Category: Helpful Ideas
My strong son has a friend in the Marines. His mother once told me that though he had struggled in elementary and high school with ADHD, in Marine Corps Basic Training he had overcome his tendency to be distracted. She used as an example that in Basic he was not allowed to touch his face, and that it had become so ingrained that he no longer touched his face in public.
I kept wondering about why touching your face would be part of Basic Training. What I eventually decided was that it must have to do with the potential of being in a chemical or biological warfare attack. If you make it a habit never to touch your face, you eliminate getting dangerous substances into your eyes, nose or mouth where they gain entrance to the rest of your body.
In this age of Ebola and Enterovirus, I need to stop rubbing my eyes. It is a gateway. If the Marines can teach hyperactive young men to keep their hands off their faces, surely I can stop rubbing my eyes. If you pick your nose - stop. If you chew your fingernails - stop.
I am a tactile learner. (I you are not familiar with learning styles, it is well worth the time to research them, especially if you have children in school.) A tactile learner learns through their fingers. That means taking notes, doodling, tapping. My husband and I have some of our best conversations when I am washing dishes. The computer keyboard becomes an extension of my brain.
The downside of being tactile is that it is nearly impossible for me to learn if I am completely still. Long ago - when I was a teenager - I developed a habit of picking at my cuticles. It helped me pay attention when I didn't have a pencil and a piece of paper. I once joked that I knew the pastor had preached a really good sermon, if I came out of church with a mutilated cuticles.
I must break this habit. Cuts on my hands are another gateway. Other people who cough or sneeze or bite their nails are touching things all around me - door knobs, handrails, toilet flushers, menus, credit card machines... God provides enormous protection through our somewhat impermeable skin. But a paper cut or a torn cuticle is another gateway.
I was in a meeting yesterday and the topic was fascinating. I caught myself tugging at a cuticle. In this age of Ebola, I must stop this habit!
I said two things in the title of this blog, but here is a bonus. I went to fill my water bottles at the water machine yesterday. Our Hill Country water tastes delicious, but they add fluoride, so I buy water at a reverse osmosis machine. It was the end of a busy day, when I pulled up next to the machine. As I was getting my bottles out of the car, a man with a five gallon bottle jumped ahead and started filling his bottle. He didn't exactly cut in line, but I was tired and it made me irritable. I continued unloading bottles.
The man laughed - "Ha Ha Ha, did I get in front of you? Ha Ha Ha I thought you gave me a dirty look. Ha Ha Ha!" There was a shopping cart nearby, so I put my four 2-gallon bottles in the cart and waited for his bottle to fill. He walked over to my cart and said, "Ha Ha Ha, you have a lot of bottles there." Then he touched each of my bottles and counted them.
I had had enough. I said, "Don't touch my stuff! In this age of Ebola, keep your hands to yourself." He apologized, put the lid on his bottle, and left.
In a public place, keep your hands to yourself. Mind your own business. This winter you won't know who has Ebola, Enterovirus, or just an annoying cold. And they won't know whether you are infected and passing an unwelcome germ to them.
My husband’s mother is in her 90s. I have blogged before about her osteoporosis and blood pressure issues. When she goes to the hospital, they always take her to Baylor in Dallas. However, three weeks ago, when she had symptoms that appeared to be a stroke, they took her to Presbyterian Hospital. So she was there when Thomas Duncan came to the emergency room and was turned away. She was still there when he came again and was admitted.
When we read about the five children who might have been exposed and the five schools they attended; we were concerned about a teacher friend who works in an inner city Dallas school. When the names of the schools were released, the friend’s school was not named. However a school my husband attended, which is two blocks from his mother’s house was on the list.
I read another article about Thomas Duncan’s fiance, and learned that she attends the church where my husband was baptized. That church is helping the quarantined family members.
OK - Ebola may be distant from you, but it is feeling pretty close to me. I told this story to a group of friends at lunch, and saw them began to move away from me, until I said that we had not been to Dallas to see HH’s mom and no one from Dallas had come to visit us. The ladies relaxed and began to breathe again.
With all the conflicting news about how easily the virus spreads, I have been thinking about how I need to be proactive for my family. I don’t give much credence to government sources that say everything is under control. But I also don’t believe the conspiracy theorists who predict eminent disaster. I’m mostly interested in reports from people who have been in Liberia, or who have experience fighting epidemics.
One expert recommended getting a flu shot. He said that if you show up at an emergency room with fever and achiness, you don’t want triage routing you to an Ebola observation room if all you have is the flu. He made a good point, and I got a flu shot - the first I’ve had since I stopped teaching school.
A Washington Post reporter who spent several weeks in Liberia said that hospitals, hotels, and public buildings have containers of Clorox water at the doors. Before entering, you rinse your hands and arms in Clorox water. You also step into a trough to rinse your shoes in Clorox water. I bought some extra Clorox and stored it in the garage.
The same reporter said that people who have first aid gloves wear them. People who don’t have gloves tie plastic bags over their hands. Some experts say the Ebola virus can live for two hours on a hard surface, other experts say it can live for two weeks. I had a half box of first aid gloves already, but I bought more.
Homeland Security recommends keeping food and water for at least 72 hours. I always intend to keep more than that, but frankly some of our food and water had been used. The Ebola quarantine period is 21 days. If there was an outbreak in our community, and shop employees stayed home to protect themselves, it might be hard to find food for sale. I restocked my nonperishable food.
I read through the Blood Type Diet anti virus protocols. Unfortunately there is not much overlap between what is beneficial for Type Os and what is beneficial for Type As. I need to add a few of those supplements to my list.
I’m not a fearful person, and I have no intention of becoming one now. However, Ebola has already hit pretty close to my family. I want to be proactive and prepared.
A friend got me to thinking about Easter traditions. From my childhood I have two memories. My grandmother who lived on the ranch did an Easter egg hunt for my cousins, my sister, and me whenever we were at her house for Easter. She had a big yard that was fenced in both front and back, to keep the cows away from her plants. There were lots of creative places to hide eggs - unless the farm cats found them first.
