Category: Earlier Blogs
Friday was the Folklife Festival at our school. Middle School social studies students choose a country and research the history, economy, customs, and the food. They prepare a display about their country for the Festival. Each display includes a traditional food. The Elementary classes are invited to visit the displays and sample the food.
From a yearbook perspective, we get some of our best Middle School and Elementary pictures at the Folklife Festival. From a BTD perspective, I was curious about what types of ethnic foods I would find.
Not surprisingly there were lots of starchy foods - pasta from Italy, baguettes from France, pastries from Switzerland, and several types of cookies and cakes. The Australia display had chocolate koala bears.
The Puerto Rico display included mango. I had tasted mango only once before I started the Blood Type Diet. Since then it has become one of my favorite fruits. Sometimes I eat it raw. Sometimes I grill it in a little butter or ghee. It was fun to watch the younger kids spear a cube of mango with a toothpick and taste it for the first time. Some liked it; others didn't. I wondered whether the ones who liked it were all Os, since mango is beneficial only for Os.
At Guatemala I tasted the best black beans ever. I later asked the student's mom for the recipe. It included a packaged seasoning that I need to check for MSG or other avoids before I try it. However, I can see that by serving canned black beans I have been depriving myself, and my As, of the rich flavor of dry black beans.
The Kenya display featured avocado papaya salad. Unless I turn out to be a non-secretor, avocado is avoid for me, but the student really wanted me to try some, so I did. The flavor combination was really quite good. When I got home, I checked the food lists, and found that O non-secretors are the only ones who could eat this dish. One ingredient or the other is avoid for everyone else.
It's interesting to speculate whether ethnic foods are more related to the blood types of the people, the availability of food, or the seductive qualities of wheat and sugar.
If you are a regular reader of my blogs, you know that my husband is an engineer. He is skeptical about new and untried ideas. He has not shared the enthusiasm I have had for studying nutrition, though he does acknowledge that our health has improved in many ways. You have to understand that background in order to realize the significance of his conversation yesterday in the break room.
He told this story while he and our daughter were eating breakfast this morning. (They were eating the pumpkin waffles posted on the forum by Jill. My husband does not like pumpkin pie. He does not eat pumpkin as a side dish. But he gobbled up these waffles).
He said: I was in the break room washing out a cup, when I noticed a guy from another department standing there staring into space, not saying a word. Suddenly without warning he said, "Do you take vitamins?" It caught me off guard, but I answered, "Yes, my wife gives me quite a few." The other guy said, "My wife gave me this list and I'm supposed to stop at a health food store on the way home and buy all these vitamins."
(Our daughter was beginning to grin as her dad continued) I looked at the list and said "Oh Yea, I take calcium, it helps you sleep better at night. I take some of this other stuff too. I used to get boils on my back, but I haven't had one in years.
(Our daughter is now laughing hysterically - remembering all too well how many times he has skeptically looked at the vitamins on his own plate and said, "What is this junk?" He continued his story.) I told him - "don't think of vitamins like medicine. They won't cure you in a couple of hours or a couple of days like a drug would. Think of vitamins as working with your body to build health naturally from the inside."
He ended his story by asking if I would write down the address of the Blood Type website. I often read from people on the Forum or in other columns how frustrating it is that the significant people in their lives (spouses, parents, children, friends) won't accept Blood Type principles. Don't give up on the people you love. Keep gently nudging them, keep quietly pointing out areas where their health is improving, and keep offering healthy choices. They may be absorbing more than you think. Someday when confronted by someone looking for answers, they may surprise you by how much of the BTD lifestyle they have appropriated as their own.
Today was not quite as busy as the first two days of the week. At least I got home from school before 5:00.
I ran early this morning and stopped by the grocery store on the way home. Parsnips were on sale for 99 cents a pound - I've never seen parsnips on sale. I bought 4 pounds. Kohlrabi was in stock. Mangos were 50 cents each. They were practically giving away onions. Every which way I turned there were bargains in the produce department.
