Category: Cocky's 'Blood Relation' Articles
Dr. Tom Greenfield succesfully integrates the BTD in his Naturopathic practice in the United KingdomFebruary 10th, 2006 , by admin
BR:Hi Tom! I am very pleased you agreed to be profiled in my column! Please introduce yourself!
TG:I am a naturopath and osteopath based in Canterbury, UK.
BR:You recently joined us columnist on the website! Can you give us a bit of insight why you were drawn to the BTD? What made the coin fall?
TG:My training as a naturopath was based on the ‘nature-cure’ approach, i.e.everyone should aim for a vegetarian/vegan, wholefood/raw food and food-combining diet, with fasting and hydrotherapy as first line treatment approach. In practice I did not always find it easy to convince many clients to stick to this system for long, if at all. Some people who did use this method even seemed to get worse rather than better. Then in 1998 a colleague told me about a book that based its dietary perspective on a person’s ABO blood group. At around the same time a friend of mine was importing Biodynamic bread to the UK from Germany, while planning to set up her own bakery. Some American customers had asked her whether the bread was suitable for their blood group, and didn’t know how to find out, so she asked me. It seemed to make complete sense that something in the blood could relate to how a person responded to food, so I got a copy of ‘The Eat Right Diet’ (as it was called when first published in the UK). When I began to understand that it was based on a sound naturopathic philosophy as well as science, I decided to use myself as a guinea pig. I first had to find out my own blood group, realising that if I turned out to be an O or B, I would have to change my eating habits radically, as I had been vegetarian for 15 years.
BR:We all know that the Blood Type Diet is the way to a healthy and long life! Do you adhere to the BTD yourself and to what extent? What is your blood type, secretor status and other statistics?
TG:My blood group (luckily for my vegetarian diet) turned out to be A negative. Later I found out my other blood groups: A1 secretor and NN. I have stuck to the BTD approach since I first found out my blood group, as I tend to suffer from eating avoid foods.Other genetic polymorphisms relevant to my diet and blood group are as follows: AGT (Angiotensin 1) - This means I am one of the 10% of people whose blood pressure can be affected by sodium intake, and together with my A and NN blood groups, this puts me in a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Consequently I have a low salt diet, and I eat artisan bread, in which much or all of the salt has been replaced with seaweed.
COMT (Catechol-O methyltransferase) - This means that although I am an A secretor, I also have relative difficulty in clearing catecholamines (adrenaline and noradrenaline) which also puts me in a category similar to people with O blood group. When under stress my personality may not always be A-like, and I avoid alcohol because of this polymorphism.
CYBA*8 (Reduction-Oxidation Balance) - This means I am a fast oxidiser, and oxidise my food quickly – I am 6’3” (190 cms), but have never weighed more than about 160 lbs (73 kgs). My Oxystress urine tests always come out dark red. Combined with my A blood this puts me at higher risk of heart disease.
MTHFR (Methylation) – This would put me at a higher risk of elevated homocysteine levels without sufficient dietary folic acid, so I eat plenty of greens.
BR:And if the answer to the previous question is YES, how long did it take to notice change in your body (mentally and physically!) What kind of changes exactly did you experience?
TG:There was a fairly immediate improvement in my concentration and energy levels. I also lost some weight (which also happened when experimenting with food combining). Gradually mucous-related problems in my ears and sinuses and my coated tongue disappeared, and eventually my immune system settled down, so I have been in excellent health for years.
BRoes your family adhere to the BTD as well?
TG:The friend mentioned above who was setting up the bakery is now my wife Ingrid! She has exactly the same blood group as me, and we have similar taste in food. Ingrid finds cooking relaxing after a busy day as director of artisan bread, and has a talent for dreaming up new exciting and tasty recipes with our most A-beneficial food ingredients: we have tasty seaweed salads with fresh herbs; sugar-free carob and walnut oat brownies that taste like chocolate; tempeh dishes in exotic sauces, spelt vegetable pizza with home made soya cheese, etc. So it’s quite easy to eat according to our blood group all the time.
