Someone brought a biography of Charlemagne to my neighborhood book club. My knowledge of the Dark Ages is sketchy at best. My high school world history teacher neglected that part of my education, being far more interested in the explorers of the Age of Discovery. I snatched the book, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Charlemagne was a fascinating man at so many levels: his difficult childhood, his Christian faith, his military strategy, his interest in education.
One quote I found particularly fascinating was, written by Einhard the Dwarfling, a contemporary of Charlemagne's and his first biographer. Einhard wrote:
"He went by his own inclinations rather than by the advice of physicians, whom he almost hated because they wanted him to give up roasts, which he relished, and to eat boiled meat instead”
Isn't it amazing, back in the ninth century self proclaimed health experts were advising against eating red meat. Charlemagne - who I'm guessing was Type O - instinctively knew better, and continued to enjoy roasts.
I am cooking a roast myself this morning. Our Type O son is coming for lunch, and we are ready for beef after having lots of turkey this past week. I'm certainly not going to boil it, which would leach out vitamins and phytonutrients.
This brings to mind what modern self proclaimed health experts have been saying about eggs for the past 50 years. That sounds like a good blog topic. In the meantime I hope all of you are enjoying a thankful weekend.
I liked this thought from author Sarah Young: God has instructed us to "give thanks for everything." There is an element of mystery in this transaction: You give God thanks (regardless of your feelings) and He gives you joy (regardless of your circumstances). To people who don't know Jesus intimately, it can seem irrational to thank Him for heartrending hardships. Nonetheless, those who obey Him in this way are invariably blessed, even though difficulties may remain.
There is a man in DD and SIL's church who does not have a lot of money. He is retired. He lives in a mobile home. He loves the Lord, and he loves his church. He believes in tithing, but it is difficult for him.
If you are not familiar with the tithe, it is a biblical concept where believers give 10% of their income to the Lord's work or to their church. Sometimes tithing is hard to do, but if you talk to people who tithe, they will tell you that it is often accompanied by unexpected blessing. I can say that my husband and I have tithed for years, and our needs have been met in good years and in bad.
The man in DD and SIL's church gives the money he can. He also gives from his garden. He grows okra and turnip greens. He brings gifts to his pastor and to other church members. He has chickens, and he brings fresh eggs to his pastor and his friends at church.
DD and SIL are delighted to be the beneficiaries of this form of tithing. They are enjoying omelets and egg sandwiches. They are eating fresh garden vegetables. Occasionally I get to benefit as well. DD cooked up a big batch of turnip greens and ghee - more than they could eat. So she gave some to me, and I had them for lunch today.
I think that having a garden is a great idea for anyone. I don't have one yet, but when I retire from the photography business, a garden is at the top of my to-do list. A garden is especially beneficial to people on fixed income because it lets them eat a healthy diet on a limited budget. When God provides an abundant harvest, it is also a way to share with His people and His work.
Yesterday was our only full day in Vermont. We wanted to make the time count, so I went on google and found an interactive map that shows the best fall colors. Not sure whether it is updated weekly or daily; not sure what we would have seen on other roads; but it took us to some incredibly beautiful sites.
The day again started out misty. HH says I am in incurable optimist, but it seemed to me that the fog on the mountains made the colors of the trees up close appear even more vivid.
As we went around a curve my eye caught a glimpse up a side road, and I asked HH to turn back. We came upon the loveliest site. It was a pond, surrounded by trees at the peak of their color. The reflection in the still water was stunning. As I walked around to take another picture, I saw a hand lettered sign. "Joye Kings pond; no trespassing". On one hand, I don't blame her for not wanting photographers traipsing across her property, but it sure didn't seem like a "joyful" thing to say.
We stopped for lunch in French restaurant in Brandon, called Cafe Provence. Not only do they serve beautiful food with fancy names, but they offer cooking classes. Somehow it surprised me to find an amazing international restaurant in a small town setting. I had steak and salad with crispy onions. It was perfect! HH ordered their signature turkey sandwich. He didn't care for the tomato based sauce; but then again he is a Subway sandwich man.
Because of the weather we had not even looked into trails in the Green Mountains. But a sign by the road said: "Robert Frost interpretive trail." I did not realize that Robert Frost spent much of his adult life in New Hampshire and Vermont. I put on my parka to protect my camera equipment from the mist; HH grabbed an umbrella; and we started off down the trail.
The mist stopped. The fog lifted just a little. As we walked through "the yellow wood" there were plaques with selections from Frost's poems. The trail was not long - with all of our stops to read and take pictures, it took about an hour. In one word, that hour was refreshing: the poetry, the beauty of the trees, and a turn in the weather at just the right moment. We got back in our car, and as we pulled back on the road, HH turned on the windshield wipers.
