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Suzanne Graham


Dieter's Prayer

Thu, 12 Mar 2015 00:47:52 +0000

I saw this on a plaque in a cute little Hill Country shop.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I oughta eat,
The courage to avoid the things I shouldn't eat,
And the wisdom to know that a little chocolate never hurt anyone.

Is that not a great summary of the Blood Type Diet lifestyle?

After our hike today, the group went to an adorable sandwich shop with the intriguing name of Bumdoodlers. I searched the menu for something good for Type Os, and there was nothing. The only salad was Chef Salad. Between the ham and the cheese, this salad was not Type O friendly? The only thing I could find was a dinner salad. Would I have the serenity to order a dinner salad and wait until I got home to eat? Fortunately, it didn't come to that. On the sandwich menu was a note that if you wanted to increase the meat on your salad you could get 3 more ounces for $1.50. I stepped up to the counter and said, "I'm going to create my own salad. I'll have a dinner salad, no cucumbers, no cheese, no dressing. But add 3 ounces of roast beef." I had olive oil in my camera bag. Indeed I was serene eating what I ought to eat.

Bumdoodlers is also a bakery that specializes in pie. They looked delicious. Coconut Cream Pie is my favorite, and it looked especially delicious. But I think everything in Coconut Cream Pie, except the meringue on top, is avoid. Would I have the courage to avoid Coconut Cream Pie? Today I did. Courage prevailed.

Given my overall health, a slice of pie would not have hurt me. But I try to reserve my avoids for special occasions, or for moments when to refuse would be ungracious. Not everyone was having dessert, so I wasn't being unsocial. After a healthy lunch, I didn't need a slice of pie. If you want to eat an occasional avoid, do so. Enjoy it. Once in a while is not going to hurt you.

Chocolate is a different matter. It is actually a beneficial food for both Hunters and Gatherers. Some people find that something to celebrate, but when I started the BTD, it didn't make any difference to me. You see, I had been allergic to chocolate since I was in 2nd grade. It made me break out in hives. As a child, I occasionally ate some at a party, knowing I could go home and take antihistamine. One night in college I broke out in hives so quickly after a piece of chocolate cake, that I had to have my date drive me home immediately. It scared me, so I stopped chocolate altogether. Not even a chocolate chip cookie or thin mint for me.

When my Dad was in his 80s, his blood pressure began to creep up. He read that unsweetened chocolate could lower blood pressure, so he began eating a square of unsweetened baking chocolate every day. It worked. He was able to go off his blood pressure medication. I was intrigued. I had not had chocolate for more than 30 years. I tried one of his chocolate squares - no hives. I had another a month later - no problem. I began eating it several times a week, and have never had a single hive.

My chocolate allergy disappeared along with my seasonal allergies after I went on the BTD. The only thing I have to watch is that for a while I started eating chocolate at about the same time every day. I began to develop an addiction to the caffeine. At any rate, I would get a low level headache if I didn't eat my chocolate on time. So I limit chocolate to 3-4 days a week, but not every day.

So is it proper to pray about the Blood Type Diet? Absolutely. God is the one who led me to this diet, and with his help I am serene and courageous about staying on it.

Almond-walnut butter

Sun, 01 Mar 2015 22:20:52 +0000

I started making my own nut butters in 2005, when I had been on the BTD for about 2 years. I began with almond butter and pumpkin seed butter. I would grind the seeds in my food processor. They would first become a fine powder, and then become a thick sticky ball. In order to have a smooth nut butter that I could use for a veggie dip or spread on a cracker, I had to drizzle in a little light olive oil.

When DD and I began making homemade peanut butter, she didn't want to add the extra oil. When the peanuts reached the sticky ball stage, she said wait. Let's see what happens. I had just about given up when suddenly the ball moved and became delightfully smooth peanut better. It was almost miraculous.

I tried more patience on almond butter and pumpkin seed butter, but no amount of extra processing ever led to a smooth nut butter. I gave up and for all these years have added a little oil when I made nut butter.

Our Strong Son has radically changed his diet in the past two years. First, his blood pressure went up and he began to feel heart palpitations. SS has never been over weight. He is tall and thin. He has always played sports, and run. His doctor sent him to a cardiologist, and he checked out fine. Both my husband and my husband's father are tall and thin. Both developed high blood pressure at a young age. The cardiologist thinks it is inherited and has him on a low dose of blood pressure medication.

SS wanted to do everything he could to get his blood pressure downnaturally. Though he had always eaten relatively healthy for a single young man, he began to seriously watch his salt and fat intake.

