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.”
For the most part I can do without the little graphics that have become popular on facebook. I would rather read what my friends write in their own words than see a graphic designed by a marketer who is paid to influence my opinion.
However, the designers of Dr. D's newsletter have put up two graphics recently that have fascinated me. I saved them because they have valuable information in a quick to absorb format. Here they are. Does the same thing jump out at you that jumped out at me?
For Type O me, there are two foods that overlap - top 5 for both energy and brain. They are seaweed and blueberries.
For the Type As in my family, there are also two foods that overlap - kale and cherries.
I buy fresh cherries every time they are on sale. Competition from Chili for domestic cherry growers has caused cherry prices to drop at a time when the prices for most produce is going through the roof. When I can't find fresh cherries, I can always find frozen cherries at Sams Club. So my Honorable Husband gets cherries often.
He does not particularly like kale. If I cook it, I invariably wind up eating it all. However, I've seen baby kale in the organic salad section of the grocery store. I think I could sneak this raw, tender kale into his salads. I'm thinking that it will be pricy, but probably worth it for a food that will boost both his brain and his energy.
We both eat blueberries often. They are in my breakfast at least two days a week. Seaweed however I have neglected. I have sushi nori papers in my cabinet that I use to make wraps. They are great for a picnic, but if I'm at home I usually make a bowl with meat and several vegetables instead.
I also have some seaweed flakes that, after they are soaked in water, make a fair substitute for noodles. They don't have much taste by themselves, but if I mix them with a sauce or some spices, they are ok. However there are almost always several leftover vegetables in the refrigerator, so I forget about the seaweed in the pantry.
Knowing that seaweed is not just beneficial, but top 5 for two important aspects of my health motivates me to eat more wraps, and mix a few seaweed flakes in with the vegetables in my bowls.
So spare me from political graphics, but keep the nutritional graphics coming. They are a good way to remind me of super beneficials.
Summer fruit is in the produce department! I bought nectarines and they were sweet and delicious. I bought grapes and they are juicy. I saw watermelon and my mouth watered...but I walked on by.
I have learned that watermelons are tasteless until June. I have bought April watermelons and they are terrible. I have bought May watermelons and they are disappointing.
It’s better to wait, but it sure is hard. We love watermelon. There will be a watermelon in the refrigerator continuously from June until September, and I will serve it at least every other day. For one thing it is so refreshing on a hot day. Unless the drought breaks, there will be plenty of hot days this summer.
It is a great source of lycopene, a phytonutrient that all men, particularly senior men need. Tomatoes are avoid for my Type A husband, though he eats them occasionally. But watermelon is actually a better source of lycopene than tomatoes. I want to give HH’s body the opportunity to store as much lycopene as possible.
Our deer family loves eating watermelon rind. We have watched them fight over it; the nursing mothers kicking the yearlings away. We haven’t seen any fawns yet this year, but at least one of the does has a noticeable milk sack. So I know they are hiding in the bushes, wondering why they are eating carrot tops and apple cores instead of watermelon.
The deer, like the rest of us, will have to wait until June 1 for watermelon.
The Bible says To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1
As that applies to weeping, laughing, gaining, losing, loving, hating. It also applies to watermelon. Verse 2 says - A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
It’s not time for watermelon yet, but I only have to wait two more weeks.
Mother’s Day weekend was wonderful. I got to spend two days with both of my children. It was DD’s first Mother’s Day. It was Baby Dedication at their church, where parents of 14 babies dedicated themselves to raise their children according to the Bible, teaching them about the love of Jesus.
In the course of the weekend, the family did a lot of BTD eating and BTD exercising. BC is not ready to go to a restaurant yet. While he is likely to fall asleep in the car, there are no guarantees that he will sleep in a noisy environment. If he wakes, ready to nurse, that ends DD’s enjoyment of her meal. So we looked up menus on the internet, and ordered takeout. Saturday night we had Mexican food and Sunday lunch we had fresh seafood. It is encouraging to me to see family members making conscious choices about what they eat.
DD is being careful, eating all beneficials and neutrals. Even some beneficials and neutrals aggravated BC’s colic when he was a newborn. Now that he is 2 months old, he is able to tolerate his mother eating a wider variety of foods than he could in the early weeks. Our Strong Son made good choices on Mexican food, but chose fried fish over grilled. He said with a smile, “My philosophy is be careful what I eat during the week, and splurge on the weekend.” I can’t argue with that for a healthy young person. Far better to have that attitude about the BTD than to say “This is too hard” and quit altogether.
SS decided to train last winter for a triathlon. He has now done two triathlons, and been very competitive. He went for a long run, while DD and I did an exercise video in the living room. There were lots of squats and lunges in the video, and I was modifying quite a bit because squats and lunges often make my knees hurt.
My body naturally wants to do squats and lunges wrong. Whether it is physiological or whether I learned incorrectly; I don’t know, but when I do either a squat or a lunge, my knees go in front of my toes. Since my husband’s back surgery almost 30 years ago, he constantly reminds me to keep my back straight. If I literally keep my back straight doing a squat, my knees extend over my toes.
After we exercised, I asked SS about squats and lunges from his Physical Therapy perspective. Using his hands he demonstrated the joint action of knees when doing a squat or lunge correctly (lower leg bone perpendicular to the ground and knee never extending over toes) and incorrectly (knees go over toes). He described an incorrect squat or lunge as putting sheer force on knee cartilage.
He encouraged me to develop the muscles in my legs and retrain myself to do squats and lunges correctly. DD added that she naturally did them incorrectly as well, but had retrained herself. Here is what they advised me to do.
• Keep my weight far back on my heels.
• Practice as if I am going to sit in a chair. Back straight, weight on heels, lower leg bone perpendicular to the floor.
• Do wall squats, increasing the time I can hold the correct stationary position.
• Do wall squats with an exercise ball behind my back. This will let me practice the motion with correct form.
• For lunges consciously keep the front knee stationary with the lower leg bone perpendicular to the floor. Move only the back leg.
I can see that retraining is going to take some serious effort. My range of motion is really small when I do them correctly. SS assures me that as I practice and strengthen my muscles, my range will increase. He also tells me that learning to do squats and lunges correctly will help my patella femoral condition.
I wondered aloud whether I caused the patella femoral by doing squats wrong. He didn’t want to speculate about that - he is more interested in my learning to do them right. Sheer force on my knee joints is graphic - and highly motivating - language.