Thursday, February 13, 2014

EATING FOR MY TYPE A BLOOD IN MEXICO

Right now I'm taking my first on-line Coursera class: Human Evolution Past and Future from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Loving it! Besides listening to lectures, I'm involved in all the on-line discussions about diet. People from all over the world are taking the course, so the discussions have lots of different input. In one forum the Blood Type Diet came up which put me on to Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo. First I listened to an interview with Dr. D on The Wellness Guys and then I downloaded his book Eat Right 4 Your Type onto my Kindle.

By 10:00 pm I got to the lists of which foods are HIGHLY BENEFICIAL (HB) for my Type A blood, which foods are NEUTRAL (N) and which I should AVOID (A). It turned out that all the foods I'd eaten that day were on my AVOID list (oh no!): oranges, banana, papaya, mango, eggplant, tomatoes, chilies, potatoes, and a pork chop! What the heck? I thought maybe I better forget the whole thing. I love those foods! But then I thought, why not try it, after all coffee and red wine are both on the Type A HB list. I haven't had coffee for over a month and I'm really missing it! And an excuse to drink wine? Hard to beat that.

Dr. D'Adamo suggests trying the diet for two weeks to see if it's helpful. So for the next fourteen days I'll give it a try and keep notes. I don't have many health issues these days although my joints have been a little stiff for the last week, I have chronic rosacea as ever, and my eyes are sometimes red which is probably a too much reading/cat hair issue, but I'm putting it out there anyway. Otherwise I feel pretty energetic, my mood is generally good, I'm sleeping well most nights, and my weight is fine (132, lbs. is normal for someone 5'5"), so it will be interesting to see if I notice any improvements....
(If anyone is interested in what I ate each day, my daily diet entries follow the summary.)

SUMMARY AFTER 14 DAYS:

I've completed the fourteen days and I'd say this is an excellent diet for me:
  1.       I slept GREAT. Almost every night I fell into a very deep sleep. Even when I got up a few times to use the bathroom, I'd fall right back to sleep easily each time. 
  2.      The other big improvement was how frequently and easily I pooped. Won't disturb you with details, just want to say that more frequent movements are better, in my opinion. I attribute this to the oatmeal I ate most mornings and eating very little meat, but who knows for sure.
  3.      I had TONS of energy on this diet. I have pretty good energy over the last three years anyway, but by the end of this diet I started to wake up earlier and wanted to get right up. I never felt like lying down after comida (traditional midday Mexican meal, usually occurring between 2 and 4 pm) and my energy lasted until bedtime. So from 6:30am - 9:30pm I could basically go without stopping.
  4.      My mood was good, only one morning did I feel a little grouchy, but it passed in a few hours. Around day 8 I experienced aching joints and tachycardia when I was going up hills, but that disappeared after two days. I drank a ton of water to help flush my system. On day 14 I did loads of hill climbing and never got winded. My joints feel fine now.
     Reading over my daily entries I notice that I did eat quite a bit more chocolate than I usually do, but it didn't seem to matter, and a few days I drank more red wine than Dr. D suggests. But, that said, I felt improved, and I'm ecstatic to be back to a more vegetarian way of eating. I've been reading so much paleo stuff lately that I had been preparing some meat almost every day. I'm much happier and I feel better being mostly vegetarian again and just eating poultry or fish once or twice a week. So glad I found Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo! I'd recommend a two week trial on this diet to anyone. Particularly anyone who isn't sure what foods to choose.

DAY 1: Got up and drank hot water w/lime squeezed in. It's supposed to be lemon, but they don't sell lemons in my market and limes are on my HB list so I figure it's an okay substitute. Bought fresh pressed pineapple juice and blended it with spinach, fennel, and parsley. Delicious! Ate oatmeal with chopped pear, chia seeds, walnuts, honey -- no milk. Milk is on my AVOID list. I've been avoiding milk anyway, so that's fine. I bought some dry soy milk which I'll try tomorrow. I've been avoiding soy, but now it's on my HB list, so....

Had a cup of coffee around 11.

I made curried lentil soup with spinach for comida (3:30) and ate it with a couple of corn tortillas. Snacked on sunflower seeds, walnuts, and raisins. Ate the soup again late, at about 10:00 after going to a chamber music concert with my husband and then out for two glasses of hot red wine (it was 2 for 1 night). When we got home Alice was making cupcakes to bring to school on Friday and I couldn't resist eating some spoons of chocolate icing (made w/butter, cocoa, a little milk, and sugar -- all which are on the AVOID list). But I slept GREAT!!!!

