I know this probably sounds like a silly question, but how well do you know yourself? How well do you know your body and it's likes/dislikes? I'm not talking about your taste buds or your diet preferences. I'm talking about your gut, your hormones, your endocrine system, your blood, etc.
We have a tendency to focus on one problem area. If we have a headache, we take an aspirin to combat the pain. But what if the headache is stemming from a hormonal imbalance? The aspirin will never be the solution and the problem will never go away unless we find it and address it. We need to stop using band-aids to "fix" our problems -- we need to become better acquainted with ourselves. We need to be our own detectives.
We all have different body compositions. We respond differently to different foods, stress and exercise.
Like many people, I have struggled with hormonal issues, disrupted sleep, anxiety, acne, weight gain, lack of energy, etc. At the moment, I'm not where I'd like to be, but I feel confident that I am heading in the right direction. The more I get to know myself, the better I can care for myself.
Until last week, there was one (important) factor that I didn't know about myself: my blood type. We are made up of approximately 5.5 liters of blood. That's a lot. That's a lot of me that I knew nothing about.
When I was 17, I stopped eating meat. My initial reason: I felt better without it. I re-introduced it for a short time a few years later and not surprisingly, I gained weight and experienced a constant lack of energy. In the midst of having meat in my diet, I ran a 25k trail race and I remember not feeling like myself. I have always had high endurance but my body didn't feel like mine at the time. It felt as though I was having to use twice as much energy. I soon went back to my meatless lifestyle and I made this decision simply by listening to my body.
I now know that my blood type is A+.
Things I've learned:
--Type A's flourish on a vegetarian diet.
--It is particularly important for sensitive Type A's to eat their foods in as natural a state as possible: pure, fresh and organic.
--Type A's have a naturally high level of the stress hormone cortisol which often manifests in disrupted sleep patterns, daytime brain fog, etc.
--The following factors are known to increase cortisol in type A's: crowds of people, loud noise, negative emotions, smoking, strong smells or perfumes, too much sugar and starch, overwork, violent TV and movies, lack of sleep, extreme weather conditions (hot or cold).
--Type A's most often described themselves in ways related to the following characteristics: sensitive to the needs of others, good listeners, detail oriented, analytical, creative and inventive.
Although the blood type diet is not scientifically proven, I am intrigued. Our bodies are so much more complex than we could ever understand and I think it's so important to learn as much as we possibly can. I don't believe it's a coincidence that my intuition almost 10 years ago about my body and meat corresponds to what is best for my blood type. My apparent higher levels of cortisol would explain why crowds of people make me anxious and why I handle negative emotions so poorly. Disrupted sleep patterns have pretty much become the norm for me and I've learned that by incorporating more relaxation/yoga/meditation into my daily life, I can better control my stress and hopefully start sleeping and handling my emotions better.
If you don't know your blood type, I urge you to find out. If you do know your blood type, do some research & learn about the different ways you can potentially improve your life with the recommended best diet and exercise for your blood type. Be your own detective! Find what makes you flourish.