Archives for: July 2006
I recently saw a TV rerun of The Addams Family, a favorite program from school days. I think Gomez and Morticia were wonderfully B. Back in the 60's they fenced (as did I), did yoga (70's for me), Morticia played the shamisen (I plucked other strings), their butler played harpsichord (as did I!), they served exotic teas (ditto) and kept unusual pets (Nope.). Most of all, they shared my exquisite appreciation of Gloom. I think of Morticia every time I hear myself saying "delightfully lugubrious", which is how I define San Francisco's unique weather at its absolute densest.
This year's July 4th fireworks were visible from below for the first time in at least a decade. Normally I watch 'em from my hilltop place, whence I can see them exploding in the clear air above the fog that obscures the view from the crowd below. July 4th falls squarely within Fog Season and can usually be relied upon to be downright cold. But this year, the whole week was warm. Sunday dusk, I sat writing by the fanned window, when that deep low horn sounded long and loud, from the west, over the whole city. I actually audibly said, "Yay! Here it comes!"
The fog. The mists. (Do I belong on a moor? I have to say, the Scots are notably higher in B than are the English or Irish.) "Our natural air-conditioning", 'tis said. I'm a fool for it.
Spoken language, like wine, has "mouthfeel", and I intend to here rattle on about it.
American English, my native tongue, feels elastic -- perhaps because I can stretch it every which way. And French, my second language, is mellifluous on the palate. German is lofty, and Italian is chewy.
My "Tertiaries" first:
German is serious and "meaningful"; it can go unctuous, like Beerenauslese, or gossamer, like Spätlese Trocken. There is a melancholy streak in German, providing the structure for bouquets ranging from gloomy to joyful, its consonantal breadth and multitudinous cases, declensions, and genders holding interest and keeping one alert and intrigued...or wearing one out!
Italian, on the other hand, is engaging of romantic energy, not dark and mysteriously passionate, which is more of a (castilian) Spanish tone, but a youthful and less serious "Dolce Vita" sort of attitude, with the glorious chewiness of perfect pasta. Italian is, indeed, a highly textured language; it whines and poses and acts out, rages, demands, and seduces.
Castilian Spanish plays for keeps. It slowly creeps over mountain ridges, like fingers of fog; whispering, but making ancient and irrevocable statements. Spanish vines are often very old, but they can produce exquisitely fine and quiet sherry, for instance, as well as Priorat from Priorat, from the deepest chthonic earth: Tortured, twisted wines, crucified (for you) on their stakes, and yet: smooth, even gentle, kind...hushed...dry.
I have minimal experience SPEAKING, as opposed to, say, reading, other (quaternary?) languages, but I find one to be like dark coffee and another like pilsner, when I trip them across the tongue.
It's English and French which are hardest for me to describe, perhaps because of my fluency. It's tempting to say "French is like Champagne", but it isn't, really. There's a certain frontal consonantalness, yes, but those R's keep pulling one back to an ultrasuede soaveté more akin to a Viognier. The overall impression of the spoken language is, I think, elegant à la Bourgogne...(but the country can be Funny, like Beaujolais: Jolly. Some of the pinks and Loire chenins deliver this, but usually there's something UltraFine even there). The exquisite nuancedness of French is actually best related to a different palate altogether, that for experiencing fine perfume, leaving materiality almost entirely....
As I come to know a given language better and better, I distinguish its many regional dialects. Thus I'm rendered incapable of nailing down only one overall "mouthfeel" for that language. That's the problem with French. A small country (the size of Texas), with "infinite variety", not to mention its numerous "offshore" accents!
Speaking of variety, American English can be jazzy and snappy like CocaCola; it can be happy and down-home like a cuppa chowder. I don't know if American English has -yet!- the depth, the sheer maturity to be compared to wine. The language feels "youthful" (and the country invented phony chipped-oak flavoring methods to mimic barrel-aged winemaking. Cute, huh?). American English is the Imperial, global language of our day. And it's marketed to be drunk young: Go figure.
While British English(es) can be redolent of resinous Port or antique single malt Scotch (when deliciously pronounced), or swingier, like a pubby sort of brew, or even downright cream-y, American English is like punch, or (orange pekoe) tea...
For all that, it has no pretension, as a language. Though immature regionally, its venerable origins give it complexity that may very well be unequalled, at least in the Western World and perhaps globally. When those roots and its world role are factored in, we come up with something almost plaintive, wistful, Celtic, beneath the apparent soda pop - something more like Rain and the rolling, surging immensity of Ocean.