BR:How many bloodtypes are present in your family to cope with? How do you manage?
TG:My mother (O) is slowly coming round to the idea that the blood type approach is going to be with us for a long time. Of her two brothers (both O) one is now following the BTD and says it has relieved longstanding health problems. My father (A) died of cancer at 35 before we knew what we should be eating. My brother (also A) is more of a foodie, but also an excellent cook, and caters for us superbly when we eat at his place. I have two children, Jacob and Bethany, from a previous relationship. We haven’t found out their blood groups yet, but Bethany is vegetarian (and we suspect she is A). We tend to meet at restaurants, or at family gatherings with a buffet meal, so we can all choose what we want to eat.
BR:In your Naturopathic Practice you integrate the BTD as part of your healing capacities! Could you give the readership an example of how different naturopathic options coincide with the BTD?
TG:The British Naturopathic Journal published my article Blood Grouping in Naturopathic Practice, BNJ, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2003, pp.12-16, which explored how naturopathic pioneers have used various categorisations to explore the genetic limitations and capabilities of humans. This had largely been forgotten as a result of eugenics falling out of fashion in the first half of the 20th Century. With the advent of blood grouping naturopaths now have a scientifically-based opportunity to get a large part of their clients’ individuality and genetic risks/potential way beyond asking what illnesses there have been in the family. I have been presenting information on the BTD to UK naturopaths and naturopathic students for some time, but it is a slow process for it to filter through into practice: the UK tends to lag behind the rest of the world in so many things. I even set up my own blood grouping laboratory for public and practitioners in Europe to send in blood samples for testing, and incorporated full blood grouping and subgrouping into my holistic well person clinic health screen.
BR:Tom, in my view many ways of healing form a part of the puzzle. Peter D’Adamo is the first one who ‘completed the puzzle’, who found that missing piece, the blood type connection! What are your views regarding this Blood-Type-Connection?
TG:Once you start to see people in terms of how they are influenced by their blood group it can be very enlightening. Of course a person’s behaviour can also be affected by many other aspects, we are not just our blood group, but it is surprising how many ‘blood type attributes’ can be recognised in people. I can often guess a person’s blood group before I have blood typed them. It is also interesting to look at views on blood groups from various sources: I used to eat goats’ cheese, and people asked me why I didn’t also eat fish and chicken, but when I got hold of Dr. James D’Adamo’s book ‘One Man’s Food’ (now out of print), it gave me ‘permission’ to avoid eating all animal proteins: he says that the ideal diet for the A is to eat seeds, sprouts and tofu as main sources of protein, although one egg per week may be eaten. Note that this should be “worked into slowly, with great deliberation, and at your own pace”. It is the final stage of a long transition for many people who may have been on a meat-based diet, and is surprisingly similar to the ‘nature-cure’ diet that I learnt about in college.
BR:Next April 2005 the second Seminar will be held in Arizona. Loads of new research-results will be revealed!! So much BTD-news to be shared with a worldwide gathering of BTD-friends, in an accommodation perfect to talk and socialize! Tom, can you give the readership some of your expectations/views regarding this Meeting of the 4 Masters?
TG:This is going to be a great conference. Peter is, of course, an outstanding ,lecturer. Dr. Jeff Bland often lectures to us in the UK. His book ‘Genetic Nutritioneering’ published in 1999, was probably the first book apart from those written by the D’Adamo family to recognise the importance of blood groups. And of course he wrote the Afterword for Live Right 4 Your Type. It will be fascinating to hear the outcome of original research from his Functional Medicine Research Center in this context. Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, author of several naturopathic bibles, will be enlightening us on an aid to clinical decision making. Dr. Walter Crinnion (who was at the first conference) will tell us about his speciality: health risks from exposure to environmental toxins and the blood type polymorphism connection. And of course it will be a chance to catch up with colleagues I won’t have seen for two years, even though many of them live in the UK. If my wife hires a Harley and takes me on tour around Arizona like she did before the 2003 conference, of course that will be a bonus too.
