Category: Reflections and Commentary
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!
I decided yesterday to start hoarding food. I hope I'm being neurotic, but too many signs point to the potential for an economic disaster. I decided I had better be prepared.
I grew up on the Gulf Coast. People there are aware that a hurricane or an ice storm can knock out the infrastructure for a week or more. I have followed my Mom's example and always kept two weeks' worth of food on hand. I was thankful that my Mom had a well stocked pantry when Hurricane Ike knocked out their power for more than a week a few years ago.
Yesterday I decided that two weeks might not be enough. I'm going to add another month's worth of food to what I already have in the house. I look at the growing debt, the irrational exuberance of the stock market, and the unwillingness to cut either government or personal spending. I hope I'm being neurotic, but it spells disaster to me.
Two factors influenced my action yesterday: observation at a charity event and a radio commercial.
In our town there is a government apartment house for elderly poor. They are served two meals a day six days a week, but no meals are served on Sunday. Local churches take turns serving Sunday lunch to the residents. Our Bible Study class has had the first Sunday in March for several years. HH and I have contributed money to the project, but this year we went to help serve. For lunch they had pizza and cupcakes. That was the menu because it was popular and inexpensive. Our small group was able to feed almost 40 people a meal that made them smile. But as I served, couldn't help putting myself in their shoes. As a Type O, if I were on a diet of pizza and cupcakes, my stomach pain would come roaring back, my cholesterol would skyrocket, and I would gain weight fast.
That led to the realization that if there is an economic collapse, the food that will be easily available, will not be food that builds my health. I hope, I'm being neurotic, but I need to have nonperishable meat and vegetables in reserve.
I listen to the radio as I drive from one appointment to another. Among the oft repeated commercials right now are those for food insurance. As I was driving around yesterday, I must have heard three food insurance commercials. The one that grabbed my attention talked about how their food was freeze dried and could be safely stored for decades. Names mentioned were lasagna, chicken Alfredo, and beef stroganoff. All of that is wheat based - not health building for Type Os.
Again it hit me that if there is a disaster I need to be self sufficient. I do not want to depend on starch based meals handed out at a government facility. My last stop of the day was at the grocery store to buy bananas, lettuce, and broccoli. I filled my cart with non perishable meat, legumes, vegetables and fruit. I will have to remember to watch expiration dates and rotate cans, but I can do that.
As I unloaded the food and stored it away, something else hit me. If there is a disaster and my neighbors come to the door begging food for their children, my Christian world view will not allow me to turn them away. Perhaps a month's food is not enough. But I really hope I'm being neurotic.
Eventually this blog is going to be about a recently released study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, but I'm going to start with some personal experiences and observations
A month or so ago, there was a thread on the Forum about skinny jeans. People were challenging each other to get serious about losing weight and get into those magical jeans before the holidays. I wanted to scream, but resisted being argumentative at the time.
That thread brought back too many memories of the two years that my Darling Daughter spent in the clutches of an exercise and eating disorder. Once she recognized that she had bought into a lie, it took another two years for her to heal mentally and physically. At the time, I gave credit to God and the Blood Type Diet for keeping her from doing herself serious harm. The Blood Type Diet kept her focused on eating the healthiest foods during the time when she was not eating enough. God helped her to see that the root of all eating disorders is a refusal to accept that He made each of us in a precious and wonderful way. It goes against His will and against nature when we try to change our body type to look like a freak in a fashion magazine.
When I say skinny jeans, I'm not harping on a particular brand. I am talking about any style of clothing that makes girls and women feel badly about themselves if they do not have skinny legs and huge chests. This has been the style for way too long and it forces 95% of women to wish they could change themselves. Some women overeat out of frustration. Some women starve themselves to try to conform to an unreasonable standard. Some women, and I count myself in this group, make peace with their bodies and try to dress in a way that camouflages their shortcomings. Wouldn't it be better if we could all ignore the New York fashion gurus and be content with the way God made us?
I often get e-mails and read Forum posts from women who started the Blood Type Diet to lose weight and are frustrated because they are not losing fast enough. I believe this is because the BTD is far more important than a weight loss diet. This is a health building eating plan for the rest of my life. The reason I lost a little weight, but not an extraordinary amount of weight, is because if I follow the BTD I am building health. New York's idea of fashion is contrary to health.
