With the release of The Genotype Diet, and the excitement that comes with that, the skeptics have also become excited. The lack of double-blind placebo-controlled study is one of the criticisms they start out with.
First off, many popular diets don't have a similar study done on them. Yet, because they never claim to be scientific (many are written by laypersons), they don't get this criticism. People try them if it sounds doable and see what happens. There's often no harm in that, as most foods and most exercise plans are quite safe. Some may be dangerous in the long-term, as they often drastically reduce whole categories of calories (fats or carbs, usually) but they often aren't done for the long term. For BTD and GTD to be based on science, and science that many scientist and doctors are not expert in, has invited a lot of criticisms that the layperson-written-diet-book hasn't.
Secondly, science is based on observations, some of which are decades in the making, as in BTD and GTD.
Thirdly, double blind studies are expensive, and have to have some big dollars behind them. Especially when you consider the number of variables involved in testing 6 types, or more (if you test BTD with Secretor Status instead). Most companies and organizations with enough money to fund that type of study would have their bottom line threatened by the success of it, as it steers customers away from those things that make them those big bucks (such as pharmaceuticals or processed foods).
Fourth, all the diets Dr. D'Adamo recommends are healthy and balanced, and full of a variety of whole foods. They steer us clear of many processed foods, which over time are proven to be dangerous. While skeptics may consider his ideas dangerous, his diets are certainly not. Many good ideas, even truths, were once considered dangerous.
Fifth, all studies that do exist have a percentage of success and failure. If the success rate is 80% (which is probably much higher than any regular diet's success rate) there's another 20% who see poor results from the diet. It is still classified as a success, but what of those who fall into the minority? How do you account for those? Too often they are swept under a rug, deemed insignificant. The same problem exists for studies done on pharmaceuticals, they don't work for everyone, and my fail miserably for a small percentage. (They are also moving toward more individualized targeted drugs, based on genetics and individual detoxification pathways.)
*Another sucker-punch a skeptic will throw in, is to imply that it's all about making money. Selling books doesn't really make that much money. And last I checked, there were no D'Adamo frozen meals being sold in the grocery store. (I wish there were, that'd be great, but it is not the direction Dr. D'Adamo is going in.) It's healthier to prepare your own food from whole ingredients, and all you really need to do any of the diets is a book. Dr. D'Adamo's books can be checked out from the library or purchased used. If anybody has financially benefitted from my choice in diet, it has been local and organic farmers and free-range ranchers.
So if I am in a minority, and the medically established diet, or food pyramid, doesn't work for me, where does that leave me?
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it was not until I gave up my top avoids/toxins based on blood type that I lost any weight. When I follow the diet, I lose weight and improve health, when I don't, I don't. Cutting my calories way back, cutting my fat intake back, and exercising 10-12 hours a week did not lose any weight. (Low carb made me feel like a ball of sludge, so I didn't try Atkins for long, I admit.) So I am a cluster of anecdotal evidence. Meaningless by the reasoning of skeptics. I however, don't consider it meaningless. Stupid to try anything out of the realm of medically proven double-blind-studied diets? Well, I don't think so. I could have waited for more evidence, but if I had I wouldn't have the life that I do. I would have been subjected to numberous double-blind-studied pharmaceuticals, such as Vioxx, Phen-fen (sp?), antidepresants, continued repeated courses of antibiotics, NSAIDs, Tagamet, cholesterol-lowering drugs, etc. We all know where some of those "safe" solutions have led some people. Instead, I follow the right healthy diet for me, and rarely have to take many prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs.
I don't consider anecdotal evidence to be meaningless. Evidence and observations are still part of the scientific method, last I checked.
Be sure to check out Dr. D'Adamo's responses to other criticisms here.
Just a blog to update you on the bees. My son is doing fine, totally back to normal physically, but a bit skiddish of most multi-legged critters.
I took the "bees" into the local extension for identification, and after some deliberation and second opinions, it was determined that these are hornets, not bees. They sure fooled lots of people, including some professionals, into thinking they were bees.
