It’s been nearly three years since I first found out I had Lyme disease (and other Tick borne infections). I’ve come a long way in those three years and I’m still hopeful that I’ll improve enough to have a somewhat normal life again. But it takes a really long time to get well depending on how long you’ve been sick, (at least 15 years for me) how old you are, (I’m 54) and how many different kinds of infections you have (I have at least four). I hear numbers like 3 to 5 years, but there just aren’t that many accurate statistics out there. This disease, like most I’m sure, affects your emotions as well as your physical health. And right now I’m very depressed. I had been doing really well (relatively speaking) in the late summer and early fall. But I’ve been going downhill lately and I’m not exactly sure of the cause as there are a few different factors to choose from.
1 – This healing process has always been two steps forward and one step back. So maybe this is just my one step back.
2 – My Dad was injured last October. He had been living in Washington with no one living close enough to care for him. So my family had to figure out what to do so he could get the care he needed. This was very stressful as I don’t get along well with a couple of my family members and I’ve been so worried for my Dad. We ended up moving him, last December, into an Assisted Living apartment about three hours from me, which means he’s finally close enough to visit. The drive and staying overnight is still incredible hard on me, but I haven’t seen much of my Dad in the last 30 years so I’m going to take advantage of this as often as possible. Which was twice in December, not a smart thing for me to do, but after all he is my Dad and I've been missing him so much.
3 – My expenses increase by $400 a month last October, so I had to cut way back on my supplements, medicine, treatments, and Doctor visits. My Dad was helping me financially, but now that his circumstances have changed that’s not really an option anymore.
4 – I had just gone through a really tough six months at work. My boss retired (in March) and I took on some of his tasks as they didn’t replace him, which at the time was easy and fun to do. Then the upper level manager got cancer and was gone a lot, so it was chaotic at best at work. Late in October that manager died, it was a great loss, and I miss him so very much. But we finally replaced the boss that retired and some of the stress was removed from me. But like a good little B blood type, did I just collapse because the “emergency” (of the last six months) was finally over for me?
5 - I got a bad case of the flu in early January. It's the one that starts out like a cold and in my case very quickly moved into a sinus infection. Believe it or not, it's actually good news when a Lyme patient gets a cold or flu. I haven't had a cold in many years! Usually our immune systems are so low our body doesn't even try to fight the new virus at all. But I'm in that in between stage, where my immune system has started working again but not quite well enough to take care of the job. I had to use some sinus sprays and other medication to clear up this new infection.
It’s so discouraging to have these nights again where I’m up all night long with pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. I’ve started to have trouble concentrating again and having memory lapses. The depression of course doesn’t help matters, but it’s actually one of the symptoms, so it’s not so easily overcome. Only time will tell what the cause of this set back is. My guess is it’s a combination of all five of the factors above. Here’s hoping last Friday night is as bad as it gets and I start moving back in the “right” direction soon.
The past week has been unusually warm, and I took advantage of it by going for a bicycle ride.
Oh my! I discovered muscles that have been neglected for nine months. I had so much fun doing water aerobics and tubing last summer that I didn't ride my bicycle much if at all. I usually ride a lot in the fall, but between two mini vacations and HH's Mom being in rehab, I don't think I ever got the bicycle out of the garage. So I haven't done any consistent bicycling since last spring.
I have not neglected exercise. I work out at the fitness center twice a week. I still do the line dancing class once a week. I hike with the hiking club and with my husband. I run when the weather is not too cold. Each form of exercise uses different skills and different muscles.
As soon as I got on the bicycle I knew I had neglected my biking muscles. The most embarrassing and frustrating moment was at the end of the ride. There is a hill right before you get to our house. You come to it at the end of a ride, when you are already tired. Five years ago when we moved here, I had to walk my bike up that hill. Gradually, as I got stronger, I could traverse the hill and ride all the way to the top. Then came an exciting day when I rode straight up the hill. What a great feeling, physically and emotionally!
This week, I approached the hill with confidence. About half way up I thought, "I'm not going to make it." I peddled harder, countering my negative thoughts by saying aloud "Yes I am!" As HH often says - reality will prevail. I could tell that I was about to stall, and I did not want to risk a fall. I hopped off the bike and walked it the rest of the way.
