Category: Reflections and Commentary
It seems to me that there is a natural tendency for cholesterol levels to drift higher and higher every year as people get older. I haven’t read this in a study, but I talk to people whose cholesterol numbers were nicely balanced when they were 30 years old. However, the numbers were moving upward by 40 and in the warning zone at 50. By 60 they are on statins.
My own cholesterol numbers were drifting higher when I started the BTD. There was a marked improvement when I first went on the diet. But the last two years they had started to drift upwards again. My ratio was still good, but my LDL drifted above the high mark for the first time ever.
I wrote a blog in April about what I was changing in my diet to try to stop the drift.
I am thrilled to say it worked. Here are my numbers from my July cholesterol test.
Total Cholesterol: 215
I am not at all concerned about a total cholesterol number 15 points over the 200 level when my ratio is so good. My total cholesterol reads high because my good cholesterol is so high.
Prescription for the future:
Stay on BTD.
Stay on Niacin and Vitamin B6.
Maximize cholesterol lowering foods like grapefruit.
Never neglect exercise.
Don’t get complacent. The tendency to drift will surely continue. Like all forms of aging, it is the result of living in a decaying world with a body irrevocably marred by sin.
I’ve followed the Blood Type Diet since 2003, and I’ve written this blog since 2004. Clearly I think the BTD matters. I’ve talked to friends and total strangers about the difference it has made in the way I feel. There should be no question in anyone’s mind that I know the BTD is important.
I’ve blogged on many occasions about restaurants and certain social situations where it is difficult if not impossible to eat right for a meal. I have advised to always be kind and gracious, never to be offensive, and to do the best you can in those complicated but brief situations. The real evidence of how much you believe the BTD is not your public posture, but what you eat in the privacy of your own home. If you eat right at home, an occasional avoid in public will do you no harm (unless of course you are celiac or have serious allergies – obviously I’m not talking about that).
But there are three circumstances when the BTD doesn’t really matter. All of those are when the desperate need of your body for calories trumps everything else. Poverty is one. People who are starving don’t think twice about potatoes in the soup, or avoid foods in a care package. Prison is another. People imprisoned or in concentration camps, may care about what they eat, but they have no leverage. They must eat what is set before them in order to stay alive.
The third is the condition my mother is in right now – critically ill. Sure it would be better for her Type O body if she ate only beneficial meats, vegetables, and fruits. If she did, it probably would give her a better chance of recovery. If I requested it, the rehab center would take away her dessert and give her double portions of meat. But the pleasure foods keep her eating, and she is as desperate for calories right now as the poorest of the poor. If a few spoons of ice cream in between the spoons of pureed meat keep her opening her mouth for more, I’ll feed them to her.
She has trouble swallowing, and liquids give her the most trouble. We have to mix a cornstarch product into her drinks to make them a honey consistency so that she doesn’t choke. Do you think I am worrying about cornstarch as an avoid? Absolutely not. She must have fluids to survive, and choking on organic pineapple juice or pure spring water could give her pneumonia. The thickener in water must not taste very good. She would rather have orange juice or cranberry cocktail. Guilt free, I spoon those juices into her mouth.
DD is home for Labor Day weekend. She went with me last night to visit her Granny. When she saw the menu she raised her eyebrows as if to ask, was I really going to let Granny eat all of that? Some of the people around her refused to eat any of their dinner last night. There is not an avoid so bad that I would not use it to keep calories and fluids going into her body. She relished the thickened milk stirred into pureed brownie. There will be time to improve her diet later on. Right now she has to have calories, and the will to work with her rehab team.
Since Friday my Mom has had an infection, a fall and a stroke. Her life has turned upside down and mine along with it. Last week she was cooking her own meals, doing her own grocery shopping and talking about finances and the grandchildren. Now she cannot move her right arm or leg. She cannot speak. But she can think. She is very much aware of what is happening to her and there is a frantic look in her eyes.
I have been with her since Friday. I spend the days in her hospital room. The timing on starting my own business was providential. I can sit here with my laptop on the hospital’s wireless network working just as hard as if I were at home. Later this week we will be moving her to a nursing home/rehabilitation center near where I live. She is not going to like this one bit.
I wrote a blog about hospital food nine months ago when my Dad was in this same hospital. This time around is even harder because I am alone. Last time Mom and I went to the hospital cafeteria together. Last time we went home together after a day watching him.
The first night I went to the cafeteria confident that I could get a good meal because there were so many vegetables when Dad was here. What a disappointment. They had baked chicken. But the vegetable choices were fried jalapeños, rice, mashed potatoes, fried corn and broccoli. I took the chicken and broccoli. How can that many starchy, fried items pass for vegetables?
Since then the vegetables have been much better. I have been able to get plenty of beneficial food. My stress level is high. This is more responsibility than I want, but it is a labor of love I am willing to bear. I get up in the morning and exercise first thing. Then I have breakfast, do my Bible study, and get a shower. I’m as ready for the day as I can be.
Lunch and dinner are meats and vegetables - as many beneficial as possible. I have a bottle of green tea that I sip throughout the day. Sleep is the hardest. When I get back to the house there are chores to do. The chores are therapeutic, to tell the truth. I need the comfort of routine things that have a predictable outcome. But that sometimes means I’m late going to sleep. I told DD to hold me accountable and call me to make sure I’m getting ready for bed at a reasonable hour.
I wrote a minute that I was alone. That is not really true. God’s presence is very real in hard times, perhaps even more than in good times. Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” The Psalmist wrote that the Lord, who is our shepherd, would walk with us through the valleys of shadow. Don’t let the sun go down today without calling someone close to you – father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister. Tell them you love them, especially if there is anger or estrangement between you. I will hug my Mom and tell her I love her before I leave her room tonight.
Partly because of the more relaxed vacation schedule and partly because my Honorable Husband turns on the news as soon as we walk into our hotel room, I have been saturated this week with Obama’s health care and tax plans. My forefathers fled to the United States to find freedom. One of my great grandfathers came here from Ireland during the potato famine looking for economic freedom. Another set of great great grandparents were Huguenots, and they fled France looking for religious freedom. Other ancestors were willing to face many kinds of hardships in order to have the opportunity to be the best that they could be. Now we have a president who is trying to pass legislation that will redistribute wealth, destroy incentive to achieve, and deny health care to the elderly and the chronically ill. It frustrates me, and I feel powerless in the face of the onslaught.
