Modernity -- industrialization, technologizing, virtualizing, pharmacologizing -- has perpetrated a divorce between our biological state and our lifeviews. I deal with this gap as a standard part of my work with first-time postpartum careerwomen in a major American city. And we all manifest it insofar as we are ignorant of our deep genetic ancestry. Medicine's established ignorance of the central role of such genetic markers as ABO bloodgroup has been but one example of this phenomenon. We are embedded in biological realities, yet the cultures and individuals we deem successful are those most alienated from those very realities.
For my clients, successful transition to motherhood usually entails a period of disorientation, as years of competent breadwinning and progeny-free sexuality are suddenly completely replaced by the sheer physicality of childbirth, breastfeeding, and the waste products of a tiny bundle of pure need. It comes as a shock to the modern woman, whose past contact with such matters has usually been limited to the mediation of movies, photos and jokes. Pregnancy, with its out-of-control body expansions, its nausea, olfactory sensitivities and gustatory cravings, is but a mild foretaste of the utter immersion of the puerperium and "fourth trimester", especially as pregnancy is usually loaded with such distractions as outfitting the nursery, buying the layette, finding obstetrician and then pediatrician, arranging for maternity leave, etc. Suddenly and starkly, it's all about Biology.
Similarly, we who study bloodtype anthropology and/or who take an interest in our DNA geneology, find ourselves confronting our long lost biological identities. And we wonder, "How could I have lived so long without knowing this? How can we as a society have ignored this?" much as new moms often feel anger toward a zeitgeist that had heretofore duped, or anesthetized, them.
My work with new mothers involves, among other things, facilitating an optimal psychological and physical passage to a state of acceptance of, and joy in, their new identity, an identity which ushers them to a level of reality upon which society has always been based, depsite their former lifestyle's blindness to it: Good Morning!
I see Dr. D'Adamo's having publicized blood type medicine and anthropology as quite similar: Assisting the public's transition from biogenetic ignorance to our understanding of ourselves within the vast and ever-present human story. People of all ABO bloodgroups are changed in profound ways when their psychological features and medical histories are perceived as genetic imperatives, sourced in the adaptations of their hitherto unrecognized ancestors. Just as the new mom thrills to discover her community of mothers, the bloodtype-anthro student is often excited to profoundly understand his lifelong fascination with, say, Plains Indians, Mongolian horsemen, Gypsies, or things Japanese, which he now studies with more personal urgency. He furthermore connects his high-acid stomach with all Os and their hunting prehistory; she understands the link between her vulnerability to stress and all As, with their community-building/maintaining forebears.
The Physical has immediacy. It appears to reign in this life and is in fact ignored at our medical and social peril. There is, however, that which trumps the Physical -- in the spiritual realm. Understanding what we are raises the question of what we, mere humans, aren't. Coming to terms with the lesser reality, ephemeral and limited as it is, leads some to seek the Greater and eternal one. Good morning indeed.
I've come to the realization that I find the 3-meals-per-day model oppressive. And I think it may be bloodtype-related.
We B's are outsiders, not settled village folk. Gathering 'round the breakfast and lunch tables may be ideal for farmers and shopkeepers, and even for some trappers and gatherers, but those of us on the move just reach down into our mounts' saddlebags - whenever - and grab a stick of jerky or a few dates or fermented milk. At day's end there's the more sociable fire, and, if the saluki dispatched a gazelle, there's a feast around the platter, otherwise a bunny, a lamb chop, or, most often, just some grain/bread and curds/whey and, later, coffee.
If you run the demographic numbers, you'll find that modern Bs are far less likely to be 9-to-5'ers than are As or Os. Bearing this in mind, you'll understand why those of us who do adapt to the standard workday struggle with what's called "meal skipping" until we (fitfully) adapt to essentially alien ways. But those of us out in the open pasture, the mountains, the deserts, aren't stopping the caravan midday to throw together what you'd call a meal.
So if you're type B and this is your (modern) situation, you might want to experiment with reconnoitering the portions into two real meals and a snack, or one real meal and two light ones. You may not be shepherding cattle down from the highlands or seeking an oasis in the Sahara, but maybe you're a freelance consultant visiting clients or an artist in a studio on your own natural timeclock with no mandated schedule. It's only my opinion and B-experience, but maybe, like this seasoned B, you've found yourself maladapting to the sit-down Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner standard on a permanent basis.
I float the hypothesis for you bloodtype health practitioners: Scan your files for B cases with meal-skipping tendencies. And bear this in mind: A number of ABO personality theorists remark that many B's are driven to focus on a project/task ( I call it "burrowing") for very long uninterrupted stretches, hours on end. Rather than simply notice it and smile about it, maybe we should be respecting it, not expecting Bs to break for a workout, as an O might, or a nap or yogic pose, as would an A, let alone for a meal.
I posit that Bs mealskip because of deeply rooted anthropologic-genetic factors, and that diets, and especially portions, should take this gene-linked tendency, this ingrained adaptation of a small percent of our population, into account. From my B point of view, we're not skipping anything. Though devotees of the currently dominant cultus chastise us ("You call that breakfast?!" or "Don't you want to stop for lunch now?"), it's only because they haven't eyes for the vast steppe we're traversing.
