The recent hospitalization has definitely affected my overall outlook profoundly, even with respect to diet / lifestyle. I've faced a "worst case scenario" head-on, and it only confirms me in an easygoing approach.
No sooner did I recover from February's life-threatening ARDS than I found myself being recalled a couple of weeks ago about a suspicious radiologic finding. Then I was quickly worked up via diagnostic radiology and ultrasound, whose results compounded clinician suspicion. The lesion in question had four classic features of malignancy.
Yesterday's biopsy was under ideal conditions, including its being performed at a top-rated US hospital. Slides were prepared a few feet from my head, where the pathologist sat at her microscope and read them. She then delivered the good news.
Throughout the biopsy and the preceding two weeks' workup, I was serene.
1. I have enough of a medical background to know how advanced the technology is and how much of its use is justified by the need to train the personnel who use it! On the less cynical side, there's a necessarily high ratio of healthy patients who must be rendered anxious or apprehensive to those the technology really saves by finding their cancers early. So: Intellectually, I'm hip.
2. February's acute brush with death and day-to-day personal submission to Emergency and Critical medical care accustomed me to being pricked, probed, medicated, turned, transported, ventilated, and discussed by roving schools of clinicians and their acolytes, as well as nurses, aides, therapists and techs. My attitude is a paradoxic combination of exhausted "Yeah, yeah: Do what you have to do," and firm "Give it to me in straight clinical jargon; no 'lay language' for me, thanks," not to mention a very strong faith in God.
One thing I've always appreciated about Peter D'Adamo is his respect for holistic, as opposed to merely biochemical, individuality. He understands that not only diet but one's attitude toward health is unique to one's personhood. Some of us can tolerate more uncertainty, more sickness, more ignorance, than others. Some are more frightened by or intolerant of dysfunction or disability. Some are more scared of death than others are. And all of these factors must be considered when choosing a "compliance-level", because: Compliance with What? is the operative question.
Compliance with the D'Adamo books' recommendations?
Compliance with one's social situation? With one's workstyle or schedule?
Compliance with one's personal distribution of comfort zones?
I daresay the dadamo web forum community is far more concerned with dietary than these other sorts of compliance, necessarily to promulgate that aspect of the teaching. But dietary compliance as a major life preoccupation isn't for everyone or even for most, even in the wake of catastrophic illness – maybe especially under those circumstances! It's the old story of regretting not having told someone you loved him, say, as opposed to having used too much cinnamon. "Living Right" 4 one's bloodtype is not identical to living right for one's soul or spirit.
Emergency and intensive patient-hood often elicits a clearer expression of essence. There's a distillation, a purification, a consequent clarity. Nothing wrong with that. Having emerged from that crucible, the more recent "cancer scare" tested the substrate, and I'm pleased with the result.
Yay! A "new" blog, not a Reprise from the mistakenly deleted Archives I've been restoring of late. Actually this blog is drawn from the Journals of three years ago. Thought it would help with gift-giving this Christmas, though it was intended for housewarmings.
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What's your blood type? What's your décor taste? Years ago on dadamo forum I asked B's to describe their taste, and there seemed to be a consensus where it came to color. Bs tend to like vivid colors and "interesting" "fascinating" "eclectic" exotic elements that can be quirky, offbeat, and have stories to go with 'em. A's might find the sight/atmosphere intriguing but can't wait to get home to their relatively clutter-free, neutral-toned havens and gardens. I've met a number of O's who are obsessive-compuslive about germs/dust-mites and absolutely flawless window/mirror/refrigerator, oven-door surfaces. Some have air filters going strong, others come home from work and shine their bathtubs as pre-dinner relaxation. Ever notice this, you guys? O's are often collectors of THEMED items, such as Plains Indians moccasins to surfboards to taxidermy to shoes and jewelry and hats.
We B's can tolerate mess as we age, if we need to. It's part of the price we pay for broad-ranging interests and lives. I think there's an element of nomadism in this: We pitched our tents for purposes: Shade, shelter, storage, functional areas: Cooking, hosting/entertaining/coffee, sleep. It wasn't important that everything be hung just-so or to impress anyone. It was where you could discern some souvenirs, perceive where this clan had been, what business/craft they were in (rug? tents?) and how proud they were of their own distinctive handicrafts. You look around the B space and take it all in. It tells a story. And it's ready to be packed up quickly and transported elsewhere!
