Category: Earlier Blogs
Every year since I moved to the Hill Country the city of New Braunfels has had a Love Your Heart luncheon on the first Friday in February. I have a couple of friends who always urge me to come, but my hiking club hikes on Friday mornings. I always laughed and said that it did my heart more good to hike than to sit at lunch.
This year the ladies in our Bible Study reserved a table. I decided to forgo the hike and attend the luncheon. There were two keynote speakers. One of them was a 25 year old (same age as DD) who had a virus attack her heart. Her story about getting a heart transplant underscored one of the themes of the banquet which was heart disease doesn't just strike the elderly.
Lunch included several Mexican dishes, all well prepared, and surprisingly good for Type Os. One of my friends joked with me saying, "Suzanne, this is your kind of meal."
There was a panel discussion by four local dietitians, one from the grocery store, two from hospitals and one from a medical clinic. I have low expectations for dietitians because they usually tout the government diet, but these ladies were excellent.
Here are some of the things I learned:
- These dietitians were not anti red meat. There are 29 cuts of lean beef. They said that the two key words when looking for lean beef are loin and round.
- Always remove the skin from chicken or turkey before cooking. That is where the fat is.
- Quinoa is complete protein
- Lack of Vitamin D increases heart disease risk. Vitamin D is more easily absorbed by people with light colored skin. Mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin D
- A good rule of thumb is to make sure that more than half of your plate contains fruits and vegetables.
The dietitians talked about inflammation and heart disease, giving the best brief explanation of anti-oxidant that I've heard - "We need oxygen to live, but processes that burn oxygen in the body produce free oxygen radicals. Anti-oxidants bind the free radicals and escort them out of the body."
The last two hints were my favorites
- Women are decision makers about food for our families, so it is important that we model good nutrition. Even if our children or husbands don't want to eat fruits and vegetables, you can show that fruits and vegetables are cool by eating them yourselves.
- Let your children help in the kitchen. Children are more likely to eat food that they help cook.
After the panel the exhibits opened with displays from local health services. The firemen gave a demonstration of new CPR recommendations. Mouth to mouth is out. They taught us to draw a mental line from armpit to armpit and put the heel of one hand in the center of that line. Put you other hand over the first hand and push firm, fast pulses until help arrives. They said that it can be surprisingly exhausting, and that EMS will have machines to continue the pulses automatically.
The final event was a 5K walk/run on Saturday morning. Before the start, a local pastor prayed, "Creator God, we are here today to strengthen our physical hearts. Bless and protect us as we walk and run. Also remind us that even more important than the condition of our physical hearts is the condition of our spiritual hearts."
What a great message! Nourish your physical heart, but don't neglect your spiritual heart.
For the most part I can do without the little graphics that have become popular on facebook. I would rather read what my friends write in their own words than see a graphic designed by a marketer who is paid to influence my opinion.
However, the designers of Dr. D's newsletter have put up two graphics recently that have fascinated me. I saved them because they have valuable information in a quick to absorb format. Here they are. Does the same thing jump out at you that jumped out at me?
For Type O me, there are two foods that overlap - top 5 for both energy and brain. They are seaweed and blueberries.
For the Type As in my family, there are also two foods that overlap - kale and cherries.
I buy fresh cherries every time they are on sale. Competition from Chili for domestic cherry growers has caused cherry prices to drop at a time when the prices for most produce is going through the roof. When I can't find fresh cherries, I can always find frozen cherries at Sams Club. So my Honorable Husband gets cherries often.
He does not particularly like kale. If I cook it, I invariably wind up eating it all. However, I've seen baby kale in the organic salad section of the grocery store. I think I could sneak this raw, tender kale into his salads. I'm thinking that it will be pricy, but probably worth it for a food that will boost both his brain and his energy.
We both eat blueberries often. They are in my breakfast at least two days a week. Seaweed however I have neglected. I have sushi nori papers in my cabinet that I use to make wraps. They are great for a picnic, but if I'm at home I usually make a bowl with meat and several vegetables instead.
I also have some seaweed flakes that, after they are soaked in water, make a fair substitute for noodles. They don't have much taste by themselves, but if I mix them with a sauce or some spices, they are ok. However there are almost always several leftover vegetables in the refrigerator, so I forget about the seaweed in the pantry.
Knowing that seaweed is not just beneficial, but top 5 for two important aspects of my health motivates me to eat more wraps, and mix a few seaweed flakes in with the vegetables in my bowls.
So spare me from political graphics, but keep the nutritional graphics coming. They are a good way to remind me of super beneficials.
Summer fruit is in the produce department! I bought nectarines and they were sweet and delicious. I bought grapes and they are juicy. I saw watermelon and my mouth watered...but I walked on by.
I have learned that watermelons are tasteless until June. I have bought April watermelons and they are terrible. I have bought May watermelons and they are disappointing.
It’s better to wait, but it sure is hard. We love watermelon. There will be a watermelon in the refrigerator continuously from June until September, and I will serve it at least every other day. For one thing it is so refreshing on a hot day. Unless the drought breaks, there will be plenty of hot days this summer.
It is a great source of lycopene, a phytonutrient that all men, particularly senior men need. Tomatoes are avoid for my Type A husband, though he eats them occasionally. But watermelon is actually a better source of lycopene than tomatoes. I want to give HH’s body the opportunity to store as much lycopene as possible.
