One of my big clients did a seminar on aging gracefully. My little company was involved with pre-publicity, handouts for the seminar, and photographing the event. There were five speakers from a Texas medical school. Of the five, three were fascinating, one was interesting, and one disagreed with everything I believe about nutrition.
The first speaker was a doctor who specializes in eye diseases of the elderly. He encouraged the audience to put a piece of graph paper on the refrigerator door. He said to look at it every few weeks, with one eye at a time. If you notice a spot where the lines appear wavy or disconnected, it's time to be evaluated for macular degeneration.
I was shocked but delighted, to hear this doctor endorse supplements. He said that C 500, E 400, Beta Carotene, Zinc, and Copper would not prevent macular degeneration, but would slow its process. Some patients, however, have not done well on Beta Carotene and Zinc. Researchers have found that Lutein, zeaxanthin, and bilberry have much the same effect on the eyes, but without the difficulties. Lutein and billberry are two of the supplements that my research led me to take after the sudden appearance in my right eye of a large floater.
The second speaker talked about frailty. Two elderly patients can come to the doctor with identical complaints. One recovers in a few weeks; the other declines and drops to a lower quality of life because of frailty. A lifestyle that includes exercise for 30 minutes 5 times a week was her recommendation to prevent frailty. She also cautioned against being either underweight or overweight, saying there was danger in both. She urged the audience to find out their BMI and keep it normal.
Speaker three was about Alzheimer’s research. I was taking pictures, so I could not take notes on the long words, but here is the big picture. Rapamycin is a drug that has been used for transplant patients, and shows promise in extending the lifespan of test animals. Recent tests have showed that it can reverse the progress of dementia in mice that are pre-engineered to get Alzheimer’s. The videos showing mice before and after rapamycin treatment in a learning situation were incredible. This speaker is part of a team proceeding with further studies and they are very optimistic.
The fourth speaker was a dietitian who prompted the government diet. All I could think of as I listened and took pictures was that if I ate according to the chart that she had on the screen, I would have stomach inflammation and year round allergies. I felt sorry for her and wanted to say "I've been on the Blood Type Diet for ten years and don't take any prescription medications, how many do you take". But professional photographers are not wise to interject themselves into events in that way.
While this was a free event, registration was required. Part of the registration process was alerting the planners to any dietary needs. I said I was gluten free. Though I had helped design a lunch box for the event, I was still wondering how they would feed 350 people in the amount of time allotted for lunch. At noon a sliding panel in the convention center was opened and there were tables piled high with lunch boxes. All the boxes had sandwiches, fruit, and a cookie. There were four choices: turkey, ham, vegetarian, and gluten free. Another table was filled with bottles of water.
I grabbed my gluten free lunchbox and joined some friends at a table. I found a turkey sandwich on gluten free bread, a banana, and a gluten free brownie I wrote a blog last summer about suspicious ingredients in gluten free products. I haven’t had a sandwich in five years, and this one tasted delicious. The bread had a good texture and flavor. The brownie was moist and chewy and wonderful in every way. I began thinking that I might reconsider my opinion about gluten free marketing. Two days later, as the bread and brownie worked their way through my digestive system, I became gassy. My poop (pardon graphic language, but if you are considering these products, you need to know) was sticky and hard to expel. I stand by my August blog. Dark Side of Gluten Free
The keynote speaker after lunch was the least technical of the five. He painted a picture of how attitudes and treatments for aging have changed over the years. He pointed to enormous advancements and hope for improving both quality and length of life in the future. Comments after the seminar were extremely positive. There are already discussions about this being the “first annual” event.
There's a part of the gluten free craze that I like. Trying to explain to a friend or a server that I don't eat wheat is sometimes complicated. Like the friend, urging me eat a muffin, who said "It's not wheat, it's bread." Or the server who had no clue what ingredients were in the chopped steak. But if I say I'm gluten free, suddenly everyone understands. Friends say, "Oh, that's what Bill O'Reilly is into." Servers whip out a gluten free menu.
This is good. It's not as precise as Blood Type Diet, but it's good.
However, the dark side of gluten free is the food manufacturers who have jumped into marketing gluten free products. I am aghast when I read ingredients that are almost all potato starch and chemicals. This is not good!
I understand that people suddenly giving up gluten want to keep their lives feeling normal. They're on a quest to find replacements for familiar foods. I started off on the BTD doing the same thing. I know now that eating becomes less stressful when you accept that there is no wheat free or gluten free product that tastes like Wonder Bread.
In today's gluten free environment, if you look at grocery store shelves you could convince yourself that you can have it all. Just be sure you don't read the ingredients of that gluten free roll with an expiration date of 2015. It contains no real food, and it will not build your health.
