Category: Living the BTD lifestyle
Tuesday night I wanted dessert. I had eaten well all day, so I can’t say I was hungry. But after dinner as I was working on pictures, I wished for something cold and sweet.
Since I don’t keep avoids in my house, and we live 20 minutes from town, my choices were limited. I roamed around the kitchen thinking that I would have to make do with a LaCroix.
Then, in the back of the freezer I saw a bag of frozen mango. I put some in a bowl, and let it partially thaw - it was still frozen, but not hard. I ate it with a spoon. YUM! Cold, sweet, delicious. It satisfied my craving, and it was 100% beneficial.
Mother’s Day weekend was wonderful. I got to spend two days with both of my children. It was DD’s first Mother’s Day. It was Baby Dedication at their church, where parents of 14 babies dedicated themselves to raise their children according to the Bible, teaching them about the love of Jesus.
In the course of the weekend, the family did a lot of BTD eating and BTD exercising. BC is not ready to go to a restaurant yet. While he is likely to fall asleep in the car, there are no guarantees that he will sleep in a noisy environment. If he wakes, ready to nurse, that ends DD’s enjoyment of her meal. So we looked up menus on the internet, and ordered takeout. Saturday night we had Mexican food and Sunday lunch we had fresh seafood. It is encouraging to me to see family members making conscious choices about what they eat.
DD is being careful, eating all beneficials and neutrals. Even some beneficials and neutrals aggravated BC’s colic when he was a newborn. Now that he is 2 months old, he is able to tolerate his mother eating a wider variety of foods than he could in the early weeks. Our Strong Son made good choices on Mexican food, but chose fried fish over grilled. He said with a smile, “My philosophy is be careful what I eat during the week, and splurge on the weekend.” I can’t argue with that for a healthy young person. Far better to have that attitude about the BTD than to say “This is too hard” and quit altogether.
SS decided to train last winter for a triathlon. He has now done two triathlons, and been very competitive. He went for a long run, while DD and I did an exercise video in the living room. There were lots of squats and lunges in the video, and I was modifying quite a bit because squats and lunges often make my knees hurt.
My body naturally wants to do squats and lunges wrong. Whether it is physiological or whether I learned incorrectly; I don’t know, but when I do either a squat or a lunge, my knees go in front of my toes. Since my husband’s back surgery almost 30 years ago, he constantly reminds me to keep my back straight. If I literally keep my back straight doing a squat, my knees extend over my toes.
After we exercised, I asked SS about squats and lunges from his Physical Therapy perspective. Using his hands he demonstrated the joint action of knees when doing a squat or lunge correctly (lower leg bone perpendicular to the ground and knee never extending over toes) and incorrectly (knees go over toes). He described an incorrect squat or lunge as putting sheer force on knee cartilage.
He encouraged me to develop the muscles in my legs and retrain myself to do squats and lunges correctly. DD added that she naturally did them incorrectly as well, but had retrained herself. Here is what they advised me to do.
• Keep my weight far back on my heels.
• Practice as if I am going to sit in a chair. Back straight, weight on heels, lower leg bone perpendicular to the floor.
• Do wall squats, increasing the time I can hold the correct stationary position.
• Do wall squats with an exercise ball behind my back. This will let me practice the motion with correct form.
• For lunges consciously keep the front knee stationary with the lower leg bone perpendicular to the floor. Move only the back leg.
I can see that retraining is going to take some serious effort. My range of motion is really small when I do them correctly. SS assures me that as I practice and strengthen my muscles, my range will increase. He also tells me that learning to do squats and lunges correctly will help my patella femoral condition.
I wondered aloud whether I caused the patella femoral by doing squats wrong. He didn’t want to speculate about that - he is more interested in my learning to do them right. Sheer force on my knee joints is graphic - and highly motivating - language.
I went to our local Farmer’s Market over the weekend. I’ve been craving kohlrabi, and the Farmer’s Market is the only place I can buy it. I found purple kohlrabi, and have been enjoying Kohl slaw all week.
I also bought Swiss chard. One of the venders must have had a surplus because the price was competitive with grocery store prices. Hurrah for supply & demand!
Every time I read about organic produce, I want to go organic. Then I go to the store, look at the prices, and back off. I would gladly pay a little more for organic. But when the price is two or three times as much, I have to evaluate whether the benefit is worth it. Being on a fixed income, the answer is usually no.
I wanted to buy carrots, but the best price I could find at the Farmer’s Market was $3 a pound. I picked them up and put them down. I couldn’t pay that much. The same with lettuce - a tiny head of Romaine was double the cost my grocery store charges for a large head.
My grocery store carries large beets - 4 inches or more in diameter. They take 45 minutes to cook in the pressure cooker. Then they have to cool down enough for me to peel them without burning my fingers. I can’t spontaneously decide to serve beets, I have to plan ahead and cook them early in the day.
The Farmer’s Market had a bin of organic beets that were about two inches in diameter. The price was reasonable, so I bought them. Oh they were wonderful. They cooked fast. They peeled easily. They were tender and delicious served with ghee and ginger.
I’m not sure whether they were exceptionally good because they were small or because they were organic, but I think it’s worth paying a little more for organic beets at the Farmer’s Market.
Once in a while it is good to know you are on the right path. I got another affirmation about the BTD last week.
My first exposure to Dr. D’s books said that wheat and dairy were the two worst foods for Type Os. Since I quit them both at the same time, it took a while before I realized in my body, that dairy causes stomach pain and wheat causes weight gain. That was confirmed last week.