Our deer family loves eating watermelon rind. We have watched them fight over it; the nursing mothers kicking the yearlings away. We haven’t seen any fawns yet this year, but at least one of the does has a noticeable milk sack. So I know they are hiding in the bushes, wondering why they are eating carrot tops and apple cores instead of watermelon.
The deer, like the rest of us, will have to wait until June 1 for watermelon.
The Bible says To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1
As that applies to weeping, laughing, gaining, losing, loving, hating. It also applies to watermelon. Verse 2 says - A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
It’s not time for watermelon yet, but I only have to wait two more weeks.
Most mornings I try to glance at the Bing health news site, just to see what is happening that I might need to know about. This week two studies were released by two different Journals that reached different conclusions about salt. Arrgh! At first I was irritated. Then a remembered that conflicting studies about protein and fat were what convinced me that the science behind the Blood Type Diet was true.
Some news sites reported one study and some reported the other, but Brittney R. Villalva did a good job of covering both. Here are excerpts from her article.
While a number of governmental organizations have worked to drop the amount of salt contained in processed foods, the actual impact has been unsubstantial, according to a study published May 13 in JAMA Internal Medicine. The average amount of salt contained in packaged, processed foods only decreased by 3.5 percent, the study indicates, while sodium content in restaurant food increased by 2.6 percent.
"The strategy of relying on the food industry to voluntarily reduce sodium has proven to be a public health disaster," author and Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) executive director Michael F. Jacobson said in a press release.
But at the same time, a study conducted by the Institute for Medicine has declared that dropping sodium content in excess in one's diet could also pose health side affects. While the study maintains that Americans still consume far too much salt and are in excess of the recommended 2,300 milligram maximum- it also suggests that those who have gone to great extents to severely reduce the amount of salt in their diet have not benefited medically.
"We're not saying we shouldn't be lowering excessive salt intake," Dr. Brian Strom of the University of Pennsylvania, who led the IOM committee, told the Associated Press. But below 2,300 mg a day, "there is simply a lack of data that shows it is beneficial."
The American Heart Association maintains that people should consume no more that 1,500 mg of sodium per day. The average American consumes about 3,400 mg. Many are still convinced that the large sodium intakes are resulting in numerous health problems.
The first thing that I wanted to know was whether Dr. D'Adamo took a position on salt intake. I don't have all of his books, but the ones I have don't mention salt except to say that it is neutral.
In one of his Ask Dr. D'Adamo columns he had this commentary on a study about heart disease.
...numerous studies (many harking back to the 1950's) have linked ABO type to higher levels of cholesterol and coronary artery disease. This study again demonstrates the power of defining diet by blood group: By using this system, you eat not just for today, but for tomorrow. If you are type A, you'll want to take the advice of the 'broad-band paleo-dieters' with less than a grain of salt.
This fits in with my Type A husband's problems with blood pressure. So I'll keep him on a low salt diet. But what about Type Os?
In Heidi Merritt's "On the Diet" column, she frequently recommended drinking water with "a pinch of salt and lemon." I tried that for a while, but it seemed to make me retain water weight, so I dropped it.
Adelle Davis focused her attention on keeping sodium and potassium intake in balance, warning that people eating a modern diet got way too little potassium for the amount of sodium they were consuming.
I remember many years ago trying a liquid potassium supplement that I eventually stopped taking because I started feeling faint when I was exercising. But then I tend to have low blood pressure.
The really confusing factor in all of this is that my Type O son, who is under 30 years of age, already has high blood pressure and is on a low dose of blood pressure medication. Because he is a single young professional, who eats out a lot, he has a hard time following his doctor's advice to decrease his sodium and increase his potassium.
I am left with the déjà vu feeling that something is missing in all of these studies. Perhaps one of these days someone, maybe Dr. D., will figure it out.
Good health is a lot about nutrition. It also has its exercise and spiritual components. But in addition, sometimes you just need some fun. These have been fun days at the Graham household.
Both of our kids were home for a weekend in July and they were back last weekend. This makes me happy!
My sister got to spend five days with me. We talked, we shopped, we cooked, we floated on the river. Sister time makes me happy.
My niece is staying with me for 3 weeks. She is doing an internship here, and she is practicing her driving skills. I love having this enthusiastic teenager cooking and exercising and watching movies with me. Watching her success with parallel parking makes me happy.
A good friend who has had a long struggle with Multiple Sclerosis and celiac disease saw pictures I took of tubing, and sent me a message wishing she could still do things like that. I knew two places where we could float without the dangers of white water. I encouraged her to come for a weekend, and she did. We floated and talked and floated and ate gluten free food and floated some more. We called it “water therapy” and it made us both happy.
My Honorable Husband and I are making friends at our new church that will be lifetime friends. It makes us happy to walk into Bible Study and be greeted with smiles.
I don’t ever want to get so caught up in work, or the news, or the responsibilities of life that I neglect being with people and doing things that give joy! I don’t want to have so many rules about food and exercise that I miss out on happy days!
This is how I described my week in a note I wrote this morning, “God has taken my calendar, shredded it, and put it back together in His own way. I know in the end His plan will be better than mine, but I wonder what He's going to do with the pieces that are still scattered on the floor.”
