It has been estimated that the US distribution of blood types is in the neighborhood of 44% O, 42% A, 10% B, and 4% AB. The combination most often paired in couples in my files/ experience is: O with A. I won't speculate as to why that is, but I have found that a brief explanation of the differences in health profile, diet, fitness needs and temperament, go a long way toward piquing O and A interest in Dr. D'Adamo's work. As I did last night, I tell folks:
You're O / Honey is A:
Honey expects you to cut back on your red meat and eat more rice and pasta than you'd care to. Honey might even be a vegetarian and thinks Dean Ornish's or macrobiotic dietary guidelines are Best for Everyone. But A's cooking and choices don't work for you; you feel sluggish after one of A's meals, as if you need higher octane fuel.
Honey's stress threshold might be lower than yours. S/he doesn't seem as hardy a specimen, as if there's something more delicate or high-strung about him or her that requires your protection and sensitivity. Your idea of a fun day together includes far more aerobic exertion than A would like. S/he enjoys golf or yoga - these bore the heck out of you. When you try tennis as your happy compromise, you may find yourself trying to work up a serious sweat while A focuses on perfecting strokes and self-competing, perhaps stressfully. If you two decide on a bike ride, you say, "Cool - Let's ride across the bridge, brunch in Sausalito, and come back," while A would be more comfortable with a leisurely ride around the neighborhood.
Sometimes you feel you're carrying all the weight of the household/family/relationship, but you admit your A is responsible, though not necessarily obviously passionate or energetic.
You're A and your Honey is O:
Honey drives you hard - can even seem a nag or taskmaster, but wears it well, and you're often grateful for the challenges and inspiration. O can give you the "kick in the pants" you need, spurring you to greater career engagement and satisfaction -- or can wear you out trying to reach ever higher, even beyond your capacity.
Honey has a temper. It can shatter your peace, and you just might take to occasionally tuning it out. S/he might appreciate your even keel, but you must consciously explore ways to deal with O intensity.
Honey is more naturally, constitutionally competitive out there in the world; it's more important to O self-esteem to make a splash, and s/he loves knowing the ropes and the right names. You're more comfortable in a somewhat more circumscribed domain, wherein you're happy to keep to your schedule/ routine and work out the fine points. You may be more mental where O is physical. You may fancy chess or puzzles or crafts where O has little patience for these.
Sometimes you may wish your O would relax, act more like a yogi or Buddhist. But if you read Dr. Atkins instead of Dr. Ornish, you'll see what works better for Honey than for you. It's not that s/he really despises Veganism or tofu-eaters; it's just that O can't relate to a way of eating that makes him/her feel unwell. Don't take it personally or ply your O with literature and references versus Meat, or with soyfoods. Rather, read Eat Right 4 Your Type ...and Vive la Différence.
Once O and A understand the intrinsic constitutional differences, this is a complementary pairing that runs the gamut of personality, interest and style, modeling a variety of approaches for any children born to it. And, Good News for the O/A couple: Any biological children will be O or A -- no additional types to consider in the household.
O/A relationship guidelines can be applied to parent-child and sibling-sibling relationships, too.
"Sheesh - you're just like your father!" might find some explanatory foundation in blood type.
Some version of the above Diversity Explanation has interested many I've told in the bloodtype work. It brings a practical, real-life solution directly to points of curiosity and even vexation in the actual day-to-day lives of many couples, and individuals. Where the D'Adamo work is thus brought down to earth for someone, s/he is not likely to easily scorn it where it is derided, but might instead say, "There may be something to it."
Try it out.
On a current Forum thread, a poster despairs of making tofu palatable for her A husband.
I didn't want to derail that thread, but I do want to tell what I've said to those who haven't yet found the keys to Delicious Tempeh as well:
1. Pay attention to brand. Different brands can have very different tastes.
2. Some brands have "flavored" (i.e., pre-marinated) varieties. These might actually be delicious. You could find one you use all the time.
3. With tofu: Density is an important factor. There is "firm" tofu. There is "silky" tofu...
4. With tofu: You've got to express its water before you cook it. In the package, it is soaking in liquid, and you have to press this out. You can put the block of tofu on a plate, then cover it with another plate, and put a weight on that upper plate. Periodically pour off the liquid that has come out, until no more water is expressed. Now you can work with the tofu.