We had another pest control man come out after these bees charged my husband again (he escaped quickly enough). He laughed at me for running when one of these little bee imposters came out, because it doesn't look scarey. Then it charged him, and a couple others followed. He escaped a sting with some well-timed swats of the hand, but it was the closest he's ever come to getting stung. After retreating he went back out to spray it, and doused it with their stuff that usually kills instantly, but it was unphased. So they will be back again with a new plan of attack this week.
So, bees are still bees, and will generally mind their own business, but look out for these imposters.
Meanwhile, we've been busy bees at home getting the garage finally cleared out. We had a yard sale, hauled a couple loads to the dump, and donated the rest to Deseret Industries. We didn't make any big bucks at the yard sale, but it was worthwhile. We made almost as much by returning all the things we didn't use and had forgotten to return to the home improvement stores. I still have a few things to sell on eBay, but the garage is looking good. We hung up our bicicles and strollers, and everything is getting into shape pretty well. That's just the first step in getting our whole house organized, but it was the hardest step. I'm afraid my husband's work ethic rubbed off on me though, and I skipped too many meals, and ate too many processed foods over the course of the week. So, a few steps forward for house clutter, but backwards for body clutter. Sigh.
On Sunday my son got attacked by bees. Though these were definitely bees, fuzzy head and body, fuzzy bee-like legs, etc., but they were very agressive and stung him five times total. (After his father disturbed them while clearing the deck) We caught two of them, one who had definitely stung him, and they both appear to still have their stingers intact (as they sit frozen in the freezer). They stung him once on the lip, twice on the forehead, and one flew into his shirt and he had two small stings (or bites?) on his chest.
He calmed down pretty quickly after the pain subsided and I put baking soda glop on the stings. I checked his skin for stingers but there were none (though they could have been brushed off when they took off his shirt). I also gave him two doses of benadryl. 90 minutes later one side of his face started swelling, and his skin turned an angry red color, so I took him into the instacare doctor. She checked for signs of breathing problems and whatnot, then gave him a dose of zyrtec. He was totally himself, personality-wise, all this time. She wrote out a prescription for prednisone ("Pediapred" how's that for a drug name? Kind of funny considering the problems with prednisone and how I feel about that drug). After seeing the zyrtec work to bring down the swelling and redness she said he probably didn't need the prednisone unless he started getting worse again.
I continued giving him benadry and zyrtec, and went to the health food store yesterday for more advice. His eyes were very puffy the day after, and we were still concerned about him. They recommended a few things including bromelain, quercetin, vitamin C, a homeopathic remedy, and mixing Bach Rescue Remedy with lotion or skin oil, and rubbing it on the affected skin. Of all the advice, and after as much of anything I could get him to take internally, the Rescue Remedy seemed to make the biggest difference. When I rubbed it on his face, with an olive oil-based baby oil, his color changed instantly, almost alarmingly, away from pale to blushed, and then within a couple hours the swelling had gone down further, and his color became normal...not too pale, but also not too red. I will keep some Bach Rescue Remedy in my medicine cabinet and first aid kit from now on!
He's not allergic to the stings, as this was his first exposure and a pretty normal reaction for the number and location of the stings. I will probably get him tested sometime for allergies after this abrupt first exposure. Those bees couldn't have been more confused, as he's the last person in the world to want to hurt them...he's friends with all creatures, even though he does have a healthy respect for all. He's pretty much over the shock of it now, and now has an imaginary friend that is a pet bee who follows him around.
I'm glad my 2 year old didn't go out with him and get stung too, though I wish I'd been the one to take the stings in his place.
I decided to finally give it my best shot by trying the meal plans from the genotypediet website. I've glanced at them before and tried a few recipes that looked good, but now I'm going all out at it...sort of.
