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Today’s (July 8) Ask Dr. D. talked about the disadvantages of being a non-secretor. I’ve been tossing around the theme of non-secretor in my mind for a day or two now, and this seems like a perfect occasion to say that the advantages of being a non-secretor are actually many. Now that I’ve adjusted to the idea that I really am a non-secretor, I feel that it has been a great blessing in disguise.
I think the main advantage is that it definitely helps to keep me more compliant than my secretor friends (by whom I am surrounded). They don’t understand why I make such a big deal about not eating, for example, a few cookies with wheat and sugar from the store (not to mention the multitude of additives) or other such “non-essentials”, but I remember very clearly what price I have to pay for such indulgences, and it’s actually become very easy to simply say “Thanks, but I’m allergic to this”.
Being allergic in some restaurants does get me some extra-special treatment from cooks and servers. I simply look them in the eye and say “I’ll be sick if I eat this” and they bustle around to make sure that it won’t happen, at least, not with their food.
I’ve always been sickly. Recently, my sister sent along a handful of very old family photos – many of them had something written on the back since my mother had sent them to her siblings long ago. In one of them, my 3- or 4-year old face is shaded by a hat, and the note on the back says I was wearing it because I had a “cold”. I had a lot of colds when I was little. And when I grew up. And every year without fail. Today, I know the recurring colds and the tonsilitis and the viruses that visited so very regularly were definitely being given open invitations by not eating for my blood type (which nobody knew about until less than ten years ago). I am very, very grateful that my parents’ native Ukrainian diet included a LOT of beet soup (borscht) and a lot of dairy products - along with the other things that contributed to my illnesses. And I am even more grateful that my illnesses have never risen above the category of colds, flu, headaches or tonsilitis. For a non-secretor, I have been incredibly lucky that my discomforts have remained as discomforts and have not developed further into symptoms of a more serious nature. So far!
The headaches that I get after eating chocolate help me to keep very clearly in the front of my mind the fact that not eating chocolate (even though I love it) is an absolutely wonderful idea.
Being a non-secretor, I tend to succumb to viral infections more easily than my secretor neighbours. However, this has taught me to be vigilant, to pay attention to the smallest symptom of early onset, such as a tingling in the glands behind my ears before the sore throat starts to kick in. If I can catch these symptoms before they erupt into full infections, I can often avoid having to spend time in bed trying to recuperate from the current “bug”. I have discovered, through trial and error, that some remedies are quite effective for this non-secreting body, and that using them as soon as a flag is waved can prevent a few miserable days.
I have also learned, over time, that a great many of my infections simply won’t move off in spite of my best efforts. It could be that I don’t know enough yet about what my body needs in these conditions. I am therefore incredibly grateful to the wonderful Chinese acupuncture doctor who is always willing to see me on a moment’s notice at those times when my voice doesn’t sound terribly human, or my body feels like it might break into two at any moment.
Knowing I am a non-secretor helps me to understand my own personal challenges and to be able to explain them to less educated people (less educated on the topic of secretor/non-secretor, at least). Knowing that there is a scientific basis to my own particular body needs is reassuring. It helps to know that it isn’t something that’s just “in my head” as so many others like to label weaknesses these days.
Knowing how to eat for my non-secretor status will surely keep my body in better shape as it ages (faster every day at this point in time), as well as looking after my physical needs. Knowing I am a non-secretor makes it a lot easier to live in this particular skin with calm and confidence, and that’s a huge positive advantage! It gives the courage to carry on, day after day after day.