5. Frying and baking are the methods that I find most successful with someone who "doesn't like" tofu. You want to BROWN the tofu, give it a little crust that will contrast with the inner soft chewiness.
6. Tofu will absorb and nicely reflect the flavors you cook with it, so choose your oil and other ingredients carefully.
Over the past week I've had occasion to counsel a couple of different O people on getting started with the blood type diet. One of these was a 55 year old male with Rx-treated health problems; the other a 41 year old female in good health but overweight. Following is my basic prescription:
1. Understand the O Type.
Get the overall lay of the land. I like Dr. D'Adamo's book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, for a general introduction to blood types, the medicine and the anthropology. But, if you only buy one book, I suggest diving right into his Live Right 4 Your Type. I like the latter's numerous charts, showing health strengths and vulnerabilities and offering so many helpful tips for different age groups and conditions. It also treats of "secretor status", which you may or may not choose to investigate.
2. Take a look at those O potential weaknesses:
The general list includes: Inflammations, allergies, arthritis, ulcers. Depression/bipolar illness, anger management problems, impulse control problems – addictions, alcohol abuse; thyroid problems, Parkinson's disease, osteoporosis. O's can get a pretty good sense of their general health by noting which, if any of the above, affect them noticeably.
3. Look at D'Adamo's food recommendations
See the overarching shape of D'Adamo's recommendation for your type. For the O, this means emphasizing animal protein – especially red meat, your highest octane fuel. It means de-emphasizing dairy and grains/starches and liberally using green vegetables and beneficial fruits, e.g., berries. Analyze your current practice, and compare it to D'Adamo's model.
A note on meat for the O type: This is my own particular image, but I see the O stomach as a piranha, hungry for animal flesh. My favorite childhood TV sitcom, The Addams Family, featured a pet piranha in a fish tank. A whole fish would be dropped into the piranha's tank; the water would be intensely roiled by the feeding, and the complete skeleton of the piranha's meal would be ejected from the tank within seconds! Consonant with that image, I tell O's: Feed your stomach acid! Give it something to do! Employ it, so it doesn't eat your stomach! The stomachs of those who are not of type O do not produce this abundance of protein-dissolving acid. You've got it: Use it. Toss it some red meat to keep it docile!
4. Look at D'Adamo's fitness recommendations
For the O, this means a daily sweaty workout! I've found that many O's notice more even moods and less anger-outbursts when they work out hard at the outset of their day. They seem to enter the fray with equanimity and balance, less likely to be addled by annoying circumstances. Obviously there are many other benefits to the right program, too, but the evenness of temper is often quickly and dramatically appreciated.
5. Prioritize your Beginner Program
(a) Add Beneficials
With Dr. D'Adamo's program, I like to think: Lifetime maintenance plan from the get-go. I do not recommend "hitting the ground running": Choose one suggestion such as "eat more lean red meat" and focus on that for at least a week, noting any changes in overall health or well-being.
Choose easy things first. Adding red meat portions. Then adding leafy greens. Then adding berries. Increasing the rigor of morning workouts. If you don't work out at all, then adding a weekly intense workout, or doing some yoga or stretching for ten minutes every day for a week. (Obviously your health and age must be factored-in)...that sort of thing.
(b) Subtract Avoids
Once you've gotten used to bennies and workouts, lighten up on the avoids. Usually the practice of (a) results in improved morale and motivation to drop bread or pasta somewhat. Switching from bread to crackers is an interim step many O's have found helpful in the weaning process. Look at your dairy consumption and switch from avoids to beneficials/neutrals where that's most comfortable for you.
6. One-at-a-Time Food Category Focus
Look at, e.g., your beverage consumption habits. How compliant is it? Switch types of tea or wine: That sort of thing. Oils? Drop sunflower and go with olive. Easy stuff first!
I do not recommend shooting for "100% compliance"; it is far less likely, with most relatively healthy people, to eventuate in an enjoyable lifelong practice. When in doubt, choose the easy way over the difficult one. At the beginning, do not necessarily obsess on minors such as spices or even individual fruits and vegetables. Three to four weeks thus, at a slow pace, will usually yield positive results, boosting morale and preparing for the next phase. These can be improved by knowing your secretor status. I explain what this is/means.