Sometimes I think that I could be like my ancestors and boldly go to a new place that offers freedom and opportunity. I was especially thinking about that today when we toured the US Space and Rocket Center in Alabama. I had expected to find lots of information about past space flights. What I hadn’t expected was to learn about the plans underway to return to the moon and send a manned mission to Mars in the next decade. We saw models of the newly designed space craft and learned about the obstacles that must be over come to stay on the time schedule.
Will there ever be settlements on the moon or on Mars? If they were looking for volunteers to go, would I take the risk? I had fun fantasizing about such things until we went through the exhibit on what it’s like to live in a space station. Since you are weightless in space, and there is no up or down, when it’s time to go to sleep, you are zipped into a sleeping bag like thing and hung on the wall. The only live plants are those being grown in plastic containers for experiments. The astronauts have plenty to eat, but it doesn’t look to me like real food. It is certainly not BTD complaint. Establishing a basic camp on the moon or Mars is within the scope of my imagination, but a settlement large enough to begin farming is not even on the horizon. Conditions on the moon and nearby planets are way too hostile for those of us who want healthy, natural food.
I guess I will be staying here in the US. That means I have to redouble my phone calls and letters to Congress and the President, opposing nationalized health care and confiscatory taxes.
Space may be hostile, and Washington DC may be hostile, but we found a warm welcome and a delicious meal at the home of some friends in Birmingham. The wife is Type O and her husband is AB. They have five children, so they have all of the blood types. The wife has a friend at church who follows the BTD. She had lots of questions for me about why I was so enthusiastic. The meal was meat and lots of vegetables. All of us found an abundance of beneficial food.
I am at my Mom's house this weekend, and I read a column by Dear Abby that could have been written about someone on the BTD. Here is the letter, written by a mother and grandmother who Abby nicknamed Stumped.
"Dear Abby: Over the past two years my daughter and son-in-law have lost a lot of weight. They as well as my grandsons eat very little and don't like having to order food. My problem is not knowing how to celebrate without food. When I think of holidays, I think of a family meal. Any ideas?"
This is the other side of the coin, and I think that those of us on the BTD need to give our friends and relatives a little help. I can imagine that the writer of this letter has been brought up to think of food as a way of showing love. She shows people she cares by preparing a large (and probably delicious) meal. She doesn't know how to say "Happy Birthday" without a cake. She doesn't know how to say "Merry Christmas" without candy, and she doesn't know how to say "Good Morning" without bacon.
In her mind, when the daughter and the grandchildren reject her food, they are rejecting her as well and they are spurning her love. There are a lot of people out there like Stumped, and they aren't all mothers and grandmothers. Some of them are friends and neighbors.
They aren't going to want to hear a lecture about diet and exercise. I'm guessing that Stumped, after years of celebrating with food, is probably overweight herself. Seeing her daughter's family looking fit makes her feel guilty. They do deserve some kind of explanation. I've started saying, "I don't eat bread because it upsets my stomach." It's true, and it's brief. Plus, it's hard for someone to come back and insist that I eat something that I just said would make me feel bad.
I often volunteer to bring something to a celebration meal. That helps the hostess, and it helps me too because I know that there will be something that my family and I can eat with enthusiasm.
Abby had some good ideas. She urged Stumped to think of activities other than food. She suggested a movie, a sporting event, or a hike. She suggested bringing along healthy snacks like fruit and vegetables. There are no guaranteed solutions. I can just imagine Stumped showing up with a bag o orange slices for a family of Type Os and Type As. That would be a disaster!
If you have a technique that has smoothed things over with someone like Stumped, I hope you will add it as a comment to this blog. I don't want to jeopardize my health, but I do want to be aware that there are lovely people on the other side of the coin who haven't discovered the BTD...yet.
Patella femoral pain syndrome. I now have a name for my knee pain. SS took a course in joint dysfunction in the spring. He asked me lots of questions during the semester about what hurt and what didn’t because he was wavering between two knee problems that have similar symptoms.
The good news about Patella femoral is that it rarely, if ever, requires surgery, and it is the least debilitating of all the knee problems. The bad news is that it is the slowest and most difficult recovery.
If I have been sitting for a long time my knee hurts when I get up. However once I’m moving around, I feel little or no pain. My knees hurt going up and down stairs, particularly if I don’t keep my toes pointed straight ahead. (I am SO glad we built a one-story house.) It doesn’t hurt to run, swim, or ride my bike, but exercises that involve lunges are very painful. Not surprising to me at all is that it is aggravated by poor arch support and the tendency to pronate.
In May SS gave me six exercises to do. He said that with some physical therapy, you have to push through the pain. Patella femoral is not one of those conditions. He said that if any of the exercises made my knees hurt or pop to stop immediately. Two of them caused pain, so I just did the other four until he came home last week.
He watched me do the exercises and said my form was good on all but one of them. Someone will have to spot me on that one until the muscle he is trying to isolate gets stronger. The two exercises that hurt were for my quads. SS said that strengthening my quads is the single most important thing to do. He modified those two exercises in such a way that I’m working my quads, but not hurting my knee. Other muscles that impact Patella Femoral are abductors, hip external rotators, hip extensors.
It was gratifying to me as a Mom to watch him work, and to see how his manner was both firm and gentle. He found it helpful to spend an unlimited amount of time watching me move and modifying the exercises. He says he never gets to spend that much time with a patient in a clinic situation. I’m probably biased, but I think he will make a wonderful physical therapist.
He tells me that inflammation is not a factor in Patella Femoral Syndrome. I would concur that there has been no swelling or stiffness in the joint. However, since inflammation is such a big issue for Hunters, I can’t help wonder if there isn’t some low level of inflammation that contributes to the pain. Or perhaps physical therapists and naturopaths use different definitions for inflammation. I’m going to look into inflammation protocols.
