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The story of Jared Abramson. »
BR: Tell us a little about yourself - your age, blood type, marital status, children, nationality, profession, country in which you live.
YA: Hello Cocky, wish you a great start with your column. I am Yaman Akalin, 49 years old, male, type O, married for a second time, one son each, my wife and my son type O, her son type B. I am from Turkey and we are living in Istanbul Turkey, except that my son has been studying in The Hague, Holland since 1999 and he will be attending the Webster University in Leiden, Holland. I am a chemical engineer (M. Sc.) and after 12 year career in as an engineer, I am now working in Marketing Research business for more than a decade.
BR: Give us some insight of your health problems. Are there any diseases running in your family?
YA: I was not so healthy when I was a young boy. Always underweight, I frequently suffered from problems with my digestive system. I had my secondary and high school education in boarding schools that contributed to these problems. I enjoyed a healthier period in my thirties and early forties. We have moved to live and work in Istanbul in 1995, and soon after my health problems started. In late 1996 I was diagnosed as hypertensive (130/100 to 150/110) with elevated levels of cholesterol, lipids and tryglycerides. I was put on medication and started dieting, classical “no red meat, high carb and veggies”. Within a year I had put on a lot of weight, and suffered from sluggishness and fatigue. Then I decided to look for alternative ways of improving my health. As a believer of natural healing, I have concentrated on healing power of foods, studied various diets etc. I have tried the Montignac diet (food combining) which somewhat improved my situation (later I would see why, it recommends to stay away from carbs in the early phase and rely on lean meat and veggies, nice coincidence for type O?).
BR: How did you find out about the blood type diet (I rather call it way-of-life!) Was it through friends, colleagues, health
practitioners, or other?
YA: I have lost 3 kilos with the Montignac diet and enjoyed some recovery in my health but that was all. Then I have heard from a friend the blood type solution. The first thing I was told was that I should avoid all wheat as type O. I tried it for two weeks and it made a remarkable difference. Then I bought the Eat Right 4 Your Type and read it in a couple of hours. (A quick note for Peter: I bought and read the English original. Then I saw the Turkish translation and noticed some translation errors, e.g. “buckwheat” being translated as “dark wheat”, which is listed as “neutral” for O’s while all wheat are avoids for them) BR: How did you get started? Was it gradually, or did you opt for the cold-turkey-version?
YA: I always prefer the cold-turkey version when it comes to health issues. I stopped the medication (blood pressure and cholesterol) and dived into the diet, or the way you put it, into a new way-of-life.
BR: How long did it take to notice change in your body (mentally and physically!). What kind of changes did you experience?
YA: Within two weeks time I have realized that I was more energetic and my digestive system was relieved. No more reflux or other digestion problems. Within a month my blood pressure was approaching toward normal values. Thereafter I started losing weight, half kilo per week and I came to a balance in 6 months. Since then (been 3 years now) I am around 66-67 kilos (height 172 cm). The diet helped to keep my blood pressure between 110/70 and 130/90 until early this year. Since January I am taking one capsule of Nitricycle every morning and now my blood pressure is stabilized (120/80). I have nearly forgotten what sort of a feeling “craving” was. No more shaking hands or other hypoglycemic
symptoms. The bottom line is, I cannot definitely know whether I will live a longer life, but I am pretty sure that I am and will be living a “younger” life..
BR: Was it easy to get started? Or difficult? What was your main purpose to get started? Health problems like losing weight, or what?
YA: Considering all the difficulties of type O diet in a “wheat oriented” society, it was an easy decision for me, as I was determined to find a way of life without being in medication for an indefinite time. An old friend of mine (who was then studying medicine) used to say “medicines and poisons are the same thing of different dosage”. And you know the once you start relying on medication for hypertension and cholesterol, you are done, you have to take them as long as you live. Well, I didn’t want to live like that. That was my main drive, and also I would very much like to get my slender figure back.
BR: Your family, how did they react to your following this Blood type Program? Are they supportive, tolerant or negative?
YA: My wife, being a type O, though not apparently overweight, wanted to lose some weight. So she joined me that of course avoided potential problems. My father (type O) and my mother (A) are also doing their best to follow the food lists I have prepared for them and they are feeling better too.
BR: How many blood types are there in your family? Is it easy or time consuming to prepare foods, how do you manage?