My father, who loved classical music, would search the newspaper for an announcement from a church that was going to perform Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ. Our family spent many a Palm Sunday or Good Friday surrounded by this majestic music. I haven’t heard it in years, so yesterday I looked it up on YouTube. As soon as the overture started, I could picture myself sitting beside my father in a dimly lit sanctuary.
When I had children of my own, I wanted to do healthy Easter Baskets. No marshmallow eggs with sugar and artificial coloring for this health nut Mom! I bought plastic eggs and filled them with raisins, little crackers, or peanuts. I also bought little windup toys and stuffed bunnies in place of sugary treats. We never encouraged our children to believe that the Easter bunny brought those baskets. The focus of Easter was the death and resurrection of Christ. The baskets were a gift from Mom and Dad.
One year the kids got up on Easter morning and ran into the kitchen to find their baskets beside their breakfast plates. There was so much excitement that we were almost late to church. I did not want treats and gifts to distract us from the greater importance of worship. So the next year I announced a change. Easter baskets would be on the table on Saturday morning. In our family Friday became a day of solemn recognition of the death of Christ on the cross for our sins. Saturday was a fun day for baskets of surprises. Sunday was a joyful day celebrating that Jesus has risen!
As the children grew up, the contents of the baskets changed. My son developed a chocolate allergy, and he was thrilled one year when I found a carob bunny for his basket. Toys were replaced by books or plaques.
This year I started a new tradition. I had a coupon from an online health food store for 15% off of my entire purchase. After I ordered the vitamins I needed, I looked through the grocery items. I found several things DD could eat that would be good for her and for her breast milk. BC had a bad reaction to a soy protein powder, but I wondered how he would do with soy nut butter and toasted soy nuts. I also found some alternate grains that would add calories in a healthy way. I went to Sams and got a package of walnuts - a beneficial food, but expensive for her budget. Instead of a basket, I put all of my “treats” in a box and delivered them when we went to their house for BC’s 1 month birthday.
Our son has inherited the family high blood pressure gene. Like his father and grandfather, he is very tall and very thin, but still his blood pressure was creeping up. This past year he went on a low sodium diet, which lowered his blood pressure, but not enough to keep him off of a low dose of blood pressure medication.
I began shopping for low sodium, Type O foods that would fit with his active outdoor lifestyle. I found individual packets of unsalted nuts. I found Bear Naked Granola with almost zero sodium and zero wheat. SS came to spend yesterday afternoon with us. I gave him his Easter gifts in plastic bags instead of baskets, but he enjoyed opening them just as much.
Today is Saturday before Easter. Our niece and great nieces are here. It will be a fun day taking pictures of the bluebonnets. Tomorrow we will worship. Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!
SIL has challenged me to read through the Old Testament this year in the order that the Jewish Canon. He says that I will see connections that are obscure in the Christian Bible. Here at the end of January, I am in Exodus, and today I read: There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer. Exodus 15:25-26
This reminds me of a book I read many years ago called “None of these Diseases.” I looked to see if it is still in print, and am delighted to find that the 1963 version which I read, by SI McMillen, has been updated for the 21st century.
The book was very careful not to say that Christians would never get sick and die. It was equally careful not to promote the false doctrine that God is obligated to heal sick people if they confess more sin, do more good deeds, believe harder or some such thing.
The book was talking about diseases that we bring on ourselves by our behavior. Smoking would be one example. No doubt it causes lung and mouth cancers.
Promiscuity is another example. It leads to AIDS, venereal disease, and cervical cancer.
God told Moses to instruct the Jews about washing their clothes and bodies after touching something dead or diseased. For years before modern medicine, that practice kept the Jews free from plagues that killed Gentiles who had poor hygiene.
We think our modern life is so stressful, but stress is not at all new. The Bible has a lot to say about thankfulness and praise as antidotes for stress. The Bible also deals honestly with the physical results of anger.
It has always fascinated me that while Dr. D’Adamo’s research was done from a purely scientific perspective, that there are very few clashes between the Old Testament food lists and the Blood Type Diet food lists. Most of the foods that the Bible says to avoid, are also avoids for all types. A few are neutrals, like shrimp for Type Os, but very, very few Bible avoids are beneficial for any type.
All of us are on this website because we desire a healthier lifestyle. Food and exercise are major components of good health. Stress management and rest also play a huge role. If you desire to add biblical dimension to your holistic approach to health, I would recommend None of These Diseases by McMillen. It will reaffirm your commitment to live a disciplined and healthy life.
The book club came to my house last week for our January meeting. I knew that after Christmas, none of the ladies were going to want to eat desserts or party food. Some people put on a few pounds at Christmas and are eager to take them off. Some people resolve to shed unwanted pounds in the New Year. No one wants to overindulge in January.
I went on Pinterest looking for cute, healthy, winter snack ideas. I made little snowmen out of mozzarella cheese. There was a cute picture of little winter characters made by cutting strawberries in half and filling them with white stuff. I used whipped cream, which tasted good, but collapsed too quickly. One of my friends suggested cream cheese - that would hold up better, but would still be avoid for me. Perhaps a stiff meringue would work. I know I will make both of these fun winter snacks when BC is a toddler.
I baked gluten free ginger bread with black strap molasses. It was very spicy, which some of the ladies liked, but others did not.
The biggest hit of all was roasted vegetables. I made three pans, and there was hardly enough left for my husband to have some for lunch. I roasted carrots, green beans, and zucchini. I also roasted acorn squash in ghee and maple syrup. I peeled the squash and cut it into strips. I put enough ghee and maple syrup in a baking dish to coat the bottom, added the squash strips, and rolled them so they were coated. I baked them at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Most of the ladies like coffee, so I made a pot of coffee. But what to fix on a cold day for ladies, like me, who don’t drink coffee?
Every year at Christmas the town of New Braunfels has Wassailfest. It is within driving distance from our Hill Country home, so we have gone several years. Local shops compete to see who has the best Wassail. I have found that I am very opinionated about the flavor of wassail. I do not like it when it is made with orange juice. Another popular ingredient is Tang. That tastes terrible to me, and if the first sip has a hint of Tang, into the trash it goes. I like my wassail spicy, but I don’t like finding ground cinnamon at the bottom of my cup.
