Today was a stellar day here in my neck of the woods... One of those end-of-summer days with bright blue skies, warm golden sun, cool whisper of autumn on the breeze…… But what I notice most are the shadows shifting and lengthening, becoming softer around the edges it seems… less of a contrast between darkness and light. And a hushed-ness to the passage of time…
Yesterday, a friend stopped by to show me her new beach cruiser… apparently we have something of a beach cruiser community here along the Front Range… who knew?…. and this friend has just started the Blood Type Diet. She has known about it for years and wanted to try it but didn’t know her blood type and being a bit squeamish about needles and such it took her awhile to find out. She is an O, no big surprise there. But what she told me next really did give me something of a jolt.
This friend has been borderline obese for several years and has struggled to lose weight for as long as I have known her. At an appointment with a new doctor, she told the doctor that she was trying the Blood Type Diet to aid in weight loss. The doctor’s response was very supportive and mentioned that several of her patients had tried the Blood Type Diet with great success. Wow! A medical doctor confirming the value of the BTD. Cool! But… then my friend told me that the doctor also said, “If you do not begin to experience the results you would like to see in 3 months… (and I thought to myself… oh boy… here it comes… Doc will want her to try the South Beach Diet, Atkins, water and grapefruit… whatever…) … then we will check and see if you are suffering from sleep apnea as you have symptoms of that and it can be difficult for those with sleep apnea to lose weight.” Whoooooa there nelly! Wait a minute… If she doesn’t get the results she wants on the Blood Type Diet, then they will begin looking at underlying issues? Not automatically dismiss the BTD as a not working, unscientific,… a fad? I was very impressed! I thought, “I gotta get me the name of this doctor”. Plus… the idea that sleep apnea can contribute to lack of success in weight loss……. who knew?
It was news to me... And some really good news to boot.
Over the past several months I have made a few changes in my typical food consumption. I find that it works best for me to incorporate food changes slowly. The biggest changes have been in response to reading the Aging and the Menopause books in the ER4YT Health Series Library. Like it or not, being 45, I have certainly entered my perimenopausal years and I am indeed getting older with every breath I take. Dairy becomes more of a challenge to us B’s as we age. So one of the first things I did was to increase my consumption of cultured dairy, cut back on most cheeses except for goat cheeses and sheep feta, and to limit my consumption of cow’s milk… not that I really ate/drank much before… but to just increase my awareness of such… always a good thing. And I switched to ghee for daily use instead of butter. Incorporating ghee was probably one of the best changes I have made in a long time. My body actually craved it for a couple weeks and I had to be careful not to OD on the ghee. I always pay attention when I notice cravings for foods that are healthy/beneficial and trust my body in its inner knowing.
I also started drinking the ginger soother drink from The Ginger People. The ingredients are: filtered water, honey, ginger juice, lemon juice, and natural flavor. I do hate it when companies list “natural flavor” as an ingredient so I emailed the company for more information. They claim that the natural flavor is also ginger. So for now… I’ve decided to take their word for it.
As much as I like this drink… it packs a powerful ginger punch… it is waaaaay too sweet for my taste. So I pour about 3 ounces or so into a 12 ounce glass of water and drank it for my morning drink all summer. It was enough to flavor the water quite strongly with ginger… but with only a hint of sweetness…. Perfect on a hot summers morning when just the thought of a hot cup of tea made me sweat.
Also… I am always looking for substitutes for tomato based salsas. My favorite from a local company called Pueblo Chili is just roasted red chiles with lime juice, vinegar, and salt. Lovely to have with eggs in the mornings… but not always easy to find , even in HFS‘s.. And without salsa, I really miss the color of red in many Mexican dishes. I can eat Mexican sans beans and tomatoes and guacamole and…. but I do miss the color red. So on a whim, I found a mostly compliant salsa from Whole Foods made with raspberries. It took awhile to get used to the combination of hot chiles with raspberries, but it is quite an acceptable substitute. And the color… it is worth it just for the color… a translucent reddish magenta that is truly heavenly. I can live without tomatoes… but if all red foods become avoids, then I am surely done for.
