There is a man in DD and SIL's church who does not have a lot of money. He is retired. He lives in a mobile home. He loves the Lord, and he loves his church. He believes in tithing, but it is difficult for him.
If you are not familiar with the tithe, it is a biblical concept where believers give 10% of their income to the Lord's work or to their church. Sometimes tithing is hard to do, but if you talk to people who tithe, they will tell you that it is often accompanied by unexpected blessing. I can say that my husband and I have tithed for years, and our needs have been met in good years and in bad.
The man in DD and SIL's church gives the money he can. He also gives from his garden. He grows okra and turnip greens. He brings gifts to his pastor and to other church members. He has chickens, and he brings fresh eggs to his pastor and his friends at church.
DD and SIL are delighted to be the beneficiaries of this form of tithing. They are enjoying omelets and egg sandwiches. They are eating fresh garden vegetables. Occasionally I get to benefit as well. DD cooked up a big batch of turnip greens and ghee - more than they could eat. So she gave some to me, and I had them for lunch today.
I think that having a garden is a great idea for anyone. I don't have one yet, but when I retire from the photography business, a garden is at the top of my to-do list. A garden is especially beneficial to people on fixed income because it lets them eat a healthy diet on a limited budget. When God provides an abundant harvest, it is also a way to share with His people and His work.
I am sitting at my computer this morning with a bad feeling in my stomach, a feeling that I have not felt since 2003.
I'm not going to tell my nutritional history in this blog - I've told it many times over the years. But briefly, it was GERD - indigestion - a burning feeling in my lower esophagus and upper stomach - that led me to the BTD. Within a week of starting this diet, I was off of all medication, and within 10 days I was pain free. I had hoped never to have that feeling again.
This morning's pain is my own fault. DD has always tended slightly to constipation. Now that she has a desk job, that tendency has gotten worse. So she and I did some brainstorming. She eats a very high fiber diet - lots of seeds and nuts that are a good protein source for Type As. She drinks lots of fluid and gets plenty of exercise.
We bought some bran, because that is what Dr. D recommends for constipation in A's, B's, and AB's. She was reluctant to take it because even though it is recommended in the protocols, it is avoid on the food lists. I bought her some psyllium, which isn't listed on the BTD or GTD food lists. She said it helped a little, but not much.
All of the brainstorming I was doing with DD got me to thinking about myself. I loved the way my lower digestive system worked when I ate 2 Tablespoons of bran every day. I thought about trying an experiment. DD sent me home with a container of bran and a container of psyllium. I added 1 Tablespoon of bran to my breakfast one day and 1 Tablespoon of psyllium the next.
The immediate impact was a marked improvement in my already good bowel health. With colon cancer in my family, plus having had a precancerous polyp removed, I was delighted. I alternated the two fibers for several weeks, with no ill effects. Three days ago, I felt just a twinge of indigestion. It must be the bran, I thought. So I set the bran aside and took psyllium two days in a row. Yesterday the indigestion was a little worse.
At this point I should have gone on the BTD website and done some research. I would have read that Dr. D does not recommend psyllium for Type Os. I would have read comments from lots of Type Os who tried psyllium anyway and regretted it. Instead I focused on the good effect psyllium was having in my colon, and added it to my breakfast again this morning. Within 30 minutes I knew I had made a mistake. This time the pain is not a twinge, it is uncomfortable and annoying.
The good news is that I know I will feel better as soon as the psyllium has passed through my stomach. I will focus on beneficial foods and ghee that will heal the inflammation. My only regret is that I've already tried rice bran, oat bran, and flax seed. They help, but there doesn't seem to be a fibrous food that does for Type Os what bran and psyllium do for other types.
Our neighbors tell us we got five inches of rain while we were gone. I believe them! The grass seized the opportunity and went to seed. We returned home to find thigh high grass. Our yard could have inspired the words "amber waves of grain".
Because we live in the country, we do not have a manicured suburban yard. We encourage native plants, and most of the year we let the yard, except for the area right around the house, go wild. But thigh high grass is too much. It invites snakes and rodents to take up residence; and that is not acceptable! So, I've been mowing an hour or two every afternoon. It's good exercise.
Yesterday I got double exercise. I met my exercise partner at the fitness room in the morning to lift weights. In the afternoon I mowed. This morning I feel fit and strong.
I had bought a bag of shredded cabbage for Cole Slaw before we left on our trip. When we returned, the cabbage was looking a little wilted. HH loves Cole Slaw almost any time, particularly with sandwiches or soup. So he was happy to be getting Cole Slaw every day. But I could see that the cabbage was going to go bad long before I could use it all.
I remembered wistfully a cooked cabbage recipe that I loved making before I started the BTD. At the time I was not a cabbage eater. I didn't like raw cabbage in Cole Slaw. I didn't like fermented sauerkraut. I didn't like watery cooked cabbage. I came across a recipe that said cook cabbage in a little milk and melted butter. I tried it and to me it tasted wonderful. Full disclosure - DD and HH who both prefer raw vegetables to cooked, did not share my enthusiasm. But I often fixed cabbage this way for myself when I was alone at lunch. I abandoned the recipe when I started the BTD because of the milk.
