Yay! A "new" blog, not a Reprise from the mistakenly deleted Archives I've been restoring of late. Actually this blog is drawn from the Journals of three years ago. Thought it would help with gift-giving this Christmas, though it was intended for housewarmings.
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What's your blood type? What's your décor taste? Years ago on dadamo forum I asked B's to describe their taste, and there seemed to be a consensus where it came to color. Bs tend to like vivid colors and "interesting" "fascinating" "eclectic" exotic elements that can be quirky, offbeat, and have stories to go with 'em. A's might find the sight/atmosphere intriguing but can't wait to get home to their relatively clutter-free, neutral-toned havens and gardens. I've met a number of O's who are obsessive-compuslive about germs/dust-mites and absolutely flawless window/mirror/refrigerator, oven-door surfaces. Some have air filters going strong, others come home from work and shine their bathtubs as pre-dinner relaxation. Ever notice this, you guys? O's are often collectors of THEMED items, such as Plains Indians moccasins to surfboards to taxidermy to shoes and jewelry and hats.
We B's can tolerate mess as we age, if we need to. It's part of the price we pay for broad-ranging interests and lives. I think there's an element of nomadism in this: We pitched our tents for purposes: Shade, shelter, storage, functional areas: Cooking, hosting/entertaining/coffee, sleep. It wasn't important that everything be hung just-so or to impress anyone. It was where you could discern some souvenirs, perceive where this clan had been, what business/craft they were in (rug? tents?) and how proud they were of their own distinctive handicrafts. You look around the B space and take it all in. It tells a story. And it's ready to be packed up quickly and transported elsewhere!
If you're shopping for blood type-appropriate housewarming gifts, here are some suggestions for O, A and B (sorry AB: Not enough experience yet) - and age is a factor:
O: Find out what s/he COLLECTS or what his/her sport is. You almost shouldn't bother with anything else. O's also like cutting-edge gizmos, especially if they're impressive: O's are often the ones with the "home-theaters". Don't give plants, unless O "collects" them, such as exotic orchids. Give things with weight/gravitas, something that says s/he's "successful". Either they drive very expensive cars or fantasize doing so - that kind of successful. Hook up automated services in their home. Send them a year's techie/geek services. Important classical art and sculpture, if in your budget. Jazz CDs otherwise. Important ceramics and antiques. Paintings. Stuff related to their pets, if it's really, really cool. "Organizing" and Junk Management services. Genealogy stuff: Maybe one of those DNA testing kits.
A: Here's where plants/trees are a great idea. If the A has a yard/garden, some cool gardening tools/technology would be well-received. If your A is plant-serious, even high maintenance plants such as ferns might be a hit. Jazz and oldies (if over 40). Best hits. Maybe Motown. A's don't go for frou-frou: Think traditional Japan. Many A's have workshops, where they do artisinal stuff, crafts. Find out if this one does, too, and cater to that. Elegant crafts items themed to A's hobby would be a hit, but functional is best. A's like books in their field of interest, or magazine subscriptions. A's tend to like the Japanese aesthetic as opposed to the Central Asian. Japanese style kitchenware, including Cha (tea) accoutrements. A Go (game) board or, for those with land, archery set might be appreciated. Some go for the meditation pillow/stool; DVDs/CDs to accompany yoga. Bathing-facilitating objects/aids could be a hit if your recipient is one of the bath nuts. Some A's distinctly are not, but all natural (no synthetics!) aromatherapeutic bath/shower products might be appreciated, as would bath brushes, shower-heads, that sort of stuff. If your A is into vitamins, anything that might help him/her manage their administration is another winner. (Age, life-phase could be a key here.) A gift certificate at North American Pharmacal or its monthly delivery of bloodtype-specific nutritional supplements would be fantastic. If your A has a pet, a pet-oriented gift might be just the (awwww) ticket. Find out if there's a superb spa in the new neighborhood. A gift certificate for a massage or facial is often A-heaven. As A's are often vegetarian, a subscription to an organic farmers' delivery service is a great gift and one I've seen arriving in many an A household. A green-tea-of-the-month subscription is another educational tool/horizon-broadener.