I have never bought Deflect, because I don’t eat many avoids. However I was taking three of the Deflect components separately.
I take bladderwrack supplement every day, because it is supposed to be bind lectins in Type Os. I hope that is not oversimplifying the matter. What Dr. D actually says is, “Since bladderwrack is such excellent food source of fucose and fucose containing sugar chains, it can actually bind many of the more problematic blood type O lectins, bacteria, and microorganisms.” That plus normalizing my metabolism was enough for me.
I put a spoonful of larch in my breakfast mix every morning for fiber.
I had been taking two glucosamine capsules every morning. I started them for joint pain which went away a long time ago. I continued when I had a flare up of an autoimmune problem. Glucosamine is the first thing on the Type O anti-inflammation protocol list. The autoimmune problem subsided last fall, so I stopped taking the glucosamine.
I’ve been getting along just fine following the BTD faithfully at home and as well as I can manage when I’m away. But last week was a “perfect storm” for cheese. I had lunch at a friend’s house and she had cheese in the main course. No problem. Because I eat so few avoids, I can handle a little cheese occasionally. I had two luncheons that week, and cheese was again on the menu. Still I was doing ok.
The end of my body’s tolerance came at a church fundraiser. The fundraisers are to support our youth choir summer mission trips. Most of the time they serve either pasta or Mexican food at the fundraisers, but this time the menu was chicken breast with steamed vegetables and salad. I said to HH, “Let’s go!” The chicken breast was covered in cheese sauce. I could have scraped it off, but I didn’t. After all, I rationalized; a little cheese doesn’t usually bother me.
But I had eaten more than a little cheese during the week, and my stomach became inflamed. The heartburn that had plagued me for 10 years roared back. I got serious...no avoids at all. Very few neutrals. I was eating almost all beneficials. Yet two days later my stomach was still hurting.
Back I went to the protocols. There was glucosamine at the top of the anti-inflammation list. Glucosamine that had not only helped my joints and my autoimmune problem but had obviously been fighting the occasional cheese that I thought I was getting away with. I started taking glucosamine again
Ginger was third on the list, and I had that in my refrigerator, so I made ginger juice and started drinking a glass of water with a teaspoon of ginger juice.
The next day the stomach pain was gone.
I’ve been on the BTD for 11 years now. It’s become routine. Once in while I wonder, is the BTD really the reason I feel so good, have so much energy, and take no prescription medication? Last week was the affirmation I needed. Avoids do indeed effect the way I feel. BTD supplements do protect me when avoids are unavoidable. I am on the right path, and I’m staying with it!
DD and SIL chose not to find out whether they were having a boy or a girl. When they had their sonogram, the technician knew that they didn’t want to know. At one point she got a good look, smiled, and said, “Your baby has gender!” But she blocked that part of the video, and deleted reference to it in her report.
Everyone is now trying to guess whether BC is a boy or a girl. Speculation is running about 80% for a boy. DD put a picture on facebook last night and asked her friends to post their guess. Boy is winning on facebook as well.
I don’t have a gut feel about gender. Perhaps I lean a little toward girl, but I think that’s mostly because I’m such a contrarian.
I have a son and a daughter. Both were fun babies. Both are delightful adults. I am content with whatever God has given.
However, I do find myself increasingly curious about whether we have a Type A or a Type O.
Are we going to have a carnivore or an herbivore? Will I be taking BC out for barbeque or salad bars? Am I going to be fixing hamburgers or peanut butter sandwiches?
Either way will be fine with me. We will bake cookies with neutral flour. We can roll power balls before we walk to the mailbox.
A few years ago at a Tupperware party I bought a set of forms to make my own popsicles. They have been waiting in the back of the cabinet for the first grandbaby to arrive. I’m going to eat my share of pineapple and grape juice popsicles on the back porch.
Christmas Eve is pretty quiet at our house. We’ve been celebrating in various ways all month long.
SIL - our Son-In-Love graduated from seminary 11 days ago. The graduation was fairly close to where HH’s mother lives. Rather than fight the holiday traffic and make two long trips so close together, we decided to have Christmas with his mother a little early.
Giving gifts at Christmas has its roots in two places in the Bible. First, God’s incredible gift to us when he “gave his only Son”* Second, the wise men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus ** Gift giving can easily get out of hand, with the stress of thinking of a clever idea plus the pressure to spend too much.
HH’s family has grown pretty big, and buying gifts for everyone had become complicated. Some people stopped giving last year, and I thought they had a good idea. I sent an email saying we would be giving extended family gifts to those over 90 and those under 18. We have five great nieces. Buying gifts for them was a delight. Then I found a beautiful bird house that I knew HH’s mom would enjoy outside her window. When she mentioned another item that she really needed to replace, that side of the family Christmas shopping was complete.
Because this was a December graduation ceremony, the seminary used Christmas songs with double meanings. Joy to the World - for instance. I know that SIL was full of JOY not only for the birth of Christ but for the end of finals. The graduates marched out of the ceremony to the Hallelujah Chorus - again appropriate in several ways. It was a moving ceremony - watching these young men and women who have committed their lives to proclaiming the message of Christ at home and around the world.
Our Strong Son had to work on Friday, but he joined us at his grandmother’s house on Saturday. We had a happy visit, opening family gifts, and telling stories. HH’s mom’s memory is failing, but there is a certain joy to telling and retelling and retelling a happy story. Her delight was so real each time we told it again.
