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BR: Introduce yourself!
CJ: My name is Cric Johnson. I am a 32 year old prospective naturopathic student, living in Alexandria, Virginia. Currently I am taking my prerequisite classes (biology, chem., etc.), and hope to attend Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (located in Phoenix, Az.) next fall.
BR: Can you give us a bit of insight into why you started the blood type diet?
CJ: My first exposure to blood type-informed dieting came upon visit to a local nutritionist. At the time I was suffering from a laundry list of pretty severe health problems, and was making the rounds with a variety of holistic medical practitioners. An osteopath recommended that I see a certain nutritionist, who turned out to have ideas about blood type nutrition, based on her own research. Her ideas were not dissimilar from Dr. D’adamo’s, but there were a few point of disagreement. She made some general recommendations, such as: more protein, alternative grains, more vegetables.
BR: How did you find out about the blood type diet? Was it through friends, colleagues, healthpractioner, or other?
CJ: A few months later my step-grandmother gave me a copy of Eat Right For Your Type. This was in spring of 1999. Although I was intrigued by the book, there were a number of discrepancies between Dr. D’Adamo’s and the nutritionist’s specific recommendations. Being in an unstable and confused state of mind, and not having made much progress on the basic type O diet so far, I played around with some of the different suggestions, but ended up shelving the book to avoid further confusion regarding my path to healing. I had suffered so much chemical damage from my time in the commercial painting industry, the diet alone (at least as I understood it then) wasn’t doing enough.
BR: How did you get started? Was it gradually, or did you opt for the cold-turkey-version?
CJ: It wasn’t until a full two years later, after a myriad of different treatments and adjustments (including time with Dr. Jesse Stoff, a Tucson physician renowned for his work in viro-immunology, who put all his patients on the Blood Type Diet) that I came back to Dr. D’Adamo’s work. At that time, I had been fooling around with a semi-vegetarian diet for several months, while undergoing heavy-duty mercury detox-- to disastrous results. I was down to 128 lbs (I’m 6’1"), and my gut was destroyed. It was like a miracle when I walked into a book store and picked up (quite randomly) ER4YT. I realized what I had been doing wrong. I started that day on the blood type principles, and have never looked back.
BR: How long did it take to notice change in your body (mentally and physically!)
What kind of changes did you experience?
CJ: Progress was slow of course, but, in a manner highly unusual for chronic disease, linear. Every month I could look back and see small improvements. Every person I knew, including doctors, told me there was no way I could gain weight eating veggies and protein. I gained twenty pounds of muscle in two months.
BR: Was it easy to get started? Or difficult? What was your main purpose to get started? Healthproblems like losing weight, or what?
CJ: More than just an eating program though, my discovery of blood type genetics was a spiritual revelation. It created an entirely new and surprising mythology in my life. Already proud of and fascinated by my Irish and Scandinavian ancestry, insight into my genetic origins was like being connected to an ancient tribe (of course, as a type O, non-secretor, MM, I really am old as dirt!). The way Dr. D’adamo delineates the anthropology of blood type evolution (taken to new heights in the opening pages of the more recent encyclopedia), is profound, and transcends science.
When "Live Right For Your Type" came out in January of 2001, I was able to further refine my diet based on secretor status. And my participation in the (now defunct) BTD on-line board, brought new insight as well (thank you, Heidi!).
BR: Looking at your diet: what was easy to integrate into your basic diet, what still gives you problems?
CJ: I will say, it has taken me quite a while to find how the BTD works for me. For several years I tried to adapt to it. In other words, I took an overly rigid approach. But now I see the elegance of Peter’s work, in its open-ness to adaptation. It seems that he tries to not be overly specific, wherever possible. For instance, I am an ectomorph (skinny body-type), which is unusual for type O’s. Therefore my emotional constitution tends a bit more to the commonly ectomorphic type A side, though bold and highly extroverted like most O’s, I also value privacy, calm, and quiet, and possess sensitivity and mental intensity. Also, as I lean toward a catabolic metabolism, and because of healing nervous and endocrine systems (I am chemically sensitive), I require a bit more fat than is generally prescribed to non-secretors-I eat a good amount of nuts, and a moderate amount of olive and walnut oils, and some coconut oil and butter as well. For the same reason I focus more on resistance training than cardio, and keep exercise moderate (compared to my mesomorphic type O brothers and sisters, with their broad frames and hearty musculature-- God bless ‘em!).
BR: Is Eating Right 4 Your Type easy or difficult when you are at work, at a restaurant? On the road?
CJ: In a typical day I will have eggs and/or some leftover fish for breakfast, steak with grilled veggies for lunch, and fish with veggies for dinner. I sometimes have a little fresh fruit before and/or in between meals, and I nibble on raw carrots, celery, ginger, etc during meals as well. I eat fatty fish (mackerel, rainbow trout, etc.) at least once a day, and nuts (esp. macadamias and walnuts) are omnipresent in my life, with and between meals. Almost everything I eat is organic, meat is grass-fed.
BR: The country, city, village you live in: Is it a problem or not to find the organic foods you need?
CJ: I live in a major metropolitan area, so obtaining the goods is no problem (paying for them, on the other hand, can be!).
BR: Are there any other experiences you had following this way-of-life, you want to share with us?
CJ: I am planning on pursuing a career in natural medicine because it has been instrumental in assisting my life’s process. I feel that it also holds promise to heal broader society. As psychologist Jeffery Maitland says, "the spiritual crisis at the heart of fibromyalgia [read: CFS/MCS/etc] is the same one at the heart of our modern world". As someone who has struggled with this illness I have learned its lessons, and am determined to bring them into the public sphere through naturopathic medicine. In this interview I have spoken mostly of the physiological, but of course the spiritual and emotional are at least, and usually more, important in altering the disease process. As is becoming increasingly clear, a pill can not cure chronic disease. The only way out is through the slow, un-glamorous process of lifestyle transformation. In this sense, the holistic approach offered by naturopathy is truly alternative, like a light in the fog of our overdriven world. I can testify that such a path is, as theologian Matthew Fox says of all authentic spiritual pursuit, "joyful and familiar".
BR: Cric, thank you so much for your deep, spiritual and honest interview! Bless the day that you picked up ER4YT in that bookstore! Your story is one to be recognized by many of us! What a good change in life to start the study naturopathy!! So there will be another compassionate ND in time! We just experienced our first Bloodtype Seminar in Southwest College in Tempe, hosted by our Dr. Peter D’Adamo himself! No better University to start your Naturopathic classes! Cric, enjoy your regained health and I wish you a ‘sunny’ study in Arizona!!
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