Category: Living the BTD lifestyle
While DD is home for Christmas break, we are getting all of her routine medical check ups. Monday she had an eye appointment. When she was in elementary school she began to get headaches and eye strain. Most children who wear glasses need them for distance vision. But when I took DD to the eye doctor, it was her close up vision that needed correction. She also had a slight astigmatism. So DD wore glasses all through middle school and high school. I took her in for an eye check up about a year before she left for college, and her vision had not changed from her previous appointment.
I intended to take her in two years later, but I forgot, so she had not had a vision test for 3 1/2 years. She told me at Thanksgiving that her glasses hurt her eyes and that she had stopped wearing them. It was definitely time for an eye exam.
When her eye doctor came out to give me the report, he said that her astigmatism was gone. Both her near and far vision were perfect. She no longer needed glasses at all.
If this was the only good news, it might not have attracted my attention, but I had my eyes checked a month ago. My vision has not changed from my last exam two years ago. At my age, 57, that is welcome news. But the best news is about cataracts.
Eye doctors say they begin to notice cataract formation in patients in their 40s and 50s. Most of those cataracts are small and do not affect vision. After age 60 cataracts increase in size and by late 60s and early 70s they begin to affect vision. In the US, cataracts are reported in 42% of those between the ages of 52 to 64, 60% of those between the ages 65 and 74, and 91% of those between the ages of 75 and 85.
I asked my eye doctor about cataracts. He says that I have no sign of them at all.
Is DD’s improvement in vision is related to the Blood Type Diet?
Are my cataract free eyes related to the Blood Type Diet?
It would be impossible to know for sure. All I really know is that I feel great, I have lots of energy, I am on no prescription medications, and very few of my peers can say the same.
This blog is part confession, part suggestion, and part relaxation of the rules. If you have followed my experiences on the BTD for the past six years, you know that I’m usually looking for ways to make holidays as compliant as possible. Most years I intend to continue that practice. But this year, I find myself wanting to taste again the traditional Christmas foods I grew up with.
If I were going to psychoanalyze myself, I would say that it probably has something to do with the fact that of the last four Christmases, three have involved critical and terminal health issues with my parents. I encounter memories of what happened on particular days in December at every turn. Because of that I find myself craving to reconnect with the joy and delight of Christmas.
I went all out decorating my house this year. My husband tried to discourage me, but I told him that I really needed to do it. He didn’t understand, but he could see my passion, and after I was finished, he admitted that the house looks the best it ever has.
Another part of restoring good memories is food. I’m sure I could fight against the urge to splurge…for a while. But I have a feeling that if I did, there would come a moment in January, when Christmas goodies were all gone, that I would crash and indulge in stress eating. It wouldn’t be as satisfying, and it certainly wouldn’t be as tasty.
So I’m going to relax the rules a little this year. I continue to be almost 100% compliant at home. DD and I are going to do compliant dressing and pies for our family Christmas. But I am being much less stringent at parties and family gatherings. I went to a cookie exchange this week, and I ate cookies - quite a few, in fact. I also ate several kinds of cheese appetizers. We have a party coming up with a Mexican food theme, and while I won’t eat chips, I intend to eat tamales and enchiladas.
There is one level at which I feel a little bit guilty. But for the most part, I think this is a necessary (and temporary) way to set aside the recent past and re-experience more distant memories. I do not want to get caught up in a rut of sadness at this most happy and blessed time of the year. If a little sugar and coconut will help me get past this year with a joyful heart, I think it will be worth it.
If you are like me, I would urge you to face yourself honestly. Identify what is making you sad, confront it, and pray about it. Put limits on how far you will go with Christmas avoids. Saying yes at parties, but a firm NO at home is a good place to start. Saying that the relaxation of rules comes to a screeching halt on December 26 or 27 might be another good limit.
You are here on this website because you recognize that the Blood Type Diet is the best program for your physical needs. But there are deep emotional and spiritual needs that surface at Christmas time - don’t attempt to neglect or deny them.
My Honorable Husband injured his knee in 2005 and got incredible relief with physical therapy. He has no pain with normal activity, but if he walks for very long on a steep incline he has soreness and stiffness for several days. It terrifies him. He thinks he has reinjured the knee and is doomed to surgery. This means that the mountain hiking we both loved to do is severely limited.
