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Dr. Tom Greenfield succesfully integrates the BTD in his Naturopathic practice in the United Kingdom
BR:Hi Tom! I am very pleased you agreed to be profiled in my column! Please introduce yourself!
TG:I am a naturopath and osteopath based in Canterbury, UK.
BR:You recently joined us columnist on the website! Can you give us a bit of insight why you were drawn to the BTD? What made the coin fall?
TG:My training as a naturopath was based on the ‘nature-cure’ approach, i.e.everyone should aim for a vegetarian/vegan, wholefood/raw food and food-combining diet, with fasting and hydrotherapy as first line treatment approach. In practice I did not always find it easy to convince many clients to stick to this system for long, if at all. Some people who did use this method even seemed to get worse rather than better. Then in 1998 a colleague told me about a book that based its dietary perspective on a person’s ABO blood group. At around the same time a friend of mine was importing Biodynamic bread to the UK from Germany, while planning to set up her own bakery. Some American customers had asked her whether the bread was suitable for their blood group, and didn’t know how to find out, so she asked me. It seemed to make complete sense that something in the blood could relate to how a person responded to food, so I got a copy of ‘The Eat Right Diet’ (as it was called when first published in the UK). When I began to understand that it was based on a sound naturopathic philosophy as well as science, I decided to use myself as a guinea pig. I first had to find out my own blood group, realising that if I turned out to be an O or B, I would have to change my eating habits radically, as I had been vegetarian for 15 years.
BR:We all know that the Blood Type Diet is the way to a healthy and long life! Do you adhere to the BTD yourself and to what extent? What is your blood type, secretor status and other statistics?
TG:My blood group (luckily for my vegetarian diet) turned out to be A negative. Later I found out my other blood groups: A1 secretor and NN. I have stuck to the BTD approach since I first found out my blood group, as I tend to suffer from eating avoid foods.Other genetic polymorphisms relevant to my diet and blood group are as follows: AGT (Angiotensin 1) - This means I am one of the 10% of people whose blood pressure can be affected by sodium intake, and together with my A and NN blood groups, this puts me in a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Consequently I have a low salt diet, and I eat artisan bread, in which much or all of the salt has been replaced with seaweed.
COMT (Catechol-O methyltransferase) - This means that although I am an A secretor, I also have relative difficulty in clearing catecholamines (adrenaline and noradrenaline) which also puts me in a category similar to people with O blood group. When under stress my personality may not always be A-like, and I avoid alcohol because of this polymorphism.
CYBA*8 (Reduction-Oxidation Balance) - This means I am a fast oxidiser, and oxidise my food quickly – I am 6’3” (190 cms), but have never weighed more than about 160 lbs (73 kgs). My Oxystress urine tests always come out dark red. Combined with my A blood this puts me at higher risk of heart disease.
MTHFR (Methylation) – This would put me at a higher risk of elevated homocysteine levels without sufficient dietary folic acid, so I eat plenty of greens.
BR:And if the answer to the previous question is YES, how long did it take to notice change in your body (mentally and physically!) What kind of changes exactly did you experience?
TG:There was a fairly immediate improvement in my concentration and energy levels. I also lost some weight (which also happened when experimenting with food combining). Gradually mucous-related problems in my ears and sinuses and my coated tongue disappeared, and eventually my immune system settled down, so I have been in excellent health for years.
BRoes your family adhere to the BTD as well?
TG:The friend mentioned above who was setting up the bakery is now my wife Ingrid! She has exactly the same blood group as me, and we have similar taste in food. Ingrid finds cooking relaxing after a busy day as director of artisan bread, and has a talent for dreaming up new exciting and tasty recipes with our most A-beneficial food ingredients: we have tasty seaweed salads with fresh herbs; sugar-free carob and walnut oat brownies that taste like chocolate; tempeh dishes in exotic sauces, spelt vegetable pizza with home made soya cheese, etc. So it’s quite easy to eat according to our blood group all the time.
BR:How many bloodtypes are present in your family to cope with? How do you manage?
TG:My mother (O) is slowly coming round to the idea that the blood type approach is going to be with us for a long time. Of her two brothers (both O) one is now following the BTD and says it has relieved longstanding health problems. My father (A) died of cancer at 35 before we knew what we should be eating. My brother (also A) is more of a foodie, but also an excellent cook, and caters for us superbly when we eat at his place. I have two children, Jacob and Bethany, from a previous relationship. We haven’t found out their blood groups yet, but Bethany is vegetarian (and we suspect she is A). We tend to meet at restaurants, or at family gatherings with a buffet meal, so we can all choose what we want to eat.