Our son accepted a job and passed his boards. We are very excited, and I’ll write a blog about the details after he starts work. The unexpected twist has been getting an apartment. An apartment locater sent him several excellent options and got us all excited, only to say that those options were only “examples” and there was no availability at those complexes. Why would she do that??? He eventually found an apartment on his own and was tentatively approved. They requested a letter from his employer, who calculated his salary in a different way. Because the two numbers weren’t the same, it sent the computer-controlled approval process into a loop. Our son is still waiting for permission to move in. Which means I am still waiting for a go ahead to move furniture from my parent’s house.
My husband’s transplant surgery was successful, and his vision is improving daily. But there was a complication that he did not have during the first surgery. We made two extra trips back to the city to see the doctor about pain. Fortunately there was a reason for the pain that was easily treatable, but I won’t deny that there was additional stress.
One of my aunts in North Texas passed away. My husband was still on restrictions from his eye surgery, so he could not travel. However, since our son couldn’t move into his apartment, he was available to stay home with his Dad and keep an “eye” on things. It was a long day – four hours driving alone going and four hours coming home, but it was worth it. All of my cousins were there, and it was good to be together. There was a lovely reception at the home of a distant relation after the service. We had fun remembering our aunt and catching up on all the exploits of our children. I kept avoids to a minimum, but I did over eat neutrals to stay awake during the drive home.
The biggest stress, by far, is that two teens I knew when I was teaching journalism have disappeared. Samantha, 14-year-old freshman, and Charles, her 17-year-old boyfriend, cut class on Monday October 4. They have not been heard from since. Both sets of parents are frantically worried. They have reason to believe that the couple may be camping in Texas or Colorado, but it’s possible that they could be somewhere else.
It hurts my heart any time I see an Amber Alert or read a poster about Missing & Exploited Children. But the hurt I feel for strangers is increased exponentially when I know the families involved. I am going to post the link. If you see a white pickup truck – license 58LPW7 – please call law enforcement. If you want to display a poster, the families would thank you.
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 tried a new food, and our reaction had interesting BTD implications.
While I was at my parent’s house, my Darling Daughter bought groceries and cooked BTD meals for herself and her father. The day before I got home, she cleaned the house from top to bottom, and when I arrived, she had a delicious dinner waiting. See why I call her DD?
She and I talked on the phone every day about lots of things, including food. She was really interested in trying stir fried snow peas. As she was looking for them at the store, she discovered a bag of edamame in the freezer section. Knowing that soy was one of her superbeneficial foods, she bought it.
The instructions on the bag were pretty clear – boil them or microwave them. They look a whole lot like snow peas. So yesterday she and I cooked edamame with carrots and celery. DD took some in her lunch to work, and I took some in my lunch to school. I took one bite and spit them out. It was like eating hay. The pods were disgusting.
I left a message on her cell phone, apologizing for the inedible lunch. I told her to pick the beans out of the pods and just eat those with the other veggies.
When she got home, she said, “What were you talking about? The edamame was good.” She had eaten it pods and all. She liked it so much, she wanted more today.
I looked at the bag. There was nothing in the directions about eating or not eating the pods. I went on the Internet. Of all the sites I checked, the vast majority say don’t eat the pods. They recommend eating edamame as finger food, squeezing the little green beans out of the pods and throwing the pods away. But there are a few sites that say eating pods is fine, as long as they are cooked. A few people write that they actually like to eat pods and all.
All I can say is that those people have to be Type As! Unless you had some internal sense that you were eating something very beneficial, you wouldn’t eat soybean pods and like them! I’ll give edamame another try, but I’ll be eating it like they do in Japan, with a bowl nearby for discarding the pods.
The officially designated Mother’s Day weekend was frantic. It was the day before my most critical yearbook deadline. My Honorable Husband and Darling Daughter knew I was stressed. They also knew that there would be a long wait at every nice restaurant, and they knew our son would be home the next week. They asked if it would be ok with me if we postponed Mother’s Day. I thought it was a wonderful idea.
I didn’t expect anything on Mother’s Day morning, but there on my place at the table was an orchid corsage. It was beautiful. I wore it to church, but after the service we came home and ate leftovers.
From the time my Strong Son arrived home there was a little buzz between him, HH, and DD. I knew something was up. On Saturday afternoon SS, DD, and I went for a hike in the Hill Country. It was a gloriously beautiful day. From time to time they would remind me that we had to get home and get cleaned up. We must leave for dinner by 7:30 if we were to make it to the second part of the celebration. I had no clue what they meant. Going somewhere special for dessert might be something they’d plan for Father’s Day, but not for health-conscious me. I’ll admit I was very curious.
In the car they made me close my eyes. I felt the car turn into the parking lot. When I opened my eyes we were at a little rustic steak house. We pass it often, and I always make some BTD or Type O comment. The menu made me smile. It had the usual baked potato/salad choices, but it didn’t stop there. It also listed green beans, baked sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and a steamed vegetable medley . Steak was clearly the specialty, but there were enough chicken and seafood choices so that HH and DD enjoyed their meal every bit as much as SS and I did.
We got back in the car and began to drive. They told me they were taking me to a movie, but they would not say which one. DD pulled me to one side while HH bought the tickets and SS parked the car. Then I had to walk with my eyes down, looking only at the carpet until we were inside the theater. The movie started. I was still clueless. Then I saw “based on the novel by C.S. Lewis.” We were seeing Prince Caspian, the second of the Chronicles of Narnia movies.