What I am most curious about is which came first – the chicken or the egg? Or in my case - did arch problems cause my quad to deteriorate to the point that it couldn’t support my knee cap, or did weak quads and hip muscles cause me to walk awkwardly and affect my feet?
I suspect there may be a genetic component to this problem. My father told of his army days when he was marching across Italy and his feet and legs hurt so bad that he thought he couldn’t take another step. He stopped by the side of the road, stuffed dry grass under his arches, and felt immediate relief. My Mom’s knees hurt if she sits for too long. The pain has caused her to stop attending both Sunday School and church. It’s just too much sitting.
I’m hoping that if correct the underlying muscle weakness, I may find a permanent solution to both my knee and foot problems.
You probably know more about my knees that you ever wanted to know. I got off on this tangent because of a thread on the Forum. DD and I have tried some new recipes, and I’ll get back to blogging about beneficials and avoids next time.
We have had our nephew and his family visiting for several days. We’ve been doing a lot of swimming and walking. I get in a rut at times – routine house hold duties, job hunting, computer chores. Sometimes I forget that we moved to the Hill Country in part because of the many opportunities for outdoor exercise. We have had a lot of fun with our company, and every day has been filled with physical activity. But it did distract me from blogging and delay the second part of my experience with foot, knee, and hip pain.
After Fred died, I tore apart one of my shoes and tried to copy what he had done. I could never get it exactly right. Some days my knees would feel good; some days they would hurt. I tried department store variety arches, but they did not help. I talked with several people about getting custom orthotics made by a podiatrist, but they were made of hard plastic, rather than the comfortable soft material Fred had used. I called dozens of shoe stores, but no one could give the kind of personal service that Fred had always given. They didn’t have his compassion, his work ethic, or his knowledge.
Eventually I found a shoe store – a national chain called Foot Solutions – that sold several brands of soft arches that were a much higher quality than the department store brands. They measured my feet and recommended Lynco arches.
There were advantages and disadvantages to Lynco arches. They worked really well in athletic shoes, but not in dress shoes. They gradually compressed so that they didn’t provide the support, and had to be replaced. That would have been fine, except the changes were very subtle, and I didn’t recognize them until my knee began to bother me again. Then I would look at the bottom of my shoes, see that the heels were worn down. Then I would remember to buy new shoes and new arches. It would take several weeks to feel right again.
While the Lyncos kept me pain free most of the time, they weren’t perfect. Sometimes stairs would bother me. I learned to use the T-Tapp technique of “No Duck Feet”. If DD and I did an exercise video with lunges, my knee would begin to hurt and continue hurting for several days. But I could hike, run, ride my bike, and do all normal activity quite comfortably, so I didn’t worry.
I began having a little more knee pain last December. I should have recognized that I needed new shoes and arches, but I missed the signals. Instead since SS was home from Physical Therapy School, I asked him why my knees hurt when I did lunges. He did some measurements, and had a theory about my knee pain. He gave me some exercises to do. The pain got slowly worse until February or March when I looked at the bottom of my shoes, saw how badly worn they were, and exclaimed, “Oh that’s what’s wrong.” I got new shoes and Lynco arches. Yet for some reason, the pain did not go away as quickly as it had for the previous 10 years.
I was better. I was not uncomfortable for most of the day. But something was still not quite right.
I had heard radio advertisements for a store called Ideal Feet. They claimed that their arches would make your feet feel better in 10 minutes. I went in and got measured. Their arches are more expensive, but they do not have to be replaced. If they stop working, the company will replace them. They have arches for athletic shoes and dress shoes. I believe they are helping, though I still can’t do lunges.
In the meantime SS took a class in joint dysfunction this spring. He called several time to ask questions about symptoms. He has put a name to my condition. I’ll write the last part of this blog about knees next week.
Book Babes (a neighborhood book exchange club) met at my house this week. It was fun to get out the nice dishes and tablecloths. I don’t get to use them often in our casual culture. It was just too hot to brew coffee. I made green tea with peppermint, peach juice, and regular black tea. I sliced fresh fruit for a platter, and I made a walnut torte.
The ladies really liked the green tea. They also liked the walnut torte. No one could believe that it was made entirely without flour of any kind. In the course of answering questions, I wound up explaining how I got started on the Blood Type Diet. One lady had a sister in law who is on the diet. The others had never heard of the BTD. They were fascinated with the concept until I said that the two worst foods for Type Os were wheat and dairy.
One lady blurted out, “ I couldn’t live without cheese.”
This, I think, is the difficulty with mass acceptance of the BTD. A part of the world is so used to abundance and affluence that they can’t imagine depriving themselves of a food they like, even if it would improve their health. Another part of the world is so poverty stricken that they are trying to get enough calories to fend off starvation. They can’t afford to worry about avoid foods; they just need food.
This blog about dental fillings is not intended to be controversial. Neither is it intended to cover both sides of the argument. I am relating a fascinating conversation that challenged my preconceived ideas about dental fillings.
Some months ago I noticed that I could feel, with the tip of my tongue, something sharp on one of my back molars. The tooth didn’t hurt, so I waited until my next regular dentist appointment. The dentist told me that I had chipped a tiny piece off of one of my silver fillings. “I guess that means you’ll be replacing it with one of the new safer fillings,” I said. I was not prepared for the vehemence on his reply. For the next 30 minutes, as he worked in my mouth, he gave me the other side of the story -the side you don’t get from the internet. When he finished with me and started work on DD, I got out a notebook, and made him go through it all over again so I could take notes.
I’m glad that I didn’t have to make any decisions that day. The dentist removed the sharp piece that I could feel with my tongue, and assured me that the filling itself was still well seated and didn’t need replacement.
I think the best decision is for parents to make sure their children eat healthy low sugar foods so they won’t get cavities. Then they won’t have to make difficult decisions about fillings at all. The rest of this blog is what my dentist said to me that day.
“They can’t prove silver fillings are harming you with real science. If they could, there would be ten lawyers in my waiting room right now, because there are a lot more lawyers than dentists.