I'm thinking about this today, because of a trip to the grocery store yesterday. The grocer in our small town must have someone gluten free in his family. Since we moved here, I have found lots of alternate grains in our grocery store. The store has stocked natural rice crackers on the shelves and 100% rice bread in the freezer. When we lived in the city, I had to go to a health food store to buy these products.
But yesterday the rice bread was gone. It was replaced by several bread varieties with bold wrappers proclaiming gluten free. Every one of them was made of potato starch and chemicals. I filled out a comment card for the store manager, but I'm not optimistic he will bring back the basic healthy products when exciting products in snazzy wrappers are available.
I'm thankful that there is a health food store nearby that values real food as much as I do.
There used to be this little window that would pop up on my computer screen that said "Five things that happen before a heart attack." After seeing it over and over, I got curious and clicked. I knew it would be a sales pitch (and I was right), but after watching a video for more than 10 minutes, I gave up. I didn't want to know the five things badly enough to invest any more time in the advertisement.
Soon another window started popping up. It said "Five foods never to eat" and there was a picture of a very ripe banana. Bananas are beneficial for Type O, so again I was curious. I clicked the link, expecting an advertisement, but when another video started, I thought, "I'll give it 60 seconds." After 60 seconds I escaped.
Still being curious, I began to bing bananas, and I found some interesting and useful information.
Very ripe bananas with dark patches produce a substance called TNF. Research indicates that TNF can combat abnormal cells. The more dark patches a banana has, the higher its level of TNF.
According to a Japanese study TNF from ripe bananas has anti-cancer properties. The riper the banana, the better the anti-cancer quality. Researchers at Tokyo University compared the health benefits of several different fruits, including banana, grape, apple, water melon, and pineapple. Bananas gave the best results, increasing the number of white blood cells, enhancing immunity and producing anti-cancer TNF. A professor involved in the study was quoted as saying that a banana with dark spots is 8 times more effective in increasing white blood cells than a green skin banana.
So we Type Os should be eating ripe bananas with dark spots, right? Not so fast.
Green bananas could have benefits for dieters and diabetics.
Dieters are sometimes told to stay away from bananas because they are starchy, but the type of starch in green bananas is resistant starch. Rather than being broken down during digestion, resistant starches pass through the intestines unchanged. This gives them the characteristics of insoluble fiber. Foods with resistant starch increase the feeling of satisfaction and being full. This may reduce calorie consumption.
Foods containing resistant starch increase insulin sensitivity. This may help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugars more effectively.
Resistant starch also benefits friendly, probiotic bacteria. As the good bacteria in your intestines ferment resistant starch to make energy, they decrease the level of bad bacteria in your intestines. Bad bacteria can cause several problems from diarrhea to chronic colon conditions. When resistant starch is fermented it produces short-chain fatty acids which improve colon health and may reduce the risk of colon cancer. The same short-chain fatty acids increases the body's ability to absorb calcium.
Dr. D says bananas are beneficial for Type Os. I buy them green, and think about how good the resistant starch is for me. As they ripen, I'm happy because I'm getting more TNF. I win either way with bananas.
On the Blood Type Diet, there are no beneficial grains for Type Os. That led me to be virtually grain free for quite a while…which was a bad decision…but one I've dealt with in other blogs. The GenoType diet does have beneficial grains for Hunters and Gatherers, and I make sure I have one or more servings a day of brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.
One of the beneficial Type O grains is teff. I had never seen it in a store and never heard of anyone eating it until today.
Our Strong Son invited us to meet him in Austin for lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant called Aster's. I was ready for a food adventure, but my Honorable Husband was extremely skeptical. Aster's has a buffet for Sunday lunch that is very reasonably priced. I love buffets at international restaurants because I can sample a lot of different foods.
SS told us that instead of using silverware, we were supposed to tear off bits of bread and pick up our food with the bread. Our server must have known we were new to this, because he brought us forks. I filled my plate with delicious smelling vegetables and meats. I resolved to eat with a fork - because when I hear "bread," I think "wheat."
I had three different meat dishes. One was very spicy, but the other two were wonderful. I also got Atakelt Wott (cabbage, green beans, carrots, onions, garlic, and ginger, in a turmeric sauce) and Gomen (collard greens cooked with onion, garlic, and spices). I have got to google a recipe for Gomen. It was categorically the best collard greens I've ever eaten.
SS filed his Dad's plate with salad, rice, and some vegetarian lentil dishes. And he gave his Dad a piece of Ethiopian bread, which looks like a brown tortilla.