Last summer in a chance (or perhaps providential) conversation with a woman in the neighborhood, I found out about a lady’s hiking club. There are about 25 women who hike in nearby state parks every Friday. It took a while to get connected, but on Friday I took my third hike with the group.
These ladies are serious hikers. Most of them are grandmothers, and they hike because they believe that if they stay physically active they will age more gracefully. The first two hikes were steep and aggressive. I met ladies who have hiked in the Alps and on the Appalachian Trail. I was glad in was in good enough shape to keep up.
Most of them are also interested in eating healthy. In so many situations, people give me strange looks when they see what I eat – like a meat and veggie bowl when everyone else is eating sandwiches. Not the hiking club ladies! There are certainly lots of sandwiches, but there are also a lot of salads and trail mix. There are even others who eat veggie bowls like I do. I’m probably the most serious about the Blood Type Diet, but several follow the basic principles.
On Friday we took a guided hike in a protected natural area. The weather was perfect, and the docent filled us with knowledge about truly native plants as well as plants that are encroaching in Central Texas. The walk, fresh air, and good conversation were rejuvenating.
A reader, frustrated by cooking cod and having it turn out too dry, asked how I cooked frozen cod. I have the same problem when I buy thin cod fillets at the grocery store; they often come out dry.
I have the best results with cod loins, which I can only buy at a wholesale store like Sams or Costco. I do not thaw them. I put the frozen cod loins in a glass baking dish, top them with seasoning, and bake them at 350 degrees. I watch through the oven window for the juices that cook out of the cod. When the edges of the juice start to turn golden brown, I test for flakiness. The moment the cod flakes all the way through, I take it out of the oven.
When I’m in a hurry, I use a no-salt seasoning like Mrs. Dash or Spike on cod. When I have more time, I like topping cod with fresh foods – onions, celery, lemon, pineapple, whatever I have in the house.
***Basma added a comment about cooking fish in a pan vs in the oven. Make sure you scroll down to the bottom and read how she cooks fish***
The cod question reminded me that my husband asked me if we ate much tilapia. He had heard a news report about tilapia being dangerous. I spent some time doing internet searches about tilapia safety this morning. I am no expert, so do your own searches, but this is a summary of what I found.
Most tilapia is farm raised in China. The Director of Food Safety at the University of Georgia went to China to inspect fish farms, and found to his horror that they were feeding tilapia human and animal excrement. The fish were given a big dose of antibiotics prior to being prepared for market. This report is evidently several years old.
Some more recent reports indicate that China has made an effort to “clean up” their fish farms. I can’t tell whether this is advertising/marketing talk or whether they have really made significant changes.
Equally alarming is that people buy tilapia thinking that it is a less expensive way to get the good benefits of eating fish. A recommended ratio of Omega 6:Omega 3 is 1:1. The typical American daily intake is estimated at 30:1. Aren’t you glad you are on the BTD and not on a typical American diet?!?
People are being encouraged to increase their Omega 3 intake, and the three best sources of Omega 3 are Flaxseed walnuts and cold water fish. When you look at the ratio, you want the first number to be smaller than 1. That means the fish has more Omega 3 than Omega 6.
You can see that tilapia is not a good choice for people wanting to increase the Omega 3s in their diet. Unlike other fish, it is low in Omega 3 and high in Omega 6.
I notice that the fat content of farm raised salmon is higher than wild caught salmon. Frankly the farm raised tastes better to me, and it is usually less expensive. I was almost ready to abandon wild caught and start buying farm raised. But in the course of looking up ratios, I learned that because of the grain based food fed to farm raised salmon, the increased fat content is the undesirable Omega 6.
As for me and my house…we will continue to buy cod loins over cod fillets. We will continue to buy wild caught salmon. And we won’t be buying any more tilapia. This blog is making me hungry. It’s time to fix lunch.
My grandparents lived on a ranch, and when I was a girl, I would hear them talk about “going to town.” The nearest town was 5 miles away. That’s where they would go for groceries and the bank. To do any major shopping they had to go to a larger town that was 20 miles from the ranch. I grew up in the city, and I thought the phrase “going to town” sounded so exciting.