I give Prince Caspian two thumbs up. If you didn’t see the first movie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when it came out a couple of years ago, I would recommend that you rent it first. The basic story of Prince Caspian stands alone, but there are references to the first movie that might be confusing if you had never seen it.
It was a perfect Mother’s Day – a delicious beneficial meal, an exciting movie, and being with my wonderful husband and children.
I planned to write about my absolute all time favorite breakfast. I was going to start with a link to a blog I wrote several years about the basic breakfast I eat nearly every morning. When I say almost every morning, I literally mean 29 days out of a month. But it’s not at all boring! There is infinite variety. Today’s blog was going to be about the best combination I've tried. It is so good I feel like I’m eating dessert for breakfast.
However, the link to the old blog is missing. The new blog won’t make any sense without the old one, so I’m going to repost today, and tomorrow I’ll tell you about the best Type O breakfast. Don’t let the title fool you; the blog really is about breakfast.
Type O and Constipation
Originally written May 14, 2004
While I was swimming this morning, I wrote a blog in my head about last night’s spaghetti dinner. However when I went on the website and saw today’s D’Adamo Clinic Column on Type O and Constipation, all plans changed.
First let me be clear that I don’t dispute the advice from the Clinic. I’m not an expert and this is just a blog with my experiences!
During my health nut years, I read a lot about wheat germ and wheat bran. “Eat these foods,” I read, “and your bowel movements will be fluffy.” Fluffy was an intriguing word since it was quite different from what I had experienced all my life. I tried it, and fluffy was an accurate description. I was never constipated in my health nut years, even when I was pregnant.
However that wheat germ and wheat bran every morning for breakfast was doing other bad things to my Type O digestive system. Those two were the first foods to go when I started the Type O diet. I was thrilled that indigestion was disappearing, but constipation was arriving. This was a problem that had to be solved!
I tried magnesium and it brought the indigestion back. I still have to watch how much magnesium I take, too much makes my stomach hurt. I tried psyllium, and while it did get things moving, I would not use fluffy to describe the outcome. Squeezing toothpaste comes to mind as a description of my psyllium results (hope I’m not getting too personal here).
I read good things about ground flax seed. It helped. I tried apples, carrots and dried fruit. They helped also. Rice was neutral for Type O, so I bought a bag of rice bran. Now I was getting somewhere!!!
Every morning I put 1 Tablespoon of rice bran, 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed, 1 Tablespoon of ground pumpkin seed, 2 Tablespoons for lecithin, and ½ - 1 Tablespoon of nutritional yeast in a bowl. I moisten it with water or fruit juice. I add 2-3 different fruits (banana, blueberries, pineapple, frozen cherries, and grapes are all favorites).
I’m not going to lie to you. This does not taste like a Krispy Kreme donut. But it tastes a lot better than my old wheat germ and wheat bran! And I’m back to fluffy again.
My Honorable Husband was asking questions today about Infrequent Neutrals. When he read the description of them in the Diabetes Health Library book, he didn’t see much difference between them and avoids. I tried to explain the difference, but he didn’t grasp it until he realized that dates were Infrequent Neutrals for him. He loves dates, and would much rather have them infrequently than not at all.
Every time Dr. D. writes a book the names of the food categories change just a little. Of them all, I think I like the Health Library names the best. The original three Eat Right 4 Your Type names were certainly the simplest. The Live Right 4 Your Type tier system was probably the most complex. There’s something about the word Toxin in the GenoType Diet that gives me the creeps. I know it’s psychological, but there’s a difference between eating a food that’s avoid and eating a toxin! And if I watch my family eat toxins at a restaurant, I feel like they are eating rat poison. That’s not a pretty picture.
I like the Health Library system that identifies certain beneficials that are exceptionally helpful for a particular disease as super beneficial. I like that many neutrals are in a category called “Neutral allowed frequently.” The name acknowledges that while it isn’t a food that acts like medicine, it does have important nutrients and it can be eaten often without guilt. Some neutrals are labeled” Neutral allowed infrequently. Those foods are not quite as bad as avoids, but really shouldn’t be eaten on a daily or weekly basis.
As I compare the categorization of different foods on the different diets, I’ve had trouble deciding what to do with apples, apricots, carrots, grapes, strawberries and tomatoes.
Apricots were neutral on the BTD, but on the Hunter diet they are a black dot avoid. However on the Gatherer diet they are beneficial. That tells me that it’s not a lectin issue. All four of the Health Library books I own have apricots as Infrequent Neutral. TYPEbase 4 doesn’t shed any light on the difficulty. However it’s pretty clear that Dr. D sees something in apricots that he doesn’t think is helpful to a Type O Hunter. So though I love apricots, and I know that they are jam packed with nutrients, I’m going to eat them infrequently.
I heard this quote from a guy named Stephen Davey. It made me chuckle, so I’ll share it with you. “You can’t teach American history and expound the virtues of our heritage, and at the same time teach evolution. Because you can’t have the same kid quoting ‘we have been endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights,’ and at the same time, 'we evolved from animals.' Some 5th grader is going to catch on and say, ‘Hey wait a second, which is it?’”
In June of 2003 when I started the Blood Type Diet, I totally identified with being Type O. As I read about the disease susceptibilities, the food lists, and the exercise recommendations, it was like looking in a mirror. Everything I read about Type O said - "This is me!"
