Archives for: November 2010
The other night at Whole Foods Market: This B was RAVENOUS. It was 8:30 and I hadn't eaten all day. I raced (Really. Imagine about 15 mph) my cart to the Prepared Foods section for a hot meal:
(1) All 8 soups contained, as major ingredients, either chicken, tomatoes, lentils, chick peas, or corn: PASS
(2) The Indian Food bar: All dishes contained either chicken, tomatoes, lentils, chick peas, or tofu: PASS
(3) The Chinese Food bar: All dishes contained either chicken, tofu, or tempeh, with plenty of soy sauce and sesame products: PASS
(4)(a) The full-service counter offered: Brisket or Lamb shanks in a tomato-based sauce; lasagna, enchilada, etc, and included 6 tomato-sauced pizzas: PASS
(4)(b) Cold foods: Chicken 6 or 7 different ways: PASS. Meat Loaf with Tomato Sauce: PASS. Cold roasted turkey breast: HIT.
(I'm getting pretty speedy at this, BTW. Then I bought an oven-fresh warm foccacia from the bakery, a small jar of Italian roasted red peppers, and a slab of Humboldt Fog (local goat cheese). Rushed home and made a sandwich, with red onion and romaine on it. Great.
But my frustration at the Hot Food Counter did not go unnoticed. Here's how the Pro's do it:
At the counter, I'd muttered, "Why does EVERYTHING have chicken or tomatoes?? AARRRGGHH!"
A man standing nearby said, "Tell me: Is there something wrong with chicken and tomatoes?"
Me: Well, for me. I'm avoiding them, because I eat according to my blood type. B's do best to avoid these. [Pause]
Him: REALLY! I've never heard of this! Fascinating!
Me: Do you know your blood type?
Me: Well, have you ever wondered why some people do well on, say, a vegan/macrobiotic diet of beans and rice and veggies and low key exercise, while others thrive on a lot of meat, more fat, maybe even Atkins, and a heavier workout? And they BOTH seem to be onto something?
Him: Well, I'm doing Atkins, actually, and it's fantastic for ME, but not everyone agrees.
Me: Great. Congratulations. [Pause]
Him: But yeah: Some people say Atkins is all wrong for them: Why IS that?
Me: Yadda, yadda yadda Type A vs. Type O blah blah Individuality. [Pause]
Him: This is really SOMETHING! Why have I never HEARD of this before?
Me: Go see David in "Whole Body". He buys the books here. Tell him to show you ER4YT by Peter D'Adamo.
Him: But I don't know my blood type.
Me: Tell Dave to show you the self blood-typing kit: It's 12 dollars and is a 5-minute test you do at home. Instant results: Tonight.
Him: WOW - I'm REALLY glad I ran into you! This is something I need: I have some health problems that I think are beyond the scope of Atkins.
Me: Good Luck!
A couple of nights later at Whole Foods Market:
(Conversation with WFM employee -- "Team Member")
Me: Hey Nance! How was the wine-pick I gave you last week?
N: Great! It went over really well – even though I prefer RED wine.
Me: Do you have Type A blood by any chance?
N: No. O positive. Why?
Me: Blah blah French Paradox, Type A beneficial, yadda yadda. [Pause]
N: REALLY?? What does it mean, then that I'm O?
Me: If you're in pretty good health, you might just think in terms of animal protein: Meats, poultry, fish, seafood, and curb your intake of dairy and wheat products.
N: Hmmm. Not bad. I don't eat cheese anyway...NO! (whines): Ohhh my cottage cheese! I make this fabulous breakfast with blah blah...
Me: Sounds great, Nance, if you make 2 substitutions: Ready? Farmer's cheese –
N: What's that?
Me: blah blah, and your rye bread should be 100% rye–
N: We HAVE it in the store. I've seen it.
Me: Or you can try manna bread.
N: Frozen? Several flavors?
Me: Right. [Pause]
N: Will I look and feel great if I make all those changes?
Me: Couple it with good, vigorous exercise, and you should notice changes for the better. Sometimes people say, "Y'know, I never realized I had (say) chronic postnasal drip before, but since I've been following the BTD, I realize I'm finally free of it". Things they maybe didn't even–
N: Like my sinuses?
Me: O's are, indeed, prone to allergies–
Me: OK, well, start with dropping blah blah: Tweak that breakfast dish, yadda yadda.
N: Y'know, we HAVE this book in the store: I can go look it up right now!
Me: You're on your own, kid.
Last Weekend at a Favorite Restaurant:
We're being seated, the couple next to us is paying their check.
Me (to the other couple): What'd you have? Any great specials?
Woman: Actually, I had the grilled salmon burger and HE had the blah blah pasta. Everything was great. But I'll tell you, we've seen the special "Beef Medallions" go by a couple of times, and it looks like "the winner".
Me: Great tip. Thanks.
Minutes later: We've ordered. My dinnermate and the woman's dinnermate are using the restroom.
Me: Thanks for the tip: I ordered the Beef.
Woman: The Fried Chicken also looked excellent.
Me: Oh, it's WONDERFUL! I used to order it here all the time, when I used to eat chicken. [Pause]
Woman: (after a LONG pause) Excuse me: You don't eat CHICKEN, but you ordered the BEEF? Are you - I don't know - worried about Avian Flu or something?
Me: Oh, no. I try to eat according to my blood type. I have type B, so I stay away from chicken. Beef is fine. [Pause]
Woman: (Long pause again): WOW! Y'know, I've never heard of this! Is it OK if I ask you: I think I'm A. What does THAT mean?
