Note: This blog originally published 10 Jan 2006 and, with about 25 other blogs from my archives, was wiped out a couple of years ago. As Dr. D'Adamo has suggested, I shall restore selected lost entries to the archives, beginning with this one.
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The importer of Zen monastic cookery-philosophy to the West adopted the name Georges Ohsawa. As Master of his American "macrobiotic" (he coined the term) disciples, his practice was to sit over them each morning and receive their well-considered questions.
One morning, a disciple asked him, "Master, what is the proper response when one who is following Diet #7 [nothing but brown rice] is invited to his family's biennial Reunion? Burgers 'n dogs are grilled, and there's cole slaw and potato salad and s'mores. Does one bring along some rice balls in Tupperware? or does he decline the invitation altogether, preserving his pure practice?" Whereupon the Master took a languourous drag from his Marlboro, held it ponderously, and let it out in a steady, controlled stream before, all eyes upon him, savoring a sip of black coffee.
"The macrobiotic way" he declared, "is that, ultimately, of Balance. If one is sufficiently adept to follow the Number 7 Path, he navigates the currents of life with a flowing and artless balance. Wherefore the Answer is this: One prepares one's body, well in advance, to receive the extreme dietary elements, and one knows how to restore its balance after having so indulged. But to refuse such a family invitation, especially in light of its traditional and infrequent nature, OR to evidence such pride as to abstain from full participation, bringing along, instead, one's own 'superior' dinner, is a sign of drastic Imbalance and thus makes plain the unreadiness of the disciple for Diet Number 7."
I love this story. It brings one's entire world into the Life Equation. Our dietary decisions are not isolated bytes; we "live and move and have our being" within a larger body. Family traditions and community interactions are mocked at great peril, if these constitute the very fabric, lining one's Path.
Likewise teaches the Western Tradition:
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify one another." - Romans 14:19
"For if a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another." - Galatians 6:3,4.
"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not Love, I am nothing." - I Corinthians 13:2.
No one will be considered spiritually superior for following any diet whatsoever, or for being tobacco- or caffeine-free.
And, brethren, let us love one another. Where there is Love, there's patience, forbearance, joy...Without love, your "excellent health" is, in fact, sickness; your "Tier Two compliance" [in 2010 I'd add SWAMI compliance] a mere smokescreen for arrogance. East or West, Love is what constitutes True Health. Amen.
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22 November 2010 ADDENDUM: Just came across this little story. Thought I'd throw it into the mix:
One day in the Vale of the Hermitages, when a feast was being celebrated, the brethren were eating together in their place of assembly. A certain brother said to those who were serving at table, 'I won't eat anything cooked, just a little salt on my bread.'
The one who was serving at table called to another brother and said in the presence of the whole gathering, 'This brother is not eating anything cooked. Bring him just a little salt.'
Then one of the elders rose and said to the brother who had asked for salt, 'It would have been better for you today to eat meat alone in your cell, rather than to publish what you are doing to so many of the brethren.'
--from Sayings of the Desert Fathers
Here in the United States, the incidence of ABO blood groups is estimated at approximately 44% O; 42% A; 10% B: and 4% AB. Whether one finds oneself in a majority type - O or A - or in a minority one - B or AB - goes a long way, I find, toward determining personality factors. In other words, bloodtype personalities are "the way they are" not only because of intrinsic factors, but also by virtue of their being embedded in large/extended or in small/isolated clans of typemates.
Both O's and A's harbor expectations that the world sees things the way they do; they're accustomed to a certain understood-ness amid society. Very simply put, O's want to win at the world's game, and A's want to be accepted within and facilitators of community. Both know that B's and AB's are "different", "quirky" in some way; O and A can't imagine being that out of step with the broader world.
B's and AB's, for their part, are accustomed to their differentness. But I have a theory that distinguishes the inner comfort and self-acceptance of the B from the apprehension and inner turmoil of the AB.
