Itâs hard to know what and how to eat when you work in Hawaii. The dietary dogma of the modern era has oscillated between the exuberant embrace and vehement rejection of a broad array of restrictive diets. Some religiously exalt the health benefits of paleo, ketogenic, and low-carb diets, while others thrive upon vegetarian, vegan, and raw regimens. Dietary philosophies range from those deriving from ancient Eastern cultures like Ayurveda and Chinese medicine to those adopted by modern dietary experts seeking to address the rising incidence of obesity and diabetes. Once you immerse yourself in all of the contradictory dietary prescriptions, the only incontrovertible evidence you will find is that there is no universal prescription for a healthy diet.
Dr. Peter J. DâAdamo may have been on to the rationale for the striking disparities between what works for some and what works for others. According to DâAdamo, what foods will benefit your health is almost entirely contingent upon your blood type. Because different blood types evolved in accordance with the adoption of new agricultural and dietary patterns, those with different blood types are suited to different types of diets.
Doing work in Hawaii at Gingerhill, we’re surrounded by fresh fruits and vegetables. We once believed that a diet of well-sourced meat and organic fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and legumes would be universally suitable for our staff and guests. Recently, based on the advice of holistic health practitioners, several members of our community have been experimenting with the blood type diet. What weâve found is that, while eating fresh, organic fruits and vegetables from our garden is still the healthiest way to eat, re-examining which plants and animals we choose to eat can go a surprisingly long way in addressing prevailing health concerns. We are making the blood type diet work in Hawaii.
The Rationale Behind the Blood Type Diet
Different blood types evolved during different periods and in different places. The emergence of a new blood type typically coincided with the relocation and lifestyle changes that our ancestors endured. The O blood type, for example, is said to be the primordial blood type. Our hunter and gatherer ancestors would have had type O blood.
Type A blood did not exist until the Neolithic Revolution ushered in the changes necessary to implement sedentary agriculture. During that time, people began to coalesce into sedentary communities to grow crops and raise livestock. Thus, those with O and A blood types descend from populations that diverged in dietary and lifestyle patterns. It follows, then, that their nutritional needs vary quite markedly. Whereas O blood types can eat plenty of meat, for example, A blood types thrive on a vegetarian diet rich in produce and whole grains.
Indeed, physiological differences between those of different blood types seem to confirm DâAdamoâs theories. For example, those with type O blood have stronger stomach acid and are able to digest meat more efficiently than type Aâs, who possess weaker stomach acid. Those of different blood types also demonstrate an immensely statistically significant difference in their gut flora, indicating that their ancestors were exposed to microbes of different environments and consumed different diets. Those with type A blood, for example, are equipped with gut flora that assists in the digestion of carbohydratesâa logical outcome considering that type A blood evolved when humans began to consume grains. Other differences between blood types include variations in exercise tolerance, risk for disease, and stress reactions. The reason? The genes that determine our blood type antigens can actually impact the functioning of surrounding genes that govern other bodily systems.
The Role of Lectins
Because certain blood types are associated with varying forms of food obtainment and production, blood type can heavily influence your tolerance for certain foods. More specifically, your blood type determines your reaction to certain lectins, or proteins contained in food that permit âagglutination,â i.e. the attachment of one organism to another. Antigens in the blood attach to lectins from the food you consume, thereby promoting agglutination in the blood. Agglutination, in turn, can cause a host of inflammatory reactions in the body. Lectins can also attack bodily tissues, including those of the kidney, liver, and endocrine system. Certain lectins tend to attack certain systems, and certain individuals are more vulnerable to some lectins than others based on their blood type.
The body does break down lectins in the stomach, but only about 95% of them. The other 5% enter the blood stream, travel to an organ system, and begin to attack it. Reducing your exposure to the particular lectins to which you are sensitive can therefore significantly reduce inflammation and disease risk. And it is your blood type that determines which lectins you are sensitive to.
The Impact for Us
Why does a group of agriculturalists who work in Hawaii concern itself with the blood type diet? We host guests and volunteers for work in Hawaii from all around the world. We preach the value of organic fruits and vegetables to our guests. And we concern ourselves with the health of the planet and the people. Learning about how and why certain blood types react to “healthy,” organic plant foods has been incredibly enlightening for us and is furthering our efforts to establish a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
Type Oâs are the modern day hunter-gatherers. They thrive on a diet of lean meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. They react negatively to beans, grains, and dairy, and have a tendency to convert carbohydrates to triglycerides and fat. Their strong stomach acid aids in the efficient digestion of meat. However, it may also contribute to their higher risk of stomach ulcers.
Because Type Oâs were hunters, they had to have strong fight or flight responses.Â Oâs therefore produce a lot of adrenaline and are prone to hyperactivity, anger, mania, impulsivity, and addictive behavior. Blood Type Oâs should practice regular exercise, limit grains, caffeine, and alcohol, and avoid sugar.
Blood Type A evolved at a time when game was becoming scarce. Sedentary agriculture became the most logical and reliable means of procuring adequate sustenance.Â They therefore thrive on a vegetarian diet of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. They do not tolerate dairy well and should limit sugar and caffeine. Type Aâs highly sensitive immune system may also react to tropical fruits (tough for those of us who work in Hawaii), certain nuts and legumes, and toxic additives. Blood Type Aâs high risk for infection makes it essential for them to eat foods that will bolster their immunity.
Type Aâs are prone to high cortisol levels and therefore benefit from gentle exercise and structured routine. They should avoid meat, as they have difficulty digesting animal protein and fat, although some chicken and turkey is permissible. Blood Type Aâs should also prioritize frequent, small meals, sufficient sleep, and slow, mindful eating.
Blood Type B developed in the Himalayan highlands of current day India and Pakistan. Type Bâs are descended from the Mongolian tribes who occupied that territory. As these tribes depended upon domesticated and herding animals for food, Type B tends to tolerate meat well. However, Type Bâs should avoid chicken, which is high in a lectin that their bodies tend to react to. They should also consume red meat, eggs, low fat dairy, and vegetables. They should avoid lentils, tomatoes, peanuts, sesame, wheat, buckwheat, and corn.
Type Bâs do have a sensitive stress response, but they tend to be more adaptable than A and O types. Thatâs because Bâs are able to rapidly clear nitric oxide from bodily cells. Nonetheless, stress reduction is a critical component of a healthy B lifestyle, as is aerobic exercise. A balanced routine incorporating the former and latter can reduce their vulnerability to insomnia, depression, insulin resistance, and hypothyroid.
Blood Type AB is unique in that it actually evolved from the intermingling of Type A and Type B people. Type ABâs therefore possess qualities characteristic of both blood types. They tolerate tofu, seafood, dairy, and green vegetables well. However, they should avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoked or cured meats due to the weak stomach acid they inherited from their Type A ancestors.
Exercise is essential for Type ABâs, who tend to produce a lot of adrenaline. ABâs also tend toward emotional instability and internalization. They should therefore avoid competitive environments, take care to release their emotions, engage in creative activities, set goals and deadlines, and deliberately work to balance social and alone time.