As many of you are aware, I embarked upon a journey in eating Real/Traditional Foods a little over a year ago. (For anyone new to my blog, you can read more on this in Part One, Two, and Three of a series I posted about my journey). I have been full steam ahead on traditional eating (sans most gluten since Tiny is gluten intolerant). Here is something important to share…I was a non-red meat eating person for 15 years. When I started following a Traditional Diet, I slowly incorporated red meat into my repertoire of food. At first I felt guilty since I choose not to eat red meat for reasons related to animal welfare.
However, as my health improved, my guilt lifted. (There will be a forthcoming post about Traditional Diets and Vegetarians in which I discuss how I was able to feel good about eating meat again as I was both a vegetarian and a non-red meat eater at different points in my life).
Fast forward to March of 2011. I will spare you ALL of the gory details but I think that what I am about to share is VERY important for anyone currently following a Traditional Diet or thinking about incorporating all or some elements into your current nutritional lifestyle.
I started to experience some major issues in the elimination department, i.e. intestinal issues! I am well versed in the gut, digestive process, bowels, etc… as Tiny had her fair share of elimination issues as well. (Again, I am sparing you details but let's just say that I actually thought that I may have colon cancer.) Things were getting pretty scary.
Tiny sees an anthroposophic pediatrician. (Click here to read a short post I wrote about anthroposophic medicine). This wonderful man will actually spend time treating the whole family so I mentioned my little issue. He immediately began asking me about my food intake and after a lengthy discussion of my historical eating patterns and current eating trends, he raised an eyebrow and asked me my blood type. I am AB+. He nodded his head and informed me that not only do I have the second rarest blood type (and should be donating and privately storing my own blood in the event of a shortage) but that my blood type did not allow for me to properly process the proteins found in red meat. Protein digestion is difficult for A and AB blood types in general but red meat is a killer. He surmised that my entire intestinal track was severely compromised as it tried to break down proteins that it truly could not handle. Plus, after 15 years of not eating red meat, my entire system was trying to adjust. Add to this the mass amounts of antibiotics I was on after having surgery in April and my gut was just damaged period. Eating what my body physically is best able to handle is a pretty big deal. So I explored this further.
Some of you have probably heard of the Eat Right for Your Type diet plan. I certainly had and had previously read a lot about it. There are many arguments in favor of it but just as many against it. Quite frankly, I understood the science behind it but at the same time sort of saw it as the next fad diet. So I never really paid much attention to the whole idea. Until now. The idea that my blood type was responsible for some of my gut issues is actually fascinating to me.
I have dug into researching the links between your blood type and your food intake. There is a lot to this, more than just your blood type. Gender, ethnicity, age, and genetic abnormalities can all affect the “eat right for your type” concept. Your overall gut health also will greatly contribute. So I would advise anyone undertaking a blood type diet to really, really do your research. However, there is a lot of evidence that points to specific foods being better and easier for your body to handle if your blood type is taken into consideration when making food choices.
Traditional Diets and Blood Type Diets are VERY compatible. You can still follow each and every tenant of a Traditional Diet. Since traditional foods are so varied, there will be lots for any blood type to choose from. And with the blood type diet there is no hard and firm recommendation as to how to prepare your foods. So you can still cook with coconut oil and butter, soak your grains, ferment compatible foods, and take fermented cod liver oil!
I wrote the above post about six weeks ago and as usual, got sidetracked and have not yet published it. After further research and experimentation, I still believe that there is definitely something to blood types and food compatibility. However, after reading Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell McBride, I have become much more aware of how much your gut health plays a role in your ability to process the foods you eat as well as absorb much needed nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Your gut health is also responsible for staving off basically every disease under the sun. A healthy gut means a healthy mind, body, and soul. And unhealthy gut leads to doom and gloom.
Since writing the above post, I have also undergone some additional medical tests and big surprise, found out that I have celiac sprue (gluten intolerance) and possible ulcerative colitis. I have to have a colonoscopy in August (try not to be jealous) and this will give me a definitive answer on the colitis as well as anything else lurking.
Why share this with you? And why get sidetracked from what was supposed to be a post about blood types and nutrition? Simple. First, in an effort to restore my gut to its best possible health, I am undertaking a huge dietary change known as the GAPS diet. The diet is based on research done by Natasha Campbell McBride and has been met with huge success. (Stay tuned for next week's post discussing the GAPS diet in more detail.) Second, the GAPS diet includes eating lots of animal protein and fats and apparently my AB blood type is going to prove problematic with this type of eating. Or is it? Well, that is what I am going to find out. This will be the true test. If and when I get my gut clean and pure, will I be able to digest and absorb fats and proteins better than I am now OR will my AB blood type continue to limit my ability to enjoy these foods? I can't wait to find out!
Back to my original post…
Yes, this post is looooooong. But I wanted anyone interested in a blood type diet to have all of the information they need in one place. So continue reading for some additional information on blood types as well as 4 charts outlining what foods are good, bad, and neutral for your blood type.
But first, a little behind the science look at blood types and food compatibility.