Me: Well, if you are really A, you probably blah blah semi-vegan yadda yadda low impact types of exercise. [Pause]
Woman (nodding): That is SO ME. (To her returning dinnermate): Listen to this woman. Have you ever heard of BTD and lifestyle?
Woman (leaving): Hey, thanks for that book title. I'm definitely calling my doctor this week for my blood type. Bye!
My returning friend (to me): At it again? You crack me up.
Me: Hey, it worked for YOU!
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Interesting notes from the above:
1. The man at the Prepared Foods counter is ALREADY dealing with his diet and has health concerns he'd like to address pronto.
2. Nancy, a vital young O, ALREADY avoids cheese, though she really likes animal protein: Meats, fish (she only really pouted when I said, "Pretty much anything but HAM/PORK products"). Her sinus problems might clear up when she drops the Avoids.
3. The woman in the restaurant thinks she's A and ALREADY avoids red meat, she'd told me, and likes taking walks and doing yoga.
See? Many people are halfway here. Whether they become "more compliant" or not, they sure do like being educated if THEY choose to break my characteristic "minding-my-own-business, finding-something-else-to-look-at/focus-on, la dee dah" PAUSES. I absolutely NEVER push anyone. I let others do ALL, not some, of the asking.
Note how I dismiss the bulk of the spiel, above, with "yadda yadda" and "blah blah"; we all know the Right Content. That's NOT what greases the rails, my friends. Most people appreciate being permitted to absorb what they've already heard AND to be left alone until they're ready to pursue further information, if ever. Ergo: The Pause.
Imagine this on you inner screen: "Wanna Know More? Click here." Absolutely REFUSE to push your own buttons: Let others decide, at brief and regular intervals, whether to "click on" your further spiel by asking a question, or end the discussion. And thus:
Become an Adept at The Art of the Pause.
Re: BTD. Re: Politics. Re: Religion. Re: Ideological/Philosophic hobby-horses. Re: Everything. People will appreciate rather than dread hearing you start talking.
Above all, be such a shining example of "The Disinterested Altruist" that people will crave your input, and of "The Balanced View" that they'll want what you have. This begins with YOUR DECIDING what you're really after: The Health and Well-Being of Others, If They Want It (or) Debtors.
If "Disinterest" and "Balance" aren't your style, try clamming up. It works, too.
Some people report problems with many red wines: Headaches and the like. Often this is a matter of tannins, in which case it's a good idea to experiment with the low-tannin, more quaffable reds. Hint: If Beaujolais Nouveau (harvested a mere 3-8 WEEKS before release) doesn't upset you, your problem could very well be a matter of tannins.
But, hey, maybe you do well with ANY red wine, but you're looking for something you can drink shortly after it's released, not having a cellar or collection, or not being a wine connoisseur...What you'd want, therefore, is a red wine that is low in tannins, which means it's easy to drink young. Red wines that are heavy on the tannins take years to "grow into" them; tannins are what provide "structure" to these cellarable and complex elixirs.
But if the simpler quaffs are the ones you want (and these are, in fact, more food-friendly than the Big Boys), look at the other Beaujolais, especially since "Nouveau" or "Primeur" is out of date within just a few months of release!
(1) The top: Cru Beaujolais, meaning the 10 villages accorded this status. Crus are the longest-lived, generally, of the Beau's, some more than others. A great Morgon or Moulin-à-Vent is sometimes compared with Burgundy, being the most highly structured (tannins!) of the Crus; therefore these can lie down for 3-8 years. Although: I had a fantastic Moulin-à-Vent a few months ago, a 2003 (a FABULOUS year for Beaujolais) that would have been just right for the tannin-avoider. Perfect, in fact. Even elegant, which many wine snobs would never say about a Beaujolais (Fine, all the more for me). The other 8 Crus are nice, too, at 1-3 years.
(2) The Beaujolais-Villages: One step down from Cru, and one up from straight Beauj. In a good year, these can be every bit as good as Cru.
(3) Beaujolais: This is what the People drink, and it's good enough for me, if it's good enough. But definitely drink it within 1 to 1-1/2 years of bottling.
Now take a look at some of your Cabernet Francs: I've enjoyed Saumur-Champigny, Chinon and Bourgueuil, all from the Loire region of France. These are, also, drinkable young. If you're inclined to try a Cab. Franc from another region, go ahead!
Crozes-Hermitage, some New World Merlot (New World=Southern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere)(this category includes thousands and thousands of wines), and some Bordeaux that are skewed toward Merlot/Cabernet Franc (rather than Cabernet Sauvignon, which is more tannin-heavy)(ask the knowledgeable seller, if the proportions are not listed on the back label, which labelling is becoming more prevalent as consumers become more savvy), St-Josèph, Vacqueyras, and Côtes du Rhône: All available young (under 3 years old).
From Spain, the Garnacha is generally easy and fruity, and often is harvested from old vines; and some Tempranillo is easy-drinking as well. Try the Garnacha, and if you prefer something somewhat more refined, look for it blended with Tempranillo (should be stated on the label, front or back), and it should be pretty easy on you, tannin-wise, as well as money-wise.
From Italy, try Bardolino and Valpolicella, drinkable ONLY young, really. There's always Chianti, as well as Nebbiolo d'Albi, and Barbera d'Alba (some).
