Category: Living the BTD lifestyle
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.
SIL is a seminary student studying to be a minister. He has been called to pastor of a church in a rural community. There are many, many exciting things about this position. One is that the church members are so warm and encouraging to both SIL and DD. The other is that they have a parsonage!
The house has been vacant for about a year - since the former pastor moved out. So there were lots of bugs to be killed and lots of dust to wipe away. Because this will be their first home, they want to make it cute and special. They decided to paint...and to retile the bathroom...and to put shelf paper in all the cabinets. They had a very ambitious project list and not very many days before they had to be out of their apartment.
SIL's family came one weekend and got about half of the house painted. My Honorable Husband and I went last weekend. DD and I tackled the kitchen. HH and SIL laid the tile and continued painting. We worked hard, but it was fun because we were working together.
DD cooked for us Friday night. They have a George Foreman Grill, and she used it to make chicken. I was impressed. The chicken was tender and juicy. She used two salt free Mrs. Dash seasoning mixes on the chicken. One was spicy and the other was mild. Both were delicious. She also served curried green beans, turnip greens with ghee, a relish tray, and millet cornbread.
For lunch on Saturday she had tuna melts. She did a variation on a recipe I used to make which was popular with my children and their friends. She mixed tuna, cilantro, an herbal seasoning, and a neutral creamy dressing. I had always used mayonnaise, but SIL likes dressing better. You put the tuna mixture on top of slices of sprouted bread and top them with grated mozzarella cheese. You put them in the broiler until the cheese melts and starts to bubble.
Saturday night we were all tired and dirty. We drove into town for Mexican food. I had the second best taco salad I've ever eaten. On Sunday we got to hear SIL preach, then had lunch at an Italian restaurant. My chicken Caesar salad was outstanding. They are blessed to have at least two BTD friendly restaurants in their small town.
We worked a little more Sunday afternoon. At the end of the weekend when we looked around, we were amazed at how much progress had been made.
SIL will commute to seminary one day a week and take the rest of his classes on line. DD will continue to work at her job in marketing. She says, "I've been spending 30-45 minutes a day in heavy traffic. Now I'll be spending 45 minutes to an hour driving through the countryside."
DD is married. I thought about blogging about wedding preparations, but decided against it for one reason – it didn’t have very much to do with BTD issues.
When DD and her husband started dating, I called him ESS in my blogs. He was finishing his bachelor’s degree as an Exercise Sports Science major. One of the things that initially attracted them to each other was their interest in exercise and nutrition. By the time they met, he felt called into the ministry. He is attending seminary and preparing to be a preacher. The other thing that initially attracted them to each other was their love for Jesus and their desire to honor Him in all that they do.
DD changed her name when they married, but she will always be my Darling Daughter in these blogs. ESS, however, no longer seems an adequate name for DD’s husband. So as of today, I’m changing his blog name to SIL. Perhaps you think that stands for Son in Law, but you would be wrong. It stands for Son in Love. He loves DD and demonstrates that in ways that makes this mother so happy. We have welcomed him into our family as a beloved son.
While I didn’t blog daily about the wedding, let me tell you three BTD related stories about it.
From the start, DD and SIL did not want their wedding to be glamorous. They chose as the theme “Build your house on the Rock of Jesus Christ” from Matthew 7. They wanted everything about the ceremony and the reception to reflect their conviction that a wedding marks the beginning of a covenant relationship. Because of that they did not want a stressful wedding. As they sat around DD’s apartment making decorations for the church, they watched Bridezilla on TV. They would look at each other and say, “Our wedding will NOT be like that!” And it was not. We made some of the food for the wedding, so the last few days were busy, but they were never anxious or stressful. Often DD said to me, “Mom, that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that at the end of the day will be married and God will be honored.”
She had an afternoon wedding at the church where they met, and the reception was in the church gym. These days, some kind of dinner is expected at a Texas reception. DD and SIL decided to do sandwiches plus fruit and veggie trays. She started off thinking that she would buy sandwiches from a local deli. A friend of mine is a caterer, and we also got a bid from her. By the time we factored in paying someone to keep the food trays replenished, along with the plates and the beverages, the caterer’s cost was about the same as the cost to do it ourselves.
DD and SIL chose wrap sandwiches because there was less bread. Some were turkey (for Type As) and some were beef (for Type Os). The caterer wanted to do another sandwich on regular bread, and she suggested ham salad or cheese. DD and SIL wrinkled their noses. The caterer said that children were not going to like wraps. I suggested peanut butter. DD loved the idea because peanut butter is beneficial for her. The caterer loved the idea because it would lower her overall cost. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a wedding where they served peanut butter sandwiches, but I think it’s a pretty good idea for a BTD wedding.
