There's currently a thread on the Forum entitled, "Have You Converted Anyone Yet?" I'm somewhat bothered by the very notion, and even moreso as I read some of the posts. And I realize it's because I don't see the switch to using Bloodtype science, to one's health-benefit, as a "conversion". It was not such for me.
If there ever was a dietary conversion for me, it was the one that removed me from an unprincipled, "whatever", upscale urban American diet over 20 years ago (via macrobiotics). After a couple of years outside the mainstream, I never really returned to it, as I was now permanently aware of the gulf between nutritional unconsciousness and optimal health. As for my adoption of bloodtype-related dietary principles, it wasn't a "conversion", but, rather, a refinement of thinking that has created some new parameters and, definitely, broadened my understanding of Individualized Health practice.
"Why quibble about semantics?" you ask. Because when I share of my knowledge and experience of bloodtype science, it's not with "conversion" in mind. And usually I don't congratulate myself when someone with whom I've shared the knowledge begins to actually practice according to D'Adamo's guidelines: I have, frankly, no interest in creating a community of souls who "strictly follow" the Blood Type Diet! My long experience in health fields has afforded me the longitudinal perspective whence individuals' journeys are respected, and timing is, indeed, Everything.
I'm particularly grateful to Peter for his Tier One/Tier Two brainstorm, because people tend to seek out a new way of eating from two broad angles:
1. Those who are gravely ill and are ready to follow a diet/lifestyle to-the-letter as if a prescription medication, and who call themselves "compliant" or "non-compliant" according to the degree to which they conform to an Absolute Decree – as well as those not at all ill but whose personalities manifest somewhat of a compulsiveness, whereby they are unable to take on a new item/phenomenon/phase/program with anything other than utter punctiliousness. All of the above are candidates for "Tier Two", and understandably so.
2. Those who are relatively healthy and/or whose previous experiences have been broad enough to contribute to an expansive, progressive approach to health. These are those who are delighted to receive the New Medicine, and to adopt a way of life that, practically, makes good use of it, and takes into account perhaps several other sources of solid input culled from a lifetime of health awareness. These are your "Tier One" adherents, of whom I count myself one (This tier would also be appropriate for those who've attained health-goals on Tier Two and are ready for a "lifetime maintenance" plan.)
When I share various bloodtype teachings with others – clients, friends, family – I am careful to fully respect the integrity of the whole personhood behind the otherness of their lifestyles. Numerous and profound are the determinants driving dietary choices, consumer choices, and eating behaviors: I DON'T MESS WITH 'EM.
I do share bloodtype science with, for instance, clients, in three ways:
1. As one factor in the postnatal recovery and optimizing of breast milk production.
2. As a guideline for the type of exercise/fitness program that will facilitate good, individualized "re-entry" into a public identity from the postpartum, as well as sound psychological adjustment to parenthood
3. As an intriguing means of understanding:
(a) health issues that have arisen in their own or their families' history
(b) the anthropologic connections implied by blood type.
Most often, I find that clients are particularly interested in SOME aspect from among the above. And I'm happy to introduce them to the literature that can guide them more deeply into their own fascination. But, if the client doesn't show interest, I'm not at all inclined to press it upon him/her (Bear in mind that my very rich and varied background provides NUMEROUS angles and bits of information for my clients, beyond and in addition to Bloodtype Medicine.
--Sometimes a client has had a miscarriage in her past; we examine this in light of Blood Type science, and this revelation can be sufficient to launch her into an intense study of Dr. D'Adamo's work.
-- Sometimes a client's home and/or library displays keen interests in particular cultures or geographical regions; when I explain the blood type associations, the client is usually fascinated to learn of a possible biological link and often demonstrates a vigorous interest in the dietary/fitness guidelines as well, though not always or, at least, immediately.
I don't get "bogged down", however, with BTD-as-Answer-to-Everything, because, as with my clients, so with everyone else: It may be neither the appropriate time NOR THE RIGHT APPROACH, when all circumstances are taken into account, circumstances I simply haven't the utter hubris to assume I know or understand or even have any right to examine.
Having said all of the above, the reality is, I am experiencing constant feedback from friends, family, and clients, to the effect that they now use/follow the BTD, having learned of it first from me! I'm immensely gratified, because I'd spoken this truth at only its opportune moment, and they were grateful for the "hands off" respect I'd shown them in my enthusiastic sharing of my own personal knowledge and experience. I've "converted" no one, really. Yet the percentage of those with whom I share of the science who end up pursuing it in some fashion is high.
Finally, friends: If the messenger is simply (and knowledgeably) enthusiastic, the message runneth over. If, on the other hand, the messenger's ego is invested in the nature of audience-reception, the message is resisted. No one can teach a messenger FAKE nonchalance: You're either manipulating or sharing, and each has its characteristic scent. So: Cultivate a genuine permissiveness, a liberal acceptance of sheer Otherness, and thus evidence your true understanding of Dr. D'Adamo's work's very raison-d'être: Individuality.