I came home and cooked vegetables. For lunch I had turnip greens with ghee and parsnips along with some of yesterday's brisket. This is the second time I've combined turnip greens and ghee - they really go well together. Tonight I steamed broccoli, and cooked black-eyed peas to go along with cod fillets. We all had a half grapefruit for our salad. I served cauliflower and avocado to the As. For me I made a new batch of almond butter, which I ate with carrots.
Pardon the short blog, but what I really need now is a full night's sleep.
This is the end of the quarter at school. That means I'm just barely keeping my head above water. My class has a newspaper deadline this week. Their 9-week yearbook projects are also due. Grades have to be in the office by Friday. My daughter has tests in every subject. My son is coming home for spring break, so I should be sprucing up the house and shopping, but instead I'm staying late at school every day.
None of this lends itself to writing a well thought out blog. So tonight I'll just be honest about how I try to fit the Blood Type Diet into my life during frantic days. In a word - I take shortcuts.
Last night we didn't leave school until after 8:00. My daughter and I were both starving, and there was nothing cooking on a timer at home. We drove through a fast food Mexican restaurant and got Taco Salads. Chicken for the As, beef for me. It wasn't optimum food, but the avoids were minimal. It was less stressful to get something quick to eat than to prepare a really good meal that wouldn't be ready until after 9:00
I had unavoidable errands this morning. I was running late, and knew I wouldn't have much time for lunch before I had to change clothes and get to school. I stopped in a barbeque place and bought brisket. At home I steamed some broccoli. I would have rather had a variety of vegetables, but broccoli and brisket was beneficial and good.
Tonight was NHS induction at school. We got home late again, but not quite as late as last night. I fixed quick salads when we got home: chicken teriyaki with lettuce, carrots, and a couple of eggrolls for my daughter; shredded carrots and zucchini with tuna, black beans and olive oil for me. My husband didn't want to wait for us so he had a sandwich in front of the TV.
You could argue that if there was no time to cook, there was no time for exercise. My stress increases exponentially if I don't burn off some of the adrenaline. So, I have made time for exercise, though I've shortened the minutes somewhat. Monday I worked out with a video tape before breakfast. Today I swam - but only 16 laps instead of my usual 24.
I remind myself that this week will end. The pace will get back to normal. I will cook balanced meals again. I will have time for a real workout. In the meantime, shortcuts keep me from throwing up my hands and abandoning the BTD altogether at the moment when I need it the most.
Because none of us in my family are focused on losing weight, I don't watch portions very carefully. I include a variety of beneficials from all categories in a day's meals. I avoid avoids myself, and minimize them for the rest of the family. We finish out our meals with neutrals - often O beneficials being A neutrals and visa versa.
Mike did an interesting blog once where he went through the portion list and evaluated how he was doing. At the time I made a quick survey and realized that I was eating less grain and eggs/dairy than recommended, but quite a bit more oil and nuts. One of these days I intend to do a thorough evaluation.
I give my As quite a bit more grain than the portions recommend. I aim for meat (poultry or fish) once a day and legumes once a day. But grain goes with the meat, grain goes with the legumes, and they like grain for breakfast. Since both of them are content to maintain their weight I'm not going to start worrying about the number of grain portions.
I am however stepping up my efforts to replace wheat and corn. Both are listed as neutral for As on the food lists, but the more I read the text of the books, the more disparaging remarks I read about wheat and corn for As. I've stopped buying or making wheat bread. Ezekiel bread is reasonably priced, and I make beneficial rolls and biscuits. Spelt tortillas are too pricey for my budget, so I still buy wheat tortillas. They love corn, hominy and couscous. I'm serving them less often, but haven't banned them from the house. All the while, I'm increasing beneficial grains.
That is where this blog got its start. My daughter has never liked oatmeal. It was more the look and the texture than the taste, but nonetheless she refused to eat it. A few months ago when she got her braces tightened, I fixed her some oatmeal with soy milk, olive oil, and maple syrup. I said just try it - it will feel good on your teeth. Since then she has eaten oatmeal half-heartedly after orthodontist visits.
