On August 8 I blogged about increasing my husband's and my calcium and magnesium after a one year experiment with lower doses lead to a series of muscle spasms for both of us. I am pleased to report that we are both feeling much better.
His back pain is gone. From the day I increased his cal/mag he improved each day. Last night he told me there is a some residual stiffness, but he has resumed all normal activity. I can reach both of my arms over my head. My right arm feels a little weak, but that's probably because I have been babying it for months. I need to start trying to rebuild my muscles.
If you take hard calcium-only tablets from the grocery store, you should probably read the study that warns about too much calcium and Arteriosclerosis. If you balance your calcium and magnesium and take Vitamin K along with it, ignore the study. Just my opinion. All I am is a volunteer blogger.
I reread my birthday blog. If it sounded negative to you, I apologize. That's not the way I meant it. On milestone birthdays people tend to get introspective.
I've spent a lot of time researching health since I was 23. I've spent a lot of money buying healthy food and supplements. When you are young, your body will take a lot of neglect, but when you are old you pay the price for neglect. I really do hope that I reap the rewards of living healthy.
Now (drum roll) I am going to change the subject of this blog, and future blogs for several months. More detail next time, but I'll drop a hint and say that I bought two copies of Dr. D'Adamo's book "Eat Right for your Baby."
I turned 60 years old last week. Now is when most people start to fall apart. Now we will see how much difference 27 years of health food followed by 10 years of the Blood Type Diet will make.
Our Strong Son started the celebrating. He said that he had planned a birthday surprise. We met him in Austin, and he took us to the Whole Foods World Headquarters. It is the largest Whole Foods store I've ever been in. They have a buffet with several food lines. You get a plate or a bowl and select the items you want. You are charged for your meal by the pound. My bowl was full after going to two cold food lines. I told SS we would have come back in the winter and try the hot foods. Everything was delicious, and I felt good about the way it had been prepared.
On my birthday, I went tubing with friends. We paddled along the shore of a lake near my home, enjoying the warm sun, cold water, and beautiful views of the shore. When we got out of the water, we had a picnic. I brought ground beef and collard greens topped with curry powder. I had also made a walnut torte to share with my friends. All of them know that I am on the BTD, so they were not surprised by the unusual birthday cake.
The day after my birthday I had a photo shoot. The theme of the event was Tex Mex. The band played Texas Country music. The food was fajitas. I took pictures until most of the guests were eating. Then I put the camera away and served my plate. I passed on the tortillas, selected beef, chicken, rice, beans, and romaine lettuce. Ok - I did get some guacamole - which is BTD avoid for Type Os, but is allowed in a limited amount on the GTD. I confess I sometimes switch back and forth between the two food lists when avocado and a few other foods are involved.
Another day my Honorable Husband took me out for my favorite meal - prime rib. I had a salad and a sweet potato as my sides. Every bite was delicious.
My Christian World View tells me that with sin comes physical deterioration and death. I have no desire to live forever on this earth. However I do want the time I have here to be productive and pain free. That's why I eat right and exercise.
Right now I would say that I'm in better health than most people my age. For that, I am thankful to both God and the BTD.
I posted two blogs about calcium in 2012. They were both related to a study that linked calcium supplements to calcium buildup in arteries. At first I discounted the study. As I kept reading more and more articles warning about taking too much calcium. I decided to experiment.
After 13 months, the experiment is over. I need calcium and magnesium supplementation. So does my Honorable Husband. Unless the study was done with people taking hard pressed calcium tablets alone without magnesium -- in my opinion -- the study is bogus.
When I first lowered our cal/mag supplementation, I went through a period of nighttime cramps and cricks. However, I adjusted to the new levels of calcium and magnesium. At first there was a funny taste in my mouth, but it went away. It was nice to cut down the number of pills I swallowed every morning, and nice to save the money. Life went on. I forgot that I was experimenting.
I didn't think about the experiment the first time HH's shoulder muscle knotted up. He said he had slept funny. Our Physical Therapist Strong Son gave him a stretching exercise that took the pain away.
I didn't think about it when HH's shoulder muscle knotted up a second time with even worse pain. The stretching exercise took care of it again, and HH decided to add stretching that muscle to his daily routine.
I didn't think about it when I got the pain in my right arm that I feared was a rotator cuff injury. SS examined me, said my rotator cuff was fine and gave me a stretch for a strained nerve. The stretch has helped. I have very little pain, but I have not regained full range of motion.
I didn't think about it on vacation when I was carrying too many water bottles and felt a muscle pull in my right hip. The pain didn't last long, but I'm aware that two months later, there is still a dull sensation in my upper right leg.
I didn't even think about it two weeks ago when HH, who had back surgery in 1985, began to have back pain. Over a period of several days it grew from being annoying to being debilitating. He was terrified that he had ruptured another disk. He could not put on his own shoes and socks.
We drove to see SS, who after a thorough exam told him it was muscular rather than nerve pain. SS gave his Dad some exercises, and told us to go to the doctor to get anti inflammatories and muscle relaxers. The doctor did her own exam, and concurred with SS's conclusions. She identified two specific muscles in his back that were in hard knots. She increased his ibuprofen and said to use a heating pad.