Finally, don't ignore the Pinks! These are meant to be drunk as close to harvest-time as possible, talk about tannin-freeness. Don't laugh at the thought, as if Pinks are for...teenagers or "girls". There are exciting pinks being made today...some have a transparent red-pinkness to them, and I highly suggest you experiment with these if tannin is your problem. My all-time favorite in this category has long been Domaine Tempier (Bandol), but I'm royally miffed that they keep raising the price, to the point where a beloved quaff is now a "special treat" (Sorry, but I find $24 for a bottle of Pink a bit steep! But at least it shows you the "seriousness" of the category). I love an organic pink coming out of Argentina's famous Malbec crop: It's under the Familia Zuccardi label and is available in the US at Whole Foods Market for something like $8. (When I first tried it, it was on sale for $6: Talk about low-risk, and I high-tailed it back there and bought more, after having tasted it). This wine wordlessly answers the question "How can a wine be really, really fruity with LOW residual sugar?", a common one among the uninitiated.
Now: Don't be afraid of white wine. ALL of it is tannin-free. And there are some superb combinations with food, with which you'd never usually consider white the right accompaniment. If there is demand, I'll share white wine tips with you soon. Otherwise, I'll keep them a secret.
There's currently a thread on the Forum entitled, "Have You Converted Anyone Yet?" I'm somewhat bothered by the very notion, and even moreso as I read some of the posts. And I realize it's because I don't see the switch to using Bloodtype science, to one's health-benefit, as a "conversion". It was not such for me.
If there ever was a dietary conversion for me, it was the one that removed me from an unprincipled, "whatever", upscale urban American diet over 20 years ago (via macrobiotics). After a couple of years outside the mainstream, I never really returned to it, as I was now permanently aware of the gulf between nutritional unconsciousness and optimal health. As for my adoption of bloodtype-related dietary principles, it wasn't a "conversion", but, rather, a refinement of thinking that has created some new parameters and, definitely, broadened my understanding of Individualized Health practice.
"Why quibble about semantics?" you ask. Because when I share of my knowledge and experience of bloodtype science, it's not with "conversion" in mind. And usually I don't congratulate myself when someone with whom I've shared the knowledge begins to actually practice according to D'Adamo's guidelines: I have, frankly, no interest in creating a community of souls who "strictly follow" the Blood Type Diet! My long experience in health fields has afforded me the longitudinal perspective whence individuals' journeys are respected, and timing is, indeed, Everything.
I'm particularly grateful to Peter for his Tier One/Tier Two brainstorm, because people tend to seek out a new way of eating from two broad angles:
1. Those who are gravely ill and are ready to follow a diet/lifestyle to-the-letter as if a prescription medication, and who call themselves "compliant" or "non-compliant" according to the degree to which they conform to an Absolute Decree – as well as those not at all ill but whose personalities manifest somewhat of a compulsiveness, whereby they are unable to take on a new item/phenomenon/phase/program with anything other than utter punctiliousness. All of the above are candidates for "Tier Two", and understandably so.
2. Those who are relatively healthy and/or whose previous experiences have been broad enough to contribute to an expansive, progressive approach to health. These are those who are delighted to receive the New Medicine, and to adopt a way of life that, practically, makes good use of it, and takes into account perhaps several other sources of solid input culled from a lifetime of health awareness. These are your "Tier One" adherents, of whom I count myself one (This tier would also be appropriate for those who've attained health-goals on Tier Two and are ready for a "lifetime maintenance" plan.)
When I share various bloodtype teachings with others – clients, friends, family – I am careful to fully respect the integrity of the whole personhood behind the otherness of their lifestyles. Numerous and profound are the determinants driving dietary choices, consumer choices, and eating behaviors: I DON'T MESS WITH 'EM.
I do share bloodtype science with, for instance, clients, in three ways:
1. As one factor in the postnatal recovery and optimizing of breast milk production.
2. As a guideline for the type of exercise/fitness program that will facilitate good, individualized "re-entry" into a public identity from the postpartum, as well as sound psychological adjustment to parenthood
3. As an intriguing means of understanding:
(a) health issues that have arisen in their own or their families' history
(b) the anthropologic connections implied by blood type.
Most often, I find that clients are particularly interested in SOME aspect from among the above. And I'm happy to introduce them to the literature that can guide them more deeply into their own fascination. But, if the client doesn't show interest, I'm not at all inclined to press it upon him/her (Bear in mind that my very rich and varied background provides NUMEROUS angles and bits of information for my clients, beyond and in addition to Bloodtype Medicine.
--Sometimes a client has had a miscarriage in her past; we examine this in light of Blood Type science, and this revelation can be sufficient to launch her into an intense study of Dr. D'Adamo's work.
-- Sometimes a client's home and/or library displays keen interests in particular cultures or geographical regions; when I explain the blood type associations, the client is usually fascinated to learn of a possible biological link and often demonstrates a vigorous interest in the dietary/fitness guidelines as well, though not always or, at least, immediately.
I don't get "bogged down", however, with BTD-as-Answer-to-Everything, because, as with my clients, so with everyone else: It may be neither the appropriate time NOR THE RIGHT APPROACH, when all circumstances are taken into account, circumstances I simply haven't the utter hubris to assume I know or understand or even have any right to examine.
Having said all of the above, the reality is, I am experiencing constant feedback from friends, family, and clients, to the effect that they now use/follow the BTD, having learned of it first from me! I'm immensely gratified, because I'd spoken this truth at only its opportune moment, and they were grateful for the "hands off" respect I'd shown them in my enthusiastic sharing of my own personal knowledge and experience. I've "converted" no one, really. Yet the percentage of those with whom I share of the science who end up pursuing it in some fashion is high.