Now that my husband and I live out in the country, we use that phrase all the time. He will say to me, “Are you going to town today? If so, I need to go to the hardware store.” We consolidate our errands to save gas.
Yesterday we went to town with a list of nine errands. We crossed off the first two, then went to a new restaurant for lunch. The owner had mailed out coupons for “buy one, get one free” dinners. It was a trendy sandwich shop oriented toward tourists and business lunches. The thing that impressed me was that three of their sandwiches were available in “no bun” versions. This has to stem from low carb and/or BTD pressure in the restaurant industry. I’m glad to see it. I had a sirloin burger that was topped with a fresh vegetable garnish. Instead of fries, I got a fruit cup. It was delicious.
We dropped off a photo order at a client’s (if you need a Christmas gift idea, I have one for you below), then went by the tax office. One thing I love about small towns is walking into the tax office and talking to someone right away. When we lived in the city, I would block out an hour for any errand at the courthouse.
Then we went to vote. I cast my ballot for candidates who promise to pass better health care laws than the current administration and who encourage self sufficiency and entrepreneurship.
Next, I got a flu shot. Every year I weigh the pros and cons. Last year I got the regular flu shot, but not the swine flu. This year it is all rolled into one. In the end, I decided that the possibility of feeling terrible for a week was worse than the risk of the shot. I’m not advocating that for you, it was just the lesser of two evils for me. I may change my mind next year.
Last of all we picked up produce at the grocery store and headed for home. My husband took the dog for a walk while I put things away. He poked his head in the front door and said, “Come see! There are four deer in the neighbor’s yard.” The best thing about going to town is coming home to the country.
Now for the Christmas idea. Part of my photography/graphic design business is converting old 35 mm slides to digital. I can correct faded color and make the slides into a DVD movie. No more slide projector - you watch your pictures on TV. Because I custom scan each slide, now is the time to order for Christmas. There is more information on my website Practical Photography and Publishing
Our Bible Study class had a cook out over the weekend. The men grilled hamburgers and the women brought side dishes. There was so much good food – baked beans, an oriental salad filled with crunchy veggies, lots of fresh fruit, and a spinach salad topped with cranberries and nuts. Of course there were chips and cookies, but it was easy for a Type O to find plenty to eat.
I decided to take carrot salad. It’s good for all blood types, it’s easy, and most people like it. Sometimes when I make it at home, I use oil instead of mayonnaise. It tastes good, but it doesn’t have the same creamy texture. For the cook out, I wanted to make it the more familiar way, but I was nearly out of mayonnaise, so I went to the health food store. The owner saw me looking at the various brands, and suggested I look in the refrigerator for Vegenaise. Sorry, but I would never name a product Vegenaise. It just brings weird images into my mind, like Veggie Tale characters climbing onto sandwiches.
I picked up a jar and liked the ingredients. Grapeseed oil – not good for Hunters, but super beneficial for Gatherers. There are advantages to having a mixed body type – I focused on super beneficial. Brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup – that was good, as was apple cider vinegar instead of regular vinegar. I bought a jar.
I put two cans of diced pineapple (with the juice) in a bowl, added several handfuls of raisins, and let them soak until they were plump. Meanwhile I grated two pounds of carrots. Just as I got ready to put it all together, DD called. She was telling me about a salad she had made with cinnamon and ginger. On impulse I put 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon and a teaspoon of ginger in my carrot salad. Tossed it with some Vegenaise and off we went to the cook out.
The day was beautiful and the conversation was fun. We met two new couples who live in our area. The carrot salad was a hit – I think it’s the best I’ve ever made. If I had been hoping to bring enough home leftovers for Sunday lunch, I would have been disappointed.
We are back at home – thankful for safe travels. We may not live in the majestic mountains, but the Texas Hill Country is a delightful and lovely place to dwell. I have one more story from our trip that applies to the BTD.
On the last day, we were in a restaurant for lunch. One of our friends had a hard time deciding between a fried chicken dinner and chicken & dumplings. He finally decided on the fried chicken, but asked the waitress for a taste of chicken & dumplings “for my grandma’s sake.