My life is centered on my faith in God. I did not pray for good weather on this trip. Local farmers need rain, just like we need rain in Texas. It did not seem right to presume upon God and ask for a change in weather for the convenience of my vacation. We were enjoying the day just as it was described in the poem "God's Garden." And God surprised us with an undeserved blessing.
In the afternoon, we turned the car toward Massachusetts. My sister is living there for one year, and before the day was over I got to give her a hug!
I once read somewhere that in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were vegetarians, and that at the end of this world – in heaven – we will all be vegetarians again. It does appear to be true according to Genesis 1:28-29 that God’s original plan was for humans to eat green plants and fruit.
After the flood (Genesis 9:3) God said that animals were also suitable for food. For the rest of the Bible, eating meat is not only shown in a positive light, but it is often commanded. There are quite a few Biblical passages about Jesus eating meat.
One verse in Revelation mentions eating fruit in heaven, but it doesn’t say fruit will be the only thing that is eaten.
My Bible study this summer and fall has me reading in the prophetic books. Today I found this passage in Ezekiel. The passage speaks a time in the future when God dwells among His people in a newly created, perfect world. At that time it says trees will provide fruit for food and leaves for medicine. So does this mean we are going to be fruitarians in the millennium or in heaven? Not necessarily so - because the passage also mentions fishermen. If there are fishermen, people will be eating fish. And if salt is left for flavoring, then people must be doing some cooking, because there is certainly no need to salt fruit.
There will be a huge number of fish because this water goes there. Since the water will become fresh, there will be life everywhere the river goes. Fishermen will stand beside it from En-gedi to En-eglaim. These will become places where nets are spread out to dry. Their fish will consist of many different kinds, like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. Yet its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be left for salt. All kinds of trees providing food will grow along both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. Each month they will bear fresh fruit because the water comes from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be used for food and their leaves for medicine.” Ezekiel 47:9-12
We certainly do not live in that perfect world today. It is obvious to me that human effort will never create a perfect world. Only God can do that, and he will in His time. The Bible teaches that our bodies in heaven will not be the same as they are today, and if God creates my new body to be satisfied with just fruit, I’ll be fine with that.
In the meantime, if someone tries to tell you that the Bible says you ought to be a vegetarian or a fruitarian today, tell them to read the whole Bible, not just isolated passages that support their views.
Unless you have been boycotting the news, you know that there is a self proclaimed prophet who says that the rapture will happen today (May 21, 2011). Because I sometimes blog about my faith in Jesus Christ and my reliance on the Bible for wisdom, I thought I would give you my thoughts about the issue.
It seems to me that people have divided themselves into three groups about this prediction:
Those who believe it.
Those who use it as an opportunity to mock all people of faith.
Those who use it to teach and encourage.
I do not believe that this is a true prophecy for two reasons. First, Jesus himself said “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36. So if Jesus says that He doesn’t know the day or the hour, then I do not believe that a radio preacher from California knows. Second, while numbers are sometimes used figuratively in the Bible, nothing in scripture tells us to become mathematicians and go through elaborate calculations to find some hidden meaning.
If I were to say to you “there is not one thing to eat in my house.” You, knowing me, would understand that I do not mean that literally. What I would mean is that there is nothing BTD beneficial that I am in the mood for. If I were to say “A Krispy Kreme donut has a million calories.” You would know that I meant this great tasting avoid food has way too much fried fat and concentrated sugar to build health.
Bible numbers are similar. I believe most of them should be taken literally. But some numbers have figurative meanings. The number 7 for example represents perfection or completeness. So when Jesus’s disciple asked him, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” and Jesus answered, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” Jesus was not saying keep count and stop forgiving after the 490th time. He was saying forgive completely and perfectly as you have been completely and perfectly been forgiven by God.
I do not see anything in scripture that teaches us to be preoccupied with numbers, to combine numbers and letters in an elaborate scheme to find hidden meanings, or to multiply and divide them in an effort to find out what God has said he is not going to tell us.
While I believe this is a false prophecy, it nonetheless grieves me that so many people have used it as an opportunity to mock people of faith. All week the news has been full of commentators making jokes about the end of the world. If you take the Bible seriously, the end of the world is no laughing matter. It makes me sad to think that people could be swept along by the ridicule of a false prophet and wind up skeptics and scoffers themselves.
OK I will admit to one moment when I also made a BTD joke about this. I told my family we would have pizza and ice cream for lunch on Saturday before the 6 p.m. deadline.