We were all eating, and enjoying our food, when someone picked up a card on the table that told about the bread, which is called Injera. It's not made of wheat. It's made of Teff. When I heard that, I had to try it, and I liked it. So I began to eat my meat Ethiopian style, picking it up with the bread.
The card referred to a website - teffco.com¸ where you can order Teff in the United States, and the price seems reasonable. I think I'm going to order their sample pack so I can try both the grain and the flour.
I decided yesterday to start hoarding food. I hope I'm being neurotic, but too many signs point to the potential for an economic disaster. I decided I had better be prepared.
I grew up on the Gulf Coast. People there are aware that a hurricane or an ice storm can knock out the infrastructure for a week or more. I have followed my Mom's example and always kept two weeks' worth of food on hand. I was thankful that my Mom had a well stocked pantry when Hurricane Ike knocked out their power for more than a week a few years ago.
Yesterday I decided that two weeks might not be enough. I'm going to add another month's worth of food to what I already have in the house. I look at the growing debt, the irrational exuberance of the stock market, and the unwillingness to cut either government or personal spending. I hope I'm being neurotic, but it spells disaster to me.
Two factors influenced my action yesterday: observation at a charity event and a radio commercial.
In our town there is a government apartment house for elderly poor. They are served two meals a day six days a week, but no meals are served on Sunday. Local churches take turns serving Sunday lunch to the residents. Our Bible Study class has had the first Sunday in March for several years. HH and I have contributed money to the project, but this year we went to help serve. For lunch they had pizza and cupcakes. That was the menu because it was popular and inexpensive. Our small group was able to feed almost 40 people a meal that made them smile. But as I served, couldn't help putting myself in their shoes. As a Type O, if I were on a diet of pizza and cupcakes, my stomach pain would come roaring back, my cholesterol would skyrocket, and I would gain weight fast.
That led to the realization that if there is an economic collapse, the food that will be easily available, will not be food that builds my health. I hope, I'm being neurotic, but I need to have nonperishable meat and vegetables in reserve.
I listen to the radio as I drive from one appointment to another. Among the oft repeated commercials right now are those for food insurance. As I was driving around yesterday, I must have heard three food insurance commercials. The one that grabbed my attention talked about how their food was freeze dried and could be safely stored for decades. Names mentioned were lasagna, chicken Alfredo, and beef stroganoff. All of that is wheat based - not health building for Type Os.
Again it hit me that if there is a disaster I need to be self sufficient. I do not want to depend on starch based meals handed out at a government facility. My last stop of the day was at the grocery store to buy bananas, lettuce, and broccoli. I filled my cart with non perishable meat, legumes, vegetables and fruit. I will have to remember to watch expiration dates and rotate cans, but I can do that.
As I unloaded the food and stored it away, something else hit me. If there is a disaster and my neighbors come to the door begging food for their children, my Christian world view will not allow me to turn them away. Perhaps a month's food is not enough. But I really hope I'm being neurotic.
I keep a pitcher of green tea in the refrigerator all the time. As much as I like the taste of plain green tea, I also like variety. So I usually mix 4 bags of green tea with two bags of another flavor of tea. Obviously I do not use any black tea because is avoid for both of us. I look for herb teas with no avoid ingredients.
I especially like fruit flavored tea, so I often mix blueberry, peach, and raspberry herb teas with green tea. We drank the last of some peppermint green tea last night.
The reason flavored tea is on my mind this morning is because I just placed an order with Vitamin Shoppe. I had a coupon that was getting ready to expire. I really needed to order two things, but in order to get free shipping, I had to shop a little more.
I clicked on the sales, and found Tulsi teas with delicious sounding flavors. I wasn't familiar with Tulsi, but I took the time to do some research. Holy Basil is another name for Tulsi, and Holy Basil is highly recommended for Type As. It is especially good for cortisol issues, something that both HH and DD struggle with. It is neutral for Type Os, but several Os on the Forum have written that they feel like it helps them.
I bought three flavors that sound delicious. I can hardly wait for them to get here. But in the meantime, I'm thinking that today we will have ginger green tea.
I always read labels...at least I thought I did...but I missed one.
After I posted the Teriyaki Turkey recipe, Jane commented that Soy Sauce contained wheat.
My first reaction was that wheat was probably a minor ingredient near the bottom of the ingredient list. I walked to the refrigerator to check the bottle. No. Wheat was the number 1 ingredient. I couldn't believe it.
Why do they call it Soy Sauce if the main ingredient is wheat? It should be called Wheat Sauce...but that sounds terrible.
Jane recommended Tamari. At the grocery store I found 5 different kinds of Tamari. All of them were wheat free. Only one was low sodium. I bought that one.
