Archives for: December 2006
I will be presenting a series of Blogs treating of restaurant offerings suitable for B secretors, with key questions to ask oneself and one's waiter/chef at each ethnicity of eatery.
First: In all cases, decide in advance whether this is a "special treat"/once-in-a-blue-moon occasion, or a regular occurrence.
Second: Do you follow the Blood Type Diet at Tier One? or the more restricted Tier Two? or otherwise?
Having established these two personal criteria, you'll learn to evaluate a cuisine according to its two major staples: Its grain(s) and its fat(s). These will determine whether you may enjoy bread(s), noodles, and the like, and whether you may order sautéed/fried foods or must stick to grilled/roasted/broiled or steamed dishes.
Then, for each Cuisine: Beneficials, Neutrals, and Avoids will be broadly outlined, and, finally, under "Orders" will be listed some sample compliant dishes.
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Restaurant Ordering Guide for Blood Type B
Part 1: MEXICAN CUISINE
Mexican cuisine, wonderful as it is, boasts of several pitfalls for those with blood type B:
First: A staple grain is Corn, found in corn tortillas, corn chips (nachos) and cornmeal (tamales), as well as in corn oil, which brings us to ...
Second: Along with corn oil, Lard is a staple oil in most Mexican restaurants and is equally off-limits for most compliance levels for B. You may be lucky enough to find a Mexican restaurant that features lard-free cuisine. Do ask what is used instead: It might be another off-limits oil, such as safflower or peanut.
Canola is acceptable in extenuating circumstances, being an "avoid" at Tier Two, and to be used "infrequently" otherwise.
Beyond these "Avoid" staples, many more distinctives of Mexican cuisine are off-limits to the compliant B. However, forearmed with the following guidelines, one can find something delicious and nourishing to eat at a good Mexican restaurant.
Protein: Salmon, Halibut, Cod, Mahi Mahi -- other fishes
Veg: Peppers (bell, jalapeno, et al)
Fruit: Watermelon, Banana
Protein: Beef, Fishes, Pork (Tier One only)
Dairy: Eggs, cheeses, sour cream
Grain: Rice, white flour tortillas
Veg: Jicama, onion, lettuce...
Fruit: Lime, orange...
Dessert: Flan custard...
Beverage: Wine/Sangria, Beer, Coffee, Liquor (Tier One only)
Protein: Chicken, Pork (Tier Two), Shellfish
Grain: Corn, cornmeal, corn tortillas, nacho chips, tacos, tamales
Oil: Lard, corn oil, other oils (ask!)
Beans/Legumes: Black beans, pinto beans
Nuts/Seeds: Pumpkin ("pepitas")
Veg: Tomato, olives
Condiments: Tomato salsa, tomato sauces, guacamole
Beverage: Margarita (Tier Two)
Scallop Ceviche (no tomato)
Cheese Omelet with peppers and onions (no tomatoes, no salsa)(ask what oil is used)
Cheese Enchilada (on flour tortilla)(no tomato sauce or guacamole)(ask if oil is used...)
Grilled Steak Quesadilla on flour tortilla
Vegetable Quesadilla on flour tortilla
Grilled Steak or (benef. if possible Fish Fajitas (no beans, tomato, or guacamole) with peppers and onions GRILLED, not sautéed, and with rice that has no tomatoes in it: Ask!
Chile Rellenos (no sauce)
Grilled (not sautéed) Fish or Steak with (tomato-free) rice and/or salad, and STEAMED vegetables
Beer or Wine
Margarita (Tier One only)
Note: I will treat Tomatillos as a Neutral until I'm advised that they carry the same/similar lectins as Tomatoes. If you find out more, contact me, and I will edit the column to reflect that.
Another note: There's a Mexican restaurant here in San Francisco serving salads with goat cheese (!) and jicama, over which one may enjoy grilled steak or fish. Many restaurants aim to please. Keep your ears/eyes open for the gems.
More cuisines to follow, B's: Stay tuned!
Over the summer, I caught episodes of a horrible network TV "reality" cooking show called "Hell's Kitchen". The contestants weren't truly professionals, the contests were usually ridiculous, the host violent and the prize grandiose and inappropriate. Gross, freaky and cruel stunts in the name of cuisine? Pass the remote!
The other night I tuned in to BRAVO's "Top Chef". Talented, creative cooks of some proficiency compete for the Grand Prize of a professionally-outfitted kitchen, $100,000, and other big benefits, as well as for sub-prizes along the way, including a very-limited-edition knife and the placement of one's dish on the menu of a big national chain. As a former chef, I found myself wondering what I'd do, for each contest.