Finally, friends: If the messenger is simply (and knowledgeably) enthusiastic, the message runneth over. If, on the other hand, the messenger's ego is invested in the nature of audience-reception, the message is resisted. No one can teach a messenger FAKE nonchalance: You're either manipulating or sharing, and each has its characteristic scent. So: Cultivate a genuine permissiveness, a liberal acceptance of sheer Otherness, and thus evidence your true understanding of Dr. D'Adamo's work's very raison-d'être: Individuality.
This blog originally posted on 4 April 2006, was somehow deleted from my archives, and posted again on 10 May, 2006. Again it is missing from my archives. So let's try again!
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I read Mike Staffieri's recent blog about his company picnic, where he, as an O, found so little he could eat. He shares with us his fantasy of a BTD-showcasing, catered menu for next year's picnic, and I enjoyed the imaginary repast. In the real world, however, one must expect to be BTD-limited at these types of functions. When it comes to using such occasions as mass experiments, I wouldn't.
Just as Mike felt limited, people tend not to appreciate being forced to eat this or that way, in a circumscribed setting: Mike doesn't like there being only wheat (and not spelt) buns for his burger; well, in his fantasy, if you want a bun, it's spelt or nothing! For me, it's too in-your-face an approach. I don't think "ticking people off" is the way to endear myself, or my ideas, to them. I prefer the "we're-all-in-the-same-boat" approach. To wit: Twenty years back, in macrobiotic days, I used to fly coast to coast. I'd pack lunch and open it on my tray while everyone else was dealing with whatever was served. My meal would inevitably pique neighbors' interest, and I'd practically have to fight off the whole section's demand for a full lecture!
In non-macro days, I've packed my own meal(s) for air travel, and, no matter what it is/was, my less foresightful co-passengers would clamor for a peek, an explanation, even a taste! Once, from Fort Lauderdale to LaGuardia, a guy two rows back stood up and exclaimed, "Twenty-five bucks for whatever SHE's eating!" (I had a second sandwich and sold it to him!) We were all in the same boat/plane. I'd found the solution to our shared dilemma, and the others were both jealous and educated.
Why not just do what you need to do in life, to get by as you choose? Interested parties can be counted on to enquire. If you want the company identity of "Weird Food Guy" or "The One Who Put Us Through That Ridiculous Picnic", fine. It's one thing to be the oddball (your choice, no victims); it's another entirely to enclose others in a space and deprive them of their expected chow -- Whoa!
From my restaurant days, I learned this: People are just-so about their food. They have expectations. If you want happy customers (office-mates), you'd better offer 'em what they EXPECT. If the crowd loves dogs 'n burgers with their three-legged-race, don't surprise 'em with "Vegan this year" or even an amazing (catered) variety that changes the whole theme/tenor of the picnic to something less down-home and more precious/rarefied. Even a diverse (great for all blood types) salad bar-type presentation could vex those expecting their annual BBQ ribs! If you're okay with others' less-than-thrilled reactions, fine; if one of those disappointed folks happens to be your supervisor, don't say I didn't warn you!
Meanwhile, thanks for sharing your picnic fantasy with those of us who'd appreciate its realization!
I wasn't really thrilled to be B, or any type I might have been, as long as I was "doing-things-with" most of the right ingredients, until the Epiphany, with which I really have to credit Dr. Robert Atkins, the breakthrough-messenger in this regard: "It's okay to eat outside the Low-Fat box." For me that box, of whose tyranny I'd been quite unconscious before, was labelled "Full Fat Dairy Is Forbidden".
Frankly, I'd preferred whole milk to reduced-fat all my life, but only permitted myself to guiltfully buy the occasional quart, and I indulged my taste for it chiefly in two places: Half-and-half in my coffee, and -- rarely -- an ice cream treat, again: Knowing it's "not good for" me.
After scanning Bob's book last summer, I made different choices at the dairy department that very evening: I bought heavy cream and full-fat yogurt and sour cream. And, indeed, the ensuing weight loss was -- dramatic! (In the past, whenever I've wanted to lose weight, I've used a terrific weight loss "diet". It includes lots of dairy, but all skim or almost-skim. Not really satisfying.)
But here's what this B has discovered: I LOVE preparing cream sauces, creamy dressings and desserts. I LOVE paneer amidst my curries, and sour cream on my manna toast, with fruit. The guilt is gone: I openly and unabashedly look forward to feta cheese dressing on my beets, and I've invented a bedtime cordial that is very calming and satisfying: A shotglass of cream (occasionally diluted with cold spicy (leftover) herb tea).
In sum, I decided to indulge myself in my inherited right to really ENJOY dairy, not just "permit it, low-fat". And once I began doing so, I confirmed that the BTD is not so much about dodging lectins and "avoids": It's about, indeed, coming fully into one's genetic individuality and brazenly enjoying whatever parts of one's "beneficials"-spectrum seem to fit with THAT. My individuality -- not the Blood Type Diet -- is primary. A North American Pharmacal brochure puts it this way: "Dr. D'Adamo's research and the Blood Type Diet can help you...feel 'right' in your body, your mind and your world."