If the weather stays mild, I'll give those unused muscles another chance next week.
Something happened his week that took me back to my college days. My roommate Alice and I had moved out of the dorm and into an apartment. Both of us copied favorite recipes from our Moms and we were excited about cooking in our own kitchen.
We were also both on a tight budget. One day Alice told me to come home prepared for a delicious dinner. She had found a great deal on chicken and was going to make one of her Mom's best recipes - Chicken Diablo. When I got in from class the apartment smelled wonderful. But when we sat down to dinner we realized the great deal on chicken had been on a package of wings and backs. We had a fabulous sauce but almost no chicken. Wings are mostly bone and skin. Backs are just bone. It was a poignant lesson for two young women.
At least I thought I had learned the lesson. I guess I needed a refresher course, because last week I found a great deal on frozen cod, and I bought it.
I decided to make my Mother's seafood Creole recipe. She made it with shrimp, but I was going to use the cod. I started the sauce first. It wasn't long before the kitchen smelled wonderful. I opened the cod. Oh my! I did not know fish could have gristle. I had a package that was mostly bone and tough connecting tissue. By digging and scraping I eventually found a respectable amount of cod, which I mixed in with the sauce.
I served the Creole over steamed brown rice. HH thought it was delicious. It was delicious...but it would have been so much better if I hadn't skimped and tried to save money on the fish.
When we moved into this house 7 years ago, there was an electric range already in place: oven and stove in one unit, with a fancy glass-top on the stove. I've been using electric stoves for my entire adult life, and adapting to the glass cooking top took no effort at all. Besides using it for cooking, I quickly found myself using it as “extra counter space” in my small kitchen. We routinely put clean dishes onto the stove top after washing, especially if we were washing meat dishes and the tablecloth was already set up for dairy.
A few weeks ago, I put the clean, dry dishes away on a Sunday morning and noticed a crack in the glass. I soon realized that the crack spread along both left burners, rendering them unusable. I wasn’t even sure it was safe to continue using the burners on the right, which were far from the crack. I settled on a compromise: I still used the burners on the right when I absolutely had to, but I minimized their use.
I still used the stovetop to make scrambled eggs and omelets, when I was watching the stove the whole time. Instead of making a soup that simmered on the stovetop all day, I made soups in the crock pot. Instead of cooking meatballs in a frying pan, I cooked them in the oven. Instead of boiling water on the stove constantly, I kept my hot water urn filled and plugged in. I made ghee in the oven instead of the stovetop- and managed to over-cook it, because I couldn't walk past the kitchen and see it, and the smell of the finished ghee was reduced since it was inside the oven.
It took me a while to get the stove looked at. The crack occurred a few days before Christmas, and our handyman is Catholic. I didn't want to disturb him a few days before his holiest day of the year, since this wasn't an emergency. Then, of course, the next week was New Year’s. He was finally able to come the first week of January. He figured out that the replacement part for the stove was nearly $400, not counting labor. There would also be no guarantee that something else in the range wouldn't break shortly afterwards- the range was, after all, at least 9 years old. A new electric stove, without the fancy glass top, was under $450. It made no sense to repair the old stovetop.
But before replacing the stove, we did some research. Mom has a gas stove downstairs, which means the house has a gas line. What would it cost to extend the gas line upstairs and replace the range with a gas oven instead of another electric? Let’s not buy another stove until the plumber can give us an estimate for that. The plumber couldn't come right away- and then the estimate was too high. OK, we’re definitely getting another electric range. The first day Mom was available to go stove-shopping; I was home with a sick child. He was still sick the second day she was available. Finally, he was back in school and we went off to the appliance store, even though I was starting to get sick. Amazingly, they were able to deliver the stove the very next day, which was a Thursday.
Now I found myself quite sick, with a brand new oven and stove to figure out how to use, and it was nearly time to prepare for Shabbos! I kept the hot water urn on for a few more days- my throat was too sore for cold drinks, so I was using much more hot water than usual, and it was a bad time to make new habits, or even to resurrect old ones. Soon I would go back to using the hot water urn just for Shabbos, and boil water in a teapot during the week. This allows the electric urn to last a lot longer.