When DD’s roommate got married a year ago, she served fruit flavored water at her reception. DD and SIL had loved that idea. The caterer had three large clear carafes. In one she put iced tea. In the other two she had water with fresh fruit floating in it. It was beautiful and refreshing.
Dessert for the wedding was a more difficult choice. Neither DD nor SIL like cake - particularly white cake with rich white icing. When they priced wedding cake, they were quoted $4 - $6 per slice. So they decided to do family favorite desserts. SIL’s mother and grandmother made some. I made some, and DD and SIL made some. We set up a dessert table with antique crystal trays, some of which had been in the family for years. I made hundreds of tiny carrot cake muffins and hundreds of pecan muffins.
Then I made two layers for a carrot cake. I trimmed one layer so that there was a small layer on top of a larger layer. I frosted it with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting. On top of the small layer was the bride and groom cake topper that was on my parent’s wedding cake in 1951. DD and SIL cut the ceremonial cake. The rest of it is in my freezer waiting until their first anniversary. The guests enjoyed a variety of cookies and muffins, none of which were too sweet.
The two of them are now settling into married life. They are cooking together in the evening using the beautiful wedding gifts that they received. They are running, swimming, and bicycling together just as they did when they first met.
A recurring theme in my blogs is that I try to focus on beneficials – on what I CAN have. There are so many delicious beneficials, as well as plenty of neutrals to round out menus and give variety. When I keep my focus on them, I am content both as I cook, and as I eat.
However, when I focus on avoids it just makes me feel deprived. I start wanting the thing I’m not supposed to have. It doesn’t help when I describe the Type O diet, and someone dismisses it by saying, “Oh I could never give up wheat.” or “I couldn’t live without cheddar cheese.”
I smiled when I read my Bible Study this morning from Genesis. The author makes exactly the same point about Eve. Her avoid list only had one item…and what did she want? Of course…the one thing she wasn’t supposed to have. Here is a quote from Sarah Young’s book “Jesus Calling.
“Before Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, thankfulness was as natural as breathing. Satan’s temptation involved pointing Eve to the one thing that was forbidden to her. The garden was filled with luscious, desirable fruits, but Eve focused on the one fruit she couldn’t have, rather than being thankful for the many good things freely available. This negative focus darkened her mind, and she succumbed to temptation.
“When you focus on what you don’t have or on situations that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened. You take for granted life, salvation, sunshine, flowers, and countless other gifts from God. You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life.”
I’m sure I will keep returning to this theme, because I believe it is the second greatest factor to success on the Blood Type Diet.
During this Easter season, keep your focus on the blessings in your life and in your diet. Approach God with thanksgiving for the many, many things that you have. And enjoy the good news that eggs are either beneficial or neutral for us all.
When we turned onto our street last night, we saw that the live oak trees were brown, and one of the brownest was in our front yard. Our hearts sank. First impression was that after hauling gallons of gray water last summer during the drought, we had still lost a beautiful native tree. Then we laughed. Spring arrived in central Texas while we were in Oklahoma. The live oaks are supposed to lose their leaves and put out new growth as soon as the danger of a hard freeze is past. This morning I see that a few wildflowers are beginning to bloom. When I walked the dog I passed a lovely patch of verbena.
We left DG and EG in Oklahoma City and went to visit DB and NB in Tulsa. Tulsa appears to be one of those outdoor-oriented cities. There were bike and walking trails everywhere. We saw lots of signs pointing to green belts along the river. HH and DB first became friends when they were in college together and found that they not only shared a love for engineering but a love for hiking as well.
We went to Swan Lake and took several laps around the lake. There really are swans at Tulsa’s Swan Lake, and the sunset was beautiful. We had dinner at Los Cabos. The menu was lower carb and more BTD friendly than the Tex-Mex food that is prevalent at home.
We didn’t have WiFi for the last part of the trip, but I had to find a way to send work files to clients, and we both had to check e-mail. We started off going to McDonalds for lunch because they have free WiFi. I would pack a meat and veggie bowl in the morning and would eat my lunch in the car. That way I could log onto the laptop while HH ate a grilled chicken sandwich. He could check his e-mail after he finished his lunch. The grilled chicken sandwich was adequate for him, but McDonalds fries proved to be too much of a temptation.
The third day on the road we stopped at a Subway, and were told that most Subways not only have WiFi, but offer a free secure connection. You get the code when you buy your meal. This is a much healthier choice for HH. I can even get a salad, though I prefer to make my own meat and veggie bowl.