A friend of hers spent the night Friday night, so Saturday morning I wanted to fix a good breakfast. I made some of the crumble mix from Cranberry Crisp, but instead of cranberries I used canned pineapple, frozen blueberries, and frozen cherries. The girls liked it, but my husband really, really liked it. He snacked on it all weekend.
Last night there was just a spoonful left. My daughter moaned that she only had one serving, and that there wasn't enough left for Monday breakfast. This morning she got the last of the "berry good breakfast" and a small bowl of oatmeal. She stopped me half way through my apology for the oatmeal, saying, "You know, after you get used to it, oatmeal is good." Yes, I thought silently, and it's also beneficial."
Frequently the Forum includes threads about what to pack for lunches. The traditional idea of sandwiches and chips for lunch doesn't work for either As or Os. Type Os do well with the meat, but not with two slices of bread or with cheese. Type As are ok with more bread (though wheat bread is not good if they are watching their weight), however As are more limited in their meat choices. Plus As don't need meat for both lunch and dinner. Chips, in the traditional sense, are good for nothing and no one.
Yesterday was pretty typical of lunch in our family.
My husband has access to a microwave at his office. So I pack lots of leftovers for him. Yesterday I sent black beans, rice, and a veggie burger for him to warm up. I added a carton of grape juice, dry roasted peanuts, and rye crackers with buttery spread. I included a bag of raw veggies (carrot sticks, radishes, celery sticks and Swiss chard sticks) and a bag of raw fruit (apple slices and dates). That sounds like a lot of food, but he holds back one item from lunch to eat in the afternoon as a snack.
We had eaten salmon the night before, and salmon is one of my daughter's favorites, so I sent salmon in her lunch. She does not have a way to warm her lunches, but room temperature salmon is ok with her. I included a carton of apple juice and a slice of spelt/rye bread with buttery spread. I sent the same raw veggies with her that I sent with my husband. She likes to dip veggies in peanut butter, so I added a little plastic carton of peanut butter to her lunch.
After Monday's field trip, her classmates were more curious than ever about the vegetables in her lunch. She said, "It was sad, Mom, some of them didn't know what a radish was." Then she said, "They wanted to know what the red stuff was, but I wasn't sure so I told them it was red celery." I laughed - red celery is as good a name as any - probably better than saying Swiss Chard.
It's been a long time since I mentioned Swiss chard sticks, so I will explain again. My vegetable cookbook says to strip the leaves from the Swiss chard stems. It says to cook the stems separately or serve them raw. I love the cooked greens and will eat a few of the stems. My husband and daughter won't touch the cooked greens, but love the stems - which do look just like red celery.
My Type O lunch - salmon, cooked Swiss chard, grilled onion, and raw carrot sticks with pumpkin seed butter.
It's been a busy BTD night. A friend from out of state called to talk to my husband and me. He said he was afraid he might not be able to keep his job if he didn't get his weight and diabetes under control. I started talking about the Blood Type Diet, and even though he is a Type A who loves chicken fried steak, he could see that the BTD made sense.
I mentioned on the forum that my husband has torn some cartilage in his knee. He is doing physical therapy to build the muscles around his knee so that healing can take place inside. I've been doing some of the exercises with him, just as a preventative measure.
The physical therapist has also talked to him about the exercises he has done for 20 years since he had back surgery. Some of the exercises they recommended back then have proved to be harmful. Since starting the new back exercises he has seen an improvement in the way his legs feel.
I wrote last fall that I was going to try the Canadian Air Force exercises that Heidi recommended. I have been gradually working my way up the levels - pushups being the thing that slows me down. The plan of setting a timer and getting a whole body workout in 15 minutes is very useful on busy days.
However that exercise program was published in 1962. While some of the exercises are helpful, some of them are really stressful on my joints. Since hearing the therapist talk about how knowledge about exercise has improved in the last 20 years, I have been modifying some of the Canadian Air Force exercises.
