Last week Priscilla wrote asking what I ate for dessert. It is my opinion that dessert is one of the areas where in order to live a healthy life you have to retrain yourself to think a completely different way - a paradigm shift, to use current terminology.
Refined sugar was the big "NO" food when I was in my health nut years. (Even though sugar is neutral for Type Os, I still believe that an excess of refined sugar contributes to a lot of health problems.) This was a big issue for me because in the Southern US where I grew up, dessert after every meal is a mark of hospitality. I tried fruit as a dessert, but frankly I like fruit better as a salad or a snack. I tried desserts with other sweeteners (fruit juice, honey, raw sugar), and some of them are delicious. But I finally decided that the best thing was to get away from the idea that dessert is part of a meal.
I have raised my kids that way. When they were little, I noticed that if we were away from home and they were expecting dessert, that they would eat less dinner. It was important to me that they ate an abundance of protein, fruit & vegetables. I didn't want them taking small servings of real food to "save room for dessert."
I bake cookies and cakes, but they are eaten as after school snacks, not dessert at the end of a meal. If we have company for dinner and I fix a dessert, we don't eat it at the end of the meal. We clear the table and visit for a while, and then I serve dessert.
Now that I am on the Type O diet, wheat has become the big "NO". Instead of substituting other sweeteners for sugar, I'm learning to substitute other flours for wheat. When I adjust a recipe, I find that I can cut the sugar by 1/3 and no one notices. I think that is better for all of us. I substitute butter or oil for shortening and margarine. Again I find that I can cut the fat in a recipe by 1/4 to 1/3 without anyone complaining. I find that for cookies, cakes, and breakfast breads; rye, spelt, and kamut flours can be substituted and the recipe turns out the same. Rice flour alone has a different texture, but I often mix rice with other flours. (Yeast breads are another matter, I'm still not happy with my results, but I found a couple of new recipes on the internet that I'll be trying.)
This week I baked gingerbread with Type A beneficial flours. My daughter has eaten it for both breakfast and snack two days in a row.
My daughter has a cold. Nothing serious - a sore throat on Sunday and feeling tired with a scratchy throat on Monday. Fortunately Monday was a holiday, so she got lots of rest. However, since she's not running a fever, missing school today was not an option.
Yesterday she was able to drink lots of fluids all day, and keep a steady supply of herbs and vitamins in her system. School rule is no pills - that means no illegal drugs, no prescription drugs, no over the counter drugs and no vitamins - in the possession of students. If she was seriously ill I could take medication or supplements to the nurse's office, and she could go there to take them, but this is just a cold.
So this morning we were talking about what I could pack in her lunch and what vitamins & herbs she should add to her breakfast. She said that the high school teachers have agreed that students can have water bottles in class. (I guess they get tired of interruptions for trips to the water fountain.) She said I think I'll take a water bottle. That way when my throat gets dry, I can just take a drink. I said, put Echinacea drops in your bottle, that way you will get a steady dose all day.
When school was out this afternoon her water bottle was empty and her cold was much better. She had felt good all day. Tomorrow she will do the same thing, and that will put an end to this cold.
Echinacea is good for Type As, but would not be good for me. I started thinking about what I would do if I caught this cold. According to The Blood Type Encyclopedia I could put elderberry (proberry) drops in my water bottle. I'll put that on my shopping list. I think I'll put astragalus on the list also, as it is good for both As and Os. Unfortunately, I don't think astragalus comes in drops, so it wouldn't work in a school water bottle.
My stomach is much improved in a very short time. I would say that I'm 90 - 95% back to normal.
Food was not the main culprit. I had not drifted into eating avoids. I did however make an extra effort to increase beneficials, and to serve meals on time. Before the BTD I would have smothered my stress with wheat and potato snacks. That would have made my stomach worse and started a vicious cycle. Because I did not fall into that trap, I was able to heal faster.
No doubt I feel better after vigorous exercise. I did fall into a trap here. Stress made me lethargic and I neglected the exercise that would have best dissipated stress from my Type O body. Not only have I exercised every day, but I have selected more physical chores. Saturday I disassembled and scrubbed the lawn furniture - nasty, sweaty job. Today I'm washing windows. Desk work and sewing projects are on hold for a few days.
