A recurring theme in my blogs is that I try to focus on beneficials – on what I CAN have. There are so many delicious beneficials, as well as plenty of neutrals to round out menus and give variety. When I keep my focus on them, I am content both as I cook, and as I eat.
However, when I focus on avoids it just makes me feel deprived. I start wanting the thing I’m not supposed to have. It doesn’t help when I describe the Type O diet, and someone dismisses it by saying, “Oh I could never give up wheat.” or “I couldn’t live without cheddar cheese.”
I smiled when I read my Bible Study this morning from Genesis. The author makes exactly the same point about Eve. Her avoid list only had one item…and what did she want? Of course…the one thing she wasn’t supposed to have. Here is a quote from Sarah Young’s book “Jesus Calling.
“Before Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, thankfulness was as natural as breathing. Satan’s temptation involved pointing Eve to the one thing that was forbidden to her. The garden was filled with luscious, desirable fruits, but Eve focused on the one fruit she couldn’t have, rather than being thankful for the many good things freely available. This negative focus darkened her mind, and she succumbed to temptation.
“When you focus on what you don’t have or on situations that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened. You take for granted life, salvation, sunshine, flowers, and countless other gifts from God. You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life.”
I’m sure I will keep returning to this theme, because I believe it is the second greatest factor to success on the Blood Type Diet.
During this Easter season, keep your focus on the blessings in your life and in your diet. Approach God with thanksgiving for the many, many things that you have. And enjoy the good news that eggs are either beneficial or neutral for us all.
In February, I spent two weeks in the hospital – ushered in through the Emergency Room – and eleven days of that in critical care. The month's final week found me at home again, weak and tired. Throughout March, I have slowly crept out of that sudden, unexpected abyss, to re-orient, re-group. After about thirty years as an adult in excellent health under my own "alternative" recognizance, it was quite a shock to take up the identity of Hospital Patient and, then, Outpatient thereafter. I do have a background in Medicine, working for years with doctors, in and out of hospitals. I think this helped immensely; my hospital course was never scary for me.
Convalescence has been more challenging than hospitalization was. I have been visited by six different home healthcare professionals, two different unknown maids, three or four outside contractors and my apartment building's maintenance man a few times. I have taken regular pharmacy deliveries. I've had four appointments with three MDs and been to a laboratory to drop off a specimen. I've also shopped at the supermarket a couple of times, had a couple of friends over for dinner, and returned to work here and there.
In my lifetime, my Standard Operating Procedure has involved amassing tons of scholarship on any and every subject I encounter, and during the past 5 and a half weeks that's been my continued and constant practice. I have studied each drug I'm taking, each drug I took in the hospital (after remembering them!) (and there were many), each procedure I underwent in ER, ICU, TICU and on the ward; various hospital practices and protocols; the Hospitalist specialty; the Intensivist specialty; the history of Intensive Care; ICU nursing, and more. I've of course studied my own disease and conditions - their stages, causes, treatments and prognoses.
During my hospitalization I encountered the whole gamut of career-suitability of various practitioners, from shining examples of professionalism, to those with clearly inappropriate motives for being in health care; from the energetic and thorough to the lazy and disinterested, to the exhausted. As an outpatient and in-home consumer of Home Healthcare services, I've observed the same range.
And now? I enter another phase: No Longer Med-Free. While investigating their possible side-effects and interactions, and correcting the various nutrient-depletions they cause, I'm also physically processing new drugs, monitoring their effects in addition to monitoring vital signs and treating symptoms in non-Rx ways. Plus: I'm also having to make dietary and lifestyle adjustments. In the hospital, it was easier: All I had to do was let other people keep me alive.
We natural-types have to be on guard against disdain of the allopathic system's "Magic Pill" answers when a quick improvement is imperative. In the ICU, this was literally and immediately a matter of Life and Death. At home, while the stakes are less immediate, they are just as serious: The "right" medication can immediately restore function to an exhausted patient who is challenged or failing. Yes - under better circumstances, one has months to compare modalities, to experiment with supplements that are less toxic, and their dosages. For my part, I'm discovering that Rx meds are right for me NOW - because I haven't had the luxury of months or years to plan for new conditions and their treatments. I'm cutting myself that slack, knowing I can wean myself from them later, when I'm stronger and have emerged more completely from the convalescent stage. Perhaps I will blog about the process of jettisoning those crutches? We'll see.
Meanwhile, I count myself blessed to be under the oversight and care of a fine MD who is forthcoming, friendly, flexible, considerate and accessible. In his practice, he routinely uses diet, exercise/fitness and nutritional supplementation in addition to Rx meds and allopathic methods. I feel safe letting him share responsibility for my health at this point, because this flurry of self-education (while mentally fascinating) is unable to keep pace with the urgency of my situation and the variety and depth of medical/pharmacological knowledge required.
I'm blogging on a natural health site. I'm pursuing a Complementary Medicine program. Bear with me. Thanks.