There were times, both in my health food days and in my early BTD days, when I worried about eating things at holidays that were not optimum for my health. Those days are now over. HH’s mom pulled out her credit card and sent us to the cafeteria to buy Christmas dinner. I could pick anything I wanted, and I chose wisely from a BTD standpoint. But I’ll admit there was a little sadness that the old days are gone. Perhaps if you are chafing under pressure to eat something on your avoid list this year at Christmas, you can project yourself forward a few years to a time when loving hands will no longer be able to prepare traditional food. Life is short...enjoy the holiday. You can return to healthy eating on December 26.
HH and I returned home for four days, then were off again. SIL has been called to a church in Texas near the beach. They asked if we would come and help them move in. We spent three days helping to install shelf paper and unload boxes. DD’s friends at her office had given her a baby shower. What fun it was to put the little clothes in the new nursery and imagine that next year at Christmas BC will be nine months old.
DD and SIL returned to North Texas for DD to finish out her last week at work. They will be spending Christmas Day with SIL’s family.
SS is coming home tonight after the Christmas Eve service at his church. I’ll be fixing a traditional South Texas Christmas dinner with a BTD touch.
The birth of the Christ Child was a miracle. That is why we celebrate Christmas. But in its own way every baby is a miracle. DD tells me that this week BC can taste and smell. Imagine that. Still three months from birth and BC’s senses are developing. Next year BC will be outside the womb, enjoying the taste and smell Christmas dinner, seeing the lights, and hearing for the first time, the story of Jesus and his birthday.
* For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17
** After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:1, 2, 11
DD texts me this week that Baby Cakes can smile and frown. Is that not fascinating!?! There in the womb at 14 weeks BC can express pleasure and pain.
I've got blogs half written in my head about exercise in pregnancy, plus what BC likes DD to eat, but something funny happened last night, and I'm going to do a silly; tongue in cheek blog.
I have several friends whose young adult children have been trapped by prescription upper and downer drugs. What I am told is that someone in college will get a prescription for one of the medications that makes you more alert and gives you more energy. Someone else will get a prescription for one of the medications that calms you down and lets you sleep.
They see their friends having trouble focusing or sleeping and they share their medications. (This is, of course illegal) Why doctors give unlimited refills on these things is beyond my understanding, but evidently they do. The students become dependent on uppers in the day to help them focus in class and downers at night to calm themselves down so they can sleep. By they time they are young adults and have jobs, some of them are seriously addicted.
I have heard horror stories about depression, suicidal thoughts, and inability to function when the supply of the drugs are cut off.
None of that is funny, silly, or tongue in cheek. It is a serious problem.
However, this is how a 60 year old health nut who wouldn't dream of polluting her body with that kind of prescription drugs experienced the same thing - - - naturally.
Yesterday afternoon I fixed myself a big glass of green tea. I got distracted by many things and about 9:30 I noticed the tea still sitting on its coaster beside the computer. I was thirsty, and I didn't give it a second thought; I just drank it down. The caffeine hit a few minutes later, and all of my creative brain cells were firing. I was energetic and enthusiastic.
To get 8 hours of sleep, I've got to be in bed by 11:00. At 10:45 I was still on a caffeine high. I had no interest in relaxing to go to sleep. If I didn't think of something, it was going to be a short night. What relaxes me? What sends me to sleep in 20 minutes? Chewable Calcium Magnesium (favorite brand is Country Life). I crunched up two tablets; climbed in bed; closed my eyes; and had a great night's sleep.
I am not recommending this as a lifestyle. Stay away from prescription uppers and downers, no matter what. Enjoy your green tea early in the day. Take cal/mag in the right doses for nutritional purposes.
But I do have to laugh at myself for one day of "natural" uppers and downers.
Yes, it's true. I'm going to be a grandmother. DD and SIL are expecting a baby. So, rather than blogging about turning 60, I get to blog about babies! I'm going to start by copying DD's blog announcing her pregnancy to her friends. In later days, I'll write about "Eat Right 4 your Baby" and the plethora of texts between DD and me about what and when to eat. After that…we'll see where this adventure in new life takes us.
Here's DD's Blog.
I already love the new life that IS growing inside of me! I am TEN weeks pregnant - and LOVING it.
Little Baby Cakes surprised us - not God - but us. Like most newly wedded couples, we were just "waiting..." I don't really know what that means... but we were. Waiting for my Heroic Husband to finish his Masters of Divinity... waiting for a full-time job, post graduation... waiting for a new car... waiting for the perfect house... But God had other plans. And now, we are waiting for mid-March. We are waiting to meet this beautiful, precious, miraculous, life growing inside me. Now, I cannot even imagine "waiting" for the "right timing" to have a baby. I cannot think of not having my tummy beginning to slowly pooch out. I cannot not think of going to sleep at night to the sound of HH singing softly to little BC. I love God's plan.
Some of the many questions I have been getting - almost daily
How are you feeling?
What are you craving?
Do you want a boy or a girl?
What will the baby's name be?
Here are my answers for all to read.
A. I did not realize I was pregnant until I was already SIX weeks along. So, until week six, I was fine. After week six, my pregnancy hormones began to rage.
I have two sweet acquaintances who have both dealt with infertility in the very recent past. Today, they both hold in their arms precious little babies. I have talked to both of them since I became pregnant. To hear them talk about their pregnancies - both pre and post - puts mine in perspective. Perhaps I do not feel like running a marathon all the time, but God has blessed me with this little life. Does it really matter if I don't feel 110%, 100% of the time? No. God has put this life inside of me to nurture, to cherish, to love.
So how am I feeling? Wonderful!
B. What am I eating - Meat (Turkey and Chicken). Fruit. Legumes. Peanut Butter. Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers. Yogurt. Cheese. And... Brownies...?