If you eat the type and portions of food recommended on your food lists, you will gradually shed pounds - if you are really and truly overweight. You will eventually level off to an easily maintainable weight that is healthy. But you won't fit into pencil skirts or boy cut shorts.
Maybe that makes you think, "The BTD is not for me. I'm outta here." Before you go, you should read about a study published on January 1 by researcher Katherine Flegal. She did a study in 2007 that found that people who were a little overweight lived longer than people who were underweight. She was severely criticized. So she did another study with a much larger sampling of people. And she reached the same conclusion.
She does not recommend eating junk food. She does recommend exercising. She cautions that weight is not the only factor in longevity. Her study does shoot big holes in the myth that skinny is healthy and a low BMI guarantees a long life.
If you google her name and "weight" or "BMI" or "long life" or "death risk" you will find several newspaper and magazine articles. Make sure you choose one with the new study not the 2007 study.
You cannot change your body type. Any diet that tells you that you can is lying to you. If you want an eating plan that maximizes your health and moderates your weight, give the BTD a try.
We are home from a visit with HH's Mom. The good news is that she is back in her own home after less than seven weeks in rehab. They had told us it would be at least three months. She has both a strong body and a strong will to recover.
The bad news is that she will almost certainly break another bone. It's not just that she has osteoporosis, which she does. It's not just that she has bad balance, which she does. It's not even that she wants to be independent, which is an admirable trait.
It's that she forgets that she is not 65 years old anymore. She gets an idea in her head and charges off across the room without her walker. It's just a matter of time before she falls again. She has 24 hour care. Either a family member or a health care worker is with her all the time. But it doesn't help.
In the few days that my husband and I stayed with her, giving the health care workers a few days off, we had several scares.
The doorbell would ring. She would jump up to answer it.
I would be walking beside her, and she would turn away from her walker and head toward the closet. I would put my hand on her shoulder and say, "Where are you going?" She would answer, "To get my lipstick," as if that were the most necessary thing in the world.
At dusk she would get up from her chair and go to close the blinds - standing on one foot to do so.
I slept in the room next to hers with the door open, and a baby monitor on full volume. But she could get out of bed and half way to the bathroom before I could reach her.
We had lots of conversations about this. My conversations were gentle. My husband's conversations were authoritarian. In the moment that the conversation took place, she was in complete agreement. She knows that if she breaks her neck again while the vertebrae are still healing, she will be paralyzed. She knows that if she breaks another bone, that her body will be under extreme stress, dealing with two major injuries. She knows that family, friends, and workers are there to help her.
But in the moment she wants something done she is not 92 years old. She is 35 or 45 or 55. She is her young, stubbornly independent self. She jumps up to get it done.
In a way, I have to admire her. She is not a couch potato. She does not want to be waited on. She is not the least bit lazy. But one day our phone will ring, and we will hear that she is on the way to the hospital again.
So, I ask myself. How much of this will I remember when I am old? Both of my parents lived into their 90s. When I am that age, will I be stubborn or cooperative? Will I be careless or cautious? Will I be able to slow down gracefully?
I don't know. But in the meantime, I'm doing everything I can to keep my mind and my bones strong.
HH has battled upper respiratory problems since mid September. We had finally realized that the problem was not a virus, but allergies. When we started treating him for allergies, he improved quickly. Suddenly last Friday his drainage increased and he had a sore throat.
He switched to a different antihistamine and doubled up on elderberry. He ran a low grade fever on Saturday, but was fever free on Sunday. However he still had a bad sore throat.
By Sunday night we were both suspicious, so I drove him to the only 24/7 walk in clinic in our area. He was turned away - - - yes turned away - - - because he is on Medicare.
We were both angry and frustrated. First thing Monday morning he was at our doctor's office. He had strep. He got antibiotics, and was feeling much better in 6 hours.
American liberals will say, "See this is why we need Obamacare, so people don't get turned away."
American conservatives will say, "See this is why we need real Medicare reform, because clinics already know that Medicare doesn't pay and it will be worse since Obamacare strips $700 billion from Medicare."
