Category: Type B
As a child growing up in New York and eating often in restaurants, I was exposed to a surprisingly small variety of cuisines as, during that era, there was simply not yet the wide spectrum of immigrant cultures thriving in the restaurant trade, even in the Meltingest-Pot metropolis of 'em all.
It was therefore at the New York World's Fair (1964) that I tasted of many cuisines for the first time, my absolute favorite being Indian. As a towhead schoolgirl, I dug into curries and licked ghee from my finger "just like the child Krishna!" exclaimed our waiter, who'd earlier been sure my parents might want to take a look at the Children's Menu most customers' kids favored..."just in case".
By the late 1960's my favorite cuisine was Mexican, as it was plenty hot and beginning to be available here and there in New York. The spices didn't "agree with" my parents, but I busied myself conducting contests such as "Best Cuppa Chili in NYC", and salsa fresca was a favorite vehicle for the delivery of jalapenos. It would be but a short time before Chinese restaurants would veer blissfully Szechwanward from the ubiquitous and bland Cantonese, about which I was rather indifferent.
Dr. D'Adamo rates all peppers "avoid" for those of blood types A and AB which, it seems, everyone else in my family was. Hence, what a blessing to have been born at a time and place so ripe for the ethnic restaurant explosion! The latter put me in touch with genetic roots tinged with lands, attributes, and tendencies so different from those expressed by the rest of my family.
Today I sometimes unwittingly omit peppers for long or short periods, forgetting how terrific I feel when I eat them. While I admit to preferring my curries, chutneys and (tomato-free) salsa on the mild side, it's clear that I, as a B, can scratch a certain itch only with chilis. And it's not their TASTE; it's whatever's so -- how do I put it -- strengthening, invigorating, regularizing, normalizing -- about them. They realign the whole organism. Whereas, as a child, I sought out hot peppers because they tasted good to me, now as an...elder I enjoy the positive effect they have on my metabolism. They make me think "Wow! I needed that."
The herbals say cayenne stimulates gastric juices and "improves metabolism", and that chilis are loaded with vitamins C and, yes, B's. Earl Mindell writes, unwittingly I suppose of B's and O's, "A meal rich in cayenne will have a mildly stimulating effect on the body". He writes that hot peppers "can trim cholesterol and triglyceride levels". "Stimulant", "Tonic", writes another author. "Improves circulation" "Aids digestion"...
As for me personally, I'd go so far as to say that the omission of hot peppers from my diet over too long a time will lower my stress threshhold and lead to a sense of sluggishness. And maybe my exposure to, and enjoyment of, hot peppers as a child was something of a gift from God, keeping me hardy amongst the aliens.
Hear ye, all B's! I've recently discovered Calzone: A great home delivery dinner order (for B's, that is: Cheese-filled dough is a compliant O's nightmare). A thin pizza dough shell encloses ricotta and mozzarella cheeses (both beneficial) and no tomato sauce! You can add beneficial vegetables such as broccoli or bell peppers, or such neutrals as zucchini, onions, mushrooms or even beef. What a discovery: A great way to enjoy those dairy bennies.
Other take-out food can be tricky.
From Italian restaurants, tomatoes and tomato sauces, olives and anchovies must be dodged, but pasta alfredo primavera is safe, as are some "white" pizzas and, of course, various veal dishes and salads.
Chinese food is generally not-the-best for us, unless cornstarch, MSG, sesame oil, black beans and soy sauce can be avoided. Most dishes include at least one of these, I find. Potstickers, cabbage salad, steamed fishes or sizzling scallops, beef and vegetables are generally good, however, at the right restaurant.
Japanese food can be safer, especially when it comes to suitable sushi-rolls. Miso shiru and dressing can be avoided, and grilled steak or salmon is usually available.
Thai food is an option if you watch out for: Tomatoes, peanuts, baby corns, and tofu/soy. Those chili pastes are B-friendly, but oils may not be. Charbroiled steak or pork is usually a staple, however, and can be enjoyed sliced over a salad, too, usually with mint, lime and red onion.
Indian food entices with lamb, paneer, eggplant, cauliflower and curry -- all beneficial - but tomatoes lurk in many sauces (curries, masalas, et al), and chickpeas and lentils are also staples (papadums, pakora batter, dahl, etc.). Kurma, a favorite mild Punjabi sauce, is based upon ground nuts that might be almonds (fine) but just as likely could be cashews (avoid). Go for Lamb Kebobs and a fragrant rice or naan. Dress it with a yogurt-based cilantro/mint chutney and onions and green peppers, often provided.
Those are the most prevalent cuisines delivered in San Francisco. If health permits and these deliveries aren't frequent, you can spring for "borderline" favorites (and even pick out what offends, if you like: My garbage disposal eats many a tomato, peanut and olive).
Remember: You can also wipe or wash off unwanted sauces. And: Ask for special orders. Often I ask that baby corn be omitted. I've also asked that the cook "do his/her best" to omit more painstakingly removed items such as chickpeas, when plating or boxing. You'd be surprised how many are willing to make the effort.
