One day I looked down and there were bruises on my ankles. I didn't remember bumping my ankle. I felt around and they weren't tender. I suddenly recognized where I had seen that kind of blue mark before.
My father had read about benefits of Vitamin E and he began to take a supplement. He also read about the benefits of aspirin to prevent heart attacks. So he started taking a low dose enteric aspirin every day as well. Soon he began to have blue blotches on his arms. I remembered that Dr D does not recommend Vitamin E for Type Os. Our blood is already thin. It is the thick blooded Type As who benefit from blood thinning properties of Vitamin E and aspirin.
I challenged my Dad to take a break from Vitamin E and aspirin. The next time I saw him his arms were free of bruising.
I give my Type A husband a Vitamin E capsule every day, but I don't take it. I knew there was Vitamin E in my multiple. I thought it was a low dose. Wrong. It had 100 iu, more than 3 times the RDA. How did I let that slip by? Dumb, dumb, dumb.
I stopped taking the multiple right away. I decided I probably needed to take Vitamins A and D, B complex, and zinc. I eat less processed food and more fresh food than most people I know. In a perfect world, I wouldn't need supplements. However, I know that by the time my food is harvested, stored and transported, I won't get the quality of nutrients from food that God intended.
I read the label on the B Complex that I had on my shelf. Everything looked in order except it only contained 15% of the RDA for Biotin. That seemed peculiar until I read that Biotin is the one B Vitamin that your body can make for itself - if you have eaten food that provides the right ingredients and if you are in good health.
Biotin is necessary for healthy hair and nails. That caught my attention because my nails have been chipping. When I had searched the Internet for chipped nails, there were a few specific things, none of which seemed to apply to me. However the most common answer was that chipping nails and thinning hair were normal parts of aging. What if, I asked myself, as people age they lose their ability to make Biotin? I'm interested in these kinds of questions since I will turn 60 this summer.
I stopped the multiple. I added several supplements including Biotin.
In a month the blood in my ankles has reabsorbed. Hurrah! The blue blotches are gone. I think I see an improvement in my nails, but it's too early to tell. I'll have to see what happens as they grow out.
Tony Bourdain has a serious bone to pick with this town, characterizing it as a hotbed of veganism rife with "crunchers". This colored his 2009 program with a bitterness I as a carnivore found depressing and hinting of Personal Vendetta. Sure enough, the name Alice Waters was mentioned; there's a feud so wrenching for him that he misses the boat on what makes San Francisco a great place to eat. I generally enjoy Bourdain's programs, although the Pre-No Reservations, younger-Tony shows were more interesting for his being less angry, jaded, self-conscious, and more bright-eyed.
A forty-four minute program is long. To find it wholly devoted to an anti-vegan diatribe was, frankly, boring. It led him to scarf down low-quality meat at greasy dives for a third of the program and to pursue a manic meat-mission at unexciting places for much of the rest. When the San Francisco show was over, I wondered why I was so vexed by it and tried to imagine how he could better have used his time here.
Neighborhoods and ethnicities are the essence of this sprawling, diverse city. For a New Yorker, especially, to devote forty-four minutes to culinary San Francisco and not mention Vietnamese cuisine is downright negligence; the foodiest of New Yorkers are often completely unfamiliar with Vietnamese food, so common here, and truly spectacular examples can be had at all price points.
Another interesting difference between New York and San Francisco is in the Italian cuisine department, New York's tradition being rooted in Naples and Sicily, and San Francisco's in more northerly regions such as Tuscany. As North Beach's former Italian predominance disappears, some focus on the Italian history of culinary San Francisco would have been apt if not important, not to mention colorful and fun.
Views – restaurants with views from decks and heights – of the bay, of the ocean, of the city, would have provided visual excitement for the TV audience and acquainted it with a unique neighborhood or two. Countless visitors to our city are drawn by this very feature, and there's just no denying the romance and thrill of al fresco dining here. Many establishments have charming small patios and gardens. Why not show one? As for our local people, the camera was pointed at a variety of homeless street persons and toothless beggars.