While I was at the store I was also checking labels on soups. When my son was young he was extremely sensitive to MSG. Back then it seemed that all canned soups had MSG. Then Campbells came out with Healthy Request which was MSG free. Other soup makers followed their example and began eliminating MSG from their products. Finally Amys, Pacific, and other companies began marketing organic soups.
I began to buy more canned soup. My husband loves soup and salad for supper. Personally, while I like the taste of many soups, I don't find them filling enough to call a meal. I could warm a can of soup for him and have leftover meat and veggies for myself.
I do read soup labels carefully, even for favorite soups that I buy often. For a few years the trend seemed to be away from MSG. Now it seems to me that it is coming back to more soups. I've stopped buying several products that I bought a year or two ago.
I embarrassed that I missed the wheat in Soy Sauce, but I needed the reminder to stay vigilant. Even when I think I have read the label before, or when I think I know what is in a product, I need to take the time to check.
As we drove home on a cold and blustery Christmas day, we stopped at a Subway sandwich shop for lunch. We were fortunate to find a place that was open. Most restaurants were giving their employees family time for Christmas. This Subway was inside a gas station, and I hope the employees who served us got a good Christmas bonus!
I had packed salmon, peas and carrots for my lunch. While my husband and son ordered their sandwiches I indifferently read the menu. I had no intention of ordering anything, until I saw chicken livers among the choices at the kiosk next to Subway.
I never ate liver as a child. I'm not sure whether my mother didn't cook it because she didn't like it or because she knew that I was such a picky eater that there was no chance I would get beyond the first bite. When I read my first book on nutrition (Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit) the author was very enthusiastic about liver. I learned that I liked liver in restaurants where it was a featured item. However, the liver I cooked at home was not very good.
I also learned that I like chicken liver better than beef liver, and my absolute favorite - before the BTD - was chicken fried chicken livers.
On Christmas Day, I approached the counter debating whether eating a little batter would be worth it to get the livers. Then I saw a tub of flour by the fryer. These was not a pre-processed, pre-battered food product. They made the livers fresh on site.
I had a brainstorm. I asked if they could fry some livers without batter. The poor server who was stuck working Christmas Day, looked at me like I was crazy. "Are you sure you want me to do that?" she asked. When I said yes she took my money. The livers were delicious. The oil made them slightly crisp on the outside, but there was no wheat.
I'm thinking I could do this at home. I have a mini fryer that I got as a wedding gift long ago. I haven't used it in years because oven frying is so much healthier. But if I used grape seed oil it might work.
Where did the tradition to have ham for Christmas dinner come from? We are celebrating the birth of Jesus - a Jew who never would have eaten pork in his life. Lamb would be appropriate, or fish. My sister's family likes steak for Christmas dinner. The Honey Baked Ham Company and other pork purveyors have certainly come up with a Christmas marketing coup.
For me personally, ham has always given me headaches. I remember as a little girl, being sick after eating ham. I liked the taste, but it did not agree with me. I do not see the point of eating pork ribs. They appear to be mostly fat and gristle. The sauce is good, but I'd rather have sauce on chicken or brisket, which is better quality meat. Pork chops were always to dry too be enjoyable. However, before the BTD, I really did like pork tenderloin.
There are two aspects to my decision about whether or not to eat pork - the religious and the nutritious. The Old Testament is pretty adamant about not eating pork. But the New Testament declares that all food made by God is allowable. So as a Christian, there is no religious requirement for me about eating or not eating pork. However, there was a lot of wisdom in the dietary laws given by God to the Jews in the Old Testament. For instance the rules about washing hands and utensils protected the Jews from the Black Plague in the 14th century. The prohibition against pork protected the Jews from parasites that were common in pork until the past 100 years.
From the nutritious standpoint, Dr. D says that pork is avoid for all types. When Dr. D and the Bible agree, that is good enough for me. I consider pork to be a double avoid.
Our Christmas dinner was a buffet at HH's Mom's house. His sisters had decided on ham and pork ribs. I didn't want to be contrary, but I wanted another option. I brought some deli sliced turkey. I rolled the turkey around fresh spinach and sliced it in one inch bites. I said they were turkey appetizers. At the end of the meal the platter was almost empty.
I found plenty of neutral and beneficial choices. There were sweet potatoes and baked beans. DD made pineapple cranberry sauce. She also made a pumpkin soufflé in a pie pan and called it crustless pumpkin pie. The only avoid I ate was a salad brought by one of our nieces. It was made with fresh grapes and walnuts tossed in a little dressing made from light cream cheese and light sour cream. I think at home I could do a dressing with almond milk custard that would make this delicious salad completely compliant.