If you're shopping for blood type-appropriate housewarming gifts, here are some suggestions for O, A and B (sorry AB: Not enough experience yet) - and age is a factor:
O: Find out what s/he COLLECTS or what his/her sport is. You almost shouldn't bother with anything else. O's also like cutting-edge gizmos, especially if they're impressive: O's are often the ones with the "home-theaters". Don't give plants, unless O "collects" them, such as exotic orchids. Give things with weight/gravitas, something that says s/he's "successful". Either they drive very expensive cars or fantasize doing so - that kind of successful. Hook up automated services in their home. Send them a year's techie/geek services. Important classical art and sculpture, if in your budget. Jazz CDs otherwise. Important ceramics and antiques. Paintings. Stuff related to their pets, if it's really, really cool. "Organizing" and Junk Management services. Genealogy stuff: Maybe one of those DNA testing kits.
A: Here's where plants/trees are a great idea. If the A has a yard/garden, some cool gardening tools/technology would be well-received. If your A is plant-serious, even high maintenance plants such as ferns might be a hit. Jazz and oldies (if over 40). Best hits. Maybe Motown. A's don't go for frou-frou: Think traditional Japan. Many A's have workshops, where they do artisinal stuff, crafts. Find out if this one does, too, and cater to that. Elegant crafts items themed to A's hobby would be a hit, but functional is best. A's like books in their field of interest, or magazine subscriptions. A's tend to like the Japanese aesthetic as opposed to the Central Asian. Japanese style kitchenware, including Cha (tea) accoutrements. A Go (game) board or, for those with land, archery set might be appreciated. Some go for the meditation pillow/stool; DVDs/CDs to accompany yoga. Bathing-facilitating objects/aids could be a hit if your recipient is one of the bath nuts. Some A's distinctly are not, but all natural (no synthetics!) aromatherapeutic bath/shower products might be appreciated, as would bath brushes, shower-heads, that sort of stuff. If your A is into vitamins, anything that might help him/her manage their administration is another winner. (Age, life-phase could be a key here.) A gift certificate at North American Pharmacal or its monthly delivery of bloodtype-specific nutritional supplements would be fantastic. If your A has a pet, a pet-oriented gift might be just the (awwww) ticket. Find out if there's a superb spa in the new neighborhood. A gift certificate for a massage or facial is often A-heaven. As A's are often vegetarian, a subscription to an organic farmers' delivery service is a great gift and one I've seen arriving in many an A household. A green-tea-of-the-month subscription is another educational tool/horizon-broadener.
B: Again, find out what they collect, and cater to that. As a B myself I'll tell you that bookcases have been RARELY, if ever, refused. Coffee table books on a B's pet subject, and art themed to it (but art is ALWAYS CHANCY. Keep it small!) can work. Gift certificates to bookstores are never unwelcome. B's are quite sensitive to smell. If there's an aromatherapeutic hobby here, its paraphernalia (including diffusors, burners and fans) are a great idea. If the B has space, you can't go wrong with oriental throw-rugs, Bactrian camel saddles, salvaged architectural elements from the Maghreb or Punjab, and fine paisley textiles, for instance. Items that are colorful/unusual and that come with an exotic tale are the way to go: A beautiful vase is twice as beautiful if it was haggled-over in a Damascus souk or slightly chipped "when it fell off the elephant". B's go for flowering plants or ones with variegated foliage, but: A subscription to a plant doctor/horticultural care service is a good idea for when B's flights of fancy render him/her distracted from that chore. But think "Addams Family", says this B. CDs of harpsichord music, organ music, "World Music" (Turkish oud, Celtic fiddle, Japanese koto). A Tibetan friend once gave me a priestly unction bottle; I actually gave it as a gift to someone else, but we B's give as good as we get. A good reading light is another fine gift. A beautiful lamp often finds a happy B home. Find out your aging B's reading glasses' power, and buy a few pairs of varied styles for every reading station in the house. Library ladders and step-stools are essential in many B homes. Housekeeping service gift certificates: Wow. Find a bonded housekeeper and send him/her to a B after the move: What a big help!
'Tis more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
Two of the distinctives of extreme dietary asceticism that stand out, over my many years of nutritional study, experimentation, and life-witness/association, are:
-- its inevitable nutrient deficiencies, sometimes partially ameliorated with "supplements"
-- its tendency to overstay its welcome versus temporary therapeutic implementation.