My husband is ready to exercise now, so I will close this blog by saying that I found wild caught salmon on sale! It was delicious for dinner tonight with asparagus, black beans and grapefruit. My husband and daughter enjoyed the last of the spelt rolls.
This morning I made blueberry muffins for my husband and daughter's breakfast. As my husband reached for another muffin he said, "These aren't good for me, are they?" I said, "Yes, they are very Type A."
He said, "I don't believe it. These taste too good to be good for you."
It is a shame that artificial, highly processed, chemical laden food is what we think tastes good. Natural food, the way God made it, tastes bad to the modern tongue. It isn't crisp or sweet or salty enough, and (gasp) it must be chewed.
But today is not a day to complain. Today my husband likes the taste of his breakfast so much that he thinks I've given him something delightfully unhealthy. I will laugh and accept the compliment.
At this point I was going to give you the link to the recipe, which I copied last summer from RECIbase. However, when I went to look for it, it has disappeared. So I will just type it in to this blog.
1 cup soy milk
1 cup applesauce
Â½ cup honey
1 tsp salt
2 cups rice flour
3 Tbsp baking powder (add last, stir minimally)
Stir together thoroughly all ingredients except baking powder. Add baking powder last and stir only enough to mix it in. Put the batter immediately into oiled muffin tins. The baking powder will quickly cause the batter to bubble up. Bake 10 - 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
This is the basic recipe. You turn it into whatever kind of muffin you like by adding a cup of fruit. I have used pineapple, peach, and pumpkin. Today I used frozen blueberries.
Freshmen at my daughter's school take Health. The teacher is a friend and colleague. She is Type A and understands (but does not rigorously follow) the Blood Type Diet. Last year when they were studying nutrition, she took the class on a field trip to a grocery store. This year she thought it would be more interesting to take the students to a local health food market.
When she called the store, they were agreeable to the students coming. However they would never commit to having someone at the store show them around. The closer it got to the field trip date the more concerned the teacher became, so she asked if I would be her back up tour guide.
We took one group of students on Monday and another group on Tuesday. Before we left the school, I asked how many had never been in a health food store before. About half the class raised their hands.
We started in the produce department. Only one of the students (besides my daughter) ate 5 fruits or vegetables per day. When I told them I aimed for twice that number they were shocked. We talked about hormone and antibiotic-free meat at the meat counter and the difference between real cheese and processed cheese in the cheese section.
Most of the class had never heard of anything but wheat bread. It's hard to say whether they were more curious about the variety of grains or the idea that I didn't eat wheat. They asked lots of really good questions about vitamins, herbs, tofu, and sodas.
Our last stop was at the bulk bins. The teacher had told them to bring a few dollars to buy a snack. I encouraged them to be brave and try something new - a fig or a walnut or some tropical trail mix.
I did not try to talk about the Blood Type Diet. I doubt any of them would have known their blood type, and it would have been quite complicated explaining how four different food lists worked. This time I focused on introducing them to simple ways they could make healthier food choices.
I had two pieces of bread before dinner tonight. I cut the first slice and spread it with buttery spread just to see whether Sue and Ron's new bread recipe was as good as they said it was. I had no willpower. I cut a second slice.
Normally, when I fix something I think is delicious, I casually play it down. I have found that if I build my husband's expectations too high, he is disappointed. Tonight, however, as he walked into the kitchen, I said, "This is the best bread I've baked since I started the Blood Type Diet. He picked up a slice and took a bite as he reached for the next dish. His eyebrows went up, he smiled, and he reached back for a second slice.
Enough talk, you want Sue and Ron's recipe. Here it is.
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp Caraway seeds
2 Tbsp Brown sugar
1 Â½ tsp salt
2 cups spelt flour
1 cup rye flour
1 Â½ tsp bread machine yeast.