We stopped to see DD and HH’s Mom on the last night of our trip. Drum Roll…..I want you all to know that DD and ESS are engaged. She has bought her wedding dress, and she modeled it for her grandmother and me. I still have the smile on my face when I think about the moment. I’m sure I will be blogging about wedding food choices as the summer wedding date gets closer.
The nice thing about my Honorable Husband being retired and me being underemployed, is that we can take little trips at odd times of the year. As long as I have my laptop with me, I can keep working.
We are on our way to visit friends in Oklahoma. We packed up the car and headed north, but we didn’t get very far. A major accident brought the highway to a complete stop. I turned off the engine to save gas, and we sat completely still for 20 – 30 minutes. When traffic began moving again we saw the scene of the accident about a mile in front of us. Skid marks were across all three lanes. Ambulances and tow trucks were still parked on the access road. We never knew what had happened, but it was sobering to think that the last annoying delay before we started might have kept us from being in the middle of the wreckage.
We were thankful to arrive safely in the Metroplex where HH’s mother lives and where DD works. HH’s mom has passed her 91st birthday. She lives with a lot of pain from osteoporosis and arthritis, but she is happy to have wonderful caregivers and neighbors who make it possible for her to be remarkably independent.
DD and ESS joined us for dinner and a power walk. We picked up food at Fuddruckers and brought it home so we could all eat together. Fuddruckers has two things on their menu that I like to eat: salmon salad and hamburger with sweet potato fries. Last night I went with the hamburger. I tossed the bun, but got enough lettuce and tomato from the produce bar to have a salad. It was delicious.
Most of the time the servers at Fuddruckers cooperate with DD. She orders a side salad without cheese and croutons, but with extra egg. Because she is taking off two ingredients, they usually don’t charge her for the one add on.
For HH we ordered a turkey burger, and for his Mom (also Type A); a grilled chicken sandwich. Fuddruckers is quite friendly to those of us on the BTD.
Our power walk was a rapid 30 minute walk around the neighborhood pumping 3 pound weights as we went. We will sleep well tonight!
I have written many blogs about summer fruit. This year I have been enjoying winter fruit. Our grocery store has carried fresh guava and fresh persimmons all winter.
I love adding guava to my breakfast mix. It tastes especially good with pineapple or pineapple juice.
I buy several persimmons whenever I see them in the stores. I let them ripen on the counter until they are soft, then cut off the top and scoop the fruit out with a spoon.
Imported cherries this winter have been less expensive per pound than summer cherries. I have kept fresh cherries in the refrigerator almost all winter.
We received a box of ruby red grapefruit as a Christmas gift. We just ate the last one a few days ago. They are always delicious eaten out of the rind with a spoon. I also like them chopped up in my breakfast mix, especially when I add a scoop of vanilla flavored egg white protein.
Mangos this year have been disappointing. I don’t know a thing about growing mangos, but the growing conditions must have been less than ideal. The ones I have bought have been stringy and not very sweet.
On the other hand, pineapples seem to have been especially good this year. Sweeter and juicier than I remember from previous winters.
My husband and I are not the only ones enjoying winter fruit. We put all of the cores and peelings out for the deer to eat. They love persimmon, mango, and pineapple. I sometimes wonder what Hill Country deer think when they are munching on tropical fruit. Probably their taste buds are just as happy as mine.
I can understand why food manufacturers lace their products with salt and sugar. Both are addictive. Because I eat natural, unprocessed food most of the time, I feel the difference when I get too much salt or sugar. I don’t like the way too much salt makes me feel. I am thirsty, and the inside of my mouth tingles. I don’t like the way too much sugar makes me feel either. I am sluggish and lazy. That is my logical, healthy, informed self. But once I get started on salty, sweet food look out. Logic, health and wisdom abandon me, and I am as vulnerable as any ordinary gal in a fast food drive through line.
I am in a Book Club in my neighborhood. Last year several of us read a book called True Women, about women pioneers in Texas. We also enjoyed a follow up book called The True Women Cookbook. The club was meeting at my house in January, and I decided to do recipes from the True Women Cookbook along with recipes that have been handed down from my early Texas ancestors.
I moderated the recipes a little so that my husband and I could eat the leftovers. I used neutral flours in the cookies and substituted feta cheese for cheddar. My book reading friends loved the theme, and the food was delicious, if I say so myself.
Though there weren’t any avoid foods (except for coconut), there was still more sugar and salt than I am accustomed to eating. One of the cookies was a no bake recipe that called for making a sauce with sugar, butter and milk (I used almond milk). Another cookie was dusted with powdered sugar. Several of the recipes called for dried fruit and one for honey. The asparagus was topped with both cheese and a crunchy salty topping.