B: Again, find out what they collect, and cater to that. As a B myself I'll tell you that bookcases have been RARELY, if ever, refused. Coffee table books on a B's pet subject, and art themed to it (but art is ALWAYS CHANCY. Keep it small!) can work. Gift certificates to bookstores are never unwelcome. B's are quite sensitive to smell. If there's an aromatherapeutic hobby here, its paraphernalia (including diffusors, burners and fans) are a great idea. If the B has space, you can't go wrong with oriental throw-rugs, Bactrian camel saddles, salvaged architectural elements from the Maghreb or Punjab, and fine paisley textiles, for instance. Items that are colorful/unusual and that come with an exotic tale are the way to go: A beautiful vase is twice as beautiful if it was haggled-over in a Damascus souk or slightly chipped "when it fell off the elephant". B's go for flowering plants or ones with variegated foliage, but: A subscription to a plant doctor/horticultural care service is a good idea for when B's flights of fancy render him/her distracted from that chore. But think "Addams Family", says this B. CDs of harpsichord music, organ music, "World Music" (Turkish oud, Celtic fiddle, Japanese koto). A Tibetan friend once gave me a priestly unction bottle; I actually gave it as a gift to someone else, but we B's give as good as we get. A good reading light is another fine gift. A beautiful lamp often finds a happy B home. Find out your aging B's reading glasses' power, and buy a few pairs of varied styles for every reading station in the house. Library ladders and step-stools are essential in many B homes. Housekeeping service gift certificates: Wow. Find a bonded housekeeper and send him/her to a B after the move: What a big help!
'Tis more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
Two of the distinctives of extreme dietary asceticism that stand out, over my many years of nutritional study, experimentation, and life-witness/association, are:
-- its inevitable nutrient deficiencies, sometimes partially ameliorated with "supplements"
-- its tendency to overstay its welcome versus temporary therapeutic implementation.
A short list of the serious nutritional deficiencies risked among strict vegans, for example, demonstrated in the literature, is as follows:
Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, Biotin, choline, folic acid, inositol, niacin, PABA, pantothenic acid, Vitamins C, D, E, Calcium, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulfur, vanadium, and zinc, not to mention amino acids and fatty acids.
Partakers of meat, fish, dairy and eggs are getting not only SOME of the above nutrients through their regular, unstudied diets alone, they're getting higher concentrations of them -- in milligrams -- than the amounts of many of the nutrients available in normal dietary (food-sourced) vegan sources.
So: Brewer's Yeast and Blackstrap Molasses for dinner? with rice, beans, veggies and soy? Sitting down to 18 dietary supplement pills with a bowl of sesame quinoa? Constituting the world's first Pill-Nutrition culture? It's obviously not a society that will endure and perpetuate itself en masse: Its diet is only half food!
Soy? Great for As and ABs in particular, but, alone, it doesn't stack up against meat and dairy and eggs and fish when it comes to fats, proteins, and most of the above vitamins and minerals.
Most vegans are normal persons, insofar as they'd choose to pursue lives that center around activities other than the endless measuring-out of the compensatory lecithin, yeast, wheat germ and molasses, etc., that would be required to keep them free of nutritional deficits. Therefore, these mentally normal vegans are USUALLY dietarily deficient in several of the above essential nutrients -- often gravely so.
But vegans aren't the only dietary fundamentalists missing the point of eating-to-live (in favor of living-to-supplement/eat). I adhered very briefly, in the mid 1980s, to a macrobiotic diet, and it was very good for my health, during that circumscribed period). The time came, however, when I'd met my health goals, to broaden my diet; as for its "lifestyle", Macrobiotics had never been my religion, but I did meet hundreds of macros with (similar to hard core vegans') long term dietary narrowness.