One wondered why Bourdain, in his one foray outside the city, drove all the way to Oakland for a $2 taco from a fast-food truck, and ate it sitting on a parking lot ledge. Was this the (Eureka) clue: Program as dig at nearby Berkeley's "Chez Panisse"?
Sante's Rx: One heck of a delightful, self-ridiculing segment deliberately integrating soy foods into his palate, with his characteristic vulgar humor saying something like, "I've come to San Francisco to lose my soy virginity." This town would have obliged him, sending him to the moon with creativity. There are Thai and Chinese chefs who would have incontrovertibly proved that tempeh and tofu are "Not Just For Yogis" but actually components of an exciting meal. But then he would have had to drop his beat attitude and let himself walk around stunned thereafter, muttering, "I stand corrected."
I agree that the Anti-Meat lobbyists can be annoying, and I personally do not fancy meatless meals. But I also recognize that restaurant patrons are often looking for tasty examples of meatless cookery, and Western chefs are not cooperating. Our culinary schools are not demanding that chefs master soy, for instance, in order to graduate. Over a quarter century ago, I was offering tofu and tempeh dishes to the meat-accustomed palate on a meat-dominant menu at a resort attracting its share of vegetarians and vegans, and this my innovation kept guests on the property for dinner. Omnivores on vacation would experiment at such a place, opting for Tempeh Piccata over Roast Chicken on a given night, to discover its possibilities beyond Asian expressions. Many a customer complimented and thanked me for both accommodating their health needs and inspiring their own experimentation. There are chefs far more talented than I who could expand their clientele catering to this market. Not that Anthony Bourdain need ever be one of them, but the guy's act is just crying for a shattering, silencing sexy night with soy, and I hear him.
June was a busy month for us. Leah graduated from high school, as did many of her friends. There were also numerous weddings this month as well- mostly young women a few years older than my daughters whom they know from camp or their youth group- most of these girls were their counselors and mentors, not their peers. Only the girls were invited to the weddings of acquaintances; not the whole family. But one of Leah’s closest friends also got married this month- a girl I knew from the time she was about 13. All 5 of us were invited to this wedding. I can’t believe I’m old enough for my daughters’ friends to be getting married!
The wedding was scheduled for the exact day and time of Leah’s graduation ceremony. After much soul-searching, Leah chose to go to the wedding rather than graduation, so we celebrated her graduation with extended family the Sunday before. Her aunts paid for us to go to a kosher restaurant, and we selected a restaurant that served Middle Eastern food. There were a few salads, several kinds of flavored rice, and we selected kebob trays, family style. Nobody really wanted chicken, which isn’t a good choice for the Bs at the table anyway. So we got lamb, salmon, and two kinds of beef. I tasted everything but the pita bread, and everything was delicious. I’m sure it wasn’t 100% compliant, but it was a very enjoyable afternoon out, and I can afford to eat imperfectly once or twice a year. I’m not likely to eat in another restaurant until we do this again next year for Hannah’s graduation.
Three days later was the wedding. Most of the day was spent getting ready. Hannah had to finish crocheting her gift (bride and groom penguins.) Jack still had school most of the day, and then he had to see if any of the hand-me-down suits actually fit. Leah spent the day preparing little surprises/gag gifts for the bride, to be presented during the dancing. Some of the bride’s other friends presented some silly things to the bride as well. I had to do pick up the veggies from the CSA and then their father from the train station. Things ended up quite stressful the last hour or so before we left. I had to rush my clothing and makeup, and ended up wrapping my own gift to the bride on the car ride there!
All that stress was forgotten once we were there. I ate before heading out to the wedding and packed almonds in my purse, but I managed to find enough safe food to eat that I didn’t touch the almonds at all. Jack had about 7 cups of soda during the evening, but I drank only seltzer and water. I could have had red wine, but found I really didn’t want any. I was too busy dancing to care about much of anything else. We all had a wonderful time- probably a lot more fun than we would have had at the graduation ceremony! It took us all of the next day to recover, and I let Jack miss school the following day. But it was well worth it!