Overall, however, I find myself in the third category. This false prophecy, gives Christians an opportunity to explain things that are taught in the Bible. I’ve heard people say all week that the word rapture is not in the Bible. Not exactly true. The New Testament was written in Greek. There is a Greek word meaning caught up with force or snatched up. That Greek word is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” The Latin translation of that Greek verb was Anglicized into our noun, rapture. What the Bible teaches is that God is patient, not wanting any to perish, and He gives us many opportunities to repent and turn to Him. But there will come a moment in time when the saved will be caught up to be with God and the lost will face eternal judgment.
Jesus encouraged us to use our time on earth wisely, to accept his free gift of salvation, and to pursue holy living. Judgment day is coming. The end of the world is coming. It may come in our lifetime. It may not come for a thousand years. When it comes, it will be sudden, and those who are not ready will be left behind.
Jesus wants us to live every day with the expectation that it could be our last day on earth. If we took that teaching seriously, it would revolutionize our conversations, our daily work, and how we spend our money. It would impact how long we hold grudges, what we think is worth being angry about, and how tightly we hug those we love. Jesus said, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:13
March 21 is the one day that I do not expect the Lord to return, since there has been so much emphasis on it. But perhaps it will be tomorrow, or next week. I am ready. Are you?
Having Earth Day and Good Friday fall on the same day was interesting. Good Friday normally has me focused on the suffering and crucifixion of Christ on the cross. However I started today by reading Psalm 8, one of the creation Psalms, and I found myself focused on God as creator of the earth.
In honor of the day, I have an egg story and recipe for you.
While my sister and I were cleaning out my parent’s house, one of my mother’s best friends took us out to lunch. We went to one of her favorite restaurants called The Egg and I. The menu was wonderful because it listed the ingredients for all of the egg oriented dishes. I found just the combination I wanted under Mediterranean Frittata, but I had never heard of a frittata. Our server explained that it was a egg dish cooked in a skillet. It was sort of like an open faced omelet or a quiche without a crust. I tried it, and it was delicious.
Since then it has become my favorite way to cook eggs. My husband still prefers an omelet, so this works perfectly. I start my frittata cooking on one burner in a skillet, while I devote more time to watching out for his omelet in the omelet pan.
Here is my favorite frittata. I serve it with a sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon.
Spray a small skillet with cooking spray. Lightly beat three eggs and pour them in the skillet. On top of the eggs, put grilled onions and 2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach. On top of the spinach put 2-3 thin slices of mozzarella cheese. The skillet will be full because of the spinach. Put the lid on the skillet. Cook on medium high heat until you can hear the eggs cooking. Then reduce the heat to low and cook until the spinach is completely wilted and the mozzarella is melted. Slide the frittata out of the pan onto a plate.
Here is part of Psalm 8. See if you don’t agree it is perfect for both Earth Day and Good Friday mediation.
“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens…When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor."
This one Psalm praises God who created the earth as well as the “Son of Man.” one of the titles Jesus used for himself.
I have had as much drama and tension in the past two weeks as I normally have in a year.
My parents’ house has been sold. No more 3 hour trips to clean and sort. No more anxiety as the buyer negotiates with his mortgage company. A huge layer of stress was lifted. There are a few legal matters to clean up, but this basically finishes my duties as executor. Take a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief.
The day after the close on the house I had my annual physical. My confidence in my new doctor increased. She and I had a serious conversation about colon issues. In the fall of 2005, as long term readers of my blog may remember, I had a colonoscopy. The day after the procedure the doctor called me to come back to his office and said, “I have the pathology back on the polyp I removed. It wasn’t a polyp, it was something vascular. I think I may have perforated your colon. I want you to go to the hospital immediately.”
The tests to prove that he had NOT perforated my colon were tortuous. The three antibiotics I was on to make sure there was no infection threw my already unhappy digestive system into further disarray. It was a month before I felt normal.
At that moment in time I said I would never have another colonoscopy. That was not a practical position to take because my grandmother died from colon cancer and my mother had one pre-cancerous polyp removed. My new doctor wanted to verify the facts before she decided how to proceed. I have made numerous calls to the clinic that did the colonoscopy. I have relived the whole traumatic event in my mind. It has not been fun. I need to take a deep breath and be brave.
DD was notified that she would be receiving an award from the Business School at her university. My husband and I decided to attend the awards banquet. We were so glad we did. DD received not one, but two awards. Perhaps you are wondering what could possibly be stressful about a joyous trip like that. Well…the air conditioner in the car broke the first day of the trip. We were driving through West Texas dust storms with the windows down and hot air blowing in our faces. Not to mention we were concerned about having to replace a compressor in a relatively new car. Take another deep breath and smile as the repair shop says that the compressor is fine; the problem was something electrical.