A recent issue of my alma mater's review (Brown Alumni Monthly, March/April 2008) features a report on the plans and priorities for its Division of Biology and Medicine, as part of a current fundraising campaign.
I am deeply heartened to discover there a profile of Edward Hawrot, Ph.D., associate dean for the Program in Biology, who is taking his department in the direction of Genomics and Personalized Medicine. Dr. Hawrot is committed to "facilitat[ing] the research that will make personalized medical practice a reality...This knowledge will revolutionize primary care. Patients can be counseled to change their behaviors, and the earliest signs of disease can be treated swiftly, heading off complications". He continues, "This is the new biology. We are trying to identify genome-wide variants in genes that no one knew were involved in disease states".
Very considerable resources are being brought to bear upon the field. "Brown has made significant investments in genomics and proteonmics facilities and faculty". "Whole-genome surveys of large groups of people" are in the works, to "determine which gene variations will result in a bad reaction to a drug or predispose an individual to a certain disease". Gifts to Brown's campaign for Academic Enrichment are solicited via this article and can be targeted to faculty research in this area, influencing Brown's Program in Public Health and its Warren Alpert Medical School.
We certainly agree with Dr. Hawrot's admission, "One size does not fit all". He may not realize what a grassroots groundswell is well established, already subscribing to blood type science and genotype medicine, thanks to the pioneering and bestselling works of Dr. Peter D'Adamo, and the work of his colleagues, such as Bland, Crinnion, Pizzorno, et al.
Elsewhere, the medical establishment has shown signs of familiarity with D'Adamo's work in a positive light. I personally have recently met two psychiatrists in San Francisco who are acquainted with it and have immense respect for him ("He's brilliant", declared one). Furthermore, each of these two MDs is nutritionally savvy, which I find very encouraging. Both are concerned with memory loss in the elderly and are advocates of antioxidants, B vitamins, et al. One of these doctors spoke to me of Resveratrol and its effects upon DNA; we actually got into methylation and acetylation, and he went on to tell me "There are 'hunters' and there are 'nomads'"...Both of these individuals were USSR-born and USA-trained, one at Mount Sinai and Columbia Presbyterian, the other here in SF.
The revolution is here!
As a child growing up in New York and eating often in restaurants, I was exposed to a surprisingly small variety of cuisines as, during that era, there was simply not yet the wide spectrum of immigrant cultures thriving in the restaurant trade, even in the Meltingest-Pot metropolis of 'em all.
It was therefore at the New York World's Fair (1964) that I tasted of many cuisines for the first time, my absolute favorite being Indian. As a towhead schoolgirl, I dug into curries and licked ghee from my finger "just like the child Krishna!" exclaimed our waiter, who'd earlier been sure my parents might want to take a look at the Children's Menu most customers' kids favored..."just in case".
By the late 1960's my favorite cuisine was Mexican, as it was plenty hot and beginning to be available here and there in New York. The spices didn't "agree with" my parents, but I busied myself conducting contests such as "Best Cuppa Chili in NYC", and salsa fresca was a favorite vehicle for the delivery of jalapeños. It would be but a short time before Chinese restaurants would veer blissfully Szechwanward from the ubiquitous and bland Cantonese, about which I was rather indifferent.
Dr. D'Adamo rates all peppers "avoid" for those of blood types A and AB which, it seems, everyone else in my family was. Hence, what a blessing to have been born at a time and place so ripe for the ethnic restaurant explosion! The latter put me in touch with genetic roots tinged with lands, attributes, and tendencies so different from those expressed by the rest of my family.
Today I sometimes unwittingly omit peppers for long or short periods, forgetting how terrific I feel when I eat them. While I admit to preferring my curries, chutneys and (tomato-free) salsa on the mild side, it's clear that I, as a B, can scratch a certain itch only with chilis. And it's not their TASTE; it's whatever's so -- how do I put it -- strengthening, invigorating, regularizing, normalizing -- about them. They realign the whole organism. Whereas, as a child, I sought out hot peppers because they tasted good to me, now as an...elder I enjoy the positive effect they have on my metabolism. They make me think "Wow! I needed that."
The herbals say cayenne stimulates gastric juices and "improves metabolism", and that chilis are loaded with vitamins C and, yes, B's. Earl Mindell writes, unwittingly I suppose of B's and O's, "A meal rich in cayenne will have a mildly stimulating effect on the body." He writes that hot peppers "can trim cholesterol and triglyceride levels". "Stimulant", "Tonic", writes another author. "Improves circulation" "Aids digestion"...
As for me personally, I'd go so far as to say that the omission of hot peppers from my diet over too long a time will lower my stress threshhold and lead to a sense of sluggishness. And maybe my exposure to, and enjoyment of, hot peppers as a child was something of a gift from God, keeping me hardy amongst the aliens.
BTD follower since 1997
I live In San Francisco, where my work is with postpartum women and their mates, their newborns or older babies, and older children, if any. It includes nutritional as well as behavioral counseling of adults and children, as well as occasional public speaking, both to practitioners and to the public.
During the past several years, Dr. D'Adamo's principles have played a role in numerous cases, as well as among friends and family, with great success. I consider his work to be a compelling contribution to The New Medicine.