“If you compare the mercury that gets into your body from fillings to the amount in foods you eat every day, you would find that there is more available mercury in a can of tuna fish. Scientists agree that silver dental fillings leach mercury into the mouth. But hundreds of studies show that the exposure is from 1-3 micrograms per day. One can of albacore tuna contains 52.7 micrograms. Chunk light tuna contains 27.2 micrograms.
(Suzanne notes: The EPA safe level is .1 microgram per kilogram of body weight per day. The Food and Drug Administration reference dose is 0.4 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day. The World Health Organization set the level of mercury consumption considered safe at 1.5 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day. For my weight my safe level would be EPA - 5.76 micrograms per day; FDA – 23.04 and WHO – 86.42. Back to my dentist’s comments)
“If you look at the mercury that gets into the environment if you break one of those new light bulbs, you are talking about much more serious exposure. Read the precautions on how you are supposed to clean up your house if one of those spiraling bulbs made with mercury vapor drops and breaks.
“I’ve been in practice for 30 years. I’d say that 2% to 5% of my time is spent replacing work that has already been done. I can tell you that silver lasts longer plastic. I have a patient who is 80-years old. She got four silver filling when she was10 years old. They are still in good shape. A silver filling doesn’t fail. Sometimes the tooth around it fails, but that’s rare. Sometimes they break if they are too big and should have been crowns. Plastic however needs to be replaced after 10 - 15 years.
“A silver filling costs about $100. Plastics; $130. Insurance allows both. A dentist makes a lot more money on plastic. They can charge more when they put them in, and in a few years they get to charge again to replace them. Plastic may be the best esthetic choice, but it’s not the best choice for safety or money.
“Plastic is very technique sensitive. The guy who graduates last at dental school can put in a silver filling that will last long time. Not so with plastic. It has to be done right or it will fail even sooner.
“Why would I want to harm my patients? I could make more money with plastic. It’s not what goes in your mouth that hurts the environment. It’s what goes down the drain in industrial usage.
“There was a TV reporter who got all worried about her 12 silver fillings. She decided to have them all replaced with plastic, and she did a report on the experience. After it was over, she talked on camera about how much better she felt. The irony is that the greatest exposure to mercury is when the filling is being put in taken out. When it’s just in your mouth, there much less mercury exposure than you get from food. Baby boomers who got one to two cavities per year filled when they were growing up received a small exposure each time. However, when they took out her twelve fillings in one day she got a large exposure.
The dentist has much more exposure than any one patient. I’m standing here breathing vapor. Yet statistically dentists have lower rate of MS than general population. They keep trying to prove that silver fillings are dangerous, but the proof just is not there
I went to a continuing education seminar at the San Antonio Dental School. One of the speakers was promoting tooth colored fillings hoping to get the school to move in that direction. During the question and answer session, I said I wanted to ask a question about safety. He thought I meant the safety of silver fillings and interrupted my question to say that there was lots of research that proved silver was safe. He was not promoting his product by questioning the safety of silver. I said that he had misunderstood my question. I meant had there been adequate studies on the safety of plastic fillings. He looked surprised, then admitted that he had not seen any research at all. As far as he knew, plastic fillings had not been studied for safety."
I have always tried to find good watermelons by patting them and listening for an echo. Sometimes I would pick a good one, but sometimes I got a dud. Usually I wait until June to buy them, because early watermelons can be flavorless.
Watermelon is super beneficial for Hunters and Gatherers, and I’ve been longing for one. Somewhere I read that the best watermelons have a large yellow spot where they rested on the ground. So I decided to buy a May watermelon. I didn’t thump or pat. I picked the one with the biggest and brightest yellow spot.
It was fabulous: sweet, crisp, and full of flavor. I will have to see if the yellow spot hint works every time.
I read an interesting statement today by CS Lewis, “Niceness is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up nice; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world. For mere improvement is not redemption.”
If everyone recognized the wisdom of the BTD, and began to eat right, it would make them feel better. But eating right will not change a person’s heart. While pointing people I meet to a better way to eat in a good thing, it is far better when I can point people to the loving God who created them and who longs for them to repent and turn to Him.
I’m reading a fascinating book called “The Screwtape Letters.” The author talked about the Blood Type Diet in the chapter I read this morning, though he couldn’t have known it, since the book was first published in 1942.
He started by recognizing that God has built into us natural desires which are good because they make life pleasant and possible. We need to eat; we long for friendships, and we appreciate beauty. One of the tactics of the devil is to take that innocent enjoyment and exaggerate it until it becomes perverse and harmful. An obvious example is how the natural desire for intimacy in marriage has been twisted so much that it has led to infidelity and immorality.
God made us so that change is pleasant. We enjoy the differences in the seasons, the diversity of personalities, and the thrill of travel. We also enjoy variety in the food that we eat.
The author grabbed my attention when he began to use food as an example. God never intended food to become an end in itself, he said. When it does, it can become the sin of gluttony on one end or an eating disorder on the other. This was particularly interesting to me, and as I thought about it, I expanded it, adding some of my own conclusions.
God himself built variety into food making it sweet, salty, sour, or bitter. Then he added all of the distinctions that fragrance add to taste. This is good, but where there is something good, there is fodder for the devil.
Sugar, and the sweetness it gives, is pleasing to the taste, but modern transportation and food processing have led to sugar addictions. We have an insatiable desire for sugar that, if it is unchecked, leads to disease. The same holds true for salt and fat.
Because our bodies are different, a food may be good for some, but bad for others. The beneficial and neutral food lists are long and filled with diversity. Yet how often do I read about unhappy Type Os who can’t make themselves give up wheat, or disappointed Type As who think giving up shrimp is unfair.
The author writes, “The pleasure of novelty is by its very nature more subject than any other to the law of diminishing returns.”
The quest for a new recipe can be good, and a new combination of tastes is exciting. But as I look at commercials for food products and restaurants I see what the author is talking about – an insatiable desire for change. On the Forum (and even around my on dinner table) I hear that food is boring.