My eldest son is leaving for college in less than a week!!! I still can’t believe it! For those of you who have gone through a child leaving home… it sure does sneak up on you, doesn’t it? Wasn’t he just yesterday a nursing babe in arms? I am still trying to wrap my brain around this one. Surely a BIG rite of passage for us parents, as well.
A few weeks ago in an effort to make a lasting BTD impression upon his still tender soul, I wanted to know if he, indeed, understood how wheat is in almost every baked good readily available. As he is an O, I felt it necessary that he grasp that fully. I asked him… “Do you know what wheat is?” He responded, in a snarly voice, “The Devil!!!” I just cracked up!! And so true for those O’s … I’m glad he gets it. We also talked about what types of food he should keep in his dorm room… like additive free beef jerky, fresh fruit, nuts… and he promised me absolutely no Ramen noodles! And I think I will order him a couple of cases of Unibars for good measure.
I know that eating cafeteria food in the dorms will be a challenge as well and we also discussed what would be good choices for him as an O. He has learned what foods he reacts to and how they affect his bodymind. And he doesn’t always make the best choices in the food arena… but at least he knows. And that is really all we can do as a parent… teach our children what we feel/know to be best. But ultimately it is up to them to make their own choices… in food… and in life. And to learn how to live with the consequences of each.
OK… the last blog on Samos… and this one has been a long time coming. I’ve been wanting to write about the people who attended this unique gathering on that gorgeous island for a long time… but what to say??? There is so much… and yet so much more that dwells beyond a description through words in that space between thoughts…
I must say… there were moments in the weeks before departing on this trip that I thought I had found a new level of insanity within myself. Here I was… traveling halfway around the world, to a place I had never been before, with people I had never met. I only knew my Samos companions through the forums… was I nuts??? There were moments that I was convinced… after years of teetering on the edge, I had finally fallen off my rocker.
But… for us B’s… what is life without a little adventure, eh? So I quelled my inner doubts and sallied forth.
It turned out to be a wonderful, memorable experience… for all of us, I think. There were so many shared experiences between us who attended from the forums…. Alek, our most amazing host, Ion, flowing with grace, Yaman, the gentlest of spirit, Kerensa, always chatting with the locals and making herself at home wherever she was, and Ellie, one of the sharpest wits I’ve yet to encounter… really too much to share within the space of a blog.
So… instead I will focus on the threesome I lived with for that week on Samos: Cockepelli, Tomatilla I. and Debra. Now… the most interesting aspect of our week together was that we were each of the 4 blood types… Cockepelli an A, Tomatilla I. an AB, Debra an O… and me the B. AND, two of us were secretors (Cockepelli and I) and two nonnies (Debra and Tomatilla I.) Talk about a Bloody Family!! Add to the mix that we were all from different countries too!! Azzap... take note... ;-)
I was… hmmm… just a wee bit concerned as to how well we would all get along. Was I in for some surprises!
Everyday, we shared breakfast in our apartment… actually two separate apartments but it felt like one big shared space for the duration of our stay. Now… with 4 blood types at the table, there was every food/drink/tea imaginable. I usually had Greek yogurt, which is the creamiest, smoothest, most delicious yogurt I have ever tasted… mixed with sliced banana, and also a soft boiled egg. But… there was also rye bread, spelt bread, pineapple juice, feta cheese, fruit, dates, nuts, coffee, teas, etc… so much so that there was not a square inch of table to be seen. And… what a unique experience to have breakfast with an O nonnie. Everyday, Debra would prepare a few soft boiled eggs and mix them with bananas, Harmonia, nutritional yeast, ground flax seed… sometimes some steamed broccoli as well… and I am sure there is more to this breakfast that I am not remembering. I like to think of myself as culinarily creative… but I don’t think I could ever come up with such an interesting combination. An O nonnie making the best out of her food choices… kudos Debra!! But my favorite part of breakfast is that we would talk and talk and talk… it took most of the morning. And if the weather was nice, we would share breakfast out on our balcony with an exceptional view of the sea…. So lovely it was to languish in unhurried time…
But… how did we get along together? I mean… all 4 blood types under one roof? Surely there would be some type of discontent, wouldn’t there? I am glad to report… almost nil.