If you know me, you know I really do not like meat. As a child, my mother had to make me eat three bites of meat before I could get more green beans. Meat is something that I eat a little of because I know I need the nutrients. When I got pregnant, my hunger for meat increased. I will never forget the faces my Marvelous Mother and HH made when I asked for turkey bacon. It was classic. But it makes sense. I need PROTEIN. What is one of the best protein sources? Meat.
Fruit - I just love fruit. I am so happy BC does too. Same with Legumes and Peanut Butter. I just wish BC liked vegetables. Maybe they will taste better in the second trimester.
Ritz Crackers... I do not like Saltine crackers, but Ritz and Rye crackers hit the spot.
Yogurt, Cheese, and Brownies. One morning last week I was running late for work. I knew I needed something in my stomach before I attempted the 60 minute drive to work. But nothing sounded good - and I mean nothing at all. I tore through the kitchen looking for something that my body would accept. And then I saw it...my husband's birthday brownies. For some reason, they sounded good. I ate a few bites and went off to work. This was probably the first brownie that I have eaten in ten years. I asked MM what in the world was in brownies that my body was craving?! After some research, I think we figured it out - calcium and magnesium.
I tested this theory by eating some cream cheese on a piece of sprouted raisin bread. My stomach immediately felt better. This is weird to me. Usually, cheeses inflame my stomach, but right now, I need calcium and magnesium. For dinner, I had a provolone grilled cheese sandwich with ghee and sprouted bread. It was delicious.
C. Boy or Girl? We don't care. As long as it is a healthy baby, then whatever BC is, BC is. We actually are not going to find out the gender. We really do not care - and we want to be surprised on Delivery Day.
D. Name. We will not even tell our parents what our name choices are. We will say that the girl name has been picked out since we were dating, and the boy name since we were newlyweds. BC had a name before BC even existed.
On August 8 I blogged about increasing my husband's and my calcium and magnesium after a one year experiment with lower doses lead to a series of muscle spasms for both of us. I am pleased to report that we are both feeling much better.
His back pain is gone. From the day I increased his cal/mag he improved each day. Last night he told me there is a some residual stiffness, but he has resumed all normal activity. I can reach both of my arms over my head. My right arm feels a little weak, but that's probably because I have been babying it for months. I need to start trying to rebuild my muscles.
If you take hard calcium-only tablets from the grocery store, you should probably read the study that warns about too much calcium and Arteriosclerosis. If you balance your calcium and magnesium and take Vitamin K along with it, ignore the study. Just my opinion. All I am is a volunteer blogger.
I reread my birthday blog. If it sounded negative to you, I apologize. That's not the way I meant it. On milestone birthdays people tend to get introspective.
I've spent a lot of time researching health since I was 23. I've spent a lot of money buying healthy food and supplements. When you are young, your body will take a lot of neglect, but when you are old you pay the price for neglect. I really do hope that I reap the rewards of living healthy.
Now (drum roll) I am going to change the subject of this blog, and future blogs for several months. More detail next time, but I'll drop a hint and say that I bought two copies of Dr. D'Adamo's book "Eat Right for your Baby."
I turned 60 years old last week. Now is when most people start to fall apart. Now we will see how much difference 27 years of health food followed by 10 years of the Blood Type Diet will make.
Our Strong Son started the celebrating. He said that he had planned a birthday surprise. We met him in Austin, and he took us to the Whole Foods World Headquarters. It is the largest Whole Foods store I've ever been in. They have a buffet with several food lines. You get a plate or a bowl and select the items you want. You are charged for your meal by the pound. My bowl was full after going to two cold food lines. I told SS we would have come back in the winter and try the hot foods. Everything was delicious, and I felt good about the way it had been prepared.
On my birthday, I went tubing with friends. We paddled along the shore of a lake near my home, enjoying the warm sun, cold water, and beautiful views of the shore. When we got out of the water, we had a picnic. I brought ground beef and collard greens topped with curry powder. I had also made a walnut torte to share with my friends. All of them know that I am on the BTD, so they were not surprised by the unusual birthday cake.
The day after my birthday I had a photo shoot. The theme of the event was Tex Mex. The band played Texas Country music. The food was fajitas. I took pictures until most of the guests were eating. Then I put the camera away and served my plate. I passed on the tortillas, selected beef, chicken, rice, beans, and romaine lettuce. Ok - I did get some guacamole - which is BTD avoid for Type Os, but is allowed in a limited amount on the GTD. I confess I sometimes switch back and forth between the two food lists when avocado and a few other foods are involved.
Another day my Honorable Husband took me out for my favorite meal - prime rib. I had a salad and a sweet potato as my sides. Every bite was delicious.
My Christian World View tells me that with sin comes physical deterioration and death. I have no desire to live forever on this earth. However I do want the time I have here to be productive and pain free. That's why I eat right and exercise.
Right now I would say that I'm in better health than most people my age. For that, I am thankful to both God and the BTD.
This morning my weight is within a half pound of what it was last December. This has been an unexpected struggle. I thought I would share what I have learned.
1. I know I run the risk of appearing hypocritical when I am happy that I have lost weight. After all, it was not many weeks ago that I wrote a blog called "Skinny Jeans Can Kill You." In a way that blog was a warning to myself not to let my desire to lose the weight I put on in January become an obsession with fashion fads or trying to change my body type. I walked through several years with DD as she fell victim to an exercise/eating disorder. It is dangerous territory both physically and spiritually. I stand by the Skinny Jeans blog. And you can hold me accountable if I ever express the hint of a desire to weigh less than 125 - a healthy weight for my height and body type.