A few years ago I did some research on muscle loss in menopausal women. There are a lot of variables. In some women, the muscle loss starts as early as 35; other women don't notice it until about 50. Studies show muscle loss as high as a pound a year, but other studies say it is more like a half pound a year. Studies show percentage of muscle loss between half of a percent and two percent.
Obviously not all women experience the same amount or the same rate of muscle loss, but they do lose muscle related to menopause.
This is a double whammy for women my age. First, unless we are diligent to exercise, we are losing the muscle that holds our joints in place and gives us strength. Without adequate muscle we will be vulnerable to the back, hip, and knee injuries that plague some of my friends. Without adequate muscle, we can't exercise effectively, and exercise consistently shows up as a key to an active and healthy life.
But that is only half of the story. Muscle is more "metabolically active" than fat tissue. Muscle at rest burns more calories than fat at rest. So, if you continue to eat exactly the same as you ate in younger days, since you are losing muscle, you will be adding fat. It's inevitable - unless you are pro active you will gain weight and add fat after menopause.
Because I know this I take exercise seriously. To a certain degree I have been successful. My hiking, tubing, weight lifting and line dancing friends and myself have better muscle tone and lead more active lives than the other women around us. However it's equally obvious that my muscle tone isn't what it was 10 years ago. Last winter I put on several pounds - all of it around my middle. Unheard of! My weight has always gone to my legs, not my waist. (I'm going to blog about those pounds another day. They were perplexing for several reasons).
One day in April, Tricia, my weight lifting partner, and I were at the fitness center. I said that I thought I was accustomed to my current bench press weight and I was going to increase. Everything started fine, but after a few reps there was a sharp pain in my right arm.
My arm was sore for several days then felt better. I tried bench presses again and it didn't feel good. So the next time I saw my Strong Son, I told him about the injury and said that I was trying not to be scared, but that several friends had been through rotator cuff surgery. He did three quick tests and assured me that it was not my rotator cuff. It is wonderful to have a physical therapist as a son.
My arm continued to hurt. We had lunch with SS last week, and he asked how my arm was. I described the continuing pain. He began a complete exam, right in the living room. After checking me from shoulder to fingertips, he told me that I had strained a nerve.
I didn't even know that nerves could be strained. But evidently nerve strains are not uncommon.
He gave me a nerve stretching exercise to do three times a day. I am amazed how quickly my arm has responded. I am not doing bench presses yet. But I am doing other upper body exercises without pain.
I realize this blog may seem like it's sending mixed messages, but think of it as two sides of a coin. If you are a woman my age, you have to take exercise seriously, but don't push to the point of pain. Be active, but be smart and be patient.
I was looking at the ingredients on some Blue Diamond Roasted and Salted Almonds and saw something that got me thinking. On the back it showed that per serving there were:
5g total carbs – 3g of fiber = 2g net carbs.
Are food companies finally waking up to the benefits of keeping fiber in our foods?
I know these were just simple almond nuts but if this is any indication of the type of information food companies are paying attention too, we consumers and ERFYT ‘ers are going to benefit tremendously.
Today is my 10 year anniversary on the Blood Type Diet. Ten years ago today, the last of the test results came back which were supposed to tell me why I had stomach pain. I had been a health food advocate since I was 23 years old - more than 25 years. But what had started as mild GERD after I turned 40, got increasingly worse, becoming annoying and eventually becoming alarming to my doctor.
The tests were supposed give me answers, but every test came back normal. "Then why does my stomach hurt all the time," I asked the doctor's assistant. "Stress and diet," she answered. I said, "I eat healthier than anyone I know, and my only stress is this stomach pain." She had no reply.
After storming around the house, I felt God leading me to go back to a health food store where I had shopped for years. I was looking for something natural that I hadn't tried yet. I don’t know how the Blood Type Diet had slipped under my radar. I did a lot of reading about nutritional issues. Perhaps it was the word "diet". Since I wasn't unhappy with my weight, I wasn't looking for a diet in that sense of the word.
