It is so sad... our little European mart of a health food store was sold recently... It was such gem of a little store. Owner-operated, quaint, friendly, BTD knowledgeable with people who genuinely cared about the health and wellness of their customers.They researched the companies/distributors with whom they conducted business and chose to only do business with those of high standards and ethics. They also supported other local owner-operated businesses in the HF market and had some of the best and freshest local organic produce available from an orchard/farm on the Western Slope.
And... being long-time patrons we were treated like family. Many times, they would set aside specialty items for us that were limited in number but they knew we would enjoy. Plus... being BTDer's themselves, they stocked the shelves with little known brand names that were BTD friendly... many wheat-free, corn-free, olive-oil-only items, and almost everything in the store was organic... and ALL of the produce was organic.
But the best part about this little store was that all items were priced between 18 and 23 percent above wholesale. You do realize that in the US, most HFS's have a 50 to 100 percent mark-up. So what a treasure this store has been to us and our growing boys who consume enormous amounts of food, as they most definitely will both be well over 6 feet tall. It helps to keep our grocery bill from being totally outlandish. Even with the low mark-up, those of you who have been purchasing organic, whole foods know how expensive good food can be.
So, every week now we notice the changes... the shift away from a more whole food selection to the standard fare of pre-packaged convenience food marketed for a "health" conscious consumer and poor produce selection and quality. I have been making more and more trips up to Whole Foods Market, and believe me, that is a painful choice for me to reconcile. But don't get me started on Whole Foods... that is a topic for another blog.
All of us regulars at the store keep wondering... when will the prices increase? We have been assured that they will stay the same... for now. I can't help but wonder how long "now" will last.
We made it through another whirlwind month of May. I don’t know what it is about May, but it is always the busiest month for my family. I just turned the calendar to June yesterday and... very relieved to see a month with lots of space, and a wondrous lack of time and energy commitments.
Now is the time for slowing down, reorganizing, prioritizing...
I do feel something of a letdown after too much busyness when I have to make a conscious effort to structure my time. It does force me to look at what I value, at how I want to spend my time, rather than wondering if I have enough of it. With too much busyness, I rely on external factors to structure my time and lose my internal sense of the rhythm of my life and my relationship to it.
So taking time for a couple of deep breaths and looking at where I am at... healthwise, quite good. I just had some bloodwork recently and everything is within range by the lab’s standards, and almost everything is within range by my naturopath’s standards too (she has more narrowly defined ranges of normal)... only calcium was a tiny bit low, and monocytes slightly elevated. Since starting the BTD 7 years ago, my lab work results have been excellent. Tangible proof positive.
My food choices have been good, too. Although never perfect, I continue to refine and incorporate the BTD principles more and more into my life. I eat almost no flour-based products anymore, preferring whole grains to refined ones. I started eating shitake mushrooms again a few months ago as several HFS now carry them fresh in bulk and have been greatly enjoying their flavorful addition to many meals. I am also making a conscious effort to increase my intake of beneficial greens and that most wonderful of elixirs... water. Yes, yes,... with much of our focus on food, let’s not forget the importance of staying well hydrated as we slide into summer here. My true nemesis in the food department continues to be... olives... especially the sun-dried black Moroccan ones. I don’t think life is worth living without the occasional olive (or two, or...).
Exercise... well yes, I have been hiking, hiking, and... did I mention hiking? What can I say.. I love it, probably do too much of it, but there you have it. Click here for pictures of a recent hike with my Type O son. I have always been a mover, a kinesthetic learner, actually. I understand myself and the world through movement. So getting enough exercise is rarely a problem for me. Add to the hiking... dancing, Pilates, weight training, yoga... you get the idea. I’m a mover at heart.
The rest of my life... well, change is definitely in the air. My oldest son will be a senior (!?!) in high school this fall, and the youngest begins middle school. Big transitions on the horizon for them and seems to heralding in a period of restlessness for me as well. I am looking forward to the”dog days” of summer... space to just B for awhile as life unfolds...
And I will be sure to remember to breathe through it all.
It used to be, that when someone mentioned the word “columbine”, the first image that came to mind was our lovely state flower... the Rocky Mountain columbine...a delicate blue and white flower with long, graceful, arcing spurs that grows in the most unlikely of places in the high country.
All that has changed now.
It was 6 years ago, April 20, 1999... a day that will live forever in the minds of all Coloradoans. One of those days that you will always remember “where you were” when you heard the news. I just happened to turn on the television as a fluke that afternoon and caught the local coverage of the tragedy of the Columbine School shootings... at that point they did not know how many students and teachers had been killed.
We reeled in the wake of it all, not only as a region, but as a nation, too. But I specifically remember an interview with a local sheriff who was one of the authorities that had entered the high school once all the students had been evacuated, and I remember that sheriff forcefully remarking that, “Whoever had done this was pure evil”.
That comment angered me above and beyond all else that was said about the Columbine tragedy. Dylan and Eric were not evil. They were teenagers... boys, really. Somebody’s babies. And remarks like that are especially damaging and abusive to their families and friends... to all who loved those boys.
