Category: Reflections and Commentary
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.
As the sun is setting and the day is ending, a mother starts a fire and puts water in a pot to boil for dinner. For the next few hours, she stirs the pot and answers her children’s continuous question: “When we will eat, Mommy?” The mother responds back, “Look, I am making it now. You just have to wait a little longer.” The children grow tired, until they finally fall asleep without getting any food. Afterwards, the mother takes the pot off the fire and puts the fire out. The problem is not that the children fell asleep too early to get the food, but rather that there is no food to be found. People are starving in Mali.
This was on the International Mission Board prayer request list for today. But yesterday I came in from doing yard work an hour past lunch time and said, “I’m starving.”
The BTD is about eating the right foods so that I will be healthy and energetic. But I never want to be so self focused that I forget that there are millions of people who have no food at all.
I am NOT writing this because I want some government to step in and solve the problem. Perhaps my favorite quote about poverty is this: Socialism says, what’s yours is mine and I’ll take it. Christianity says, what’s mine is yours and I’ll give it.
I hope to be less self indulgent this year and more generous to IMB World Hunger, Compassion International, Neverthirst, and other volunteer organizations who are working to solve the root causes of starvation.
We got home from a perfectly relaxing vacation, but when I went to the health food store to buy spelt bread for HH, the delightful feeling of calm vanished. The checker handed me a flyer that said in big red letters “The FDA will take away thousands of supplements unless you act now.”
According to the flyer and articles on google news, when Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 it restricted the Food and Drug Administration from exerting authority over supplements as long as manufacturers made no claims about their products treating, preventing, or curing diseases.
In 2011 the FDA surprised supplement manufacturers with a proposed Guidance that would require “all dietary ingredients introduced into the marketplace since 1994 to undergo drug-like safety testing prior to marketing.” News reports go on to say that the new guidelines would require tests that could cost millions of dollars for each new ingredient.
Opponents of the guidelines say that many of these dietary supplements have been on the market for over a decade without significant side effects. They say that the FDA's proposed new dietary ingredient guideline appears to be nothing more than an expensive paperwork exercise intended to eradicate many safe products from the marketplace.
HR 3380 has been introduced by Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana to stop the power grab by the FDA.
As I often remind you, I am a volunteer blogger. I have never met Dr. D. I have not talked or corresponded with him about this issue. These are my own thoughts.
I buy supplements from several sources: some online and some at local stores. I have tried a number of D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition supplements, and I take two of them regularly.
Dr. D wrote “Eat Right 4 Your Type” in 1997, and developed his supplement line after that. It looks to me like Personalized Nutrition products would be among those requiring the new and expensive FDA testing.
News reports say that for now, industry associations want to lobby the FDA to withdraw the proposed NDI Guidance. I’m sorry for my cynicism, but with the Obama administration seizing control over ever widening aspects of health care, I find the idea of the FDA paying attention to anyone who asks them to go in a more conservative direction highly unlikely.
Rep. Burton is a Republican. As I see the current climate in Washington, almost every bill that passes the Republican controlled House, is tabled and never comes up for a vote in the Democrat controlled Senate. However I did contact my Congressman’s office and express my support of HR 3380.
There are lots of issues involved in the 2012 Presidential election. Health Care is only one of them. But I believe that people like us on the BTD will have to seriously evaluate how much freedom to manage our own health in a preventive and manner we want to keep, and how much control over the manner in which unexpected health problems will be treated, we are willing to give up.
I think I need another vacation…but I can't afford the gas.
I can understand why food manufacturers lace their products with salt and sugar. Both are addictive. Because I eat natural, unprocessed food most of the time, I feel the difference when I get too much salt or sugar. I don’t like the way too much salt makes me feel. I am thirsty, and the inside of my mouth tingles. I don’t like the way too much sugar makes me feel either. I am sluggish and lazy. That is my logical, healthy, informed self. But once I get started on salty, sweet food look out. Logic, health and wisdom abandon me, and I am as vulnerable as any ordinary gal in a fast food drive through line.
I am in a Book Club in my neighborhood. Last year several of us read a book called True Women, about women pioneers in Texas. We also enjoyed a follow up book called The True Women Cookbook. The club was meeting at my house in January, and I decided to do recipes from the True Women Cookbook along with recipes that have been handed down from my early Texas ancestors.