A short list of the serious nutritional deficiencies risked among strict vegans, for example, demonstrated in the literature, is as follows:
Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, Biotin, choline, folic acid, inositol, niacin, PABA, pantothenic acid, Vitamins C, D, E, Calcium, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulfur, vanadium, and zinc, not to mention amino acids and fatty acids.
Partakers of meat, fish, dairy and eggs are getting not only SOME of the above nutrients through their regular, unstudied diets alone, they're getting higher concentrations of them -- in milligrams -- than the amounts of many of the nutrients available in normal dietary (food-sourced) vegan sources.
So: Brewer's Yeast and Blackstrap Molasses for dinner? with rice, beans, veggies and soy? Sitting down to 18 dietary supplement pills with a bowl of sesame quinoa? Constituting the world's first Pill-Nutrition culture? It's obviously not a society that will endure and perpetuate itself en masse: Its diet is only half food!
Soy? Great for As and ABs in particular, but, alone, it doesn't stack up against meat and dairy and eggs and fish when it comes to fats, proteins, and most of the above vitamins and minerals.
Most vegans are normal persons, insofar as they'd choose to pursue lives that center around activities other than the endless measuring-out of the compensatory lecithin, yeast, wheat germ and molasses, etc., that would be required to keep them free of nutritional deficits. Therefore, these mentally normal vegans are USUALLY dietarily deficient in several of the above essential nutrients -- often gravely so.
But vegans aren't the only dietary fundamentalists missing the point of eating-to-live (in favor of living-to-supplement/eat). I adhered very briefly, in the mid 1980s, to a macrobiotic diet, and it was very good for my health, during that circumscribed period). The time came, however, when I'd met my health goals, to broaden my diet; as for its "lifestyle", Macrobiotics had never been my religion, but I did meet hundreds of macros with (similar to hard core vegans') long term dietary narrowness.
People of different blood types and subtypes may have good reason to avoid certain food groups wholesale, during times of addressing serious health crises (Dr. D'Adamo's guidelines stipulate for such crises, even to the point of recategorizing certain "avoid" foods as "beneficial" for short term therapeutic purposes.). Strict vegan parameters have, perhaps, usefulness in such a therapeutic context as well, but MOST people cannot thrive on that diet over the long haul. They become seriously deficient in several crucial nutrients, even if they use myriads of pills and potions, as these are NOT whole foods comprised of infinite intrinsic vital synergies. This is why it's so critical that strict temporary measure, such as detoxifying fasts, not be turned into long-term hair-shirt religions, and not only because of these biochemical consequences, but also because of the mental and spiritual health-risk it poses interpersonally, within the community as a whole.
Attention, Type A vegans and other "Tier Three'ers" (hyper-compliant adherents): Take very, very seriously your water retention, digestive ills, blood pressure hikes, skin eruptions, etc. Don't be tempted to treat each of these separately, so as to pinpoint its respective Band-Aid and participate in its respective chat-group. The same magnesium deficiency, for instance, that causes your insomnia could be related to your depression, kidney stones and dental caries, too! The same iron-deficiency anemia your OB addresses during your pregnancy could have been operative when you'd suffered from irregular periods before, or play its part in blood sugar or intestinal problems later ...
Hopping from one health issue to another, and/or from one supplement-mix to another, may make for a diligent and meticulous practice of measuring teaspoons of powders, soaking and counting and blending exotic ingredients, transforming you into your kitchen altar's High Priest, but that might all be instantly/"miraculously" dispensable - POOF! -- by eating a small piece of fish a couple of times a week, some eggs and/or poultry here and there, and an occasional yogurt. Presto-Change-O: Normal Blood values, shinier hair, bye-bye tremors, pimple-free complexion, etc. More time to enjoy life, less for the Internet?
Let your taste for general good health outstrip your taste for an over-deconstructed diet. If you prefer the 23 different pills for each of your "issues", own up to it as your personal idiosyncracy, not a requisite healthy practice. Beyond that, if you're ready to broaden your view to step back from an ascetic regime originally embarked upon as a temporary therapy, you'll enjoy the following story:
A friend, during my macro days, had raised her two daughters as strict macro's from birth. I'll never forget arriving at her house one day for a macro lecture and group lunch; the front door slowly opened, seemingly of itself, but I looked down to see her little 6-year-old daughter, whose hand held the knob as she grimly said to me, "You're late. And take off your shoes." It was positively macabre.