I have not found that kind of identification with the GTD. Don't get me wrong!. I am fascinated by the ideas of epigenetics and turning down the volume on genes. I am reading and listening and applying. I want to understand all of this and to make it work in a positive way for my health. Yesterday I listened to Dr. D's interview with Dr. Oz, and I'll have to hear it again before I begin to absorb it all.
It's just that it was so easy to determine who I was by blood type, and it has been difficult to determine who I am genetically.
As soon as we had access to the GTD calculators, my Darling Daughter and I began to measure each other. We weren't particularly precise. We just measured, and the calculator said I was a Gatherer. I read the description and looked at the food lists, and was dismayed. I didn't match physically, I wasn't close to the personality, and foods were recommended that had caused disease in the past. I remeasured very, very carefully. When you are trying to measure in millimeters, it's easy to make a mistake. Sometimes my ring finger was a millimeter or two longer than my index finger. Sometimes it was a millimeter or two shorter. I eventually put in the calculator that my fingers were the same length. The calculator said I was a Hunter. The physical and personality characteristics were a much better match, and I was happy with the food list, but there was a nagging doubt. The measurements were so close.
I was glad when Dr. D posted his online quiz to see whether someone should follow the BTD or the GTD. I answered the questions quickly, going with first impression. The quiz said BTD. Whew, that settles that, I thought. I'll go back to the BTD. But there was one question that I had hesitated over. I went back, read it again, and changed my answer. The quiz said GTD. Again I was so close.
I'm not alone in my confusion. The Forum and my mailbox are full of people like me who feel like we are on the fence. In my own family, DD and HH measured solidly as Teachers. They both like the Teacher diet, but neither of them has the characteristics of a Teacher. By temperament HH would be a Warrior. DD acts more like an Explorer/Warrior.
About this time a reader sent me a link to a body type website. It claimed - perhaps copying the success of the BTD - that there were four body types and a different diet for each. So off I went on a sidetrack, looking at body types. Dr. D uses only three, and I'm not any one of the three. Several books identify four types, including as the 4th a small bony upper body and a padded lower body. (Frankly if you walk around a shopping mall, this 4th body type is fairly dominant). The most interesting site identified 25 body types. There were 6 which matched my general physique, and I would have had to buy the book to fine tune my results. (I didn't buy the book, but I may try to check it out of the library.)
As I read more on the 4-body type sites, I realized that they said my body type was estrogen dominated - which was just opposite from the Hunter genotype. To add to the confusion, by body type DD and I could be clones. I'm 4.5 inches taller than she is, but other than that we are built exactly the same. However we are different blood types, so it couldn't possibly be right for us to eat the same.
I am left with the question - On the GenoType Diet, who am I? I wish there were room for combination types, but (sigh) Dr. D says "no". I wish that he had gone with 32 or 16 GenoTypes like he originally planned, but (sigh) he narrowed it down to 6. As I work through the process of making diet decisions for the future, I take a great deal of comfort in the fact that Dr. D supports the validity of both of his diets, and that he has encouraged some on the Forum to choose what seems best for them.
After I wrote my blog about my mammogram, a reader left me a note to look into the connection between iodine and breast tissue. That sent me on a Google search that lasted several days. It turns out that there are a group of doctors who believe that it is the lack of iodine in the American diet that has led to an increase in breast cancer, polycystic breast and ovary disease, ADHD, and low thyroid function since the 1960s.
I wouldn't dare to summarize all that I read. I am a volunteer blogger and I have no medical experience or expertise. But let me include two links to get you started if you want to do your own research.
The first will take you to some MP3 interviews about iodine and health. The second will take you to the Linus Pauling Institute, which I thought did a good job of presenting both sides of the issue.
Of course the thing in the interviews that immediately caught my attention was the connection between lack of iodine and calcifications like the mammogram found. In addition I remembered that I had for a long time been suspicious that my Darling Daughter might be low on thyroid. She is always cold, and her hands are icy. I have even given her kelp tablets from time to time, but never on a consistent basis.
I remembered reading years ago that one way to check for iodine deficiency was to paint a spot of iodine on your skin. If it is quickly absorbed, you are deficient. The place where I give blood uses iodine to clean my skin before the donation. There was always visible color when they wrapped my arm, and the color was always gone when I unwrapped my arm at night.
So I bought some iodine and painted DD, HH, and myself. Within an hour all of our spots had faded. Within 4-5 hours the iodine was gone.
In my 40+ years of being interested in nutrition, I have read about lots of megavitamin therapies, and I've avoided all of them. I believe in balance, not in extremes. I was uncomfortable with the 12 - 50 mg of iodine recommended by the doctors on the recordings. However clearly we needed more iodine than what we were getting in our diet plus the 150 mcg (RDA) in our multiple vitamins.
I was interested in the Linus Pauling reference to 1.1mg as the "tolerable upper intake level." I decided - somewhat randomly I admit - to up our kelp supplements to just below 2mg and to eat more seaweed.
After two weeks, I did another skin test on myself. The iodine stain again faded rapidly. Two weeks later I tried again. This time my stain stayed visible all day. DD's faded in a few hours, but not as quickly as it had in the first test. I cut my kelp supplement to the 1mg level, but left her at a little under 2mg.