One challenge was a team effort toward presenting specific ethnic cuisines (Team Vietnam vs. Team Korea) at a big trade event in LA. Others were individual: Inventing and executing 3 quarts of an original ice cream flavor for mobs of children at the seashore; creating and serving a comfort food lunch at a stationhouse full of hungry firemen; creating a sushi dish to be judged by one of LA's top Japanese sushi masters --- all under tight time constraints and on budget. Very inspired ideas, I thought.
I don't yet know who won the Grand Prize. But a 44 year old caterer named Betty won two of the subprizes (the knife and the menu spot), and an executive chef named Cliff won two rounds as well. Personality-wise, Betty reminded me somewhat of myself: Personably interacting with diners and competitors as well as, good-humoredly, judges.
The challenges a chef faces, I was reminded, are complex and rigorous, demanding a very well integrated, supple p-e-r-s-o-n-a-l-i-t-y. Chefs with massive egos abound and are legendary, but they fail, in the clutch, without staffs willing to cover - often thanklessly - for the wide gaps in their inflated psyches. Cooking may itself be an art, but chef'ing is much moreso: The curtain goes up, hungry and demanding customers order and wait, staff rallies (or not), and the show must go on. During every shift, things "go wrong": Accidents happen, equipment breaks down, a baker doesn't show up, a waiter quits, the soup boils over, pasta sticks, plates get cold, tempers flare, and/or the weak crack. All the while, the front of the house must remain serene, receiving no overflow of kitchen mayhem.
"Top Chef"s contestant, Betty, reprimands a whining competitor who is not rising to the challenge of his brief time remaining, "OK! Forget the broken deep-fryer!" Move on! Fix your problem!": Good advice she was forced to implement herself when her griddle failed as she was preparing grilled cheese sandwiches; she quickly hauled out several frying pans and lit the stove (and won the round!).
I was reminded of the circumstances of my own promotion to full Dinner Chef. I was working under a volatile chef named Arthur when, on a Saturday night, a vegetable special ran out very early due to Arthur's miscalculation/misapportionment. He had no backup, and was ranting and panicking while plates were backing up and customers waiting. I'd quietly told the manager I could be ready to present a new vegetable in 5 to 8 minutes. Arthur didn't like our whispering and hurled a cleaver past me into a wall. The manager glared at me: "Can you do it? Do it". There was no time to emote about the heavy cleaver that had just audibly whizzed by my head. Asking a dishwasher to fill a prep sink with cold water, I ran out to our walk-in, lugged in a couple of flats of zucchini and fired up the sauté pans, dumping surplus chopped onion and celery in with the butter while my trusty dishwasher friend wiped down those zucchies for me. I sliced, lightly sautéed, herbed, seasoned, and co-presented the new vegetable with fresh rounds of main course special, and they flew out the swinging door -- No applause; just unsuspecting and contented customers, and just another night in the kitchen.
This type of scenario (sans knife-throwing) is acutally typical. Ingenuity, teamwork and technical know-how must be constantly and often unexpectedly summoned toward fixing, repairing, covering, reconnoitering, compensating, assisting, and - yes - pleasing - all with a smile (and, in my case, always a song in my head). The setting, varying from restaurant to restaurant, can be one of extremely high pressure and hazard. It takes a very strong individual and streamlined team-dynamics (and excellent hiring choices!) to pull it off night after night after night.
It was, indeed, to character flaws that some of "Top Chef"s disqualified contestants succumbed. One blew it during the Shopping phase, compromising his entire team's performance by effectively stealing a flat of lichee nuts from the market. Another sent out plates full of oversalted dishes, because she didn't want to send out NOTHING, and thus insulted the diners. Neither of these two was thinking clearly under time constraints. When their judgment snapped, their underlying ignorance of crucial aspects of the job was revealed, along with the lack of a solid professionalism undergirding whatever technical wizardry or artistry they might exhibit. (Pure and simple creativity are fine in one's own home setting: Honey and Junior won't walk out and give you bad press if the potatoes are too dry, nor will the place close down if the service is consistently slow.)
Betty, like me, understood and deftly navigated the energetics and dynamics of chef'ing, from concept through shopping, prepping, and executing, to presentation, flowing like a river over the rocks.
As for me, I was told by the manager, at the end of the Night of the Flying Cleaver, "I'm authorized to give you your own kitchen. Start tomorrow?"
