There's currently a thread on the Forum entitled, "Have You Converted Anyone Yet?" I'm somewhat bothered by the very notion, and even moreso as I read some of the posts. And I realize it's because I don't see the switch to using Bloodtype science, to one's health-benefit, as a "conversion". It was not such for me.
If there ever was a dietary conversion for me, it was the one that removed me from an unprincipled, "whatever", upscale urban American diet over 20 years ago (via macrobiotics). After a couple of years outside the mainstream, I never really returned to it, as I was now permanently aware of the gulf between nutritional unconsciousness and optimal health. As for my adoption of bloodtype-related dietary principles, it wasn't a "conversion", but, rather, a refinement of thinking that has created some new parameters and, definitely, broadened my understanding of Individualized Health practice.
"Why quibble about semantics?" you ask. Because when I share of my knowledge and experience of bloodtype science, it's not with "conversion" in mind. And usually I don't congratulate myself when someone with whom I've shared the knowledge begins to actually practice according to D'Adamo's guidelines: I have, frankly, no interest in creating a community of souls who "strictly follow" the Blood Type Diet! My long experience in health fields has afforded me the longitudinal perspective whence individuals' journeys are respected, and timing is, indeed, Everything.
I'm particularly grateful to Peter for his Tier One/Tier Two brainstorm, because people tend to seek out a new way of eating from two broad angles:
1. Those who are gravely ill and are ready to follow a diet/lifestyle to-the-letter as if a prescription medication, and who call themselves "compliant" or "non-compliant" according to the degree to which they conform to an Absolute Decree – as well as those not at all ill but whose personalities manifest somewhat of a compulsiveness, whereby they are unable to take on a new item/phenomenon/phase/program with anything other than utter punctiliousness. All of the above are candidates for "Tier Two", and understandably so.
2. Those who are relatively healthy and/or whose previous experiences have been broad enough to contribute to an expansive, progressive approach to health. These are those who are delighted to receive the New Medicine, and to adopt a way of life that, practically, makes good use of it, and takes into account perhaps several other sources of solid input culled from a lifetime of health awareness. These are your "Tier One" adherents, of whom I count myself one (This tier would also be appropriate for those who've attained health-goals on Tier Two and are ready for a "lifetime maintenance" plan.)
When I share various bloodtype teachings with others – clients, friends, family – I am careful to fully respect the integrity of the whole personhood behind the otherness of their lifestyles. Numerous and profound are the determinants driving dietary choices, consumer choices, and eating behaviors: I DON'T MESS WITH 'EM.
I do share bloodtype science with, for instance, clients, in three ways:
1. As one factor in the postnatal recovery and optimizing of breast milk production.
2. As a guideline for the type of exercise/fitness program that will facilitate good, individualized "re-entry" into a public identity from the postpartum, as well as sound psychological adjustment to parenthood
3. As an intriguing means of understanding:
(a) health issues that have arisen in their own or their families' history
(b) the anthropologic connections implied by blood type.
Most often, I find that clients are particularly interested in SOME aspect from among the above. And I'm happy to introduce them to the literature that can guide them more deeply into their own fascination. But, if the client doesn't show interest, I'm not at all inclined to press it upon him/her (Bear in mind that my very rich and varied background provides NUMEROUS angles and bits of information for my clients, beyond and in addition to Bloodtype Medicine.
--Sometimes a client has had a miscarriage in her past; we examine this in light of Blood Type science, and this revelation can be sufficient to launch her into an intense study of Dr. D'Adamo's work.
-- Sometimes a client's home and/or library displays keen interests in particular cultures or geographical regions; when I explain the blood type associations, the client is usually fascinated to learn of a possible biological link and often demonstrates a vigorous interest in the dietary/fitness guidelines as well, though not always or, at least, immediately.
I don't get "bogged down", however, with BTD-as-Answer-to-Everything, because, as with my clients, so with everyone else: It may be neither the appropriate time NOR THE RIGHT APPROACH, when all circumstances are taken into account, circumstances I simply haven't the utter hubris to assume I know or understand or even have any right to examine.