When I read that Type Os were the most likely to have stomach pain, and that wheat and dairy were the worst foods for Type O, I was intrigued. I bought the book and went on the BTD cold turkey June 13, 2003. In a week I was off of all medication. In two weeks I was pain free. I have never looked back, and never wavered from my enthusiasm for the BTD.
I've learned a lot in ten years.
The BTD is not about how food tastes. Lots of avoids are very appealing when they are in my mouth. But more often than not, I don't feel good after I eat avoids.
When I think back to when my children were toddlers, I can see now that they naturally gravitated to foods that were right for their type. People seem to lose that sensitivity to what makes them feel good as they get older.
At first glance the Type O diet, might appear to be grain free, but it is not. It is important that I get 1.5 servings of grain every day.
The BTD doesn't have to be expensive. I buy certain hard to find items at health food stores and on the internet, but I do most of my shopping at a regular grocery store.
I don't have to be neurotic about avoids. I am highly compliant at home. At restaurants I do the best I can without being a burden to my server, and at a friend's home I enjoy what has been prepared for me.
Having two blood types in my family makes things more complicated, but certainly not impossible, especially when everyone in the family saw their health improve on the BTD.
I've been thinking of several blogs that I need to write; among them personal application to interesting news articles and concerns about turning 60. I've been too busy at work to do any serious pondering, but something happened yesterday that made me laugh. Maybe you need a laugh too.
I had finished unloading my groceries at the checkout line. The cashier picked up a box of rice crackers and said "Is this how you stay so thin?" My initial response was to tell her that I liked the crackers, but they were mostly for my husband.
The more I thought about it, the more I smiled. Finally I was chuckling. Then I said to her,
"They need to let you do training for new cashiers. Most of the time a cashier asks me whether I found everything I needed. That makes me think of the things I don't have. You tell me that I look thin, who cares whether I found what I wanted to buy."
I went on, saying, "You could say 'Your hair looks great,' or 'who does your nails' or 'what a cute outfit'. Customers would leave the store smiling."
By now she and I are both laughing out loud. Probably the people in other lines thought we were crazy. But I left the store smiling, and I didn't care about what I hadn't been able to find.
This year, my family joined a CSA- Community Supported Agriculture. In the beginning of the season, we bought a “farm share”, and every week I get to pick up a box of farm-fresh produce. If the harvests are especially good, we’ll get more produce each week. If the harvests are only so-so, we get less produce in the box. We don’t pay extra for the good harvests, nor do we get a refund for the poorer harvests. We’re investing in the farm.
The one we joined comes to about $20 a week and runs for 26 weeks. The farm itself is 50 miles away from us, but the pickup location is only 5 miles away. I pick it up on Wednesday afternoons, and the food is harvested on Wednesday morning- the shares vary slightly for those who pick up on other days of the week, depending on what’s ready that day. The farm sends out emails to tell us what’s in the box each week, so we can do menu planning.
I’m hoping that having fresh produce in the house will encourage my kids to eat more veggies. Jack enjoyed the kale chips I made last week with half the kale we got in the box- I plan to make another batch later today with the rest of it. We also got bok choy in the last box, which I used to make stir-fries. Hannah REALLY enjoyed those stir-fries. I’ll probably make something similar for her with whatever greens we get in this week’s box, as bok choy isn’t in this week’s portion.
The only disadvantage of the CSA is that I have less control over which veggies enter my house. I don’t normally buy bok choy because it’s a “black dot” for me, but I had some this week anyway. It’s organic, grown less than 100 miles from my house, and in limited quantity. I’m going to enjoy it. I even ate one strawberry, even though those are an “avoid” for me. But my kids ate most of both of those. Later in the year, we’ll be getting in things like cabbage and cauliflower, which are “avoids” for me but neutral or beneficial for Jack. I’ll certainly encourage him to eat lots of those foods when we get them- which will be a definite advantage to having this “forced variety” of foods in the house.
A few weeks ago, when I mentioned that the CSA was going to be starting soon, Jack thought it stood for Community Supported Awesomeness. I think he’s right.