to fit in my summer clothes and look nice in my swimsuit.
I faced the fact that my exciting book publishing project has kept me at the computer more hours than I'm used to. I've been sitting much more than is good for me. Now, I try to make myself get up and do a household chore after an hour at the computer. I ought to get up right now, but I'm going to finish this blog first.
I faced the fact that I am almost 60, and hormone changes are going to force me to add exercise or cut back on food for the rest of my life. I really like to eat. But I made myself take a hard look at portion sizes and cut back a little on food. Then I upped my exercise.
I faced the fact that we were eating supper way too late at night. 8:30 was normal. 9:30 was not unusual. I'm now eating my supper between 6:00 and 6:30. HH does not like this schedule. I warm his dinner up in the microwave about 8:00. I'm hoping he will eventually join me for an earlier supper, but if not, I have to do what is healthiest for me.
I don't understand it, but some beneficial and neutral foods seem to add noticeable weight over night - almost like wheat does. I have practically eliminated nuts, except as a garnish. I've cut way back on ghee and mayonnaise as well. I really miss trail mix, nut butter & carrots, and chicken salad. I'm hoping that I can bring some of these foods back in a small way for the warm part of the year. I have faced the fact that I will not eat them during the winter months.
Mostly, I am facing the fact that my body is changing as I get older. This is not popular in our youth obsessed culture. But it is completely predictable according to my Biblical world view. I may as well embrace it, and make healthy adjustments where necessary. The other choices would be surrender to fat or take prescription medications. Neither of those sound good to me. So, I'll post this blog and get moving!
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.
I'm assuming that anyone who knows about health knows that fluoride is a toxic by product of aluminum manufacturing. Long ago some deviously brilliant marketer, looking for a way to dispose of the chemical trash, convinced city governments to put fluoride in tap water.
"It will help children have healthier teeth," they said. Ignoring the fact that while fluoride might benefit pre born babies in the womb, it contributes to osteoporosis in menopausal women.
Now I read an article that the whey protein fad is a similar scam. Whey is a byproduct of cheese and Greek yogurt manufacture.
Modern Farmer claims that whey is so toxic to the environment, that it illegal to dump. If it is put in streams and rivers, it robs the water of so much oxygen that fish and other aquatic life start to die off.
So the deviously brilliant marketers looked around for a place to sell their whey waste products. They convinced parents that it adds protein to baby formula. They convinced athletes that it will build muscle.
Whey protein is avoid for Type Os and Type As. Occasionally I see a post from a body builder trying to convince himself (or herself) that something so highly advertised couldn't really be avoid. I think the key words in that sentence are "highly advertised."
Now you have one more reason (as if you needed more than your BTD food list) to stay away from whey. Type As - go for soy protein. Type Os - go for egg white protein.
Bs and Abs - you will make the cheese and yogurt companies happy if you pay them for their trash.
The title of this blog is a Bible verse - Ephesians 4:26 to be exact. It reminds me that even though I get mad at marketers, I should not let anger dominate my life or make me stressed.
After I posted this blog, I went to photograph a kindergarten graduation. The kids were so cute, and I had a wonderful time. On the way home I remembered another example of food processors using advertising to convince us that something bad was really good; when in truth, it was only good for their pocketbooks. Adelle Davis recommended that no one eat palm or coconut oil because of the high amount of saturated fat. She decried the processed food industry's use of those to oils in crackers and pastries because they were inexpensive.
Dr. D agrees. Coconut oil is avoid for all types except O non secretors, and it's not beneficial even for them.
However, advertisements abound promoting coconut oil as a miracle healer. The high saturated fat content is ignored. I'm guessing that the profit margins are enormous.
The ads sound like snake oil to me...but I'd better be careful. I'm starting to get angry again.
My Darling Daughter now has her own blog. As a pastor's wife, she usually blogs about spiritual issues in the culture. However this week she posted a pumpkin recipe that is incredibly delicious. Those of you who have read my blog for a long time have watched DD grow up from her middle school years. I'm going to post her whole blog so you can catch a glimpse of the young woman she has become. The Pumpkin Pudding recipe is at the bottom.