My husband and I are involved with the Christmas music at our church. He is singing and I am playing clarinet. We had an extra rehearsal on Saturday morning. As we were driving home after the rehearsal, I saw signs for the Farmers Market.
I'm rarely in town on Saturday morning. I knew there was a Farmers Market, however I tend to think about it every day except Saturday. But yesterday - there we were, and I asked HH to stop.
I had three goals: find kohlrabi, buy lettuce, and get lunch.
Nine years ago when I started the BTD, I read that kohlrabi was a beneficial vegetable. I had never heard of it, but I found it at the grocery store. I followed a recipe and cooked it. In my opinion cooked kohlrabi tastes terrible. No one in the family liked it. I probably threw it out.
However another BTD blogger wrote that he grated raw kohlrabi, tossed it with olive oil and lemon juice, and served it like Cole slaw. I tried that and it was delicious. Unfortunately my family's initial experience with cooked kohlrabi was so bad that they didn't really give it a chance.
I experimented with several options for dressing, and wound up liking it so much that I ate it at least once a week.
Unfortunately, not enough people bought kohlrabi, and my grocery store stopped carrying it about three years ago.
I hoped to find kohlrabi at the Farmers Market. There were eight to ten booths selling vegetables. Only one had kohlrabi, but one was all I needed. This farmer had the green kohlrabi I was familiar with and he also had a purple kohlrabi. I bought the green after being assured that he brought both kinds to the market every week.
All of the vegetable booths claimed to be organic. What that meant was that lettuce was twice the price that I was used to paying at the grocery store. I bought some, realizing that I wouldn't save anything if I spent time and gas to get to the grocery store. I had high expectations for organic lettuce, but I was disappointed. It didn't taste any better than less expensive grocery store lettuce.
The lunch options were outstanding. I got my lunch at an Indian food booth. I had spinach that was coated with a spicy wheat free mix and cooked until it was crunchy. I also had garbanzo and chicken dish topped with a ginger sauce. HH got his lunch at a pastry booth. It was a pocket sandwich with a chicken filling.
I enjoyed "kohl slaw" for dinner last night, and I am looking forward to enjoying it in the future - if I can remember to drive to town on Saturday morning.
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.
In my last blog I mentioned several foods that I used to crave, but that no longer have a hold on me. I also mentioned several foods that I still fantasize about, though I don’t buy them or eat them at home.
One food that I really miss is popcorn. I like crunch, I like salt, and I like butter. Popcorn has all three. Plus it has a lot of fiber. But I rarely fix it because it isn’t good for either HH or me. It is avoid for Type O. While it is neutral for Type A, it is infrequent neutral for diabetic Type As. HH was pre-diabetic until he got serious about the BTD and dropped his blood sugar by 20 points.
Occasionally he can coax me into fixing some air popcorn with olive oil during a movie, but not often.
This week I tried something that satisfied my longing for popcorn.
I bought a bag of puffed millet earlier in the summer. I like it as a snack with a Tablespoon of carob powder and a little almond milk. HH likes it in the mini casseroles I fix him for dinner.
Tonight I put some ghee on top of a bowl of puffed millet and warmed it in the microwave for 45 seconds. I stirred it, salted it, and tasted it.
It’s not popcorn, but it satisfied the part of me that craves popcorn. I have a feeling I’m going to be making this Un-Popcorn a lot.
We were having breakfast with some friends last week, and I was drinking cranberry juice. “T” asked if I had been reading the reports that cranberries were dangerous. I had heard no such thing, but I was curious.
Since menopause, I’ve taken cranberry capsules 3-5 days a week as a preventative measure against urinary tract infections. It has worked great, and I didn’t want to give it up and go back to antibiotics.
I’ve been preoccupied with work, but I finally had a chance to do some research. Every site I went on had mostly great things to say about cranberries and cranberry juice, but there were a few warnings.
One site confirmed what my doctor once told me about cranberry. “People used to think that cranberry worked for urinary tract infections by making the urine acidic and, therefore, unlikely to support the growth of bacteria. But researchers don’t believe this explanation any more. They now think that some of the chemicals in cranberries keep bacteria from sticking to the cells that line the urinary tract where they can multiply. Cranberry, however, does not seem to have the ability to release bacteria which are already stuck to these cells. This may explain why cranberry is possibly effective in preventing urinary tract infections, but possibly ineffective in treating them.”
The danger my friend had heard about was the association between high consumption of cranberry and kidney stones. Even cranberry capsules raise urinary oxalate levels, so it is probably wise not to take cranberry - as a fruit, a juice, or a pill - every day.
Cranberry does react with several prescription medications. I didn’t know that, but since I don’t take any prescription medications, I don’t have to worry.
