A few years ago I did some research on muscle loss in menopausal women. There are a lot of variables. In some women, the muscle loss starts as early as 35; other women don't notice it until about 50. Studies show muscle loss as high as a pound a year, but other studies say it is more like a half pound a year. Studies show percentage of muscle loss between half of a percent and two percent.
Obviously not all women experience the same amount or the same rate of muscle loss, but they do lose muscle related to menopause.
This is a double whammy for women my age. First, unless we are diligent to exercise, we are losing the muscle that holds our joints in place and gives us strength. Without adequate muscle we will be vulnerable to the back, hip, and knee injuries that plague some of my friends. Without adequate muscle, we can't exercise effectively, and exercise consistently shows up as a key to an active and healthy life.
But that is only half of the story. Muscle is more "metabolically active" than fat tissue. Muscle at rest burns more calories than fat at rest. So, if you continue to eat exactly the same as you ate in younger days, since you are losing muscle, you will be adding fat. It's inevitable - unless you are pro active you will gain weight and add fat after menopause.
Because I know this I take exercise seriously. To a certain degree I have been successful. My hiking, tubing, weight lifting and line dancing friends and myself have better muscle tone and lead more active lives than the other women around us. However it's equally obvious that my muscle tone isn't what it was 10 years ago. Last winter I put on several pounds - all of it around my middle. Unheard of! My weight has always gone to my legs, not my waist. (I'm going to blog about those pounds another day. They were perplexing for several reasons).
One day in April, Tricia, my weight lifting partner, and I were at the fitness center. I said that I thought I was accustomed to my current bench press weight and I was going to increase. Everything started fine, but after a few reps there was a sharp pain in my right arm.
My arm was sore for several days then felt better. I tried bench presses again and it didn't feel good. So the next time I saw my Strong Son, I told him about the injury and said that I was trying not to be scared, but that several friends had been through rotator cuff surgery. He did three quick tests and assured me that it was not my rotator cuff. It is wonderful to have a physical therapist as a son.
My arm continued to hurt. We had lunch with SS last week, and he asked how my arm was. I described the continuing pain. He began a complete exam, right in the living room. After checking me from shoulder to fingertips, he told me that I had strained a nerve.
I didn't even know that nerves could be strained. But evidently nerve strains are not uncommon.
He gave me a nerve stretching exercise to do three times a day. I am amazed how quickly my arm has responded. I am not doing bench presses yet. But I am doing other upper body exercises without pain.
I realize this blog may seem like it's sending mixed messages, but think of it as two sides of a coin. If you are a woman my age, you have to take exercise seriously, but don't push to the point of pain. Be active, but be smart and be patient.
Today is my 10 year anniversary on the Blood Type Diet. Ten years ago today, the last of the test results came back which were supposed to tell me why I had stomach pain. I had been a health food advocate since I was 23 years old - more than 25 years. But what had started as mild GERD after I turned 40, got increasingly worse, becoming annoying and eventually becoming alarming to my doctor.
The tests were supposed give me answers, but every test came back normal. "Then why does my stomach hurt all the time," I asked the doctor's assistant. "Stress and diet," she answered. I said, "I eat healthier than anyone I know, and my only stress is this stomach pain." She had no reply.
After storming around the house, I felt God leading me to go back to a health food store where I had shopped for years. I was looking for something natural that I hadn't tried yet. I don’t know how the Blood Type Diet had slipped under my radar. I did a lot of reading about nutritional issues. Perhaps it was the word "diet". Since I wasn't unhappy with my weight, I wasn't looking for a diet in that sense of the word.
When I read that Type Os were the most likely to have stomach pain, and that wheat and dairy were the worst foods for Type O, I was intrigued. I bought the book and went on the BTD cold turkey June 13, 2003. In a week I was off of all medication. In two weeks I was pain free. I have never looked back, and never wavered from my enthusiasm for the BTD.
I've learned a lot in ten years.
The BTD is not about how food tastes. Lots of avoids are very appealing when they are in my mouth. But more often than not, I don't feel good after I eat avoids.
When I think back to when my children were toddlers, I can see now that they naturally gravitated to foods that were right for their type. People seem to lose that sensitivity to what makes them feel good as they get older.
At first glance the Type O diet, might appear to be grain free, but it is not. It is important that I get 1.5 servings of grain every day.
The BTD doesn't have to be expensive. I buy certain hard to find items at health food stores and on the internet, but I do most of my shopping at a regular grocery store.
I don't have to be neurotic about avoids. I am highly compliant at home. At restaurants I do the best I can without being a burden to my server, and at a friend's home I enjoy what has been prepared for me.
Having two blood types in my family makes things more complicated, but certainly not impossible, especially when everyone in the family saw their health improve on the BTD.
I've been thinking of several blogs that I need to write; among them personal application to interesting news articles and concerns about turning 60. I've been too busy at work to do any serious pondering, but something happened yesterday that made me laugh. Maybe you need a laugh too.
I had finished unloading my groceries at the checkout line. The cashier picked up a box of rice crackers and said "Is this how you stay so thin?" My initial response was to tell her that I liked the crackers, but they were mostly for my husband.
