meathead

I’ve eaten meat my entire life. Despite a prolonged resentment toward hamburgers (ages five through eighteen), I’ve never thought to eliminate it from my diet. In fact, during my years living with Anna, I often pressured my sweet vegetarian friend to ‘just try it.’

This is why I find it somewhat astonishing that about a month ago I became completely repulsed with the idea of meat. I’d like to say it was some kind of health kick or dramatic way to show my love for animals – but I can’t stand behind either reason. I don’t remember specifically when it started, just before Thanksgiving I think. Out of nowhere I would look at meat the way my dogs look at me when I put clothes on them. Utter disgust.

I mentioned this to Jen yesterday, my friend/health guru/personal trainer/life coach. She asked if I’d ever read about eating for my blood type. I hadn’t but was suddenly eager to find out if being AB+ was somehow behind my meat-hating.

Let’s dissect some of what I read at the official site:

Type AB reflects the mixed inheritance of their A and B genes. According to Dr. D’Adamo, “Type AB has Type A’s low stomach acid, however, they also have Type B’s adaptation to meats. Therefore, you lack enough stomach acid to metabolize them efficiently and the meat you eat tends to get stored as fat. Your Type B propensities cause the same insulin reaction as Type B when you eat lima beans, corn, buckwheat, or sesame seeds.” Inhibited insulin production results in hypoglycemia, a lowering of blood sugar after meals and leads to less efficient metabolism of foods. 
Type AB reflects the mixed inheritance of their A and B genes. According to Dr. D’Adamo, “Type AB has Type A’s low stomach acid, however, they also have Type B’s adaptation to meats. Therefore, you lack enough stomach acid to metabolize them efficiently and the meat you eat tends to get stored as fat. Your Type B propensities cause the same insulin reaction as Type B when you eat lima beans, corn, buckwheat, or sesame seeds.” Inhibited insulin production results in hypoglycemia, a lowering of blood sugar after meals and leads to less efficient metabolism of foods.

A little confusing, but maybe the fact that I can’t efficiently metabolize meat is part of the reason my body is turned off to it. Not to mention the fact that I’ve always been hypoglycemic and feel ill and get tunnel vision if I go too long without eating. So far, I’m a believer. Let’s continue:


Type AB should avoid caffeine and alcohol, especially when you’re in stressful situations. Dr. D’Adamo recommends that Type AB focus on foods such as tofu, seafood, dairy and green vegetables if you are trying to lose weight. “Avoid all smoked or cured meats. These foods can cause stomach cancer in people with low levels of stomach acid,” recommends Dr. D’Adamo. There is a wide variety of seafood for Type AB, and it is an excellent source of protein for Type AB. A few highly beneficial fish are mahi-mahi, red snapper, salmon, sardines, and tuna. Some dairy is also beneficial for Type AB – especially cultured dairy such as Yogurt and kefir.

 
Ok, does this Dr. D’Adamo know me? I don’t believe we’ve ever met, but this stuff sounds just like me. I’ve avoided caffeine for years and years. Any time I drink coffee or soda I feel sick. Redbull? Forget it. As for eating fish and cultured dairy, I love seafood and cottage cheese. One question, wtf is kefir?

 
Even though people have different capabilities for accommodating stress, we ultimately all have a breaking point. Given enough stressors of a high enough intensity for a long enough period of time, anyone will maladapt. For a Type AB, when it comes to stress hormones, you most resemble Type O in your tendency to overproduce catecholamines like adrenaline. Yet you also have the additional complexity of Type B’s rapid clearing of nitrous oxide, so you suffer the physical consequences of high emotions.

 
I vouch for that – I get sick when I get over-stressed. But doesn’t everyone? I’m starting to get confused.

 
Your greatest danger is the tendency to internalize your emotions, especially anger and hostility, which is much more damaging to your health than externalizing it. Exercise plays a critical component in stress reduction and maintaining a healthy emotional balance for Type AB. Dr. D’Adamo recommends a combination of both calming activities and more intense physical exercise to help maintain an optimal balance. For example, three days of aerobic exercise such as running or biking and two days of calming exercise such as yoga or tai chi.

And we’re back. This is totally me again. Exercise has always been a critical component of my life. I’m also guilty of internalizing too much.

Type AB often receives mixed messages about emotional health. While you tend to be drawn to other people and are friendly and trusting, there is a side of you that feels alienated from the larger community. At your best, you are intuitive and spiritual, with an ability to look beyond the rigid confines of society. You are passionate in your beliefs, but you also want to be liked by others and this can create conflicts. In an independent study, Type ABs described themselves as emotional, passionate, friendly, trusting and empathetic. Type ABs are considered some of the most interesting of the blood types, both John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe were Type ABs and although both are long gone, they hold a place in our national psyche to this day.

Just took the MBTI and assessments on trust and listening skills in my MBA program. This explanation matches closely with my results.

Whoa. Who knew blood type could play such a significant role in your daily life. I’ve honestly never thought twice about my blood type outside of donating blood. After this enlightening experience I did some more research and learned that not only is AB+ very rare – only three percent of Caucasians have it – but I’m able to receive donations from anyone. My blood can only go to others of my type though, I’m selective apparently.