YA: Well, I am the cook in the house (I recommend it to all males, it’s a great therapy after a long day’s work, women only complain probably because they don’t want us to take it over!) (Note BR: I never complain, as long as my dinner is BTD-compliant!) As I love cooking, doing it in compliance with ER4YT is another challenge for me and the reward is worth doing it. Cooking is now more fun because I am now doing it not only for good taste but also to make us healthier. As in our house we are 2 O’s (3, when my son joins us in his vacations) and one B, we go for grilled lamb and salad, fish and salad, or just vegetables for dinner. Well, we O’s envy the B having cheese as side dish and take our revenge by gulping down chunks of juicy red tomatos. When B eats cauliflower, we enjoy our black-eyed beans etc. Breakfast is a bit problematic as in Turkey we are used to having cheese. Well, we can find a variety of goat cheese and also sheep cheese, plus naturally born eggs. I used to bake rye bread until last year but now I can find 100% rye bread too.
BR: Is Eating Right 4 Your Type easy or difficult when you are at work, at a restaurant? On the road?
YA: We have an hour of lunch break at work. That is enough for me to find a place where I can give directions on what I will not like to have in my dish. I prefer to have some rice or lamb and lots of green salad. On the road, one can come across a lot of barbecue restaurants/places. But I always keep handy an extra dark (min 70% cocoa) bitter chocolate or a pack of walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts in case of emergency which I admit is very rare as I only feel hungry but do not crave any more. So the “emergency” is just not to skip a meal. (Note BR: the protein bars are great as well in emergencies)
BR: Looking at your diet: what was easy to integrate into your basic diet, what still gives you problems?
YA: Luckily, (or naturally perhaps) all the beneficials for type O used to be among my favorites. The problem is mainly with the avoids. For example avoiding wheat (and corn in many cases) can sometimes appear as an impossible task. They are found almost in every packaged food item, in home-cooking when visiting friends, in restaurant dishes when eating out. I have to carry my reading glasses everywhere around to try and read those tiny lists of ingredients. The other thing is that I can hardly do without yogurt. I have found out that I feel better with yogurt made from sheep or buffalo milk is giving less or no trouble, so we replaced yogurt of cow milk with those (could it be that sheep/buffalo yogurts are neutrals for O’s?) (Note BR: Yes, you are right! Sheep/buffalo yogurts and cheeses are Neutral for O’s)
BR: Do you get support from your medical health practitioner? Could you convince him/her of the positive impact of the BTD on your health?
YA: Of course I had a lot of controversy with my MD in the beginning. Now it has changed. Last time he checked me up and then asked if I could tell him more about ER4YT. Now and then he asks my free advice for some of his patients.
BR: What kind or medication did you take for overcoming your health problems? And how is your medication-intake after having started the BTD?
YA: As I said, I was taking medication for hypertension and cholesterol. I quitted taking them when I started type O diet. Also I had to take anti-acid pills for stomach burns. My MD recommended that I had to take a 300 mg aspirin tablet every morning. I have forgotten what an anti-acid pill looked like ever since I started the ER4YT and I am not taking aspirin anymore. I am regularly taking supplements Nitricycle, Fucus, Larch, DGL and Catechol.
BR: The country, city, village you live in: Is it a problem or not to find the biological/green foods/meats you need? Are there any problems in this field, and how do you cope with it?
YA: Turkey is currently exporting 97% of its certified organic products to EU countries. To our luck, we have a number of organic food stores in Istanbul, one chain bringing in certified organic fresh fruits and vegetables once every week. I manage to sustain a diet based on organic foods at home. As for meat, we do not yet have certified free range organic meat. I can easily find “walking hen eggs” and prefer to eat lamb rather than veal or beef, as the former is closer to free range organic meat. Also it is possible to find “naturally grown” (though not certified) vegetables and fruits as most of Turkey is still “virgin” as far as pesticide and fertilizer use is considered. We still have a lot of small family owned agriculture. They bring in their products and market them in open public bazaars.
BR: Are there any other experiences you had following this way-of-life, you want to share with us? Now you have the chance!
YA: I think I have covered a lot already. I am grateful to the day I heard of this diet. I am grateful to Peter and his team for making it possible for us to live a lot healthier.
BR: Yaman is lucky to be living in a great country like Turkey with such abundance of sun-grown and natural fruits and veggies. During my many holiday visits to this beautiful country I really have enjoyed the fruits and always fresh veggies. My favorite breakfast was always watermelon with goat cheese (Feta, or beyaz peynir!). And think of it, this was all before my ER-time! My kids loved the peaches, fresh apricots, figs! And do not forget the famous Turkish red wines (HB for my A-blood type!) I want to thank you Yaman, very much for this wonderful ‘sunny’ Turkish interview! Y
YA: Thank you Cocky.
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