This blog originally posted on 4 April 2006, was somehow deleted from my archives, and posted again on 10 May, 2006. Again it is missing from my archives. So let's try again!
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I read Mike Staffieri's recent blog about his company picnic, where he, as an O, found so little he could eat. He shares with us his fantasy of a BTD-showcasing, catered menu for next year's picnic, and I enjoyed the imaginary repast. In the real world, however, one must expect to be BTD-limited at these types of functions. When it comes to using such occasions as mass experiments, I wouldn't.
Just as Mike felt limited, people tend not to appreciate being forced to eat this or that way, in a circumscribed setting: Mike doesn't like there being only wheat (and not spelt) buns for his burger; well, in his fantasy, if you want a bun, it's spelt or nothing! For me, it's too in-your-face an approach. I don't think "ticking people off" is the way to endear myself, or my ideas, to them. I prefer the "we're-all-in-the-same-boat" approach. To wit: Twenty years back, in macrobiotic days, I used to fly coast to coast. I'd pack lunch and open it on my tray while everyone else was dealing with whatever was served. My meal would inevitably pique neighbors' interest, and I'd practically have to fight off the whole section's demand for a full lecture!
In non-macro days, I've packed my own meal(s) for air travel, and, no matter what it is/was, my less foresightful co-passengers would clamor for a peek, an explanation, even a taste! Once, from Fort Lauderdale to LaGuardia, a guy two rows back stood up and exclaimed, "Twenty-five bucks for whatever SHE's eating!" (I had a second sandwich and sold it to him!) We were all in the same boat/plane. I'd found the solution to our shared dilemma, and the others were both jealous and educated.
Why not just do what you need to do in life, to get by as you choose? Interested parties can be counted on to enquire. If you want the company identity of "Weird Food Guy" or "The One Who Put Us Through That Ridiculous Picnic", fine. It's one thing to be the oddball (your choice, no victims); it's another entirely to enclose others in a space and deprive them of their expected chow -- Whoa!
From my restaurant days, I learned this: People are just-so about their food. They have expectations. If you want happy customers (office-mates), you'd better offer 'em what they EXPECT. If the crowd loves dogs 'n burgers with their three-legged-race, don't surprise 'em with "Vegan this year" or even an amazing (catered) variety that changes the whole theme/tenor of the picnic to something less down-home and more precious/rarefied. Even a diverse (great for all blood types) salad bar-type presentation could vex those expecting their annual BBQ ribs! If you're okay with others' less-than-thrilled reactions, fine; if one of those disappointed folks happens to be your supervisor, don't say I didn't warn you!
Meanwhile, thanks for sharing your picnic fantasy with those of us who'd appreciate its realization!
I live in San Francisco, home to a bazillion restaurants per capita, many with very, very busy dishes and complex menus. But I grew up in a pretty food-savvy family that usually appreciated gustatory simplicity.
I - Poppy's Fish
The first of the Four Funny Food Stories will be in honor of Poppy, my grandfather. He was a great connoisseur of Basic Food; he appreciated the perfect steak, the perfect tomato, the perfect baked potato.
One Thanksgiving weekend, 30-or-so years ago, much of my extended family was in Florida, and my grandparents took us all out for dinner at one of those fresh seafood restaurants where a new menu is printed each day, featuring the day's 2-dozen-or-so catches, in the context of Italian cuisine. As we were a large party, the captain and two waiters were assigned arcs of our table and took our orders. I sat to the right of Poppy who, it was clear, was the host. The captain arrived last at Poppy's side and said, "And you, sir, what can we bring you?"
"Ya gotta piece of fish?" Poppy asked.
"Oh, yes, sir," replied the captain, gesturing over the entire menu. "Everything you see here was caught today. Do you have a specific --"
"I don't want bones," Poppy proclaimed. "I want a good piece of fish, no bones, and make sure it's HOT."
Poppy at his finest. It wasn't that he wasn't familiar with each and every variety of fish on that menu. But Poppy's knowledge of restaurants was keen to an undeniable fact: Any kitchen can turn out a dish whose busy sauce detracts from its imperfect fiieting/trimming and tepid temperature. He knew then, as I surely know now: The better chefs excel at the basics of meat/fish selection, "butchering", and simple cooking. Excellent food with nowhere to hide.
II - Trendy Compotes
Ten years ago my cousin Sandy was visiting San Francisco from New York with his wife and son. As usual, he had reservations for all of us for every meal (for 3 days) at the city's trendiest restaurants.