I printed out 3 days worth, and did the shopping for them. Of course, plans change and events come up, but I'll get these 3 days worth done within a week I'm sure. So many of my meals for the first three days involve cooked sliced turkey breast that I decided to just cook and slice an actual turkey breast, rather than skirt the avoids in storebought ones. I also made up a few of my lunches and snacks ahead of time on Sunday afternoon. That meal was a hit, as I made mashed potatoes and gravy for everyone else (potatoes are an avoid for all of us, but I didn't think they'd appreciate having braised fennel and quinoa tabouleh as the only sides, and I didn't touch them or the gravy...well I touched the gravy a tiny bit).
I'm allowing myself a little wiggle room, even though I haven't earned black dots yet, I find that allowing myself to have a tiny bit when I feel like a treat does help keep me out of outright toxin territory. The nice thing about the black dots is that some of them don't trigger the craving spirals that outright toxins do. Last night I had one small scoop of goat milk ice cream, with lots of raspberries. That hit the spot and kept me from craving worse. If you need to cheat or have a little treat, you can be smart about it.
That brings me to the other benefit of using the meal plans...I always have food and plans on hand so I never get hungry enough to really stray from the diet. I still have to be creative, and don't always stick to the plan. For instance, I've really been craving rye bread lately, so this morning I made flax focaccia with some teff, molasses, and caraway seeds in it. It turned out really well, so I pulled out the lingonberry jam and spread some on. I've heard that lingonberry jam is very good on rye bread but I've never tried it...I have to agree that it is an amazing combination. I didn't even feel the need to sweeten my herbal tea. The jam has a little sugar in it, but was the best choice I could find in the lingonberry jam department.
I also whipped up some flax cranberry muffins, since I had all my baking stuff out already. I'll have to ration all these goodies, of course, it's mostly flax and egg so the only bad thing about eating too much is the possiblity of eating too much fiber. It's almost time to pull those out of the oven.
My sister and I are planning the meal for a large family gathering this weekend, it's a fun job as my sister is also gluten free and low carb, so we're planning everything to be healthy (and yummy). Ah, I love the power of planning a meal...even if it does mean a bit of work. Usually my mom would do the work, and she does a great job of it, but this party is for her and my dad, so we are trying to spare her the work. We'll probably have chili, lots of fruits and vegetables, and some stuff for the carb-eaters, like cornbread or baked potatoes. I better get to planning, as soon as I pull these muffins out...
I had planned to make Turkey Meatloaf last week, but was intimidated by the idea. My egg-free beef meatloaf is nothing to shout about, so how could a turkey meatloaf be any better (my son is allergic to eggs). I found a recipe at epicurious that I could adapt to use up some of the ingredients I needed to use up in my refrigerator, so I went for it.
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic (I only had dried garlic, which I crushed and added in with the carrots)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/8-inch dice (gatherer black dot, could sub zucchini or perhaps bell peppers depending on type)
3/4 lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and very finely chopped in a food processor (I only had button mushrooms, but I think cremini are neutral for more types)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I used crushed onion seeds instead)
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (I used 1/2 tsp marmite + 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar + 1/4 tsp seaweed flakes)
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (I had none, so left it out)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup (Organicville, or homemade)
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread) I used rice bread, full of gatherer black dots and toxins, but for a GF bread it worked well...will think of a better substitute next time
1/3 cup 1% milk (rice milk)
1 whole large egg, lightly beaten + 1 large egg white, lightly beaten (I used 1/4 cup boiling water and 2 T flax meal, let sit to gel)
1 1/4 lb ground turkey (mix of dark and light meat)
"Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cook onion and garlic in oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and they are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and 3 tablespoons ketchup, then transfer vegetables to a large bowl and cool.
Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in egg and egg white, then add to vegetables. Add turkey and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to vegetable mixture and mix well with your hands. (Mixture will be very moist.)
Form into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a lightly oiled 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan and brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake in middle of oven until thermometer inserted into meatloaf registers 170°F, 50 to 55 minutes.
Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving."
I thought the worchestershire substitute worked out well, though I'm no worchestershire connoisseur. My husband and 2 year old loved the results. It was lot of work, but worth it. It will be easier the next time around.