7. Learn about/take into account Secretor Status.
Approximately 80% of the population secretes blood type antigen in body tissues other than on the red blood cell surfaces, and this secretion is a boon, increasing immune defenses. The non-secreting minority is more susceptible to health challenges and is likelier to have a number of hard-to-diagnose or -to-treat ailments. Begin with the assumption you are a secretor, however, unless you identify with my description of the non-secretor. Live Right 4 Your Type will offer somewhat different dietary recommendations for the two groups. The secretor test is based upon a saliva sample (to determine whether you are secreting blood type antigen in your saliva). It is available for home-administration through Dr. D'Adamo's website.
The foregoing represents a general introduction to practicing Dr. D'Adamo's guidelines for the O newbie. If your blood type is not O, take a look at the doctor's books and look up your own type, taking the same overall approach. There are cases in which I'd advise greater stringency, but in most I recommend what's more enjoyable.
Last night, the 41 year old woman said to me, "I really appreciate your attitude: I tend to go to extremes. I get overly serious and harp on the details." She was relieved by my permission to lighten up.
"If you want to lose weight quickly, only to put it back on again," I said, "go with some other diet. If you want to really live right for your type, however, for the rest of your life, learn about this way, and take it up gradually."
Last night we ate at an atypical Mexican restaurant with amazing food. It looked to me as though persons of every blood type could wrest a multi-course meal from its bold, extensive menu.
Called "Mamacita's", it is located in San Francisco's "yuppiest" neighborhood - The Marina. It was a Monday night, and the place was packed. There was a busy bar scene, too, viewed from afar.
We started with a shared appetizer of grilled scallops, served with a black bean coulis, a variety of tiny, kumquat-sized potatoes of various colors, miniature (Japanese?) artichokes, and grilled pencil asparagus. The scallops (a Nomad superfood) were dense and beefy, and very flavorful: The best scallops I've ever had. I wasn't crazy about the artichokes. For a B-nomad, the scallop/asparagus combination was perfect.
Then I actually passed over the lamb and kale taco for the carne asada taco, being in the mood for steak. It featured Niman ranch "organic" beef, a chili sauce, arugula, and flecks of goat cheese. David (type O) ordered the duck leg taco, with a sweet barbecue sauce and fruity slaw. The meat was perfectly marinated, very moist.
Okay, so we did order margaritas and enjoyed the chips and (tomato) salsa prelude. It would be worthwhile to go back to try the lamb, the mahi mahi, the various tuna dishes...
A Mexican restaurant with something for any and everyone. "Avoids" are easily dodged here; there's so much to choose from, and virtually everything is grilled. Clean food. Hooray!
Following up on my previous blog ("Taking it Easy: Life in the Normal Lane", 12 Feb. 2011), I notice that one of the terms in vogue on the dadamo Forum lately, in describing adherence to Dr. D'Adamo's principles, is "this lifestyle". I confess I don't know what this means.
The Bloodtype and Genotype diets are adaptable to almost any lifestyle, as I see it. To call their use - and/or Dr. D'Adamo's view of medicine - "this lifestyle" is alien to what his work means and has always meant to me. Are "Individualists" thus becoming conformists? Choosing a "lifestyle" wholesale is often related, rather, to cult-involvement!
My own lifestyle doesn't involve inordinate attention to the purchase of foodstuffs at the market, their preparation and their analysis. So I don't share what Forum participants proudly call "this lifestyle", even though I've been an avid D'Adamo proponent for 14 years.
When you call it a "lifestyle", that implies you have more of life in common with the Forum's other people (sitting in front of computer screens across the globe) than you do with human beings (in your actual vicinity) who shop and eat differently from you. If two neighbors are carpenters and each has a wife, 2.3 children, a dog, and drives a Jeep and belongs to, say, a bowling league, do their lifestyles differ that much if one avoids dairy products? Me, I don't think so. Does the vegan I know have a different lifestyle from his meat-eating friend? Not necessarily. Does Dr. D'Adamo expect his readers to adopt a lifestyle? I don't think so.