If I had paid more attention to the Type O food lists that were right in front of my nose, Dr. D might have set me straight years ago. As DD and I have tried to reach a conclusion about the GTD and the BTD, we have built a database with the food lists from the GenoType Diet, the BTD, and the three books I own from the Eat Right Health Library. It makes it easier to compare the way the foods are ranked in the different books.
Seaweed is beneficial on the Type O diet. Three of the five specific seaweeds are either beneficial or super beneficial on the Hunter diet. Perhaps most important seaweed is both super beneficial and a top 12 food on both the menopause and cancer Type O diets.
Seaweed is only listed as neutral on the Type A diet. However on the Teacher diet three of the five seaweeds are super beneficial.
I had never eaten seaweed when I started the BTD. Because it was beneficial, I bought sushi nori papers and dried seaweed flakes. It took a while to get used to the taste, but I did. I ate them once every week or two, but I never realized that I really should be eating them daily. I'm looking for creative ways to include more seaweed in our diets. In the meantime, we will continue taking kelp supplements.
My subscription to the GenoType website has run out, so it is time to do some evaluation and decide where my family and I will go from here.
The main difference I noticed between the Type O diet and the Hunter diet was increased grain and dairy portions. I wasn't comfortable with this at first because I associate giving up most grain and dairy on the BTD with the healing of my stomach and GERD problems. I've enjoyed hard cheeses like Parmesan and Romano, and I haven't had a problem digesting them. Hunter grain portions are 2-3 per day, and I never got close to that amount. However, I have increased to one grain portion almost every day. Many times I isolate grain as an afternoon snack, but I have been bold on a number of days and had quinoa, kasha, or rice pasta with a meal. My weight has stayed about the same - I may have lost a pound over the 3-month trial. If so, it is probably because I had been eating a lot more nuts and legumes than either the BTD or the GTD recommend. I've scaled back quite a bit, but I still have more than 1 portion of veggie protein a day.
My Honorable Husband has gained weight while he's been on the trial period, but I don't think it's the Teacher Diet's fault. As you know if you read my blogs, he doesn't think about his food very deeply. He mainly eats what is put in front of him. If he's still hungry, he forages for himself. When I read the Type A diet, I saw the big variety of beneficial grains, and I had fun baking for my two Type As. I didn't pay close enough attention to the grain portion sizes - only 1 to 1Â½ per day. When my Darling Daughter got involved with Teacher Diet meal planning, the grains were dramatically cut, and the vegetables increased. This did not please HH. He has not liked some of the new vegetables. He missed the baked goods, and he has foraged more. DD and I have teased him about becoming a starchetarian. However his recent blood work was no laughing matter. It showed a rise in blood sugar, and he is now just above the normal range. Since I probably can't convince him to eat less grain, I need to start baking again so that the grain he eats will be beneficial. He has liked the increased meat portions on the Teacher Diet.
The Teacher Diet has been a roller coaster experience for DD. There have been really good aspects and really bad aspects. Between my Type A baking and her teenage snacking, she had put on some weight in her hips and thighs. Last summer, she resolved to take it off, and she showed incredible self discipline. She not only took off the excess weight, she took off too much. She never crossed the line into eating disorders, but there were moments last fall when I worried she was getting close. We started the GTD about the time that she realized that she needed to regain some of what she had worked so hard to lose. She is afraid she will put the weight back in her hips and thighs, so she has been diligent to follow the Teacher Diet carefully. She has found it impossible to gain weight on the Teacher portion sizes. That should be a great comfort and encouragement to those of you who want to lose weight, but it has been a frustration for her. She also finds the Teacher Diet to be very difficult in restaurants. She is a teenager and she eats out a lot with her friends. On the Type A diet she could always have chicken and salad. Chicken as a limited toxin and lettuce as a toxin on the Teacher Diet has created a lot of stress. At Mexican restaurants she eats pinto beans, but fast food restaurants are hopeless. Several times she has been at nice restaurants where there was absolutely nothing on the menu for a Teacher. The best thing for DD about the Teacher Diet has been exploring unfamiliar foods. Without lettuce and celery as her standby foods she tried cooked vegetables for the first time since she was a toddler. She has developed a taste for a lot of new vegetables. Most of them like rutabagas and beets are not served in restaurants, unfortunately, but it has been good to see her expand her diet.
So where do we go from here? DD and I have been working on that, and I'll begin to share our conclusions in future blogs.
On Palm Sunday, the highly creative and energetic lady who plans social activities at our church asked my Darling Daughter and me if we would make a sausage and egg casserole for an Easter Sunday brunch. DD and I looked at each other and both of us were thinking the same thing. We weren't going to make the traditional casserole with pork and bread crumbs - we were going to make egg pie.
DD loves to bake pies, and she is remarkably good at making them healthy enough so that she can eat them herself. Most of her experiments have been successful - however there was a peach blackberry cobbler was rejected by everyone but the dog. One time a friend asked if DD could make an egg pie for breakfast.
She and I thought about it for a while and decided to start with a crust made from spelt biscuit dough. We filled the crust with eggs, grilled onions, turkey bacon, and tomatoes. We baked it in the oven, and it was a big hit. There was none left for the dog.
We baked two egg pies for the Easter Sunday brunch. I'll confess that we used a store-bought pie crust. We honestly didn't think that church members outside of our family would like or understand a spelt biscuit crust. They did however like the pie. We only brought one piece home. My husband has claimed it for his breakfast in the morning.