This weekend we enter the Easter season. This morning a friend sent me a link to Max Lucado’s thoughts about Easter. As I read, I remembered the week before Easter 19 years ago. After a sermon about the Centurion who witnessed the crucifixion of Christ, our son made the decision that he personally wanted to accept the free gift of salvation. This memory made me take another deep breath with a joyful smile on my face.
If you would like to read about that Centurion who watched as Jesus died on the cross, here is the link. The Centurion at the Foot of the Cross
I have taken lots of deep breaths. I am relieved and relaxed. I am ready to move on to what God has planned for me next.
I have neglected blogging, but have not neglected the BTD during Spring Break. Everyone in my family was sick except me. I’m sure beneficial foods that act like medicine had something to do with that, though there must be other factors as well since DD is every bit as conscientious as I am.
Spring colds did not keep us from enjoying Spring Break. We cooked some delicious food – I have one really good recipe to share. We took some fun hikes in the Hill Country. We ate at some very friendly BTD restaurants. I’ll write about all of that in my next blog.
But today I’m going to tell a story about an incident that happened this morning that you might be able to relate to. After battling a bad cold for three weeks, my Honorable Husband was almost well. HH is prone to sinus infections, and our old city doctor would give him antibiotics if a cold dragged on for more than a week. Our new country doctor refused to do that. She said that there was no indication of an infection, and she told him to get a saline spray for his nose and keep taking cough syrup and mucus thinners. I was cheering on the inside, but I couldn’t show it because HH was furious. In the end he had to admit that the new doctor was right. He got over the cold without antibiotics.
Just as he was feeling like himself again, HH had what appears to be another diverticulitis attack. It was hard to tell at first, because diverticulitis has all of the same symptoms as a stomach bug – abdominal pain and fever. He admitted that he has been constipated, but had not done anything to remedy the situation. Worse, he admitted that he only goes to the bathroom about every two days. That is not good for colon health, so I began thinking of things he can do to get his bowels moving.
When we woke up this morning, I told him to go to the kitchen and drink a full glass of water before breakfast. A few minutes later I found him in the office on the computer. “Did you drink your water?” I said. No, he hadn’t made it to the kitchen yet. “Go,” I said with authority. “Get the water now.”
When I arrived in the kitchen HH was drinking something with color. “What are you drinking?” I asked.
“Water,” he said with irritation.
“No,” I said. “That is not water. What is it?”
“It’s leftover tea from last night and I filled up the rest of the glass with water,” he said.
I explained about sphincter muscles and how plain water will go straight through an empty stomach and start your bowels moving.
Suddenly I saw a couple of parallels. People say the BTD is hard. I’ve said that myself. But it’s not really hard. People just don’t want to follow simple instructions about completely avoiding foods that everybody around them is eating. We want to do things our own way and still enjoy maximum health. Some people may get away with doing that in the short run, but in the long run it will catch up with them.
The second parallel is in my spiritual life. I do this to God all the time. The instructions in the Bible are quite clear and relatively simple. Do this, and it will be to your benefit. But I don’t want to do things God’s way. I change things. I stop to do something I want to do. I add to or subtract from the simple instructions. I saw my own self will and my stubbornness in my husband’s behavior about the easy directions to drink a glass of plain water when he first gets out of bed.
Do a little Spring Break self analysis. Are you eating the BTD way or your own way? Are you living a life that honors the God who created you, or are you making up your own rules? Don’t miss out on the physical and spiritual blessings that come from a life of simple obedience.
I love eggs, and I love breakfast, but I rarely put the two together. My fruit and nut mixture is perfect for breakfast – it gets me going quickly and keeps me energized all morning. I like to have my Type O red meat for lunch - beef or bison or lamb for lunch. The evening meal is when I enjoy eggs.
DD was home for a visit, and she had a craving for French toast, one of our Saturday morning traditions from when she was young. We decided to have a big breakfast for supper.
We modified the old French toast recipe, and it turned out delicious.
7 slices of Raisin Ezekiel Bread
¾ cup soy milk
½ tsp almond extract
Mix the eggs, soy milk and extract in a large bowl with a flat bottom. Dip the bread in the egg mixture. The bread needs to absorb some, but not too much of the eggs. You don’t want to dip it so quickly that the egg is just coating the outside of the bread. You also don’t want to leave the bread soaking for so long that it becomes soggy.
Cook it on a hot griddle or a skillet sprayed with cooking spray until it is golden brown. Top with ghee and cinnamon.
I think what made this French toast especially good was the combination of Raisin Ezekiel Bread and cinnamon.
We served the French toast with turkey bacon. This was the only BTD compromise of the meal. We found pork bacon without preservatives or nitrites at the health food store. We found turkey bacon with nitrites at the grocery store. Neither is the best, but we went with the turkey.
French toast, turkey bacon, and fresh fruit. It was a delicious supper.