I have examined myself this morning, asking to what degree has my innocent enjoyment of change been converted it into a demand to constantly have something new. Am I satisfied with the bounty that God has provided, or do I let my mind wander into the areas that are forbidden fruits? Am I contented or complaining? The honest answer, of course, is a little of both. The revelation to me is that to the degree that I am complaining, I am allowing my enemy to manipulate my mind and distract me from the goodness of God.
Those of us who are interested in diet and nutrition are more attuned to little changes in our bodies. That goes doubly for people who frequent sites on the internet like the BTD website. I like to think that if something was seriously wrong, I’d notice it early. I’ve noticed several changes since Thanksgiving and Christmas.
My cold sore came back. Because they are caused by a virus, once you get one, you have to watch out for reoccurrences for a couple of years until they run their course. I thought I had beat mine into total submission, but I had to fight it back again.
One day I bumped something with my hand and it hurt. The knuckle on my ring finger was tender. I thought I must have jammed it, but when the pain persisted for two weeks, I had to face reality that something was going on with my joint. Not good. This on top of my knee pain made me feel really old.
My hemorrhoid returned. I have had good results with home remedies for hemorrhoids, but this time nothing worked. I relented and got an OTC preparation. It contained cocoa butter, and caused an allergic reaction. That was terrible! I went to the doctor who prescribed a cream. I don’t like being on prescription medication, but I had to have relief, and the cream worked fast.
Worst of all I started having a pain in the middle of my chest. It was similar, but not identical to the GERD pains that I had before I went on the BTD. After six years had the BTD stopped working? One day it hit so hard when I was walking that I wondered if I was having a heart attack.
I started thinking, and trying to figure out what was going on. The cold sore was definitely stress related. I’ve been under plenty of stress since Thanksgiving, no doubt about that. I wrote a blog in 2006 about the “Life Change Events Study” that calculated how changes in life – whether good or bad – predisposed someone to illness. When I wrote the blog, my score was 190. I calculated my total again. Now it is 400. (Here is a link to the point list http://www.dadamo.com/B2blogs/blogs/blog1.php/earlier-blogs/suddenly-sick )
I started to look at the other problems. Adelle Davis calls arthritis “a disease of adrenal exhaustion.” The stress connection to joint pain is obvious. What about the hemorrhoid? I’m not constipated, and I’m not overweight, and I’m certainly not pregnant. Those are the three main causes. I thought about the cream that the doctor prescribed – it was a steroid cream - another connection to stress and adrenal fatigue. I read the BTD Encyclopedia anti-stress protocol and began to implement it. I also added extra B Vitamins.
That left the chest pain. I have been so careful about avoids – especially wheat and dairy. I did not want to believe my stomach inflammation had returned in spite of the BTD. I didn’t want to believe I was having heart problems either. I was getting scared.
Early one afternoon I realized that I hadn’t had any chest pain all morning. I had eaten the same thing for breakfast. I had followed my usual routine of working at the house and putting in job applications. I had eaten a big lunch. My mind was racing, looking for the key. As I cleaned up, I found my supplement box on the coffee table. My husband and I had enjoyed dinner and a movie the night before. Because I had neglected to return the box to the kitchen table, I had forgotten to take supplements that morning. I popped the whole handful in my mouth and swallowed them with a gulp of water. I could feel them all go down together, small tablets, capsules, and large tablets tumbling over each other until they hit the sphincter muscle between my esophagus and my stomach. There they stuck. I swallowed more water. I ate some dried fruit. The pain in my chest started. At that moment I knew, my heart was fine and the BTD was still working.
I realized that I had started taking glucosamine (a really big tablet) for my knee. In addition I took lysine for the cold sore, B Vitamins for the joints, rutin and bioflavanoids (another big tablet) for the hemorrhoid, plus bromelain for inflammation. I was taking more supplements than usual, and larger ones at that. Now when I take my supplements, I take them early in a meal one at a time. I eat a bite between pills. They don’t get stuck. They slide through just like they are supposed to.
I’m still stressed. I can’t change the circumstances in my life, but I can respond better now that I’m aware of what the combined stresses are doing in my body. I’m thankful that my awareness of problems when they were small will keep them from becoming big issues. Most of all I’m relieved to know that it’s just stress. I’ve got work to do, but I’m not scared.
March 26, 2004 I posted my very first blog. We had just come home from my husband’s father’s funeral. I wasn’t sure what people would think of me for blogging about food at a funeral. But the dilemma of how to follow the BTD when I’m in the home of friends or relatives was a big issue to me at the time.
I started the BTD in June 2003, so I hadn’t even been on the diet a year when I started blogging. You have watched me grow and struggle and figure out how to make this diet work in my family. One of the reasons I like blogging is that it keeps me accountable. I believe that if my blog is to be interesting, I have to be transparent. I don’t mind writing about my failures, but it’s so much more fun to write about success. I’ll admit that there have been moments when I have walked away from an avoid just so I didn’t have to fess up on the internet.
I enjoy getting comments and I write back when I can. When we were moving I got hopelessly behind, and some of the e-mails I received during that time never got answered. I especially enjoy knowing when I have encouraged someone. The most amusing comments assume that I know Dr. D’Adamo and have some influence over him. People seem to think that I can fix a perceived conflict in the books, or correct a problem with the website. Ok, here’s the truth. I have never met Dr. D. I have never even talked to him on the phone. We’ve e-mailed maybe 10 times in five years of blogging. Someday perhaps I will get to meet him. It would be fun to attend one of his conferences.
Sometimes I wonder if I will ever run out of things to blog about. Then I go to the dentist’s office and get an ear full about controversial fillings or I start to plan a menu for DD’s Type A roommate who is coming home with her. As long as everyday life is an adventure, blog topics are infinite.
Everything about my life, including the BTD and the blog, is interwoven with my Christian faith. Urging Christians to seek good health through the marvelous and unique way God created us is the motivation behind my blogging. I can remember 30 years ago when any interest in Health Food or nutrition was associated almost exclusively with the more liberal and free thinking elements of society. There was a time when people raised their eyebrows if I asked for brown rice or preservative free meat. That has changed a lot in recent years. Nutrition is much more mainstream. But I still find people at church to be suspicious of the health culture, and they really shy away when blood types are introduced into the conversation. I’m glad when something I say encourages anyone, but I’m particularly happy when I play a tiny part in opening cautious conservative eyes to the truth that God has given them tools to be more proactive in their health.