The night before the Book Club I did quite a bit of taste testing – but I told myself, I’ll eat moderately tomorrow. The day of the Book Club I decided to yield and enjoy myself – tomorrow I’ll get back to eating normally. The day after the Book Club the leftovers were too tempting. Sugar and salt were calling my name.
This morning I got up resolved to get back in control. I know that the best thing for my body is to eat my food as close to the way God made it as I can. Concentrated salt and sugar are not the way He intended for me to eat.
I know today will be filled with temptation. There are still a few leftovers in the house, though most of them are going in the freezer after I finish writing this blog. I am drinking lots of fluid. I added l-glutamine to my morning green tea to head off carb cravings. I’ll take more l-glutamine late this afternoon before I start dinner preparation. Writing this blog makes me feel accountable to all of you who are reading it.
As my logical, healthy, informed side begins to reassert itself, I have a renewed sympathy for those around me who are trying for the first time to wean themselves away from processed foods. It takes a while to savor the flavors of grains and vegetables without excessive sugar and salt. I’m eager to get back on track, and I’m glad I have l-glutamine to get me past the moments when the cravings would try to drag me back.
We had a gorgeous day for our trip to top of Pikes Peak on the cog train. Someday I would like to ride the train to the top and walk down, or perhaps even hike up the mountain and ride the train back down. But that would not happen this trip. It does take a day or two to adjust to high altitudes, and we only arrived in Colorado last night.
We had expected the view from the top of the 14,110 foot mountain to be spectacular. What we hadn’t expected was such a lovely ride up the mountain. The aspen were bright yellow, and the streams were sparkling white. We saw a golden eagle soaring on the wind currents.
When we arrived at the summit, the views in every direction were breath taking. We literally felt like we were on the top of the world. I was not surprised to learn that Katharine Lee Bates wrote the words to America the Beautiful after a trip to the top of Pikes Peak in 1893.
The people who run the food service at Pikes Peak have a rule against bringing picnic lunches on the train. They want you to buy their boxed lunches. I had asked in advance if they could prepare me a lunch without bread or potato chips. They said that they could not and were agreeable that people on special diets could bring their own food. I enjoyed my asparagus and salmon while those around me ate boxed lunches.
If I am going to eat an avoid, particularly wheat, I want to make it memorable. Ordinary, everyday wheat, like sandwiches, tortilla chips, rolls, and pizza, are not worth compromising for.
Pikes Peak is famous for something besides the beautiful views – high altitude donuts. A man named Lewis began making donuts to sell to tourists on the mountain in 1889. They are world famous, and I am told that they do not taste the same when they are made in mile high Denver, much less in the flat lands of Texas. I decided that the experience of eating a high altitude donut on top of Pikes Peak was worth it.
I bought one for myself and one of HH. They are cake donuts, so they do not melt in your mouth the way a hot fresh Krispy Kreme does. However, they probably have the best flavor of any donut I have ever eaten.
We have driven to Estes Park and checked into our condominium. We are looking forward to a week’s hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.
When I think back on today in years to come, I will probably not remember the donut. But I will remember the majesty of the mountains, and my heart sings...
“O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!”
We had two delightfully uneventful travel days. No bad weather, no car trouble, no problems with reservations. The worst difficulty was that wifi at the hotel the first night didn’t work, so I am late posting this blog. I am thankful to God for His travel mercies!
We had a Fitness Room in one of our hotels. The equipment was really nice and I got in a much needed workout after a long day sitting in the car. One wall of the room was a ceiling to floor mirror. As I ran on elliptical machine, I watched myself in the mirror. I was confronted again with how I appear to be a combination of Hunter and Gatherer. The top half of me looks like a Hunter. I am sinewy, bony, and angular. But the bottom half of me is just the opposite. I look like a Gatherer. There is just no denying when I'm in running shorts that I'm well padded on my legs and thighs.
I thought I had put this conflict with the GTD out of my mind, but I’m revisiting everything since finding the two polyps. Someone posted a great idea on the Forum about asking their dentist to clarify about Carabelli's cusp and incisor shoveling. I’ve made a note on my calendar to do that at my next dentist appointment.
As we drove through New Mexico, we saw a record number of antelope. HH and I laughed as we remembered an early vacation when DD called them cantaloupe. We sent her a text, and she texted back warning us to stay away from Colorado cantaloupe because of the listeria problems. I guess we can’t order fruit salad as a side dish without checking whether it contains cantaloupe.
We asked at our hotel in Manitou Springs where we could get a meal with meat and vegetables. They recommended the Mason Jar. We were happy with a good and BTD friendly dinner. Today the weather is good, so we are going up Pike’s Peak.