I won't tell you how I voted, but this article helped me make up my mind.
I am sitting at my computer this morning with a bad feeling in my stomach, a feeling that I have not felt since 2003.
I'm not going to tell my nutritional history in this blog - I've told it many times over the years. But briefly, it was GERD - indigestion - a burning feeling in my lower esophagus and upper stomach - that led me to the BTD. Within a week of starting this diet, I was off of all medication, and within 10 days I was pain free. I had hoped never to have that feeling again.
This morning's pain is my own fault. DD has always tended slightly to constipation. Now that she has a desk job, that tendency has gotten worse. So she and I did some brainstorming. She eats a very high fiber diet - lots of seeds and nuts that are a good protein source for Type As. She drinks lots of fluid and gets plenty of exercise.
We bought some bran, because that is what Dr. D recommends for constipation in A's, B's, and AB's. She was reluctant to take it because even though it is recommended in the protocols, it is avoid on the food lists. I bought her some psyllium, which isn't listed on the BTD or GTD food lists. She said it helped a little, but not much.
All of the brainstorming I was doing with DD got me to thinking about myself. I loved the way my lower digestive system worked when I ate 2 Tablespoons of bran every day. I thought about trying an experiment. DD sent me home with a container of bran and a container of psyllium. I added 1 Tablespoon of bran to my breakfast one day and 1 Tablespoon of psyllium the next.
The immediate impact was a marked improvement in my already good bowel health. With colon cancer in my family, plus having had a precancerous polyp removed, I was delighted. I alternated the two fibers for several weeks, with no ill effects. Three days ago, I felt just a twinge of indigestion. It must be the bran, I thought. So I set the bran aside and took psyllium two days in a row. Yesterday the indigestion was a little worse.
At this point I should have gone on the BTD website and done some research. I would have read that Dr. D does not recommend psyllium for Type Os. I would have read comments from lots of Type Os who tried psyllium anyway and regretted it. Instead I focused on the good effect psyllium was having in my colon, and added it to my breakfast again this morning. Within 30 minutes I knew I had made a mistake. This time the pain is not a twinge, it is uncomfortable and annoying.
The good news is that I know I will feel better as soon as the psyllium has passed through my stomach. I will focus on beneficial foods and ghee that will heal the inflammation. My only regret is that I've already tried rice bran, oat bran, and flax seed. They help, but there doesn't seem to be a fibrous food that does for Type Os what bran and psyllium do for other types.
How many times do mothers tell their children, "If you do that, you'll break your neck." I know I said those words many times. I'll never forget the day when my Strong Son, a 7th grader at the time, came into the kitchen with his head cocked to one side. He had to confess that he had been jumping on his bed - something that was absolutely against the rules. He couldn't straighten his head. I took him for x-rays, and the radiologist was afraid to make the call. They sent the x-rays to a neurosurgeon who said his vertebrae were fine, but the muscles in his neck were in spasm. The doctor prescribed muscle relaxers, which didn't help his neck but had some weird side effects. So we stopped the medication and he wore a padded neck brace for several days. One morning he woke up and everything was back to normal.
Now I can smile when I think of that story. But my Honorable Husband's mother was not so fortunate.
A week ago she fell in her home and cracked two vertebrae in her neck. Fortunately she was not paralyzed. But she is in lots of pain. She was in the hospital for 5 days. During that time they observed that she was having trouble swallowing. After tests, they put her on a diet of pureed food and thickened liquids. No one knows whether the swallowing is a result of the neck injury or something unrelated.
She has terrible headaches. No one is sure whether the headaches are caused by the fall, the neck injury, or too few calories (because she does not like pureed food). She takes pain medication every 3 hours.
She was released from the hospital to a rehab center where she will get 3 months of physical and occupational therapy. She will also see a speech therapist who will work on her swallowing techniques. The therapists are optimistic about her chances for a full recovery - if she eats enough to keep up her strength and if she works hard in therapy.
HH and I went to stay with her in rehab for 6 days. He was there in the daytime. I was there at night and in the morning. That way we made sure we got to talk to all of the doctors and therapists.
Here are a few things I want to remember as I get older. Perhaps they will help you or someone you love.