People of different blood types and subtypes may have good reason to avoid certain food groups wholesale, during times of addressing serious health crises (Dr. D'Adamo's guidelines stipulate for such crises, even to the point of recategorizing certain "avoid" foods as "beneficial" for short term therapeutic purposes.). Strict vegan parameters have, perhaps, usefulness in such a therapeutic context as well, but MOST people cannot thrive on that diet over the long haul. They become seriously deficient in several crucial nutrients, even if they use myriads of pills and potions, as these are NOT whole foods comprised of infinite intrinsic vital synergies. This is why it's so critical that strict temporary measure, such as detoxifying fasts, not be turned into long-term hair-shirt religions, and not only because of these biochemical consequences, but also because of the mental and spiritual health-risk it poses interpersonally, within the community as a whole.
Attention, Type A vegans and other "Tier Three'ers" (hyper-compliant adherents): Take very, very seriously your water retention, digestive ills, blood pressure hikes, skin eruptions, etc. Don't be tempted to treat each of these separately, so as to pinpoint its respective Band-Aid and participate in its respective chat-group. The same magnesium deficiency, for instance, that causes your insomnia could be related to your depression, kidney stones and dental caries, too! The same iron-deficiency anemia your OB addresses during your pregnancy could have been operative when you'd suffered from irregular periods before, or play its part in blood sugar or intestinal problems later ...
Hopping from one health issue to another, and/or from one supplement-mix to another, may make for a diligent and meticulous practice of measuring teaspoons of powders, soaking and counting and blending exotic ingredients, transforming you into your kitchen altar's High Priest, but that might all be instantly/"miraculously" dispensable - POOF! -- by eating a small piece of fish a couple of times a week, some eggs and/or poultry here and there, and an occasional yogurt. Presto-Change-O: Normal Blood values, shinier hair, bye-bye tremors, pimple-free complexion, etc. More time to enjoy life, less for the Internet?
Let your taste for general good health outstrip your taste for an over-deconstructed diet. If you prefer the 23 different pills for each of your "issues", own up to it as your personal idiosyncracy, not a requisite healthy practice. Beyond that, if you're ready to broaden your view to step back from an ascetic regime originally embarked upon as a temporary therapy, you'll enjoy the following story:
A friend, during my macro days, had raised her two daughters as strict macro's from birth. I'll never forget arriving at her house one day for a macro lecture and group lunch; the front door slowly opened, seemingly of itself, but I looked down to see her little 6-year-old daughter, whose hand held the knob as she grimly said to me, "You're late. And take off your shoes." It was positively macabre.
Only a year or so later, my friend's heart opened when she was bequeathed her grandmother's piano; she and her girls began taking lessons, and some floodgate burst in her soul. Later that year, her children, who'd never tasted turkey or butter or sugar before, fully, gustatorially participated in an extended family Thanksgiving dinner FOR THE FIRST TIME. Then, the girls began actually playing at friends' houses. My friend confided in me later, "When my daughters started eating some butter and sweets, I realized - Wow- they'd needed it all along. And they're, well, SWEETER! We're ALL happier people." And she had a tear in her eye.
What had POSSESSED them to deprive themselves of such pleasures? Well, my friend's husband had had a frightening deathly illness from which he'd "miraculously" recovered, through Macrobiotics, before the children were born. Thus this couple had associated "extreme yin" and "extreme yang"-labels with the foods he'd given up, and those foods with, yes, the Death he'd escaped.
It was, however, Death itself that met me at the door of their organically-perfect farmhouse that day and curtly demanded my shoeless entry.
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I think we associate Death with messiness and fight it with desperate structures. We strive to organize, measure, categorize and label components (vitamins, esoteric amino acids, e.g.) in a frantic attempt to keep the wild, unknowable wholeness of a threatening realm at bay.
But we can't. There's always another symptom. We no sooner soothe our cough than we find a pimple; we are freed from that as we investigate our heartburn and find out our HDL is low and our VLDL high. So we return to our laboratories/kitchens, where we add soaked flaxseeds to our kefir smoothies and subtract the almond butter -- or was it add soaked almonds and subtract the flaxseeds? And we return to our computers and start a New Thread about Fiber. We read this one's Diet and that one's theory. Why are we counting and weighing and pouring and poring?
Are you afraid to die?