2. For many years I have put on a few pounds in the winter. I remember one year when SS was running middle school track. I put on a pair of shorts on the first warm day of spring and took them off again. I mentally called this "winter weight gain." It was 3-5 pounds, and I didn't worry about it because it always seemed to melt away when the weather got warm.
3. This is not holiday weight gain. Because I'm focused on health, I don't overindulge in rich holiday foods. My weight going into January is normal. Then the scale starts to go up.
4. I think part of it is that I'm not doing as many outdoor activities in January and February. There's no yard work. I don't stop exercising, but my lifestyle is not as active. I work out at the neighborhood fitness center or with a video in my living room, but that's not the same as an outdoor excursion or a project in the yard that takes half a day.
5. I think it's also that I'm cold. Those of you who live north of Dallas, will laugh at me. South Texas doesn't really get cold, compared to most of the country. However it is colder than the rest of the year, and I think my metabolism slows down a little to compensate.
This year was different.
* I put on more than 3-5 pounds. At one point my weight was up nearly 10 pounds.
* Instead of storing weight in my legs and thighs, it went to my tummy. I have always had a small waist - a decent trade off for having "big leg genes." But this year I found myself identifying with belly fat commercials. Belly fat is dangerous and has serious consequences for long term health.
* The extra weight didn't disappear when the weather turned warm.
At Memorial Day I faced the fact that I was going to have to be proactive, if I wanted to fit in my summer clothes and look nice in my swimsuit.
I faced the fact that my exciting book publishing project has kept me at the computer more hours than I'm used to. I've been sitting much more than is good for me. Now, I try to make myself get up and do a household chore after an hour at the computer. I ought to get up right now, but I'm going to finish this blog first.
I faced the fact that I am almost 60, and hormone changes are going to force me to add exercise or cut back on food for the rest of my life. I really like to eat. But I made myself take a hard look at portion sizes and cut back a little on food. Then I upped my exercise.
I faced the fact that we were eating supper way too late at night. 8:30 was normal. 9:30 was not unusual. I'm now eating my supper between 6:00 and 6:30. HH does not like this schedule. I warm his dinner up in the microwave about 8:00. I'm hoping he will eventually join me for an earlier supper, but if not, I have to do what is healthiest for me.
I don't understand it, but some beneficial and neutral foods seem to add noticeable weight over night - almost like wheat does. I have practically eliminated nuts, except as a garnish. I've cut way back on ghee and mayonnaise as well. I really miss trail mix, nut butter & carrots, and chicken salad. I'm hoping that I can bring some of these foods back in a small way for the warm part of the year. I have faced the fact that I will not eat them during the winter months.
Mostly, I am facing the fact that my body is changing as I get older. This is not popular in our youth obsessed culture. But it is completely predictable according to my Biblical world view. I may as well embrace it, and make healthy adjustments where necessary. The other choices would be surrender to fat or take prescription medications. Neither of those sound good to me. So, I'll post this blog and get moving!
Today is my 10 year anniversary on the Blood Type Diet. Ten years ago today, the last of the test results came back which were supposed to tell me why I had stomach pain. I had been a health food advocate since I was 23 years old - more than 25 years. But what had started as mild GERD after I turned 40, got increasingly worse, becoming annoying and eventually becoming alarming to my doctor.
The tests were supposed give me answers, but every test came back normal. "Then why does my stomach hurt all the time," I asked the doctor's assistant. "Stress and diet," she answered. I said, "I eat healthier than anyone I know, and my only stress is this stomach pain." She had no reply.
After storming around the house, I felt God leading me to go back to a health food store where I had shopped for years. I was looking for something natural that I hadn't tried yet. I don’t know how the Blood Type Diet had slipped under my radar. I did a lot of reading about nutritional issues. Perhaps it was the word "diet". Since I wasn't unhappy with my weight, I wasn't looking for a diet in that sense of the word.
When I read that Type Os were the most likely to have stomach pain, and that wheat and dairy were the worst foods for Type O, I was intrigued. I bought the book and went on the BTD cold turkey June 13, 2003. In a week I was off of all medication. In two weeks I was pain free. I have never looked back, and never wavered from my enthusiasm for the BTD.
I've learned a lot in ten years.
The BTD is not about how food tastes. Lots of avoids are very appealing when they are in my mouth. But more often than not, I don't feel good after I eat avoids.
When I think back to when my children were toddlers, I can see now that they naturally gravitated to foods that were right for their type. People seem to lose that sensitivity to what makes them feel good as they get older.
At first glance the Type O diet, might appear to be grain free, but it is not. It is important that I get 1.5 servings of grain every day.
The BTD doesn't have to be expensive. I buy certain hard to find items at health food stores and on the internet, but I do most of my shopping at a regular grocery store.
I don't have to be neurotic about avoids. I am highly compliant at home. At restaurants I do the best I can without being a burden to my server, and at a friend's home I enjoy what has been prepared for me.
Having two blood types in my family makes things more complicated, but certainly not impossible, especially when everyone in the family saw their health improve on the BTD.
I am still trying to figure out if we have a new, creative manager at the local grocery store, or if yesterday I suddenly opened my eyes to products that have been on the shelves all along. Whichever it was my trip to the grocery store was an adventure.
The search for new products started because I bought a cell phone before I went grocery shopping. Such a simple purchase requires many forms and too much time. When I reached the store I needed something to eat or drink. I found Teas Tea brand green tea with lemongrass, unsweetened. I opened a bottle and sipped it as I shopped. What a delightful flavor...good green tea and very lemony.