I didn’t set out to make Wassail for the book club. I bought frozen 100% cranberry apple juice and was going to serve it warm. When I mixed up the juice and looked at how much was in the pan, I worried that I didn’t have enough. On impulse, I put in a can of frozen pineapple juice plus the recommended amount of water. Also on impulse I tossed in 6 cloves.
As the ladies served themselves, I heard comments like “Oh, wassail!” “This is really good.” “Best wassail I’ve ever tasted." I tasted some for myself. It really was good. I wish I could enter my accidental recipe in next year’s Wassailfest.
One of my big clients did a seminar on aging gracefully. My little company was involved with pre-publicity, handouts for the seminar, and photographing the event. There were five speakers from a Texas medical school. Of the five, three were fascinating, one was interesting, and one disagreed with everything I believe about nutrition.
The first speaker was a doctor who specializes in eye diseases of the elderly. He encouraged the audience to put a piece of graph paper on the refrigerator door. He said to look at it every few weeks, with one eye at a time. If you notice a spot where the lines appear wavy or disconnected, it's time to be evaluated for macular degeneration.
I was shocked but delighted, to hear this doctor endorse supplements. He said that C 500, E 400, Beta Carotene, Zinc, and Copper would not prevent macular degeneration, but would slow its process. Some patients, however, have not done well on Beta Carotene and Zinc. Researchers have found that Lutein, zeaxanthin, and bilberry have much the same effect on the eyes, but without the difficulties. Lutein and billberry are two of the supplements that my research led me to take after the sudden appearance in my right eye of a large floater.
The second speaker talked about frailty. Two elderly patients can come to the doctor with identical complaints. One recovers in a few weeks; the other declines and drops to a lower quality of life because of frailty. A lifestyle that includes exercise for 30 minutes 5 times a week was her recommendation to prevent frailty. She also cautioned against being either underweight or overweight, saying there was danger in both. She urged the audience to find out their BMI and keep it normal.
Speaker three was about Alzheimer’s research. I was taking pictures, so I could not take notes on the long words, but here is the big picture. Rapamycin is a drug that has been used for transplant patients, and shows promise in extending the lifespan of test animals. Recent tests have showed that it can reverse the progress of dementia in mice that are pre-engineered to get Alzheimer’s. The videos showing mice before and after rapamycin treatment in a learning situation were incredible. This speaker is part of a team proceeding with further studies and they are very optimistic.
The fourth speaker was a dietitian who prompted the government diet. All I could think of as I listened and took pictures was that if I ate according to the chart that she had on the screen, I would have stomach inflammation and year round allergies. I felt sorry for her and wanted to say "I've been on the Blood Type Diet for ten years and don't take any prescription medications, how many do you take". But professional photographers are not wise to interject themselves into events in that way.
While this was a free event, registration was required. Part of the registration process was alerting the planners to any dietary needs. I said I was gluten free. Though I had helped design a lunch box for the event, I was still wondering how they would feed 350 people in the amount of time allotted for lunch. At noon a sliding panel in the convention center was opened and there were tables piled high with lunch boxes. All the boxes had sandwiches, fruit, and a cookie. There were four choices: turkey, ham, vegetarian, and gluten free. Another table was filled with bottles of water.
I grabbed my gluten free lunchbox and joined some friends at a table. I found a turkey sandwich on gluten free bread, a banana, and a gluten free brownie I wrote a blog last summer about suspicious ingredients in gluten free products. I haven’t had a sandwich in five years, and this one tasted delicious. The bread had a good texture and flavor. The brownie was moist and chewy and wonderful in every way. I began thinking that I might reconsider my opinion about gluten free marketing. Two days later, as the bread and brownie worked their way through my digestive system, I became gassy. My poop (pardon graphic language, but if you are considering these products, you need to know) was sticky and hard to expel. I stand by my August blog. Dark Side of Gluten Free
The keynote speaker after lunch was the least technical of the five. He painted a picture of how attitudes and treatments for aging have changed over the years. He pointed to enormous advancements and hope for improving both quality and length of life in the future. Comments after the seminar were extremely positive. There are already discussions about this being the “first annual” event.
I posted two blogs about calcium in 2012. They were both related to a study that linked calcium supplements to calcium buildup in arteries. At first I discounted the study. As I kept reading more and more articles warning about taking too much calcium. I decided to experiment.
After 13 months, the experiment is over. I need calcium and magnesium supplementation. So does my Honorable Husband. Unless the study was done with people taking hard pressed calcium tablets alone without magnesium -- in my opinion -- the study is bogus.
When I first lowered our cal/mag supplementation, I went through a period of nighttime cramps and cricks. However, I adjusted to the new levels of calcium and magnesium. At first there was a funny taste in my mouth, but it went away. It was nice to cut down the number of pills I swallowed every morning, and nice to save the money. Life went on. I forgot that I was experimenting.
I didn't think about the experiment the first time HH's shoulder muscle knotted up. He said he had slept funny. Our Physical Therapist Strong Son gave him a stretching exercise that took the pain away.
I didn't think about it when HH's shoulder muscle knotted up a second time with even worse pain. The stretching exercise took care of it again, and HH decided to add stretching that muscle to his daily routine.
I didn't think about it when I got the pain in my right arm that I feared was a rotator cuff injury. SS examined me, said my rotator cuff was fine and gave me a stretch for a strained nerve. The stretch has helped. I have very little pain, but I have not regained full range of motion.
I didn't think about it on vacation when I was carrying too many water bottles and felt a muscle pull in my right hip. The pain didn't last long, but I'm aware that two months later, there is still a dull sensation in my upper right leg.
I didn't even think about it two weeks ago when HH, who had back surgery in 1985, began to have back pain. Over a period of several days it grew from being annoying to being debilitating. He was terrified that he had ruptured another disk. He could not put on his own shoes and socks.