At the same time he began training for triathlons. He became interested in nutrition websites related to long distance running, swimming and cycling. Not everything he has learned from his heart and triathlon research is identical to the BTD, but it is remarkably close. I have chosen to be completely supportive, rather than harping on the differences.

He had never eaten margarine, and he stopped eating butter. He eats olive oil, but he needs a lot of calories when he is training. He read about putting almond butter on sweet potatoes instead of butter. He bought almond butter at the store, and loved the taste, but complained about the cost.

That sent me back to the kitchen to give homemade almond butter another try. Walnuts are beneficial for Type Os and have a higher fat content than almonds. What would happen if I added walnuts to the almonds? It worked. The almonds got to the sticky ball stage, and I began adding walnuts. When the ball began to move, I waited and added more walnuts. Suddenly, just like with the peanut butter there was creamy smooth almond walnut butter with no added oil.

I gave SS the first jar for his birthday. The next night I had a text that it was delicious on a sweet potato.

Picky Chicken and Turkey

Thu, 19 Feb 2015 18:33:21 +0000

DD and I have not been as organized about looking for new recipes in the beginning of 2015 as we were at the end of 2014. But we are both still looking for quick, easy, and beneficial recipes for our often-picky eater husbands. Here is one recipe from DD for Broccoli Stuffed Chicken, and one recipe from me for Crock Pot Turkey & Broccoli

Picky Eater Stuffed Chicken Breast
This recipe reminds me of a product I used to buy before the BTD. It was a chicken breast stuffed with broccoli and cheese, then breaded. The family loved them. But between the cheese and the breading there were too many avoids for the BTD. I'm excited to give this version a try.

Thin sliced chicken breast
Broccoli, chopped - no big pieces. Steam lightly if using fresh broccoli
Neutral cheese
Sliced onion

Put broccoli, onion and cheese on half of the chicken breast. Fold over. Wrap in foil.
Bake 350 degrees 45 minutes or until done.

Crock Pot Turkey & Broccoli
The original recipe called for making a thick sauce out of chicken broth and corn starch. I skipped that step. Between the natural juices from the turkey and the added soy sauce and agave, I thought the crock pot made a nice thin sauce. It was just right to moisten the rice. I didn't need a thick sauce distracting from the flavorful turkey and broccoli.

1 pound turkey tenders sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup tamari sauce
1/3 cup agave
3 garlic cloves, minced
Fresh broccoli florets (as many as desired)

1. Place turkey in a crock pot.
2. In a small bowl, combine, tamari sauce, agave, and garlic. Pour over beef.
3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. After first hour, stir to make sure turkey slices don't stick together.
Serve over rice.

Kohlrabi greens at the Farmer’s Market

Sat, 14 Feb 2015 05:59:03 +0000

I went to the Farmer’s Market last week looking for kohlrabi. I asked at each stand, and had nearly given up, when a man in one of the booths said, I have one bunch left. He handed me very four small kohlrabi with the greens still attached. They were $3. That price for such tiny kohlrabi would not have been worth it, but I was intrigued by the greens.

When I got home I looked on the internet and learned that kohlrabi greens were edible. Tonight I gave them a try.

I cut off the thick stems and set them aside to feed to the deer. I cut the leaves and small stems into small pieces with my kitchen scissors. I cooked them in a little water and a little light olive oil. I seasoned them with a Mediterranean blend of rosemary, cumin, coriander, oregano, and cinnamon.

They were very good. I would definitely buy them again.

On that same trip to the Farmer’s Market. I bought sweet potatoes. I had read an article about grocery store sweet potatoes being sprayed with something to keep them from sprouting. I have no idea whether that article is true, but it made me cautious and I began peeling my sweet potatoes rather than eating the skins.

When I saw organic sweet potatoes, I stopped and looked. The price was $3 for a small sack – roughly twice the price of sweet potatoes in the grocery store. I bought a bag, wanting to see if I could discern a difference in the peels.

When I got them home, I realized that the skins were pitted and moldy. I had to peel the sweet potatoes before I cooked them. So the experiment was a waste. I paid twice the price, and still threw away the peelings. At least the deer were happy. They love sweet potato skins.

This is why I rarely buy organic. In theory it makes so much sense, but way too often I pay a high price and get home with poor quality produce

So hurrah for Farmer’s Market kohlrabi, but blah for Farmer’s Market sweet potatoes.

Love Your Heart

Mon, 09 Feb 2015 05:08:14 +0000

Every year since I moved to the Hill Country the city of New Braunfels has had a Love Your Heart luncheon on the first Friday in February. I have a couple of friends who always urge me to come, but my hiking club hikes on Friday mornings. I always laughed and said that it did my heart more good to hike than to sit at lunch.