* Don't be too ashamed or too busy to use a walker. HH's Mom is 91 and has arthritis. She has a walker. She uses it almost the time. But that particular day she decided to walk across the den without it.
* Pain medication is a mixed blessing. Without it she cannot make it through a therapy session. But there are side effects - noticeably anger and repetitive behavior.
* Nurses and nurses aides respond to kindness. When she smiles at them and says thank you, she gets better care than when she complains. She got better care because family was there to take on a lot of duties ourselves - like feeding her and standing by while she went to the potty.
* A strong, healthy 59 year old woman (like me) is not strong enough to support the weight of a helpless 91 year old. I had to call for assistance when she needed to be moved. I was very aware of the danger that I could wind up in the room next door if I was not careful with my own legs, neck, and back. Injuries can happen fast - and have serious consequences.
* It would be really, really hard to come anywhere close to the BTD diet in a hospital or nursing facility. Everything is sweetened - sometimes with sugar; sometimes with NutraSweet. The theory is that the patients will eat more if sugar is added to the food. There are wheat products everywhere. On the pureed diet, they smash up rolls, pancakes, noodles, cereal, and more. The pureed bread must be pretty bad - HH's Mom usually loves bread, but she refuses to eat it pureed. The thickener in the water and juice is made from corn starch.
Having experienced how much better I feel, and how much faster I heal when I eat right, I'm afraid I would seriously clash with hospital dietitians.
It would be interesting to have the ability to compare the bloodwork of high profile diet gurus.
One of the places I buy supplements always puts a free health newsletter in my bag or box. I have never seen this particular author write anything either pro or con about the BTD. I usually scan through his newsletter, occasionally making a note of something that might prove helpful.
In a recent issue he wrote about a medical exam and published the results of his bloodwork. He said that his numbers were a great except for a few. His blood sugar is high, as is his cortisol and homocysteine. His overall cholesterol is high, though his ratio is good.
I asked myself, do I want to follow a nutritional pro who has high blood sugar and high cholesterol? Probably not. If a nutritionist’s program doesn’t work for himself, I would not be inclined to place my health in his hands
Then I started wondering how Dr. D’s blood work would compare to some of his critics like Andrew Weil, Michael Klaper, and John McMahon.
I’m just a volunteer blogger. I don’t have the clout to propose such a challenge. But it sure would be interesting.
I had two really happy blogs planned in my head - - until yesterday’s Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare as Constitutional. This will be short: You are now more responsible for your own healthcare than ever before.
If you are old like me (I’m a year away from 60) – Medicare will not be there for you. Medicare funding is being stripped to pay for Medicaid. If you are overweight, better lose it now…you will not get the hip or knee replacement you are going to need. If your blood sugar is high, better get it down…diabetics are high risk, and will have their health care rationed. Same for high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
If you are young – your health care costs will skyrocket, though that may be hidden by artificial low fees at the doctor's office. It's the new taxes that go into effect after the elections that are frightening. I am also concerned about rationed care for babies born with disabilities. A friend had a Downs baby several years ago who was born with a hole in his heart. The surgery to repair his heart was covered by insurance. It will not be long before surgery will be denied in cases like this.
I am sick (pardon the pun) of hearing about how wonderful and inexpensive health care is in Europe. Read the news! Europe is bankrupt. They are all jockeying for position to have the United States and China bail out their economies. Now the US is headed for bankruptcy as well.
The only bright spot I find in all of this is that I have been serious about managing my own health since I was 23. When I started the BTD in 2003 (and as a Type O eliminated wheat and most dairy from my diet) I conquered inflammation and felt better than ever. My BMI is excellent. I am high energy. I do not take any prescription medications.
If you are not serious about your health care, better start. Otherwise you will find yourself in a “dying room” like they have in Chinese orphanages.
You can do this! I believe that God designed our bodies to heal themselves if they are given healthy food and appropriate exercise. Be suspicious of any “one size fits all” plan for eating. You need a health regimen that is appropriate for you as an individual and for your blood type.
I have a dilemma about peanuts. How should we as a society balance the needs of peanut allergy sufferers with the needs of Type As for whom peanuts are a beneficial and inexpensive food?