The emotional/spiritual part of me was where the biggest adjustment had to come. It is popular today to say "look inside yourself for answers and strength." HA! Inside myself is selfishness and worry. But when I look outside of myself to the creator God who though he is all powerful wants to have a personal relationship with me, that is where I find answers. I can rely on the promises of scripture: God's plans for me are good, though I'm going through a rough time right now; blessings come from serving others, not being self-serving; God is in control and I can trust Him.
I took my eyes off Jesus for a few days, which led to fear, which led to a stomach ache. My focus is back, my faith is renewed, and I'm beginning to be curious about how God will work through these problems to bring about good things.
When I look at the Type O beneficial vegetable list, there are a high percentage of greens. Until I started the Blood Type Diet, my greens were limited to salad and an occasional serving of spinach. Now I have greens at least once, often twice a day. This week I've had turnip greens, beet greens, spinach, and bok choy, plus several salad greens.
Spinach is my favorite. I like it raw, I like it cooked. I like it plain or with butter or olive oil or raisins. I like it fresh or frozen. I even eat it canned if we're picnicking.
My second favorite is beet greens. I once wrote that the only bad thing about beet greens was that they came attached to beets. I really don't like cooked beets - fortunately my husband does. So he eats the beets and I eat the greens. We were made for each other.
I like Swiss Chard a lot. Last spring beautiful fresh Swiss Chard was in all the stores. I didn't see it all summer. I'm hoping it will be back this fall. It would be a shame if it were only a one season green.
Collard greens and turnip greens are next on my list. I can eat them plain, but they are much better with grilled onions or ground beef or spicy seasoned salt.
Kale I just can't eat alone. If it was not on the beneficial list, I probably wouldn't eat it at all. Kale cooked with black eyed peas and onion is good. Kale with butter and fruit only preserves sounds weird, but is quite tasty.
This week was my first time to try bok choy. My vegetable guide suggested that I fix the bulb and the leaves as separate vegetables. I put the bulb in stew. I thought it was good, but my husband did not care for it. The vegetable guide said the leaves tasted like spinach. That probably made my expectations way too high. I cooked it today with butter and salt. It was good, but - in my opinion - nothing like spinach.
It's been a rough two weeks. My husband has a genetic eye condition which suddenly got worse. The company my husband works for was sold, and we don't yet know what changes will be coming. There has been a disagreement in our extended family which has affected our lives even though we live many miles away. Without ever meaning to, I let worry and anger creep into my thoughts. I knew I had let it go too far when on Monday I began to feel rumblings in my stomach that I haven't felt for a year.
I share this with you because it underlines the different facets of living right for your type. I can't blame this relapse on food. There have been two occasions when politeness dictated that I eat avoid foods. I'm sure they didn't help any, but when everything else is normal a piece of cake or a spoon of pasta doesn't set me back this much.
Exercise is part of the problem. My running and swimming days have continued as usual. But the weight work I do at night has been neglected. Several times I have dealt with the stress by playing cards on the computer. Card games do not qualify as intense physical exercise. Part of what I feel in my stomach is a build up of stress that my Type O body would have liked to release by exercise.
There is also the emotional/spiritual side of life. The Bible says, "Be angry but sin not," and "Have no anxiety about anything." I have ignored both those principles. I have let my imagination run wild. I have worried about things I have no control over. I began yesterday to take those kinds of thought captive.
I saw the pictures of my red irritated stomach in the spring of 2003 before I started the BTD. What I feel now is nowhere near as bad as what I felt then. But after more than a year of feeling great, even a little relapse is uncomfortable.
What am I doing? Yesterday I turned off the news and turned on music. As much as I enjoy current events, I don't need to take on the worries of the whole world until I get myself back in balance. The soothing effect is already helping. I have ginger juice in the refrigerator and I'm taking that as well as peppermint. I've increased DGL licorice, bladderwrack, bromelain & quercetin. And as soon as I post this blog, I'm going to swim Â¾ mile - fast.