One of the things I so appreciate about Dr. D'Adamo's books is the supplement guides. The number of nutritional supplements available to us American consumers is truly staggering and can be overwhelming at the shops; D'Adamo's advice for supplements appropriate to each blood type for a given purpose is not only welcome but phenomenally accurate.
Indeed, one of the most convincing factors affecting my initial trust in his work was his touting Magnesium so broadly for Type B. I quote here what I then read in Eat Right 4 Your Type, p. 178:
"Magnesium is the catalyst for the metabolic machinery in Type Bs. It's the match head -- what makes Type Bs metabolize carbohydrates more efficiently. Since you are so efficient in assimilating calcium, you risk creating an imbalance between your levels of calcium and magnesium. Should this occur, you find yourself more at risk for viruses (or otherwise lowered immunity), fatigue, depression, and, potentially, nervous disorders. In these instances, perhaps a trial of magnesium supplementation (300-500mg) should be considered."
I had, solitarily, "discovered" magnesium at least a dozen years before I'd heard of Dr. D'Adamo, and was already using it as my own, idiosyncratic, nutritional tonic. P. 178 of ER4YT almost singularly sold me on D'Adamo. But there was more.
On the following page he names Licorice first among phytochemicals appropriate for B. Again, many years previously, I'd discovered Licorice tea in a tea catalogue from which I'd thereafter ordered it by mail and enjoyed it as my (quirky) herbal beverage ever since...
Well, since discovering and adhering to the BTD, I've had occasion to discover other supplements -- and weed out options inappropriate for my type -- as well as to find my personal preferences repeatedly confirmed by Dr. D'Adamo as of great medicinal value to Type Bs. More examples of his prescribing, for B, my own established preferences:
- Epsom Salt Baths
- Evening Primrose Oil (fem. balance for all types)
- Ghee (Likewise, for all types)
ONE such confirmation might have been deemed a coincidence. But NINE?? (I've also since benefitted from supplements I only discovered FROM Dr. D'Adamo, including Larch and elderberry...)
And then I added his confirmations of my practice of SINGING and my choices of tennis, walking, t'ai chi, and dance for stress reduction and exercise, and I knew that my many years of selecting and self-prescribing components of my lifestyle and "program" had brought me to where I could consider his work an extraordinarily excellent fit, and, indeed, marvellously accurate and trustworthy.
I can say that over the past several years, I've seen this excellent fit between D'Adamo's contribution and my friends, family, acquaintances, and clients numerous times. In fact, a current client, and her husband, and her mother, are all downright amazed to learn from me just how D'Adamo's work jibes with what they know to be true about their own diets, diseases, constitutions, and practices. They have visited the website and, yes, ordered his book(s)!
It's this Confirmation of the established intuitions and practices of health-conscious adults in my orbit that is so convincing and satisfying. It's but one of the reasons I don't usually view the acceptance/adoption of the BTD as a "conversion". All too often, I hear, "I KNEW that!" and "Incredible! I already eat that way!"
For me, the Blood Type Diet is, in a sense, a misnomer: It's not really a Diet! "Weight-Watchers" is a diet, with points and values and counting and measuring. "Atkins" is a diet, with ketosis-strips and carb-counting. Macrobiotics is a diet, with percentages of whole grains on the plate and of salt in one's condiments. "Fit For Life", "The Zone", "Jenny Craig": These are diets. You get the idea.
A Meta-Diet, however, is one that helps one to select components within a spectrum of foods. Blood Type science has produced certain data I choose to use when deciding what to eat/order/buy, from "Avoid" to "Beneficial". If I were to so choose, I certainly could "do" Atkins or SouthBeach or Macrobiotics (etc.) WITHIN the larger context of the, in my case, B parameters.
Personally, I eat foods from both ends of the spectrum, choosing to buy foods from the Beneficial end and, if necessary, to eat so-called "Avoid" foods that are served me in certain settings, i.e., I'm a good guest, uninterested in boring my host with Diet-Talk irrelevant to the "theme" of our dealing and uninclined to inconvenience others with dietary demands.
At a restaurant, I simply don't, as a rule, order "Avoids": Does that make me a "dieter"? Hardly.
Usually, people who dine with me have no idea I'm following any dietary principles. It's only when I eat with the same person repeatedly that I may have to refuse constantly-offered chicken or tomatoes, for example: Only then is my "pattern" evident. I'm happy this way. I don't seem to be capable of becoming a tedious/one-track thinker or companion.