You can also invent dishes (especially if you're a regular customer and are willing to pay a bit extra and wait a bit longer). Ask for a sauce you like on an item you like, even if it's not printed on the menu. Where appropriate, order dressing/sauce "on the side", so you're not obliged.
As for calzone: I don't know what I imagined it'd be, but to me it's basically a thin-crusted pizza LOADED with melted, fresh and beneficial cheeses: Yummy!
Blood Group anthropology supplies a way to frame a modern crisis: The divorce of human diet from our own species' natural habitats and place in the food chain. The advent of neolithicity signified Man's assuming control of the earth and its wildlife, eventuating in our associating fish with the Seafood Department, meat with the butcher's shop, grains with boxes and sealed plastic bags, and vegetables and fruits with "Produce" bins.
Paleolithic man, we are taught, was of the O blood group, hunting and gathering meat, fish, greens and berries, co-participating in terrestrial life with other life forms. Blood group A mutated to facilitate a wholly different (and "modern", regnant) manner of living on earth: The mastery of plant and animal life, which has defined the history of Civilization. B mutated later, and in small numbers, as shepherds migrated further into the wilderness with flocks and herds, becoming nomads with infrequent contact with settled communities. AB was generated, appearing a millennium or so ago, of the cross-breeding of migrating Asiatic B's with, on the west end, settled Europeans, and, on the east, Japanese and western Asians: A thoroughly modern development.
My previous Blog treated of AB's as yet indefinite anthropology; in the mystery of AB's vocation lies, I believe, the solution to our profound environmental malaise: Where do we go, as a species, as a "civilization", from here?
B reacted versus A, one could argue, by altogether leaving the farms and towns; but the 20th century witnessed the veritable annihilation of B's nomadism by technology, which replaced the various animal-relationships upon which B lifestyles depended, whether with horses, camels, or even yaks, and, by extension, sheep and goats. Motorized transport, mobile telephones, refrigeration: These increasingly, and now quite finally, halted B's unique adaptive relationship to the earth and its dominant cultures.
I posit the human/animal relationship-type as fundamental to blood group differentiation, and my own blood group, B, as arising from a rebellion, if you will, of shepherds against agricultural and urban hegemony. There were just enough of us ready to depart from cities and farms, courageous enough to throw in our lot with animals chosen for their ability to supply us with numerous products and services in exchange for our finding pasturage for them in ever more remote locales. During the first centuries A.D., however, as our blood group's populations returned to the cities, we abandoned more and more of our geographically nomadic ways, spinning-off the next era's groundbreakers, the AB's, who, since nomadism's very recent decease, may hold the key to the resolution of Modernity's ecological dilemmas, as we study its developing relationship with the rest of the animal kingdom.
When we look back at the disappearances of more ancient civilizations, we are baffled as to how these highly developed centers simply ceased to exist. Yet, in our own lifetimes, numerous peoples amongst earth's humans, have been forced by technology's encroachment to integrate themselves into alien predominant ways of life, especially to the high-tech juggernaut. Animal-rights concerns and environmentalism may turn out to have been the distant precursor of AB's unique (and technologically sophisticated?) stab at an answer, one that shall singularly encompass and represent the strivings of all of its blood group forebears. In the meantime, while A supplies the older, settled, established human-dominant community allele, and B (which FOUND a solution but, since AB's technics era, this was squelched) contributes the minority "outlaw"- mutual-subsistence allele, it is O's primaeval memories and stories that haunt, drive, and even inspire us all.
What AB shall make of the melange, and the opportunity, is Posterity's Secret.
Lucky you! You're a B on your way to a French bistro, café or fine dining experience, or, best of all, La Belle France herself! What can you expect? Loads of beneficials are available in French cuisine, constituting good reasons to find Gallic eateries in your vicinity.
As has become our habit, we'll first take a look at the French "staples".
Grains: Breads, noodles and pastries of wheat. Some rice, some buckwheat.
Fats: In the North: Butter; In the South: Olive Oil. Lard is also used.
"Fine" French food can be extraordinarily rich. I remember a number of great feasts, both in France and in top New York restaurants, that were "real occasions", but with long recovery times. Factor that in.
Meat: Lamb (leg of, rack of, saddle of, chops). Venison, in season. RABBIT!!! This is where to find those elusive benny meats, B's. Mutton, on location in France.
Seafood: Salmon, Sole, Mackerel, Sardines, Caviar...et al.
Dairy: Goat and sheep cheeses.
Oil: Olive (in the South)
Beans: Some Lima, in the North.
Vegetables: Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, horseradish, parsley, parsnips, beets, and, in the South, eggplant and bell peppers.
Meat: Beef, veal, squab, pheasant, squab. On Tier One, pork sausages and bacon.
Fish: Scallops, escargot (on Tier One), Tuna, et al.