We drove to see SS, who after a thorough exam told him it was muscular rather than nerve pain. SS gave his Dad some exercises, and told us to go to the doctor to get anti inflammatories and muscle relaxers. The doctor did her own exam, and concurred with SS's conclusions. She identified two specific muscles in his back that were in hard knots. She increased his ibuprofen and said to use a heating pad.
Gradually HH got better. Then yesterday, for no apparent reason, the muscles knotted up again. He did not lift anything; he did not twist; he had mostly been at bed rest. Frankly, we were both scared. Living with this kind of pain is not what we expected out of retirement.
I was off on a photo shoot, when I got a text asking how soon I could come home. He felt terrible. I finished up my work, and as I drove home I prayed. As I prayed I remembered all I had read for 35 years about calcium/magnesium, and how essential it was for muscles. I remembered the study that discouraged taking calcium supplements. I remembered my experiment.
HH and I immediately upped our calcium. My goal is to return to our pre-study dosage, but right now we're both taking a little more than that. Again I have a funny taste in my mouth. That seems to happen whether I increase or decrease my dosage. I am optimistic that we will return to our previous level of wellbeing. We will continue to take Vitamin K. That seems to be one way to prevent calcium from building up in soft tissues.
If my two previous blogs influenced you to cut back on your cal/mag intake, take a moment and think about how your muscles and nerves have functioned in the past year. Be more aware of changes in your body than I was.
If you have never taken a cal/mag supplement, and you struggle with muscle pain, all I can say is cal/mag worked for my family for years. I regret letting that study influence me.
These are links to my original two blogs.
Saturday I took a friend who lives in San Antonio out to lunch for her birthday. I had read on the internet about a Hawaiian restaurant called Aloha Kitchen. It is a tiny restaurant in a strip center; probably more of a café than a restaurant. I had expected to find lots of tropical fruit and coconut on the menu. Instead they serve a variety of meat and rice dishes with oriental sauces which celebrate the blend of cultures in Hawaii today.
I ordered a combination plate with Huli Huli chicken and Draggin' Meat. I chose mixed squash and a spring roll for my two sides. Everything was delicious.
I had told our server that we were celebrating my friend's birthday. They hung leis around her neck and sang Happy Birthday in Hawaiian, accompanied by a ukulele, of course. Then they brought her a piece a guava pie. I ordered a slice of mango pie. What a perfect way to end an unusual lunch.
On the drive home, I turned on the radio and listened to a show about GMO foods. I confess I was ignorant about the subject. The two things that caught my attention were a list of ingredients to avoid if you wanted to stay GMO free and a list of ailments that some research associates with high intake of GMO products.
The radio guest said there were eight foods on the GMO watch list. Corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets are almost always GMO. In addition some papaya and a small percentage of zucchini and yellow squash are also GMO.
I really don't eat the first five on the list. Corn is avoid for Type Os. Soybeans are toxic for Hunters and Gatherers. There are so many beneficial oils, that I don't waste my time with canola or cottonseed oil. I sweeten with agave, honey, or turbinado sugar, not beet sugar.
The radio guest was particularly concerned about high fructose corn syrup. I agree with her about avoiding any product with corn syrup on the ingredient list, though our reasons are different.
The radio show emphasized a French study that was released in the fall of 2012. I read some more about it when I got home and was disappointed. They fed the rats in the study GMO corn, and gave them water mixed with Roundup herbicide. The rats developed lots of problems particularly breast tumors and organ failure. The results lost their impact on me because two potentially dangerous variables were used.
Making rats drink water mixed with herbicide is cruel, and I'm not a bit surprised that it led to health problems. How am I to know which problems were the result of the GMO corn, and which were the result of drinking herbicide?
As a Christian, I believe that the closer we eat our food to the way that God created it, the better off we will be. So I am skeptical of GMO in the same way that I am skeptical of any processed food.
I'm glad to have a short list of GMO foods to watch out for, and glad that none of them are foods that I often eat. But I do not approve of the scare tactics used by the French study or the radio show guest.
Since Aloha means both hello and goodbye, I'll say hello fun Hawaiian food and goodbye GMO.
A recurring theme in my blogs is that I try to focus on beneficials – on what I CAN have. There are so many delicious beneficials, as well as plenty of neutrals to round out menus and give variety. When I keep my focus on them, I am content both as I cook, and as I eat.
However, when I focus on avoids it just makes me feel deprived. I start wanting the thing I’m not supposed to have. It doesn’t help when I describe the Type O diet, and someone dismisses it by saying, “Oh I could never give up wheat.” or “I couldn’t live without cheddar cheese.”
I smiled when I read my Bible Study this morning from Genesis. The author makes exactly the same point about Eve. Her avoid list only had one item…and what did she want? Of course…the one thing she wasn’t supposed to have. Here is a quote from Sarah Young’s book “Jesus Calling.
“Before Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, thankfulness was as natural as breathing. Satan’s temptation involved pointing Eve to the one thing that was forbidden to her. The garden was filled with luscious, desirable fruits, but Eve focused on the one fruit she couldn’t have, rather than being thankful for the many good things freely available. This negative focus darkened her mind, and she succumbed to temptation.
“When you focus on what you don’t have or on situations that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened. You take for granted life, salvation, sunshine, flowers, and countless other gifts from God. You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life.”
I’m sure I will keep returning to this theme, because I believe it is the second greatest factor to success on the Blood Type Diet.
During this Easter season, keep your focus on the blessings in your life and in your diet. Approach God with thanksgiving for the many, many things that you have. And enjoy the good news that eggs are either beneficial or neutral for us all.
We didn’t have internet for Christmas. To tell the truth it was very strange. I had no idea how internet dependent I had become. No e-mail, no social networking, no communication with clients, no alternative news sources. I couldn’t even wish my sister a Merry Christmas. I felt rather isolated. However, I had time to read. I had forgotten just how much I enjoy becoming immersed in a good book.
