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Type casting

Perhaps it’s reflective of my humble nature (snicker); more likely it’s
early-onset Alzheimer’s. Two days ago was the two-year birthday of
Hedonia! Of course, as it’s been in a virtual coma for the past couple months, I didn’t exactly break out the champagne and cupcakes.

You see, apparently, I have forgotten how to blog. Weeks, months go by and I cannot pull the words together to fill a post. Of course, lack of time factors in heavily as well. My work is crazier than ever (and I mean that in more than one sense); the holidays washed over me like a tinsel-clad tsunami; and I remain ever stunned at, as a dog owner, just how much time you have to — have to — spend rubbing bellies and throwing squeaky toys. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

As a result, I am rusty. As I sit to write this post (Ed. — again; this post was started weeks ago) I find myself hesitating at the keyboard, intimidated by the virtual white page. Of late, I feel the same way in the kitchen. Whereas I used to handily churn out delicious and interesting meals, I now move a little more slowly, check and recheck measurements, constantly fear that I am skipping an ingredient.

It’s small wonder. With our time as constrained as it’s been, not only have I not been cooking, I’ve also not really been eating. I mean, sure, I’ve consumed my couple-thousand calories each day, but more often than not I may as well have eaten cardboard, cheerlessly choking down whatever sustenance is at arm’s reach.

Not that it has all been uninteresting. Attentive readers (and close personal friends) will know that DPaul suffers from a particular back problem similar to rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, in his efforts to combat this condition, he has begun working with a naturopath. Evidently, it’s quite likely that DPaul’s pain may be triggered by allergic reactions to certain foods.

The good doctor had DPaul purchase a copy of Eat Right for Your Type. The author, Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo, has devised a set of diets based on each individual’s blood type. By many accounts, he’s on to something with this. In point of fact, in just one week of adherence to the diet, DPaul was virtually pain-free.

Of course, here’s the thing: DPaul is blood-type O; I am type A. Type O is purportedly the primal blood type — hunter-gatherers, cavemen and whatnot. The diet comprises meat, meat, meat and meat, no dairy or grains — diet not unlike one a certain meat-eating vegan I know was forced to reconcile with. "A" types came with the next step in human evolution: Agriculture. Hence, the type A diet is, well, vegetarian. There is stunningly little overlap between the diets.

Herein lies the irony: When DPaul and I first got together, over fifteen years ago, I was fairly pescetarian, leaning into more hardcore vegetarianism for economic reasons. DPaul was a meat eater. Over the years we gravitated closer together, but left to our own devices, were we doing what our bodies told us to?

But we could not ignore the immediate and obvious results of this diet. The good doctor assured us that this diet is meant as a guideline, not a sentence to eliminate entire foods from one’s life forever. And as I am in generally good health, we have leaned meatier over the past couple months.

I guess I didn’t realize how, even in my no-longer-recent status as a meat eater, how little meat I was eating. In the new diet, it seems like hardly a day passes without red meat. The diet also encourages gamy meats, so we’ve branched into venison, bison, whatever fresh kill we can get our hands on. For the first week or so, I felt leaden; my stomach ached and my head went fuzzy. A balance had to be struck.

In continued tinkering, it’s become clear that the biggest culprit in DPaul’s condition is wheat. As we’ve been adapting our mutual diet, we’ve begun settling into a peaceable state where we mostly eat meat, with hardy vegetables (think greens and cruciferi) and rice or quinoa for dinner. And I eat vegetarian material the rest of the time.

But we’re still hitting our stride. I am confident I will have dishes to write about again sometime soon, but for now we’re still in the experimental stage. There have been successes alongside some missteps, though few outright failures. We’re getting there, and I hope to take you with us.

  • OMG. My allergies have over the last year gone through the roof. This is something I need to look into. But, I’m an A blood type. I can’t imagine giving up filet mignon.

