Here I go again, making things complicated. Often my dadamo blogs challenge you, the Blood Type Diet follower, to "Choose Right 4 Your Life".
One of my nieces has gone off to college for the first time. She was quite lonely in high school, feeling that the other girls were shallow and silly, while she, an introvert, took 17 Advanced Placement courses and, yes, participated in sports and many extracurricular activities, including yoga and art. Her parents encouraged her to expect a terrific social life in college, and she's indeed thriving there, adjusting well to her academic pursuits and enjoying dorm life, too. We're all so happy for her, and relieved.
Last week, my niece told me she's menstruated three times since arriving at school 6 or 7 weeks previously. I asked her if she's getting enough iron. She said she thinks so, eating plenty of meat. I do not know her blood type: She says she thinks she's "B positive". She takes her meals at the student cafeteria, a key element in her social life and adjustment. But: What is served at this cafeteria?
"Mostly chicken. I eat lots and lots of chicken". She can't remember if fish has yet been served at all. She's willing to indulge in red meat, but says it's not often offered.
My niece is not combatting any grave health challenges (that we know of!). Even assuming she has Type B blood, there's no reason to prescribe a chicken-free diet at this time, in my opinion. Our family's immediate and pressing concern in her regard is that she make friends and integrate herself into a wholesome and comfortable life there. It's just not the time to vex this child with difficult dietary prescriptions, so I don't impose any. What I told her was that she should enjoy red meats and fish (which she loves) every chance she gets, and snack on dried fruits and walnuts.
Another teenaged niece is going through a pocket of turbulence known as Anorexia Nervosa. I am loathe to impose restrictions in this case, too; we're satisfied with her enjoying and being attracted to any foods at all, for now. The fact that she's been gaining weight to please her parents - despite her own distorted body-image - is a recent positive development, not to be tampered with.
Myself, I need to lose weight, for sure. My weight gain began, and continues, as a side effect of a prescription medication whose benefits far exceed the distress of the side effect. There's a weight loss diet I've followed three or four times in my life that has been a very successful method for me, consistently, though I tend to drop it soon after I reach my target weight. (Most attrition from positive dietary programs is attributable to their restrictiveness and inconvenience. So: Make your régime MORE, not less, convenient wherever you possibly can.)
As a follower of the Blood Type Diet, I might find it easier to give temporary priority to the weight loss diet I've used successfully in the past, until reaching an acceptable target weight, and then - gradually - switching over, or adapting the BTD to what has already proven effective for my weight-control. I have, in the past, "blended" the two programs, but they combine to form an impossibly narrow path, far too constantly challenging for peace of mind and, thus, success. It seems I, too, may have to (temporarily!) unlock the door for occasional chicken and tomatoes, at least. On the road, chicken is often the only easily available protein offered. Tomato is often an ingredient in vegetable juices and sauces. If refusing chicken means I'll have no protein at all, during a given meal, I'll go for that chicken and move on.
See, I'm realizing that many BTD followers, in opting against lectins/"avoids", reject crucial and available foodgroups wholesale, during a given meal or even a whole day or more. The fastest route to B weight gain, and certainly adult female weight gain in general, is regular protein-free meals and snacks. When B's eat that way, while eating full fat dairy, starches, and low- or no- protein fats/oils, we simply must gain weight: That's Basic Science.
What's your current priority? If mine is weight loss, then I'll probably find myself eating/ordering the healthiest high-protein centered meals I can. Going protein-free at mealtime is NOT an option for me and is not compensated by some future high-protein snack or meal; one must do the best one can at each seating.
Blood Type A folks have a tendency to "stress out"; if their mealtimes become saturated with anxiety about each component's nutritive value, this, too, can be counterproductive. Neither can healthy Type O's and AB's afford to forego important food groups altogether at any time, or to beat themselves up about that cup of coffee or glass of orange juice.
My prescription is, generally:
1. Prioritize. Name your most important current life goal and aim straight for it. Achieve success. Then and only then: Tweak. Think: Dorm life for the freshman, meal attractiveness for the anorectic, etc. Your priority may indeed involve high compliance to the BTD.
2. Eat balanced meals that are as nutritious and as "beneficial" as possible without undue stress. Example: If your lunch plan calls for a fruit, choose the most "beneficial" fruit offered. If the ONLY fruit you can obtain all day is an "avoid", eat it and don't worry; it isn't poisonous. Move on.