DD and I got to cook together for Christmas Eve dinner. We were in charge of bringing vegetables. We fixed ginger carrots and basil green beans. Both are easy recipes that I’m pretty sure I have blogged about before.
We had also planned to do a raw veggie tray. DD saw a picture of a veggie tree on line, so we did that instead. This will become one of our family traditions. It was healthy and so cute. If you are need a unique idea for a New Year’s Eve party – consider this.
Here is the original link, so you can see a picture.
Click here for Veggie Christmas Tree Picture
The instructions are very wordy. I think I can condense her multiple pages into a couple of paragraphs.
You start with a 12 inch Styrofoam cone. Cover the sides (not the bottom) with aluminum foil. This is so the vegetables don’t touch the Styrofoam. Hot glue the bottom of the cone to a glass plate that is not an heirloom. Our cone popped right off without damaging the plate, but I wouldn’t take a chance.
Start at the bottom and using tooth picks, stick broccoli to the cone. It takes two big bunches of broccoli to cover the cone. For “decorations” use carrots, cherry tomatoes, radishes, cauliflower, or any other raw vegetable you like. Sometimes we used toothpicks Sometimes we just squeezed the decorations between the broccoli. We put a bowl of dip beside the tree for family members who don’t eat plain raw veggies.
It was a delight to look at, and delicious to eat.
Sometimes when I am out and about, I need something to drink, and the first thing I look for is green tea. If I am near a health food store, I really like several products by Honest Tea. If I am near a grocery store, I like Arizona’s diet green tea and Snapple’s diet green tea.
If we are traveling, like we were last weekend, the choices have been slim. I think all convenience stores and ice houses must use the same massive supplier. It’s obvious when you are standing in front of the refrigerator at a convenience store that green tea is increasingly popular. But, until yesterday, there were only sweetened green teas with lots of sugar and corn syrup; or diet green teas sweetened with aspartame.
Yesterday we were returning from taking a truck load of furniture to DD’s new apartment. HH was fighting a cold, so I drove the whole trip. We stopped at a convenience store because I needed to walk around, and I needed something to drink. I went to the refrigerator cases, looking without much hope for Arizona or Snapple diet green tea. Just before I walked away I saw Lipton, Diet green tea with watermelon flavor. That is new. Knowing that all the other Lipton diet teas are sweetened with aspartame, I looked suspiciously at the label. It is sweetened with sucralose. I bought a bottle. The watermelon flavor is delicious.
When I got home, I checked the website. Lipton has changed all their bottled green teas to sucralose. Hurrah for Lipton!
Update: Read the labels! I was in the grocery store the day after I wrote this blog, and looked at diet Lipton Tea. It had aspartame! I guess they are getting all of the old stuff out of their warehouse! Let the buyer beware.
First choice is my own green tea either unsweetened or lightly sweetened with agave.
Second choice is Honest tea.
But Lipton now joins Arizona and Snapple as adequate third choice bottled green teas.
Today was a busy day at work. I had an appointment several miles from home at 10:00 and another in the same city at 2:00. I didn’t want to waste the gas to drive home, so I went to an internet café where I could work on my laptop.
I ordered iced green tea. They had three flavors: jasmine, oolong, and fruit oolong. I chose fruit oolong and it was delicious. After I got home I looked up oolong. It is not BTD or GTD rated, so it is considered neutral. I read an article that says oolong is half way between green tea and black tea. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but next time, I think I’ll take the jasmine green tea.
I went to Google News tonight looking for financial news. It must have been a big day for research result releases. Here are tidbits from stories that had BTD and women’s health connections.
This study contradicts the popular notion that soy isoflavones will prevent bone loss in menopausal women. I wish I knew the blood type breakdown of the women in the study. Soy is a neutral food for Type Os, but it is beneficial for Type As. I once read that isoflavones were supposed to help menopausal women, so I tried mixing some of my Type A daughter’s soy protein powder in with my breakfast. It didn’t settle with my stomach, so I abandoned the idea. I tried the tablets for a while, but didn’t notice that they had any effect on me at all.
I should have listened to Dr. D. In the Menopause book he writes, “Essentially carnivores when it comes to protein requirements, Blood Type Os should minimize consumption of beans and legumes…An exception for menopausal women may be soy beans. They contain isoflavones that help minimize symptoms, build up bone, and protect the heart.” Then he lists them as neutral, the same as he does in all the other books.
The recommended dose of calcium for women over 51, is 1200 mg per day. I actually take a little more than that since I don’t eat dairy. This study indicates that the lowest fracture risk was with women taking 750 mg per day. The study also indicated that women who wait until they are older to start taking calcium do not decrease their fracture risk.
Interestingly, the Menopause book lists calcium last on the list of bone supplement protocols. Dr. D. suggested 1,000 mg. He puts Horsetail, Manganese, Vitamin A and Boron as more important than calcium. Looks like I may be wasting money taking as much calcium as I do.
Dr. D lists Flax as a beneficial food for Type Os of all ages. I eat it for the fiber and the essential oils. I didn’t know that it contained plant estrogens that were supposed to help hot flashes. The study contradicts the hot flash theory, and said that it had no more impact on hot flashes that a placebo.
This was the most peculiar of the studies. The very drugs that many women take to prevent osteoporosis are linked to fractures of the thigh bone. I have had my bone density checked twice, and I am not showing any signs of osteoporosis, so I haven’t taken any of these drugs. I’m glad I haven’t.
A lot of popular theories about menopause and osteoporosis were shot down today - if you believe the studies are completely accurate. I will continue taking calcium, but not as much. I will eat flax for its other benefits. I’ve already stopped taking soy, and I don’t plan to take the osteoporosis drugs.
Weight bearing exercise is looking like a really good choice for women my age. I’m halfway expecting to read a study about that tomorrow.
My horrible experience with a colonoscopy 6 years ago was 80% the doctor’s fault and 20% my fault. I made sure that a lot of things were different this time.
First I got a new doctor! He came highly recommended by friends, and he was wonderful.
Things the doctor did differently.
He used a different prep procedure.