I moderated the recipes a little so that my husband and I could eat the leftovers. I used neutral flours in the cookies and substituted feta cheese for cheddar. My book reading friends loved the theme, and the food was delicious, if I say so myself.
Though there weren’t any avoid foods (except for coconut), there was still more sugar and salt than I am accustomed to eating. One of the cookies was a no bake recipe that called for making a sauce with sugar, butter and milk (I used almond milk). Another cookie was dusted with powdered sugar. Several of the recipes called for dried fruit and one for honey. The asparagus was topped with both cheese and a crunchy salty topping.
The night before the Book Club I did quite a bit of taste testing – but I told myself, I’ll eat moderately tomorrow. The day of the Book Club I decided to yield and enjoy myself – tomorrow I’ll get back to eating normally. The day after the Book Club the leftovers were too tempting. Sugar and salt were calling my name.
This morning I got up resolved to get back in control. I know that the best thing for my body is to eat my food as close to the way God made it as I can. Concentrated salt and sugar are not the way He intended for me to eat.
I know today will be filled with temptation. There are still a few leftovers in the house, though most of them are going in the freezer after I finish writing this blog. I am drinking lots of fluid. I added l-glutamine to my morning green tea to head off carb cravings. I’ll take more l-glutamine late this afternoon before I start dinner preparation. Writing this blog makes me feel accountable to all of you who are reading it.
As my logical, healthy, informed side begins to reassert itself, I have a renewed sympathy for those around me who are trying for the first time to wean themselves away from processed foods. It takes a while to savor the flavors of grains and vegetables without excessive sugar and salt. I’m eager to get back on track, and I’m glad I have l-glutamine to get me past the moments when the cravings would try to drag me back.
This is not a Christmas blog - - though Joy to the World is my favorite Christmas Carol and at Jesus’ birth the angels brought “Good tidings of great Joy.”
It seems to me that in every culture eating and mealtime are supposed to be occasions for joy. Food is not just fuel that you pump into your stomach like gasoline into a gas tank. Food is supposed to bring pleasure. There are ethnic recipes, holiday traditions, and etiquette standards. There is companionship, hospitality, and round the table conversation.
Yet when I talk to people who are trying to follow a diet they fret about what a hassle it is. All too often I read people on the Forum who are ready to abandon the BTD/GTD because it stressful.
If I ever had the chance to sit down with Dr. D for lunch or a cup of green tea, I would have a thousand questions. One of them would be – are people on the BTD/GTD destined to a life of stress? I am guessing, based on his books and mp3s of speeches, that the answer would be a resounding NO! In fact I could site passage after passage where he writes about the damage that stress does to your body and how to use exercise, sleep and food to minimize stress.
So if stress is the antithesis of what the BTD is supposed to be about, what can we do on a daily basis (and especially as we enter the Christmas season) to find pleasure rather than panic in the kitchen and dining room?
Relax if you are new to the diet. It will take a while to remember what foods are beneficial, neutral and avoid. Embrace the beneficials. Try new foods. Focus on building health. Don’t be fearful of making a mistake. You ate wrong for your type for years…now you are getting better.
I believe that people are more important than things. I strictly follow the rules at home; but when I am with family or friends, I am a gracious guest. There are three advantages to this. First it makes the BTD less scary and more appealing to friends who might be considering it. Second, it preserves relationships, rather than offending those I care about. Third, I get to enjoy a treat.
Be a little flexible and not too legalistic. I believe that when strict adherence to rules about food becomes legalism, it is counterproductive. You are trying to reduce stress, not add stress. A slip up with an avoid is not going to kill you.
Here is how it works for me. I was invited to a neighborhood cookie exchange this week. I made Type A & O compliant cranberry apricot bars to share. I did not eat appetizers that contained wheat, because there were lots of other choices. I tried several cookies and they were delicious. I brought a variety of cookies home which makes my husband, who feels the loss of cookies at Christmas time more deeply than I do, very happy. It was a joyful evening – full of laughter, companionship, and friends. The next day I was back to my own routine.
It would make me very sad to think that someone would abandon the BTD/GTD entirely because of pressure to be perfect. Stress should not be part of this diet. Eating right includes enJOYing your food.
I am afraid I have been guilty of perpetuating what Dr. D, in one of his recent blogs, accused his detractors of saying
Here is his quote:
"(They say) the diets are dangerous. This statement is usually proffered by experts concerned that, by restricting certain foods by blood type, people will develop nutrient deficiencies. However, each diet variant (A, O, etc.) is a carefully engineered balance of foods that ensures full nutritional value."