As a B, it dawned on me that the enjoyment of a way of eating that featured dairy CENTRALLY was not only "to be tolerated" but, in fact, The Answer. I'd been thinking, like most Westerners, as an O: "What's my MEAT going to be? and I'll build the menu around that." The O hunter goes out and spears the deer, and all meals revolve around that carcass for a long time. But now I think as a B: "What's my milk, my cream, my cheese, my yogurt going to be?" The B shepherd/nomad goes out and milks his camels/horses/goats/sheep, drinks the milk, churns some butter, curdles some cheese, cultures some yogurt/kefir. These guys walk alot too, and they're in great condition. Instead of: "Cool! As a B I 'can-include-some' dairy, like a low-fat kefir drink or yogurt shake", I'm saying, "WOW! I can indulge in my favorite food! Hooray!"
Example: Instead of making a tomato sauce for my spaghetti (ho hum), I'm cooking a super-creamy veal and mushroom stroganoff and covering my parsleyed egg noodles with it, next to the brussels sprouts and red wine. I'm thinking, "Those poor suckers who have to fall back on tomato sauce..."(Corollary: The way to stop missing your "avoids" is to start REALLY DIGGING your bennies!)
I'm learning a whole new way to everyday-cook. When I lived in Switzerland, I was semi-attached to my Californian metabolism, unable/unwilling to handle the "gruyère, gruyère, everywhere" ways of my friends..until NOW. (Timing is Everything.) Just as my BTD-compliant, type A, brother is admitting that he's just not honestly drawn to animal food anymore, I'm admitting that my particular B-inheritance has me enjoying the creamy milk of the flock, above and beyond all else: The milk is my centerpiece and shall take a much more central place in my every meal and snack.
Do you see how we tend to congratulate the O who identifies with the hunter/gatherer and "discovers" meat? and how we likewise praise the A who begins to really enjoy his tofu and veggies? but we address all sorts of caveats to the B who develops a cell-deep appreciation of the shepherd's way of eating? (Ever see a shepherd milk his goat and then skim off the fat before drinking it? What were we thinking????)
So, my B clanmates: Nonfat yogurt and skim milk as occasional snacks to form part of the periphery around a meat-centered diet (and those meats are supposed to be the wild stuff: venison and bunnies) may actually be unbalanced. Since I could, alas, find game and rabbits only seldom, I was spending pretty pennies on lamb, lamb, lamb and fish, fish, fish: Maybe that's your limbo-stage, too, in adhering to B. But it gets really FUN when you start saying, instead, from your deepest origins, "Look how much milk I've gotten from this cow: How can I use it creatively and satisfyingly?" and then ADAPTING your turkey leftovers or your fresh-caught cod to THAT. Pick up some paneer and say; "Where can I harvest some greens to make a saag?" and only THEN, go get your (smaller) pieces of meat and fish, and your veg/fruits/nuts...
You'll certainly be reading more from me on this topic. Meanwhile, Bob, wherever y'are: Thanks, Buddy.
I live in San Francisco, home to a bazillion restaurants per capita, many with very, very busy dishes and complex menus. But I grew up in a pretty food-savvy family that usually appreciated gustatory simplicity.
I - Poppy's Fish
The first of the Four Funny Food Stories will be in honor of Poppy, my grandfather. He was a great connoisseur of Basic Food; he appreciated the perfect steak, the perfect tomato, the perfect baked potato.
One Thanksgiving weekend, 30-or-so years ago, much of my extended family was in Florida, and my grandparents took us all out for dinner at one of those fresh seafood restaurants where a new menu is printed each day, featuring the day's 2-dozen-or-so catches, in the context of Italian cuisine. As we were a large party, the captain and two waiters were assigned arcs of our table and took our orders. I sat to the right of Poppy who, it was clear, was the host. The captain arrived last at Poppy's side and said, "And you, sir, what can we bring you?"
"Ya gotta piece of fish?" Poppy asked.
"Oh, yes, sir," replied the captain, gesturing over the entire menu. "Everything you see here was caught today. Do you have a specific --"
"I don't want bones," Poppy proclaimed. "I want a good piece of fish, no bones, and make sure it's HOT."
Poppy at his finest. It wasn't that he wasn't familiar with each and every variety of fish on that menu. But Poppy's knowledge of restaurants was keen to an undeniable fact: Any kitchen can turn out a dish whose busy sauce detracts from its imperfect fiieting/trimming and tepid temperature. He knew then, as I surely know now: The better chefs excel at the basics of meat/fish selection, "butchering", and simple cooking. Excellent food with nowhere to hide.
II - Trendy Compotes
Ten years ago my cousin Sandy was visiting San Francisco from New York with his wife and son. As usual, he had reservations for all of us for every meal (for 3 days) at the city's trendiest restaurants.
One evening, we arrived at a magnificent spot, were seated at the best table and handed menus. It was here I was offered ostrich for the first time and questioned the waiter about it. He described four medallions of meat, presented with "three compotes" which he went on to describe in exquisite detail, diverting from the meat itself, which he praised but not nearly as highly as he raved over those compotes.
I ordered the ostrich medallions appetizer and the glass of Pinot Noir he recommended with it. The wine arrived and was finished and I was still waiting for that appetizer: My dinnermates, too, were very curious to see and perhaps taste the special dish I'd been adventurous enough to order.
Finally, with my second glass of Pinot, the dish arrived. We all stared at the huge plate, whose epicenter contained four thin discs of browned meat, each the size of a half-dollar. The "three compotes", it turned out, were tiny, thimble-sized molds, composed of ultrafinely minced vegetable matter, whose 25-or-so ingredients had taken 5 minutes for the waiter to describe earlier. And, of course, there was the essential flourish of garniture somewhere-or-other on the huge charger; Sandy's wife gasped, "Oh, what a Presentation! You just HAVE to admire the Presentation!" What else could she say?
