I thought the Forum post by suzedgar was honest and very appropriate for this time of year. No matter how hard we try, there is no way to be both a gracious guest and faithful to the BTD in most social settings. And the next 5 weeks will be filled with parties and dinners.
As we drove home from my husband's mom's house, we were listening to a financial tape in the car. The author said that everyone who succeeds financially will have failures along the way. If your failures make you fearful, they prevent you from attaining your goals. Successful people, he said, find ways to turn their failures into advantages.
Can the same logic apply to the Blood Type Diet? Can I turn eating avoids at a party into principles that will help me be healthier? Here are a few ways that I try to think about unavoidable avoids.
First: While I may be in a situation where I have to eat avoids, I do not have to be a glutton. There are almost always beneficial or neutral foods available. I try to eat more of the advantageous foods and only polite tastes of the avoids. At Thanksgiving dinner, I had three slices of turkey but only two bites of dressing.
Second: I find it discouraging to think of never, ever eating old favorite foods. Knowing that sooner or later I will be at a dinner or a party where I will get a taste of once-loved food makes it easier to totally avoid those foods at home. The breaded zucchini strips I ate at my nephew's house have satisfied my desire for onion rings and fried okra and immunized me from ordering them in a restaurant.
Third: I keep fresh in my memory the way I feel after too many avoids. Those memories are perhaps my biggest asset when I am looking at a buffet of holiday food. They give me the strength to say NO when I am tempted to grab comfort food.
By remembering those three principals, it's been a long time since I overindulged on avoids to the extent that I felt really horrible. If you feel sluggish and bloated after Thanksgiving, I have this advice. For a couple of days eat only meat and beneficial vegetables. Sweet potatoes, salad with olive oil, cooked greens, parsnips, black-eyed peas and adzuki beans are all very filling. Raw carrots dipped in nut butter are also satisfying. Stay completely away from anything with grain or sugar until your equilibrium is restored.
Though I was fairly compliant on our holiday trip, when we got home last night I ran for two miles - good for dissipating stress and for loosening muscles tired of sitting in the car. For dinner I fixed baked cod, kale, black-eyed peas, and onions - all highly beneficial. I feel healthy and energetic today. My weight is up a little more than a pound, but I'm confident that it is mostly water and will disappear shortly.
We had two Thanksgiving dinners. Wednesday night we drove out to one nephew's house to see their new baby daughter. Another nephew arranged for an incredible Italian dinner to be catered at the house. We ate on paper plates, watched basketball on TV, and admired the baby. She is just two weeks old. I am a great-aunt again! What a thrill to hold her and have her fall asleep in my arms.
When I think Italian, I think pasta, and certainly there was plenty of that. But there were other choices as well. Salad with beneficial greens was plentiful. Plus there was steamed broccoli and chicken roasted with Italian herbs. My one avoid for the evening was a zucchini dish that I didn't realize contained wheat until I tasted it. It was too delicious, and therefore too late to stop.
Today's traditional turkey feast was sadly small in numbers. My husband's father passed away last spring and was sorely missed. Two family members had the flu and went back to bed after putting in brief appearances. Another nephew had to work.
The turkey was delicious, and neutral for all. I had two bites of cornbread dressing in honor of the day. Other than that I filled my plate with vegetables and fruits.
Come, ye thankful people come.
Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
God, our maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied.
Come to God's on temple come.
Raise the song of harvest home.
Spent yesterday's austere training session working on something called a 'jump spin back kick,' a strange gyration that involves spinning in the air as you jump, ultimately kicking into a direction that you cannot actually see.
Interesting how easy something like this appears to a twelve year old, versus, say, a forty-eight year old. A kid just jumps, much like a cat, knowing that he is springy enough to get up and around, and flexible enough to not be troubled by the thought of a posterior landing. By the time you get to my age, you start to ponder the osseous consequences of this sort an action, which is why you hesitate and fail.
Napoleon once said that it was amazing what you could get an eighteen year old to do for a piece of ribbon.
The immortality thing.
The forty-eight year old is more likely to say 'Uh, no thanks. I have enough ribbon right now.'
Last night my sister in law Rita, an nurse with an extensive background in research, sent me an abstract from the Journal of Clinical Oncology, titled 'Herbal Remedies in the United States: Potential Adverse Interactions With Anticancer Agents' (J Clin Oncol 2004;22 2489-2503). The crux of the article being the potential threat to chemotherapy drug effectiveness posed by such botanicals as garlic and echinacea, which may influence the body's ability to metabolize chemotherapy drugs, and compromise their effectiveness. She asked me what I thought about the article.
When I finally got a full version, two things stuck out immediately. One, this was a review article, meaning that there was no proof of any such activity being presented, but rather a tenuous connection between the known, but rather modest, effects of certain herbs on the cytochrome p450 system (drug detoxification) and the p-glycoprotein levels (drug delivery).
More accurately an editorial, it provided absolutely no evidence to back up any of its assertions. C'mon guys, talking about garlic interfering with p-glycoprotein and blocking a drug like taxol is like saying that a paper bag containing your lunch has the 'hidden potential' to derail an Amtrak train. Hey, if garlic or herbal antioxidants and p-450 modulators were all that effective at blocking cell damage (chemically programmed or not), there wouldn't be any need for oncologists and oncology journals in the first place.
Amazingly, the article then goes on to advise physicians to look into herbal use in non-responding cancer patients as a rationale for treatment failure, a rather cruel balm to the fact that greater than 99% of those non-responders are simply not going to be cured by chemotherapy, herbal medicine or no herbal medicine.