3. Plan ahead, according to your own unique comfort level. If you can, refrigerate grabbable little Ziploc bags with Blood-Type-compliant snacks or meal adjuncts, or even larger containers of full meals. If this sort of planning or activity is too stressful for you or keeps you from other life priorities, defer this to another day or week or indefinitely. No sweat. Keep going.
4. Use dietary supplements to fill in nutritive gaps during a circumscribed health-focussed period, including "Deflect" by North American Pharmacal, or other source(s) of lectin scavengers.
"Dieting" is stressful enough. No one wins brownie points for adding difficult measures to any restrictive program. Keep your sanity, friends. Don't turn the Blood Type Diet into a major stressor. Don't allow a diet to negatively impact your higher priorities, if you have them, whether these be adolescent social adjustment, teenaged weight gain, midlife weight reduction, or anything else.
I eat to live, not vice versa; what about you? Choose Right 4 Your Life!
Fact #1: The biggest Great White Sharks ever consistently tracked (25-30 ft. long: Think Moving Van)(Dorsal fin height: 3-4 feet above water surface: When you're treading water, your eyes are only a couple of INCHES above waterline!) have been regularly spotted off of Northern California.
Fact #2: There are more human fatalities caused by Great White Shark attack in Northern California waters than anywhere else in the world (Yes, that does include South Africa and Australia).
Fact #3: In these waters, Great White Sharks often cruise in groups or gangs, rather than alone.
Fact #4: The Great White Shark occupies the San Francisco "Red Triangle" (from Monterey Bay on the South, to Tomales Bay on the North, to the Farallon Islands on the West) from September until December every year, feasting on the blubber of straying/ailing migrating whales and sea lions.
Fact #5: Many people go surfing within the Red Triangle during precisely -- and by preference -- this season (warmest water and air temperatures). But here's the really Bizarro angle: Many of those surfers are unaware of Facts #1-4!
(For more cool Red Triangle GWShark facts, check out Susan Casey's 2005 book, The Devil's Teeth)
Last year I had three different surfer clients who didn't know the Facts. Now that they're new parents, they have to start hunting for, and caring about, facts, no? One mom (blood type B!) pooh-poohed my Great White warning. "That's the risk we all take; we love our sport," My prayer is that, since last year, she's grown up into her motherhood. It being November, my thoughts turn to the beaches...
Another client decided to investigate some facts, entering his Zip Code into a "Megan's Law" site, discovering that his next-door neighbor was a convicted child molester.
A few years ago, my friend Carol told me the story of another postpartum scenario, that of her own younger brother's family: SIT DOWN for this one:
He and his wife had had a baby girl, and this mom's OB advised the woman to have a tubal ligation afterward, as her medical condition (to which I'm not privy) "ABSOLUTELY precluded" another successful birth. On religious grounds, this couple had refused the surgery. Fair enough, and, yes, I DO remember my own blog (24 April 2006: "A Problem Like Maria's...") on the subject of Faith and AntePartum/Partum health...
The following year, Carol's sister-in-law conceived again. She "just knew" it would be fine; her husband was anxious, but she "seemed ok", and neither considered any 'Plan B'. Daughter #2 was born, Mom in critical condition and then died postpartum, in hospital, age 35. Dad brought the newborn home. Too depressed to attend the funeral, he checked into a psychiatric hospital for observation, leaving the tots with Grandma. After two weeks away, he was discharged with Rx meds, to go home to his two little ones.
One night shortly thereafter, Carol left work for her brother's house, to make dinner and help with the children. Approaching the house, she heard crying babies. Opening the door, she found bits of her brother's bloody brains...
At age 48, Carol (unmarried) quit her career and took legal custody of the two babies, after burying her brother beside his bride (No more than a month had transpired between Baby #2's birth and my friend's resignation).
That's a couple that ignored the FACTS; they apparently didn't even consider the downside of their negligence and hadn't so much as discussed the possibility that her obstetrician's concern might have been founded. They'd made ZERO mental provision for a Worst Case Scenario, and this man's remorse and guilt drove him to suicide, leaving his children altogether parentless.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Flip side: Sharkwatching charters motor out of the SF Bay to the Farallon waters every morning during Shark Season. Indeed, people fly in from all over the world to witness the frequent "breach-predations" (on/above surface feedings) from topside. A $500 surcharge puts the tourist in an underwater cage attached to the boat, to watch from BELOW)(No injuries sustained since inception 8 years ago).
(Even so, Moms/Dads especially: Count the Cost.)