I wonder if there's ever been anyone on a deathbed saying, "If only I'd used more Blackstrap Molasses and less Barley Malt", or "It must have been those poppy seeds", rather than, oh, you know, stuff about hugging your kids more or sharing your gifts with the world, stuff that seemed deathly-scarier at the time, when you found refuge, instead, in a "health-focus".
It's one thing to desire to properly establish a new and healthy regime, to take the time and devote the wholehearted energy to recovering from illness or founding a new and uninhibited way of eating/exercising. Just make sure that, if you're fleeing Death and seeking Life, you don't confound the two!
(Friend: If your escape from Death has tricked you, too, into escaping Life, you can still come back. The door is wide open...and you can leave your shoes on!)
On Tuesday (March 21st) a “rosary” of earthquakes occurred here in the San Francisco Bay Area, centered 4 miles outside of the suburb of Moraga, consisting of 14 minor quakes and aftershocks. Here in the city, about 15 miles away, I only felt the first one, a 3.7 on the Richter scale; the rest descended in magnitude.
When most people think of earthquakes, they’re media-spectacularly programmed to picture great devastation, such as was experienced exactly 100 years ago here (“The Big One”: 7.7). But the very vast majority of quakes (about 850.000 per year WORLDWIDE under 4.3 magnitude) go undetected by most of their respective local populations. Earthquakes of such minor intensity are very frequent occurrences in these parts. Indeed, when I lived in the geysers-region of the northern wine country, about 2 hours north of the city, I’d feel them a few times a week.
Other unusual geologic phenomena there are the hot springs, heat fissures and fumaroles – the latter being not-quite-geysers, but areas over which steam is emitted from the earth. My “driveway” was actually a steep dirt road about ¼ mile long, and when I’d walk up at the end of the day or after dark, I’d cross many “hot spots”/fissures. I equate the feeling to that of swimming through areas of warmth in lake water, perhaps due to greater reflection of sunlight from the bottom. It was just a normal fact of life to walk across fissured ground every day and “feel the heat”.
People who live far away from earthquake-prone areas wonder how one could possibly choose to live within them. I can’t speak for residents of other such zones, but, here in the Bay Area, they’re usually no big deal.
When I lived on West 86th Street in Manhattan, there was a bump in the road just before the turn onto Central Park West, over which flatbed trucks would thunder in the middle of the night and rattle the windows; now THAT was a heart-pounder, nothing like the, frankly, very gentle rocking of a minor quake in the Bay Area.
“What does a minor quake feel like?” Working with newborns as I do, I’d equate it with what a secure infant feels in its mother’s arms when she gently and ever-so-slightly changes position, whereas those New York flatbeds and their flopping cargo would equate to Mom’s suddenly standing up and dropping a clock radio.
Earthquakes of greater magnitude here are very rare. The last “big one” was 16 years ago (“Loma Prieta”, 10/89, Richter 7.0) and, even so, it was nowhere near as devastating as the hurricanes that frequently ravage the gulf states, or the fires that annually lay waste the Santa Ana region, or the swelteringly humid heat waves that afflict most of the US every summer, or the tornadoes of the Midwest (now THAT’S scary.)
I was in Sonoma County at the time of that “biggie”, sitting on the floor, when it began to move, rolling in gentle, undulating waves for about 5 seconds, and ending with a somewhat sharper jolt. Light fixtures were gently swinging in the house. I said, “SOMEWHERE this was very big.” We went outside and watched the power lines swing between their poles for about a minute. Then my friend turned on the TV and watched that repetitive footage seen by all a thousand times.
“How can we live here?” Are you kidding? We’re spoiled here! It’s common to hear locals say, “I’m ruined for any other climate.” In San Francisco, the temperature is 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit virtually year-round. We have two “hot” weeks per summer (temps 75-80 or slightly higher, with NO humidity).
Here’s the overview: The “Mediterranean” climate here consists of two major seasons: Dry and Sometimes-Rainy. During the Dry Season (approx. April to November) there is absolutely no rain, and this is normal. We put our umbrellas way up in remote closet corners and bring ‘em down in November to keep handy for the showers that may or may not pass through, a couple of times a week, during Sometimes-Rainy. Granted, this region is, for some reason, not nearly as equipped to deal with rain as New York was to cope with blizzards. But we have no “snow days”; there’s no sidewalk- or driveway-shoveling.