He closed his eyes and sighed as he tasted the dumplings. “Mmmm, just like grandma’s.” Then he said, “That is why people on my mother’s side of family were so fat. All roly poly. They ate stuff like that.”
Perhaps when you read that he chose fried chicken, you were a little judgmental. It’s easy for those of us who have been involved with a demanding diet like the BTD to look with disapproval on others who don’t eat as we do.
When I look at our friend, I see how far he has come. He was not taught good eating habits as a child, but like most of us he could get away with eating anything when he was young. When he and my husband met in Viet Nam in their 20s, they were both thin and fit. He gradually put on weight until by the time he was in his 50s he was getting portly. A diagnosis of diabetes got his attention. He changed his diet and began to exercise. Today he looks great and has lots of energy.
Was fried chicken the best choice for a Type O with diabetes? No. If I had been ordering for him, I would have chosen something else. But there were certainly worse choices on the menu – like chicken & dumplings.
I never want to be so rigid that I cannot celebrate when people make meaningful changes to their eating habits that bring them a step closer to the Blood Type Diet – which I consider to be the best way to eat for maximum health.
When we travel, we take our own breakfast food and eat in our room. This has become so much easier in the last year or so, because almost every motel chain now offers a refrigerator in the room at no additional charge. For our remaining two meals, we eat out one and picnic one.
For our trip to Colorado, we are staying at a condominium. We got a great rate at a ski resort. It’s too late for summer vacationers and too early for snow. This means we have a fully equipped kitchen, which makes preparing picnic food somewhat easier. But don’t forget this is vacation, I’m keeping food preparation simple!
I added three new items to the picnic food that I’ve blogged about in the past. Since we have a refrigerator, my husband gets a lot more fresh produce with his turkey sandwich. He has had grapes, apples, nectarines, carrots and green beans. I think he could eat a turkey sandwich every day for six months, but I do try to give him lots of variety with the extras that go with the sandwich.
I bought mozzarella cheese to go in my sushi nori wraps that I eat on picnics. That’s not new. What is new is using the mozzarella in the meat and veggie bowls that I eat when we are in the condo. Tonight I had canned spinach and canned chicken topped by mozzarella. Heated for one minute in the microwave, and it is the closest thing to creamed spinach that I’ve had in years. Delicious. Along with this combination, I had a half can of pumpkin heated with diced apple and grapes. Was this a vegetable dish or a dessert?
I’ve been eating a lot of humus at home. When we arrived in Colorado, I bought a container of humus for picnicking. Last night I had tuna, English peas, and humus. I had a sweet potato as well. I once thought fixing Type O travel food was hard, but I can now fix myself a bowl quicker than I fix my husband’s sandwich.
Tomorrow I’ll look at some of our adventures eating out in Colorado.
Is the whole culture becoming more health conscious, or is it just my little Hill Country community? I am finding the most amazing foods at the local grocery store. I blogged earlier that the store now regularly stocks ground bison (for a very reasonable price) and frozen acai.
Over the summer, DD found Cedar’s Tzatziki. It is a Greek strained yogurt dip. It comes in several flavors, all of them loaded with vegetables. Yogurt is avoid for me, but it is neutral for my husband. It is certainly a much better choice for him than some of the other things (like picante or sour cream) that he likes to dip. The store is also carrying brown rice chips, which he admits are really tasty.
This week I found falafel. The ingredients are chickpeas, fava beans, onions, parsley and spices. Chick peas are avoid for my husband, but all of the ingredients are beneficial for me. And, oh my, falafel is delicious. It’s like having a little muffin with my meal.
I’m going to buy these products often, to encourage the store management to keep carrying them.
We spent an interesting day at the Charles Town Landing Historical Site. The original 1670 settlement has been restored. We learned about life in the colony and enjoyed the archeology exhibits. We walked a big loop trail that took us from one end of the compound area to the other. On one side there was a ship building exhibit featuring a Ketch sailing vessel built by hand by the docents. On the other side was a wildlife exhibit featuring local animals in their natural habitat.
