I recently went to a banquet. The food was unusually good for a large sit down dinner - there were at least 250 plates served. I was the event photographer, so I got to wander all over the ballroom taking pictures. I recognized a friend who had volunteered to serve tables at the event. I complimented her on the food, and said that the green beans in particular were some of the best I had ever eaten.
She went back to the kitchen, and brought out one of the cooks, another volunteer who was also a friend. I said, “I don’t want you to give away any family secrets, but would you share your green bean recipe.” She said, “They are so easy. It’s not really a recipe. I cook green beans with soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic.”
Yesterday I decided to try to copy them for our lunch. I didn’t want to use soy sauce, because of the wheat. So I substituted Braggs Liquid Aminos. You could use Tamari. I didn’t want to use sugar, because if I’m going to break my no refined food policy, I want it to be for a memorable desert, not a vegetable. So I substituted agave.
Here’s how I made them.
Because roasted or stir fry vegetables retain more of their natural vitamins and phyto-nutrients, I started with a skillet and enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom. I added a substantial splash of Braggs, and a squirt of agave. I sprinkled garlic powder on top, stirred it all together, and turned on the stove. When the skillet was warm, but not piping hot, I added a pound of green beans. I sautéed them until they were tender.
They were at least as good, if not better, than the ones at the banquet. We are having the leftovers today for lunch with grilled chicken breasts.
As I ran this morning, I was listening to sermons on my MP3 player. A phrase caught my attention, “We are all evangelists about something.” He gave several examples - some people get excited about a sports team, and tell everyone about it. Some people get excited about a new exercise program, and they tell all of their friends how this new video or that new gym is better than anything they have ever done before. Some people are passionate about politics.
He said that he had always grilled on a gas grill, but someone told him about the Big Green Egg. Now he engages everyone in conversations about the superiority of the Big Green Egg. I had never heard of a Big Green Egg, but his enthusiasm, made me look it up online. It ought to be good, because it sure is expensive.
I find that I am a BTD evangelist. In conversations it is natural and easy to talk about the BTD. Someone says they are worried about their cholesterol - I tell them how my husband and I both lowered our cholesterol by eating very different diets. Someone tells me they have indigestion - I tell them how I found the BTD. Someone tells me they know they need to exercise but they don’t like running - I ask them what their Blood Type is. Someone on facebook posts in the middle of the night that they can’t sleep. The next morning I post my favorite calcium/magnesium supplement on her wall.
Our Strong Son brought a young lady to meet us, and we went for a picnic. As I was unpacking the basket, I said, “Did he tell you that I eat weird?” They both laughed and SS said, “I told her that you would ask what her blood type is.” I said, “So what IS your blood type?” She said that she didn’t know. My family knows that I can’t keep quiet about the BTD.
The point of the sermon was that while Christian people will tell others about all sorts of things that they are interested in, for some reason they keep quiet about their love for Jesus. So as I am running, I start evaluating myself, and my conversations about the things I care most about.
In this life - physically, here and now - to feel your best you need the BTD. It’s more than a diet - it is a lifestyle that includes eating, exercising, supplements, and stress reduction. I’ve experienced it, I believe in it, and I recommend it.
But the BTD cannot give meaning to your life. It cannot give you the promise of heaven. It cannot offer fellowship with God here on earth. Jesus is the only one who can do all of that. I’ve experienced him, I believe in him, and I recommend him to you.
Tuesday night I wanted dessert. I had eaten well all day, so I can’t say I was hungry. But after dinner as I was working on pictures, I wished for something cold and sweet.
Since I don’t keep avoids in my house, and we live 20 minutes from town, my choices were limited. I roamed around the kitchen thinking that I would have to make do with a LaCroix.
Then, in the back of the freezer I saw a bag of frozen mango. I put some in a bowl, and let it partially thaw - it was still frozen, but not hard. I ate it with a spoon. YUM! Cold, sweet, delicious. It satisfied my craving, and it was 100% beneficial.
We have had two groups of teenagers staying at our house for a church retreat the past two weeks. Did it throw us a little off of our retirement schedule - of course. Does the house seem empty today, and do we wish we had them back - absolutely yes!
I agreed to provide breakfast every morning. Their leaders bought food for lunch and dinner. The kids made their own sandwiches for lunch. I helped the sponsors prepare dinner. I haven’t done much baking since my children grew up, so I was excited to pull out our family’s favorite bread and muffin recipes. The first morning I made carrot bread - they barely touched it. The second morning I made cranberry crunch - they were suspicious of cranberries. The third morning I had planned to make pecan muffins, but I wavered. Pecans are expensive and pecan muffins are time consuming. Did I want to spend extra time and money on something the kids would not eat? No, I did not. So I bought 88 cent packages of refined blueberry muffin mix. The directions said just add water. Easy and fast! Every muffin vanished, and the kids said, “Mrs. Graham, those were delicious.”