And then there are the three subseasons into which the Dry season is divided: Spring, Fog, and Summer.
Spring (March/April through June) is pretty much blue skies and sunshine nonstop, with mild temperatures of 65 to 70. For me, it can get quite boring, as there’s no “weather” to break up the monotony (unless there’s an earthquake). Spring quakes are often accompanied by what many here call “earthquake weather”: A strange (unsettling) balminess in the air. When I get “that Florida feeling”, it’s usually followed by a mild quake, somewhere in this region.
Then, comes July 1st, in rolls the fabled Fog: For many locals (including myself), July/August is the most special time of year here. Having grown up in a temperate clime, I was accustomed to “seasons”. So, after 3 months of beautiful-day-after-beautiful-day, I’m grateful for July’s bracing fog casting its more melancholy mood. It’s called our “natural air-conditioning” and is due to the coastal interruption known as “the Golden Gate” (for which the Bridge is named), through which the entire desert heat basin of the state of California is refreshed from extreme summer heat by ocean-cooled air. July and August in San Francisco and on the Bay can be a full 50-60 degrees cooler than inland! Delicious! And, at this time of year, it can be cooler in San Francisco than at any other time: As low as 50 degrees! BRRRR.
And then comes “Summer”, around Labor day: Six to eight weeks of what other regions consider “Indian” summer. The Pacific High moves off our latitude, the fog lets up, and it’s warm: Pleasantly so, with the stray HOT (over 75) day. At this time of year, the sun is low and strong; exposed south-facing residential windows in the city are often blacked-out in he afternoons, to keep the non-air-conditioned homes behind them comfortable. Summer (“Autumn” in the rest of the hemisphere) is another time of year for the odd quake; indeed our last “Big One” in ’89 occurred in October. As for “Fall Foliage” forget it in San Francisco.
Back to the “Big Ones”: It does depend how far one is from the epicenter. San Francisco damage from the ’89 Loma Prieta quake was surprisingly light. There were a few pockets of serious damage affecting the city, but, compared to the effects of a similar-intensity quake in other world regions’ cities (in Mexico, South America, central Asia, Philippines, etc.) there was a startlingly low death-toll. The news media had a field day/week portraying the city’s one fallen house aflame, the one fallen Bay Bridge section, and, of course, the collapsed section of freeway in the East Bay – over and over and over and over…
My Quake Protocol: When I feel a quake (it lasts a few seconds), I call KCBS radio (“All News All The Time”) and report it, and then I tune in and listen to the reports: There’s usually a quick response on the part of the US Geological Survey in Berkeley, with the details. Tuesday’s 14 quakes (from 3.7 down to 1.0) occurred on the Hayward Fault, and my SF high-rise (“high on a hill”, as the song says) shivered ever-so-slightly. Mama rocks her babies.
It sure beats shoveling!
Thank you, Lord, and, again than you, Lord.
There's a lot in the health marketplace calling itself "holistic" which isn't; you and I may not mean the same thing when we use the term, which, etymologically, indicates respect to/for the Whole. In a health context, it usually means that a patient's/client's entire Life picture - biochemical, behavioral, social, spiritual - is, again, respected at the very least, and incorporated into treatment modalities, ideally. But there's a particular angle that's got me miffed, because it usurps the "holistic" adjective and some of its positive rhetoric while advocating/promulgating practices that are anything BUT.
I work with urban, upper middle class postpartum women, their newborns and mates, older children and extended families. It's a particularly vulnerable demographic, insofar as the postnatal transition of a family (especially the transition of an erstwhile buttoned-up, professional 30-40-something woman, at the top of her game, to "beginner Mom") is somewhat of a crisis. I have lectured publicly about this crisis to future doctors and nurses ("The Matrescence Crisis: Modern Transitions to Motherhood" - UCSF) because the education of tomorrow's pediatrician, obstetrician, psychiatrist, and nurse is of great importance to all of us. But I've also spoken to more "alternative" and "natural" modality audiences about "Phony Holisticness". What do I mean?