We asked one of the docents to recommend one of her favorite nearby restaurants. She sent us to T Bonz. The food was delicious. I had a burger & vegetables. DD had a salad & eggs. We got a side order of broccoli and shared. Though there were plenty of beneficial choices, HH chose an avoid sandwich – steak, turkey and bacon. DD and I couldn't talk him out of it. I don’t know if his stomach bothered him. After all our warnings, he knew better than to complain.
Our last day in Charleston we packed a picnic and drove to the Isle of Palms. The kids and I went running on the beach, then jumped in the ocean to play in the surf. HH decided to be cautious because of his cornea transplant. He has healed beautifully from the surgery and his vision is better than it has been in years. He is still cautious, and he did not want to risk getting sand or salt water in his eye. He took a nice long walk on the beach. Then we pulled out the lawn chairs and ate our picnic while we listened to the water. So relaxing.
Then it was time to come home. I am getting ready to have an estate sale at my Mom’s house. HH is learning to take care of our house so I can spend more time next year developing my photography and publishing business. DD headed back to college for her senior year. SS finished grad school today. He is a physical therapist, and he is returning to Texas to practice. We are back to the real world, but the real world is a pretty interesting and exciting place to be.
We have had two more days of interesting sightseeing, scrumptious food and unusual exercise.
One day we toured a plantation just outside of Charleston. There were alligators walking free on the grounds! I picked up one bit of blood type trivia. Sickle Cell Anemia is an inherited blood disease that mostly affects people of African descent. While the disease has many disadvantages, one advantage is that it provides protection from malaria. On this particular plantation, for large parts of the year all of the activities, including management of the house, gardens, and crops, were entirely handled by black overseers while the white owners fled for less mosquito prone climates.
Another day we toured the USS Yorktown, a retired aircraft carrier. The kitchens on board were certainly not organized to provide WWII era soldiers with meals related to individual needs or blood types. Nor was the concession stand set up to provide healthy meal choices for tourists. We were glad we had packed a picnic lunch in our backpacks – turkey on oat bread for my husband, PB&J on Ezekiel bread for DD, salmon and English peas for me.
Last night we drove to Sullivan’s Island and ate at Seels. The rest of the family raved about the fish tacos. I thoroughly enjoyed my flounder with collard greens and sweet potato fries. After dinner we went for a long run on the beach. Running on sand works different muscles, I learned when I hopped out of bed this morning.
Tonight we had dinner at Jestine's Kitchen, a downtown restaurant famous for soul food. My meal was outstanding: meatloaf collard greens and okra gumbo. There is a hike and bike trail over the Ravenel suspension bridge where our son likes to exercise. DD and I power walked the bridge after dinner. We not only got a good work out, but we saw a beautiful view of the water and the downtown skyline.
We are taking a few days of family vacation before our kids strike out on new adventures. Our son is completing his last Physical Therapy internship in Charleston. He is interviewing for jobs and studying for his board exams. Our daughter is finishing up a marketing internship and preparing to go back for her senior year of college. I had traveled to 46 of the 50 states. South Carolina was one of the four I was missing.
Our Strong Son picked us up at the airport, and took us to Red’s Ice House in the Shem Creek area for dinner. While we were waiting for our table, we watched dolphins from a big deck over the water. I had mahi mahi fish tacos. The one time I cooked mahi mahi, it was dry and tough, but this was tender and delicious. I’m going to have to give mahi mahi another try at home.
After dinner we drove to the beach. We had hoped to go for a run, but SS advised against beach running in the dark because of jelly fish and shells. We walked to the light house, enjoying the sound of the surf.
Yesterday we took a carriage ride around downtown Charleston. This gave us a good overview of the historic part of the city. We had lunch at Gilligan’s. I had a bay scallop stir fry with asparagus and green beans. It was fabulous! I love the way food is seasoned in Charleston. It is a combination of Southern and Cajun. When I get home, I plan to look up some traditional Charleston recipes.
After lunch we took one of the two downtown walking tours. I’m not sure how far we walked, but we wound our way through the historic district from the Market to the Battery and back. By the time we finished, we were immersed in the history of this charming Southern city. We were also hot and tired. We returned to our hotel for a picnic supper in our room. Hurrah for hotels with refrigerators, they make vacation eating so much simpler.
My sister and I are at my parents’ house for the next three weeks. We are sorting and cleaning and getting things ready to move or sell. I arrived Tuesday night, and we started to work bright and early Wednesday morning.