When I started the BTD and got wheat and milk out of my diet, the improvement in my health was immediate, dramatic and permanent. Like most newbies, in had an insatiable desire to learn more. I began to read in the columns and later in blogs and on the Forum, that many Type Os were virtually grain free. Since there were no beneficial grains for Type Os, (except manna bread, which is more of a product than a grain) I decided to try it.
It seemed to work. I had a little rice bran in my breakfast mix, and on most days that was all the grain I ate for eight years. I felt good, my weight was stable, I had lots of energy, my immune system was working. This appeared to be the way for me to go. I have blogged about this many times and have encouraged other Type Os to do the same. Shame on me!
After my colonoscopy last summer which found two polyps, one of them the precancerous type, I wrote a blog about reevaluating my diet. Susana sent me this quote from Dr D.
"Grain and legumes are about the only sources of phytates, which are anti-oxidant mineral chelators. There are pros and cons to phytates (some people would argue that they block mineral absorption) but they do have fairly potent anti-cancer effects in the colon, which in the case of GT1 Hunters is a bit of an Achilles heal."
Since then I have been adding grain back into my diet. I compared the grains that were neutral on the BTD with the grains on the GTD that are beneficial for either Hunters or Gathers. Those are the grains I am focused on.
I am pleased to say that my weight has not increased with the additional grain. The only change I have noticed is that the craving I had for nuts is diminished. This has let me get my nut portions more in line with Type O recommendations.
I plan to go back through my blogs and edit out all references to grain free. And if I see references on the Forum advising Type Os to be grain free, I will counter them as adamantly as I do references to avoiding neutrals.
As Dr. D said in his quote at the beginning of this blog.
“each diet variant (A, O, etc.) is a carefully engineered balance of foods that ensures full nutritional value."
I like these delightful days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Fall decorations are still up. I won’t get out the Christmas tree until the first of December, and I haven’t started listening to Christmas music, but I did do quite a bit of internet shopping over the weekend.
We missed our Darling Daughter at Thanksgiving – she had to work on Friday, so she couldn’t come home. Our Strong Son, however, had a long holiday weekend to spend with us. Three of his friends came home with him for Thanksgiving dinner. They were like DD – living too far to be with family and still get back for work on Friday. What a delightful group they were! The conversation around the table was interesting and thought provoking.
I worried a little about how our guests would respond to my slightly nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner. SS assured me that they all embraced an active and healthy lifestyle and that they would be more receptive than average young adults.
I spent a little more to buy a hormone free turkey. I put onions and celery in the cavity before I roasted it, and it was delicious. I cooked cranberries with honey and pineapple juice, and they were just the right mix of tartness and sweetness. The green beans were seasoned with garlic and basil. I made the same pumpkin pie that I made last Thanksgiving, using ground walnuts as a crust. The twice baked sweet potatoes were exceptionally good.
As in years past my biggest BTD compromise on Thanksgiving food was going to be dressing. When DD is home, we have tried several avoid free dressings, that were tasty. But my favorite will always be the cornbread dressing that I ate first at my grandmother’s house and later at my mother’s.
Because my Honorable Husband has dealt with pre-diabetic issues in the past, the BTD Diabetic book says corn (neutral for Type As) is an infrequent neutral for him. I double checked the food lists and was surprised and delighted to notice for the first time that corn, which was always Type O avoid on the BTD, is only a limited toxin on the Hunter diet (though it is still toxic on the Gatherer diet.) That means that the Hunter half of me can feel good about eating something that I was going to eat anyway.
What a Thanksgiving bonus this is! While we will still not eat corn often in our family, we can truly enjoy dressing at holidays. And we will probably have an occasional ear of corn on the cob or a bowl of air-popped pop corn while we watch a movie.
My family always made rather dry buttermilk cornbread. I love sweet, moist cake-like cornbread. I went on the internet to see if I could find a wheat free, cake-like cornbread recipe. I could not. However, I found several recipes that were close, and I combined them – making the best cornbread I have ever eaten.
Here is my Hunter cornbread recipe.
2 cups cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup almond milk
1/3 cup light olive oli
1/3 cup honey.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine them and stir fast – just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the sides of the bread begin to pull away from the pan.
This is delicious by itself. When you use it with homemade rye spelt bread to make dressing, you have the finale to a healthy holiday feast.