I always smile when I am doing my Bible study and a verse jumps out with application for the BTD. That happened this week with Hebrews 13:9. I know that in context the verse is about legalistic food rituals, but it speaks to my heart about the relative importance of the love I have for Christ & my fellow human beings and the needs of my own body.
Here is the verse. “It is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.” I see this as a reminder to me that while God wants me to take care of my body, I must never become so preoccupied with myself that I neglect grace.
I used to find April Fools Day to be a humorous holiday. I got a good laugh at the pranks and funny e-mails that show up on that particular day. I’m not laughing this year, because the power of people making foolish decisions in my country is having a greater and greater impact on my life and my freedom.
If you ever want to do an interesting word study, look for the comparison of fool and wise man in the Bible. It seems to me that fools are in control politically and culturally not just on April 1, but the other 364 days of the year as well. I am restrained from a spirit of anger and viciousness by Jesus’ words, “Anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” I usually temper my remarks, saying “We are ruled by a bunch of idiots!” I suppose that does sound a little better than fool.
Their decisions affect my health because they affect the culture. Marketers delight to turn the gullibility of the ignorant into profit. When fools fall for advertising that tells them alcohol, candy bars, and fries will make them happy, it affects my ability to find healthy food in a restaurant or store. The amazing thing is that after being duped on one end, the same fools fall for advertising about weight loss products.
Their decisions affect my health because they affect the government. My husband and I have tried to live wisely. We have worked hard, lived frugally, and saved our money. Now the lazy and foolish have united to rob us through high taxes and government regulations. I am losing my freedom because greedy dupes have political power over me.
It is interesting to me that this year April Fool’s Day is the day before Crucifixion Friday. The most profound thing that the Bible has to say about fools is found in Psalm 14:1. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
On this April Fools day, ask God for wisdom. He promises that if you ask for wisdom he will give it to you. (James 1:5). Do not be a gluttonous fool, eating junk food. Do not be a greedy fool, pulling the economy down to the lowest common denominator. Above all, do not be one who God calls a fool, because you deny Him.
No matter how good the BTD is, it cannot cancel out the normal aging process. I see this in myself as I struggle to maintain my muscle tone in my 50s. I see it even more dramatically as my 93 year old mother tries to regain movement in her right side after her stroke.
DD does a morning Bible Study from a book by Sarah Young called Jesus Calling. The author quotes scripture passages, and then paraphrases as if Jesus were talking in first person. I’m conservative about how people translate the Word of God, and am normally suspicious of personalized translations. But DD sends me excerpts that mean a lot to her, and I have to admit that Sarah has done an excellent job in her book.
DD sent me an excerpt this morning with a note that it had depressed her. That is because she is 20 years old, and thinks that she will always have the beautiful body she has now. I read the same passage and am greatly encouraged. Life on earth is a prelude to a far greater life in Heaven with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. A life where there is no more pain, no more sorrow, and no more aging.
I follow the BTD, NOT to live forever here on earth. Who would want to do that? I follow the BTD so that I can live the most energetic and productive life here that I can. But truly abundant life – that is still to come.
Here is the quote that depressed DD and energized me.
“I am your living God, far more abundantly alive than the most vivacious person you know. The human body is wonderfully crafted, but gravity and the evitable effects of aging weight it down. Even the most superb athlete cannot maintain his fitness over many decades. Lasting abundant life can be found in Me alone. Do not be anxious about the weakness of your body. Instead, view it as the prelude to My energy’s infusing into your being. As you identify more and more fully with Me, My Life becomes increasingly intertwined with yours. Though the process of again continues, inwardly you grow stronger with the passing years. Those who live close to Me develop an inner aliveness that makes them seem youthful in spite of their years. Let My Life shine through you, as you walk in the Light with Me.”
I like having DD home for the summer for many reasons. One of them is having an exercise partner. She is a planner. I am spontaneous. She plans our exercise for the week. I come up with alternates when something happens to throw the plan off.
One of our new exercise routines this summer is what we call 20-20. There is a walking path near the swimming pool in our neighborhood. It is a ¾ mile loop that goes down a hill, by a fish pond, and back up to the top of the hill. DD and I run the loop for 20 minutes, then jump in the pool and swim for 20 minutes. We have to start early. The neighborhood kids start arriving at the pool about 10:30, and it’s hard to swim laps when they are splashing.
The board of our neighborhood association decided to upgrade the equipment in the fitness room. They bought a new elliptical trainer and a new treadmill. They also got two different types of stationary bicycles that target different muscles, plus they bought a really nice weight machine. When DD and I go to the fitness room, one of us uses the weight machine for 20-30 minutes, while the other does cardio on one of the other machines. Then we switch. I’m seeing some nice results in the muscle tone on my arms.