A friend of mine taught at Columbine High School both before and after the shootings, and she had both Dylan and Eric in her classes. I asked her a couple of years ago about her impressions of them as students and she remarked that they were just like any other teenager, no different at all. She was also part of a governor appointed task force to study why a tragedy like this happened at Columbine High School, and they found a few interesting things. First of all, Columbine High School had one minute less per passing period than other high schools its size in Colorado. Also, the building is very industrial, all classrooms are the same size and configuration... the whole building was designed for efficiency, with a lack of spaces and opportunity for students and the entire school community to connect. The task force concluded that the lack of opportunities for connection within the school community could lead to students “falling through the cracks” as it were - completely disconnected from the school community.
Now... were they grasping at straws trying to find something tangible as a causation here? Perhaps... but I still believe it has merit. Every year at this time, in the weeks following the anniversary of Columbine, I find myself thinking about the importance of community to the well-being of all people, and the need for a sense of connection, or belonging to that community.
What has all this to do with the Blood Type Diet, you ask? Well, for those of you who have tried the BTD for awhile, you may have found that it can be a very difficult lifestyle to maintain by yourself under a rock somewhere. Sure, you feel great eating right for your type but everywhere you turn there is wheat, corn, and carrageenan. How much longer it takes to do grocery shopping just due to label reading! And oh the minefields of restaurants, potlucks, and yes, meals with family and relatives especially. How do you BTD with a reluctant spouse or child? What about maintaining compliance while traveling? How do I, really now, make it fit into my life... or make my life fit with the BTD??? Yes, very difficult to do as a solo act.
And this is why the importance, and dare I say, necessity of finding a community of support is so crucial to success on the BTD. There are many BTDer’s out there brimming over with knowledge, skills, lessons learned... and fortunately for us, Dr. D’Adamo has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to share, learn, and grow together as a community through the BTD Community forums. So if you are struggling with making the BTD fit for you, please take advantage of the wealth of wisdom available at the Community Forums.
I would hate for one of you to fall through the cracks...
Occurring around mid-April is one of my most eagerly awaited events of the gardening season... the arrival of the first tender spears of asparagus delicately poking their heads up through the soil. Every year I anxiously wait for the first signs of asparagus rebirth. It is the true herald of the Spring season. And it kicks my gardening drive into high gear.
Now, if you have never tasted fresh picked asparagus, then you are missing out on one of life’s truly great pleasures. Forget about the hard, woody stems, the almost rotting spear heads of stored asparagus. Really fresh asparagus is tender all the way down the stalk and has a light, “green” flavor that needs almost no cooking... just lightly steam for a minute or two and.... there you are... Asparagus Heaven. Not to mention that it is neutral for all blood types... certainly a “beneficial” for multiple blood type families such as mine.
It is worth finding a small space in your yard to plant a few asparagus crowns. Once established, they need almost no tending. I stopped weeding the asparagus years ago and only water through the harshest of droughts... It grows fine while ignored. As asparagus is a spring crop and highly susceptible to frosts, I planted a variety that comes later, rather than earlier in the Spring. Also, the crowns tend to work their way toward the surface of the soil... mounding with dirt every few years helps to keep them at a nice depth. It’s best to let asparagus grow for 2 seasons before harvesting, and harvest for only 2 weeks that first season. Each successive year you can harvest your asparagus a week or two longer before letting it fern.
So all this week I have been checking my asparagus for new growth and today... today I saw the very tips of the first spears emerging from the ground.
At last... Spring is finally here.
“Springtime in the Rockies”... for those of us who live there we all know what that phrase means... snow. Quite a bit of snow. Often most of the majority of our yearly snowfall occurs in the Spring. The snow of course is punctuated by very warm, Spring-like weather... but those of us old-timers know it is just a ruse... another snow storm is a comin' round the bend. The seesaw weather patterns are enough to drive even the most stable human being scallywonkers. So I keep my eyes out for simple sanity keepers. Here a couple of my favorites:
Color... what I crave now is color. So what a delight it was to discover in several HFS’s packages of mini sweet peppers in jewel shades of red, orange, and even yellow. Yes, the warmest colors of the spectrum and so appreciated this time of year and so good for the B too... especially secretors. And... they are the perfect size to chop up onto a salad, toss into a breakfast stirfry... but mostly I eat them as is, like I would a plum. Very few seeds and almost no membrane in these little beauties. But the color... the color... you B’s know what I mean.
About a week ago, I was hiking in the cañon on one of those warm teaser days when I was astounded to see several Swallowtail butterflies, the first of the season. Obviously blown in by a stray wind along their migratory route, how wonderful it was to watch them fluttering in the warm sun. I realized how I missed their light, erratic movement patterns during the heaviness of winter. I let these delicate creatures lift my weary heart in a skipping dance to the clouds.
Freshly ground flax seed meal is a must this time of year. When I eat yogurt with fresh fruit and flax seed meal first thing in the mornings, my energy stays stable and my mood bright and cheery throughout the day. Not to mention the benefits for your skin, hair and nails...
And... if all else fails on those snowy Spring days, I look out into my garden. I have a Laughing Buddha statue with a big round belly and a huge grin on his face. No matter what the weather, he is always smiling. And he is especially comical with a mantle of snow about his shoulders and a cap of snow on his head... a nice reminder to not take life too seriously.
I can’t help but join him in his grinning.