Only a year or so later, my friend's heart opened when she was bequeathed her grandmother's piano; she and her girls began taking lessons, and some floodgate burst in her soul. Later that year, her children, who'd never tasted turkey or butter or sugar before, fully, gustatorially participated in an extended family Thanksgiving dinner FOR THE FIRST TIME. Then, the girls began actually playing at friends' houses. My friend confided in me later, "When my daughters started eating some butter and sweets, I realized - Wow- they'd needed it all along. And they're, well, SWEETER! We're ALL happier people." And she had a tear in her eye.
What had POSSESSED them to deprive themselves of such pleasures? Well, my friend's husband had had a frightening deathly illness from which he'd "miraculously" recovered, through Macrobiotics, before the children were born. Thus this couple had associated "extreme yin" and "extreme yang"-labels with the foods he'd given up, and those foods with, yes, the Death he'd escaped.
It was, however, Death itself that met me at the door of their organically-perfect farmhouse that day and curtly demanded my shoeless entry.
* * * * * * *
I think we associate Death with messiness and fight it with desperate structures. We strive to organize, measure, categorize and label components (vitamins, esoteric amino acids, e.g.) in a frantic attempt to keep the wild, unknowable wholeness of a threatening realm at bay.
But we can't. There's always another symptom. We no sooner soothe our cough than we find a pimple; we are freed from that as we investigate our heartburn and find out our HDL is low and our VLDL high. So we return to our laboratories/kitchens, where we add soaked flaxseeds to our kefir smoothies and subtract the almond butter -- or was it add soaked almonds and subtract the flaxseeds? And we return to our computers and start a New Thread about Fiber. We read this one's Diet and that one's theory. Why are we counting and weighing and pouring and poring?
Are you afraid to die?
I wonder if there's ever been anyone on a deathbed saying, "If only I'd used more Blackstrap Molasses and less Barley Malt", or "It must have been those poppy seeds", rather than, oh, you know, stuff about hugging your kids more or sharing your gifts with the world, stuff that seemed deathly-scarier at the time, when you found refuge, instead, in a "health-focus".
It's one thing to desire to properly establish a new and healthy regime, to take the time and devote the wholehearted energy to recovering from illness or founding a new and uninhibited way of eating/exercising. Just make sure that, if you're fleeing Death and seeking Life, you don't confound the two!
(Friend: If your escape from Death has tricked you, too, into escaping Life, you can still come back. The door is wide open...and you can leave your shoes on!)
"I'm no baby; I'm an Infantile-American!" This has been one among the many funny sayings and songs I've invented on the job over the decades, working with infants. There's also a little comment, when the supine baby's arm is resting over her/his head, hand in a fist (a very common position, especially when that arm has fought its way out of a swaddle): "Babies Rule". (One of my moms improved on this about 2 years ago: "Infant Power, man". ) Of all my baby-sayings, these two resonate most on the political level.
I have a pet peeve about the "(fill in the blank)-American" description attributing not only ethnicity but also American nationality to unknown individuals, on the basis of appearance alone. Are all black people "African-Americans"? "A male African-American, about 5'9": Really? Did you ask him his nationality? Did you get a good look at his features? What if he was neither African nor American? What if he was SriLankan-British? or Indian-Trinidadian? Or a black Frenchman?
And what about the racially mixed? Could a "European-Asian-American" be actually a Pacific Islander and more or less Caucasian? And what of the so-called "Hispanics"? Aren't they somewhat descended of Europeans? Native Americans?
It seems to me that this politically correct manner of adjectivizing people has created much more outrageous racism than we ever had with the words "white" and "Caucasian", "black" and "Negro". I'd think that calling a man "European-American" who is but a visitor to our shores from his home in Russia amongst his Persian-born family may be more deservedly ill-received than calling him "white" or, yet more accurately, Caucasian.
Then you have the variously "disabled" and "-challenged": Is it really cruel to refer to a blind person as "blind"? A friend recently referred to my "Infantile Americans" as "Developmentally-Challenged", with the sardonic implication that even my tongue-in-cheek terminology is becoming passé.
Here in San Francisco, there may soon come a day when it'll be considered "sexist" to identify someone as male or female! First comes the offense-taking, by one or two extreme activists, and then the legislation. The first phase is already a longstanding fact here: A simple "Excuse me, sir" can equally enrage a cross-dresser of either persuasion!
Of every possible background, I love working with babies and the moms who've just borne them. They know exactly what they are and don't care what you call 'em: "Babies Rule!"
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.