When DD was a little girl, she did not like much meat, and she did not like cheese. (It amazes me how self aware she was of her nutritional needs as a Type A) Because of that, I packed a peanut butter sandwich in her lunch almost every day. I thought she would eventually get tired of it. I certainly desire more variety than that. But DD never did. She is now 22 years old and she still eats a peanut butter sandwich for one meal almost every day.
I have a vivid memory of her coming home from school one day with a paper from health class saying that peanut butter was an unhealthy food. This was shortly after I had started the Blood Type Diet, and it made me furious. We had a talk about protein, and about good fats and bad fats. She was convinced that peanut butter was beneficial for her, but she wanted a good grade in the class. We agreed that if there was a question about peanut butter on a test that she could answer what the teacher had taught, but continue to eat her peanut butter sandwich.
One of my nephews was allergic to peanuts. Eating anything with peanuts or peanut oil could send him into an asthma attack. His mother was very careful with what he ate. And after one time when he ate a peanut butter cookie at the insistence of an uninformed adult, he was very careful about what he ate as well. Eventually he grew out of the allergy. Today he is in his 30s. He has three children and none of them are allergic to peanuts.
However I have a friend whose elementary school son has a peanut allergy that is so violent that the smell of peanuts can send him to the emergency room. He has had attacks on airplanes and in the school cafeteria. His mother is on a campaign to get peanuts outlawed in the school, or to make students with peanut butter sandwiches eat their lunch in a separate room away from the other children.
I don’t see a fair way out of this situation. Her son’s life is at risk. I can’t ignore that. I would support a system where peanut allergy sufferers could declare themselves when they bought their ticket and flight attendants would not serve peanuts on those flights. What to do about school is more complicated. It would certainly be socially damaging for my friend’s son to have to eat his lunch alone in a separate room every day.
Yet it seems equally unfair for a Type A child to be stigmatized and sent to eat their peanut butter sandwich alone. While DD might have had the self confidence to stand up to that kind of pressure. I can easily imagine peer dependent Type A children who would eat more meat and cheese just so they didn’t call attention to themselves. That meat and cheese would be detrimental to their health - just not as rapidly as or as obviously as an allergic reaction.
If any of you have heard of a school that has come up with a wise policy about this issue, I would be interested to hear it.
I can’t remember the last time I ran fever. I’ve had a couple of colds since we moved to the Hill Country, but I don’t remember running a fever. The last time I remember running fever was in 2007. Overall, I’d say I’ve been exceptionally healthy on the BTD.
However, I did pick up a stomach bug last week and I ran fever for 24 hours. In between naps, I did a little self analysis. Why – I asked myself – did I get sick?
The first answer was obvious. I’ve been keeping a really fast pace, and have not been getting eight, or even seven hours of sleep. I know at 10:30 that I need to get off the computer and start winding down, but what I’m doing always seems so important to me at the moment. The fever forced me to slow down. It reminds me of the Bible passage in 2 Chronicles 36, where God says that Israel’s Babylonian captivity will last for 70 years to make up for their refusing to let the land rest every seven years as He had told them to do in the law.
God tells us to rest. Every credible diet and lifestyle program, including the BTD, emphasizes the need for rest. My common sense tells me to rest. If I ignore all warnings, something – like a stomach bug - will force me to rest. I’m caught up now. Even after I was over the virus, I slowed my pace over the weekend. I’m starting this week with a new commitment to get optimum rest.
While I was doing self analysis, I was confronted with something else. I’ve developed a pain that runs up and down my right arm. I recognize it from when I was on the computer all the time getting ready for a yearbook deadline. I’m spending too much time sitting at the desk holding the mouse. The easiest thing to do is to move the mouse to the left side of the computer. I get relief from the pain, but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem.
The hard thing to do is to stop trying to make every picture I take “perfect.” You see, I’ve developed techniques to open people’s eyes, improve lighting, take out background distractions, even move people around in pictures. When my clients pay me to do this, it is good. When I do this for the fun pictures I’m going to email to friends, it becomes compulsive. Being less compulsive about candid shots will mean less time at the computer, less pain, and more rest.
It seems so obvious, so easy. But I know that old habits are hard to break. Let’s see if I can start by posting this blog, then walking away from the computer and fixing a healthy dinner.
