Tonight I have a smile on my face, a lot of love and my heart, and a slight gurgle in my stomach. I'm at a family reunion.
My sister and her family live overseas. They come to the United States for a few weeks every summer, and we all get together for a several days at my parents' house. We have had a wonderful time today catching up on what all of us have been up to. Though we write a lot of e-mail, so we know the main events in each others lives, it's so much more vivid when we sit around the dining room table telling stories with hand motions and voice inflections.
There is a lot of laughter in my family. There is also a lot of food, not all of it BTD friendly. We had hamburgers for lunch. I warned my mom before we went to the table that I wasn't going to eat the bun. She had baked sweet potatoes the night before, and was agreeable to my warming up one of the leftover sweet potatoes to replace the bun and chips. Dinner was more difficult. On the positive side, there was a big fruit platter with several beneficial choices and green beans. On the avoid side, we had a breaded chicken dish (quite tasty) and corn on the cob (I did take the smallest piece). If those had been the only two avoids, I would probably have been ok. But there are three family birthdays in the summer and mine is one of them. I could hardly say no to carrot cake served in my honor.
The little gurgles I am feeling tonight will do me no lasting damage, but they do serve as a reminder of why I started the BTD and why I intend to continue following it.
Yesterday I said I aimed for 10 fruits & vegetables a day. Today I ate 11 different vegetables and 5 different fruits. I need to always be thankful that I live at a time and in a country where such abundance is even possible.
For breakfast I had ground seeds topped with a banana and a plum, and moistened it with pineapple juice. I packed my lunch for teacher in service: a salad made of spinach, kohlrabi, carrots and chicken with steamed parsnips on the side. I took an afternoon snack of walnuts with prunes and dried apricots. It was a good thing I did because I stayed late to finish sorting yearbooks.
Dinner was a school sponsored banquet for faculty and their guests at a buffet called Ryan's Steakhouse. At Ryan's you can eat very, very healthy and BTD compliant or very, very unhealthy and noncompliant. There are 5 different food lines plus a separate dessert line. I chose neutral and beneficial vegetables that were cooked simply. For instance fried okra, pickled okra, and okra & tomatoes were all available. There were canned green beans and fresh green beans cooked with onions. There were candied sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes grilled in their skins. I looked for the freshest vegetables and those with the fewest additives. Add two slices of roast beef, and I had a Type O feast.
But for every good choice, there were at least two bad choices available. Potatoes were prepared many different ways. Fried meats and vegetables were plentiful. Pastas, breads and other starches were there to tempt the unwary of every blood type. My husband did a pretty good job of making wise Type A choices. I suspect some of my fellow teachers, however, will be regretting their selections before morning.
The speakers for in service were chosen to inspire and motivate us teachers for the year ahead. Here is one quote that I found particularly meaningful, "You are not molding lives. They come to you molded and preformed by God. You are helping them find their place in the Body of Christ."
I am at my school computer, eating lunch. Summer's over. We had our first teacher in service meeting this morning. I was up much earlier, and had breakfast much earlier than I have been accustomed to since school was out. I have also been accustomed to a snack mid-morning. We did have a brief break during our meetings, but I avoided the muffins and orange juice. So I'm glad I packed a generous lunch.
As I've written before, I don't measure serving sizes, but I do count the number of fruits and vegetables I eat per day. I aim for 10. That is one more than the Type O diet calls for, but I don't eat as much cereal bread or grain as the BTD allows, so I substitute an extra fruit or vegetable. I naturally tend to eat more fruit, because I like it and it is easy to grab as a snack. Lately I've been making an effort to increase vegetables.
I packed four vegetables in my lunch, three of them beneficials. I had steamed asparagus with olive oil, grilled onions and spaghetti squash, and seaweed. When I packed lunches this morning I had enough lamb for one and enough roast for one. I put half of each in my son's sandwich, and wrapped half of each in sushi nori seaweed wraps for me.