How can this be? Well… for starters, Cockepelli did a superb job of being our Travel Right travel agent, making all necessary arrangements to and from Samos. Truly a blessing for all of us… and oh so organized!! Wow!! She made it all so easy. And what a joy she is to be with , too.
Tomatilla I. and Debra were delightful to be with as well. Kind, generous, gracious… and funny!!!! Oh my, we spent most of our time laughing, and laughing and… laughing. I’ve never laughed so much in my life. And yes… there were many Depends moments!
But honestly… I think it is due to wonderful people choosing a wonderful, healthy, balanced lifestyle that made all our congeniality possible… a lifestyle which allows each individual to attain their full genetic potential. There really is nothing else like the BTD. Thank goodness it is here for all of us.
So here’s to all the laughter. And as Debra said… if laughter is the world’s best medicine then we will all be healthy for a long, long, time.
I have always been one that has been strongly affected by place. It is an interesting word, as it has so many varied uses in English… to place an order, to place a bet, to put one’s self in someone’s place, to know one’s place, my place in life, a place in the sun…. But the meaning of place that affects me most is the sense of physical, bounded space that represents a “place”.
Some people can live anywhere and feel content and happy. I can’t. The space of where I live, the so-called energy of a place impacts me on levels I have yet to fathom. I have very definitive reactions to places… a felt sense that is difficult to put into words. But I must try to capture the feeling of place that I felt on Samos, and in particular, the small village of Manolates in which we stayed.
All of us visitors present on Samos talked about the magic of the place. Yes… there was a magic there… an ordinary magic… One morning, I hiked a short ways above the village and sat on a rock for a few moments… just to breathe and let the space of where I was sink into the center of myself. I realized that although I was halfway around the world from where I live, I did not feel far from home. There were similarities here to the landscape in which I live… and also many differences. I marveled at the hillsides seeing small plots of terraced, cultivated land growing grapes or olives amidst the wild greenery of the island. These small sections of cultivated land were unforced. They blended easily into the landscape as if meant to be there. When I was hiking and happened upon one, it was a surprise… unanticipated… and reminded me of hiking in my own cañons and coming across the ruins of a homesteaders cabin.
Manolates is perched on a hillside, up a steep, narrow road high above the sea, but with a view of the unimaginably turquoise blue of the Aegean from almost every angle. One of the most wonderful things about this place for me was the lack of automobiles… only pedestrian traffic was permitted and vehicles were parked in a lot at the bottom of the village. This made for a very peaceful environment, a total lack of noise pollution. In fact, the loudest sound was the fishmonger announcing his daily catches!
The only way to get around was to walk up steep and winding stone footpaths that had a sense of antiquity about them, although I have no idea how old they actually were. A deep level of timelessness has taken root there and permeates everything….
But the word that keeps coming to mind when I think of Manolates is authenticity. That is what I felt most in Manolates… and on Samos as well. Authenticity. Lack of pretentions. Space to be one’s own self… whatever that may be. And a clearness. Nothing of the overwhelming drone of urban life to be processed in the brain. Space. True space in this magic place. No need to armor the body with tension. Not necessary nor needed.
It was wonderful, in and of itself, to experience just the beingness of this place.
I spent an hour or so walking about the Manolates one afternoon, taking pictures of this lovely village… images and objects that happened to catch my eye. Click here to see some of the photos that I took that afternoon… click on any photo to view larger.