Two people brought deviled eggs to the brunch. One of the recipes used very little mayonnaise and lots of herbs. They were very tasty. The last time I made deviled eggs, I used only olive oil to moisten the yolks. I'm inspired to make them again, using more of the beneficial herbs.
After brunch we had an excellent worship service. The music and sermon were the right blend of celebration and contemplation about the meaning of the day. Then the children went out on the lawn for an Easter egg hunt. Easter eggs are a tradition, but as for me, I'd rather have the high protein ones from the brunch than the high sugar ones at the hunt.
I have Irish ancestors on both sides of my family. One of my great grandfathers came to the United States around the time of the potato famine. So I always look forward to Saint Patrick's day. I didn't realize until today that this year the date was changed from March 17th to the 15th. I missed it! However, we did go on a picnic yesterday and I ate lamb and feta cheese in a sushi nori wrap. Food that green has to count for something!
Our Strong Son's Spring Break was last week. He spent part of it visiting college friends, part of it visiting his girlfriend's parents, and part of it with us. One night while he was here we went out to eat. Our waiter said they were running a special all week in honor of Saint Patrick's Day. It was cabbage and corned beef with carrots and potatoes.
In my pre health nut days, corned beef was my favorite deli sandwich. I gave it up because of the nitrites. But this was fresh corned beef - something I had never eaten before. I asked if I could substitute sweet potatoes for the Irish potatoes. The waiter agreed, but looked at me as if I couldn't possibly be Irish and ask for sweet potatoes. It was a delicious meal. I wish I knew how they had seasoned the cabbage. It was outstanding.
It makes you wonder - if the Irish had known about the Blood Type Diet in 1845 and had planted sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, would it have changed the course of history?
The health crisis that originally brought me to the Blood Type Diet was heartburn. It had been steadily increasing for 10 years, but I didn't match any of the risk factors. Experts from both the medical and health perspectives said risk factors for heartburn were: being overweight, a hiatus hernia, drinking alcohol, smoking, eating spicy foods, chocolate, caffeine, fried food, eating before bedtime. None of those applied to me at all except occasional spicy food. But I had heartburn every day and it was getting worse.
Then I found Dr. D'Adamo. He said a Type O's stomach inflammation was caused by wheat and dairy. I had been eating wheat germ, wheat bran, and yogurt for breakfast every day. I gave that up along with all other wheat and dairy. I was off of my medication in less than a week. Within a few months I was pain free, and I have remained so for 4 1/2 years. My doctor still doesn't believe it.
Now I find my self with a different but similar problem (dÃ©jÃ vu all over again, as they say.) I am battling hemorrhoids, but I have none of the risk factors. I am not constipated, I do not strain, I am not overweight, I am not a couch potato, and I am certainly not pregnant. I did not have hemorrhoids until the last 2 years. I can battle them back with big doses of rutin and stone root along with extra helpings of grilled onion. But suddenly they appear again.
As I've been comparing the BTD and the GTD, I've noticed one thing that may be a factor. On the BTD there are no beneficial citrus fruits for Type Os. Lemon, lime and grapefruit, are neutral, but I've neglected them in favor of other beneficial fruit.
The GTD has lemons, limes and grapefruit as beneficial for Hunters and super beneficial for Gatherers. (I know Dr. D says there are absolutely no combination types, but my finger measurements are very close. The top half of my body is more like a Hunter, but the bottom half is more like a Gatherer. So, I often look at both food lists.) The Blood Type Cancer, Menopause, and Aging diets have grapefruit, lemons, and limes as Frequent Neutrals.
Since bioflavonoids play an important role in curing hemorrhoids, I've begun to wonder if I've been deficient in citrus. Whatever diet or blend of diets I eventually settle on, I think citrus will have to be more a part that it has been on the BTD alone.
There is a Fitness Center in our subdivision. We hadn't taken advantage of it until recently. Several weeks ago my Darling Daughter and I started going together. There are two treadmills, one elliptical trainer, and one weight machine in the room. I usually start with the weights while she starts with the treadmill or elliptical trainer. We work out for 30 minutes and switch.
It's been a lot of fun. Sometimes we talk while we work out. Sometimes we listen to Christian music. On the way home, we drink smoothies made with egg white protein.
DD had a bad experience with aerobic exercise when she was in Middle School. Her Type O brother had excelled on both the swim team and track team. She tried to follow in his footsteps and got only frustration. At the end of a race she would feel faint and dizzy. When we made some connections to the Type A diet, she backed away from track, swimming, and aerobic exercise.
What she has learned in the Fitness Center is that it was the competitive part of swimming and running that gave her trouble. When she uses the treadmill to cycle between running and resting, she does not get dizzy and she feels good at the end of the workout. Her stamina has increased, and her legs are stronger.
What I have learned at the Fitness Center is that I don't push myself enough when I run in the neighborhood. The elliptical trainer makes me work harder and harder until my pulse gets to a level it thinks is appropriate for a 54-year-old woman. At first I was wiped out! I had been satisfied if by the end of a run I was breathing hard and had worked up a sweat. Now that I can see what my pulse is doing, I'm finding a new definition of strenuous.
Both of us are very bony on top, and both of us carry our weight in our hips and thighs. (That pattern does not match with either of our GenoTypes, but that is a topic for another day) We would both like to add enough muscle so that our shoulder bones and sternum don't stick out. That is our goal on the weight machine. My strength has increased since we started, and I can see a little muscle when I flex. I've got a long way to go before I don't look like a scarecrow when I wear a scoop neck top.