In my field, there are all sorts of questionable practitioners vying for the ignorant and easy dollars of the expectant and new parent. The deal is: You take a couple at the peak of their dual-career attainments, with plenty of discretionary income and natural fear, and you convince them they need to spend it on your product or service. Then, if you're particularly unscrupulous, you throw in some scare tactics to reel 'em in to a more insidious proposition: Fomenting the Revolution, Sister, one obstetric/pediatric patient at a time.
There are extremists out there who believe that this life-transition is the crucial time for converting a woman from reliance on Standard Western Medicine to "the alternative" and, more subversively, from her own previous life-orientation to "the Cause".
Second- and Third-trimester pregnant women of established wealth and lifestyle, innocently taking Yoga or Pilates classes in order to "tone" for their labors/deliveries, are sidelined by instructors who smilingly suggest they investigate a different birth model and "attend an informative tea / evening". Sometimes its a childbirth class instructor who uses a particular "Western model"-bashing book or ideologically-skewed handout. In many late-term cases, it is a covert attempt to derail the pregnant couple's set plans for their imminent labor/delivery (and, often, postpartum and early parenting practice), away from the norms of their own established sociocultural group, i.e., from the pre-existent setting into which the child shall be born and integrated, indeed: From their truly holistic reality.
Follow me closely here, lest you entirely misconstrue my point. If I thought Standard Medical/Hospital practices were always the Absolute be-all and end-all, and that no alternatives or auxiliary approaches are ever to be considered, I wouldn't have the column-location I do. So here's my point:
It's a gross distortion of "Holism" to, at this major and vulnerable Life juncture, separate the mid-term-or -later pregnant woman from – and propagandize her against – the person she is probably then trusting as much as her own husband or mother: Her obstetrician. For the urban 38-year-old corporate attorney in her 3rd trimester, and residing 3000 miles from her mother, and who doesn't have a strong clan- or church-based community of helpful friends nearby, to be hijacked, at that critical time, from the OB with whom she's comfortable (not to mention from the social construct in which she's used to living), verges, to my mind, on the criminal. We make a mockery of the word "holistic" if it means we ever berate/vilify/malign, or even subtly cast doubt upon, another human being's very support system. Yet this is repeatedly done by "alternative" practitioners in the birth/postpartum/newborn field, as it is in others, too, in the name of the "natural" and "holistic" approach.
I have been present when circles of "energy healers" and yoga teachers (in rent-free spaces granted them by the liberal San Francisco medical establishment!) have "lovingly" addressed upscale 3rd trimester couples who'd been very happy with their reputable and excellent OBs, "lovingly" imploring them to take on a more militant and adversarial tone with their doctors and their hospitals ("Demand her 'interventions-record'." "If 'change' is going to happen, it'll have to start with YOUR letting your doctor know you insist on her changing her [fill in the blank] policy, or you'll change OBs, even though you're due in 4 weeks! THEN she'll get the message!")
In the absence of outsiders/prospective clients, these "healers" would giggle together, mocking the "probably Republican" voting tendencies and "hopelessly straight" lifestyles of their clients: "I'm scared of these couples!" they'd gasp, commiserating about the life choices made by the professional women who sign $1000+ contracts with them.
Can we step back here, folks?
Can it possibly be loving and "holistic" for a labor-doula to meet, for the first time, a 37-year-old in her 8th month of pregnancy with her first baby, and under the care of the city's top obstetrician, and try to persuade her that the latter is "backward" for not permitting the labor-doula at the birth, and that the woman should therefore ("It's NEVER too late!") switch OBs and hospitals? At that late date? I heard that one last summer.
Is it loving and "holistic" to tell an anxious 40-year-old sleep-deprived mother (whom you've just met) of a 2-week-old, with trusted private lactation consultants and pediatrician, whose baby is struggling with latching onto the breast and thus failing to optimally thrive (an anguishing state of affairs), that her lactation consultant, postpartum coach, and pediatrician and her nurses are ALL "definitely ignorant" and "part of the problem", "on a mission to make [her] milk dry up", and then take her by the hand to an "Infant Chiropractor"? And when that "doesn't work either" (surprise, surprise) leave her high and dry, mistrusting everyone she knows? I witnessed that case just over a year ago.