Fellow blogger Paul Buckless came to the rescue on sushi nori. He wrote, "Wrap your nori rolls and run a finger moistened with water down the open edge. Seals good as gold. Wrap them in cling film to store. This will keep them fresh, crisp and more importantly in shape." I did it this way and it worked great. However Paul said that the cling wrap would keep them crisp, and it made mine softer. That was a positive for me - I liked them better soft than brittle.
I am still catching up on laundry and mail from vacation. If you sent me a note last week, don't give up, I will answer. Debs asked a question about sushi nori papers that I thought others might be interested in. She wrote, "I too have tried that dried seaweed and love it but I was wondering how do you manage to keep it closed?"
I had a number of false starts where I dripped tuna or olive oil before I found something that works for me. I put the filling in a line down the length of the paper; leaving an inch at the bottom without filling. I roll it up like a flauta or a cigar. Then I fold up the inch at the bottom (the part without filling) like a flap. That keeps it from dripping while I eat it. I usually make them as I eat them. If I were going to prepare some ahead I would pack them tightly in a plastic bag and put a rubber band around the bag to keep them from uncoiling until I was ready to eat. If you have a better method, Debs and I would love to hear about it!
Last night I cut up an onion grilling 2/3 of it for my son and myself, and giving the other 1/3 to my husband raw. This is the implementation of the Subway Compromise that we developed on vacation.
For years - long before I knew about the BTD - my husband loved to eat at Subway and I hated it. I didn't know why, but I did. As I read about the Type O and Type A diets, it made sense. Subway sandwiches are mostly grain and condiments; there is very little meat. When I (Type O) ate a Subway sandwich I felt bloated, but not satisfied. When my husband (Type A) eats a Subway sandwich he feels good about the grain, he likes the variety of condiments, and his stomach is not overwhelmed by the little bit of turkey. After I started the BTD, I totally refused to go to Subway until they came out with their "make any sub a salad" meal. They still just give me a little meat, but at least it is sitting on a mound of lettuce, rather than a gob of bread.
With that as background, on one of our vacation travel days my husband wanted to stop at a Subway. He began to ask serious questions about the difference between Type A and Type O. I think it is the first time he really tried to understand the diets. When we found a Subway, he wanted me to pick which condiments would be the best for him. Lettuce was good, tomato was not - he was disappointed but agreeable. Type As choose green olives over black. Cucumber is ok, but no pickles - that was upsetting. Onions are beneficial.
"Now, wait a minute," he said. "If I eat raw onions, you won't kiss me!" He had me in a corner. He is willing to give up tomato and pickles - am I willing to kiss onion breath? I am. It is the Subway Compromise of 2004, and I will honor it.
Things I miss about Colorado: views of the mountains, cool temperatures (it's been 106 at home today), hiking, slower pace of life.
Things I missed while we were on vacation: vegetables!!!
I've already been to the store. I bought parsnips, okra, butternut squash, kohlrabi, turnip greens, asparagus, and Swiss chard. I never realized how few vegetables are served in restaurants until this vacation. Salad is plentiful - that's good. Broccoli is available, as are onions. But when restaurants say "vegetables" they mostly seem to mean potatoes, corn, and rice.
Salad bars seem to offer lots of choices, but even they aren't ideal. Between avoids like kidney beans, cucumbers, & alfalfa sprouts, fad foods like pasta salads, and "dessert salads" like banana pudding; I feel like I'm walking through a mine field.
I remember when cafeterias served a huge variety of vegetables, but cafeterias are out of style these days. It wasn't many years ago that "home style" restaurants were popular and served dinners that included 2 or 3 vegetables from a long list of choices. One of that type restaurant is still near our home, but none were open in Estes Park. Chinese restaurants serve lots of vegetables, but MSG is always a threat and our son is extremely sensitive.
So as much as I miss the mountains, I'm glad to be back in my own kitchen preparing beneficial vegetables.
I also missed swimming laps. It will be really good to get back in the pool - especially on these hot August days.