It’s been nearly a week with the new range. I've found that the oven cooks almost exactly the same as the old one, but the stovetop cooks differently. Instead of a few different sizes of burners, I have two big ones and two little ones. I’m not sure if they actually burn hotter than the old stove did, or if it’s just that the “big” burners are larger than the “medium” burner I used to use for simmering soup all day. Or maybe it’s the way I have to center the pot on the burner for stability, and can’t have it partially on/partially off the burner so it’s not quite as hot. I need to put things on “2” when I used to cook them on “3.” I haven’t actually burned anything, but quite a few things got over-cooked: a soup and yet another batch of ghee.
Maybe I’ll manage to make a batch of yellow ghee in February.
Fried chicken is a Southern classic. Chicken Fried Steak is a Southwestern version of that Southern classic. Pre BTD I loved Chicken Fried Steak. I was never particularly good at making it, but I ordered it every time I could in a restaurant. After the BTD it became one of those foods like pizza - it wasn't really good for any blood type. The beef was bad for my husband, and the flour was bad for me.
I didn't miss it a whole lot, except when we would eat out with our Strong Son. He would smile as he enjoyed his Chicken Fried Steak and say, "Now Mom, you know I don't eat as much wheat as I used to, but I'm not taking this diet as seriously as you do." My mouth would water.
Last week I bought a package of turkey cutlets. Usually I cook the cutlets with barbeque sauce in the oven. I live in Texas so naturally there are 25 - 30 choices of barbeque sauce in my grocery store. Of those, 2-3 are free of high fructose corn syrup and other avoid ingredients.
Since my New Year's resolution is to try a new recipe every week that both my Type A husband and my Type O self can eat, I began to think what else I could do with the turkey cutlets. If Chicken Fried Steak was good, I wondered what Chicken Fried Turkey would be like. Back in the days when vegetables were popular and people ate at the cafeteria every Sunday after church, Luby's Cafeteria made some of the best Chicken Fried Steak. They had published a 50th anniversary cookbook, and I had bought one. Sure enough their Chicken Fried Steak recipe was in the cookbook. Here is the recipe - with my BTD changes.
3 large eggs
1 cup milk (substitute almond milk)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups flour (substitute rice flour)
2 1/2 pounds of round steak cut in pieces (substitute turkey cutlets)
Oil (I used light olive oil, but it smoked too much, next time will try grapeseed oil)
Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, seasoned salt, and pepper.
Place flour in a shallow bowl.
Pound the meat with a meat mallet to 1/4 inch thickness. Coat with flour. Dip into egg mixture, then again into flour.
Heat 1/8 inch oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook meat 3 - 4 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through.
Except for the smoke from the light olive oil, this recipe was a big success. It tasted delicious. My Honorable Husband said, "Great dinner."
I will probably use less milk next time. There was too much of the egg milk mixture left over. When I warmed up the leftovers, the coating was not as crisp as it was the night I made them. Next time I will refry them just a little in oil so that the leftovers will be as good as the original.
I keep a pitcher of green tea in the refrigerator all the time. As much as I like the taste of plain green tea, I also like variety. So I usually mix 4 bags of green tea with two bags of another flavor of tea. Obviously I do not use any black tea because is avoid for both of us. I look for herb teas with no avoid ingredients.
I especially like fruit flavored tea, so I often mix blueberry, peach, and raspberry herb teas with green tea. We drank the last of some peppermint green tea last night.
The reason flavored tea is on my mind this morning is because I just placed an order with Vitamin Shoppe. I had a coupon that was getting ready to expire. I really needed to order two things, but in order to get free shipping, I had to shop a little more.
I clicked on the sales, and found Tulsi teas with delicious sounding flavors. I wasn't familiar with Tulsi, but I took the time to do some research. Holy Basil is another name for Tulsi, and Holy Basil is highly recommended for Type As. It is especially good for cortisol issues, something that both HH and DD struggle with. It is neutral for Type Os, but several Os on the Forum have written that they feel like it helps them.
I bought three flavors that sound delicious. I can hardly wait for them to get here. But in the meantime, I'm thinking that today we will have ginger green tea.
I always read labels...at least I thought I did...but I missed one.