This year the ladies in our Bible Study reserved a table. I decided to forgo the hike and attend the luncheon. There were two keynote speakers. One of them was a 25 year old (same age as DD) who had a virus attack her heart. Her story about getting a heart transplant underscored one of the themes of the banquet which was heart disease doesn't just strike the elderly.

Lunch included several Mexican dishes, all well prepared, and surprisingly good for Type Os. One of my friends joked with me saying, "Suzanne, this is your kind of meal."

There was a panel discussion by four local dietitians, one from the grocery store, two from hospitals and one from a medical clinic. I have low expectations for dietitians because they usually tout the government diet, but these ladies were excellent.

Here are some of the things I learned:

  • These dietitians were not anti red meat. There are 29 cuts of lean beef. They said that the two key words when looking for lean beef are loin and round.
  • Always remove the skin from chicken or turkey before cooking. That is where the fat is.
  • Quinoa is complete protein
  • Lack of Vitamin D increases heart disease risk. Vitamin D is more easily absorbed by people with light colored skin. Mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin D
  • A good rule of thumb is to make sure that more than half of your plate contains fruits and vegetables.

The dietitians talked about inflammation and heart disease, giving the best brief explanation of anti-oxidant that I've heard - "We need oxygen to live, but processes that burn oxygen in the body produce free oxygen radicals. Anti-oxidants bind the free radicals and escort them out of the body."

The last two hints were my favorites

  • Women are decision makers about food for our families, so it is important that we model good nutrition. Even if our children or husbands don't want to eat fruits and vegetables, you can show that fruits and vegetables are cool by eating them yourselves.
  • Let your children help in the kitchen. Children are more likely to eat food that they help cook.

After the panel the exhibits opened with displays from local health services. The firemen gave a demonstration of new CPR recommendations. Mouth to mouth is out. They taught us to draw a mental line from armpit to armpit and put the heel of one hand in the center of that line. Put you other hand over the first hand and push firm, fast pulses until help arrives. They said that it can be surprisingly exhausting, and that EMS will have machines to continue the pulses automatically.

The final event was a 5K walk/run on Saturday morning. Before the start, a local pastor prayed, "Creator God, we are here today to strengthen our physical hearts. Bless and protect us as we walk and run. Also remind us that even more important than the condition of our physical hearts is the condition of our spiritual hearts."

What a great message! Nourish your physical heart, but don't neglect your spiritual heart.

Diet and exercise update for a BTD Baby

Wed, 04 Feb 2015 06:55:14 +0000

I've had a bit of a dry spell about blogging. Part of me thinks I should apologize; but another part of me doesn't want to bore you with words written without enthusiasm. My business is usually quiet from mid-December through January, and that was the case this year. I worked diligently on some genealogy projects that have long been delayed. I have been publishing books for others. This year I hope to publish my father's WWII memoirs. I've been told that the market is saturated with memoirs of generals, but there is a growing demand for memories of the troops. I have a manuscript that will fill that niche. I've been eating right - following the BTD faithfully. I've been exercising regularly and plan to run in another 5K race this weekend. I'm in good health. I just haven't been inspired to write...until today. And today I came up with four things I wanted to blog about. I'll pick one for now, and hopefully write about the others in coming days. The more I watch DD raising BC according to the Blood Type Diet, the more I wish it had been available when I was raising my children. BC is now 10 1/2 months old. He is leaving baby food behind and is beginning to eat finger food. You know what he wants to eat? Legumes. That's right! He is attracted to Type A food. DD sent a picture today of him grinning as he ate a bowl of English peas and chopped chicken. She said he loves black eyed peas - not exactly what most parents feed their babies. SIL wanted him to try banana, even though it is a Type A avoid. He offered BC a bite, and he pushed it away, not at all interested. Yet this same toddler will eat beets and carrots; pumpkin and avocado; celery and rutabaga. DD has not given him wheat or corn, but he loves rice and oats. Because SIL has a sister with Crohn's disease, they will not give him leafy greens until he is a year old. DD is still nursing him, and plans to continue until his first birthday. We babysat for him a few weeks ago, and gave him rice milk to drink while his Mama was away. He has just had his first cold, and it was a mild one. I told DD that by the time she was his age she had been on antibiotics more than once for ear infections. I believe cow's milk was the main culprit. BC has been walking since he was 9 months old. He was very physically active in the womb, and he was a very active little baby. He learned to crawl, sit and pull up all at the same time. One week he was frustrated with creeping. The next week he was crawling to a table and cruising around it. It was amazing to watch. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas he let go of the table and walked by himself. I don't think that the BTD has anything to do with his early walking. I think that is a reflection of his own personality. I would also be quick to add that walking early is not all good. He has not developed a sense of depth perception. If he is on one side of a room he may attempt to walk under a table to get to the other side, not realizing that he is too tall to fit. There are advantages to a baby being content to creep and crawl until they have a better special sense. DD and SIL have done a thorough job of baby-proofing. BC will figure out depth perception, but until then they keep a close watch on him. Today's news was full of controversy about vaccines. BC has had all of his shots, and I'm glad. I was also glad that his pediatrician was not one of the doctors that gave multiple shots at once, especially when he was tiny. I think the doctor used good sense to spread the shots out a little and let him recover from some before giving him more.Original post blogged on b2evolution.[...]