An article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (Archive Int Med; 1998;20: 2187-2191) may help explain why medical academics spend their time worrying about garlic blocking chemotherapy. It looked at conventional attitudes toward supplementation. Their conclusions: Throughout 20th century American academic medicine has resisted the concept that supplementation with micronutrients might have health benefits.
According to the authors, this resistance is evident in several ways:
(1) by the uncritical acceptance of news of toxicity, such as the belief that vitamin C supplements cause kidney stones;
(2) by the angry, scornful tone used in discussions of micronutrient supplementation in the leading textbooks of medicine; and
(3) by ignoring evidence for possible efficacy of a micronutrient supplement, such as the use of vitamin E for intermittent claudication.
Part of the resistance stems from the fact that the potential benefits of micronutrients were advanced by outsiders, who took their message directly to the public, and part from the fact that the concept of a deficiency disease did not fit in well with prevailing biomedical paradigms, particularly the germ theory. Similar factors might be expected to color the response of academic medicine to any alternative treatment.
I boldfaced the line about 'outsiders' as I can relate to that one personally, since I am a naturopathic physician (strike one!) posit a diet theory that does not fit in well with the prevailing paradigm (strike two!) and wrote a book on the subject for the public (yer out!)
Instead of wasting time looking for herbal inactivators of chemotherapy these folks should look at ABO polymorphism to help explain cancer treatment variation. Type A individuals may have as much as seven fold higher levels of p-glycoprotein, 30% higher levels of von Willebrand Factor and significantly higher levels of e-selectin and ICAM --all know modifiers of metastasis, drug delivery or resistance.
There is a certain lack of candor in a medical community that rebukes supplements as weak and ineffective medicines, yet warns that these same supplements are dangerously blocking chemotherapy drugs.
Reminds me of the joke about the two oldtimers at the early bird special:
The first one turns to the other and says 'The food here is terrible.'
The second oldtimer turns to the first and says 'Yeah, and the portions are small, too.'
We are spending Thanksgiving with my husband's mom. She is from the Deep South and is an excellent cook. She fixes lots of vegetables; she also fixes lots of comfort food. Food and affection are hopelessly intermingled in the Southern culture, so refusing food must be done very cautiously.
It does not help that I have no nutritional credibility with her. When I married my husband almost 28 years ago, I ate like a typical American. Everyone got along fine.
When we had been married about a year, I found an Adelle Davis book on his aunt's bookshelf. I read about vitamins, protein, carbohydrates, and fats in a meaningful way for the first time.* I was young and starry eyed about nutrition. I thought everyone else would be fascinated with what I had learned. My husband's mother was not. We clashed about white bread and desserts. We clashed about breakfast. I said way too much about whole grains and sugar.
We reached a standoff. I ate lots of, and complimented enthusiastically, the foods I perceived as healthy. I politely declined or ate small amounts of foods I perceived as unhealthy.
Now my family and I come to her house on a diet even more radical. Her son and granddaughter are eating one way; her grandson and I are eating a totally different way. I am avoiding the very whole grains I used to push. If she is confused, I can't blame her.
I wish I could take back some of the things I said way back then, partly because it turns out I didn't know as much as I thought I did. Partly because if I had more credibility I might get an opening to explain the BTD and its benefits to this part of my family.
I came out better at our first meal than my husband. We had asparagus, broccoli, sweet potatoes, pork chops, and salad.
*So much of what Adelle Davis wrote was true and I still use it today - unprocessed food is better than processed, vitamin & mineral deficiencies lead to health problems, too much sugar is dangerous. However she had a shotgun approach to nutrition. Everyone should drink milk, everyone should eat whole wheat, everyone should get protein from meat, etc. It caused her and me and probably every single one of her followers eventual health problems. But I wouldn't know that until I read "Eat Right 4 your Type" 26 years later.
While we were talking on the phone with our son last night, he mentioned a friend who runs with him. The friend is very interested in nutrition, but does not know his blood type. He recently tried increasing the amount of vegetables he ate, and decreasing all other foods. He experienced a noticeable improvement in muscle mass.
My son wanted to know if this meant his friend is probably an A. The question sent me back to "Live Right". Certainly an A would notice improvements in physique by increasing his percentage of vegetables. However, if he is an O and he replaced grains with vegetables, he would also see a benefit. Without knowing his blood type, he would not know what kind of protein he needed.
While I was reading, I stumbled across the answer to a nagging question about my daughter.
Her brother was a track star at our school, so when she was in 6th grade everyone assumed she would run track. She pushed herself through the long workouts, wondering why she didn't love it the way he did. At track meets a scary thing began to happen. When her race was over she would be very light headed. Once she fainted, stumbling and falling at the finish line. I was concerned and took her to the doctor. The doctor was puzzled. He found nothing wrong with her heart. He could have sent us for expensive tests, but his instinct was that she was a healthy girl. The dizziness at the end of races continued, not only in track but in swimming as well.
She eventually gave up track and swimming. She is now focused on twirling, a sport that involves coordination, stretching, and music. She loves it, her muscle tone is even better than when she was running, and it never makes her dizzy.
Today in "Live Right 4 Your Type," I found this paragraph, "While it is fine for Type As to participate in more intense physical activity when you're healthy and in good condition, be aware that these forms of exercise do not act as safety valves for stress in your blood type...The warning signs that you're overdoing it include: chronically cold hands, excessive fatigue two hours after exercise, or lightheadedness upon standing."
I'm glad to know why. I'm also glad her instincts led her to a sport that is well suited to Type A.