I was thinking about that recipe for cooked cabbage as I made Cole Slaw for HH. Then I thought of almond milk. I put some ghee in a skillet, added the last of the cabbage, added a little almond milk and began to cook. As the cabbage wilted, I added a few shredded carrots.
The result tasted every bit as good as I remember the original recipe tasting. I am happy to be enjoying cooked cabbage again. HH is happy because buying cabbage more often means more Cole Slaw for him.
As the old Simon and Garfunkel song said, "Gee but it's great to be back home."
Monday was the last sightseeing day of the trip. We drove to Hartford, Connecticut to see the Mark Twain home. I always associate him with small towns along the Mississippi River, where he grew up; but he did his writing from a beautiful home in Hartford. I think I am going to go back and reread some of his books, now that I know more about him as a man. His childhood years were the foundation for his books, but he experienced great sorrow as an adult.
One for the exhibits said that he lived double life: Sam Clemens the family man and Mark Twain the entertainer, author, and humorist. After he lost his family, he became Mark Twain full time with unkempt wild hair and white suits.
I had packed a lunch with leftover vegetables and chicken. Everyone else elected to go to Subway for lunch, so I was glad I had food with me. Though I can always do a salad at Subway, it is mostly iceberg lettuce, which is not particularly nutritious.
We stopped at a market on the way home and bought shrimp. I grilled onions and steamed shrimp. My sister cooked yellow squash, made a salad, and warmed up the leftover cod. She fixed baked potatoes for herself and our husbands. She worried about me not having enough to eat, but I reminded her that I had eaten two pieces of rice bread in the middle of the afternoon. I heaped my plate high with shrimp, squash, and onions. I was happy.
The next day we were up early to drive to the airport. Flight delays made it a 16.5 hour travel day. That's a lot better than driving, but we were tired when we walked in the door at 10 PM. I had my computer, so I spent most of the day with the laptop literally in my lap. I got a lot of work done, but it was way, way too much sitting. I wish I had gotten up once an hour and walked briskly around the terminal.
The laundry is done. I had a photo shoot Wednesday, so I'm busy editing pictures. Life is returning to routine...which is a good segue into the title of this blog. When I first started blogging in 2004, I had been on the BTD for almost a year. Everything was new. Every day was an adventure. I was blogging 2-4 times a week. In 2008 when my parents began their end of life health issues, I blogged less often. I was eating right, which gave me strength to cope with difficult days, but I didn't particularly want to share all the details of that time. I got out of the habit of thinking about blogging.
I have enjoyed taking you along on this vacation. I have enjoyed writing about daily decisions concerning food and exercise. After nine years on the BTD, the excitement has worn off, but perhaps it would be an encouragement to newbies to see that the BTD does become an easy way of life as you adapt to it.
Major news about one of my favorite molecules, l-fucose. In addition to being part of the antigenic structure of the H antigen found in blood group O, fucose is now garnering attention as an important component in learning. Although neurophysiology spends quite a bit of time looking at the neurosynaptic junction (the gap between two nerve cells, where nerve conduction occurs) most of the emphasis is on the neurotransmitters (such as serotonin and dopamine) that can jump the gap.
However, what goes into holding the synapse together may be as important a factor in cognition and learning as what jumps across the synapse. And that appears to be lectin-like receptors on one side of the nerve synapse which bind to fucose as a ligand on the other.
In other words your nerves have a sweet tooth for fucose.
Reaction in the brain involving fucose skyrocket during periods of intense learning. And human milk is a very rich source of the sugar, with amounts far higher than all other species. The sugar content of human milk varies by ABO blood type and secretor status which makes me want to do a study looking at learning differences along blood group and secretor status in breast fed and bottle fed children.
The fucosyltransferase enzymes FUT1, FUT2 and FUT3 are very intimately involved in determining ABO, secretor and Lewis blood types and recent research has linked serum B12 levels (another important player in proper nerve function) to the FUT2 (secretor) gene.
Fucose and fucosylation have a big role in ontogeny (the origin and the development of an organism from the fertilized egg to its mature form) via it's role in the development of the Lewis X antigen (FUT9) which supports cell-to-cell-adhesion in embryos. Lewis X expression in the brain is in turn controlled by the PAX6 gene, which regulates many elements of nerve growth in addition to forming the architecture of the iris.
The link between PAX6 and Lewis X (FUT9) may explain why a recent study showed that at least some aspects of personality were determined by the genetics of iris formation. Close-up pictures were taken of the study participants' irises, and they also filled out a questionnaire about their personalities. The researchers looked at crypts (pits) and contraction furrows (lines curving around the outer edge of the iris), which are formed when pupils dilate. It was found that those with more crypts were likely to be tender, warm and trusting, while those with more furrows were more likely to be neurotic, impulsive and give in to cravings.
PAX6 is gene that helps regulate embryonic differentiation. PAX6 also has some interesting effects on adrenal and pancreatic function as well as norepinephrine expression in the gut via the enteric nervous system. Maybe there's a future in medicine for the iris after all.