The thing I learned that surprised me was that cranberry contains salicylic acid - an important ingredient in aspirin. Drinking cranberry juice, like taking aspirin, can reduce swelling and prevent blood clots. In other words - it is a blood thinner. That is a good thing for thick blooded type As, but not so great for Type Os like me whose blood is thin already.
I had often wondered why on the BTD food list, cranberry is beneficial for three blood types, but neutral for Os. Perhaps its blood thinning properties have something to do with that. However on the GTD, cranberry is either beneficial or super beneficial for all Types.
I never found anything that recommended that everyone stop cranberry. You just have to weigh the benefits against the possible side effects.
I am in a book club in my neighborhood. While most book clubs choose a book for everyone to read, we are different. We bring books that we have read and talk about what we liked and didn’t like. Then we lend our books to each other. The only rule is that the books have to have a positive message. The reason most of us joined this club is because we were weary of buying a best seller and finding it full of violence and bad language. I have lent out several of my BTD books to people who were interested.
Several of the ladies like murder mysteries, and a series of murder mysteries by Susan Wittig Albert is particularly popular. We all live in the Texas Hill Country, and the setting for these mysteries is an imaginary Hill Country town. We all like to cook, and the theme of the books is herbs. The heroine owns a herb shop and catering company. In addition to clues there are recipes and fun facts about herbs.
My two favorite genres are classics and historical fiction, but once in a while I get in the mood for a good mystery. Last month I borrowed one of Susan Wittig Albert’s books called Nightshade.
When I picked it up, I was thinking of the lovely purple flowers that grow in my yard. I wasn’t thinking of all of the foods in the nightshade family: potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, and bell peppers.
As I read the history of nightshades, I learned that many cultures have considered them all to be poisonous. Some modern nutritionists associate them with diseases like arthritis.
After the mystery was solved, I thought I would see what Dr. D. had to say about nightshades. Every type except Type A has nightshades that beneficial, neutral, and avoid. I couldn’t find any beneficial nightshades for Type A.
Potatoes are avoid for all types. For me (Type O) Eggplant is neutral, but I don’t really like it. Tomatoes are neutral. I eat them if I find them in a salad, but I don’t buy them. Green bell peppers and tomatillos are neutral. They are ok if they are cooked, but don’t like either of them raw. Red Bell Peppers and chili peppers are beneficial. I like both of them cooked and used as a seasoning, but I don’t like them raw.
The bad elements in Nightshades are compounds called alkaloids. Cooking reduces the alkaloid content by half. Perhaps that is why I instinctively prefer cooked peppers to raw peppers.
The pretty flowers that grow in my yard are called Deadly Nightshade. I’ve noticed that in dry weather the deer will eat almost anything green, but they do not touch the nightshade.
Interesting mystery and interesting food facts.
On New Year’s Day I cooked a big crock pot of black eyed peas.
The tradition of eating black eyed peas to bring prosperity in the New Year is well-known in the Southern United States. A quick Google search tells me that it is an international tradition. Some trace its roots to the Middle East and others to Africa.
I’m not superstitious about good luck practices – I just like black eyed peas. Since they are beneficial for Type As and Type Os, I cook them often. A holiday with a beneficial traditional food is certainly worth preserving.
I’ve never liked the Southern way of cooking black eyed peas. Even before I knew anything about nutrition, much less the Blood Type Diet, I winced at finding a chunk of pork fat in my peas. I cook them simply in the crock pot with a large chopped onion and two minced cloves of garlic.
The day after New Year’s I cooked Kasha. Buckwheat is beneficial for Type As and beneficial for Hunters, so it is a good grain choice for our household. I had never eaten buckwheat before the BTD. The first time I read the instructions I knew my family would not like it cooked soft like a cereal. The more appetizing instructions for making Kasha sounded complicated. It turned out to be remarkably easy and fast. I won’t waste blog space with what is written on the back of every buckwheat package, but I will say that if you do exactly what they say to do with the egg and the butter (or oil) in the skillet, you will have a fluffy grain dish.
By then, we were two days into 2012 and I had leftovers. So I made individual casseroles: A layer of kasha, a layer of black eyed peas, a layer of chopped turkey. I put a sauce of some kind on my husband's casserole. The combined flavors of kasha and black eyed peas was very good.
The next day I made casseroles again, this time with grilled onions and canned salmon. Another winner with compliments from my husband.
While this is likely to become our own New Year’s Tradition, there is no reason why we can’t enjoy black eyed peas and kasha any time of year.
My Wal-Mart has a big frozen fish section. I like it because they have wild caught* salmon for a very reasonable price. I began looking at the other types of fish they carry. I found tilapia – which I order in restaurants, but do not cook at home**. Sometimes Wal-Mart has whiting. This is a good choice for my family, so when it is available I stock up.