For exercise I took two fast walks in the morning totaling an hour and did 12 sun salutes in the evening. These are the types of exercises Dr. D. recommends for A types and it's my standard exercise anyway.


DAY 2: Drank my hot water w/lime first thing. And bought fresh squeezed grapefruit juice on the way home from walking Alice to school. Didn't remember to drink coffee! Went for a one mile run around the park, then around 10:30 had oatmeal with apple, raisins, chia, walnuts, honey and soy milk. Comida (3:00) was stir-fried onions, celery, carrots, broccoli, raw peanuts, with curry over brown rice. Alice and Geoff both liked it and I fed them the rest of the pork I had in the house. That's the end of meat for awhile, although we can have chicken 4x a week according to the diet and ocean fish.

I had one of Alice's chocolate cupcakes for dessert. I hardly ever eat dessert, but there's hardly ever 27 cupcakes staring me in the face either. It was delicious and I really enjoyed it!

For supper I ate some of the left-over stir-fry with more rice. I snacked on prunes and walnuts at various points in the day and also ended up eating a Crunchy Oat Granola bar late. It was a leftover from one of the snack bags they give out on long bus-trips here, not something I would ever buy. Here's what I know about myself: once I've had one very sweet dessert, it sets me up for wanting another. In other words, cupcake led to granola bar...  But all-in-all I'd say I stuck to the diet. Rice and oatmeal is a lot of grain for me to eat and no meat in a stir-fry is different from my norm too.  In the afternoon I did my 12 sun salutes. I slept great all night. Also, my bowels are moving. (I'm prone to constipation, particularly when I change diets, even though I always eat TONS of fruits and vegetables. So I'm interested in that... I can go days without my bowels moving at all. Sorry if that's TMI, but it's the facts and if it continues, it will be a real sign that this is a good diet for me.)

DAY 3: 7:30 am -- It's Dia de Amistad y Amor! That's Valentine's Day in Mexico. All our neighbors will say Feliz Dia to each other and some of us will exchange hugs. We have workmen doing work in the house, so I may not get out for breakfast with friends, but that's what would usually happen. Alice hauled all her cupcakes to school. They were beautiful! She's become an expert at decorating with frosting and she used tweezers to add little edible gold balls on the hearts she made with pink and red frosting.

As soon as I got up I had my hot water and lime. As I write, I'm enjoying a cup of instant coffee with two spoons of soy powder in it for creamer. (Still have to get used to the idea that soy is good for me -- and coffee). I bought a big glass of fresh pineapple juice on the way home from walking Alice to school which I'll blend with fennel and parsley a little later. All three of those ingredients are on my HIGHLY BENEFICIAL LIST.

7:00 pm -- For breakfast I had scrambled eggs w/onions, 1/2 an avocado and fresh corn tortillas. They're all on the NEUTRAL list for Type A's. Then I ran around like a maniac all day, cleaning and running errands. Probably walked a couple of miles. Alice came home with some cupcakes leftover. Ate the two chocolate ones -- one before some leftover lentil soup and one after. Otherwise not much snacking, a few prunes, some walnuts. Just finished my sun salutes. Going out for dinner with my sweetie later...

Later:  Had a wonderful piece of salmon for dinner at our favorite restaurant and we bought a bottle of Shiraz. I also ate a little dinner roll (NEUTRAL) and the fish was served with sweet potato "chips". Potatoes are on the AVOID list, but there weren't many and they were delicious! Salmon (fresh) is on my HIGHLY BENEFICIAL list and so is the red wine -- though one glass is probably the right amount. Every couple in the whole city seemed to be out. I love Dia de Amistad y Amor! And I think I'm beginning to love this diet -- I feel great!

DAY 4: Felt great again on Day 4. My bowels moved ferociously first thing and I lost an inch at the thickest part of my belly -- something I keep track of instead of my weight. It was Saturday and I volunteered to go with some 5 and 6 year olds from a local orphanage to a water park. Got home around 2:00 and spent until 9:30 cleaning the house getting ready to have a house guest for a few weeks. So I didn't really prepare any new meals. Oatmeal with raisins and seeds for breakfast; carrots, apples, saltines and peanut butter at the water park (peanut butter is HIGHLY BENEFICIAL for Type A's!!! woot woot); leftover lentil soup and stir fry for lunch and supper. But I barely sat down to eat.