DD, because of the years of swimming, had more muscle on her shoulders than I ever did. However, when she tried to loose weight from her hips and thighs, she also lost upper body tissue. She is trying to restore her upper body muscles without adding layers on her lower body. She is definitely working against her genes in this attempt.
I'll let you know how we do as far as reaching our goals. In the meantime, it's good exercise and good discipline to go to the Fitness Center 2-3 times a week.
I'll admit that I found Dr. D's February 26 blog shocking. In my circles, postmodernism is a negative. Creeping postmodernism in our culture is something to be on guard against. I had never seen someone I respected brag about being postmodern. Yet Dr. D, who I have great respect for, proudly admits to being a postmodern thinker.
He makes this statement, which I find to be insightful, "The folks who get all bent out of shape about â€˜the GTD versus the BTD' are probably modernists and think that there is only one path to the truth."
I have received a huge volume of mail since the GenoType Diet book was released. It can easily be divided into two categories. One group says, "Dr. D said it and I believe it. The conflicts don't matter. If he says both are true, then both are true. I'll just work out the little details according to how I feel." The other group screams, "What is Dr. D doing? Doesn't he see that the two diets contradict each other? How do I choose? How do I know what to eat?
I've spent some time this morning looking at characteristics of postmodernism. I'm not going to bother to cite my sources - after all this is a blog about post modernism, so the fact that somebody said it somewhere makes it just as true as something that somebody else said somewhere else. If you get lost in the verbiage, skip to the bottom for a delicious recipe.
Postmodernism is one of several worldviews. An individual's worldview is his "big picture," a medley of all his beliefs about the world. It is his way of understanding reality. A worldview is the basis for daily decisions and is therefore extremely important.
One sociologist lists 4 worldviews
Postmodern-ironist, which sees truth as socially constructed
Neo-romantic in which truth is found either through attaining harmony with nature.
Scientific-rational in which truth is found through methodical, disciplined inquiry
Social-traditional in which truth is found in heritage.
Another group divides worldviews along spiritual lines
Here are a few characteristics of postmodernism, some pro and some con.
Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. It relies on experience over abstract principles, knowing that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.
Postmodernism denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth, which will explain everything for everybody
Nothing has any meaning, words have no meaning,
Largely influenced by the disillusionment induced by World War II, postmodernism tends to refer to a cultural, intellectual, or artistic state lacking a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, and interconnectedness.
Our postmodern world is pulling each individual into a vacuum of self-centeredness, whispering, "It's all about you. It's all about your own pleasure, peace, prosperity, and comfort. It's all about what you think."
Because postmodernism says that values do not matter and that truth is relative, it's no surprise that many children are growing up in a world increasingly saturated with crime, divorce, sexual immorality, abortion, drug abuse and a general sense of ambivalence about the difference between right and wrong.
With this in mind, I present to you my Darling Daughter's Postmodern Spinach & Artichoke Dip. She started with an artichoke dip from the BTD site and another artichoke dip from the GTD site. She deleted ingredients that weren't good for both Os and As (mayonnaise, ricotta cheese, peppers, etc). She substituted ingredients that were good for both types on one diet or the other.
Â½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Â½ cup grated romano cheese
Â¼ tsp garlic powder.
1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, cooked
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
2 Tbsp lemon juice.
3 Tbst olive oil
Blend together in a food processor.
She ended with a dip that we ate with sushi nori wraps. Hers was made with tuna, mine was made with roast beef. My Honorable Husband does not eat seaweed. He loved the dip with corn chips. I think this is probably the best vegetable dip I've ever eaten. If you don't "feel" good about it, you can make your own substitutions.
My Darling Daughter has been scouring the BTD and GTD websites for recipes. She does a lot of her searching after she finishes her schoolwork in computer lab. "Look Mom," she said excitedly one afternoon, "we can make our own snack bars."
I'll admit, at first I didn't share her excitement. There are a lot of really healthy snack bars and power bars on the market for a reasonable price. They're easy to keep in the pantry, ready to stick in a backpack at a moment's notice.
The recipe she brought was from the BTD Recipe Database. It is two similar recipes posted together. The names are Prune Nut Snack Bar and Date Nut Snack Bar. We decided to try them. Prunes and raisins aren't as beneficial for Teachers as other dried fruit, so we made some substitutions.
Basically both recipes call for 2 cups of chopped nuts and 2 Â½ cups of dried fruit, plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
We used 1 cup of almonds and 1 cup of mixed walnuts and pecans. We used 1Â½ cups of dates and 1 cup of mixed dried cherries and cranberries. Put them in the food processor and let it run on full speed until the mixture starts to get sticky. Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray and press the fruit/nut mixture into the pan. Cover and refrigerate. Cut into squares.
We ate them as a snack yesterday afternoon. They are heavenly! The cinnamon and dried fruit is a wonderful combination. Be forewarned. They do not hold together as well as store bought snack bars. We each had a bar in a Tupperware box. Rather than hold the whole bar in our hands like a cookie, we pinched off bites.
I started thinking about adding some neutral flour or an egg to make them hold together better. DD thinks the inconvenience of not being able to hold the bar is more than made up for by the fact that they are much lower sodium, and there are no fillers or binders at all. I've decided that she's probably right.