Andrea Papp – My Blood Type Journey
My husband had heard about the blood type diet from friends and colleagues a few years ago, and we had talked about getting Eat Right 4 Your Type and giving it a try. Life, unfortunately, got in the way, and we got distracted by other projects, so our dietary ambitions fell by the wayside. In the years that we had lived together, we had both put on some weight, and decided it was time to shed a few pounds. We completed a 25-day extreme fat loss program with moderate success, after which we were looking for a more sustainable diet to follow. My husband reminded me about our plans to try the Blood Type Diet, so we purchased a copy of the book, Eat Right 4 Your Type, and read the whole thing cover to cover.
I am a blood donor and knew I was type AB+; my husband found his blood type, A+, in his medical records. We wanted to give this the best shot we could, so we agreed to stick to the requirements of the diet for two weeks without cheats or deviations, and then reevaluate our results and see if we wanted to continue. I had spent most of my life eating a diet that would make a Type O person proud: lots of good meats and fresh vegetables with limited consumption of grains and soy. The beneficial lists and recommended diet for an AB turned my diet world upside down: soy products? peanut butter?! no more grass-fed beef or roasted chicken?! No coffee! No BUTTER! I didn’t know what to expect.
The first thing we had to do was determine what we could and could not eat. Because I’m half A, I think this was easier for us than it could have been. I didn’t want to cook two dinners every day, so we used the resources on Dr D’Adamo’s website and the iPhone app to create a combined list of forbidden foods. The list of avoids is much shorter than the list of neutrals and beneficials, and we decided that as long as it wasn’t on the avoid list, we were doing well. The iPhone app has everything neatly listed and colour coded – and it will save you when you’re eating out or grocery shopping. After referring to the list so many times over the weeks, I have it more or less memorized now, so it’s much easier to manage our food.
Next, we had to purge our fridge and pantry of all forbidden foods, which we gave away to friends. You can’t eat what isn’t there, after all. Most of the foods we gave away were processed foods, or items that had more than one ingredient. Since our forbidden list includes wheat, corn, vinegar, and tomatoes – one or more of which are in all processed foods – the easiest way to manage our diet was to eat things that had only one ingredient. Meats, vegetables, fruit, dairy, oils, nuts and seeds are all covered by this rule, which cuts out junk food, and anything else we probably shouldn’t have been eating anyway.
For the last couple of years I planned my meals weekly, meaning once a week, I wrote out what to make for dinner for the following week and then posted the list on our fridge. Lunches usually consisted of leftovers, or ingredients repurposed from other meals and mixed together in a salad. Writing out what to make is a great way to stay organized, and it also prevents us from eating convenience food, such as take-out pizza, which is full of ingredients that are toxic. It also eliminates the “what do I make for dinner tonight” question: you already know what’s for dinner – it’s written on the fridge. If worse comes to worse, mix together a salad, which doesn’t involve any cooking whatsoever and will fill you with vitamin and fibre-rich vegetables.
I love reading food blogs and have adapted a few of my favourite recipes to be blood-type compliant by switching out ingredients. If they are successful, they go into ‘The Rotation’, which are the dishes my husband insists we eat regularly. For example, I have replaced wheat with brown rice flour and butter with extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil. Chicken is easily replaced with turkey, and cannelloni beans can replace potatoes in a soup or stew. Homemade turkey and vegetable stocks replace commercial soup bases. The acidity of tomatoes can be replaced by pimentos and lemon juice. Goat dairy (or soy or almond ‘milk’) replaces cow dairy. Quinoa and couscous replace pasta, potatoes and bread.
I also look for recipes that have about 90% of the ingredients we are allowed to eat, and then either forego the rest, or replace them with something else. The only time this really gets complicated is when making sauces, since they need to have both flavour and consistency. For this reason, I try to stick to more Japanese-inspired marinades and sauces. They are full of ingredients we can both eat (miso, soy, lemon), they are simple to make, and taste great.
Since the list of allowed vegetables is quite long no matter your blood type, eating vegetarian, or even vegan meals 4 days a week is an easy and inexpensive way to stay compliant. There are a ton of resources available online for vegetarian dining, and I like to browse the recipes on Epicurious.com because of the great variety. To save your sanity, cook in bulk and freeze the leftovers: a big pot of chili or soup can feed you for three or more meals, and those leftovers can save you from deviating from the diet on those days where you just don’t have the energy to cook. A large tray of roasted vegetables can be repurposed into soup, stew, salad, and an omelette.
We have been blood type-compliant for about six months and to date, I have lost 18 pounds and 7% body fat, and my husband has lost 26 pounds. We both feel awesome and are still losing weight; about a pound or two a week. The longer we stay on the diet, the easier it is to stay compliant. I have found that I just don’t want the things I’m not supposed to have. After my first cheat day, wherein I had prime rib, I felt sick and miserable. I started blogging about my culinary misadventures to document my new recipe repertoire, and to help people who were interested in trying the Blood Type Diet.