Yesterday my wife reluctantly told me that her ankle, back and fingers had finally stopped causing her a lot of pain. I thought she was feeling guilty about taking pain medication. Come to find out that she finally took my advice and stopped eating wheat, breads and pasta and noticed a difference within two days!
For all of you new people out there please beware!
The lectin (protein) in wheat is a destructive little beast. First it damages the lining of your intestines causing discomfort, irritation and larger openings for the lectins to get into your blood stream. Then it gets into your joints and attaches to the tissue causing inflammation. White blood cells see a problem and attack the tissue causing damage. Wheat lectins also mimic insulin by attaching to the same receptor sites but do not respond the cell instructions to let go when the cell has had enough sugar. When cells take in too much sugar it is stored as fat. Wheat protein has even been found in the brains of Alzheimer sufferers.
If that was not enough, wheat lectins are attracted to the thyroid and attach, causing inflammation and then the thyroid gets damaged when white blood cells sense something is wrong and attack the inflamed tissue.
My wife has seen results with her joints feeling better, but I hope she sees the connection to her thyroid issues before it gets any worse.
I was writing a nice blog in my head about the 4-5 pounds that I put on during January and February. This happens every year. It’s not holiday weight. I think of it as winter weight, because it usually goes away in the spring. I was going to ponder whether it is caused by cold weather, a slightly more sedentary winter lifestyle, or some unknown factor.
I was also going to write about belly fat. While winter weight gain happens every year, this year it stuck around my tummy. That has never happened before. I was going to ponder whether the change was related to hormones, age, or some unknown factor.
It would have been a good blog. I would have tied in statistics about belly fat’s relationship to other health problems and about my resolve to shed the pounds before it was warm enough to wear shorts.
Then I read the article about a starving mother trying to deal gently with her starving children in Africa. I posted that article, and began to ponder why I (and most other people in affluent societies) am so obsessed about weight gain. There are no obese people among the poor in India. There is no overweight problem in impoverished countries in Africa. They don’t gain weight because they don’t have enough to eat.
I on the other hand am bombarded by ads for diet programs, diet pills, and diet books that promise me that I can over eat and not gain weight. Bunk!
True, eating the wrong kinds of food can make someone put on weight faster and make them put on fat instead of muscle. That’s one of several reasons I follow the BTD. But basically if I am already eating healthy food and I want to lose weight, I should eat less.
Before I go on – I have to issue a caveat. I went through 3 years of an eating/exercise disorder with my Darling Daughter. If your BMI is low, you do not need to lose weight. If you are obsessed with making your body look like some model’s body you do not need to lose weight. Only in affluent countries do women voluntarily starve themselves. I am more firmly convinced than ever that eating/exercise disorders are spiritual problems.
So first of all find a website that calculates your BMI. If you really need to lose weight, cut back on your food intake.
Before you say you couldn’t possibly eat less, think of the millions of starving peoples around the world. They would think it was a miracle if they had two of the three meals a day that we normally eat.
I’ve been feeling rather worn out for the past few weeks. I felt like I was buried in responsibilities. Some days I tried to take a break to care for my body, but my work piled up and I’d feel guilty about that. I’d create extra stress by not having a clear space to cook dinner because I’d never cleaned up from breakfast! Or Hannah couldn’t find clean gym clothes because I hadn’t washed them yet. Other days I would trudge through the housework and get it done, but I felt burdened and resentful as I went about my day. Any little unexpected thing would put me over the edge, and I was snapping at my kids A LOT!
I didn’t know why I was feeling this way. I thought I was being careful with my diet and supplements. I know exercise is a big factor, especially for O’s, but I find it hard to exercise when I’m tired, dizzy, and in pain. Overall, I was feeling hopeless and depressed, because I didn’t know what caused my fatigue, so I didn’t know how to fix things.
This past Saturday was the Bar Mitzvah of a close friend’s son. There was no way I could miss it, even though I really wanted space alone and was dreading the large crowd. It wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated; it was kind of like I was exercising emotional muscles. It was hard, but it felt good. I also made some “less than perfect” food choices at the party. I stayed away from wheat, potatoes, and obvious corn, but I didn’t worry about additives in the fish or deli meat, or what might have been in the salad dressing, and I ate the tomatoes and cucumbers. Overall I ate lots of veggies and protein, but I also know I ate chemical food additives, "avoid" oils, vinegar, possible potato starch, and either sugar or corn syrup.
By Monday, I was even more of a mess than usual for me. Once I recognized that I was reacting to what I ate on Saturday, it helped me put things into perspective. I know that food reactions are temporary, as long as I proceed to eat right so my body can clear out the toxins. The physical symptoms were still present, but I had hope again. I also analyzed how I’ve been eating the last few weeks, and realized that a few “avoids” have managed to slip in. I ate some sweet potato chips made with “avoid” oils, along with a lot of mozzarella cheese and a little bit of tomato sauce. That can probably account for a lot of how I’ve been feeling.