I posit that B, operating independently, skirting the larger, customary byways, is contented in that state and role, wearing it well, but that AB has trouble with such desires because of the A allele. AB's would like to be as straightforward in their unusualness as B's are, but they have this A-voice gnawing at them - A, the one who wants to fit in, to get along, to create community, to enjoy security. AB sees that B isn't as compromising or as equivocating, and envies B. AB wishes s/he could ditch the A self-expectation, the inner A's criticalness of inner B, in order to shine like the B, riding the wind -- OR -- that s/he could "outgrow" his/her B-differentness altogether and be included in the larger A-compliant world. You might find AB's alternating in their behavior toward B's: projecting orneriness against free, autonomous B acquaintances and family at times, and expressing a yearning to take off and run with the horses, too, at others.
Speaking of horses, anthropologic bloodtype archetypes portray this subtle variation too: B the utter nomad, AB the gypsy. The nomad is out there in the wilderness - deserts, steppes, mountains- watching stars shoot, clouds morph, dunes shift - while the gypsy is the oddball closer to civilization: The family washing clothes in the stream by its caravan at the city's edge, the accordionist with the dancing bear on the midtown corner, the fortune teller at the gate.
These archetypes also show how B and AB can find their level and contentment: B in not caring to justify himself to society, confident that the latter will use/absorb/ignore/reject what it chooses to of B's offerings and wares, and AB being pleased to amuse, or find a unique role within, the majority's society while proudly upholding his very staunch policy of caginess/aloofness. Playing by his own rules, as it were, within the larger system. Keeping a foot outside the box.
Both AB's and B's are passionate critters. AB's for their majority-wannabe A allele, however, are more conflicted, I think. If you're an AB or you love one, try these insights on for size. If you're, like myself, a B, your drifting isn't aimless: It may simply conform to patterns that transcend the era and the culture and the family you inhabit. Be true to it.
After 2+ months away from the desk, I'm back. And during that time I've found that I'm preferring the GT-6/Nomad diet to the B-secretor one that was my practice, more or less, since 1997.
1. The beer. Yes. It's a stabilizer. Settles the whole system! No kidding.
2. The dry aged cheeses turn out to agree with me better than the fresh, soft ones and milk.
3. I like some of the vegetable and fruit superfoods I otherwise wouldn't have focused on.
The jury's still out on the supplements, though I'm doing a round robin sort of sampling these days.
I'm going to plow through mail and bills and work and then talk things-epigenetic, etc. with this great community again. 'Tis the Day of All Saints. So, to those of you who identify, and to the spirits of those who've inspired us: God Bless. Thanks to those who've commented over the months...
I'm having a nice time with beer these days. I never liked it, never drank it, until I started a midlfe passage involving tennis at age 41. After a sweaty round robin, we went for Chinese food and Tsing Tao's all around. Perfect! Refreshing! Magnesium-richer than most quenchers. Beer became the hot weather libation of choice after tennis, bearing in mind that hot weather is relatively nonexistent here in San Francisco where I live. So I indulged quite infrequently, and I was virtually never in the mood for a "brewski" otherwise.
Enter: The Genotype Diet by Peter D'Adamo...What?? Beer as a "weight loss superfood" for the GT6/Nomad? Indeed.
I haven't sampled many brands. Tsing Tao with Chinese food, Sapporo with Japanese (love that bitterness with sushi rolls), Heineken or Becks as the standard default order, as I don't know where else to go. If y'all have faves and picks, share 'em here; if you can clearly articulate your reasons, I just may sample some of these.
If I have trouble with weight, it's not because of beer. It's more the bread/starch problem we B's have. The Nomad/weight loss phenomenon is real for this Nomad. I can vouch for it, having been on a beer-jag lately and dropped some pounds.
Mountain wind, whirling snow
crushed forebears deep below
before the grassy highway gave
itself to history.
Massive heights and continents
together we traverse
trading ties between tribes,
Eastward first then thundering
gusts of horsefire wild beyond
our ancient roots and north,
we sailing forth upon gray waves
Or weaving tentside tales with
dung-fed heated hosting between
dunes, and dunes are oceans endless
bending back to dance with moons.
not bucolic, flocks a feast for
blood beasts when once we stray
daydreaming milky celestial
distances. Clouds commute across,
sometimes shielding stars from
sight of scouts plotting
path and pasture.
The rains and oh the rains
we welcome changes, leafy
camel thorns, their tired humps
to fatten higher hauling; Leaving
villages and cities sprout
about, we wend the wild
uncharted ways of vastness,
visions and Beyond.