I also found swai. The package had a glowing description of a delicious and nutritious fish. It was not on the BTD food list I carry in my purse. That usually means a food is neutral, but I decided to do a little checking.
It turns out that swai is a river catfish that is native to Southeast Asia. Since catfish is avoid for both Type As and Type Os, I have was glad I hadn't bought any.
Interesting that the GTD says catfish is beneficial for Gatherers***. I don’t quite understand that, but since I default to the BTD, I’ll not be swai-ed.
* I wrote a blog a year or so ago after talking to the manager of a local fish market. He says that the legal definition of wild caught is tricky. It can mean that the fish are raised in a netted area in a river or ocean. They are sort of wild, but not free to escape. More important, they can be fed whatever the farmer wants to feed them in order to plump them up for market. So while I buy wild caught when I can afford it, I don’t really know it’s wild unless I catch it myself.
** Tilapia seems to always farm raised, which means lower than expected Omega 3s. That’s why I eat it in restaurants, but cook something else at home.
*** Grilled catfish is often on the menu in restaurants. Perhaps this would be a reasonable choice for the Gatherer half of me. However, I won’t be cooking catfish at home, either.
I think that every year at this time, I write a blog about this same topic. During the winter I eat fresh bananas, apples, pineapple, grapes and grapefruit. Most other fresh fruit is expensive in the winter, so I supplement with frozen blueberries, cherries and cranberries. I also buy some dried fruit like prunes, apricots, and figs. I have to be careful with dried fruit, because I have a tendency to eat way too much if I’m eating it right out of the bag. It’s better if I mix it with pumpkin or put it on top of a salad.
I love fruit, and when the summer fruit starts to come in, I am so excited. Watermelons are already red and sweet. I guess that is one good thing about a hot, dry summer. I pick the one with the brightest yellow spot to get a watermelon that is ripe.
Cherries are inexpensive this year. I wonder why. Are more people growing cherries, or is the economy so bad that people can’t afford them? I don’t know, but my Honorable Husband and I are eating lots of cherries.
My grocery store used to carry frozen guava. They discontinued it last winter to my disappointment, but they are carrying fresh guava this summer. The seeds in fresh guava are not nearly as annoying as the seeds in frozen guava.
Peaches are grown locally in the Hill Country. They have been so delicious, that I haven’t even bought a nectarine yet. HH and I have talked about going to an orchard and picking our own.
The price on blueberries, pears, and mangos has dropped. I wander the produce isle unable to resist the bargains. I there was protein in fruit, I would become a fruitarian for the summer. I’m getting as close as my Type O body can stand. Today’s lunch was a little bowl of salmon and collard greens accompanied by a big plate of watermelon and cherries. Ahhh, it was good.
Now that the weather is hot, the hiking club is tubing. Today was my first time to go. We are in a serious drought in my part of Texas. While other parts of the country are seeing storms of unprecedented strength, we are already under water restrictions. This does not usually happen until late July or August.
Because of the drought, there is no current in the rivers. Today, the wind was pushing us upstream about as fast as the current was taking us downstream. You probably think that is hyperbole, but it is not. We gradually drifted upstream with the wind, and had to paddle back to our starting point.
God is so good. When I thought I wanted a job, all of the doors were tightly shut. God knew that I would have as much as I could handle with family matters. Now that my parents’ house has sold, my work load is picking up. I am doing a 12 page annual report for a client. I’ve been up until 2 a.m. two nights in a row to meet my deadlines. (If your graphic designer doesn’t treat you as well, perhaps you need a new graphic designer. I just happen to know someone in Texas…)
Because of the late nights, I arrived at the river ready to relax. There were six of us tubing today. We floated around rather lazy like for an hour. Then I was ready for action. My muscles had been sitting in a computer chair for long enough. I told my friends I was going up river. No one volunteered to join me. They were having too much fun drifting and talking, but I had to get moving. I paddled upstream for a half mile or so. I saw a mother mallard with seven ducklings following her to the other side of the river. I saw fluorescent blue dragon flies. The sun was hot, and the water was cool.
By the time I paddled back to where we got in, everyone else was eating lunch. I had the same thing for lunch that I would have had today if I had stayed home. English peas with chicken and hummus. Parsnips with flax oil and cinnamon. If I had eaten at home, I would have said, “That was a good lunch.” But somehow when you eat outdoors after enjoying both total relaxation and a strenuous work out, the food just takes on incredible flavor.
Wow, I wanted to shout. This is a really great lunch!