New Year grocery shopping

Thu, 08 Jan 2015 00:09:10 +0000

Yesterday was my first trip to the grocery store of the New Year, and two interesting things happened.

I was walking down the pasta isle, when I passed a cart and saw a copy of Eat Right for your Type. I looked around and saw a woman and her son studying the pasta. I said, "I've done the Blood Type Diet since 2003."

She said "I've just started, and I don't know how to shop. I'm supposed to get Ezekiel Bread. What is it and where to I buy it?" I told her that she could get Ezekiel Bread right there in the grocery store, in the freezer section. She was delighted.

She was holding a box of gluten free pasta and asked me if it was ok. I told her that I had never tried that brand, but that I had used several brands of wheat free pasta. Most brands required that you watch them closely, so that the pasta isn't over or under cooked. But I have found Tinkyada rice pasta to be tasty and very easy to cook. She put her box back on the shelf and asked where she could buy Tinkyada. I told her two local health food stores that carried it, or she could buy online.

She is a Type B. Her son is about the same age my daughter was when I started the BTD. He appeared to be interested in what his Mom was doing.

We all went back to our shopping. I passed them again in the produce department and said, "One more thing. Most of the granola in this store has wheat in it. But the Bear Naked brand does not have any wheat, and it is really good." She thanked me and headed back to the cereal aisle."

I did not tell her that I blogged, but I'm curious whether she will see this post.

I sometimes buy extra lean ground beef, and I sometimes buy ground bison. Yesterday I was going to buy bison. Surprise! Right next to the bison was grass fed ground beef. It is more expensive than the regular ground beef, but not outrageously expensive as most grass fed beef is.

I bought two packages to see what it's like. It is imported from Australia. Being a Texas rancher's daughter, I would prefer to buy Texas beef, but low cost grass fed will be hard to pass up.

Happy New Year to you all. I hope that your BTD shopping in 2015 gets off to as interesting a start as mind did.

Leftover Christmas Turkey

Sat, 27 Dec 2014 06:26:59 +0000

I hope that you had a joyful Christmas Day. For my husband and me, Christmas was quiet and peaceful. In the 38 years of our marriage, this was the first Christmas that we have been alone.

We had all of the family except SIL at our house the Sunday before Christmas. SIL was off on a retreat with some of the high school students from his church. BC had taken his first steps the night before they came to our house. One day I was on the floor playing with him and he walked to me and gave me a hug. That was the best Christmas present ever.

But on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, our children were with other families - and that is a good thing. HH and I discovered that we love Hallmark Christmas movies. They are sweet stories with no bad words, no sex, no violence. They all have happy endings, even when they make us cry. We watched several during December including one on Christmas Eve and two on Christmas Day.

We ate simply; pretty much the way we always do. So there are no extra pounds to lose or false guilt feelings to deal with. On Christmas Eve, my husband read the account of Jesus’ birth from the Bible, just as his father did every Christmas Eve.

I promised you a great recipe for leftover Christmas turkey. Here it is,

Turkey with Bell Peppers & Onions.
Put enough light olive oil in the bottom of a large skillet to coat it - no more than 1/4 inch deep.
Slice 1 red bell peppers, 1 green bell peppers, and 1 onion. Mince 1-2 cloves of garlic. Put those vegetables in the skillet and cook until they just start to turn soft. Add cubed cooked turkey. Season with 1/2 tsp paprika and 1/2 tsp dried oregano. Salt to taste.

You may add a little water or broth if anything begins to stick to the bottom of the skillet.

Reduce the heat and simmer together for 5 minutes until the flavors have blended.

You can serve it over rice or Tinkyada pasta. Or serve it just like it is with a green salad.