Sue and Ron said that they made theirs in their bread machine on the sweet setting. I made mine on whole grain. Also I didn't have any caraway seeds. I sniffed around the kitchen and substituted 1 tsp of celery seed.
Long ago I blogged about making a buttery spread from ghee and light olive oil. It is in my archives and is called "Ghee that's good." It is delicious with this bread.
Sue highly suggested that I slice any leftover bread and freeze it to keep it from drying out. I did that right after dinner - partly because Sue recommended it and partly to keep away the temptation for a third slice.
Two completely unrelated events last night made me think of the Blood Type Diet.
Team Impact is a group of strong men. They are strong in two areas: they are body builders, and they are strong in their faith in Christ. They were at our church last night breaking blocks of concrete, bending steel rods, and talking about how Jesus has changed their lives.
One of them was telling how he got interested in body building. He said he was the smallest, skinniest kid in his class. He said he was "bones wrapped up with skin." He started out trying to do a few sit ups and push-ups because he wanted to look like a strong man. He worked hard building and strengthening his muscles. When he was 19 he won an Arkansas teen bodybuilding contest.
The thing that caught my attention was when he said it took years to get that first layer of muscle. I am very bony above the waist. I carry all my fat below my waist, and ironically I find it easy to build muscle in my legs. But my arms, neck, and shoulders are "bones wrapped in skin."
For a year and a half I have been trying to create some muscle in the upper part of my body. I can do a respectable number of knee push-ups for the first time in my life. I can't do a real push-up, but I'm getting closer. Now when I flex, I can see a tiny bit of muscle movement.
Hearing this strong man from Team Impact encouraged me. If it took a guy years of perseverance to build the first layer of muscle, I mustn't be impatient. My goal is not to be a body builder. I would just like to look nice in a v-neck sweater.
The second event that made me think of the BTD occurred on the way home from church. I had eaten my dinner early before we left for Team Impact. My husband and daughter took one car home to eat their dinner. I took the other car to the grocery store. As I shopped, I got hungrier and hungrier. I was thinking of all the things I could eat as a snack when I got home. At the same time I knew that I had already eaten plenty for the day, and that I it wouldn't be healthy to eat again at 10:00.
This became a real battle inside my head. I felt hungry, but I knew I didn't really need another meal. I wanted a snack (healthy of course), but eating late at night is not healthy and tends to add fat. I finally resolved not to eat, but to fix myself something good to drink. I fixed green tea with mint and added some vegetable glycerin and Â¼ teaspoon of glutamine powder (Dr. D'Adamo's recommendation for Type Os craving carbs).
It satisfied the hunger feelings. But the best part was not feeling sluggish when I woke this morning as I would have felt if I had given in to a late night spread.
My daughter left for school early this morning. I left for school after lunch. When school was out, I had a meeting, then she had practice, and then I had another meeting. We didn't leave the school until 8:15. She said, "I was at school more than 12 hours today. Maybe we should just pack our pillows and blankets and move in."
A day like this calls for good food and that calls for planning. For an after school snack I packed her a soy protein bar and some flavored water. For myself I packed a red raspberry spritzer.
For my daughter's dinner I packed pinto beans, rice, and turkey taco meat. For my dinner I packed lamb salad. It contained shredded carrots, romaine lettuce, fresh spinach, and sliced leg of lamb. I usually pour a generous amount of olive oil on my salad for dressing, but for lunch I had dipped okra in olive oil. Though olive oil is beneficial, there is a limit to how much oil is reasonable in one day. I mixed some of the lamb broth with a little olive oil. It made a nice dressing, moistening the carrots and adding a bit more lamb flavor.
We ate together in my classroom in between all the activities. I would much rather eat at home with the family around the dinner table. But when that is not an option the things I must avoid are:
Running out for expensive, unhealthy fast food
Grabbing snack food out of a vending machine to suppress hunger pains
Getting home hungry and trying to serve a hurried dinner late at night.
We're not serious about packing our pillows and blankets to school; but we are serious about packing good food.