Extreme Sports? Calculated Risks? It's time for New Instincts, when There's Another Life In The Equation.
Three (more) cheers for Peter D'Adamo, N.D., for his book on arthritis, published in 2004 but just acquired by yours truly. Like all of Dr. D'Adamo's books, it breaks ground.
Those of us who support his work, who have come to put great stock in his nutritional and fitness guidelines for our own and others' blood types and have seen the phenomenal results, are at pains to accept wholesale much of what passes for Medicine or "good nutrition", particularly amongst published consumer literature. I, for one, find myself reading medical texts and nutrition books through a Blood Type filter, because I believe in genetic endowment and markers and their relatively predictable and variously-mediated causes and routes of disease.
I had picked up The Arthritis Cure (revised edition) by Jason Theodosakis MD, just weeks before D'Adamo's book arrived. I can appreciate Dr. Theosodakis' training, experience, and even his findings. But I confess to having scanned it with a gnawing dissatisfaction, knowing that something crucial was missing -- something that would, among other benefits, put it all together for me personally, or at least point me to the one or two paragraphs in the book that would individualize his program. Likewise the myriads of other books by MD's, homeopaths, herbalists, et al., on the subject.
Case in point: Everyone admits that there are over 100 "different arthritides", including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and syndromes, infectious, psoriatic, etc. Why does one person succumb to one type and another to another type of arthritis? Why does one person obtain relief from a course of chondroitin sulfate while another deteriorates? To which type is John Doe prone and why? Can he head it off in advance? Can he treat it successfully? This is "where the rubber meets the road": Prevention, Palliation, Cure, and overall good health. One wanders away from these other books sort of stunned: "OK, but which do I have? What do I do?" Many such readers give up on even attempting to understand and self-treat; in exasperation they default to the ineffective establishment and the pharmaceutical industry's risky and pricey products, thus adding their weight to the already massive public health burden. Having myself undergone the doctor-hopping/doctor-shopping process in younger days, until I landed upon those specialists who were truly equipped to diagnose my illnesses, I am loathe to play that game again,an all too prevalent American pastime. Thankfully, I am not experiencing intense or constant symptoms; I am not "laid up"; my concern isn't all that "urgent".
In Arthritis: Fight It With The Blood Type Diet, Dr. D'Adamo maps out the Arthritis territory (as he does that of several other conditions in their own respective books) in his "What's Your Blood Type-Arthritis Risk?" quiz at the front of the book. Immediately one encounters 11 risk factors common to all, and 9 risk factors unique to each of the 4 blood types! These 7-8 pages are easily worth the price of the entire book. But, as usual, Dr. D'Adamo goes on to clearly and simply present the dynamics of the disease, its diagnosis, the blood type connection, various treatments, and the Individualized Blood Type Plans for each type. I challenge the reader to find, anywhere else in the literature, a presentation of arthritis this cleanly harvested, sorted, and stacked for lay consumer-readability. It is both an elegant accomplishment and an eminently meaty read.
I read the B section right away, as that is my blood type. I learned how to skew my already-B-appropriate diet toward the sort of immune-boosting, inflammation-fighting, and detoxification-enhancing nutrients that can protect me from, and even reverse, B-type arthritic changes and symptoms. For type B, Dr. D'Adamo states that viral infections and autoimmune processes play a prominent role in the development of a particular type of joint disease and in the choice of appropriate prophylactic and treatment modalities. Upon reading this, I was immediately galvanized: A bout of viral gastroenteritis, just last month, indeed taught me the deep mysteries of vague medical words like: Prostration, Malaise, Weakness, and "aches and pains". Having "recovered" and returned to life-as-usual, I seem to have (suddenly!) manifested toxic souvenirs of that virus in a joint or two that I'm anxious to release. Once again, D'Adamo's assessment seems immediately spot-on (and it only cost me 12 bucks, in paperback).
Briefly, the other blood types acquire arthritides through different routes and manifest them differently. While your basic wear-&-tear osteoarthritis is common to all types, Type O inordinately suffers inflammatory reactions to grain lectins and experiences a high correlation of digestive, and depressive, disease with joint problems; Type A's stress reactions and susceptibility to vascular inflammation play key roles in the arthritic process; Type B, again, shows a propensity for viral/autoimmune routes; and Type AB, as usual, may be subject to both Type A and Type B susceptibilities.