Personally, I don’t understand their fears. God, who created the world and all of the creatures in it, created our bodies. It seems logical to me that the closer I eat food to the way that He made it, the healthier I will be. The more I understand how my body works, the better prospect I have of an active and productive life. I want my mind alert so that I can study the Bible. I want to feel good so that I can serve others. I don’t want to waste money on medical care, and I don’t want to waste time in a doctor’s office. Of all the diets I have tried (and I tried a lot) the BTD has worked the best and the most consistently.
Two things about blogging give me a thrill. The first is when I get to encourage someone in the Christian Community to build their health. The second is when I can encourage someone in the Health Community to know Jesus Christ. The first five years have been fun, and I’m excited about the future.
The word hydration conjures up two images in my mind. One is a scene from a favorite Disney movie – Lady and the Tramp. The first time the viewer meets the Tramp, he is waking up in a railroad yard. He stretches and enjoys a deliciously long drink of water, then lets the water roll over his whole body. The second is a scene from the TV show Gilmore Girls. Lorelai sleepily wanders into the kitchen and finds Luke by the refrigerator guzzling from a half gallon container of orange juice. “Don’t let me interrupt your hydration,” she says.
A modern proverb is “Eat like a king in the morning and like a pauper at night.” The meaning is that you will be healthier if you eat your large meal early in the day and eat lighter at night. But is the proverb true? In Live Right 4 your Type Dr. D’Adamo recommends that lifestyle for Type As, but is silent regarding Type Os.
I know a lot of Type Os, who advocate eating this way. I’ve read their posts on the Forum, and corresponded with them. They make a great case – and I’m not going to argue with their success. But I don’t feel good when I eat that way. I don’t wake up hungry. I wake up thirsty. If I start the day with a big breakfast (eggs, steak, vegetables), I am hungrier at lunch, and still hungrier at dinner.
DD has been taking a speech class, and one assignment was a persuasive speech. Because she is so focused on health, she chose persuading fellow students that they would be healthier if the went to bed earlier and got up earlier. She had been convicted that she needed to change her own sleep patterns based on Dr. D’s cautions about Type As and Circadian rhythm. Her research was fascinating (she made an A on the speech by the way).
One graphic was particularly interesting to me. I’d post it but it is copyrighted, so you will have to picture it in your mind. It was a circle divided into three parts. One third said “4 AM to Noon, Elimination, needs water”. The second third said “Noon to 8 PM, Appropriation, needs food.” The last third said “8 PM to 4 AM, Assimilation, needs rest.”
I saw myself in that graphic. I feel the best when I get up and drink a big glass of water. About an hour later, I eat a light breakfast of fruit and nuts and powdered protein (egg white or nutritional yeast). About 10:30 or 11:00 I may have a glass of green tea or some seltzer water with ginger juice. I am content.
Suddenly between Noon and 1:00 I am starving. Now I want meat protein and lots of it. I want 3 servings of vegetables – at least. Between 5:00 and 6:00 I am hungry again. But if I have eaten a big noon meal, I am satisfied with a salad and some fish or poultry.
I’ve been trying to follow this pattern, and I’ve felt really good. I didn’t know just how good until yesterday when it all got thrown off. My husband had taken the day off and we were doing some paperwork together in the morning. It should have taken an hour, then I had some errands to run. I should have been back by lunch time. But we found a problem with the papers, which led to a morning of stressful phone calls, which led to a late start on the errands, which of course took longer than expected. I didn’t have lunch until 3:00. By then my whole body rhythm was thrown off. I didn’t fully recover until this morning when I started afresh with a big glass of water.
If you are Type A, Dr. D suggests the King/Pauper schedule. If you are Type O and King/Pauper works for you – stay with it. But if you are Type O, and King/Pauper doesn’t quite fit, think about the Tramp. Hydrate in the morning. Be ready for a hearty lunch of beef and vegetables. Have your evening meal early – before 8 PM – and let it be light protein and light vegetables.
A load was lifted from my shoulders today. These are stressful times. The economy is not good. There are international conflicts. As I am in the process of launching my two young adult children, at the same time that I am in the process of taking care of my Mom. My husband can be pretty needy, too! It's certainly not a good time to be looking for a job.
You may remember from an earlier blog, that last February I was called back for a recheck on my mammogram. The radiology center had switched from analog to digital images, and suddenly there were several calcifications showing up that hadn’t been there before.
I really didn't need another stress factor. But one test of character is how we respond when God allows things to happen in our lives that we don’t want. Worrying wouldn't do me any good. I needed to continue to eat right and exercise. I needed to keep my eyes on the blessings in my life, and my heart committed to following God's will.
After the recheck, they told me that they didn’t see anything of immediate danger, but they wanted to do another mammogram in six months and make sure that nothing was growing or changing. In August I got a good report. No changes were visible, but again I was told to come back in six months. I was glad that there were no changes, but I still felt like there was a sword hanging over my head.
Today I had another mammogram. No changes. I'm discharged! Next mammogram will be routine – in a year.
I called a friend - asked if she had time for an impulsive lunch. We went to a café and talked and laughed for 3 hours. I had meat loaf, lightly steamed spinach, and roasted mixed vegetables. It was delicious. And it was eaten with a very light and thankful heart.
I enjoy grilled onions. I serve them often, mixed with cooked greens or on top of beef. However, grilled onions seem to have lost popularity and are being replaced in restaurants with the more stylish “roasted onions”. The big difference seems to be that, in a restaurant, grilled onions often arrive swimming in fat, where roasted onions do not.
When I fix grilled onions at home, I cook them in just a little bit of ghee, so my onions aren’t “swimming” and ghee is a good fat. Grilled onions are also fast, and I am usually fixing my lunch at the last minute, when I am already hungry. But Tuesday, I got an early start decided to try roasting an onion at home.