I love the reactions people give when they ask what the "orange stuff" that I'm eating is. I reply "pumpkin" - and then wait. The response is always - "Like, pumpkin pie?" "No... just pumpkin." "Oh..." [followed by a really grossed out look].
What can I say... I love pumpkin!
Not only is it a delicious vegetable, but it is also a very nutritious vegetable. Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, a pro-vitamin that is converted to vitamin A in the body - which is essential for eye health and may be linked to preventing coronary heart disease. It is also a great immune booster. One cup of pumpkin has ten grams of fiber, four grams of protein, and only eighty calories. The pumpkin seeds are also good for you. They have protein, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. They have high levels of phytosterols which can reduce cholesterol and help prevent against some types of cancer.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
To me, one of the best ways to glorify God with your body is by putting good things into it. If I nourish my body - the body that God designed uniquely for me - I am honoring Him. What I put into my body is important. Just as what I watch and hear affect my mind and heart, the food and drink I put into my body also affect me.
When my Heroic Husband prays for our food, he almost always says, "...and let us eat this food in a way that honors You." I love that! I want to live in a way that honors God - so why would I not want to eat in a way that honors God?
I was very blessed and fortunate to grow up in a home where health was important. When I was little, my Marvelous Mother fixed good food for me. As I grew older, she taught me to cook healthy food for myself. Today, we still love getting together and cooking delicious, healthy meals.
The other day, while I was looking at the benefits of chia seeds (and they are really good for you too), I came across a new pumpkin recipe. I decided to modify the ingredients a little and try it out.
As I was quickly mixing it together that night, my Heroic Husband asked, "What is that?" I said, "I don't exactly know, but it will either be really good or really bad." Let me tell you - it is really good!
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
1/4 Cup Pure Canned Pumpkin
1 Cup Almond Milk
1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar
1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Dash of Nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Make sure to mix them well - the chia seeds and cinnamon like to clump together - as does the pumpkin.
[NOTE: Your mixture will look NOTHING like pudding. It will be a watery substance. Do not worry! As the chia seeds sit, they will absorb the access liquid.]
Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.
3 John 1:2
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.
Last weekend we had an early Easter with our family. DD and SIL came on Friday. They spent Saturday morning and afternoon doing income taxes with HH's help. Certainly a stressful start to the weekend! But after that it was all relaxed and fun. SS drove down in time for dinner.
I cooked a roast for the three Type Os, and had salmon patties for the two Type As. We also had rice, green beans, spinach, and butternut squash.
I wanted to tell you about the butternut squash. When I cook it for myself, I scoop it out of the peel one serving at a time. I sprinkle a little cinnamon on top and eat it. But I thought it should look nicer for a family dinner. I cooked the whole squash in the oven that morning. Just before dinner I separated the good part from the seeds and peeling. I mashed it with cinnamon, ginger, and olive oil. I put it in a casserole dish and sprinkled it with chopped almonds. Just before dinner, I warmed it in the oven. It was delicious.
Last Sunday morning we all got to go to church together. When the children were growing up, going to church together was such a normal, every week event. Now with SIL pastoring a church far away and SS active in a church less than an hour away, we rarely get to worship together. So this was a special time for us as a family.
Today is Palm Sunday. This morning we sang joyful praise songs. The service was exciting. Tonight we had a candlelight Lord's Supper. The service was serious and thoughtful. HH and I got home in time to watch "The Bible" on the History Channel.
A friend asked me what I thought about "The Bible." At first I laughed and said, "Oh you know me; I always think the book is always better than the movie." But seeing she was serious, I gave a serious answer. You can't possibly cover the entire Bible in five two-hour shows. Some things have to be combined or left out. There is some interpretation of detail where the Bible is silent.
However, I think they have done a remarkable job of accurately portraying the major themes of the Bible. It's certainly worth watching. Next week, on Easter Sunday, they will show the Resurrection, the growth of the church, and the Book of Revelation. I think we will have eggs for dinner while we watch!