  • mcC

    ah, the crashing of diets and the love to cook – been there, done that. I am lactose intolerant and have IBS, so when I first found out cooking became very complicated. fortunately I didn’t have to watch two diets as my gf can eat anything and everything. and now it has all normalised, I can take lactose with my dairy and cut back on stuff I can’t handle so well on the rare occasions that my IBS does flare up.
    and as much as I miss your posts I have total understanding for inability to blog – my foodblog “food for thought” has been comatose for so long that I’m not even sure it will wake up again 😉
    just keep posting eatsdropper and I’m happy!
    mcC

  • Happy blog birthday! It’s so interesting to read about the changes in your diets and how that is affecting overall health, and back health. I’ve had to change to a very low-carb diet, which is tossing a lot more meat into the mix, and while I don’t like many aspects of eating low-carb, I must admit that when I do it, I feel better. And as to blogging? Well, it should be fun, and when it becomes another thing you feel you “must” do, then don’t do it. But of course I hope it becomes fun again soon, as we all miss your voice out here in food blog land.

  • Happy two year anniversary. I’m sorry to hear about the food allergy challenges. I hope you can get a handle on it and find a way to cook that will work for you both.

  • Happy 2-year anniversary, Sean! Boy do I know about working through dietary/health issues. It kind of smacks up against our foodie fantasies, doesn’t it? I’m glad DPaul is feeling better – that’s really what matters, at the end of the day… being healthy and more alive.
    xox

  • Happy blog birthday, and good luck with the diet tinkering!

  • Yay! So glad you’re back,-Happy 2nd Birthday! We all go through diet/creative slumps, but you’ll get back in the swing, just rub a dog belly for inspiration!

  • Scott — nor can I imagine giving up bacon. Luckily, the diet doesn’t require total adherence; it’s more of a guideline of what to gravitate toward or away from. DPaul can still have wheat products once a week or so without too much ill effect. And I can have my bacon. 🙂
    McC: As a fellow IBS sufferer (if that’s not TMI) I sympathize — and I think dairy has an impact on me too. However in my case I know it is very much stress-linked. When I’m relaxed and happy I can eat almost anything.
    Lydia, Kalyn and the Jenns: Thanks! And yes, it’s all about the balance. Hopefully I am close to finding balance in my work life that will allow me to reintroduce balance into my blogging life. 🙂
    rtcaro: I keep Reese by my side at all times in case of emergency.

  • Happy Blog Birthday! And I understand taking a break from blogging. :):)

  • mcC

    hey sean, just read your answer to my comment now. I too can eat whatever I want when I’m not stressed (guess how that’s working out while writing a thesis 😉 it’s fascinating how I sometimes feel I don’t even have anything until it hits me again.
    p.s. forget TMI… people don’t talk about so many things it’s a shame. even Europeans are stuck up about anything to do with the human body. I hereby advocate that stuff should be talked about, even if it’s IBS 🙂

  • ishkadebble

    Oh dear…. I so understand the dilemma! 0 neg here with wheat allergy in form of celiac sprue, diagnosed when co-habitating with an A pos happily vegetarian pre-diabetic sort. Oh my goodness, were mealtimes a challenge or what? At least we both tended to be knocked over by potatoes, tho we both just loved them. Thank goodness for root vegetables like turnips, parsnips, and rutabaga’s. And grains? Quinoa is an amazingly versatile substance… fabulous with tangines!
    Good luck with posting recovery – love your blog!

  • Sher: Thanks!
    McC: Truly, I think it matters little what I eat when I’m very stressed; my system will freak out no matter what. And like you say it is definitely not linear — I’ll be fine, fine fine and then – boom!
    Ishka: Amen, sister — I’m looking forward to exploring alternative grains. I’m already a big fan of quinoa, and want to start dabbling with others like teff and amaranth. Luckily, DPaul has also taken a liking to root veggies and even tolerates dark greens now, which was a challenge at first!

  • Glad DPaul is feeling better! Adjusting to a new diet can be challenging. I’m supposed to avoid wheat myself, only eating wheat-based foods about once a week. Of course my first thought was “But what about pasta!”
    Of course, there’s nothing like proper wheat flour pasta. But there are a few alternatives that are pretty good. There’s an oat pasta that’s fun, if you cook it right (apparently you’re not supposed to boil it), and you can get quinoa pastas that aren’t bad. And good old soba noodles are wonderful, if you can find the 100% buckwheat variety. I’ve found all of these at Berkeley Bowl, and you can probably get them at Whole Paycheck too.