Do you remember when you first heard about the BTD? If you were like me, as you read through the food list for the very first time there was a lot of emotion. Oh no! A favorite food is avoid. Ah Ha! I never liked that food, now I know why. Yuk! I never liked that, how can it be beneficial. I knew it! A favorite food is highly beneficial. And the best emotion of all - Yes!!!!! A food you thought would be avoid turns out to be beneficial.
Yes!! was the way I felt when I read that Club Soda and Seltzer Water were beneficial for Type Os. I had given up commercial soda years before when I became interested in nutrition and health food. You cannot read the ingredients and see all of the artificial flavors, preservatives and sweeteners and continue to convince yourself that commercial soda is in any way good for you. Then I discovered Knudson spritzers – which are basically club soda and fruit juice. My children called it fruit juice with fizz. I bought a lot whenever it was on sale and kept it in the pantry. Their friends thought it odd that we didn’t have Coke and Dr. Pepper, but they had to admit that fruit juice with fizz tasted pretty good.
I have recently found a few other brands of soda that I trust, and that I think stack up well with the BTD. Here is my list of sodas from the very worst to the best.
Commercial diet soda – I would take my chances with dehydration before I would drink anything with NutraSweet or aspartame.
Commercial soda – It’s BTD avoid and common sense avoid as well. Too many artificial ingredients, too much sugar.
Health brands of soda – I salute several companies for trying to make a healthy soda, but there is still way too much sugar in all of the brands I have looked at.
Health brands of soda with sucralose (Splenda) – I buy Hansen’s Diet Soda. Though I’m not wild about anything artificial, sucralose has been thoroughly studied and there just isn’t any scientific evidence against it. It tastes sweet, but it is not absorbed by your body. It passes right on through, unmetabolized. It is unrated on the BTD, so for now it is neutral.
Health brands of soda with "sugar alcohol" sweeteners like xylitol and erythritol. I am actually enthusiastic about this sweetener. It is not artificial. It does not raise blood sugar. Xylitol has a positive effect on dental health. Zevia is a brand of soda that uses erythritol. It used to be expensive, but the price is coming down.
Fruit juice spritzers like my old favorite Knudson. There is nothing artificial here. Just fruit juice and fizz.
Club soda and fruit juice. Make your own soda! This is the least expensive and best option for Type Os. Club Soda is beneficial. When you add beneficial fruit juices (pineapple, cherry) or flavors (ginger) you have a refreshing drink that is totally beneficial.
Saturday brought two exciting events – DD’s graduation and the wedding of DD’s roommate. Watching DD walk the stage to receive her diploma in the afternoon and walk the aisle as her roommate’s bridesmaid in the evening made for an exciting day.
This wedding reception was the best I’ve been to in years. Let me try to explain what I mean by best. I am deeply concerned about what weddings and wedding receptions have become in our culture. I enjoy the pageantry of a “royal wedding” and the food at a gourmet reception as much as anyone. My concerns are in two areas.
The first is what could be called the princess attitude – or less kindly bridezilla. It is the expectation that the wedding day is all about the bride and her desires and glory. That is the antithesis of what I believe about what a wedding ought to be. A wedding is a couple saying vows before God and their friends. It takes seriously “What God has joined together, let not man separate.” It is the beginning of covenant relationship – not self glorification for a day.
My second objection comes from my deep conviction that debt is dangerous. I understand from friends that a rather ordinary wedding today can cost from $30,000 up. I have had friends tell me their frustration at still paying off credit card bills from a child’s wedding long after the marriage has ended in divorce. Elaborate meals served at fancy receptions make up a large part of the high price of a modern wedding. While I enjoy every bite of prime rib served at wedding receptions, I cringe at the expense that the new couple or their family incurs. If they have the money and want to spend it that way, it is their right and privilege. But all too often they are spending money they don’t have to impress family and friends or to live up to some cultural standard.
DD’s roommate did not fall into either cultural trap. The wedding ceremony focused on their commitment to God and to each other from the first song to the exit of the wedding party. The reception was held in the fellowship hall of the church. To my delight, the food was simple and healthy. They had two serving tables filled with fruit, nuts, cheese and crackers. There was a delicious apple salad made with chopped nuts. There were fresh blueberries, strawberries, and pineapple. There were dates that were the largest and juiciest I have ever tasted. There were bowls of almonds and pistachios as well as platters of cheese. I stayed away from the aged yellow cheeses, but I did taste and enjoy several white cheeses.
On each of the serving tables were several drink choices in large clear jugs. There was cucumber water, orange water, lemon water, and tea. There were wedding cake and little tarts. The food was healthy, delicious, and friendly on the budget.
It was a beautiful and happy occasion not because of all the money they spent or because the bride got to be princess for a day, but because their marriage is getting off to a good start.