After I posted the Teriyaki Turkey recipe, Jane commented that Soy Sauce contained wheat.
My first reaction was that wheat was probably a minor ingredient near the bottom of the ingredient list. I walked to the refrigerator to check the bottle. No. Wheat was the number 1 ingredient. I couldn't believe it.
Why do they call it Soy Sauce if the main ingredient is wheat? It should be called Wheat Sauce...but that sounds terrible.
Jane recommended Tamari. At the grocery store I found 5 different kinds of Tamari. All of them were wheat free. Only one was low sodium. I bought that one.
While I was at the store I was also checking labels on soups. When my son was young he was extremely sensitive to MSG. Back then it seemed that all canned soups had MSG. Then Campbells came out with Healthy Request which was MSG free. Other soup makers followed their example and began eliminating MSG from their products. Finally Amys, Pacific, and other companies began marketing organic soups.
I began to buy more canned soup. My husband loves soup and salad for supper. Personally, while I like the taste of many soups, I don't find them filling enough to call a meal. I could warm a can of soup for him and have leftover meat and veggies for myself.
I do read soup labels carefully, even for favorite soups that I buy often. For a few years the trend seemed to be away from MSG. Now it seems to me that it is coming back to more soups. I've stopped buying several products that I bought a year or two ago.
I embarrassed that I missed the wheat in Soy Sauce, but I needed the reminder to stay vigilant. Even when I think I have read the label before, or when I think I know what is in a product, I need to take the time to check.
Eventually this blog is going to be about a recently released study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, but I'm going to start with some personal experiences and observations
A month or so ago, there was a thread on the Forum about skinny jeans. People were challenging each other to get serious about losing weight and get into those magical jeans before the holidays. I wanted to scream, but resisted being argumentative at the time.
That thread brought back too many memories of the two years that my Darling Daughter spent in the clutches of an exercise and eating disorder. Once she recognized that she had bought into a lie, it took another two years for her to heal mentally and physically. At the time, I gave credit to God and the Blood Type Diet for keeping her from doing herself serious harm. The Blood Type Diet kept her focused on eating the healthiest foods during the time when she was not eating enough. God helped her to see that the root of all eating disorders is a refusal to accept that He made each of us in a precious and wonderful way. It goes against His will and against nature when we try to change our body type to look like a freak in a fashion magazine.
When I say skinny jeans, I'm not harping on a particular brand. I am talking about any style of clothing that makes girls and women feel badly about themselves if they do not have skinny legs and huge chests. This has been the style for way too long and it forces 95% of women to wish they could change themselves. Some women overeat out of frustration. Some women starve themselves to try to conform to an unreasonable standard. Some women, and I count myself in this group, make peace with their bodies and try to dress in a way that camouflages their shortcomings. Wouldn't it be better if we could all ignore the New York fashion gurus and be content with the way God made us?
I often get e-mails and read Forum posts from women who started the Blood Type Diet to lose weight and are frustrated because they are not losing fast enough. I believe this is because the BTD is far more important than a weight loss diet. This is a health building eating plan for the rest of my life. The reason I lost a little weight, but not an extraordinary amount of weight, is because if I follow the BTD I am building health. New York's idea of fashion is contrary to health.
If you eat the type and portions of food recommended on your food lists, you will gradually shed pounds - if you are really and truly overweight. You will eventually level off to an easily maintainable weight that is healthy. But you won't fit into pencil skirts or boy cut shorts.
Maybe that makes you think, "The BTD is not for me. I'm outta here." Before you go, you should read about a study published on January 1 by researcher Katherine Flegal. She did a study in 2007 that found that people who were a little overweight lived longer than people who were underweight. She was severely criticized. So she did another study with a much larger sampling of people. And she reached the same conclusion.
She does not recommend eating junk food. She does recommend exercising. She cautions that weight is not the only factor in longevity. Her study does shoot big holes in the myth that skinny is healthy and a low BMI guarantees a long life.
If you google her name and "weight" or "BMI" or "long life" or "death risk" you will find several newspaper and magazine articles. Make sure you choose one with the new study not the 2007 study.
You cannot change your body type. Any diet that tells you that you can is lying to you. If you want an eating plan that maximizes your health and moderates your weight, give the BTD a try.