Not too many people used the old equipment, but more and more neighbors are taking advantage of the fitness room now that we have good machines. Yesterday I was on the elliptical and DD was lifting weights. Another lady came in and chose the treadmill. A few minutes later a fourth lady arrived. She evidently saw that one of us was using the equipment she wanted because she left, saying she’d come back later.
We ride our bikes at least one day a week after dinner. It’s starting to cool off by then, and we have the added bonus of watching a sunset change colors as we ride home.
God, in the Bible, often uses physical principles to make a spiritual point. For instance there are many verses about endurance and stamina. Those verses encourage me when I exercise. They keep me pressing on when I’m tired and would rather take it easy. But while God commends my efforts to strengthen my body, the higher meaning of those verses is to strengthen my character and my faith.
Today I read a verse in proverbs about food choices. “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil. But a foolish man devours all he has.” That is Proverbs 21:20. I first thought of the BTD when I read it. Doesn’t it perfectly describe modern society? When I shop if I buy only choice, healthy foods, my family and I will eat wisely. But if I bring junk foods and avoids into my home, stress may overcome me and I may devour everything in sight.
The spiritual principle is also there. Just as I don’t want to make leave myself vulnerable to making poor food decisions in the kitchen when I am hungry or needing comfort, I don’t want to ignore God until a crisis strikes, and then cry out for help.
Just as I want to make wise and beneficial food decisions ahead of time at the grocery store, I want to develop a relationship with God and absorb His teachings ahead of time so that in a crisis I understand His will.
Our church had a brunch between Bible Study and Worship on Easter Sunday. The lady who was planning it told me she had an oversupply of desserts, so I said I would bring stuffed eggs. That was a challenge, because sometimes my hard boiled eggs turn out perfect, but sometimes I can’t get the shell off without tearing the egg to pieces.
I went to the internet, read at least 10 recipes, and watched several You Tube videos. Each said theirs was the perfect way to cook hard boiled eggs, but each was different. I was cooking eggs for my church – I had wanted a consensus.
First I looked for points of agreement. They all agreed that using old eggs was better than using fresh eggs. I didn’t know that. I had 8 eggs in the fridge that were 2 weeks old, and a dozen that I had just bought. The statement about old eggs being easier to peel was true. I could identify the 8 old eggs as I was peeling them. Two sites said that adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the water changed the ph and made eggs easier to peel. I did this, and I think it helped, because even the fresh eggs peeled better than I expected.
Most sites said to put the eggs in tap water, and then turn on the heat. Two sites said put the eggs in boiling water. I went with the majority opinion. The temperature and cooking time varied a lot. I followed the recipe that said not to bring the eggs to a rolling boil, but to keep the temperature at a simmer where little bubbles were steadily coming up from the bottom of the pan. I cooked my eggs uncovered for 12 minutes after they started to boil.
Some sites said rinse the eggs in cold water; some said immerse them in ice water. I usually rinse in cold water, so this time I lifted the eggs out with a slotted spoon and quickly put them in ice water.
The most intriguing way to peel eggs was to take off a little bit of shell on both ends, and blow the egg out of the shell. I did not try this. I was preparing food for a church brunch, and I expected other cooks to use safe and sanitary methods. Blowing eggs will have to wait for a time when I’m cooking them only for myself.
The most common way to peel eggs was to roll them on the counter. I watched You Tube cooks get perfect eggs this way. It didn’t work for me. The eggs were peeling better than usual, but enough shell was sticking to leave indentations in the eggs. Still intrigued by the egg blowing technique, I removed a little bit of shell from both ends, and then held the egg under cool running water. There wasn’t enough pressure to push the egg out of the shell, but the water did seem to run under the membrane, and peeling was much easier.
Whether it was the 12 minute cooking time or the ice water bath, I don’t know, but there wasn’t a hint of gray or green on the yolks. They were a beautiful yellow. Pre-BTD I used a prepared dressing for stuffed eggs. This time I used half mayonnaise, half mustard, both made from neutral ingredients.
I liked the way they turned out – but would the church members? Indeed they did. I hardly brought any left overs home.
An Easter brunch is a great time of fellowship, but an Easter sermon should point us to the Savior. Here is a taste of what I heard last week – People will say some nice things about God. They may even show up in a church service and go through pious platitudes. They are comfortable talking about our culture, our country and our world. Everything will be ok as long as God doesn’t get pushy. As long as God doesn’t demand ownership, everything will be fine. Man would rather worship nature, a moral code, or himself (I can be a god) than face the all powerful creator-father God.
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.
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.
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.”