Having said all of the above, the reality is, I am experiencing constant feedback from friends, family, and clients, to the effect that they now use/follow the BTD, having learned of it first from me! I'm immensely gratified, because I'd spoken this truth at only its opportune moment, and they were grateful for the "hands off" respect I'd shown them in my enthusiastic sharing of my own personal knowledge and experience. I've "converted" no one, really. Yet the percentage of those with whom I share of the science who end up pursuing it in some fashion is high.
Finally, friends: If the messenger is simply (and knowledgeably) enthusiastic, the message runneth over. If, on the other hand, the messenger's ego is invested in the nature of audience-reception, the message is resisted. No one can teach a messenger FAKE nonchalance: You're either manipulating or sharing, and each has its characteristic scent. So: Cultivate a genuine permissiveness, a liberal acceptance of sheer Otherness, and thus evidence your true understanding of Dr. D'Adamo's work's very raison-d'être: Individuality.
This blog originally posted on 4 April 2006, was somehow deleted from my archives, and posted again on 10 May, 2006. Again it is missing from my archives. So let's try again!
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I read Mike Staffieri's recent blog about his company picnic, where he, as an O, found so little he could eat. He shares with us his fantasy of a BTD-showcasing, catered menu for next year's picnic, and I enjoyed the imaginary repast. In the real world, however, one must expect to be BTD-limited at these types of functions. When it comes to using such occasions as mass experiments, I wouldn't.
Just as Mike felt limited, people tend not to appreciate being forced to eat this or that way, in a circumscribed setting: Mike doesn't like there being only wheat (and not spelt) buns for his burger; well, in his fantasy, if you want a bun, it's spelt or nothing! For me, it's too in-your-face an approach. I don't think "ticking people off" is the way to endear myself, or my ideas, to them. I prefer the "we're-all-in-the-same-boat" approach. To wit: Twenty years back, in macrobiotic days, I used to fly coast to coast. I'd pack lunch and open it on my tray while everyone else was dealing with whatever was served. My meal would inevitably pique neighbors' interest, and I'd practically have to fight off the whole section's demand for a full lecture!
In non-macro days, I've packed my own meal(s) for air travel, and, no matter what it is/was, my less foresightful co-passengers would clamor for a peek, an explanation, even a taste! Once, from Fort Lauderdale to LaGuardia, a guy two rows back stood up and exclaimed, "Twenty-five bucks for whatever SHE's eating!" (I had a second sandwich and sold it to him!) We were all in the same boat/plane. I'd found the solution to our shared dilemma, and the others were both jealous and educated.
Why not just do what you need to do in life, to get by as you choose? Interested parties can be counted on to enquire. If you want the company identity of "Weird Food Guy" or "The One Who Put Us Through That Ridiculous Picnic", fine. It's one thing to be the oddball (your choice, no victims); it's another entirely to enclose others in a space and deprive them of their expected chow -- Whoa!
From my restaurant days, I learned this: People are just-so about their food. They have expectations. If you want happy customers (office-mates), you'd better offer 'em what they EXPECT. If the crowd loves dogs 'n burgers with their three-legged-race, don't surprise 'em with "Vegan this year" or even an amazing (catered) variety that changes the whole theme/tenor of the picnic to something less down-home and more precious/rarefied. Even a diverse (great for all blood types) salad bar-type presentation could vex those expecting their annual BBQ ribs! If you're okay with others' less-than-thrilled reactions, fine; if one of those disappointed folks happens to be your supervisor, don't say I didn't warn you!
Meanwhile, thanks for sharing your picnic fantasy with those of us who'd appreciate its realization!
I wasn't really thrilled to be B, or any type I might have been, as long as I was "doing-things-with" most of the right ingredients, until the Epiphany, with which I really have to credit Dr. Robert Atkins, the breakthrough-messenger in this regard: "It's okay to eat outside the Low-Fat box." For me that box, of whose tyranny I'd been quite unconscious before, was labelled "Full Fat Dairy Is Forbidden".
Frankly, I'd preferred whole milk to reduced-fat all my life, but only permitted myself to guiltfully buy the occasional quart, and I indulged my taste for it chiefly in two places: Half-and-half in my coffee, and -- rarely -- an ice cream treat, again: Knowing it's "not good for" me.