The days are physically active with a lot of walking, bending and lifting. In addition I brought hand weights and running shoes. Like all other women my age, I fight a constant battle against muscle loss. DD has pushed me this summer, and I have actually gained muscle. I have no intention of going backwards during this trip!
There are diet issues involved with being away from home for this long. DD is doing an internship, and my husband has stayed home with her. I can count on DD to make sure he is BTD compliant for breakfast and supper. If he doesn’t’ eat too much bread or too many crackers for lunch, he will be fine.
I have mentioned many times that my sister lives in Europe. When her family comes to America, they want to eat all of the old favorite foods – hamburgers, fries, donuts, pizza and the like. That won’t do for me at all. So I am cooking for myself. It will be meat and vegetables as usual.
Last night they took me to Salt Grass Steakhouse to say thank you for the work I’ve done on the estate. It’s been a labor of love, and I certainly didn’t expect such a lovely meal. It was a Type O delight - Prime rib, Caesar salad, and a huge sweet potato. The prime rib was cooked perfectly. I chose Caesar salad because our server said that the dinner salad was iceberg lettuce. Caesar was beneficial Romaine, and Parmesan is one of the few cheeses that are actually good for Hunters.
When we got back to the house, they introduced me to a TV program – The Mentalist. What a great show! My kids gave me a blow up pad from The Firm that is supposed to strengthen core muscles. You do regular exercises while you try to keep your balance on the pad. I worked out with 5 pound weights on the pad during the show.
My sister and I are reliving childhood memories as we sort through the things in the house. My parents knew how to have fun, and they lived out their faith in innumerable practical ways. If the first three days are any indication – it will be a happy time together.
Because I am in good health, I find that “just a little bit” of an avoid does not bother me. As I’ve said many times, I don’t eat avoids at home. But when I am at a friend’s home, I am a gracious guest. When I am in a restaurant, I look for the best choices I can find and do not stress over hidden avoids. . However in the last few days, too many “just a little bits” caught up with me and reminded me of why I have stayed with the BTD for seven years.
Last week I had “just a little bit” of cake. It was the social thing to do at the time. My weight popped up two pounds the next day, as it always does when I eat wheat, but I didn’t notice any other ill effects.
Monday my husband and I ate at a Chinese buffet. We love this restaurant because it is MSG free and the vegetables are fabulous. I stayed away from all of the breaded foods, but I know there were avoids in the sauces and melted cheese on one of the vegetables.
Yesterday I met with my book club. While I am the only one on the BTD, most of the ladies are interested in health. I have talked about BTD books, and others also bring in diet books and cook books. There are always healthy choices among the snacks. Yesterday’s hostess had lots of fresh fruit. She also had an egg casserole and cake. I stayed away from the cake, putting lots of fresh fruit and some eggs on my plate.
I thought I was compliant until I took my first bite of the eggs. This was more like French toast casserole. It was layers of white bread with eggs and cheese in between. There was also a layer of sausage hidden on the bottom.
Last night my stomach was gurgling. This morning my weight is up again, and my stomach is not happy. I have that heavy, burning feeling that I lived with for more than 10 years before I found Dr. D’Adamo’s book.
I will be ok. After I post this blog, I’ll fix myself some ginger juice and water. Today will be a beneficial only day, and by tomorrow morning, my stomach will feel right again. The weight is water weight and it will vanish as suddenly as it appeared as soon as the wheat is out of my system.
I still believe that people are more important than things, and that “just a little bit” of an avoid is better than ruining a relationship. This experience, however, was a good reminder, that even the “little bits” are causing inflammation, and that the cumulative effect over several days is not good.
On the way to my husband’s family reunion, we spent the night with one of my roommates from college years. Alice first read about the Blood Type Diet in one of my Christmas Cards. One year I mentioned that after the BTD had solved years of stomach pain, I was blogging on the D’Adamo website. She says that she got a copy of the book, but gave up because the diet looked too hard.