Six years ago my last normal meal was in the evening two days before the colonoscopy. The next morning I was allowed clear liquids only. I tend to be a little hypoglycemic, and this was really hard on my system. I was hungry, irritable, weak, and had a headache.
This time beginning 3 days before the colonoscopy I wasn’t supposed to eat nuts, beef, or raw fruits and vegetables. I could have all of the poultry, fish cooked vegetables, and cooked fruit that I wanted. There were plenty of beneficial choices. The morning 24 hours before the colonoscopy I couldn’t have solid food, but I could have dairy products. This got enough protein into my system to sustain me until lunchtime. It was only clear liquids after that, but I was ok. No headache. No weakness. No snapping at my husband.
This doctor divided the colon cleaning medication into two steps. It took longer, but it was less violent and less stressful. He recommended adding crystal light to the preparation to make it taste better. I did not do that because of the aspartame. It tends to give me a headache and it irritates my digestive system. The goal was to keep my digestive system happy.
This anesthesia was milder. Six years ago I woke up groggy after the procedure. I slept most of the afternoon. My stomach was cramping. I wasn’t thinking clearly. This time the anesthesiologist said I would be fully awake in 9 minutes. I remember everything the doctor said in recovery. I slept for about an hour when I got home, but after that I was up and moving around. The one time I got a crampy feeling I walked outside, and it went away. I was thinking clearly enough to work on the computer.
Things I did differently
My instructions that said I could have dairy products, including pudding and ice cream for breakfast the morning 24 hours before the colonoscopy. Having ice cream for breakfast was tempting, but I wanted to keep my digestive system happy and dairy definitely makes it unhappy. I decided to make boiled custard with almond milk. Recipe is here . As I drank two cups, I knew the eggs were really good for me. I had more custard for breakfast the morning after the procedure. Delicious, filling, sustaining.
The best choices I made for clear liquids the rest of the day were Blue Sky Ginger Ale, Blue Sky Crème Soda, Welches White Grape and Peach Juice, and Vitamin Water Lemonade. All of those tasted good and kept my blood sugar steady.
I was allowed broth, and I got really excited at the grocery store when I found organic beef broth with no avoid ingredients. I thought that would be nourishing, but I really didn’t like it. It was salty and it didn’t have as many calories as the other drinks. When I have to do this again in 5 years, I will skip the broth.
Both doctors said I could eat anything I wanted after the colonoscopy. In my opinion this is very bad advice! Six years ago I took it literally. I was very hungry when I woke from my first nap. I had leftover beneficial food in the refrigerator. I ate lamb and sweet potatoes and broccoli. It tasted so good. It made me feel good…at first. But it was too much for an empty and irritated digestive system. How much of the cramping and fever were a result of this heavy meal and how much were a result of the doctor’s incompetence I’ll never know. But I wound up in the hospital.
This time I treated myself as if I had just gotten over a stomach virus. My first meal was apple sauce. I had rice flour bread to made toast with ghee. I ate vegetable soup mid afternoon and chicken & rice soup for dinner.
The next day I expanded my food selections, but stayed with easy to digest food. I had custard with applesauce and bananas for breakfast the next morning. Eggs and rice toast for lunch. By dinner time I was starting cooked vegetables.
I have a bottle of Type O probiotic. I took one on both the day of the colonoscopy and the day after.
By Friday I was eating everything but nuts, beef, broccoli, and raw vegetables. Even though I felt totally normal, waited another day before I started those hard to digest foods.
Maybe someday there will be a non invasive colon inspection. Until then, by following these steps, I won’t be afraid.
Every day I am inundated by shared e-mail. I get political comments, pictures of cute animals, stories that make me cry, and helpful hints. I am amazed at how much false information is in these e-mails. I often do a little google search and find that the facts are flat out wrong or deliberately misleading. I don’t know who originates these things, but most of them are in the same writing style and they are all way too wordy.
I got one a few weeks ago. It was a long, long, long story about someone’s friend who served in Vietnam, a burn victim, and a kitchen accident. The bottom line was that if you put white flour on a burn, it will not blister or scar. I wondered if it was true.
Last week I was cooking up a storm. I had all four burners going on high heat. I reached to stir something on the back burner and bumped the lid of the pot on the front burner. Steam hit my hand - immediate pain and redness on two fingers. I was reaching for an ice cube, when I thought of the flour e-mail.
I didn’t have any white flour in the kitchen, but I had spelt flour. I rubbed flour into both burns. I went back to cooking, still in pain. “That didn’t work,” I thought cynically. I didn’t think about the incident again until this morning. I looked at my hands…no redness, no brown mark. Both of those steam burns would normally have blistered. They did not. In fact, I have no memory of any more pain. I finished cooking and served the meal, never thinking again about pain or burns.
So, surprise, here on the BTD website, is a beneficial use for white wheat flour. Rub it on burns. If you are Type O or a non secretor of any Type, keep it in your first aid kit, but out of your food.
The flour story originated with a burn victim in Vietnam. My Honorable Husband spent a year in Vietnam serving our country. His cousin, Mark, died there in 1972. On this Memorial Day, take a moment to thank God for young men and young women down the years who have volunteered to give up their freedoms to preserve ours.
Do you remember when you first heard about the BTD? If you were like me, as you read through the food list for the very first time there was a lot of emotion. Oh no! A favorite food is avoid. Ah Ha! I never liked that food, now I know why. Yuk! I never liked that, how can it be beneficial. I knew it! A favorite food is highly beneficial. And the best emotion of all - Yes!!!!! A food you thought would be avoid turns out to be beneficial.
Yes!! was the way I felt when I read that Club Soda and Seltzer Water were beneficial for Type Os. I had given up commercial soda years before when I became interested in nutrition and health food. You cannot read the ingredients and see all of the artificial flavors, preservatives and sweeteners and continue to convince yourself that commercial soda is in any way good for you. Then I discovered Knudson spritzers – which are basically club soda and fruit juice. My children called it fruit juice with fizz. I bought a lot whenever it was on sale and kept it in the pantry. Their friends thought it odd that we didn’t have Coke and Dr. Pepper, but they had to admit that fruit juice with fizz tasted pretty good.