After scanning Bob's book last summer, I made different choices at the dairy department that very evening: I bought heavy cream and full-fat yogurt and sour cream. And, indeed, the ensuing weight loss was -- dramatic! (In the past, whenever I've wanted to lose weight, I've used a terrific weight loss "diet". It includes lots of dairy, but all skim or almost-skim. Not really satisfying.)
But here's what this B has discovered: I LOVE preparing cream sauces, creamy dressings and desserts. I LOVE paneer amidst my curries, and sour cream on my manna toast, with fruit. The guilt is gone: I openly and unabashedly look forward to feta cheese dressing on my beets, and I've invented a bedtime cordial that is very calming and satisfying: A shotglass of cream (occasionally diluted with cold spicy (leftover) herb tea).
In sum, I decided to indulge myself in my inherited right to really ENJOY dairy, not just "permit it, low-fat". And once I began doing so, I confirmed that the BTD is not so much about dodging lectins and "avoids": It's about, indeed, coming fully into one's genetic individuality and brazenly enjoying whatever parts of one's "beneficials"-spectrum seem to fit with THAT. My individuality -- not the Blood Type Diet -- is primary. A North American Pharmacal brochure puts it this way: "Dr. D'Adamo's research and the Blood Type Diet can help you...feel 'right' in your body, your mind and your world."
As a B, it dawned on me that the enjoyment of a way of eating that featured dairy CENTRALLY was not only "to be tolerated" but, in fact, The Answer. I'd been thinking, like most Westerners, as an O: "What's my MEAT going to be? and I'll build the menu around that." The O hunter goes out and spears the deer, and all meals revolve around that carcass for a long time. But now I think as a B: "What's my milk, my cream, my cheese, my yogurt going to be?" The B shepherd/nomad goes out and milks his camels/horses/goats/sheep, drinks the milk, churns some butter, curdles some cheese, cultures some yogurt/kefir. These guys walk alot too, and they're in great condition. Instead of: "Cool! As a B I 'can-include-some' dairy, like a low-fat kefir drink or yogurt shake", I'm saying, "WOW! I can indulge in my favorite food! Hooray!"
Example: Instead of making a tomato sauce for my spaghetti (ho hum), I'm cooking a super-creamy veal and mushroom stroganoff and covering my parsleyed egg noodles with it, next to the brussels sprouts and red wine. I'm thinking, "Those poor suckers who have to fall back on tomato sauce..."(Corollary: The way to stop missing your "avoids" is to start REALLY DIGGING your bennies!)
I'm learning a whole new way to everyday-cook. When I lived in Switzerland, I was semi-attached to my Californian metabolism, unable/unwilling to handle the "gruyère, gruyère, everywhere" ways of my friends..until NOW. (Timing is Everything.) Just as my BTD-compliant, type A, brother is admitting that he's just not honestly drawn to animal food anymore, I'm admitting that my particular B-inheritance has me enjoying the creamy milk of the flock, above and beyond all else: The milk is my centerpiece and shall take a much more central place in my every meal and snack.
Do you see how we tend to congratulate the O who identifies with the hunter/gatherer and "discovers" meat? and how we likewise praise the A who begins to really enjoy his tofu and veggies? but we address all sorts of caveats to the B who develops a cell-deep appreciation of the shepherd's way of eating? (Ever see a shepherd milk his goat and then skim off the fat before drinking it? What were we thinking????)
So, my B clanmates: Nonfat yogurt and skim milk as occasional snacks to form part of the periphery around a meat-centered diet (and those meats are supposed to be the wild stuff: venison and bunnies) may actually be unbalanced. Since I could, alas, find game and rabbits only seldom, I was spending pretty pennies on lamb, lamb, lamb and fish, fish, fish: Maybe that's your limbo-stage, too, in adhering to B. But it gets really FUN when you start saying, instead, from your deepest origins, "Look how much milk I've gotten from this cow: How can I use it creatively and satisfyingly?" and then ADAPTING your turkey leftovers or your fresh-caught cod to THAT. Pick up some paneer and say; "Where can I harvest some greens to make a saag?" and only THEN, go get your (smaller) pieces of meat and fish, and your veg/fruits/nuts...
You'll certainly be reading more from me on this topic. Meanwhile, Bob, wherever y'are: Thanks, Buddy.
I live in San Francisco, home to a bazillion restaurants per capita, many with very, very busy dishes and complex menus. But I grew up in a pretty food-savvy family that usually appreciated gustatory simplicity.