However, her Type A mother was also having stomach trouble. Her doctor, like mine, performed lots of tests and came up with no answers. The medication he prescribed made her worse and not better. Alice and her Mom went to a health food store to see if there were supplements that might help. The owner said, “The first thing we need to know is her blood type.” That’s when Alice remembered my success with the BTD. Her mom started the diet and bought some supplements. It worked. Her stomach pain vanished, and stays away as long as she eats right.
When Alice told her I was coming to visit, her Mom said, “Yes, the gal that saved my life.” Oh my! I’ve never saved anyone’s life before. Of course it wasn’t me. It was the wonderful way that God made our bodies, and the wonderful research done by Dr. D. I was just the conduit.
Alice claims that she is marginal about the BTD, but she and her husband fixed a fabulous dinner that was perfect for both Type Os and Type As. He grilled steaks, chicken breasts, onions, and pineapple outside. She fixed green beans, carrots and salad with homemade dressing. For dessert she had oatmeal cookies made with spelt flour. It was a feast.
We had so much to talk about – our children and friends from long ago. Many roommates get together and talk about those things. But Alice and I have equal fun talking about what we eat and how our faith has grown.
When we moved to our home in the Hill Country, we agreed we wanted a natural yard with native grasses and wildflowers, rather than a groomed suburban yard. However, there are limits, and I resolved to get rid of Johnson grass. It is a tall prolific grass that is impossible to walk through. It will quickly choke out all of the low growing pretty grasses. It took two years, but by cutting off all of the seed pods before they had a chance to open, I virtually eliminated Johnson grass from our acre.
This year the wild flowers have been beautiful. I have photographed 35 different flowers growing around my house. It is a joy to look out the windows or walk down the path to the trees. I have a lot of dandelions this year, and I may try harvesting the leaves after the flowers stop blooming.
I reached the conclusion that I don’t like thistles. The flowers are ugly, and the pointy leaves are not friendly. I decided to attack them in the same way that I attacked the Johnson grass, clipping off the buds before they have a chance to open into flowers and make seeds.
It takes me about an hour to cover 1/3 of our yard looking for thistle buds. I walk and bend and snip. Then I walk some more. It isn’t the type of intense exercise that is the most beneficial for Type Os, but is good for flexibility. It is really good for my soul to be outside in the spring air, away from the computer chair.
I’m not counting my thistle workout as my exercise for the day. I still need cardio and strength training. But I do like this time of year when yard work makes my lifestyle more active than it is in the winter.
Thistles remind me of sin. They may be ugly and unwanted, but they are also stubborn. They don’t give up easily. I can snip off buds one day, and three days later more buds are forming. I can never let down my guard.
A friend we have known for more than 30 years spent the weekend with us. On Saturday we took a long trail in the Hill Country. After the hike, we were all hungry. The two men wanted pizza. My initial plan was to eat a lot of salad and a slice or two of pizza. But an impulsive request led to perfect Type O alternative in a pizzeria.
The menu had a Greek salad that sounded good. We placed our order, then I went back to the waiter. It bothered me that there was no meat on the salad. I knew I would soon be hungry again unless I had more protein. I asked if he could put some of the beef that he used for the beef pizzas on my salad. He said sure, but it would cost me a dollar more. I happily paid the dollar.
The salad was delicious. It was made with Romaine not iceberg lettuce. The portion of feta cheese was generous, as was the added beef. I was barely half way through my salad, when the men finished their part of the pizza. Only my one slice was left. I encouraged them to cut it in half and enjoy it. The salad was filling, delicious, and a great option in an environment often hostile to us non-wheat eaters.
My Honorable Husband takes me out to eat almost every Sunday after church. He is sensitive to the fact that to have Sunday lunch ready to eat when we get home from church, I would have to be up at the crack of dawn cooking. The other alternative is to start cooking when we get home, when everyone is already hungry. We don’t go to fancy restaurants. We usually go for a buffet or barbeque.
There is some debate about whether Easter Sunday or Mothers Day is the most crowded day for Sunday lunch in a restaurant. Because we had eaten out twice while our friend was here, I suggested that today we avoid the crowds and eat at home. I had enough left overs in the refrigerator to quickly put together two bowls of meat and veggies. Mini casseroles, I called them. HH asked for a fruit plate to go with his casserole.