I needed jelly. There on the grocery store shelf were imported Black Current preserves. Real Currents are hard to find in the US, at least in the South. I had found Current Preserves at a discount store several years ago, and loved them, but once the store was out, they didn't reorder. I put a dollop of Black Current preserves on my turnip greens for dinner, and they were delicious. Perhaps turnip greens and preserves sounds weird to you - I can't explain it, but turnip greens need something to make them palatable, and preserves do the trick.
I was on the baking isle to get cilantro, when I saw a coupon for $1.00 off any two flours by Bobs Red Mill. I didn't really need anything...but I couldn't pass up the coupon. I bought one bag of brown rice flour (practical) and one bag of garbanzo fava flour (impulsive). I'm loving what I imagine garbanzo fava flour will taste like. I'm thinking biscuits. I'm also thinking breaded okra or onions or chicken livers.
I went to pick up the Blue Diamond nut crackers that HH likes. Right above them on the shelf was a new brand of rice crackers. There were so many intriguing flavors - all of them gluten free. I bought three flavors: Bean and Fiesta Lime, Sweet Onion and Multigrain. HH immediately opened the Multigrain and loved them. The best part - they are less expensive than the nut crackers.
In produce I found fresh guava back in stock. In addition the price on mangos has dropped, so I bought two.
The only bad thing about grocery store adventures is that it takes time to read all of the labels. It was getting late and I needed something fast for dinner. The meat department had 1/3 pound flavored fish burgers. I bought spicy salmon burgers for last night and Mahi Mahi burgers with feta cheese for lunch today.
This blog is not about what a great cook I am! I'm writing it to encourage you to be bold and innovative in your own kitchen as you live life on the BTD.
I am embarrassed to admit that I didn't buy just one package of the inexpensive cod that turned out to be half gristle and bone. There were two packages still in my freezer and I decided to get rid of one of them. HH loves New England Clam Chowder. Clams are avoid for him as a Type A and potatoes are avoid for him because of his history of high blood sugar.
I wondered if I could make a healthy chowder with cod. I found a couple of recipes in the BTD recipe database. Some of them substituted sweet potatoes for white, but that wouldn't help things for him as a Type A. However it made me think that if I found an otherwise good recipe I could leave out potatoes altogether and serve it over rice.
I liked the sound of one recipe on the BTD site and I found two other recipes on the Internet. Unfortunately I was out of a couple of key ingredients and I had already thawed the cod.
While the onions and garlic were cooking, I started separating the edible fish from the garbage. I'm not sure whether I am an incurable optimist or really naive, but I was confident that somehow the meal would come together. I used almond milk instead of cream. I added parsley, a traditional chowder ingredient but it was still too bland. There was none of the heartiness I associate with chowder.
I have a friend who served me split pea soup the other day. It was exceptionally good. When I asked her about the recipe, she said she had added cumin.
I added cumin and fresh cilantro to the pot. Suddenly we had very tasty fish chowder with a Southwestern flavor. Sometime I will have to plan ahead and make a BTD version of New England Chowder, but in the meantime this version turned out to be a very good meal.
What I want you to take away from this blog, is this: if your pantry is filled with beneficial and neutral ingredients, be bold in substituting ingredients in a recipe. Unless you are trying to copy a gourmet sauce or pastry with a very distinct texture, you will find that most recipes are very flexible. If a recipe calls for an avoid ingredient think of a beneficial or neutral substitute. If a recipe calls for a spice that you are out of, substitute something else. You have the potential to be an award winning chef when it comes to the happiness and health of your own family.
I decided yesterday to start hoarding food. I hope I'm being neurotic, but too many signs point to the potential for an economic disaster. I decided I had better be prepared.
I grew up on the Gulf Coast. People there are aware that a hurricane or an ice storm can knock out the infrastructure for a week or more. I have followed my Mom's example and always kept two weeks' worth of food on hand. I was thankful that my Mom had a well stocked pantry when Hurricane Ike knocked out their power for more than a week a few years ago.
Yesterday I decided that two weeks might not be enough. I'm going to add another month's worth of food to what I already have in the house. I look at the growing debt, the irrational exuberance of the stock market, and the unwillingness to cut either government or personal spending. I hope I'm being neurotic, but it spells disaster to me.
Two factors influenced my action yesterday: observation at a charity event and a radio commercial.
In our town there is a government apartment house for elderly poor. They are served two meals a day six days a week, but no meals are served on Sunday. Local churches take turns serving Sunday lunch to the residents. Our Bible Study class has had the first Sunday in March for several years. HH and I have contributed money to the project, but this year we went to help serve. For lunch they had pizza and cupcakes. That was the menu because it was popular and inexpensive. Our small group was able to feed almost 40 people a meal that made them smile. But as I served, couldn't help putting myself in their shoes. As a Type O, if I were on a diet of pizza and cupcakes, my stomach pain would come roaring back, my cholesterol would skyrocket, and I would gain weight fast.
That led to the realization that if there is an economic collapse, the food that will be easily available, will not be food that builds my health. I hope, I'm being neurotic, but I need to have nonperishable meat and vegetables in reserve.
I listen to the radio as I drive from one appointment to another. Among the oft repeated commercials right now are those for food insurance. As I was driving around yesterday, I must have heard three food insurance commercials. The one that grabbed my attention talked about how their food was freeze dried and could be safely stored for decades. Names mentioned were lasagna, chicken Alfredo, and beef stroganoff. All of that is wheat based - not health building for Type Os.