I - Poppy's Fish
The first of the Four Funny Food Stories will be in honor of Poppy, my grandfather. He was a great connoisseur of Basic Food; he appreciated the perfect steak, the perfect tomato, the perfect baked potato.
One Thanksgiving weekend, 30-or-so years ago, much of my extended family was in Florida, and my grandparents took us all out for dinner at one of those fresh seafood restaurants where a new menu is printed each day, featuring the day's 2-dozen-or-so catches, in the context of Italian cuisine. As we were a large party, the captain and two waiters were assigned arcs of our table and took our orders. I sat to the right of Poppy who, it was clear, was the host. The captain arrived last at Poppy's side and said, "And you, sir, what can we bring you?"
"Ya gotta piece of fish?" Poppy asked.
"Oh, yes, sir," replied the captain, gesturing over the entire menu. "Everything you see here was caught today. Do you have a specific --"
"I don't want bones," Poppy proclaimed. "I want a good piece of fish, no bones, and make sure it's HOT."
Poppy at his finest. It wasn't that he wasn't familiar with each and every variety of fish on that menu. But Poppy's knowledge of restaurants was keen to an undeniable fact: Any kitchen can turn out a dish whose busy sauce detracts from its imperfect fiieting/trimming and tepid temperature. He knew then, as I surely know now: The better chefs excel at the basics of meat/fish selection, "butchering", and simple cooking. Excellent food with nowhere to hide.
II - Trendy Compotes
Ten years ago my cousin Sandy was visiting San Francisco from New York with his wife and son. As usual, he had reservations for all of us for every meal (for 3 days) at the city's trendiest restaurants.
One evening, we arrived at a magnificent spot, were seated at the best table and handed menus. It was here I was offered ostrich for the first time and questioned the waiter about it. He described four medallions of meat, presented with "three compotes" which he went on to describe in exquisite detail, diverting from the meat itself, which he praised but not nearly as highly as he raved over those compotes.
I ordered the ostrich medallions appetizer and the glass of Pinot Noir he recommended with it. The wine arrived and was finished and I was still waiting for that appetizer: My dinnermates, too, were very curious to see and perhaps taste the special dish I'd been adventurous enough to order.
Finally, with my second glass of Pinot, the dish arrived. We all stared at the huge plate, whose epicenter contained four thin discs of browned meat, each the size of a half-dollar. The "three compotes", it turned out, were tiny, thimble-sized molds, composed of ultrafinely minced vegetable matter, whose 25-or-so ingredients had taken 5 minutes for the waiter to describe earlier. And, of course, there was the essential flourish of garniture somewhere-or-other on the huge charger; Sandy's wife gasped, "Oh, what a Presentation! You just HAVE to admire the Presentation!" What else could she say?
As we were marveling over the 2-or-3 ounces of food on my plate, Sandy hailed the waiter.
"Yes, sir? Is everything all right?"
"Look, kid," said Sandy, as he pointed at my plate. "Could you at least bring her a tweezer, so she can eat this?"
We all enjoyed a hearty laugh, everyone at the table was given an ostrich medallion, and I moved on to my prime rib main course and didn't look back.
Like Poppy, Sandy was a "senior" not afraid to call a spade a spade. But what of the younger, greener visitor to our hopelessly decadent eateries?
III - Impossible Hamburger
About fifteen years ago, I was helping a recently-arrived young Chinese woman acclimate to San Francisco, register for an English language program, etc. She had had almost no English instruction whatsoever.
The first time I took her to lunch, she couldn't read the menu and I tried to act-out each dish, pointing, gesturing, describing. She understood "hamburger", indicating that that was what she wanted. I flagged the waitress and ordered.
When I gave my lunchmate's order, the waitress asked, "How do you want it done?" Uh oh. I couldn't convey this to my friend, so I told the waitress, "Just make it medium."
"Sesame bun, baguette, or crunch roll?"
"I guess bun," I said.
"Plain is good," I replied, glancing at my Chinese friend who hadn't a clue...
"Curly fries, garlic fries, homefries or steak fries?"
"You want mayo on that?"
"Just bring it on the side."
"Pickles, lettuce, tomato and onion?"
"Sure. On the side."