FOUR different dietary rubrics, allowing for much individual variation within each blood type (rendering compliance easy),
FOUR different approaches to fitness/exercise, likewise, and
FOUR different lists of dietary supplements (helping the reader to navigate that overwhelming section of the health food store!)
...should make this book another of Peter D'Adamo's bestsellers. I assure you: My interest is less in touting Dr. D'Adamo per se than in facilitating a healthier world: Public understanding and safe self-treatment could relieve the medical/insurance establishment - and taxpayers - of much of this tremendous burden. It is estimated that 80% of the US population over age 50 suffers from some form of arthritis; think "Baby Boomers" and you'll cringe as we now storm the gates of Seniorhood!
Dr. D'Adamo has published similar blood type centered books on Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Allergies, Fatigue, Menopause, and Aging, in addition to the blockbuster Eat Right 4 Your Type (1996) and its sequels:
Cook Right 4 Your Type (1999)
Live Right 4 Your Type (2001)
The Complete Blood Type Encyclopedia (2002)
Eat Right 4 Your Baby (2003) (covering reproductive health, pregnancy, postpartum and infancy)
You, too, can cut through the morass of "general" medical and health literature out there, make sense of your unique condition (as I've observed many doing via D'Adamo's teachings) and ride the wave of The New Medicine toward greater health and -- just as exciting -- deeper understanding of the human body, human history, and the rich variety of human life.
It's that time of year again. The Swiss cheeses are arriving, and my heart turns to Fondue.
When I lived in Switzerland, I learned to prepare and enjoy Cheese Fondue, and, of course, this is a recipe for B's only. I like to use the "stinkiest" Fondue cheeses, but feel free to go for the milder Emmenthal, maybe 50%. At least 50% of your cheese should be Gruyère or stronger. I generally use 1/3 strong Gruyère, 1/3 Vacherin Fribourgeois, and 1/3 Appenzell. I'm told we like our cheeses stinkier and stinkier the older we get...
Also, let's touch upon the equipment. In Switzerland, one uses the so-called caquelon, a nice deep pot that is enamelled inside and out. But any pot will do, as long as you can stick long fondue forks in it and bring it to the table. You'll also need a heat source AT the table, electric or canned, so that the Fondue will be warm and simmering "on location".
OK. Here goes:
1 French baguette
1 clove garlic, halved
1 glass dry white wine
1/4 lemon, juiced
3/4 lb. cheese to feed 4 people
1/2 Tbs. kuzu*
1 small glass Kirschwasser
sprinkle grated nutmeg
water as needed
*(kuzu replaces the more typical cornstarch, for obvious reasons)
First, cube the baguette and fill a basket with the cubes. Set it on the table. Turn on your table's heat source, if electric, so it warms up in time.
Rub the sides of the pan with the cut sides of the garlic.
Over medium heat, place the pan and pour in the wine and lemon juice. When warmed, grate your cheeses into the pot and stir as it warms/melts. Keep stirring. Add water if necessary, about 1/2 wine glass usually is enough.
When bubbling, add the small glass of Kirschwasser with the kuzu mashed/dissolved in it. Stir this around in the fondue. Add grated nutmeg. Bring the pot to your table's heat source, where you should keep it on low, with just enough heat to maintain a simmer to the very end.
Now: A bit of etiquette. Don't seat more than 5 people around one pot of Fondue (it causes "traffic jams"). Also: Be careful not to drop your bread cube into the pot. If you do so and you're male, you must buy a round of drinks. If you drop it in and you're female, you must kiss the man to your right. Figure out your strategy, ladies, when creating your seating arrangement...
The crusty stuff at the bottom is called "La Réligieuse", i.e., the Nun. It's dang-good.
When I, "La Californienne", lived in Switzerland, my friends there made fun of me for my (then) low-fat, salad-y way of eating. I was also warned that one must drink wine with Fondue (they drink Fendant there, but any dry white will do, or, if you must, a light-to-medium-bodied red is fine...) and follow it with fruit.
One day I went up into the alpine country with a (Chinese) friend, and we stopped for lunch at a very quaint chalet/inn, where we ordered the Fondue and watched the farmer stir a huge kettle of Fondue inside the fireplace (which was the size of a small garage, though not as deep!). He also oversaw the Raclette's melting. A whole HALF of a Raclette wheel, dripping down, which he'd scrape ("racler"=to scrape) over plates of pearl onions and cornichons. I digress.