As we were marveling over the 2-or-3 ounces of food on my plate, Sandy hailed the waiter.
"Yes, sir? Is everything all right?"
"Look, kid," said Sandy, as he pointed at my plate. "Could you at least bring her a tweezer, so she can eat this?"
We all enjoyed a hearty laugh, everyone at the table was given an ostrich medallion, and I moved on to my prime rib main course and didn't look back.
Like Poppy, Sandy was a "senior" not afraid to call a spade a spade. But what of the younger, greener visitor to our hopelessly decadent eateries?
III - Impossible Hamburger
About fifteen years ago, I was helping a recently-arrived young Chinese woman acclimate to San Francisco, register for an English language program, etc. She had had almost no English instruction whatsoever.
The first time I took her to lunch, she couldn't read the menu and I tried to act-out each dish, pointing, gesturing, describing. She understood "hamburger", indicating that that was what she wanted. I flagged the waitress and ordered.
When I gave my lunchmate's order, the waitress asked, "How do you want it done?" Uh oh. I couldn't convey this to my friend, so I told the waitress, "Just make it medium."
"Sesame bun, baguette, or crunch roll?"
"I guess bun," I said.
"Plain is good," I replied, glancing at my Chinese friend who hadn't a clue...
"Curly fries, garlic fries, homefries or steak fries?"
"You want mayo on that?"
"Just bring it on the side."
"Pickles, lettuce, tomato and onion?"
"Sure. On the side."
Boy was I glad my friend hadn't ordered the Turkey Sandwich: ("Smoked, honey-roasted, or pepper-roasted? Dijon, yellow or maple horseradish mustard? Walnut-olive bread, foccacia, baguette or crunch roll? Cheese? Swiss, Havarti, Cheddar or Pepper Jack?" ARRGGHHHH!
My friend recognized the brand name "Coca Cola", so we defaulted to that. Next time, we went to a Chinese restaurant!
IV - Trouper of a Waiter
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, a friend and I dined at an off hour at a very popular Burmese restaurant, which usually has a line around the corner: I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Ultimately there was precious little I could order and remain within my B parameters. Every dish contained dry shrimp flakes, or oily sauces, or deep-fried-in-who-knows-what crispy, questionable-dough treats...Suffice it to say the waiter really had to earn his tip describing almost every dish in detail at our request.
I ended up with barbecued pork riblets and Asian "sangria", dodging the tomatoes, peanuts, chicken, and shellfish that flatly dominated the menu. And I didn't feel contented afterward. That's what I'm noticing so acutely. Very busy food (unless I make it myself with superb ingredients) isn't as satisfying as a clean, broiled chop or fish-steak, a straightforward salad, vegetable, maybe a potato or yam or a plate of cheeses, nuts, and/or fruits...
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Am I channeling Poppy? or is it simply that I'm approaching my own Seniorness? Who knows, in just a few years I may start ordering like Poppy: "Gimme something Prime, aged, medium-rare and sizzling: No sauce."
"Kid: You gotta hot yam? Butter on the side."
Mercredi midi, j'avais un rendez-vous avec une amie que je n'avais pas vu depuis l'été. C'était elle qui a choisi le restaurant, un certain «emporio» italien. Ayant sauté le petit déj, j'étais tout à fait crevée de faim; donc j'ai étudié vite la carte (je prends beaucoup de temps avec les cartes, de plus en plus avec l'âge). Mon amie, sachant en avance les offrandes, avait déjà choisi ce qu'elle commanderait.
Bon. Après considération (et j'ai expliqué que presque tout se composait "des tomates, et je ne les mange plus"), j'ai choisi mon déjeuner: Un frittata avec certains ingrédients. Nous avons approché au comptoir pour commander.
Mon amie d'abord: Le panino de...(etc.). (et elle a payé.)
Puis moi: Le frittata de...(etc.)
"Nous sommes désolés, madame, mais notre chef est absent. Nous ne pouvons pas vous offrir un frittata aujourd'hui."
Uh oh. A ce point, j'étais prête à manger ma main. "OK, mmm, une pâte? Le penne avec..."
"Ni les pâtes, madame. Malheureusement, nous n'avons que des sandwiches et les salades. La cuisine est fermée."
"Ummm. Je ne vois rien. Tomates...tomates encore...peut-être nous devons aller ailleurs. Donc, ne fais pas encore le sandwich de mon amie...je ne suis pas sûre que..mmm...Bon! J'aurai le sandwich de rosbif, SI vous serez gentil d'ajouter du fromage chèvre..."
"Je regrette de vous dire que les panini sont préparés en avance à notre autre restaurant; nous ne pouvons pas échanger--"
"Nous quittons," j'ai déclaré, mon estomac en noeuds.
"Compris, madame. Nous aurions le panino de votre amie tout de suite."
Il était, maintenant, midi et demi. Je devais voir une cliente chez elle à 2h.
Enfin, après une promenade de reconnaissance lelong ce boulevard, nous avons choisi un restaurant méxicain, où, j'ai su, je pourrais commander du boeuf grillé avec une salade ou dans un "burrito". Je l'ai commandé et payé au comptoir. Le monsieur m'a donné mon numéro avec mon boisson, les maïs chips ("à eviter") et la salsa cruda (aux tomates, "à éviter")!
A table, j'ai commencé à engloutir ce panneau de chips, les plongeant dans la salsa, lorsque mon amie a raillé, "ICI tu manges les tomates!"