For dinner, they basically had starch and cheese. One night we grilled burgers. We had lettuce, tomato, and avocado for toppings. The adults ate the vegetables; the kids ate burgers, buns, cheese, and chips. One night we had taco fixings, so the kids could make tacos or taco salads. The most popular dinner was to crush the taco shells and make nachos out of chips, beans, and cheese. The third night was pizza. Pepperoni was the most popular; supreme (with vegetable toppings) was the least popular.
The kids did love watermelon, and ate as much of that as we could cut.
Let me be real clear - I am not going to be critical of the kids or their parents. I was an extremely picky eater as a child. My parents were frustrated that I refused to eat anything except meat, fruit, bread, potatoes, and dessert. It would be highly hypocritical if I made disparaging remarks about our guests. However, from a nutritional and BTD standpoint, I am concerned about the future of this generation.
Statistically 43% of these kids are Type Os - yet they only ate meat one night that they were here. Statistically 40% are Type As. They can tolerate more grain than the Os, but also need lots of fruits and vegetables. Statistically, 12% are Type Bs - They are more likely to flourish on milk products, but all of the kids craved cheese for both lunch and dinner.
When I was a teen, I was an anomaly. All of my friends ate vegetables. They ate lettuce and tomato on their hamburgers. I was the one who got funny looks at restaurants and frowns for not eating green beans when I was a guest at a friend’s house. Forcing me to eat was a complete failure.
The media periodically runs a story about a school district that passes a law decreeing that schools will serve vegetables for lunch. Follow up reports say that those vegetables are mostly thrown in the trash. So coercion is no more successful with today’s kids than it was with me.
I made my own choice to change my diet when I was in college, to the shock and delight of my parents. I hope these kids will eventually do the same. Otherwise I fear that they will face a lifetime of weight, vision, joint, inflammation, and other health problems.
With my own children, I was continuously cutting deals - “if you eat this, then you get to eat that.” They cooperated. It helped that I was an at home mom who liked to cook and experiment in the kitchen. My heart goes out to single moms who try to juggle jobs and after school activities and chores at home. There is no time to cook. Fast food and frozen dinners are so easy and so tempting.
I started this blog with great passion, but I’m ending a little flat, because I don’t know the answer. The best I can do is point to a few communities, like Denver, Seattle, Austin, Charleston, and San Francisco, where for some reason the culture shifted, outdoor exercise became popular, fast food chains were snubbed, and health became important. Positive peer pressure would be the best way to change what today’s kids eat.
In the little Blood Type A book, Dr. D wrote that a Type As exercise regimen should be made up of calming centering exercises. In the little Blood Type O book, he says that a Type Os exercise regimen should be intense physical exercise.
When I first started the BTD, these two statements stood out to me because they were true in my family. My Strong Son and I, both Type Os, loved long runs, bicycling, swimming, and other kinds of aerobic exercise. My Honorable Husband and Darling Daughter, both Type As, preferred brisk walks and less stressful exercise. My daughter was a twirler at her school. She was very flexible and enjoyed dance as a form of exercise.
Seeing that we naturally gravitated to the forms of exercise that Dr. D said were best for us, confirmed the truth of his research to me.
However the summer after DD’s junior year in high school, she developed an exercise and eating disorder. She became obsessed with aerobic exercise. She ran long distances, worked hard on treadmill and elliptical machines, pushed her body every day to exercise more intensely.
Part of her recovery was being accountable to limit her exercise to 45 minutes a day. Emotionally that was difficult for her. She would say things like, “I can do 10 minutes of warm up before the 45 minutes and 10 minutes of cool down after, right?” Or, “I can do situps while I watch TV. That won’t count against my 45 minutes.”
When I reminded her of Dr. D’s Type A guidelines, she would either say that she didn’t think he was right or that he might be right for some Type As, but not for her. We negotiated constantly, and she drove a hard bargain.
She did recover, and after going more than three years without a period, her hormones begin to work again. We were so thankful for God’s healing - but those are all topics of other blogs from years past. She persisted in liking intense exercise. Though she was no longer obsessive, she still pushed her body beyond what I thought was advisable for a Type A.
Then she became pregnant. Her first trimester she didn’t feel like exercising. In her second trimester she was so excited to exercise again - until the night that she overdid it and started spotting. She and her husband were scared, but again God blessed them and the spotting stopped. However, they both knew that there would be no more intense exercise during the pregnancy.
She walked a lot. She kept the intensity way down on the treadmill and elliptical. She modified when she used her collection of aerobic exercise videos. And she did lots of leg lifts when she watched movies on TV.
And to her surprise, her body loved the lower intensity exercise. Her muscle tone actually improved while she was pregnant. The baby is now 3 months old, and because she is nursing and eating right, she has lost all of her pregnancy weight. She told me sheepishly the other day that she is in better shape than she was during the years when she was pushing herself with intense exercise.
She finished by saying, “I think Dr. D is right after all. My body does respond better when I do serious, but less stressful exercise.”