I have recently found a few other brands of soda that I trust, and that I think stack up well with the BTD. Here is my list of sodas from the very worst to the best.
Commercial diet soda – I would take my chances with dehydration before I would drink anything with NutraSweet or aspartame.
Commercial soda – It’s BTD avoid and common sense avoid as well. Too many artificial ingredients, too much sugar.
Health brands of soda – I salute several companies for trying to make a healthy soda, but there is still way too much sugar in all of the brands I have looked at.
Health brands of soda with sucralose (Splenda) – I buy Hansen’s Diet Soda. Though I’m not wild about anything artificial, sucralose has been thoroughly studied and there just isn’t any scientific evidence against it. It tastes sweet, but it is not absorbed by your body. It passes right on through, unmetabolized. It is unrated on the BTD, so for now it is neutral.
Health brands of soda with "sugar alcohol" sweeteners like xylitol and erythritol. I am actually enthusiastic about this sweetener. It is not artificial. It does not raise blood sugar. Xylitol has a positive effect on dental health. Zevia is a brand of soda that uses erythritol. It used to be expensive, but the price is coming down.
Fruit juice spritzers like my old favorite Knudson. There is nothing artificial here. Just fruit juice and fizz.
Club soda and fruit juice. Make your own soda! This is the least expensive and best option for Type Os. Club Soda is beneficial. When you add beneficial fruit juices (pineapple, cherry) or flavors (ginger) you have a refreshing drink that is totally beneficial.
I have a friend who is very interested in healthy eating, but is soon to be married to a Type O man who would rather eat mostly carbs and sugar. She asked how she could influence him to change. In my answer, I told three anecdotes about my own husband. Two of them I have written blogs about, but one came from the early days, and I thought I’d share it in today’s blog.
More important, I tried to give her sound advice about how to gently change a loved one’s diet without letting it become a point of conflict. I thought that some of you are probably dealing with similar issues with a spouse, a child or a parent. All of us want the ones we love to be healthy and live long. These are a few things I have tried over the years that have worked.
Do not try to change someone you love overnight. I have tried that – it breeds resentment.
Gently bump him in the right direction. There are lots of good carbs for Type Os. Sweet potatoes and rice are good and inexpensive. Many legumes are good for Type Os. They provide fiber and carbs. If you cook them in your crock pot, they are very cheap.
Don’t try to get him completely off of wheat. Go ahead and buy rolls or French bread. But don’t put out the whole package. Divide it up and put it in the freezer. Serve dinner with one roll. Let there be plenty of meat, rice, and beans when he goes back for seconds.
Start with broccoli not something exotic.
Start with rice not quinoa.
Start with black beans not fava beans
Keep a few old favorite unhealthy foods available, but not easy access or unlimited supply.
Let him see that he has less pain and more energy
Use honey or real maple syrup on whole grain pancakes and waffles instead of the maple flavored corn syrup. No one wants to go back to fake after tasting real.
Don’t deprive him of desserts. There are many ways to have something special and sweet at the end of a meal.
Fruit pies are better than cake with icing.
Try a little ice cream with lots of fresh fruit on top.
Pumpkin or sweet potato pie rather than syrupy pie like pecan.
Oatmeal and carrot cake are full of fiber and nutrients.
I tend to use real sugar in reduced amounts rather than alternative sweeteners. I can reduce the sugar and oil in a regular recipe by 25% - 33% and no one notices. I did this with my children when they were very young, and I never got a complaint.
Go ahead and cook vegetables you like, even if he doesn’t like them. Two reasons for this.
1. If you deprive yourself, you will slowly build up resentment.
2. One day he might try it and like it. You never know.
Don’t push him to eat foods he doesn’t think he likes. Two reasons for this.
1. He may comply to please you, but it will slowly build up resentment.
2. Men like to think they are in charge. They don’t like being pushed.
I have found in that resentment is bad for digestion and bad for marriage.
The way my husband has slowly grown to eat more healthy is by discovering things on his own.
I did push a lot in the early years. He griped and complained about vitamins. One time on vacation he got into poison oak. He had oozing sores all over his back. We were in a strange town and didn’t know a doctor. I rubbed vitamin E into his back and he woke the next morning healed. He said, “Maybe there is something to those vitamins of yours.” Complaining was reduced by 75%.
He has gradually become committed to eating healthy himself. Not because I say so, but because he has seen it work in his own body, and has internalized the concepts. This is the goal.
The garbanzo beans I cooked in the crock pot were wonderful. However I cooked more than I thought I was cooking, and since they are avoid for Type As, I was eating them all by myself. At the same time I ran out of hummus.
Traditionally hummus is eaten with bread or pita chips – both of which are avoid for Type O. I found that I really like hummus mixed with cooked greens. I’m sure that horrifies Middle Eastern gourmets, but, really, it tastes good. Hummus and mustard greens with ground beef is one of my favorite lunches.
So, there I was, out of hummus, but with more garbanzo beans than I knew what to do with. I decided to make homemade hummus. I didn’t have sesame seeds or tahini, but I had lots of other nuts. My first experiment was with pecans. I put garbanzos, pecans, garlic in the food processor and whirled them until they were creamy. It didn’t taste like hummus, but it tasted good, and it was delicious with cooked greens.
After I finished the pecan hummus, I still had garbanzos left – I told you I cooked a lot of beans! So I tried homemade hummus again with walnuts. This time I added a little olive oil. Again, it didn’t taste like hummus, but it was very good. I wish I had thought to add some lemon juice. That might have made it taste more like real hummus.
I’m not committing to make my own hummus all the time. But it’s nice to know that I have such a good way to use up leftover garbanzo beans.
I got a crock pot as a wedding gift. It is sort of a mustard color – one of the earth tones that was popular in the 1970s. I used it a lot when my Honorable Husband and I were first married. He loved casseroles and stews. I loved coming home from work to find dinner warm and ready to eat. Then we had children – who like most children didn’t want their food all mixed together. Then the family got on the Blood Type Diet and none of the old favorite recipes were suitable for both Type As and Type Os. So the crock pot has been gathering dust in the back of the pantry beside the deep fryer.