I don’t think I’m going to start following a specific diet as a result of all this, and I can’t give up meat completely: wouldn’t get enough protein and too inconvenient…but it’s nice to know there’s potentially some rationale behind my herbivorous inclinations.

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Christmas Blues

I started today on a mission. I will not get the Christmas Blues.

What are the Christmas Blues you ask? A unique phenomena affecting Jewish people in largely Christian communities. Every December 24 to 25 you’re suddenly isolated. Your friends are all busy, stores are closed, the only music you hear is Christmas-themed…even restaurants are closed (aside from Asian establishments – bless you China King). Homework assignment: ask any one of your Jewish friends what they do on Christmas and they will undoubtedly tell you that they go to a movie and eat Chinese food – it’s all we’re left with.

Here’s a blog excerpt from Jvibe.com, a magazine for Jewish teens:  “Oh, I used to think of Christmas Day as the culmination of the entire depressing Christmas season. But you know that on December 25th, when the rest of your town shuts down and puts up blinking lights, the Chinese restaurants are going to be open. And in those Chinese restaurants, there will be Jews. Lots of Jews […] You’re just out at the bookshop for some enjoyable downtime browsing and then up come the strains of Christmas music. I never expect it the first time each year, but my beautiful classical music has been tossed in favor of some classic Christmas song that echoes in my head as, “Jesus and Santa and Rudolph and everyone else celebrates Christmas except for you.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas…the lights, the cookies, the holiday cards plastered across our fridge. I just wish I had an equivalent celebration. My parents did a great job making Hanukkah a magical occasion for Dan and me when we were younger, and always surrounded us with people of our faith. That said, we never got school off, and even now I have to take a personal day on Jewish holidays. As an adult, it’s harder to get jazzed up about a holiday that no one around you understands or celebrates.

The factors above have somehow conditioned me to feel a sense of dread for the Christmas season, culminating with Christmas Eve. I always feel like I’m missing out on something. But, like I said, this year my mission was to combat the loneliness and make the most of the holiday.

Jim does a great job of celebrating Hanukkah with me, and when Christmas comes, we spend the day taking part in his family’s traditions. Our own blend of celebrating spans about three weeks and is affectionately deemed Chrismukkah.

Today I left work around 1:30 and instead of going home to mope, I remembered my mission and decided to take Bruno to the PetSmart Dog Park at Washington Park. After that I went for a hike, got a haircut and made dinner. Jim and I made a Christmas cake and watched a movie and the entire time I was concerned that he wasn’t having a traditional or festive enough Christmas Eve. After we talked about it I realized that there’s actually no standard for what you need to do on a holiday (or it’s eve).

Right now I’m laying on the couch while Jim and Dave are playing video games. Every few minutes I call out the number of minutes left until Christmas (nine right now). Everyone’s happy – despite our lack of participation in any type of holiday activity.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that regardless of which holidays you celebrate, make the most of them. Don’t compare or set standards or expectations, just surround yourself with people you love and appreciate just being together. I think that’s more important than Christmas trees or menorahs or any kind of cookie.
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puppies!

I think you’d have to be a circus freak not to love puppies.

SERIOUSLY.

These fuzzy-cuddly-squeaky-squirmy little packages of joy are proof that overall – life is good. In fact, puppies are going quite mainstream lately. Evidence below:

Example One: The Puppy Bowl. I stumbled across this joy fest last year and almost passed out with glee. It’s like the world has finally evened the score for those of us who don’t like football. Set your DVR to record it on Super Bowl Sunday. You will not be disappointed.

The Puppy Bowl is an annual television program on Animal Planet. Shown the afternoon of the Super Bowl, the show usually consists of footage of a batch of puppies at play inside a model stadium with commentary on their actions by the late Harry Kalas – a narrator for NFL Films and longtime play-by-play voice of the Philadelphia Phillies. The first Puppy Bowl was shown on February 6, 2005. The puppies featured in the Puppy Bowl are from shelters, and the show contains information on how viewers can adopt rescued puppies and help their local shelter. The bowl seems to have an age limit of four months, so there have been no recurring players.”

Example Two: Chapman University puppy therapy. 

Why oh why did ASU not initiate this when I was in college. This is the best.idea.ever. I think this concept could be mimicked at international peace summits. Think about it, if all the leaders in the middle east sat down over chocolate milk and french fries and played with puppies for a few hours, it’s clear we’d be a little closer to harmony.

A Chapman University student group wanted to find a way to relieve stress during finals week, so it came up with an innovative approach: puppies. On Wednesday, in the middle of “cram week,” a bunch of puppies will be stationed outside the university library for students to pet and play with. The event, called “Furry Friends for Finals,” is being organized by the university’s Active Minds club, which promotes mental awareness.

As the proud owner of two puppies, I can easily vouch for their ability to create large amounts of joy. Even when they destroy my clothing, property and personal finances, I still love them to death. They are the lights of my life.