As long as I was planning ahead, I decided to bake a sweet potato as well. When we moved to our new house, I blogged that my husband wanted a microwave oven, and that while I didn’t plan to use it often, it was sure nice to have a sweet potato on short notice. In that blog, I compared sweet potatoes cooked in the oven with microwaved sweet potatoes and noted that I liked oven baked sweet potatoes better. However, more often than not, in the past year, time has triumphed over taste, and I have microwaved my sweet potatoes.
So into the 400 degree oven went a sweet potato wrapped in foil, and an onion, cut in half in a covered mini casserole dish. I went back to work on the computer. Soon the house was filled with delicious smells.
The roasted onion was very good and full of flavor. Mine was juicier than restaurant roasted onions. Perhaps they don’t cover theirs, so they don’t steam as much in their natural juices. The sweet potato was delicious. I really must take the time to bake them in the oven more often. They are much better.
One more note about onions. Before the BTD the only onions I liked were fried onion rings. Because onions are super beneficial, I resolved to eat more of them, and eat them in a healthy way (rather than coated in wheat flour and deep fried). I was a little scared, so I began with sweet onions. The more I ate, the more I liked onions, and they became a regular part of my diet. As food prices have gone up, I have been forced to notice that sweet onions are consistently twice the price of yellow onions. With fear and trembling, I switched to yellow onions about a month ago. They burn my eyes a little more when I slice them, but they taste every bit as good – and frankly every bit as sweet – as the more expensive varieties.
When I look at what Dr. D says about Type Os and Vitamin E, I see the explanation of the near disaster in both of my pregnancies. I am very much aware that anecdotal evidence is not proof in science or medicine. I can't prove my theory. I can only speculate what might have happened if the BTD had been written 25 years ago.
When I found out that I was pregnant with my first child I was thrilled and delighted. I was following the best Health Food plan that I knew of at the time, and I was committed to sticking to it without compromise for 9 months. Fortunately, I had come across a pregnancy diet that stressed high protein as a way to avoid for pre eclampsia. It would have been a disastrous diet for a Type A, but it was really good for me. Unfortunately I had read that Vitamin E was important for pregnant mothers. I bought 400 iu capsules, and was taking two a day.
When I was about 8 weeks along, HH and I went to see his parents. They were as thrilled about this pregnancy as we were. HH has two sisters, but he is their only son. The day after we arrived I began spotting. They took me to the doctor, and after an examination, he told me that I was having a miscarriage, and that all I could do was go home and wait. I lay in bed all weekend, committing myself and the life of that precious baby to God. I continued spotting and we drove back home. The spotting continued for a week or so and stopped. I went back to my own doctor and he could hear the baby's heart beat. The rest of the pregnancy was trouble-free, and SS had an easy and natural birth.
Being interested in all things natural, I planned to breast feed for a year. One of the vitamins recommended was Vitamin E. Everything was going well, except that I never stopped bleeding after childbirth. Vitamin E was again the recommended treatment, so I increased my dosage, I think I was taking two or three 800 iu capsules a day. Eventually I had to have a D&C to stop the bleeding.
When HH and I began to think about another baby, I reread all of the best material I could get my hands on. Nothing I read cast aspersions on Vitamin E. When I became pregnant, I increased my Vitamin E. I didn't want spotting like I had had before. I was careful about everything - I knew I was at risk because I was now 36 years old. I well remember the sinking feeling I had when the spotting started again. It lasted a couple of weeks. I lay on the sofa all day, trying to take care of a toddler, and trying to trust that God knew what he was doing. The spotting stopped, we celebrated hearing the baby's heartbeat, and the rest of the pregnancy was a joy.
I bled a lot during childbirth. Vitamin E was universally recommended, and I took it. My doctor was perturbed that I continued to bleed, but he was more patient this time. We waited 3 months, but eventually I had another D&C. I continued to have very heavy periods, and I continued to take Vitamin E. I never made a connection between the two.
SS was 18 when I first read the BTD. I immediately recognized the connection between my chronic stomach inflammation and the "natural" wheat and dairy products I poured into my Type O body. It has taken me much longer to realize that the BTD is also right about Vitamin E and Type Os. When he was in his 80s my Type O father began to bruise easily. A little bump would leave him with a huge red and purple mark on his arms and legs. He was taking Vitamin E to protect his heart. Because of Dr. D's recommendations, I convinced him to stop the Vitamin E and take bioflavonoids instead. The bruising went away within weeks, and he never had that problem again.
I am past the age where I can experiment with Vitamin E for pregnancy or periods. However, I do not knowingly take any supplemental Vitamin E. What I get from beneficial oils and nuts will have to be enough.
I see that this blog has been linked to a pregnancy website. Because of that I need to add that while Vitamin E is avoid for those with Blood Type O, it is beneficial for Blood Type A.
This is one of those cases where someone does a study and finds out that a food or a nutrient is helpful for a high percentage of people. They don't stop to think why their technique helps some and harms others. The answer often turns out to be related to Blood Type.
Type Os with their already thin blood are harmed by substances like Vitamin E that further thin blood. Type As with their thick blood are helped by it. While I do not take Vitamin E, I do give it to my Type A husband and daughter. DD tells me that Vitamin E lotion really helps her skin. Someday when DD marries and is pregnant, I will encourage her to take Vitamine E.
Every so often there is a news report about the dangers of taking vitamin or mineral supplements. Coming from a background in the branch of Health Foods that emphasized vitamins for both prevention and cure of diseases, these reports always make my Type O blood boil. Usually as I read the articles, I can spot the misinformation. Often it involves mega doses that are far beyond what any rational person would take. I’m always suspicious that drug companies, or others who have a vested interest in discouraging natural or preventive medicine, fund the studies.
Sometime last year, a report was released which showed that of the people involved in a particular study, those who took multiple vitamins had a higher mortality than those who did not. I bristled, knowing that some people would stop taking vitamins that their bodies needed because of the study. At the same time, I was at a loss to explain the results. Something happened last week this week that brought back a memory, and may have given me a bit of insight into what was going on behind the scene in the study.