Recently I attended a dinner party where everything served was, it so happened, B-friendly: What a pleasure! But I knew two of my dinnermates to be Type A, yet in very good health. For them the filet mignon was clearly not BTD-compliant. But they don't use BTD principles, and they enjoyed it. I did not take it upon myself to bring this to their attention; I'm grateful that they were attending this function: Their presence was a delight! We all had a wonderful time. They happen to know I use D'Adamo's guidelines, and I'm sure I'm the one they'll ask, if they're ever inclined to investigate these. But I thoroughly enjoyed their company and the evening.
Yesterday I attended a gathering at which people's health-matters were mentioned in several separate areas of the setting. In one corner, a young man was commenting about the apparent weight loss of an older gent. "Yes, in fact I've lost 24 lbs: Eleven more to go!" I asked the latter how he'd lost the weight, and he said a friend had advised him to skew his diet away from "carbs" and toward protein and low-fat dairy. Of course, I asked if he knew his blood type.
Him: O negative.
Me (enthused): No WONDER you've lost that weight. It so happens that you're eating relatively right for your blood type - Great! And, as an O, you're especially needing to exercise, too -- How's that going?
Him: Actually, I know I need to exercise. It'll help me lose these last 10 or 11 lbs. BUT: Quite frankly, I don't seem to have ANY energy. I just can't bring myself to do much of anything...
Me: As much for your spirits as for your physical health, you O's need to get exercise. Would you LIKE me to make some energy suggestions applicable to you?
Him: Sure! Please do!
At his prompting, I went on to suggest he forego the dairy, cut out wheat and gluten, and enjoy plenty of greens and berries (these are "carbs", friends), while maximizing fish and lean red meat. I asked about his medications, and he mentioned Lovastatin. I told him about the CoQ10-depletion resulting from statin use, and he admitted having heard alot of good stuff about CoQ10; he'd been wondering about it: I told him to bring it up with his MD. Then I offered to help him grocery-shop and to give him a list of supplements and exercises to discuss with the MD. Am I "putting him on a diet"? It seems I'm just tweaking what he's already doing. (Q: Why? A: Because he's INTERESTED.)
In another corner of the room, allergies were being discussed. One man was suffering from laryngitis and general chest congestion. "It happens every year, just a fact of life". He proceeded to defend his Being Allergic, an aspect of his identity he seemed reluctant to lose, when I asked him his blood type.
Man: O positive, but that's just the way it is: C'est La Vie.
Me: Many O's suffer from allergies.
Lady: I'm O too! I also have allergies. So?
Me: So, it's possible to adjust one's diet so as to improve one's condition.
Man: Yeah, well. It's just the way it is. I've ALWAYS, all my life, had 'em.
And That Was That. See my blog: 1/27/06: "Art of the Pause", to see why I did not pursue this further with him. If this man had shown a glimmer of interest, I might have advised him to try going dairy- and wheat-free (not really a Diet) WITHIN WHATEVER HIS current programme happens to be. HIS, not mine. "Meta".
Aside: BTW: Here's an update from "Art of the Pause", mentioned above:
Remember Nancy, the young O Whole Foods employee who'd shown interest in the BTD, whom I'd advised to drop her cottage cheese-y wheat-rye-bready breakfast and substitue farmer cheese and 100% rye? Well, she hasn't taken me up on that. She still loves that breakfast, and still has her lifelong companion: Good Ol' Reliable "Sinus Trouble". And that's ok with me, because it's ok with her.
Both she and the allergic "Man", above, really need, and in fact deserve, to pursue what's important to THEM, and that's what matters...MORE THAN HEALTH!!
There are some who'd say, "But it's not 'loving' to 'go along with' people damaging their health". I disagree. They haven't come to me to consult me about their health. They've got other fish to fry, maybe (see my 5/20/06 blog: "'Balance': If Beethoven Had Practiced Feng Shui") they're prolific composers of symphonies, painters of frescoes, or the equivalent...
People are usually happy with their diets until and unless they become gravely or chronically ill or obese. Who am I to interfere with that Happiness? Being The Picture of Physical Health is the goal of but a minority. One of the aspects of Blood Type Medicine I greatly appreciate is its applicability to the unique lives and lifestyles of (utter) Individuals.
I'm not right and Nancy wrong. Nancy daily partakes of a breakfast that delights her. That delight is part of life too: Hers.