I’ve been eating clean again since Sunday, so some of these toxins are getting cleared out. Yesterday I made “self nurturing” my primary focus. I went clothes shopping for myself, and I took a hot bath in the middle of the afternoon. But more than the specific things I did, I gave myself permission to be a little self-indulgent, and not spend every waking moment worried about the house or the kids. That attitude shift has made a world of difference.
I’m feeling a whole lot calmer now, and ready to tackle my work.
As the sun is setting and the day is ending, a mother starts a fire and puts water in a pot to boil for dinner. For the next few hours, she stirs the pot and answers her children’s continuous question: “When we will eat, Mommy?” The mother responds back, “Look, I am making it now. You just have to wait a little longer.” The children grow tired, until they finally fall asleep without getting any food. Afterwards, the mother takes the pot off the fire and puts the fire out. The problem is not that the children fell asleep too early to get the food, but rather that there is no food to be found. People are starving in Mali.
This was on the International Mission Board prayer request list for today. But yesterday I came in from doing yard work an hour past lunch time and said, “I’m starving.”
The BTD is about eating the right foods so that I will be healthy and energetic. But I never want to be so self focused that I forget that there are millions of people who have no food at all.
I am NOT writing this because I want some government to step in and solve the problem. Perhaps my favorite quote about poverty is this: Socialism says, what’s yours is mine and I’ll take it. Christianity says, what’s mine is yours and I’ll give it.
I hope to be less self indulgent this year and more generous to IMB World Hunger, Compassion International, Neverthirst, and other volunteer organizations who are working to solve the root causes of starvation.
I made a double batch of chili a few weeks ago, and froze half of it. The weather was cold and rainy last weekend, so I got the leftover chili out of the freezer. I was going to make millet bread - which tastes so much like cornbread that it goes perfect with chili, but I was out of eggs. Instead I made garlic toast with the ends of spelt bread for HH. I had rice bread with ghee. It was adequate, but not as good as chili with cornbread. There was enough chili left for one meal. I grocery shopped and bought eggs.
Wednesday I started warming the last of the chili, and began again to make millet bread…I was out of millet. I was so frustrated as I stared at the shelf. I had quinoa, amaranth, rye, and buckwheat, but no millet. Rather than have toast with our chili again, I ground 2 cups of buckwheat groats into flour.
I made the bread exactly like I would have made it with millet. The first hint of success was the way the bread smelled while it was baking. I knew it was going to be good.
The buckwheat bread was a little drier than the millet bread, but it was not too dry. In a way, the texture suited the different flavor of the buckwheat. However, I might add a little more milk or oil next time I make it.
The chili is all gone, but I’m looking forward to another slice of buckwheat bread this afternoon.
If you missed the millet cornbread recipe, here is the link: millet cornbread
Wishing a cloud away
So it don’t rain on me
Can’t stand in the rain
In a puddle by the tree
Wishing a cloud to stay
To keep the sun off me
Can’t walk in the heat
Far from the shade tree
Why don’t the clouds
Pay attention to me
Can’t live my life right
If clouds must be free
Physicians have useful information and skills from schooling and practice that can make a tremendous difference in one’s life. There are many things the medical profession does very well and other things it does adequately. Some various things have not yet reached the stage of adequacy. I have also had many experiences with physicians making medical judgments that reflected poor judgment at best.
As one example, a primary care physician from my past prescribed an ACE inhibitor type of blood pressure medication which I had a bad reaction to. A second variety of the same type was prescribed under the thesis that the different varieties do not always elicit the same reactions, but in my case the reaction was the same. At that time yet a third variety of the same drug class was prescribed but I resisted and we wound up with a different and more suitable medication.
Unfortunately, I could relate many other instances. Some where I maintained control, some where I didn’t. The first couple of instances might best be thought of as learning experiences.
Last month I failed to maintain control for a variety of reasons. The result was about a week of severe short term memory impairment, slow thought and reaction time, and significant added fatigue as side effects of a new prescription. Whether there was poor judgment in the prescription process is debatable, but the person who had the final control and the ability to make an informed decision was me. Had I followed my preferred procedure and researched the medication prior to taking it, there would have been several things that should have led to my refusing the medication. There were also other errors made by the office staff, the physician and by myself regarding prior history communication that could have resulted in the medication not being prescribed, although I view this as only a minor possibility.
Whether or not a particular treatment works for an individual might color their view on how adequately the medical profession handles that particular issue. It would also be nice if the medical process was less prone to errors of judgment and process. In spite of what flaws are in the medical system, I have a degree of awareness of them. I have an ability to protect myself from some types of poor judgment or procedural errors. It is also easy enough to look up the clinical trials data, investigate other treatment possibilities and consider the value of treatment when treatment is optional. Some years ago I did not know these things. It can make a difference. This time I let control slip past me.
It’s time for my daily walk. I best put on my hat and head out the door.
Chicken Fajitas with rice and (lima) beans
Chili Mac with black beans