Gradually HH got better. Then yesterday, for no apparent reason, the muscles knotted up again. He did not lift anything; he did not twist; he had mostly been at bed rest. Frankly, we were both scared. Living with this kind of pain is not what we expected out of retirement.
I was off on a photo shoot, when I got a text asking how soon I could come home. He felt terrible. I finished up my work, and as I drove home I prayed. As I prayed I remembered all I had read for 35 years about calcium/magnesium, and how essential it was for muscles. I remembered the study that discouraged taking calcium supplements. I remembered my experiment.
HH and I immediately upped our calcium. My goal is to return to our pre-study dosage, but right now we're both taking a little more than that. Again I have a funny taste in my mouth. That seems to happen whether I increase or decrease my dosage. I am optimistic that we will return to our previous level of wellbeing. We will continue to take Vitamin K. That seems to be one way to prevent calcium from building up in soft tissues.
If my two previous blogs influenced you to cut back on your cal/mag intake, take a moment and think about how your muscles and nerves have functioned in the past year. Be more aware of changes in your body than I was.
If you have never taken a cal/mag supplement, and you struggle with muscle pain, all I can say is cal/mag worked for my family for years. I regret letting that study influence me.
These are links to my original two blogs.
There's a part of the gluten free craze that I like. Trying to explain to a friend or a server that I don't eat wheat is sometimes complicated. Like the friend, urging me eat a muffin, who said "It's not wheat, it's bread." Or the server who had no clue what ingredients were in the chopped steak. But if I say I'm gluten free, suddenly everyone understands. Friends say, "Oh, that's what Bill O'Reilly is into." Servers whip out a gluten free menu.
This is good. It's not as precise as Blood Type Diet, but it's good.
However, the dark side of gluten free is the food manufacturers who have jumped into marketing gluten free products. I am aghast when I read ingredients that are almost all potato starch and chemicals. This is not good!
I understand that people suddenly giving up gluten want to keep their lives feeling normal. They're on a quest to find replacements for familiar foods. I started off on the BTD doing the same thing. I know now that eating becomes less stressful when you accept that there is no wheat free or gluten free product that tastes like Wonder Bread.
In today's gluten free environment, if you look at grocery store shelves you could convince yourself that you can have it all. Just be sure you don't read the ingredients of that gluten free roll with an expiration date of 2015. It contains no real food, and it will not build your health.
I'm thinking about this today, because of a trip to the grocery store yesterday. The grocer in our small town must have someone gluten free in his family. Since we moved here, I have found lots of alternate grains in our grocery store. The store has stocked natural rice crackers on the shelves and 100% rice bread in the freezer. When we lived in the city, I had to go to a health food store to buy these products.
But yesterday the rice bread was gone. It was replaced by several bread varieties with bold wrappers proclaiming gluten free. Every one of them was made of potato starch and chemicals. I filled out a comment card for the store manager, but I'm not optimistic he will bring back the basic healthy products when exciting products in snazzy wrappers are available.
I'm thankful that there is a health food store nearby that values real food as much as I do.
If you think barbacoa is a Spanish word for barbeque you are wrong.
If you told me a year ago, that I would not only eat, but cook for myself the cheek of a cow, I would have thought you crazy.
I confess, it's true. I truly enjoy this tender Mexican dish.
I have been working on a genealogy project for a client. Two books in the three volume set have already been printed, and we finished work on the third yesterday. Now we proof...and proof...and proof again.
My client and I work together 2-3 days a week. We usually start about 10:30, and she serves us lunch. Often it is fresh fruit or vegetables from her garden. Sometimes it is fresh eggs from the chickens who run wild in her yard. One day, she asked if I liked barbacoa and picadillo. I told her that I had eaten picadillo, but I wasn't familiar with barbacoa. She sent out for one taco of each, from a little taco stand near her home.
Picadillo is ground beef and potatoes, cooked with onion and spices. It is good.
I tasted the barbacoa and immediately loved it. It was a very flavorful, tender shredded beef served with raw onions and cilantro. My client waited until I had finished, then she told me that barbacoa is the meat from the cheek of the cow.
If I had known what I was going to eat that first time, I think I would have gagged. Cheek meat? Really? Yuk!
However I had already tried it and was hooked. From that point on, if she didn't have any specific lunch plans, she sent out for barbacoa.
She cooks her own barbacoa, and one day pulled a package of raw meat out of her freezer and told me it was a cow's cheek. She told me to cook it in my crockpot all day with onion and garlic. After it cooled she said to separate the meat from the fat with my hands. There is a lot of fat around the meat, but if you separate carefully, the meat itself is very lean.
It was so good, and since I was the only Type O in the house at the time, it lasted several days.
I've seen barbacoa recipes on the internet that call for tomatoes, chili powder, peppers and other spices. No, No, No. That's not how barbacoa is made in South Texas.
My client and I have talked a lot about food, including the Blood Type Diet. She is also Type O. I would say she is politely skeptical about this diet. Once in a while she tempts me with something that is avoid. Sometimes by accident, and sometimes she is testing me.
It amuses her to watch me eat the barbacoa and onions out of the tortilla with a fork. That's ok, because I'm smiling as I enjoy this unique cut of beef.