DD has gone back to her university full of hope and enthusiasm. She has had several bits of really good news, and she said, “Mom, you need to blog about this.” I thought about several Type As who have written on the Forum that they wish they could gain weight. I thought about several others who deal with thyroid problems. I said, “DD, why don’t you write about it from your perspective. Your experience could be an encouragement to someone.” So today’s blog is from my Darling Daughter.
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As Marvelous Mom has blogged, I have been struggling with gaining back weight. My “Daring Experiment,” seems to be working, and I am getting close to what my weight was a year ago. I have two more pounds to gain. Then, I can level off for a while and see if my hormones will start up again. My new diet was very easy to stay on while at home for Christmas break. I was slightly worried about going to back to school though. I brought a blender back with me to make my tasty soy shakes.
The second day I was back at school, I suddenly dropped two pounds. It scared me. I began to think that the weight gain had been a fluke and that my experiment had failed. I continued to plunge ahead with the plan—eating mini-meals every 2-3 hours and emphasizing egg white protein and vegetable proteins like nuts, nut butters, and soy.
I get fresh veggies from the University dining hall every day. They have an excellent salad bar that is quite accommodating for my new eating habits. My fellow students do not think that I am eating enough—since they just see me eating fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch, and a nut butter soy shake for dinner. However, they just do not understand that I am literally eating ALL day long. I am sure that my roommate finds it strange that I drink a shake for dinner (she is much too sweet to say anything though).
The next day, after my scare, my weight was up a little, and the day after that, I was back to where I had been when I left home. My morning temperature has been in the low 98s three of the last five days, which is a huge improvement. Then I got the best news - the doctor’s office called Friday to say that my latest lab report showed my thyroid is within the normal range. I was so excited. I had a lump of happiness swell up in my throat. I immediately e-mailed my Sunday School teacher and told her of all the AMAZING and unexpected blessings that God had showered down upon me. Who would have thought that having my wisdom teeth extracted would lead to weight gain, which led to a diet breakthrough, which led to my thyroid going back to normal?!?!?!
As much as I have learned this past year about my physical, as well as spiritual, weaknesses and strengths, I ought not be worried about my weight gain. I know with all of my heart that God is going to take care of me. He has said so in so many ways—especially through this new diet.
I found this verse in my daily Bible study: Deuteronomy 8:3
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Prior to Christmas break, I was eating meat in an attempt to gain weight. I have never liked the way a whole serving of meat makes me feel. Forcing myself to eat 3 ounces of meat was very stressful, and I looked for any excuse to cut back. I knew I could gain weight by eating more bread and grains, but that's how I ended up with an unattractive kind of fat. While I can admit that I lost too much weight, if I have to gain it back, I want to gain muscle, not lumpy fat.
It was not until I came before the Lord desperate for His answer to my problem, that I finally began to see that I needed soy, egg white, and vegetable protein to gain healthy weight, nourish my thyroid, and feel better all the way around.
I'm searching for some positive things to say about spending the past two days at the hospital. One of them is that hospital food has really improved.
My Dad has never gotten over the UTI that he had last summer. His doctor has tried several antibiotics for drug resistant bacteria. Each time Dad finished a course of antibiotics, they waited a week and did another urine test. He would e-mail saying, "I failed another test," and back on antibiotics he would go. When he failed the last test, I called his doctor and said I thought he should see a urologist. He had an appointment for the first Wednesday in December.
When we left their house on Saturday after Thanksgiving, he was happily waving good bye. Saturday night he sent me an e-mail detailing things we had accomplished on our Thanksgiving visit and making plans for the Wednesday appointment. Sunday morning my Mom called to say she could not get him to wake up. EMS took him to the hospital, and I grabbed my bags and started for their house. During the night the UTI had exploded into a full body infection. He was dealing with pneumonia, kidney failure, and a possible heart attack.
He is a critically ill man. I have had to talk with the doctors about his "directive to physicians." I have to walk a fine line between having my Mom at the hospital to see him during the brief ICU visiting periods, and making sure she gets enough rest so that she doesn't get sick herself.
In high stress situations, I ask myself two questions: What is God trying to teach me? and Where are the hidden blessings? I've found two of the latter. One is a big improvement in hospital food. Vending machines have bottled water and juice not just soda. The snack machines are still filled with things I can't eat because they are made with wheat and peanuts, but at least I can get something to drink. Today Mom and I went to the cafeteria for lunch. I wasn't expecting much, but she has knee and leg issues and walks with a cane. It was a much shorter walk to the concourse than it was to the parking garage.
We had a delicious and healthy lunch. I had grilled tilapia with onions and red peppers. For side dishes I had green beans, zucchini, and carrots. The green beans were fresh and cooked to perfection. This is not the bland, overcooked, mushy food that hospitals used to serve. If I hadn't known better I would have thought I was in an upscale restaurant.