In 1996, Dr. Peter D'Adamo published a book in which he outlined a diet based on different blood types. Although the “Eat Right for Your Type” diet gained popularity because of Dr. D'Adamo, he was not the first or the last doctor or nutritionist to discuss the idea of blood type and food intake. Therefore, I am not going to credit him with the discovery of the blood type diet. In addition, I am not looking at the blood type diet as a weight loss diet plan. I am looking at it as part of an overall health picture for the human body.
Ok, enough of that. The theory with this nutritional approach is that each blood type has specific antigens that control bodily function, such as the immune and digestive systems. When foreign particles enter the body, the antigens either let them through or recognize them as threats and attack. The theory is that the blood's antigens react in a similar manner to foods, designating them as acceptable or threats. Therefore, knowing your blood type – either A, B, AB, or O – will help you distinguish which foods are best for your body.
And if you want to get a little more scientific….
Lectins, tiny molecules found throughout the nature, predispose the interaction between foods and each blood group. Lectins are known for their ability to cause agglutination (binding) of some molecules, such as carbohydrates, for example. However, the nature of lectins, as well as their actual role, still remains undiscovered.
In the theory of the blood type diet eating wrong foods leads to a situation, when lectins cause red blood cells to stick together. Of course, such bound cells are bigger in size than individual cells, and it gets more and more challenging for them to travel through the tiny capillaries in many organs of the human body. As the result, the blood capillaries begin to narrow and finally clog up, causing kind of micro infarctions in many vitally important tissues of the human body.
That is why the blood type diet works to show people what types of food are allowed for specific blood type and what products should be avoided in order to prevent the process of red cells agglutination by lectins.
Besides, the blood type diet says that there is also a connection between one's blood group and the level of stomach juices. For example, people with blood type 0 have the increased level of stomach acid, which may lead to ulcer development. In this situation eating meat may really help, because transforming the roasted beefsteak into fuel for human body requires much more stomach acid than it is needed to digest veggie salad, for example.
Here is a look at each blood type in more detail.
People with type A blood have a hard time digesting animal protein, and benefit more from a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains. The production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach is low for people with type A, and therefore animal protein is not easily digested. Type A blood people are usually lactose intolerant, too. By eliminating meat and dairy from your diet, you will begin to lose weight and your body will respond positively.
Although blood type B people can handle almost all foods, some foods will cause weight gain. Foods to avoid include corn, buckwheat, sesame seeds, peanuts and lentils. Type Bs can't handle gluten in wheat products, so switching to a gluten-free diet is beneficial. Unlike the other blood types, type Bs can handle dairy products. Types Bs will also benefit from green vegetables, lamb, mutton, rabbit, liver, turkey, eggs, fish, licorice tea, soy, olive and flaxseed oil, oatmeal, millet, rice bran, spelt and puffed rice.
Type O is the oldest blood type in human history. Those with type O digest meat better than any other blood type. Unlike type A, type O people produce a lot of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. However, Type Os have a hard time digesting dairy products and food containing gluten. The best diet for a type O is a greater ratio of proteins and less dairy and gluten. It would be best to exclude all dairy and include gluten-free foods in your diet.
Blood type AB is the most “recent” type in terms of human evolution, and is the rarest of all blood types as well. Like type As, people with type AB don't produce a lot of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and therefore have a sensitive digestive system. However, animal protein is still important for type ABs. The AB blood type is thought to be more complicated than the other blood types. It combines some of the vulnerabilities of both the Type A and Type B blood types. Since I am a Type AB, here are the specific foods that an individual with Type AB blood should avoid.
1. Meats to Avoid
This blood type does not have sufficient stomach acid for digesting and metabolizing animal protein. Meats to be avoided by this blood type include chicken, beef, ham, pork, veal and bacon. Recommended protein sources are lamb, rabbit, mutton, turkey, tofu and a wide range of seafood.
Chicken is especially problematic for this blood type because it contains lectin in its muscle tissue that can potentially lead to autoimmune disorders. Turkey can be used to replace chicken as it does not have the same effect.
2. Dairy Products and Health Issues
Individuals with Type AB blood are prone to mucus excess. If this is your blood type, watch for sinus attacks, respiratory issues or ear infections. In that case, you may want to cut out specific diary foods such as butter, American cheese, whole milk, provolone cheese and Parmesan cheese.
3. Type AB Blood and Wheat Products
Type AB individuals should limit their consumption of wheat products. This is especially the case if weight loss is an issue or if you are prone to mucus production. Occasional consumption of wheat products is okay. Better replacements include rye, rice and oats.
4. Fruits to Avoid
Although most fruits are healthy for this blood type, a few should be avoided. Mangoes, bananas and guava, for example, are on the avoid list. Oranges are especially forbidden for this blood type because they irritate the stomach. Grapefruits may be eaten in place of oranges; they have an alkalizing effect in the body after they have been digested.
5. Vegetables to Avoid
Type AB individuals may eat a wide range of vegetables. The ones on the list of foods to be avoided create an acidic condition in the body. The specific vegetables to avoid include avocados, lima beans, radishes, artichokes, green peppers, red peppers and yellow corn.
6. Oils to Eliminate
The highly beneficial oil for this blood type is olive oil. The oils to avoid include corn oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil and safflower oil. The oils that have a neutral effect on the body for this blood type are canola oil, peanut oil and linseed oil.
And now, the moment you have all been waiting for…the four charts which break down everything you ever wondered about which foods are which for which blood type!