Maybe its the recent chill in the evening air, or the distinct yellowness in the leaves, but the other day I found myself thinking about...Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving always makes me think about one of my favorite deserts, pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin...that beautiful rounded and oh so orange vegetable that heralds everything Autumn. And Thanksgiving and Pumpkin Pie - the two just go together, don’t they? I think it must be hard-wired in to the American psyche.
When I first started the BTD several years ago, I just ignored avoiding some of the avoids for me, like pumpkin and cinnamon, which I didn’t use frequently or in large amounts. But now, getting shall we say, a bit long in the tooth and feeling the stirrings of my menopausal journey beginning, my dance with compliance (and it is quite the pas de deux for me) is taking a new turn.
Since pumpkin is beneficial or neutral for everyone EXCEPT Type B secretors, which I think is highly unfair, by the way, I realized the time had come to make some substitutions in the time-honored tradition of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I have a recipe from “Laurel’s Kitchen Caring” that substitutes winter squash for the pumpkin and since I’m at it, I decide to throw the baby out with the bath water and make the pie sans cinnamon. Here’s what I used for ingredients:
2 cups cooked butternut squash, mashed
scant 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
freshly ground nutmeg, about 1/2 teaspoon
1 can evaporated milk
Mix all together (I blend by hand first, and then in blender until smooth and custardy) and pour into unbaked spelt pie crust. Bake at 425ºF for 15 minutes and then lower temperature to 350ºF and continue baking for another 45 minutes.
Results?? Quite splendid, if I do say so myself. The texture is a little softer than pumpkin pie so I will add another egg next time. I have noticed, and I know it’s not just my imagination, that eggs have been getting smaller, so I usually increase the egg in recipes. Also, I was a little heavy handed on the ginger; trying to mask the absence of cinnamon, I think, but still sweetly aromatic without the cinnamon. Not the same as pumpkin pie but certainly an acceptable replacement.
My role as mother/cook is calling as I have another favorite simmering on the stove, Turkey Rice Soup, that I am making from some fab turkey thighs that were available at the local natural food store. I’ll post that recipe sometime if anyone is interested...
Out of all the suggestions for a healthy, exuberant lifestyle based on BTD principles, the one that has brought the most satisfaction, well being, and balance! to my life has been following the exercise recommendations for my blood type. And although I do strength-training and yoga weekly, my passion, as many of you know who read my blogs, is for hiking.
I feel very blessed to live in a region where there are a plethora of amazing hiking trails accessible to the public for free. All trails are rated based primarily on elevation gain and steepness of grade: easy, moderate, and difficult, and even sections of trails are given a rating so you can choose the intensity of your hike. Hiking can be enjoyed alone or with others, clearly half of the hikers I see are solitary and anyone can hike, children through octogenarians. Don’t let the trend toward fancy, expensive hiking gear stop you, just a pair of sneakers and a water bottle will do. So if you relish time spent out-of-doors, find a nature preserve near you and enjoy the Great Outdoors.
This summer I spent quite a lot of time hiking with my sons. Although I enjoy the time I spend hiking with my women friends, there are many unique experiences to hiking with boys.
They have their own matchless pace on the trail, a slow walk tempered with frequent bursts of running. My youngest son (A) likes to be in front leading, unless hiking up a steep incline, then he drags behind amidst lots of complaining. The oldest (O) climbs up large rocks and then jumps off them several feet high onto the trail. Sometimes, I just can’t look and stifle a many “Be Careful!!!”. He never seems to weary.
They also like to rename things in typical boy fashion. Without them I would have missed the pleasures of Horse Poop Trail and Toilet Seat Rock (Gee, I guess it really does look like a toilet seat!).
I also did much more rock scrambling with them in tow than I would otherwise; great strengthening workout for all muscle groups and joint stabilizers.
They tolerate, and dare I say enjoy, Mom’s frequent exclamations to pause and notice the natural world: “Just look at the beautiful hue of blue in that flower”, or “ did you ever see such grace in the form of a rock?” I think they do.
On our last hike together before the start of the school year, the boys expressed a desire to continue hiking on the weekends - on both days even! I have made a conscious effort to share with them my love of the natural world, how are very humanity is dependent on its survival, and by protecting the soul of the land we are indeed saving ourselves.
If this is all they ever learn from me, it is enough.
Last weekend, I began to feel the dregs of summertime cooking. Tired of fresh, but simply prepared meals, I decided to make a couple of quiches for dinner. My sons requested a quiche with bacon in it, and since I use spelt flour for the pastry (spelt flour makes a flaky, tender crust, by the way) and omit the cream, I acquiesced on the bacon. The other quiche was broccoli with lots of freshly minced garlic.
A few hours later, having eaten both types of quiche, I began to feel the familiar pangs of indigestion. I was taken aback - I had never experienced any type of discomfort with bacon before, and hadn’t consumed any other avoids in my meal. Several digestive enzyme tablets later, I pieced together the puzzle; it wasn’t the bacon after all. No, it was the garlic.
The last several years, I have been noticing in the back of my mind that I am developing an intolerance for garlic, particularly fresh garlic. I say ‘back of my mind’ because I don’t want to admit this is true. I use fresh garlic as a flavoring in many prepared dishes and also medicinally for respiratory infections, among other things. One of my favorite beverages for congestion is what my naturopath calls a “hot toddy” - juice of half a lemon, one clove freshly minced garlic, a pinch of cayenne pepper, all in a mug of boiling hot water and sweetened to taste with honey. So warming! So healing! So not to be anymore! I’ve been in denial for quite some time but now I need to come clean: I can no longer eat garlic as freely as I’d like.
So, what is it in garlic that I react to? Now that is a good question. I wish I had an answer for you... and me!