When I was first learning about the Blood Type Diet, I was dumbfounded to read that Dr. D’Adamo considered Vitamins A and E as avoids for Type Os. I had never been a mega-vitamin person, but I had taken hefty doses of both for years. They were anti-oxidants. They were supposed to be good for all kinds of things. But Dr. D wrote,
“Since your blood type is prone to slower clotting, I would not recommend that Type Os take Vitamin A supplements without first checking with your doctor. These supplements can enhance blood thinning…Likewise, I would not recommend Vitamin E supplements for Type Os because they can complicate Type O tendencies toward slower blood clotting.”
I stopped taking extra A and E, though I did continue to take a multiple vitamin.
This week I got a flyer in the mail advertising a new multiple. As I read it, I noticed that it didn’t have any Vitamin E. I went to the pantry to look at the label on my multiple. I had assumed it was about 30 IU, at least that what I remembered from the last time I checked. It was 200 IU! Good grief, that was a lot more Vitamin E than I wanted to be taking. I looked again, and the advertised multiple had half the Vitamin A than what was in the multiple I was taking. How??? I asked myself did I not notice this? Did they change the formula and I never saw a “new and improved” sticker?
It gets worse. I have started taking CoEnzyme Q10. Dr. D recommends it for all Blood Types for cancer prevention, intracellular energy, and heart failure. I had been buying a particular brand, but as I got ready to order this week, I noticed another bottle by the same company that was less expensive. I compared the two. There was the same amount of CoEnzyme Q10 in each of them, but the more expensive one that I had been buying contained 100 IU of Vitamin E.
I began to think about multiple vitamin advertisements I’ve seen lately in magazines and on TV. They really stress antioxidants. They talk about being formulated for heart health. I guess they have all increased their Vitamin A and E, because it’s the faddish thing to do.
So here I am, fairly knowledgeable about nutrition and vitamins. I know that Vitamin E is avoid for Type O, and I stopped taking it years ago. I think I am getting a token amount in my multiple. Instead I find that I’m taking 300 IU a day and the RDA is only 22 IU. I suddenly have some insight into why the study showed that people who take multiple vitamins have a higher mortality.
That brought back a vivid Vitamin E memory. But this blog is already too long. I’ll share the memory next time.
It’s possible to get too many of the wrong vitamins, but you can never get enough of the Word of God. This from Proverbs 4: Pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight. Keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.
We’ve eaten out quite a bit this week. When I first started the BTD, I thought that my Type As were lucky in restaurants. It seemed to me that everything was so wheat oriented, that they could always find something to eat, where Type Os were limited. As I have watched DD discover, that while wheat is neutral for As, they Type A diet is really plant rather than grain based, I’ve realized that restaurants are kinder to Type Os.
Last Saturday I met a college girlfriend for lunch. We went to a French restaurant, and I thought I’d be in big trouble. How wrong I was! The rosemary chicken was fabulous, and it was accompanied by green beans and broccoli. I was as Type O compliant as I would have been at home. Saturday night HH and I met a couple we’ve known for more than 20 years for dinner at a really cute Western café. I had chopped steak topped with onions, okra, and green beans. HH couldn’t find anything truly beneficial on the menu. He settled on grilled catfish.
Yesterday HH was on a business trip. Again he found himself at a restaurant where the Type A choices were really limited. In a restaurant Type Os can always order a sandwich & salad and throw away the bread. Type As, looking for beneficial fish or high quality vegetable protein, often have fewer choices.
DD is flourishing. She is a Marketing major and she has a new job in the Marketing department at her university. She is learning some new computer programs, and loves the work. Her slow but steady weight gain pleases us both. The root of her eating disorder was a spiritual one, and as she deals with the spiritual issues, she is seeing success. Here is an excerpt from an e-mail I received from her this morning. It starts with a paragraph from a book she is reading.
“Strive to trust God in more and more areas of your life. Anything that tends to make you anxious is a growth opportunity. Instead of running away from these challenges, embrace them, eager to gain all the blessings hidden in the difficulties. Don’t waste energy regretting the way things are or thinking about what might have been. Start at the present moment—accepting things exactly as they are—and search for God’s way in the midst of those circumstances.”
DD added, “Nothing I say can add to the sting of that one.”
I have mentioned in past blogs that my right knee is weaker than my left one. It doesn't hurt all the time, but if I move it in the wrong way it is sore for several days. I particularly notice the soreness when DD and I do exercises that involve lunges. My right knee does not like lunges or pliés.
SS has started his first physical therapy internship. When he was home for Christmas, I asked why my knee was that way. He got a mad scientist gleam in his eye and had me stretch out on the floor. He twisted and turned my leg. He did strength tests. He told me that my right knee cap slips out of the groove when I put it in certain positions. He promised to look up the exercises I needed to do to strengthen the muscles that hold my kneecap in place.
He mailed me nine exercises. The muscle and ligament that support the knee cap also attach to the hip joint, so I am doing quadriceps strengthening and stretching plus iliotibial band and hip adductor strengthening.
In the past when injuries or disease got so painful that surgery was required, physical therapy was prescribed to aid recovery. Then orthopedists began prescribing PT before surgery. Some patients improved so much that surgery became unnecessary. The momentum for the future is that physical therapists would become primary care physicians for muscular skeletal problems. People like me who have a minor problem will use PT to solve it early rather than waiting until pain is acute.
Think of the way dental treatment has changed in the last 60 years. In my grandparents' day tooth decay and gum disease were normal. If someone lived long enough, a dentist pulled all their teeth and built dentures for them. Now children and adults go in for preventive dentistry once or twice a year. Decay and gum disease are stopped before they do damage. Hardly anyone needs dentures any more. PTs can imagine a day when joint pain is dealt with early and routinely, and surgeries are limited to repairing broken bones and other accident related injuries. I guess I'm a guinea pig for the new ideal.
SS says the hospital where he is working has a lunch special for employees: meat and vegetables for $2.50. He said, "I can't buy groceries and cook for myself for that price. The food is really good too." He is eating like an O and thinking preventive health care. I couldn't be more pleased. Now, I'm going to go do my exercises before I go to bed.