If you think this blog is about rationed health care, you are wrong. We already have rationed health care. If you need a heart, kidney or liver transplant, you go on a national waiting list. When an organ becomes available, there is a group that evaluates the people on the list and determines who gets the transplant.
Insurance companies do their own version of health care rationing. I spoke to a friend yesterday who has rheumatoid arthritis. She periodically needs a treatment that costs several thousand dollars. Each time her doctor must submit an application to the insurance company who decides whether she gets the treatment or not. The same application process requires to many medical tests, including PET scans that look for cancer metastasis.
As health care becomes more nationalized, such boards will become more centralized and more powerful. You may not like the term death panels (Obamacare calls them Independent Payment Advisory Board) but this is how a proponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act describes them:
The term refers to any of the multitude of expert commissions whose charge will be to dispassionately examine the scientific evidence in order to determine which patients will get what, when and how. These bodies, in fact, will be explicitly aiming to optimize the medical outcomes of the entire population titrated to the amount of money we’re allowed to spend on healthcare.
Sounds to me like somebody besides me and my doctor will be deciding whether I get treatment. But none of that is what this blog is about.
This blog is about the new USDA MyPlate for Better Nutrition.
I ordered supplements a few days ago from the Vitamin Shoppe, and when my order arrived, it included a flyer that tells me, “The US Government did away with the archaic and impractical food pyramid and implemented a more useful MyPlate icon to guide Americans toward consuming a balanced diet.”
The problem with this new guide is that if a Type O followed it, they would face weight gain, higher cholesterol, stomach inflammation, and joint issues.
I went on the USDA MyPlate Website put my age, height, weight, and physical activity level into the daily food plan guide. It tells me that every day I need to eat:
6 ounces of grain
2.5 cups of vegetables
2 cups of fruit
3 cups of dairy
5.5 ounces of protein
More grain than protein?!?
More dairy than vegetables?!?
What are they thinking?!?
I am not a conspiracy theorist – not by a long shot.
The title of this blog was more to get you to read it and think than to make a statement about the motives of government agencies.
However, this new plan makes me all the more thankful for the Blood Type Diet and for Dr. D who developed it. Perhaps if I ignore the USDA plan and eat Right for My Type, I will dodge the more insidious rationing panels as I get older.
I was writing a nice blog in my head about the 4-5 pounds that I put on during January and February. This happens every year. It’s not holiday weight. I think of it as winter weight, because it usually goes away in the spring. I was going to ponder whether it is caused by cold weather, a slightly more sedentary winter lifestyle, or some unknown factor.
I was also going to write about belly fat. While winter weight gain happens every year, this year it stuck around my tummy. That has never happened before. I was going to ponder whether the change was related to hormones, age, or some unknown factor.
It would have been a good blog. I would have tied in statistics about belly fat’s relationship to other health problems and about my resolve to shed the pounds before it was warm enough to wear shorts.
Then I read the article about a starving mother trying to deal gently with her starving children in Africa. I posted that article, and began to ponder why I (and most other people in affluent societies) am so obsessed about weight gain. There are no obese people among the poor in India. There is no overweight problem in impoverished countries in Africa. They don’t gain weight because they don’t have enough to eat.
I on the other hand am bombarded by ads for diet programs, diet pills, and diet books that promise me that I can over eat and not gain weight. Bunk!
True, eating the wrong kinds of food can make someone put on weight faster and make them put on fat instead of muscle. That’s one of several reasons I follow the BTD. But basically if I am already eating healthy food and I want to lose weight, I should eat less.
Before I go on – I have to issue a caveat. I went through 3 years of an eating/exercise disorder with my Darling Daughter. If your BMI is low, you do not need to lose weight. If you are obsessed with making your body look like some model’s body you do not need to lose weight. Only in affluent countries do women voluntarily starve themselves. I am more firmly convinced than ever that eating/exercise disorders are spiritual problems.
So first of all find a website that calculates your BMI. If you really need to lose weight, cut back on your food intake.
Before you say you couldn’t possibly eat less, think of the millions of starving peoples around the world. They would think it was a miracle if they had two of the three meals a day that we normally eat.