Ma réponse? Voir le titre de cet essai!
Post-scriptum: Je me suis enflée comme un ballon.
Morale: Prenez un petit déjeuner solide, surtout si vous vous presserez à déjeuner, et doublement surtout si vous serez en présence des autres!
Pour ma part, j'essaie de trouver le cadeau qui se cache au dedans de chacune de mes propre maladies, y compris même le rhûme commun. Parfois, c'est tout ce qu'il me faut pour atteindre à une guérison! En tout cas, le nécessaire est d'aboutir à l'état tranquille de l'âme, d'où je peux bien m'approcher à la santé corporelle.
Je le déclare ici, au début de ma carrière de bloggueuse, pour que nous nous souvenions, du milieu de nos angoisses, du centre de nos cyclones, de ce qui est essentiel.
Et toi, mon cher lecteur, peut-être tu es venu au régime GS (groupes sanguins) d'une profonde souffrance, même «crevaison». Peut-être tu as tâché de nombreux régimes, drogues, ou les conseils des tas de médecins. Si tu vis un tel scénario, je t'assure: Je te compatis.
Il n'est pas rare que l'on suit un chemin de maladie en route à une vie entièrement nouvelle (cf. les Evangiles: Combien ont été touchés divinement A CAUSE DE leurs maladies!) Egalement, il n'est pas rare que, De Profundis, on extraie les bijoux d'une valeur inestimable à partager, plus tard, avec autrui. (Est-ce que je vous prèche?)
Ici, mon intention est que nous tous, ensemble, nous tenions a l'important, au fondamentale. Car la connaissance de la science des GS nous sert A UN BUT. Et la santé de toute la population du monde, s'il serait possible, servirait A CE MEME BUT.
Chez moi, ce but s'agit de la glorification de mon Créateur, Le Grand Médecin. Combien souvent ai-je appris à apprécier ce qui a une vraie valeur spirituelle, à travers la courte retraite nécessitée par un mal de dos ou à la gorge! En vérité, la grande maladie de ma vie, il y a une vingtaine d'ans, servait d'une rampe de lancement, de toute une mode de vie qui ne convenait plus à mon destin unique et cependant inconnu, un destin dont le Dessinateur n'était que Dieu. (Aujourd'hui il m'est impossible d'imaginer mon présent en l'absence de cette crise-là.)
Alors, cher lecteur: Franchis-tu une époque efffrayante? Cherches-tu la meilleure vie? un niveau plus élevé? C'est à nous tous de méditer aux Grandes Choses, à identifier les vérités derrière nos circonstances, de poser les mega-questions implicites en nos crises de santé, soit «graves» soit non; d'accueillir les occasions qui nous apparaissent en guises d'obstacles, et de discerner la main du Tout-Puissant, ayant confiance en l'Amour qui ne peut pas s'évanouir, même à bout absolut de nos forces, et qui, peut-être, nous conforme à Lui-même!
Voilà le défi humain, n'est-ce pas? Vivre complètement: «Je suis venu afin qu'elles aient la Vie, et qu'elles l'aient même en abondance». (Jn 10,10). Je fonde notre jeune rapport sur celui, car, quant à moi, je m'égare souvent du bon chemin, tentée constamment par les diversions vides et les remèdes partiels, soit 4GS4R, soit autre chose. Et puis: Je lis les Psaumes, et je reconnais vite mon vrai état total.
Enfin, mes amis, remercions à nos maladies qui, de temps en temps, nous rappellent de nos corps à nos esprits, à nos destins, et à notre Salut.
Face à une crise personnelle de santé en 1984-5 à New-York, ma ville natale, je me suis guérie de cette grave maladie en quelques mois, après un changement radical de mode de vie et de régime, y compris le déménagement en nord-Californie rurale, et, en plus, l'adoption d'un stricte régime macrobiotique, jusqu'à la disparition complète, durant une année solide, des symptomes.
Au cours des 25 ans suivants, ma santé a été excéllente; donc ma découverte et embrassement des principes de Peter D'Adamo (1997-présent) s'agissait non d'une volte-face, mais plutôt d'une validation et d'un raffinement de ce que j'étais venue à pratiquer, par tâtonnements, moi-même.
Je prise surtout la souplesse et le «Gestalt» général de ces enseignements, car il ne s'agit ni d'une manière extrême de se maigrir ni de combattre une maladie spécifique, mais cette voie est plutôt fournie des poteaux indicateurs «bougeables» selon les besoins particuliers de l'individu, menants, de jour en jour, à la santé totale.
Note: This blog originally published 10 Jan 2006 and, with about 25 other blogs from my archives, was wiped out a couple of years ago. As Dr. D'Adamo has suggested, I shall restore selected lost entries to the archives, beginning with this one.
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The importer of Zen monastic cookery-philosophy to the West adopted the name Georges Ohsawa. As Master of his American "macrobiotic" (he coined the term) disciples, his practice was to sit over them each morning and receive their well-considered questions.
One morning, a disciple asked him, "Master, what is the proper response when one who is following Diet #7 [nothing but brown rice] is invited to his family's biennial Reunion? Burgers 'n dogs are grilled, and there's cole slaw and potato salad and s'mores. Does one bring along some rice balls in Tupperware? or does he decline the invitation altogether, preserving his pure practice?" Whereupon the Master took a languourous drag from his Marlboro, held it ponderously, and let it out in a steady, controlled stream before, all eyes upon him, savoring a sip of black coffee.