BR:Are there plans/wishes/views for the future with respect to the Blood Type Science you wish to share with us?
TG:I welcome the day when the UK accepts naturopathic treatment, as people with health insurance can’t claim for naturopathy at the moment. It probably won’t be long before genetic testing will be ‘cheap and cheerful’, and as freely available as blood grouping. Then researchers such as those speaking at the 2005 seminar will help us to further individualise our ways of maintaining health. Of course if the life insurance companies get hold of this information it might cause problems for people with certain polymorphisms, but that’s another story…
BR:Tom, thank you so much for your clarifying and insight interview! As Dr. D. you also have the ability to explain ‘complicated’ medical matters in understandable language! A gift! As you, I am also looking forward to attending the upcoming Seminar in Arizona in April 2005, to catch up with friends and many others, met in 2003. Tom, I feel privileged to have profiled you in my column! Hope to meet you again in Arizona in 2005..
BR: Dr. D., could you tell us something about yourself? I mean, where you were born, your parents, your childhood, how many brothers and/or sisters, where you lived? What kind of boy you were.
D’ADAMO: I was born in Brooklyn NY, specifically the neighborhood called Dyker Heights, renowned principally for the garishness of its annual Christmas lighting. My childhood (along with my brother James and sister Michele) was quite bucolic by 1970’s middle class standards. Rock and mineral collections. Butterfly collections. Read a lot of history – a love to this day. I was a ‘tinkerer’ type of kid (a legacy of my father no doubt). Constantly taking things apart and putting them back together. Very fond of electronics, robots, short wave, etc. My childhood friends (most of whom remain my closest contacts) were similarly inclined. We couldn’t afford records, so we would build little sound machines and sequencers and tape-record them: When we got a good groove we’d let the tapes play while we’d dance. We were out of step for the 1960-70’s, but were very much like today’s type of geeky kid.
BR: Where did your ancestors came from? And why did they go to America?
D’ADAMO: My ancestors are Italian on my father's side and Spanish on my mothers. The D’Adamo’s came here fairly early (for Italian immigrants). My mother on the other hand was Spanish -from the province of Lerida, outside Barcelona.
BR: Your father has been very important for your professional choice in life! Could you tell some highlights about the relation to your father, professional and relational?
D’ADAMO: Dr. James D’Adamo is a very cool guy. Perhaps the best thing I can relate to you about our relationship is a story I remember as if it was yesterday. I must have been eight or nine years old, and he was discussing where to locate a small privacy fence with a friend who was helping him build it. I piped in with a suggestion, plus the reason for my suggestion, and I remember looking at his face and thinking ‘Gee, this guy is actually evaluating what I’m saying seriously!’ Very common (perhaps too common) nowadays, but back then nobody actually took anything a kid said seriously. Dad is one of those guys perpetually ahead of the curve, though he doesn’t actually work at it. Just his Aquarian nature, I suspect.
BR: Mothers are vital factors in the lives of their children. Tell us about your relation with your mother.
D’ADAMO: Mom was all earth energy: Very grounded. Yet also very accepting and adaptable. Classic mom of Latin culture. Dinner-time calls down to the basement lab from the top of the stairs when I was brewing something or lost in a book.
BR: Dr. D, you are married to Martha. I met Martha as well last September. She is a great woman! You are a great couple! Please do tell us how you two met, and enlighten us about the secret of your happy marriage!
D’ADAMO: Having been advised by my dad early in my career to not mix business and personal lives, I then proceeded to break that rule the one and only time when I met Martha, who was a patient of the clinic. Secret of a happy marriage: Marry someone that you would not mind being friends with and never get in the way of their growth and development.
BR: You have 2 daughters Claudia and Emily. Are you a nice father to them? Are you at home often enough? How much criticism you get from them? What it is like to be in a female family: you being the only male! Can you survive? If there is, tell us about this female ‘blockade’!