The more I thought about it, the more I smiled. Finally I was chuckling. Then I said to her,
"They need to let you do training for new cashiers. Most of the time a cashier asks me whether I found everything I needed. That makes me think of the things I don't have. You tell me that I look thin, who cares whether I found what I wanted to buy."
I went on, saying, "You could say 'Your hair looks great,' or 'who does your nails' or 'what a cute outfit'. Customers would leave the store smiling."
By now she and I are both laughing out loud. Probably the people in other lines thought we were crazy. But I left the store smiling, and I didn't care about what I hadn't been able to find.
I'm assuming that anyone who knows about health knows that fluoride is a toxic by product of aluminum manufacturing. Long ago some deviously brilliant marketer, looking for a way to dispose of the chemical trash, convinced city governments to put fluoride in tap water.
"It will help children have healthier teeth," they said. Ignoring the fact that while fluoride might benefit pre born babies in the womb, it contributes to osteoporosis in menopausal women.
Now I read an article that the whey protein fad is a similar scam. Whey is a byproduct of cheese and Greek yogurt manufacture.
Modern Farmer claims that whey is so toxic to the environment, that it illegal to dump. If it is put in streams and rivers, it robs the water of so much oxygen that fish and other aquatic life start to die off.
So the deviously brilliant marketers looked around for a place to sell their whey waste products. They convinced parents that it adds protein to baby formula. They convinced athletes that it will build muscle.
Whey protein is avoid for Type Os and Type As. Occasionally I see a post from a body builder trying to convince himself (or herself) that something so highly advertised couldn't really be avoid. I think the key words in that sentence are "highly advertised."
Now you have one more reason (as if you needed more than your BTD food list) to stay away from whey. Type As - go for soy protein. Type Os - go for egg white protein.
Bs and Abs - you will make the cheese and yogurt companies happy if you pay them for their trash.
The title of this blog is a Bible verse - Ephesians 4:26 to be exact. It reminds me that even though I get mad at marketers, I should not let anger dominate my life or make me stressed.
After I posted this blog, I went to photograph a kindergarten graduation. The kids were so cute, and I had a wonderful time. On the way home I remembered another example of food processors using advertising to convince us that something bad was really good; when in truth, it was only good for their pocketbooks. Adelle Davis recommended that no one eat palm or coconut oil because of the high amount of saturated fat. She decried the processed food industry's use of those to oils in crackers and pastries because they were inexpensive.
Dr. D agrees. Coconut oil is avoid for all types except O non secretors, and it's not beneficial even for them.
However, advertisements abound promoting coconut oil as a miracle healer. The high saturated fat content is ignored. I'm guessing that the profit margins are enormous.
The ads sound like snake oil to me...but I'd better be careful. I'm starting to get angry again.
There used to be this little window that would pop up on my computer screen that said "Five things that happen before a heart attack." After seeing it over and over, I got curious and clicked. I knew it would be a sales pitch (and I was right), but after watching a video for more than 10 minutes, I gave up. I didn't want to know the five things badly enough to invest any more time in the advertisement.
Soon another window started popping up. It said "Five foods never to eat" and there was a picture of a very ripe banana. Bananas are beneficial for Type O, so again I was curious. I clicked the link, expecting an advertisement, but when another video started, I thought, "I'll give it 60 seconds." After 60 seconds I escaped.
Still being curious, I began to bing bananas, and I found some interesting and useful information.
Very ripe bananas with dark patches produce a substance called TNF. Research indicates that TNF can combat abnormal cells. The more dark patches a banana has, the higher its level of TNF.
According to a Japanese study TNF from ripe bananas has anti-cancer properties. The riper the banana, the better the anti-cancer quality. Researchers at Tokyo University compared the health benefits of several different fruits, including banana, grape, apple, water melon, and pineapple. Bananas gave the best results, increasing the number of white blood cells, enhancing immunity and producing anti-cancer TNF. A professor involved in the study was quoted as saying that a banana with dark spots is 8 times more effective in increasing white blood cells than a green skin banana.
So we Type Os should be eating ripe bananas with dark spots, right? Not so fast.
Green bananas could have benefits for dieters and diabetics.
Dieters are sometimes told to stay away from bananas because they are starchy, but the type of starch in green bananas is resistant starch. Rather than being broken down during digestion, resistant starches pass through the intestines unchanged. This gives them the characteristics of insoluble fiber. Foods with resistant starch increase the feeling of satisfaction and being full. This may reduce calorie consumption.
Foods containing resistant starch increase insulin sensitivity. This may help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugars more effectively.
Resistant starch also benefits friendly, probiotic bacteria. As the good bacteria in your intestines ferment resistant starch to make energy, they decrease the level of bad bacteria in your intestines. Bad bacteria can cause several problems from diarrhea to chronic colon conditions. When resistant starch is fermented it produces short-chain fatty acids which improve colon health and may reduce the risk of colon cancer. The same short-chain fatty acids increases the body's ability to absorb calcium.
Dr. D says bananas are beneficial for Type Os. I buy them green, and think about how good the resistant starch is for me. As they ripen, I'm happy because I'm getting more TNF. I win either way with bananas.