Boy was I glad my friend hadn't ordered the Turkey Sandwich: ("Smoked, honey-roasted, or pepper-roasted? Dijon, yellow or maple horseradish mustard? Walnut-olive bread, foccacia, baguette or crunch roll? Cheese? Swiss, Havarti, Cheddar or Pepper Jack?" ARRGGHHHH!
My friend recognized the brand name "Coca Cola", so we defaulted to that. Next time, we went to a Chinese restaurant!
IV - Trouper of a Waiter
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, a friend and I dined at an off hour at a very popular Burmese restaurant, which usually has a line around the corner: I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Ultimately there was precious little I could order and remain within my B parameters. Every dish contained dry shrimp flakes, or oily sauces, or deep-fried-in-who-knows-what crispy, questionable-dough treats...Suffice it to say the waiter really had to earn his tip describing almost every dish in detail at our request.
I ended up with barbecued pork riblets and Asian "sangria", dodging the tomatoes, peanuts, chicken, and shellfish that flatly dominated the menu. And I didn't feel contented afterward. That's what I'm noticing so acutely. Very busy food (unless I make it myself with superb ingredients) isn't as satisfying as a clean, broiled chop or fish-steak, a straightforward salad, vegetable, maybe a potato or yam or a plate of cheeses, nuts, and/or fruits...
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Am I channeling Poppy? or is it simply that I'm approaching my own Seniorness? Who knows, in just a few years I may start ordering like Poppy: "Gimme something Prime, aged, medium-rare and sizzling: No sauce."
"Kid: You gotta hot yam? Butter on the side."
Mercredi midi, j'avais un rendez-vous avec une amie que je n'avais pas vu depuis l'été. C'était elle qui a choisi le restaurant, un certain «emporio» italien. Ayant sauté le petit déj, j'étais tout à fait crevée de faim; donc j'ai étudié vite la carte (je prends beaucoup de temps avec les cartes, de plus en plus avec l'âge). Mon amie, sachant en avance les offrandes, avait déjà choisi ce qu'elle commanderait.
Bon. Après considération (et j'ai expliqué que presque tout se composait "des tomates, et je ne les mange plus"), j'ai choisi mon déjeuner: Un frittata avec certains ingrédients. Nous avons approché au comptoir pour commander.
Mon amie d'abord: Le panino de...(etc.). (et elle a payé.)
Puis moi: Le frittata de...(etc.)
"Nous sommes désolés, madame, mais notre chef est absent. Nous ne pouvons pas vous offrir un frittata aujourd'hui."
Uh oh. A ce point, j'étais prête à manger ma main. "OK, mmm, une pâte? Le penne avec..."
"Ni les pâtes, madame. Malheureusement, nous n'avons que des sandwiches et les salades. La cuisine est fermée."
"Ummm. Je ne vois rien. Tomates...tomates encore...peut-être nous devons aller ailleurs. Donc, ne fais pas encore le sandwich de mon amie...je ne suis pas sûre que..mmm...Bon! J'aurai le sandwich de rosbif, SI vous serez gentil d'ajouter du fromage chèvre..."
"Je regrette de vous dire que les panini sont préparés en avance à notre autre restaurant; nous ne pouvons pas échanger--"
"Nous quittons," j'ai déclaré, mon estomac en noeuds.
"Compris, madame. Nous aurions le panino de votre amie tout de suite."
Il était, maintenant, midi et demi. Je devais voir une cliente chez elle à 2h.
Enfin, après une promenade de reconnaissance lelong ce boulevard, nous avons choisi un restaurant méxicain, où, j'ai su, je pourrais commander du boeuf grillé avec une salade ou dans un "burrito". Je l'ai commandé et payé au comptoir. Le monsieur m'a donné mon numéro avec mon boisson, les maïs chips ("à eviter") et la salsa cruda (aux tomates, "à éviter")!
A table, j'ai commencé à engloutir ce panneau de chips, les plongeant dans la salsa, lorsque mon amie a raillé, "ICI tu manges les tomates!"
Ma réponse? Voir le titre de cet essai!
Post-scriptum: Je me suis enflée comme un ballon.
Morale: Prenez un petit déjeuner solide, surtout si vous vous presserez à déjeuner, et doublement surtout si vous serez en présence des autres!