One evening, we arrived at a magnificent spot, were seated at the best table and handed menus. It was here I was offered ostrich for the first time and questioned the waiter about it. He described four medallions of meat, presented with "three compotes" which he went on to describe in exquisite detail, diverting from the meat itself, which he praised but not nearly as highly as he raved over those compotes.
I ordered the ostrich medallions appetizer and the glass of Pinot Noir he recommended with it. The wine arrived and was finished and I was still waiting for that appetizer: My dinnermates, too, were very curious to see and perhaps taste the special dish I'd been adventurous enough to order.
Finally, with my second glass of Pinot, the dish arrived. We all stared at the huge plate, whose epicenter contained four thin discs of browned meat, each the size of a half-dollar. The "three compotes", it turned out, were tiny, thimble-sized molds, composed of ultrafinely minced vegetable matter, whose 25-or-so ingredients had taken 5 minutes for the waiter to describe earlier. And, of course, there was the essential flourish of garniture somewhere-or-other on the huge charger; Sandy's wife gasped, "Oh, what a Presentation! You just HAVE to admire the Presentation!" What else could she say?
As we were marveling over the 2-or-3 ounces of food on my plate, Sandy hailed the waiter.
"Yes, sir? Is everything all right?"
"Look, kid," said Sandy, as he pointed at my plate. "Could you at least bring her a tweezer, so she can eat this?"
We all enjoyed a hearty laugh, everyone at the table was given an ostrich medallion, and I moved on to my prime rib main course and didn't look back.
Like Poppy, Sandy was a "senior" not afraid to call a spade a spade. But what of the younger, greener visitor to our hopelessly decadent eateries?
III - Impossible Hamburger
About fifteen years ago, I was helping a recently-arrived young Chinese woman acclimate to San Francisco, register for an English language program, etc. She had had almost no English instruction whatsoever.
The first time I took her to lunch, she couldn't read the menu and I tried to act-out each dish, pointing, gesturing, describing. She understood "hamburger", indicating that that was what she wanted. I flagged the waitress and ordered.
When I gave my lunchmate's order, the waitress asked, "How do you want it done?" Uh oh. I couldn't convey this to my friend, so I told the waitress, "Just make it medium."
"Sesame bun, baguette, or crunch roll?"
"I guess bun," I said.
"Plain is good," I replied, glancing at my Chinese friend who hadn't a clue...
"Curly fries, garlic fries, homefries or steak fries?"
"You want mayo on that?"
"Just bring it on the side."
"Pickles, lettuce, tomato and onion?"
"Sure. On the side."
Boy was I glad my friend hadn't ordered the Turkey Sandwich: ("Smoked, honey-roasted, or pepper-roasted? Dijon, yellow or maple horseradish mustard? Walnut-olive bread, foccacia, baguette or crunch roll? Cheese? Swiss, Havarti, Cheddar or Pepper Jack?" ARRGGHHHH!
My friend recognized the brand name "Coca Cola", so we defaulted to that. Next time, we went to a Chinese restaurant!
IV - Trouper of a Waiter
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, a friend and I dined at an off hour at a very popular Burmese restaurant, which usually has a line around the corner: I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Ultimately there was precious little I could order and remain within my B parameters. Every dish contained dry shrimp flakes, or oily sauces, or deep-fried-in-who-knows-what crispy, questionable-dough treats...Suffice it to say the waiter really had to earn his tip describing almost every dish in detail at our request.
I ended up with barbecued pork riblets and Asian "sangria", dodging the tomatoes, peanuts, chicken, and shellfish that flatly dominated the menu. And I didn't feel contented afterward. That's what I'm noticing so acutely. Very busy food (unless I make it myself with superb ingredients) isn't as satisfying as a clean, broiled chop or fish-steak, a straightforward salad, vegetable, maybe a potato or yam or a plate of cheeses, nuts, and/or fruits...
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Am I channeling Poppy? or is it simply that I'm approaching my own Seniorness? Who knows, in just a few years I may start ordering like Poppy: "Gimme something Prime, aged, medium-rare and sizzling: No sauce."
"Kid: You gotta hot yam? Butter on the side."
Note: This blog originally published 10 Jan 2006 and, with about 25 other blogs from my archives, was wiped out a couple of years ago. As Dr. D'Adamo has suggested, I shall restore selected lost entries to the archives, beginning with this one.
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The importer of Zen monastic cookery-philosophy to the West adopted the name Georges Ohsawa. As Master of his American "macrobiotic" (he coined the term) disciples, his practice was to sit over them each morning and receive their well-considered questions.
One morning, a disciple asked him, "Master, what is the proper response when one who is following Diet #7 [nothing but brown rice] is invited to his family's biennial Reunion? Burgers 'n dogs are grilled, and there's cole slaw and potato salad and s'mores. Does one bring along some rice balls in Tupperware? or does he decline the invitation altogether, preserving his pure practice?" Whereupon the Master took a languourous drag from his Marlboro, held it ponderously, and let it out in a steady, controlled stream before, all eyes upon him, savoring a sip of black coffee.