I write excitedly about my successes in the kitchen. It is only fair to admit when I have a colossal failure. I found a recipe for quick and easy sourdough rye bread. It was all natural ingredients, and no wheat. It took two days to prepare the sourdough starter. Then I was ready to try the bread. It made the house smell wonderful while it was baking.
But it tasted terrible. The texture was doughy. It was not sweet enough, and it was way too sour. I don't think it's worth the time to improve the recipe. I drew a frowning face on that page in the cookbook to remind me not to use it again.
Besides, Sue H. and her husband have sent me a new spelt/rye recipe. She writes, "It's the first bread that has been light enough to use for sandwiches without toasting it. The problem is, of course, that one tends to eat too much of it!!" I can hardly wait to try it, and (of course) I will write my results in a blog.
What to do with the failure? The ingredients were all so Type A beneficial, that I hated to throw it away. I sliced in and put it on a cookie sheet. Right now it is in the oven on low heat drying out. I will convert it into breadcrumbs in my food processor. It should make a good coating for garlic chicken or oven fried fish.
Our bank made a mistake. Actually they made a mistake two years ago, which caused another mistake last year, which my husband caught today. It took all morning to get it straightened out.
In the moment of relief following the last phone call, I said, "No matter how much we want to trust these guys; no matter how much expertise they have; we are the ones who really care about our finances. In the end we're the ones who are responsible."
Then at almost the same moment we said, "It's like our health."
No matter how much you want to trust your health care providers; no matter how much expertise your doctor has; you are the one who really cares about your health. You have to take responsibility for yourself.
Sometimes the Blood Type Diet is challenging; sometimes it's hard, but I follow it because it is clearly working for me. It works better than the advice my doctor gives; it works better than the drugs the pharmaceutical companies sell, and it works better than any other nutritional program I have tried.
I don't want a world where another person or a company or (worst of all) the government seizes responsibility for my health. I'm the one who cares, and I show how much I care by what I choose to eat.
The stress of the morning left my shoulders tight and a knot in my stomach. After my husband went back to work, I mixed some concentrated cherry juice with club soda. Then because of the knot in my stomach I added a teaspoon of ginger juice. It tasted like cherry ginger ale - delicious.
I got several comments asking for the Spelt Bread by Sue H. That thread must have rotated off the forum.
Here is her recipe.
1 Â½ cups water
2 Tbsp soy milk
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Â½ tsp salt
4 Â½ cups light spelt flour
1 Â½ tsp Bread Machine Yeast (I used 2 tsp)
Place ingredients into the bread machine in this order. Bake on whole wheat setting. Makes a 2 lb. loaf.
Sue added this comment: This makes a nice light bread, but because there are no preservatives, if you aren't going to use it the day or day after it is made, I would suggest slicing it and freezing and then taking out a slice when you need it.
I made my batter into rolls, and froze the leftovers that same night.
Because club soda and seltzer water are beneficial for Type Os, I have enjoyed Knudsen Spritzers made with beneficial or neutral juices. Mango Fandango and Black Cherry are my favorites, but I don't indulge too often because they are a bit expensive.
Last week I looked for plain club soda. Most of the name brands had sweeteners or additives, but the cheap generic brand was just plain club soda. At home I mixed a glass of club soda with pineapple juice concentrate. It was delicious! The possibilities for beneficial drinks made from club soda and fruit juices are endless.
Friday night we had a friend over for dinner. I fixed salmon, broccoli, cardamom rice, romaine lettuce salad, and spelt rolls from the bread recipe that Sue H. posted on the Forum. My daughter made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert. My husband loved the rolls. The flavor was great and they were lighter than any of the other wheat free yeast breads I've tried.
I wanted to serve a rice pilaf, so I started looking through my cookbooks. A recipe from the Herb Society of America caught my eye because it contained two Type A beneficials. It was attractive and it was delicious.
1 cup brown rice
Â½ tsp turmeric
Â½ tsp ground cardamom
2 Tbsp olive oil
Put all ingredients except the almonds in boiling water (follow package directions for the amount of water). Cook until done. Top with chopped almonds.