Again it hit me that if there is a disaster I need to be self sufficient. I do not want to depend on starch based meals handed out at a government facility. My last stop of the day was at the grocery store to buy bananas, lettuce, and broccoli. I filled my cart with non perishable meat, legumes, vegetables and fruit. I will have to remember to watch expiration dates and rotate cans, but I can do that.
As I unloaded the food and stored it away, something else hit me. If there is a disaster and my neighbors come to the door begging food for their children, my Christian world view will not allow me to turn them away. Perhaps a month's food is not enough. But I really hope I'm being neurotic.
Eventually this blog is going to be about a recently released study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, but I'm going to start with some personal experiences and observations
A month or so ago, there was a thread on the Forum about skinny jeans. People were challenging each other to get serious about losing weight and get into those magical jeans before the holidays. I wanted to scream, but resisted being argumentative at the time.
That thread brought back too many memories of the two years that my Darling Daughter spent in the clutches of an exercise and eating disorder. Once she recognized that she had bought into a lie, it took another two years for her to heal mentally and physically. At the time, I gave credit to God and the Blood Type Diet for keeping her from doing herself serious harm. The Blood Type Diet kept her focused on eating the healthiest foods during the time when she was not eating enough. God helped her to see that the root of all eating disorders is a refusal to accept that He made each of us in a precious and wonderful way. It goes against His will and against nature when we try to change our body type to look like a freak in a fashion magazine.
When I say skinny jeans, I'm not harping on a particular brand. I am talking about any style of clothing that makes girls and women feel badly about themselves if they do not have skinny legs and huge chests. This has been the style for way too long and it forces 95% of women to wish they could change themselves. Some women overeat out of frustration. Some women starve themselves to try to conform to an unreasonable standard. Some women, and I count myself in this group, make peace with their bodies and try to dress in a way that camouflages their shortcomings. Wouldn't it be better if we could all ignore the New York fashion gurus and be content with the way God made us?
I often get e-mails and read Forum posts from women who started the Blood Type Diet to lose weight and are frustrated because they are not losing fast enough. I believe this is because the BTD is far more important than a weight loss diet. This is a health building eating plan for the rest of my life. The reason I lost a little weight, but not an extraordinary amount of weight, is because if I follow the BTD I am building health. New York's idea of fashion is contrary to health.
If you eat the type and portions of food recommended on your food lists, you will gradually shed pounds - if you are really and truly overweight. You will eventually level off to an easily maintainable weight that is healthy. But you won't fit into pencil skirts or boy cut shorts.
Maybe that makes you think, "The BTD is not for me. I'm outta here." Before you go, you should read about a study published on January 1 by researcher Katherine Flegal. She did a study in 2007 that found that people who were a little overweight lived longer than people who were underweight. She was severely criticized. So she did another study with a much larger sampling of people. And she reached the same conclusion.
She does not recommend eating junk food. She does recommend exercising. She cautions that weight is not the only factor in longevity. Her study does shoot big holes in the myth that skinny is healthy and a low BMI guarantees a long life.
If you google her name and "weight" or "BMI" or "long life" or "death risk" you will find several newspaper and magazine articles. Make sure you choose one with the new study not the 2007 study.
You cannot change your body type. Any diet that tells you that you can is lying to you. If you want an eating plan that maximizes your health and moderates your weight, give the BTD a try.
Later this year I will celebrate my 10th year on the Blood Type Diet. Before the BTD I continually battled allergies. Nine months of the year I had post nasal drip. More mornings than not I woke with a scratchy throat. Certain foods gave me hives, and I sometimes had hives for no apparent reason.
I can't say I noticed a dramatic change in my allergies when I first started the BTD, but within a year I realized I was taking fewer antihistamines. I itched less, had fewer sore throats, bought less Kleenex. I eventually tried chocolate - a beneficial type O food, but one that had given me hives since I was a little child. No hives! I often treat myself to a square of unsweetened dark chocolate. You can't imagine how good that is unless allergies had prevented even a taste of chocolate for 30 years.
Last week I had an allergy attack. I know what precipitated it. Friday after Christmas I spent almost two hours mowing the grass on the back part of our lot. It has been really dry, so the lawn mower kicked up lots of dust. The grass needed to be mowed because it went to seed late this year, due to the drought. The mulcher was flinging seeds and dry stalks everywhere. The cedar trees were pollenating. We have very few cedars on our property, but they are prominent in the Hill Country and the pollen count was high.
By 8:00 that night my throat was hurting. At first was impossible to tell whether it was a cold, the flu, or allergies. I took both antihistamines and cold-eze that night. By the next night, when I had no fever and the symptoms returned as the antihistamines wore off; I was confident that this was allergies.
I added bromelain and stinging nettle from the BTD Encyclopedia allergy protocol and Vitamin C because it is good for so many things related to the immune system
My procedure for antihistamines is don't worry about the clock. Take the next dose when symptoms start to return. For six days I knew precisely when the previous dose was wearing off. Friday morning slipped by without my noticing the time. I've been off them now for more than two days with just a hint of drainage
What I'm now asking myself is "Why?" after so many years, why the return of allergies now?
Adelle Davis wrote that allergies are stress diseases. I think this may be the key. November and December were stressful. I didn't get enough sleep. I worried about things I couldn't control. I think my adrenal glands were tired and left me vulnerable to environmental factors that hadn't bothered me for several years
I doubt that anyone does the BTD perfectly all the time. Even Dr. D has written that he has his favorite avoids and he indulges from time to time. I had one of those indulgent moments last night.