Got plenty of exercise with those kids in the pool and did my 12 sun salutes at sunset.

Confession: I finished the chocolate frosting in the freezer in the late afternoon (best to get it out of the house, I figured).

At 9:30 I went out for a glass of red wine and ate a few of Alice's chicken wings which were drenched in hot sauce. Hot sauce is on the AVOID list -- all chilies are. That is going to take some getting used to, this being Mexico. I love all kinds of salsas! However spicy foods always appear on rosacea lists and it's the one thing I've never tried giving up. Maybe this diet will finally do it. I would've eaten a lot more salsas over the last four days if I wasn't on this diet.

DAY 5: We have a houseguest who's a vegan and also familiar with the blood type diet, so it was easy to eat lots of HIGHLY BENEFICIAL foods. Smoothies with pineapple juice, spinach, fennel, and parsley. White bean soup (white beans are neutral) with these HB veggies: onions, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms. We had guacamole (avocados are neutral) and bought nopal cactus salad (not sure how the doctor rates cactus). She did bring mayan chocolate bars from Guatemala. Best chocolate EVER! Had coffee in the morning and red wine in the evening. Still can't believe those two are HB, but I'm not arguing! Felt great all day, plenty of energy for a bike ride and walking around the city. Fantastic night's sleep.

DAYS 6&7: Bean soups; pineapple, fennel, and parsley smoothies; grapefruit juice; dried apricots; stir-fried veggies over rice; peanuts; red wine...

Did order a quesadilla at my writer's group meeting yesterday. Wheat tortillas with cheese (not sure what kind) and a little pot of salsa for dipping. I tried not to eat much salsa since peppers and tomatoes are to be avoided, but it was really good. And I had a lime-aid with that. When I got home my heart was pounding/racing for about an hour. Not sure, but it could've been the food...

No chocolate or any sweets on Day 7, but maybe too much red wine at a friend's house. Still, the sleeping continues to be fantastic!

DAYS 8 & 9: Started Day 8 with the beet greens I cooked up yesterday. LOVE BEET GREENS! and they're on the HIGHLY BENEFICIAL list whereas beets are on the NEUTRAL list which I find interesting. Noticed that my mood was crummy in the morning on Day 8, and when I went for my fast walk in the park, my joints felt quite stiff. That has lasted now for two days. I want to link it to the quesadillas, but I'm just not sure. I've also had shortness of breath going up the stairs. I've still been getting exercise, and my mood did improve after just a few hours. But I wonder what's going on. I haven't had coffee or wine either day 8 or 9 as they're dehydrating and I'm drinking liters of water hoping to rinse whatever the problem is out of my system. For food I'm eating lots of the HIGHLY BENEFICIAL vegetables and fruits, brown rice, lentils, oatmeal, dried apricots, prunes, and peanuts. A few eggs are the only animal protein. This diet seems to cause pooping throughout the day something that's new for me, but not a bad thing. Still having great night sleeps.

DAY 10: Feeling all better this morning. Drank so much water yesterday (licked a little sea salt too) that I had to get up three or four times to pee, but I quickly fell soundly back to sleep each time. My joints ar normal this morning. Started the day (7 am) with hot water & lime (that's been true every day) and a handful of walnuts. Walked Alice to school and then watched my Coursera Human Physiology lecture (I'm on week 4 of that class) with a cup of instant coffee.  The lectures are very dense so they're a good way for me to judge how well my brain is functioning. Does my mind wander? Do I get annoyed if I don't understand something, or do I remain calm, rewind, and focus? I'd say I stay focused about 90% of the time and I'm pleased enough with that (perfection is the enemy of the good).

10:30-12:00 More walnuts, a few prunes, oatmeal with apple and chia seeds (no liquid, no sweetener). Lots more water.

3:30 Comida: turkey breast, roasted corn and green beans, and white beans.

9:00 Red wine, guacamole on cucumber slices, white beans in broth.

I've been drinking water throughout the day now for three days and reading about The Water Cure (TWC) with much interest.

Although I got up to pee several times and had more than one glass of wine, which is too much, I again slept very well. I may rename this the Sleep Diet!