Dairy: Eggs. In the North: Butter. Many, many cheeses. Cream and crème fraiche (in sauces, soups, etc.)
Nuts/Seeds: Hazelnut (Tier One only), walnuts, almonds
Beans: White, green, flageolet, peas
Vegetables: Spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, zucchini (in South), winter squashes, celery, celeriac, turnips, leeks, endive, chicory, herbs
Fruit: Apple, pear, berries, currants, peaches, cherries
Condiments: mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard
Beverages: Wines. Beer (in North). Coffee, tea. Distilled spirits and fortified wines (Tier One)
Meat: Chicken, Chicken Stock, Goose, Duck, Quail.
Seafood: Snails (Tier Two), Anchovies, Mussels and other shellfish (bouillabaisse), frog, bass.
Dairy: Blue cheese
Grains: Buckwheat (in crepe flour)
Vegetables: Tomatoes, artichokes, olives, radishes
Condiments: Ground black pepper
Lamb with no tomato saucing
Loin of Venison
Rabbit terrine à la moutarde (This may, indeed, be your main motivation for going to a French restaurant!)
Tier One Only: Choucroûte (pork sausages and cabbage), an Alsatian treat
Cheeses, especially goat, in omelets and quiches, salads, and on a cheeseboard, with wine-matches.
Fresh and beautiful vegetables: Favoring the Bennies, also sometimes puréed in soup/coulis.
Salads (including Niçoise, sans tomatoes and olives)
This category shall address the standard offerings of a Greek/Turkish/Middle Eastern-Levantine/N.African sort of eatery (The provençal/mediterranean region of France shall be treated elsewhere). I don't claim to have covered all subregions, but I do think there's enough information here to assist you with most menus.
By now you are growing accustomed to approach any cuisine with the question, "What are its staple grains(s) and fat(s)?" In the Mediterranean region, we B's are blessed: Yes, we must stay away from most standard meze/appetizer platters (tabbouleh, falafel, baba ghanoush, tahini sauce/dressing, tomato salads), but a choice of beneficials-only meals is usually a possibility.
Grains: Rice is abundantly available. In the Western Mediterranean, a form of semolina called "couscous" is a specialty (not to be confused with "bulghur", which is an Eastern Mediterranean cracked wheat product, to be avoided). In the Eastern Mediterranean, pita bread is often served. Some restaurants offer Whole Wheat Pita, in addition to the white flour kind: Stick with the latter, if you're a wheat eater: Some B's avoid wheat, too, especially if overweight. ("Too much weight? Too much wheat!")
Fat: Ah, the Mediterranean: Home of the golden green elixir so dear to B's. We're on home turf now, when it comes to oils; don't worry about sautéed dishes here, where Olive Oil reigns.
Protein: Lamb, goat, mutton, sardines, mackerel, other fishes.
Dairy: Yogurt (in tsatsiki, etc.)( and called "labnah" in the Levant), Feta (in greek salad, spanakopita, etc.), cottage cheese
Oil: Olive Oil
Vegetables: Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Hot Pepper sauce (harissa), Carrots, Parsley.
Protein: Beef, Fishes (?carp roe? "Taramasalata")
Grain: Rice, couscous (semolina), white pita bread
Nuts/Seeds: Walnuts, almonds
Vegetables: Salads, spinach, onions, cucumbers, fennel, green beans, garlic, zucchini, herbs (thyme, oregano, marjoram, mint, etc.)
Fruits: Orange, lemon, figs, quince, dates, apricots
Beverages: Mint tea, wine, coffee, tea
Protein: Chicken/pigeon (and chicken broth in Avgolemono Soup, for example), Anchovy
Grain: Bulghur ("tabbouleh")
Beans/legumes: Chick peas ("Hummous", "Falafel", "Baba Ghanoush"); Lentils (watch out: sometimes mixed with rice in a "pilaf": Ask for Plain Rice)
Nuts/Seeds: Pistachio ("Baklava"), Pine nuts (sometimes hiding in a "Pilaf"); Poppy seeds, Sesame seeds ("Tahini" sauce/dressing, "halvah" dessert")
Ajvar (Balkan eggplant/pepper spread/relish)
Skordalia (garlic dip served with fried eggplant)
Lamb! Shish-kabob: Broiled, grilled. And if you can watch for hidden tomato and/or olives in a sauce, a Lamb Tagine! mmmm
Fishes: in a "charmoula" herb sauce, with plain rice and grilled eggplant
Spanakopita (filo appetizer stuffed with spinach and feta)
TsaTsiki: Yogurt/cucumber/parsley appetizer
Eggplant salad or grilled (NOT "baba ghanoush", which usually has a chick pea base)
Stuffed Grape Leaves (rice stuffing)
"Greek Salad" with no tomatoes or olives (Ask for lettuce, peppers, cucumber, onions and a chunk of feta cheese: A simple pleasure)
Baklava dessert if Walnuts are the only nut used
Bee Healthy, B's.