"The macrobiotic way" he declared, "is that, ultimately, of Balance. If one is sufficiently adept to follow the Number 7 Path, he navigates the currents of life with a flowing and artless balance. Wherefore the Answer is this: One prepares one's body, well in advance, to receive the extreme dietary elements, and one knows how to restore its balance after having so indulged. But to refuse such a family invitation, especially in light of its traditional and infrequent nature, OR to evidence such pride as to abstain from full participation, bringing along, instead, one's own 'superior' dinner, is a sign of drastic Imbalance and thus makes plain the unreadiness of the disciple for Diet Number 7."
I love this story. It brings one's entire world into the Life Equation. Our dietary decisions are not isolated bytes; we "live and move and have our being" within a larger body. Family traditions and community interactions are mocked at great peril, if these constitute the very fabric, lining one's Path.
Likewise teaches the Western Tradition:
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify one another." - Romans 14:19
"For if a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another." - Galatians 6:3,4.
"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not Love, I am nothing." - I Corinthians 13:2.
No one will be considered spiritually superior for following any diet whatsoever, or for being tobacco- or caffeine-free.
And, brethren, let us love one another. Where there is Love, there's patience, forbearance, joy...Without love, your "excellent health" is, in fact, sickness; your "Tier Two compliance" [in 2010 I'd add SWAMI compliance] a mere smokescreen for arrogance. East or West, Love is what constitutes True Health. Amen.
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22 November 2010 ADDENDUM: Just came across this little story. Thought I'd throw it into the mix:
One day in the Vale of the Hermitages, when a feast was being celebrated, the brethren were eating together in their place of assembly. A certain brother said to those who were serving at table, 'I won't eat anything cooked, just a little salt on my bread.'
The one who was serving at table called to another brother and said in the presence of the whole gathering, 'This brother is not eating anything cooked. Bring him just a little salt.'
Then one of the elders rose and said to the brother who had asked for salt, 'It would have been better for you today to eat meat alone in your cell, rather than to publish what you are doing to so many of the brethren.'
--from Sayings of the Desert Fathers
Dr. D'Adamo writes of his own need to take carpentry breaks during work days, to enjoy using different parts of his brain so as not to get bogged down in any one activity. He says he thinks A's might particularly need to do this.
As a B, I'd say that also suits me, depending upon the type of work it is. If I'm doing scholarly work, researching and writing, I like huge, uninterrupted blocks of time: Days on end, if possible! But if I'm working with clients and the public, I prefer 3- to 5-hour sessions at most. This introvert can do professional extraversion to beat the band, but wearies of it. I come on like gangbusters and win the sales prizes; I also do sensitive therapeutic work with postpartum women. These types of performance require much quiet contemplation -- call it Carpentry -- intervening. I have enjoyed a bit of movement, as in travel, between clients and am acquainted with many B free-lancers, part-timers and home-workers: Ideal constructs for those with nomadic genes. We touch base with societies and are excellent merchants at the trade fairs, but most of the time we're watching our flocks graze or talking to ourselves on horseback.
The A camp definitely harbors its share of introverts. Perhaps their need to shift gears within the daily cycle, however, is based upon something other than the intro/extravert dialectic; and more on the need to exercise creativity, to -- as Dr. D'Adamo says -- make like Churchill and paint watercolors in wartime. (I think Churchill amidst so much horrible destruction needed not only to zone-out but to create lovely things that spoke of peace.)
O's can burn out by running on all cylinders and driving themselves mercilessly; it's a pattern they assume when young, and it can transform what should have been quiet artistic moments into pressured commissions and high-powered obligations. I know many, many creative O's who savored their creative processes in youth, but who were hard-driving producers, out of habit, by the time they were in their 30's and 40's, having forgotten the former serenity. Their careers can become all about fame and endorsements, and they can lose the Magic. O downtime should include channeled physical workouts. This keeps O on an even, calm keel for the rest of the day; he's worked up his daily sweat already: Now he can let up. Many O extraverts don't acknowledge the possibility for healthy introversion at all, finding fault with less impressive credentials and lighter cv's.
As for the AB's, when we treat of harboring opposites, we're preaching to the choir. With both A and B alleles/antigens, PLUS the O-like catecholamine responses, AB is a little of everything, and it's got to be challenging to be a young AB looking for a niche, a self-definition, an integrated personality.
I find that young people (those under 35/40 or so) struggle with self-acceptance and skills-apportionment more than oldsters, who've figured out how to strike workable balances between their many facets and proclivities. Bloodtype principles can certainly give adolescents and young adults a head-start in self-understanding within a body/mind-affirming paradigm.