Often the "alternative practitioners" who "know better" than the OBs entrusted with these higher-risk cases (Yes, the over-35 primipara - first-time childbearer - is at higher risk for such real complications as placenta previa, preeclampsia and eclampsia, gestational diabetes, obstructive leiomyomas [fibroids], premature labor/delivery, etc., than a woman in her 20s, much as some radicals refuse to acknowledge it) are simply lately-certified masseuses or instructors of swaddling-burping or of meditation! And the 3rd-trimester woman had never heard of a "labor-doula" until this evening's meeting!
And yet the activist rhetoric is militant and often supplemented with articles, monographs, references and websites versus everything these vulnerable women (my precious "mommies") trust and depend upon.
NOTE: A minority of urban women have prepared for the more natural birthing modalities, well in advance of their FIRST birth. Other urban women, another perfectly worthy minority, choose on their own to investigate different "birthing" styles and practices AFTER their first birth, when the've chosen to do it differently the second time. I'm all for either scenario for the healthy mother-to-be; the educated consumer, choosing without being pressured or diverted, investigating alternatives under her own steam and in a timely manner: Ideal.
NOTE: The employment of statistical horror-tactics, and the (ab)use of real, ignorant, and frightened human beings (as first-time imminent parents are) as a crowbar for a forced Revolution in Obstetric and Pediatric Medicine is not my idea of "holistic".
Do we say we stand for Holistic Medicine, i.e., treating the whole person within her (not our) whole situation? Then we certainly do not advocate the de-stabilization of the holistic setting, the comprehensive pre-existing support team/community, of a fellow human being in her hour of crisis. Nay, we honor those boundaries, we bow to those structures and endeavor to tread lightly, even invisibly, on the sacred ground of her (not our) story. A Revolution based on trashing the landmarks and lifebuoys of those seeking healthcare - of any kind - is not only not holistic, it isn't even humane.
I know I speak for many in medicine and, especially, its auxiliary and "alternative" orbit, when I decry this thorn in our side. It's painful to see unethical behavior such as this, and downright malpractice on the part of our ostensible/self-proclaimed "colleagues"; it also makes those of us with higher principles
-- come under unfairly pessimistic scrutiny and
-- exert heroic energies to distinguish our noble practices from those of the Ideologue-pack.
Who pays your fees, fellow practitioners? If you can't respect and embrace the Totality of your clients'/patients/ rooted setting(s) and orientations(s), then Guess What: There's nothing Holistic about your work.
In earlier columns I've demonstrated, with respect to food, my concern with both the distinction and interface between:
Physical Life: What we eat, how we exercise, where we go, our state of health, how we support ourselves, gestation-birth-maturity, unto death: That which in Greek would be signified by the word βιος (Bios), hence our word "biology": The study of physical life, and
Spiritual Life: That which infuses the heart, mind, and spirit of the human, rather than the animal, and which is granted through means other than physical, signified by the Greek word Ζωη (Zoé), whence our English word "zoology", actually erroneously signifying specifically animal, as opposed to more general life forms.
Let me state at the outset that the Blood Type Diet cannot bring you any closer to spiritual life (Zoé) than can any other diet, whether "kosher" or "halal" or vegan or raw or whatever else. Nor can fasting entirely, i.e., deliberately countering Bios, serve as one's "ticket to heaven". So if anyone following Dr. D'Adamo's teaching fancies him/herself a more "evolved" spiritual being than those outside this particular fold, s/he is in dire need of an understanding of this very distinction: What, for the sake of the English reader, I'm here calling Zoé vs. Bios.