The second hidden blessing is that I am truly thankful I have not found a job yet. It leaves me free to stay with Mom and Dad while they need me. If I had found the perfect job a month ago, I would now be negotiating for time off and wishing I could be two places at once. As always, God's timing is perfect.
I don't know if Dad will recover. It depends first on whether they can find drugs to knock out a very resistant bacteria and second on whether his heart, lungs and kidneys can recover from the damage done by the infection. We wait.
My husband and I are making progress. DD read my blog and Chanur’s comment. She e-mailed recipes and helpful suggestions. The theme of her e-mail was “Take care of my Dad, I want him to be healthy.”
One night he apologized for his bad attitude. He said, “If I have to choose between good taste and good health, then good health is a slam dunk.”
If you want to know the truth, I’m sympathetic to his plight. First of all, he has no sense of smell. Maybe it is genetic, or maybe it is because he has had sinus trouble most of his life. But most food has no flavor for him. That is why he likes pepper and vinegar, even though they are avoid. He can taste them. That is why he would rather have cheddar cheese than tofu. Unless a food has a strong or distinct flavor, to him it “tastes like cardboard.”
I’m also sympathetic because I’m the one who has changed – not him. When he married me I knew nothing about nutrition and could have cared less. I was a typical American cooking lots of desserts and serving white bread at every meal…you get the picture. Just before our first anniversary, I read my first health food book, and changed our way of eating overnight. Then five years ago I found the BTD and changed everything all over again.
It’s sort of like when two secular people get married, then one of them accepts Christ as savior. While I will pray fervently along with the new Christian that his/her spouse will also receive Christ - I do sympathize (just a little) with the spouse. He (or she) was content being a heathen. He married someone like him – who liked to party, or sleep late on Sunday, or whatever. Now he is under pressure to change, to give up bad habits, to surrender his life to God, to go to Bible study instead of clubs. I know he will be better off, both now and in eternity, if he becomes a Christian, but I can see that from his perspective it’s not fair that his marriage has been upended.
When HH & I married we were both unhealthy Christians. I changed, and I’ve been dragging him along ever since. I can’t blame him when occasionally he rebels or digs in his heels.
Here is the new plan. I’m going to set things up so that he can make his own casseroles. I’m going to fix a grain or a noodle dish (which I usually won’t eat). I’m also going to fix a meat (fish or turkey) and several vegetables. He is going to mix what he wants in a bowl. I’ll have some kind of beneficial or neutral sauce to go on top. He thinks this will work. I think it will work too.
Pardon me if this is a bit of a solemn blog. You don’t spend nearly two weeks nursing someone you love back from the brink of disaster without a lot of introspection.
It is hard to see a once vigorous man – one who used to effortlessly toss me in the air and catch me – one who loved to climb mountains and ride horses – unable to sit up in bed or stand in a walker.
It forces me to face the reality that we live in a fallen world (Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight. Genesis 6:11) and we are all heading toward death (For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23).
Our culture glorifies life and youth. We fill magazines with pictures of healthy, happy youngsters. We watch movies of people living immoral lives and practicing all kinds of unhealthy habits without any consequence. It’s a lie.
We are all aging. The earth is decaying. Everything in this world is moving toward death. The Bible predicts it, and when you spend a while in a sick room, the truth slaps you in the face.
One day a friend was going pretty hard on my Dad and other elderly people who stop taking medication. “Wait a minute,” I said. “I follow a pretty weird and restrictive diet so that I don’t have to take medication every day. When the BTD worked, I didn’t talk to my doctor. I stopped the medication that was no longer needed.”
Later, as I thought back over my own words, I asked myself, “Why do I stay with the BTD?” It’s certainly not an easy diet, though it’s also not as hard as it seems for the first month. I don’t do the BTD, thinking that I will live forever. That won’t happen, and I know it. I’m not even sure I would want to live to some extreme old age. It would get pretty lonely when all my family and friends were gone.
I stay with the BTD because I want to be active, productive, and independent for as many years as God gives me. I don’t want to slowly decline to a point where I can’t move and I can’t think. I don’t want to be on prescription drugs, if there is a way I can have the same results naturally. I believe that the BTD gives me the best chance to stay healthy and energetic.
I quoted the first half of Romans 6:23. It sounds pretty bleak. It is the 2nd half of the verse that brings hope: but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. My Dad and Mom are declining because this is a fallen world. But because of their faith in Jesus Christ they have hope. They will have new resurrected bodies where there will be no more disease or sorrow. (There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4). Best of all, I know I will see them again. Until then, I count out vitamins for their daily pill boxes, and I eat right for my type. We want to live for God as long as he leaves us on this earth. But as recent days have reminded me; this is just a temporary home.