I didn't listen to my friends. For some reason I didn't have wine or fruit, and when I went to sleep that night, I had a horrible dream: I was in some torture chamber where my head was being stuffed with cheese. I woke up and told my friends, which they thought was a real hoot: The California Girl couldn't take the Cheese. But I was sick the whole next day. Take my advice: Enjoy the wine!
A public service ad re: Quitting Smoking opens with this statement: "You can't quit cigarette addiction without a solid plan."
During the Christmas season of 1980, I decided that I would quit smoking when my then-current carton would be empty, i.e., that I'd never buy another.
On January 6, 1981, I was in a meeting and pulled out that Last Cigarette from its pack. As I lit it, I said to the other party, "This is my last cigarette." He replied, "No problem: There's a machine in the lobby."
"You don't get it," I corrected him, "This is the last cigarette I'll ever smoke. I'm quitting."
He: You can't know that.
I: If not I, then who?
It was. I did.
Fast Forward to Spring 1992. I told a friend I was "cutting out all caffeine for awhile." She replied, "You can't do that alone. You need a program..." I had as much idea of what she meant as I had this evening when hearing that public service ad re: Smoking. "You can't..."?
Guess what. People quit habits every day somewhere in the world; right now someone's simply making up his or her mind to quit something.
What are the naysayers selling? A "12-step" program and culture? The idea of helplessness? Lots of patches, pills, candies and chewing gums in drugstores? Remember the "dysfunctional" fad? The one pasting the epithet "In Denial" upon anyone who said "Yes I can"? It seems that foul spirit is still about.
You wanna quit? Then you will. You DON'T wanna quit? Then you won't.
Here's how I did it -- Refer to it as "a plan" if you must.
1. I'd recently changed my diet. It was only after this that I craved better health and habits and decided to quit smoking. Then:
2. I spilled a hot ash on my couch, and when rushing to retrieve it, some red wine spilled on it, too, staining the upholstery. "This is disgusting," I said, "That's it. I'm buying no more cigarettes."
3. I borrowed a dress from someone. When removing it from its hanger bag to put it on, it REEKED of smoke. "I can't wear this!" Then I wondered, "Is this what MY clothes smell like? Yecch. Am I ever glad I'm quitting."
January 6, 1981. My last cigarette. And I never looked back.
It CAN be done, and I say this as a formerly heavy smoker. You DON'T need to join a support group or follow 12 steps or chew gum or wear a patch. When these "don't work" for you, THEN what? The Program says that if these devices don't work, nothing will ("You can't"). Then, you'll give up the idea? and you'll have something to forever blame? (Those #%*@ patches!")
There's ONE crucial thing you need to do to be FREE of smoking - or anything else: MEAN IT. Be 100% resolved that you are no longer a smoker. This used to be called "Will Power". I exercised it in 1981, before drugstore shelves were smothered in Nico-Whatever products. Before OTHER corporations were sucking in the revenues previously invested in cigarettes!
A friend once sighed that her son really really wanted to be married. I intrigued her by countering, "No he doesn't."
"What do you mean?" she protested.
"He's 45 years old," I replied. "He works morning, noon and night and has no social interests or hobbies. A man who really really wants to be married doesn't act that way."
She: WOW! I never looked at it that way! You're right!
Do you want to quit smoking? If you do, if you really really do, you need neither my Blog nor a support group, nor a drug. Do what I did almost 26 years ago. Make up your mind once and for all. When you're ready, you surely will quit. If you're not ready, you surely won't. And I hope you'll transfer this confidence to every aspect of your life, because if you don't, then "I can't" becomes your motto.
* * * * * * * * * *
Recall the excuses of many for failing to repent and follow Jesus, in His earthly day. The reasons given for not immediately following Him reflected this lack of wholehearted resolve.
"Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father." (Mt. 8:21)
"Lord, I will follow Thee, but let me first go bid them farewell which are at home at my house." (Luke 9:31)
Others chose to put off responding to the gospel to some later time:
"We will hear thee again of this matter." (Acts 17:32)
"Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee," (Acts 24:25)
Here's what Jesus DIDN'T say: "You poor dears. Join a support group about it." (There's nothing of that spirit in Christianity.)
Here's what Jesus DID say: "No one, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62).
And: "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth." (Rev. 3:16) (Wasn't HE a tough customer!)
You might be choosing to hem and haw over the decision to quit smoking. In honesty, you might even end up firmly resolving to continue to smoke! In the end, be sure of this: You'll do What You Really Really Want to do.
"He doth truly bewail the sins he hath committed, who resists the sins he hath bewailed." - GS Bowes