BR:In your Naturopathic Practice you integrate the BTD as part of your healing capacities! Could you give the readership an example of how different naturopathic options coincide with the BTD?
TG:The British Naturopathic Journal published my article Blood Grouping in Naturopathic Practice, BNJ, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2003, pp.12-16, which explored how naturopathic pioneers have used various categorisations to explore the genetic limitations and capabilities of humans. This had largely been forgotten as a result of eugenics falling out of fashion in the first half of the 20th Century. With the advent of blood grouping naturopaths now have a scientifically-based opportunity to get a large part of their clients’ individuality and genetic risks/potential way beyond asking what illnesses there have been in the family. I have been presenting information on the BTD to UK naturopaths and naturopathic students for some time, but it is a slow process for it to filter through into practice: the UK tends to lag behind the rest of the world in so many things. I even set up my own blood grouping laboratory for public and practitioners in Europe to send in blood samples for testing, and incorporated full blood grouping and subgrouping into my holistic well person clinic health screen.
BR:Tom, in my view many ways of healing form a part of the puzzle. Peter D’Adamo is the first one who ‘completed the puzzle’, who found that missing piece, the blood type connection! What are your views regarding this Blood-Type-Connection?
TG:Once you start to see people in terms of how they are influenced by their blood group it can be very enlightening. Of course a person’s behaviour can also be affected by many other aspects, we are not just our blood group, but it is surprising how many ‘blood type attributes’ can be recognised in people. I can often guess a person’s blood group before I have blood typed them. It is also interesting to look at views on blood groups from various sources: I used to eat goats’ cheese, and people asked me why I didn’t also eat fish and chicken, but when I got hold of Dr. James D’Adamo’s book ‘One Man’s Food’ (now out of print), it gave me ‘permission’ to avoid eating all animal proteins: he says that the ideal diet for the A is to eat seeds, sprouts and tofu as main sources of protein, although one egg per week may be eaten. Note that this should be “worked into slowly, with great deliberation, and at your own pace”. It is the final stage of a long transition for many people who may have been on a meat-based diet, and is surprisingly similar to the ‘nature-cure’ diet that I learnt about in college.
BR:Next April 2005 the second Seminar will be held in Arizona. Loads of new research-results will be revealed!! So much BTD-news to be shared with a worldwide gathering of BTD-friends, in an accommodation perfect to talk and socialize! Tom, can you give the readership some of your expectations/views regarding this Meeting of the 4 Masters?
TG:This is going to be a great conference. Peter is, of course, an outstanding ,lecturer. Dr. Jeff Bland often lectures to us in the UK. His book ‘Genetic Nutritioneering’ published in 1999, was probably the first book apart from those written by the D’Adamo family to recognise the importance of blood groups. And of course he wrote the Afterword for Live Right 4 Your Type. It will be fascinating to hear the outcome of original research from his Functional Medicine Research Center in this context. Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, author of several naturopathic bibles, will be enlightening us on an aid to clinical decision making. Dr. Walter Crinnion (who was at the first conference) will tell us about his speciality: health risks from exposure to environmental toxins and the blood type polymorphism connection. And of course it will be a chance to catch up with colleagues I won’t have seen for two years, even though many of them live in the UK. If my wife hires a Harley and takes me on tour around Arizona like she did before the 2003 conference, of course that will be a bonus too.
BR:Are there plans/wishes/views for the future with respect to the Blood Type Science you wish to share with us?
TG:I welcome the day when the UK accepts naturopathic treatment, as people with health insurance can’t claim for naturopathy at the moment. It probably won’t be long before genetic testing will be ‘cheap and cheerful’, and as freely available as blood grouping. Then researchers such as those speaking at the 2005 seminar will help us to further individualise our ways of maintaining health. Of course if the life insurance companies get hold of this information it might cause problems for people with certain polymorphisms, but that’s another story…
BR:Tom, thank you so much for your clarifying and insight interview! As Dr. D. you also have the ability to explain ‘complicated’ medical matters in understandable language! A gift! As you, I am also looking forward to attending the upcoming Seminar in Arizona in April 2005, to catch up with friends and many others, met in 2003. Tom, I feel privileged to have profiled you in my column! Hope to meet you again in Arizona in 2005..
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