Today I've been packing for vacation. For breakfast I ground flax seed, pumpkin seeds and almonds. I measured rice bran, nutritional yeast, and lecithin into plastic containers. We will eat out one meal a day. For the other meal I have packed canned meat and vegetables. I have sweet potatoes, olive oil, cilantro, prunes and fresh fruit. I've got green tea, natural soda, walnuts and peanuts in the car in case we need snacks.
We are headed for Colorado for a week of hiking, animal watching, and aspen admiring. I can hardly wait for cooler temperatures, not to mention some rest and relaxation. Enough blogging for the moment. HH is ready to load the car.
I have blogged at other times about my journey from totally unhealthy eating, to being a health food nut, to the Blood Type Diet. One of the books that had an impact on my health food stage was Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nutrition by David Reuben. His father died of colon cancer and he wanted to protect himself from that disease. His research said a high fiber diet was the best way to do that. He introduced me to bran and wheat germ which I ate for years. While his plan kept my bowels moving, the wheat worked against me as a Type O, and eventually led to indigestion.
When I started the BTD in 2003 I had to find alternate fibers to avoid constipation. I knew that colon cancer and colon polyps were also part of my genetic history. I applied Reuben’s high fiber research to the BTD.
I had my first colonoscopy in 2005. While the experience was terrible, the results were excellent. No polyps.
When I had my 2nd colonoscopy this year, I expected good results again. I did not expect two polyps, and I sure didn’t expect one of them to be pre cancerous.
I left the clinic with diet recommendations from the doctor. Since then I have been looking at his recommendations, the Blood Type Diet, the GenoType Diet, and Dr. D’s Cancer Prevention book.
The diet from colon doctor says that while fiber is important for other colon conditions – it doesn’t help polyps. Here is his list of things to do to reduce polyp formation.
* Reduce red meat intake to only 2 times a week or less.
* Eat more fruits and vegetables
* Calcium supplementation 1,200 mg per day
* Don’t smoke
* Be physically active.
* Maintain normal weight
* Take one baby aspirin a day.
* Study results on alcohol are mixed. Some studies show alcohol increases colon cancer, other studies show red wine may reduce cancer risks.
I already do most of what is on list yet my colon health declined. Why?
I eat more fruit & vegetables than I did before the BTD. I take more calcium than is recommended. I get selenium in my multiple vitamin, plus I eat many selenium containing foods. I have never smoked. I exercise 5-6 days a week. My weight is normal for my height, and lower than average for my age. I don’t drink wine, but I eat a lot of black and red grapes.
That leaves red meat intake and aspirin where there are conflicts between the anti-polyp diet and the BTD.
I am not going to take the aspirin. I have seen in myself and in my father what happens when type O’s take Vitamin E and aspirin as preventive measures. It leads to increased bruising and longer clotting times. My Type O blood is already thin enough. I will leave the aspirin for thick blooded Type As.
Red Meat – this is the tough one, because at first glance it seems to be in opposition to the BTD. Food portions in the Little Books – which I always reach for first since they are so easy to use, are: Lean red meat 2-5 ounces 4-6 times per week. Poultry 2-5 ounces 2-3 times per week.
Because red meat makes me feel so good, I had gone toward the high end of the scale eating 4-5 ounces 5-6 times a week. Since getting my lab results on the pre-cancerous polyp, I have made a slight adjustment. I am weighing my beef and eating 3-4 ounces. For lunch and dinner on one day I have fish and poultry. The next day I have fish and beef. Once or twice a week I substitute 3 eggs for a one of those portions. This puts me having beef about 3 times per week.
I looked at the portions in Dr. D’s Cancer Prevention book. There is a slight difference between it and the Little Books. In the Cancer Prevention book, he groups beef and poultry together saying to eat 2-5 ounces 6-9 times a week. My new plan is right in line with that recommendation. The book also contains a two page explanation of Dr. D’s position on beef and cancer. It is worth reading if you have concerns in this area.
Another slight conflict between the Dr. D and anti-polyp diets concerns apples. I used to eat an apple a day. After the GTD came out, I cut back to 1 or 2 apples a week. The Cancer Prevention book says apples are frequent neutrals. I am not eating an apple a day, but I am increasing my apple intake significantly.
I had taken myself off of almost all grain. There are no beneficial grains for Type O except manna bread, and the recommended portions for grains are 1 serving 1-6 times a week. I felt good with 0-1 servings. I am thinking that may be too extreme. I am trying to reincorporate 1 portion of neutral grains 3-5 times a week.
I won’t have another colonoscopy for 5 years. That is a long time to wonder whether my new program will succeed in preventing polyp formation.