In the orbit of Blood Type Science teachings, we are well acquainted with the notion of the host organism's individual endowment ("terrain") as complex mediator of processes of health and disease, AND as a key factor in therapeutic selection. In the field of Aromamedicine, an empiric in vitro tool for both diagnosis and treatment selection in cases of infectious illness is the aromatogram (pronounced aro-MAT-o-gram). Impressive as it is, it is often incomplete without taking into account the patient's olfactory preference (along with other host variables), a factor not yet understood, yet uncannily accurate.
Developed in France, birthplace of Aromamedicine itself, by M. Girault (1969) et al (1972), the aromatogram involves the collection of specimen from the infected patient, the laboratory culturing of infectious agent, and the impregnation of multiple agar samples with this culture; each petri dish's center contains a disk of filter paper saturated with a different essential oil, each chosen for likely effectiveness versus the likely pathogen (note that it is not even necessary that the pathogen be definitively identified). Each disk is rated for its effectiveness in "repelling" proliferation of the cultured agent, measured by diameter of surrounding uninvaded substrate. Then, a combination/program of those essential oils most clinically antipathogenic is prescribed as treatment in that case.
"Terrain" is shown to be significant in at least two known ways:
(1) Olfactorily: A patient for whom two essential oils, for example, have shown equal anti-infectious effectiveness in vitro may greatly prefer the fragrance of one of these two remedies - usually the one that proves, in vivo, to be of markedly greater therapeutic value.
(2) Immunologically: An essential oil relatively ineffective against a given pathogen may otherwise positively affect the host terrain, enabling his own resources to prevent the proliferation/spread of that pathogen.
Most English speakers associate "Aromatherapy" with massage, bath oils and room fragrancing, as these constitute the major forms of essential oil use in the so-called "English School" popular also in the US, Australia, and Germany. This school is sometimes called "Holistic Aromatherapy" and commonly uses patient/consumer olfactory-preference as a key, if not essential, treatment selection factor.
Aromamedicine, on the other hand, is practiced by a large minority (about 20%?) of medical doctors in France, where the laboratory aromatogram is standard procedure. Essential oils are there blended and prescribed for administration via inhalation, oral ingestion, vaginal pessary or douche, rectal suppository or enema, and/or topical application. The oils are, in France as in the US, also readily available to the general public in health shops, increasingly in organic therapeutic grade/quality.
Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD, is a Swiss biochemist greatly responsible for popularizing French Aromamedicine in the US, by means of his books (see below), lectures and articles, as well as his organic line of essential oils, "Original Swiss Aromatics, and his educational program at the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy, in San Rafael, California. He is energetically pioneering an inclusive art and science of Aromamedicine; his consumer-empowering ideology is decidedly anti-"Licensed-Practitioner-Only", flying in the face of the UK's massage/aromatherapist "Don't-try-this-yourself-at-home" warning-laden approach, while endeavoring to upgrade the scienticfic legitimacy of Aromamedicine through increased controlled clinical experimentation and validation of long-known holistic/anecdotal findings.
Dr. Schnaubelt is joined by Robert Tisserand, Marcel Lavabre, and Len and Shirley Price of the English School, Peter Damian of Germany, and Drs. Daniel Pénoël and Pierre Franchomme et al of the French School in publishing about the Aromatogram for lay consumption.
The role (limbic and other) of host olfaction in human health is still largely a medical mystery, holding promise of providing an important key to our understanding of bio-individuality. This, coupled with other "terrain"-mediated variables in the interaction of infectious agents and essential oils presents clinical Aromamedicine as a particularly exciting field of enquiry in genomic naturopathy and all individuality-geared medicine.
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Refs. and Further Reading:
Belaiche, Paul, & Girault, M., Traité de Phytothérapie et d'Aromathérapie, Paris, Maloine SA, 1979
Damian, Peter and Kate, Aromatherapy: Scent and Psyche, Rochester, Vermont, Healing Arts Press, 1995
Durante, Alain and Malherbe, Sylvie, "The Aromatogram: A Vital Key to Optimizing Treatment in the French Practice of Aromatherapy", Aromatic Thymes, Vol 7.3, Fall/Winter, 2000
Franchomme, Pierre, and Pénoël, Daniel, L'Aromathérapie Exactement, Limoges, 1990
Lavabre, Marcel, Aromatherapy Workbook, Rochester, Vermont, Healing Arts Press, 1990
Price, Shirley, and Price, Len, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, 2nd edition, Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone, 1999
Schnaubelt, Kurt, PhD, Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy, Rochester, Vermont, Healing Arts Press, 1998
Schnaubelt, Kurt, Medical Aromatherapy: Healing with Essential Oils, Berkeley, Ca., Frog Ltd., 1999