One of our Christmas gatherings was a Sunday School covered dish party with a Mexican food theme. I knew there would be lots of corn, wheat, and cheese. By the time the sign up list got to me two other people had already said they would bring salads. I was quickly thinking of something that would be healthy and in line with the Mexican theme. I wrote down black beans.
I have always taken the easy way out and bought canned beans. My grocery store carries brands with reduced sodium and minimum added ingredients. When the kids are home, a can serves the family. When it is just HH and myself, we have a few beans left over for veggie bowls the next day. But since I was making black beans for a crowd, I thought I would dust off the crock pot and cook them myself.
I found a really easy recipe in the internet.
Soak one pound of black beans overnight. I soaked them in the crock pot.
Drain the beans and pick out the broken pieces. Add one can broth (I used chicken) one onion (chopped) and one jar of salsa. Add enough water to cover the beans. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8 – 9 hours. I started on high and switched to low after about 4 hours.
The beans were really good. They were also really easy. Most of all, I was shocked at how inexpensive they were compared to canned beans.
So, when I was getting ready for our Christmas Day tamale dinner, I decided to cook pinto beans in the crock pot. HH tries to eat relatively low sodium because of his blood pressure. My Darling Daughter gets a burning sensation on her tongue when she eats too much salt. So I kept the pinto beans really simple.
One pound of pinto beans soaked overnight.
Drain the beans and pick out the broken pieces. Add one chopped onion. Add 2 teaspoons of cumin. Add water to cover the beans. Cook in the crock pot the same way I cooked the black beans.
Once again I was struck by how inexpensive and delicious crock pot beans can be. So for New Year’s Day, I cooked black eyed peas. Another success! Now I’m hooked. I’ve already bought garbanzo’s to cook this weekend. It has become increasingly hard to find canned fava beans and adzukis, but my health food store carries dried packages of both.
I will probably always keep a few cans of beans on the pantry shelf for times when I need them quickly. But I plan to use the crock pot for beneficial beans at least once a week.
For Christmas I got a rice cooker. If you are a long time reader, that statement will make you smile. Several years ago I was with a group of women and one of them said that if she had to give up every appliance in her kitchen except one, she would keep her rice cooker. I was astounded - first because I had never heard of a rice cooker, and second because I rely daily on my food processor and blender.
Because of my Honorable Husband’s experience with pre-diabetic blood sugar levels two years ago, I only serve him one starch per meal, and I aim for beneficial starches. He loves rice, and it is a beneficial food for Type As in the BTD Diabetes book. My schedule works against me, however. To cook brown rice properly on the stove, I have to remember to start cooking it early, and I have to serve it quickly after it is done. One day I saw pre-cooked rice packets in the grocery store. You pop them in the microwave for a minute (the packet says 90 seconds, but I thought 60 seconds was better) and they are ready to eat. I could get both brown rice and wild rice. Initially I intended to have a couple of packets as a back up, but it was too easy. I began to buy them often.
Though they saved a lot of time, I always felt guilty. For one thing they are expensive relative to the cost of rice. There were also added ingredients, that I didn’t read too closely, because I knew I’d find things that weren’t good for him. And I don’t trust microwaving food in plastic bags. I do it from time to time, but I am suspicious.
As it got close to Christmas, I remembered the conversation about rice cookers and began to do a little research. I wanted a small cooker, because I mainly cooking rice for HH alone. I didn’t want to spend a fortune, and some of the highly rated oriental cookers are really expensive. One day DD and I wandered into a gourmet store at the mall and I got into a conversation with one of the sales people who recommended a one to six cup Black & Decker rice cooker that was moderately priced. He said if I didn’t like it, I could bring it back to the store for up to three months. I asked how many other people had returned them, and he said, “No one has ever brought one back.” I put it on my wish list, and Christmas morning it was under the tree.
Since then I have entered a love affair with my rice cooker. I can cook absolutely perfect brown rice in about 45 minutes or less. It is full of flavor – it even makes the kitchen smell good. It has an automatic warming function that keeps the rice ready to serve until the rest of the meal is ready. I can also use the warming setting to reheat leftover rice.
If I had to choose between the rice cooker and the food processor I would still choose the food processor…but I hope I never have to make the choice.
This blog is getting long. I’ll save the “old gadget” part for another day.
I like to buy meat at Sams Club. I can get good ground beef and turkey at the grocery store. I am delighted that I can get ground bison there as well. But I’m usually disappointed in grocery store roast and brisket. Grocery store lamb is so expensive I would never consider buying it. However the meat counter at Sams Club is both BTD and budget friendly.
Today I bought boneless leg of lamb. I froze it. I’ll thaw it out and roast it with fresh rosemary the next time my son comes for dinner. The smallest eye of round roast they had today was 4.55 pounds. I will cut it in half tomorrow morning. Then I will roast half and freeze the other half for later.
Sams also carries Cod Loins in their frozen food section. The cod in the grocery store is thin and falls apart. It reminds me of orange roughy or whiting, neither of which are on my favorite fish list. But the Cod Loins are thick. They have both a good flavor and texture. I bought a bag of Cod Loins today. I like to keep them in the freezer for days when dinner time sneaks up on me.
I mentioned bison, which reminds me of a funny incident. I have a facebook friend who posts a lot of animal youtube links. She is a dear person, and it’s fun to talk with her about books and travel, but I think she drifts into the “animals are people, too” way of thinking. She had posted a link to a video bemoaning the tragedy of bison from Yellowstone National Park wandering out of the protected park lands and being shot by hunters. I commented, all in fun, that “bison is delicious, good for Type Os, and available at HEB.”
My friend was not bothered by my post at all, but one of her friends screamed at me in all caps. I assume she is a Type O frustrated with trying to be vegetarian. I’m certainly glad I understand why my Type O body needs meat. I came home from today’s shopping trip with plenty of high quality beneficial protein.