Not one of my herbals, and I have several, mention any type of reaction or toxicity associated with garlic. Not one. Hmmm... They do expound freely on the glories of garlic, however, and all its many healing properties. A search on the web yielded similar results. And yet, in all the websites devoted to indigestion or GERD, garlic was at the top of the list as a causative for indigestion. Am I missing something here?
I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say its the allicin that is “created” in garlic that gives rise to digestive ailments. Garlic contains a sulfur-based compound called allin and an enzyme called allicinase. When a clove of garlic is cut, the allin comes into contact with allicinase and makes allicin, a pungent compound responsible for garlic’s odor and lovely bite. This is why and an uncut bulb or clove has no smell. The interesting part is that the amount of allicin produced is directly dependent on the amount of cutting the clove has received - sliced garlic has the least, minced garlic the most. This also affects the flavor; slicing garlic produces a mild flavor since only a small amount of allicin is produced, mincing provides more allicin and thus, more flavor. Heat breaks down the enzyme allicinase which is why roasted garlic has such a different and mild flavor.
Now you know more about the chemical properties of garlic than I bet you ever dreamed you would! I have noticed that the longer garlic is cooked, the less pain and bloating I experience. This of course translates into less flavor, less medicinal properties, etc.
I have decided long ago that it is always best to listen well to the messages my body sends, and this case is no exception.
And so, Dear Garlic, I bid thee adieu and fare thee well...
An uncharacteristic cold snap has brought a few days of rainy, gloomy, and chilly weather. As the temperatures plummeted, so did my health and mood; and not necessarily in that order.
I really dislike that “off” feeling, you know, not quite sick but definitely not well either. You know your body is working something through: glands swollen, scratchy throat, digestive disturbances, lethargy...but not quite sick enough to spend time in bed. Just an all around blah feeling with nothing to do but wait for it to pass.
So I’ve been drinking ginger tea, spending time indoors reading, practicing stillness...
Perhaps my body is just letting me know it needs some down time.
I have been keeping up with the Olympic coverage and I agree with Linda Wells that the women gymnasts bodies look unnatural. In fact, I think the whole sport of women’s gymnastics has lost its beauty, elegance and grace in the name of strength and power. The gymnasts have difficulty even executing a simple pirouette! But, remember, this commentary is coming from the heart of a dancer so I naturally miss the dance elements.
Even though I enjoy watching people excel in sports, and many deserved kudos to our Olympic athletes and Lance Armstrong among others, what I want to know is this:
Is there anyone out there who can beat Ken Jennings???
I can’t wait to find out.
I recently realized that it has been quite some time, years actually, since I studied the beneficial food lists for B secretors. I know the avoids quite well, thank you very much, but hadn’t thought much about emphasizing the beneficials, let alone the 70/30 ratio of bene’s to neutrals that is considered optimum. So, I got out my dog-eared copy of Live Right to review the beneficial listings and test to see if any of my usual foods were actually beneficial. And I prepared myself to fail miserably.
Surprise!! Not only were most of my favorite foods in the beneficial category, almost ALL of the foods I consume on a regular basis are beneficial. I hadn’t realized that. Then I reviewed: of the beneficials, which ones don’t I eat. Hmmm...some interesting findings here...
Of the beneficial fruits and vegetables, the only ones I never eat are collard greens and papaya; I don’t know how to cook collard greens and I just don’t like papaya. All the others are regulars with the exception of shitake mushrooms, mustard greens which I love but aren’t often available, cabbage, which I use on occasion... and beets.
Now beets are an interesting story. I enjoy beets quite a bit but I live with a family of males whose urine turns red after eating beets. Every time I prepare beets for a meal, I tell the menfolk, “Now remember, if your pee is red in the next day or two, it is from the beets".
They never remember.
After several times of frantic-looking faces in the day following beet consumption, and constant reminders, “You had beets for dinner last night... remember?”, I’ve decided it’s just not worth the stress.
The only oil I buy is olive oil and I use it for all baking, cooking...everything. I thought I wouldn’t like the distinctive olive taste in baked goods, but it isn’t noticeable.
Grains, beans, and nuts: I eat all of the beneficials; I even eat black walnuts when my father brings me a bag he has gathered, although this is admittedly a rare occurrence.
Dairy: I do have difficulty with goat’s milk and goat cheese; I think it is an acquired taste and I am making numerous attempts to acquire it... All the others are high on my list except farmer’s cheese, paneer (what’s that?), and kefir. Now, I don’t know why I stopped buying kefir. I really do like it. When my boys were toddlers, I put kefir in juice bar molds and froze for delicious yogurt pops...sounds good, doesn’t it? I just might have to take that up again.
Now we come to meat and fish... The only beneficial meat I eat is lamb. And of the plethora of beneficial fish, I eat salmon, halibut, and sardines, and sometimes cod, sole and mahimahi. I can take amnesty in my lack of fish consumption, living far from the ocean there just isn’t much fresh fish for sale, and the fish that is available has not seen the water in several days. But I really do feel the need to experiment more with beneficial meat, like rabbit and venison... particularly after my last blog on the glory of protein.
Well, there you have it. I sure learned something. Without thinking about it, the BTD has become a way of life, structuring my choices from backstage. I remember making small choices along the way... learning how to substitute spelt for wheat in recipes, figuring out what vegetables my type A husband and I CAN eat together and emphasizing those in meals, eating oats or millet for breakfast instead of boxed cereals, ground turkey for beef... but I don’t remember when it coalesced into a whole.
So, if you are struggling with making BTD changes to your lifestyle...Take Heart! It’s the small changes that add up over the long haul. And perhaps some day, you too, will realize that the BTD has become a way of life without much effort.