For myself, I tried something that DD often makes at school. I took the half apple left from the fruit plate, cut it into cubes and put it in the bottom of a clear Pyrex bowl. I generously sprinkled on cinnamon and ginger. Then I topped it with a thick layer of canned pumpkin. I popped it in the microwave until I could see the apples starting to bubble. I stirred it all together. Oh my, it was good - - and it was fast.
When DD makes it she also adds raisins and walnuts, but I kept mine simple. Dining in or dining out, it was a weekend of good BTD eating.
When I go for more than a week without a blog, it’s a pretty safe bet that instead of blogging I am bogged down in paperwork. I had two or three things that I wanted to write about after Spring Break, but they were overshadowed by executrix duties and computer issues.
One of the required courses for graduation where DD goes to college is a healthy life class. As you would expect, they do not teach the BTD, but DD has enjoyed the course and learned that there is more to health than diet and exercise.
The instructor sent the students to a website called realage.com/. It is a free site, but you do have to register with an e-mail address. You take a 10 – 15 minute survey giving health, diet, exercise, and life style information. It calculates how your biological age compares to your calendar age.
The students had to take the survey and write an essay on what they learned about themselves and how they can improve their biological age. DD learned that she is still about two pounds below a healthy weight.
I could hardly wait to try it myself. I’m 56 years old. I know that I don’t have the body of a 20 or 30 year old, but I wanted to see if seven years on the BTD made me score better than other women my age.
Woo Hoo! Biologically I am 47.8 years old.
The website says that while I exercise enough overall, I need to spend more time lifting weights. That is probably true. A big factor in my score was losing both parents and starting my own business within the last 18 months. That is way more stress than any body needs. It also advises me to carve out more time for myself. Ha! I want to do that too - - tomorrow.
Of course it says I should eat more grain and less red meat, but I will ignore that advice. Overall I was happy with my score. I can go back in 90 days and take the survey again to see how I am doing.
The best thing about the survey is the reminder that while we have no control over some factors in aging, there are many things people do to destroy their own health. I want to live every day with maximum energy, maximum joy, and maximum service to God.
Friday was a perfect Spring Break day. The weather was cool; the skies were bright blue; the sun was shining. DD and I went for a run. We ran for time rather than distance, and I ran a little farther than I usually do in 45 minutes. It certainly didn't spoil the run, but I couldn't help noticing all of the trash, particularly cans, on the side of the road.
The weather changed during the night. We woke to rain pelting on the windows. The rain stopped during the morning but it was cold and windy all day. Late in the afternoon my husband announced he and the dog were going to walk to the mailbox. I said that I’d go along, if we could walk the route that I had run on Friday.
I put on plastic gloves and grabbed a trash bag. We were off. Every time I saw an aluminum can I stopped and picked it up. HH walked one side of the street and I walked the other. We walked for a little more than an hour and picked up a half a trash bag of cans. It was good exercise, and it made our neighborhood look nicer. On Monday I will visit the recycle center and sell the aluminum.
This gives new meaning to the phrase, “It pays to exercise.”
DD is home for Spring Break. I love cooking with her, exercising with her, and bouncing ideas off her head.
Last night she made curried green beans for her dad and me. She took a curried chicken recipe that she likes, and made it vegetarian. Clever girl! I’m proud of her!
Green beans – last night she used a 12 oz package of frozen green beans. You could, of course use fresh. If you use canned, drain them completely – no green bean juice!
Pineapple cubed – she used about a cup of canned pineapple, drained.
Raisins – she didn’t measure, about a half a cup
Walnuts – about a cup. She really likes using pine nuts, but I was out.
Curry powder – sprinkle generously. You should be able to see the yellow on the beans.
Ghee – she didn’t use ghee, but when I make this recipe, I will add 2-3 teaspoons.
Drain all but a little water from the cooked beans. Add the fruit, nuts, and curry powder. Heat until the flavors have a chance to mix.
I asked her if the measurements were right, and she said, “I just throw stuff in there until it looks tasty. You want the green beans to dominate, but a serving should have several pieces of pineapple, raisins, and nuts.”
One more thing. DD is trying to make an A in a Marketing course. You can help by filling out a simple survey (less than 3 minutes) on celebrity endorsements. Here is the link. DD thanks you in advance.