Saturday I took my "big sis" from college out to lunch to celebrate her birthday. She is a Type A, but isn't interested in the BTD. We met for lunch at 12:30, and I got back home at 5:00. Time just flies when we are talking.
We ate at a locally owned diner. I had never been there, but I selected it because I heard that they served fresh vegetables. I ordered a chopped steak with roasted onions plus spinach and butter beans. The butter beans were good. Everything else was outstanding. I wish I knew how they prepared their roasted onions. They were thoroughly cooked, but not limp, and very, very flavorful.
Today after church we ate at our favorite MSG free Chinese restaurant. I ordered beef and broccoli without sauce. The waitress rolled her eyes when I said no sauce. I'm sure she thinks I missed the best part of the meal. But I've learned the hard way that Chinese sauces are thickened with something (wheat or cornstarch perhaps) that will cause me to retain 3-4 pounds of water for several days. I'm happier with just plain beef, broccoli and rice.
There is so much variety and such good food on the Type O diet.
I've already written one recent blog about fat, and I was determined not to write about the same subject again so soon. But there's no escaping it - this is just a fat week!
For one thing I have been craving ghee. I have no idea why, but if I didn't rein myself in, I could eat ghee out of a bowl with a spoon. Knowing that there could be some underlying need for extra essential fatty acids, I've used more ghee and olive oil than I normally would. But as is typical with craving - a little more makes me want more and more and more.
Then there were some posts on the Forum lamenting that one day of eating avoids can lead a weight gain that lasts the rest of the week. I have occasionally experienced that. Since the weight goes away after 3-4 days of consistency on the BTD, it is clearly water weight and not fat. I know that intellectually, nonetheless when the scale is up and the clothes are snug - I feel fat!
On top of that, my Bible study has me in the book of Leviticus. These are difficult chapters to read with their incredibly detailed descriptions of Old Testament sacrifices. Usually when I read this part of the Bible, I'm looking for the big picture - the broad application that Jesus fulfilled those sacrificial requirements when he died on the cross.
This week all I can see is fat! For every sacrifice that is described there is instruction about what to do with the fat. The bottom line was - burn it, don't eat it. Parts of the meat were to be eaten by the person offering the sacrifice. Parts of the meat were to be given to the priests. But over and over it says burn the fat. Leviticus 3:17 says, "You shall eat neither fat nor blood." Leviticus 7:23 says, "You shall not eat any fat, of ox, or sheep, or goat."
In contrast, the same chapters speak highly of using oil in cooking. Cakes made with oil, wafers made with fine flour and oil, grain baked with oil - I'm getting hungry as I type!
How to conclude such a disjointed blog? The week has underscored some basic principles:
Your body needs essential fatty acids - do not be lured into a low fat diet
You do not need globs of animal fat. Choose lean meats and trim the fat.
Do not be terrified by a brief weight gain after indulging in avoids, the quicker you get back to beneficials and neutrals, the quicker your scale will return to normal.
There are certain themes that reoccur frequently in my blogs. Just for fun I started making a list, and I may post it sometime as a future blog.
On of the themes is that while I follow the BTD fairly closely, my family is much freer and looser with their compliance. They have seen noticeable benefits from changes I've made in the way I prepare their food, but they are not ready to give up all their favorite avoids. I do not want to push them so much that they rebel and reject the BTD.
This makes me a little more relaxed in the way that I shop for them. For instance, my daughter happily substituted protein bars for candy bars or packaged pastries. She carries them with her to sporting events and on field trips. She takes a bit of pride in the fact that she isn't eating junk food like her friends.
I don't worry about whether every ingredient in a protein bar is beneficial for Type As. As long as the first ingredient is soy or rice and the sweeteners are further down the list I know she's better off than she would be at a vending machine.
