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!
* * * * * * * *
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.
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.
Last month I turned on the radio and immediately heard a man saying "OK: As for the blood group diets? They're nothing, nonsense, a lot of hooey. Liz Hurley and everything? It's just ridiculous!" He then derided breatharianism, iridology, colonics, anything called "Detox", and ear-candling, ending with "These are the twelve [I'd missed the others] alternative therapies/modalities that are pure hogwash". The speaker? Dean Edell.
Poor guy. Just think how much less trial and error he'd have to resort to if he knew his patients' blood types. Just think of how many lives he's positioned to positively impact and what an opportunity he's throwing away, all because he's ignorant about the inexorable direction medical science has begun to take, not to mention eastern systems of medicine that date back thousands of years and which view Edell's brand of medicine as yet one more flash in the historical pan.
One day, in this world or the next, many Western allopaths are going to discover the truth, the open-minded ones to their awe and wonder, the closed-minded ones to their shame, shame for their sheer arrogance.
I have experimented, throughout my lifetime, with a few systems and modalities of medicine. Many had merit, and a few didn't work for me, though others claimed they did for them. Far more numerous are those I haven't ever personally used. Yet I too have been known to make fun of a few really outrageous-seeming ideas; one of these was...(drumroll)...Peter D'Adamo's Blood Type Diet! I saw his first book on the store shelf when it was released, and I said to the clerk, "Next thing you know, someone will come out with the Zodiac Diet." I was cynical about it, and my guess is that most who swear by it - or aspects of it - today, made fun of it at first. D'Adamo isn't ashamed to reveal these instances amid his anecdotes about some of his most extraordinary successes. I admit that it can sound preposterous until you look more closely, as I did, or need it desperately, as do many of Dr. D'Adamo's patients.
For about thirteen years I've been practicing aromatherapy, but I can remember attending a dinner, a few years before I took it up, at which someone asked if any of us knew anything about this "new" modality. I was actually among those who razzed her. "Gimme a break" might have been uttered by me at that time.
It's because I've looked into and found validity to health practices of which I'd previously been ignorant, such as essential oils, Blood type medicine, Ayurveda and Macrobiotics, that I can be lenient with those who bash them. Knowing what I know, I'm aware that these people simply haven't been presented with either the evidence or the need for it. One brief experience with lavender oil for burns, or tea tree oil for fungi, and a person simply cannot laugh at aromatherapy anymore. Reading the chapter(s) about one's own blood type and/or those of one's family, in Eat Right 4 Your Type, renders one hesitant to discard the work as balderdash. Macrobiotics, which many mistakenly believe to consist of a stark brown rice-only diet, quickly catapulted me from grave illness to robust health in the 1980s. And Ayurveda? I'd looked at those questionnaires many times before actually trying an Ayurvedic diet, beginning 3 months ago. Seventeen pounds lighter, hale and hardy, I can say that weight loss is only one of the benefits accruing from this program. And I still don't understand what all the homeopathic fuss is about (though Bach's Rescue Remedy has amazed me a few times), but some must be benefiting from it, just as they do from chiropractic, rolfing, and shiatsu.
One of the most fortunate formative experiences I had in my youth was to personally know Dr. Robert Atkins in the early 1970s in New York City, when he was dating my (divorced) mother. I rolled my eyes many a time over this medical renegade and his convictions about vitamins and minerals. Today, most know of Dr. Atkins's body of work as respected and well-established medicine. But I remember when he was viewed by the orthodox as a fringe crank with a screw loose. When he'd hold forth on Brewers' Yeast and the B-complex, I'd excuse myself and go watch TV or something. My mother would insist Bob was a maverick genius and that sometime in the future the world would recognize his contribution as seminal.
In the early 1980s, a terrific surgeon, call him Frank, asked me out for lunch (we worked at the same hospital in Manhattan). Over our meal he informed me that he couldn't eat in the Doctors' dining room because he was being "shunned" by attending physicians who'd heretofore blanketed him with referrals. It seems he'd been interacting increasingly personally and informally with his in-patients, referring to them by name, spending "too long a time" with them on rounds, and interacting with them out of a deep, genuine concern for them as whole persons. Word had gotten around, and he'd been taken aside and spoken to about his "making the other doctors look bad".
As Frank told me of his ordeal (sotto voce, so as not to be overheard at this restaurant so near the hospital), it became clear that he believed his story was unique, that his need to identify with his patients' wholeness and humanness was some one-of-a-kind aberration, and he - so ingenuously and achingly - didn't know what to do. I proceeded to rattle off names of formerly-mainstream MDs and RNs who'd been at the forefront of the then-emerging holistic movement, and I urged him to locate and contact them, as they'd no doubt be thrilled to welcome him among their number, to assist him in finding more congenial hospitals in which to work, and to refer cases to him. I lost touch with Frank, but I imagine that the sneers of his colleagues launched this truly top-flight general surgeon into a far more rewarding career.
Dr. Peter D'Adamo has advantages that neither Bob nor Frank had: He's not an MD under obligation to play by AMA and associated unwritten rules. He's already operating within an established alternative medical community, and with credentials therein. He's doing so decades after naturopathy and nutritional therapy have appeared in the mainstream public square. He is familiar with the history of the career trials of the likes of Bob and Frank before him. He also has sold millions of books and has a very active website, clinical practice, and nutritional supplements line.
Dean Edell has also sold millions of books, and has a national radio program, to boot. Think of how much back-pedaling he'll have to do if and when he discovers that his public errors, born of a snide skepticism, are historically more worthy of scorn than the (brilliant) contribution of Peter D'Adamo.