The next time you’re feeling sad or stressed, or just losing faith in humanity, text me and I’ll bring a puppy over – free therapy.

jim may hate me for writing this.

Jim and I started dating almost three years ago. During our entire courtship (I refuse to call it anything else) he’s been with the same company, while I’ve transitioned through several jobs and one unfortunate-yet-miraculous layoff.

For the majority of our time together, we’ve been challenged by having different work schedules and different days off. And this whole time I’ve gotten sad looks and admonishing comments from others that our situation must be so hard. “How can you guys DO that?”

Ok. You’re right. It is hard. Sometimes it totally sucks. But it certainly doesn’t make it hard to stay in love. In fact, I think that when your time together has restrictions, it makes the hours together even more worthwhile. Don’t get me wrong – I’d give almost anything to magically align our work lives and have him home with me on weekends, or be home with him during the week, and goodness knows it would make it easier to plan vacations, but I think that on some level this challenge has made us a stronger couple.

As a closeted attention seeker, this situation has forced me to discover my independence, cultivate relationships with a wealth of people and  have a lot of adventures. I’ve explored things and engaged in activities that I never would have tried if I hadn’t been pushed out of the nest, perse.

Let’s get to the reason behind this random outpouring of insight, shall we?

This holiday season at work we’re collecting donations for Packages From Home.

“The mission of Packages From Home is to send care and comfort packages to deployed American military heroes who are stationed in active duty theaters around the world, as well as to facilitate activities that elevate morale of all veterans.”

They even send care packages to K-9 military units overseas. Does it get any more warm and fuzzy?

People at work have become so motivated by this drive that they’re forgoing gift-buying for their friends and families and instead using gift funds to support this cause.

Collecting stuff for our drive made me realize that even if Jim and I never have the same work schedule, I’d never, ever trade our situation for those of couples separated by military deployment. Or couples suffering from health issues, financial problems, family strife or any number of issues. Jim may work Saturdays, but at least I know that we’re going to bed together every night.

The most important and continuously emphasized lesson I’ve been taught by my dad is to always, always, always maintain perspective. Don’t lose your sense of reality and your place in the world when things don’t go your way. And don’t take anything for granted because who knows what tomorrow holds.

You can’t always get what you want, so you’ve gotta make the most with what you’ve got.

(Is that last line a U2 song…)?

holiday shopping

Today I decided that I could no longer procrastinate; I had to start my holiday shopping. I started at PetSmart, because yes, the puppies get presents. I was pleased at how calm the store environment was, despite predicted holiday craziness. My only obstacle was Santa trying to get me to pose for a picture with him. Sorry St. Nick – that’s not my style.

Next I went to Marshall’s where I found a few things. The downside of this stop? It was mayhem in the store. Insanity. Chaos. Martial law.

I managed to hold it together as I waited in the line that was easily 30 people deep. The woman who got into line behind me was about 65 years old. She had her little white dog in the shopping cart who I came to know as Winston.

Obviously I’m a dog person. Obviously. But I’m a stickler when it comes to bringing your dog into inappropriate places. Largely because people with small dogs get away with this while large dog owners don’t have a prayer. Well this woman seemed to think it was totally fine to A) talk to herself loudly amid crowds of shoppers, and B) tote Winston into the store with her.

Store Manager: Ma’am, is that a service dog?
Wiston’s Mom: Well, no, I mean he does serve me.
Store Manager: I need you to take him outside. We sell food in this store, only serice animals are allowed. Go put him in your car.
Winston’s Mom: But…I only need to return something. Just one thing it’s too big I bought it last night.
Store Manager: Yes well you need to take him outside immediately.
Winston’s Mom: What? No. I don’t understand I just need to return something. Winston will get anxious in the car.

*She leaves to put the dog in the car, only after asking everyone else to note her place in line. After she returns she waits in line still talking to herself about the atrocity she just fell victim to. After a few minutes, the entire line is equally annoyed with this lady. Then, the icing on the cake appears as Winston’s Mom starts walking along the line of people waiting to pay, waving her receipt, and begins this diatribe:

Winston’s Mom: Hello? I’m sorry, my dog Winston is in the car and he’s very anxious, he could get stolen. I don’t know why they’re forcing me to wait here I JUST HAVE TO RETURN ONE THING. Is it alright if I cut in front?

Note – no one says yes, yet she pushes her way to the front of the line to complete her transaction. The moment that made it all worthwhile was when a fellow shopper turned to her and said, “you know, my kids are in the car and you don’t hear me having a fit.”

At this point I’m cranky. I finish waiting to pay then leave the store. I head to the PGA Tour Shop in Scottsdale to look for things for the aspiring golfer in the household.

My experience at the PGA store was as positive as the Marshall’s experience was negative. I met Leonard, a store associate who was easily in his late seventies. He was charming, patient and dedicated to my cause.

Overall – a good day, it’s just hard to believe how this season affects people. I worked retail for many years and have been on both sides of the hubbub. For me, the hardest part of the holidays is not hitting pedestrians in parking lots or going mad from Christmas carols. For now I’ll I try to drone them out by humming ‘Dreidel, Dreidel.’