DAY 11:  Without getting too graphic, my stool was pretty loose this morning. Could be my body adjusting to all the water, but I'm not cutting back. I'm sure the various microbes in my gut are switching around too. All in all, I'm still liking the diet. I enjoyed having coffee again this morning and watched one Human Physiology courersa lecture and one Human Evolution lecture (which I like better than physiology), ate a few walnuts and at 10:00 ran a decent mile, which for me means there was no walking involved. Afterward I had a bowl of oatmeal with apple and chia seeds (no liquid). 


uchepos
Went to Patzcuaro and ate a delicious uchepo for lunch from a street vendor with just a smidge of cream, a smidge of aged parmesan-like cheese, and a smidge of salsa (those last 3 items all on my AVOID list, but it was to die for, and I don't regret it for a second even though I did get a gasey stomach ache afterward that was mildly uncomfortable, but not for long). Then an apple, then a raspberry ice.

For supper, a stir fry with Romanesco, onions, garlic, and turmeric and some white beans on the side. Plus a shot-glass worth of red wine. Some amaranth granola with pumpkin seeds -- everything HIGHLY BENEFICIAL there. Kids brought me home two little pieces of awesome chocolate, a nice way to end the evening. 

DAY 12 (Sunday): Tons of energy on Day 12, so I walked with dog down the main street to the cathedral and back (they close the main street to cars for five hours on Sundays for bikers, walkers, skaters, etc.) Then went to the market with house guest and bought tons of veggies and some bacon and cheese for daughter and husband. The cheese man gave me a sample of the Oaxaca cheese (yum, but I don't know whether that's a NEUTRAL cheese or not). At 10:30: I ate some leftover rice and turkey with spinach before we headed to the zoo with sketch pads. We watched some monkeys while we ate lunch: avocado, nopal cactus salad, and an apple. We walked all the way home from the zoo -- maybe 3 miles and I bought an unsweetened, whole fat nut yogurt from a yogurt stand on the way. I'm not sure it agreed with me... stomach was unpleasantly gassy afterward. Yogurt is supposed to be NEUTRAL for me. I realized after 12 days that I could just google my Blood type and the food in question and get an answer on whether it's HB, N, or A for me. Here's the yogurt page for Type As: http://www.dadamo.com/typebase4/depictor5.pl?462 There isn't a listing for nopal cactus, alas. 

For supper house guest made roasted cauliflower, onions, carrots with turmeric and some other spices. Ate it with brown rice. We went out to see 12 Years a Slave (not a happy movie) and I ate a few handfuls of popcorn. 

I drank a couple of liters of water throughout the day. Didn't drink anything else. I had trouble falling asleep because someone (not naming any names) read in bed until late and got up a number of times... Hate to admit it, but I eventually took a sleeping pill and slept through the night that way. 

DAY 13: Interesting day in that I stayed at my computer from 7:30 am until 10:30 pm. I'm working on a pitch for a food article. I felt so focused all day and not particularly hungry. I did drink lots of water. In the morning I drank my usual one mug of coffee with powdered soy. I made a smoothie with pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, spinach, and fennel (all HB). Late morning I ate two scrambled eggs (N) and half an avocado and some cold beets.  Houseguest made a stir-fry for lunch with lots of onions, zucchini, celery, parsley, and turmeric which I ate on brown rice. Around 6:00 I took my poor ignored dog for a walk and ate a small chocolate bar called a Carlos V. I ate some of the leftovers from lunch, some peanuts, and some red wine late in the evening. Fell right to sleep when I went to bed and slept great.

DAY 14: Got up at 5:30 with new ideas for my article pitch. It's wonderful what a good night's sleep can do! I was pretty happy with the pitch when I went to bed the night before, but it's going to be much better now. Had a cup of coffee at 6:30 and may have a second one today. Went for a run around the park at 7:30. Will now spend a couple of hours listening to my Coursera courses -- the Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from UCSF started yesterday. In physiology we're learning about lungs this week (cool!) and I haven't looked at Human Evolution yet, but I love that class the best, so I'll save that lecture for last... 

My plan is to eat eggs for breakfast again today. I'm not sure oatmeal or wheat are really NEUTRAL for me. I know from my other experiments that wheat isn't -- just not sure it's the gluten component of wheat that's the problem. Dr. D talks about a secretor in blood that makes the difference for Type A's, but I don't have time to learn about that right now. Oats are contraindicated for those avoiding gluten, so that could be the issue and why I've been a little achey in the joints. I'm eliminating oats again for now.

In general I do feel great on this diet. But is it the exact foods I'm eating, or is it resorting back to a mostly vegetarian menu? The jury is still out....  I will have more time to read more of the Eat Right 4 Your Type website after this week. At this point I feel my results make it worth finding out more.





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