"The macrobiotic way" he declared, "is that, ultimately, of Balance. If one is sufficiently adept to follow the Number 7 Path, he navigates the currents of life with a flowing and artless balance. Wherefore the Answer is this: One prepares one's body, well in advance, to receive the extreme dietary elements, and one knows how to restore its balance after having so indulged. But to refuse such a family invitation, especially in light of its traditional and infrequent nature, OR to evidence such pride as to abstain from full participation, bringing along, instead, one's own 'superior' dinner, is a sign of drastic Imbalance and thus makes plain the unreadiness of the disciple for Diet Number 7."
I love this story. It brings one's entire world into the Life Equation. Our dietary decisions are not isolated bytes; we "live and move and have our being" within a larger body. Family traditions and community interactions are mocked at great peril, if these constitute the very fabric, lining one's Path.
Likewise teaches the Western Tradition:
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify one another." - Romans 14:19
"For if a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another." - Galatians 6:3,4.
"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not Love, I am nothing." - I Corinthians 13:2.
No one will be considered spiritually superior for following any diet whatsoever, or for being tobacco- or caffeine-free.
And, brethren, let us love one another. Where there is Love, there's patience, forbearance, joy...Without love, your "excellent health" is, in fact, sickness; your "Tier Two compliance" [in 2010 I'd add SWAMI compliance] a mere smokescreen for arrogance. East or West, Love is what constitutes True Health. Amen.
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22 November 2010 ADDENDUM: Just came across this little story. Thought I'd throw it into the mix:
One day in the Vale of the Hermitages, when a feast was being celebrated, the brethren were eating together in their place of assembly. A certain brother said to those who were serving at table, 'I won't eat anything cooked, just a little salt on my bread.'
The one who was serving at table called to another brother and said in the presence of the whole gathering, 'This brother is not eating anything cooked. Bring him just a little salt.'
Then one of the elders rose and said to the brother who had asked for salt, 'It would have been better for you today to eat meat alone in your cell, rather than to publish what you are doing to so many of the brethren.'
--from Sayings of the Desert Fathers
Here in the United States, the incidence of ABO blood groups is estimated at approximately 44% O; 42% A; 10% B: and 4% AB. Whether one finds oneself in a majority type - O or A - or in a minority one - B or AB - goes a long way, I find, toward determining personality factors. In other words, bloodtype personalities are "the way they are" not only because of intrinsic factors, but also by virtue of their being embedded in large/extended or in small/isolated clans of typemates.
Both O's and A's harbor expectations that the world sees things the way they do; they're accustomed to a certain understood-ness amid society. Very simply put, O's want to win at the world's game, and A's want to be accepted within and facilitators of community. Both know that B's and AB's are "different", "quirky" in some way; O and A can't imagine being that out of step with the broader world.
B's and AB's, for their part, are accustomed to their differentness. But I have a theory that distinguishes the inner comfort and self-acceptance of the B from the apprehension and inner turmoil of the AB.
I posit that B, operating independently, skirting the larger, customary byways, is contented in that state and role, wearing it well, but that AB has trouble with such desires because of the A allele. AB's would like to be as straightforward in their unusualness as B's are, but they have this A-voice gnawing at them - A, the one who wants to fit in, to get along, to create community, to enjoy security. AB sees that B isn't as compromising or as equivocating, and envies B. AB wishes s/he could ditch the A self-expectation, the inner A's criticalness of inner B, in order to shine like the B, riding the wind -- OR -- that s/he could "outgrow" his/her B-differentness altogether and be included in the larger A-compliant world. You might find AB's alternating in their behavior toward B's: projecting orneriness against free, autonomous B acquaintances and family at times, and expressing a yearning to take off and run with the horses, too, at others.
Speaking of horses, anthropologic bloodtype archetypes portray this subtle variation too: B the utter nomad, AB the gypsy. The nomad is out there in the wilderness - deserts, steppes, mountains- watching stars shoot, clouds morph, dunes shift - while the gypsy is the oddball closer to civilization: The family washing clothes in the stream by its caravan at the city's edge, the accordionist with the dancing bear on the midtown corner, the fortune teller at the gate.
These archetypes also show how B and AB can find their level and contentment: B in not caring to justify himself to society, confident that the latter will use/absorb/ignore/reject what it chooses to of B's offerings and wares, and AB being pleased to amuse, or find a unique role within, the majority's society while proudly upholding his very staunch policy of caginess/aloofness. Playing by his own rules, as it were, within the larger system. Keeping a foot outside the box.
Both AB's and B's are passionate critters. AB's for their majority-wannabe A allele, however, are more conflicted, I think. If you're an AB or you love one, try these insights on for size. If you're, like myself, a B, your drifting isn't aimless: It may simply conform to patterns that transcend the era and the culture and the family you inhabit. Be true to it.
After 2+ months away from the desk, I'm back. And during that time I've found that I'm preferring the GT-6/Nomad diet to the B-secretor one that was my practice, more or less, since 1997.
1. The beer. Yes. It's a stabilizer. Settles the whole system! No kidding.
2. The dry aged cheeses turn out to agree with me better than the fresh, soft ones and milk.
3. I like some of the vegetable and fruit superfoods I otherwise wouldn't have focused on.
The jury's still out on the supplements, though I'm doing a round robin sort of sampling these days.
I'm going to plow through mail and bills and work and then talk things-epigenetic, etc. with this great community again. 'Tis the Day of All Saints. So, to those of you who identify, and to the spirits of those who've inspired us: God Bless. Thanks to those who've commented over the months...