Going forward, I predict that soon the best thing to use in kids who are learning-challenged will not be the usual suspects like Ritalin or SSRIs, but rather glycomic agents from the diet that enhance fucosylation. These drugs do enhance the function or persistence of neurotransmitters, but fucosylation enhancers seem to enhance the stability of the entire neural network. It makes no sense to up-regulate neurotransmitters if you haven't insured that the nerves are holding to each other in the first place.
Of course, most of the old blood typers know that Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosis) is a decent source of fucose.
Schizophrenia, gluten, and low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets
We report the unexpected resolution of longstanding schizophrenic symptoms after starting a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet. After a review of the literature, possible reasons for this include the metabolic consequences from the elimination of gluten from the diet, and the modulation of the disease of schizophrenia at the cellular level.
Previously, Dohan (Acta Psych Scand 1966, 42(2):125-152) observed a decrease in hospital admissions for schizophrenia in countries that had limited bread consumption during World War II, which suggested a possible relationship between bread and schizophrenia. Early work with lectins clearly showed that the brains of schizophrenics bind lectins differently than the brain tissue of non-schizophrenics, which appears to make sense in that the carbohydrate content of schizophrenic brain tissue (in addition to dementia and a few other illnesses) revealed the existence of spherical deposits in the inner and middle molecular layers of the dentate gyrus in the hippocampal formation which contained fucose, galactose, N-acetyl galactosamine, N-acetyl glucosamine, sialic acid, mannose and chondroitin sulfate; many of these blood group active carbohydrates with known lectin binding affinities (link).
Over the years some of the most stirring letters I've received from book readers have centered around improvements in family members with schizophrenia. Almost all of these letters have been from or about blood type O schizophrenics, which may mean that the nutritional approach to schizophrenia might necessarily differ by foods and blood type. We are now only beginning to understand the effects of tissue glycosylation on the development and maintenance of brain neural networks.
Until I fell ill in February, it had been decades since I'd been in "patient" mode. Now, I have something of a complicated health picture and am dealing with the medical profession on my own behalf constantly.
What's changed over the years? Why do I, who used to work in Medicine in New York, find it such alien(ating) terrain?
There are those who say my native New York doctors and facilities are notoriously more professional and proficient than those here in California. Others say the whole profession has morphed into one in which patients must, much more than ever, concertedly advocate on their own behalves, doctors being less likely to automatically consider themselves accountable to actual patients, due to all the billing/regulatory intermediaries. Radiologists are more likely to rush-read images, and doctors to settle for mere reports without viewing actual films, etc.
I have been struggling with this, having lost the more aggressive insistence that came with the New York territory. I have always counseled the ill, including friends, to clearly assert themselves with medical professionals, and now I find myself in the position to discover how difficult that is to do when ailing. It is far easier said than done, so I'm humbled about it and smell a wildly fertile field in Patient Advocacy/Relations, for those of you seeking new careers.
I spent almost thirty adult years outside Medicine's crosshairs. Needing to avail myself of its services these days, I must mobilize great stores of energy, relearn old skills, learn new systems, and engage new techniques for navigating this terrain, said not-quite-Pollyanna.
Thanking God for the ol' B spirit, plasticity, resilience, equanimity, and cheer.
Internet troubles over the weekend kept me from blogging. I'm hearing on the news that the United Nations wants to take over the internet and tax me for each time I access a site. I would sure miss the unlimited access I now enjoy, but these two days proved that I can exist quite nicely without the internet.
Saturday we drove back into New Hampshire for a ride on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad. We got up early and packed a picnic lunch anticipating getting close to the train station and finding a picnic area with a good view. Instead, there was a major accident on the Mass Turnpike. We spent all of our extra time sitting in traffic. We arrived at the train station with just enough time to sit on a railroad tie and eat our lunch before it was time to board.
The route was along the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. Out one window we saw fall colors and luxurious vacation homes. Out the other window we saw the lake, sailboats, and charming islands. After the stressful car ride, the sounds and motion of the train were so relaxing. My sister remembered that the home where we grew up was about a half mile from a railroad track. She said she liked hearing train noises in the night and feeling that all was well.
For dinner my sister fixed pan grilled chicken with stir fry broccoli and carrots. It was a feast.
Sunday morning we went out for breakfast at IHop. One of their specials this month is two eggs with two mini sirloin steaks and hash browns. That sounded just right for a Type O. Everyone else had pancakes of one kind or another, but my meal was perfect.
We talked about all of the places we could go and things we could do, but in the end, everyone agreed that we needed a day of rest. After lunch we took a walk around the neighborhood where my sister lives. It was an interesting mixture of colonial era and very modern. In one block we would see a historical marker, in the next a state of the art swimming pool.
I caught up on work that I needed to do for my clients. Everyone else read and took naps. We went to the grocery store and bought cod fillets and scallops for dinner. She put a bread crumb and cheese topping on everyone's cod except mine. I found a garlic seasoning blend in her spice cabinet, which was delicious. We had potatoes (sweet for my sister and me, white for the two husbands) and salad.