D’ADAMO: My kids would probably tell you that I was home too much! I think I am an indulgent father. Martha recently did some calculations and it appears that I will be in a household simultaneously replete with one spouse in menopause and two offspring in puberty. As far as the male-female thing, I think today’s kid is pretty multi-faceted with regard to gender bending: Both kids love sports, books and games (‘Diplomacy’ is a current favourite) so there are lots of ways they can react with dear old Dad.
BR: Martha is an O. You are an A! O’s stand for rationality, A’s for emotionality! How do you manage?
D’ADAMO: Extra entrees.
BR:You are a very busy man. Books, an encyclopedia, educational courses, lectures to be given, a clinic with patients to attend!! Another book Eat Right 4 Your Baby in the writing stages! Is there time for hobbies? If there is, what is your favourite hobby?
D’ADAMO: Martial arts, woodworking and computer stuff. I enjoy composing electronic music, and wrote several scores for modern dance while in naturopathic school. Charles Dodge once said I was not so much a composer as a 'music systems pre-programmer' -since my hardware skills often created the tools other musicians used to make music, rather than me making the music myself. Now I mostly do it for fun.
BR: Recently I heard that you broke your ankle! How could this happen? Too hasty? Too busy to watch out? Tell us about your temporary handicap!
D’ADAMO: I was practicing a ‘spin back kick’ in a room with a Pergo-type floor. I had just cleaned the floor with a device called a Swiffer. Unfortunately Pergo floors have a tiny amount of Teflon in their coating and the Swiffer leaves behind a trace of a surfactant. Anyway, in the middle of the kick, I suddenly felt as if I was on ice, falling onto my ankle, breaking the fibula and in general making a mess of all the ligaments and tendons. The orthopod pretty much wanted to pin the ankle and put me in a non-walking cast to 4-6 weeks. I asked him to give me two weeks, went home, put my foot up and started pumping in all the nutritional stuff I could think of. Two weeks later: no pin needed. Three weeks later I resumed taking karate class (modified). Four weeks later: discharged. Now, five weeks later, I can do everything except major pivoting. Folks, this naturopathy stuff works.
BR: What was your naturopathic education like?
D’ADAMO: I was in the first graduating class of John Bastyr College of Naturopathic Medicine, now Bastyr University in Seattle Washington. Very different from today’s naturopathic college. No student loans (I worked as a night watchman, insurance examiner and as a sexton in an Episcopal church) no campus (our classes were at Seattle Central Community College) and minimal amenities. Yet I still think we were perhaps the best trained naturopaths of all. Many of our mentors were the ‘classic’ naturopaths of the 1940-50’s- now most dead - and if we were hamstrung as far as things like test tubes and audio-visual machinery, our education was blessed with an indulgence and immediacy from some of the best minds in the field.
BR: Dr. D. you have ‘fans’ all over the world! Will you be planning other author tours, like you did in the past?
D’ADAMO: These are becoming a fact of life for me. I suspect the future holds more book tours, perhaps in the fall or winter.
BR: What does the future hold for Dr. D'Adamo?
D’ADAMO: I'm slowly cutting back on private practice. Although I enjoy it, it leaves very little time for research, which I am itching to resume. Now that Dr. Bronner Handwerger has joined the practice I'm much more secure in knowing that my patients will be treated effectively. He really is a phenomenal doctor. As for me, the availability of an entirely new generation of DNA-based testing systems makes me excited about basic research for the first time in a while. The Institute for Human Individuality at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine will also go on-line this Fall-Winter, so there will have to be a lot of policy-making done with regard to its research agenda as well.
BR: During my stay in your clinic, I was in awe with the way you treat your patients. Such patience and open mindedness towards everyone. I've never seen a doctor so dedicated! Your staff in the clinic are motivated and have worked for you for many years. That shows their dedication to you. We are happy to have you around to watch over our health! Thank you for this interview.
D’ADAMO: Thank you Cocky.
Photograph copyright 2002 Robert Messineo.