I have the same philosophy about veggie burgers. My husband and daughter gave up hamburgers easily and don't miss them at all. They both enjoy veggie burgers that have a hamburger-like texture and flavor. When I first started buying them, I checked the ingredient lists to be sure that they were primarily soy based. I knew to stay away from chickpea burgers.
Though I'm more relaxed when I shop for them, I was reminded again this week that I must stay diligent. I had received a coupon for a new brand of veggie burgers. Instead of being in the frozen foods, they were with the fresh refrigerated foods. They were bigger than most veggie burgers, and looked very appetizing. I put a package in my cart, but just before I walked away I remembered to check the ingredients. The first two were hydrolyzed wheat protein and whey.
These weren't veggie burgers! They were totally artificial! I don't remember which I did first wad up the coupon or put the burgers back on the shelf. It's a tricky balance - being relaxed enough that my family cooperates with the BTD, but diligent enough to keep harmful food off the table.
I think about a lot of things while I'm swimming. Today as I swam back and forth, I got to thinking about yesterday's dilemmas. I don't want to be an avoid extremist. By that I mean that I neither want to take avoids casually nor do I want to panic at the thought of an avoid.
Yesterday I gave avoids to my husband and kids for Valentine's Day because I knew they would like them. Today I found myself reviewing my decisions. Could I have done better?
If I had it to do again, I would still give my kids the Bible Verse candy. I so rarely buy candy, and this was such a cute idea. They know what I think about sugar. They made money when they were little selling me the candy they got at birthday parties and at school. I stored it in the freezer and handed it out at Halloween. I have watched them in situations where candy dishes are available. Both of them will take an occasional piece of candy, but neither of them has a sugar addiction. So I'm content with my decision on the candy.
I could have done better on the crab au gratin. There is a fish market where I can get monkfish, but I have to order it a week in advance. If I had planned, I could have substituted monkfish for the crab. That would have been beneficial for my husband. Since I knew I was giving him an avoid by giving him crab, I took shortcuts on the au gratin sauce and the breadcrumbs. If I had taken a little more time, I think I could have come up with a substitute for crab au gratin that would have tasted as good and been all beneficial or neutral.
A few weeks ago I wrote about making a green tea/lemonade combination for my family to drink. At the time I regretted that there was so much sugar in the lemonade. I got comments saying that several of you combine green tea with fruit juices. Since then we have had green tea with grape juice and green tea with pineapple/grapefruit juice. Both were very favorably received. I'm going to serve green tea with cherry/apple soon.
As I continue to live out the BTD lifestyle, and experiment with foods, I continually find ways that I can do better. Like Paul I'm "Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching for those things which are before, I press on toward the goal." (from Philippians 3:13 - 14).
For me, Valentine's Day is not a holiday linked with food. I became allergic to chocolate in the 2nd grade. I'm sure I got candy treats when I was young, but I have never associated Valentine's Day with big boxes of chocolate. My meals today were just like any other day (except that I didn't eat nuts because I had way to many walnuts and almonds Sunday afternoon).
However, I enabled my family drift away from the BTD for the day. I was in a bookstore a few weeks ago, and they had boxes of little Valentine hearts with Bible messages on them. Things like "God loves you," "Faith, hope, love," "Jesus cares," or "Trust and pray." They were so cute, and I knew they would make my kids smile. I mailed a box to my son and put a box on my daughter's breakfast placemat. Therein is the dilemma. By inserting a reminder of God's love into our Valentine holiday, I also inserted too much sugar!
My daughter babysat for a neighborhood family tonight. I was thinking of what I could fix for dinner that our daughter doesn't care for, but my husband really likes. One of his favorite meals is crab au gratin. It used to be common in restaurants, but it's not a popular menu item any more. He hasn't had it in years. Another dilemma: crab au gratin is a minefield of Type A avoids, but it would make him really happy. I fixed it and balanced it with a large salad. His eyes sparkled as he ate.
Two dilemmas - both times I opted to give happiness instead of health. I think there is a lot to be said for giving happiness, especially since I'll be serving plenty of beneficials tomorrow.