In our Western tradition, we are familiar with some key Bible stories treating of diet:
1. The almost unrestricted diet permitted Adam
2. The fateful disobedient act of eating that brought about the Fall of humankind
3. The vegetarian diet prescribed Noah
4. The dietary guidelines delivered to the Hebrews via Moses on Mount Sinai and recorded in the Pentateuch
5. The miraculous bread (מנה "Manna": Hebrew for "What is it?") supplied from heaven to those Hebrews for their 40 years of desert sojourning (of which their later Levitical pre- and pro-scriptions said nothing)
6. Food offerings in the Jerusalem Temple, restricted to all but the priests (except for David and his men, as Type of the Messiah and His followers)
7. The food miracles of Jesus (5 loaves and 2 fishes feeding 5000 men plus women and children, and other events like it), as recorded in the Gospels, and
8. The True Bread from heaven, as Jesus called Himself in John 6 and as He explained more fully at the "Last Supper" and as the Apostle expounded later, etc.: The spiritual food to remove the curse that had fallen upon all descendants of Adam (partaker of the Forbidden Food) and to bestow Zoé, the life of the Spirit.
Jesus said, "Labour not for the food which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto Life (Zoé) of the Age, which the Son of Man shall give unto you." And, "The Bread of God is the One descended out of heaven and giving Life (Zoé) unto the world."
He explains, "I am the Bread of Life (Zoé): The one coming to Me will not hunger, and the one believing in Me will never thirst."
BOTTOM LINE: To the religious leaders, He said, "Your fathers ate Manna in the wilderness and died", and, "I am the Bread of Life (Zoé) giving Himself for the Life (Zoé) of the world."
The religious leaders couldn't understand: "How can this one give us [His] flesh to eat?" Such an earthy density of understanding was that also of a specific religious teacher named Nicodemus, who earlier had visited Jesus privately and who could not understand how someone could be "born a second time of his mother's womb". Christ had explained to him, "That born of the flesh is flesh, and that born of the Spirit is spirit...everyone believing in [the Son of Man] shall not perish but have Life (Zoé) of the Age." He spoke of a heavenly food - affording Zoé, Life of ANOTHER (non-Bios) ORDER entirely. The Bios-focussed could not, and cannot, taste of it!
* * * * *
Ah, diets come and diets go.
Are we "majoring on minors" when it comes to reaching out to others and to judging ourselves? If others ask us questions specifically about diet or physical health, sure, we can share of what we believe and practice. If others mock our ways of eating, we need not retaliate or even respond. Why?
Because Diet pertains to the oh-so-fleeting Bios, the animal life and lifespan of that which returneth to the dust: Not a one of us will perfect a physical body that shall live more than, approximately and at best, one lousy century.
For my part, I would sooner, on a diet of DOG CHOW, uplift the spirits of others and help to turn one soul from cruelty or despair to the Light of Truth and Zoé, than live (Bios) to be 150 on a micro-compliant, Tier THREE, B-hypersecretor Diet at the top of my Ivory Tower. As I wrote last month in another column ("Vers Une Santé Totale: Les Maladies, Amies de l'Esprit", 2 January 2006)[Reprise on 23 November 2010]:
(English translation): "The knowledge of BTD science serves a purpose. And the health of all the world's population, were it possible, would serve this same purpose."
Think about that purpose! If everyone on earth "ate according to their type", we'd perhaps have a biologically healthier species: Better (and, dangerously, more prideful) Bios.-----------------------SO WHAT?
If we need to be healthy, WHY is that? To use our good health unto the goal of...a more just world? Well? Do it NOW! Be there NOW! or never. Perfectly healthy people perfectly proving their perfect health would not necessarily constitute that perfect, just and peaceful society: Do you see it? In fact, legal self-righteousness in hyper-refined Bio-dietary obedience ran absolutely counter to, and blinded many against, Zoé two millennia ago (Its very Temple was ground to dust!) BTD notwithstanding, it still does today.
"For the mind of the flesh is Death; but the mind of the Spirit is Life (Zoé) and Peace." (Romans 8:6)
"If there had been a law given which could have given Life (Zoé), verily righteousness should have been of the Law." (Gal. 3:21)
Remember the Manna: It temporarily ministered unto the needs of Bios, the physical organism, about which Christ had this to say: "Your fathers ate Manna in the wilderness and died." (John 6:49)
Is the BTD, or any Diet whatsoever, more evolved, more spiritual than the Manna sent from God? Will it bring you at all closer to Zoé, True Life?