A friend was in from out of town and we went to our favorite steak restaurant for dinner. I love this restaurant because they serve sweet potatoes. I intended to have a 6 ounce sirloin, a salad with olive oil for dressing, and a sweet potato without margarine. (The server confessed that even though the menu says butter, they don't use the real thing.) It was a good and beneficial plan.
Our friend ordered onion rings as an appetizer. When onion rings are covered in thick dough, they are not a temptation. But when there is a lot of onion and a thin coating of spicy dough, my mouth starts to water. A basket of almost perfect onion rings arrived at our table.
Each of us tasted one. Our friend said, "Those are really spicy. I don't like spicy onion rings." My husband was too busy eating rolls to eat many of the onion rings. So I ate one, after another, after another. They were delicious.
I don't eat a lot of avoids. When I eat them I like to make them count. I don't waste my time on a dinner roll or a piece of pizza, much less a piece of toast. If I'm going to eat an avoid, I want to savor every bite. It should be memorable.
The timing on this splurge was probably good. Christmas dinner this year is going to be pot luck. There are a lot of people coming, so I'm sure there will be all kinds of wheat. But none of it will be as good as those onion rings. I'm thinking that it will be easy to bypass avoids and eat a healthy Christmas dinner.
Wishing for you a joyful Christmas focused on the important things - love of family and worship of the Christ child.
Two friends in my neighborhood have a cookie exchange every year at Christmas. It started small, but it has grown each year. Every one brings three dozen cookies. For the first hour we eat hors d'oeuvres and visit. Then we move into the "cookie room". We select three dozen cookies to take home. What fun to walk around the table selecting cookies to enjoy during the holidays. Most ladies print out their recipes, so as you pick up cookies, you can pick up recipes as well.
The first year I made one of my favorite recipes. It's a wheat free recipe with oats, pecans, and coconut. You bake it in a cookie sheet and cut it into bars.
The second year I took the power bar recipe that DD and I developed. It is a no bake recipe made with only dried fruit and nuts.
Both years my cookies were passed over in favor of cookies with fancy decorations and lots of sugar.
This Year the cookie exchange was in a week when I had lots of business appointments. There was little time for baking. The day before the cookie exchange I didn't even have a plan. I was at the store and saw a packaged peanut butter cookie mix. I bought it along with a bag of Hershey kisses. It took just a few minutes to throw the mix together. I baked them half way then stuck an (unwrapped) kiss in the middle of each cookie and finished baking.
At the cookie exchange a lot of the conversations revolved around health. Friends talked to me about diets that worked and diets that didn't work. I heard about surgeries, exercise, and undiagnosed physical problems. It seemed to me that most of the ladies were serious about making lifestyle changes to improve their health.
Then we went into the cookie room. I watched as those same ladies grabbed up the fancy, high sugar cookies. My plate quickly emptied. Not one peanut butter kiss cookie was left.
I got a few brownies for HH - a treat that I knew would put a smile on his face. But I was really looking for healthy cookies. They were easy to find, because they were left behind. Someone brought zucchini cookies. I took several of those. I found chocolate covered nuts - wheat free. I found no bake oatmeal cookies - also wheat free.
HH was happy because there was a plate of cookies on the kitchen table. I was happy because most of those cookies were relatively Type A friendly.
However, I couldn't avoid the observation that whatever people say, they will choose sugar over health, at least at Christmas time.
I had a mammogram last week. After an unnecessarily, scary experience with a call back a few years ago, I get my mammograms done at a clinic where they let me wait for the results. I can sit in the waiting room and read until they have looked at the images.
Last week I had my results in less than 10 minutes. "Everything is normal. We don't want to see you for another year." I left the clinic thankful and happy.
Yesterday while I was shopping, I left my phone in the car. I came back to find several texts and three missed calls. Two of the calls were from DD and one was from an unknown number - probably a solicitor, I thought. I called DD back; then I saw that there was a voice mail...from my primary care physician's office. I got a sinking feeling in my stomach...it had to be about the mammogram. By then the office was closed for the day.
This morning when I called, the office assistant said, "Hmmm...let me see...here it is...Hmmm"
I broke in saying, "Is everything OK?"
"Oh yes," she said. "Your mammogram results are fine. But the doctor wrote a note. Are you still a patient? We haven't seen you since last year."
I laughed, partially with relief, and partially at what I considered to be an odd question. I haven't been to the doctor because I haven't been sick. (Thank you, BTD!) That's a good thing, it seems to me, but I guess for the doctor's office, it is unusual.
I explained that yes, I was still their patient; that I had been healthy and hadn't needed a doctor. I went on to say that with the mixed study results about mammograms, I had decided to get on a schedule where I had a mammogram, then nine months later a physical, nine months later a mammogram, and so on. That way I would get a mammogram every 18 months and a physical every 18 months. I ended by saying that I would be calling for an appointment in about nine months. The assistant was satisfied.
I feel comfortable with this schedule because there is no history of breast cancer in my family, but I can't end this blog without saying that the prompting to schedule a mammogram last week is because two friends have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
One had made the decision not to have mammograms. She found the lump herself, and it has already metastasized. She is pursuing treatment, but realizes the statistics are against her.
The other is a young woman. She not only has breast cancer, but she is pregnant. I do not know how the cancer was found, and I do not know what treatment she will be receiving.
If you have read my blogs for long, you know that I am a Christian, and that I am pro life. But I understand - and I know that God understands - that there are times when the life of an unborn baby is lost to save the life of the mother. I fully support this friend in whatever decision she makes.