Type Os are known as the meat-eaters because they purportedly need a higher percentage of protein. Ironically, or maybe more tellingly, they also run rampant in the raw-foodie world. “Fifty percent of raw vegans are Type Os,” according to Gabriel Cousens, MD, founder of the Tree of Life raw-vegan rejuvenation retreat in Arizona. Including himself. It?s also true that 47 percent of the U.S. population is Type O, so there?s simply more of that blood type around.
But it?s interesting to note that some of the more widely known raw-vegan leaders are Type Os — in addition to Cousens, there?s Brian Clement, PhD, director of Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida, and David Wolfe, founder of the Longevity Now conferences.
Without taking a comprehensive tally, even some of the more national and regional vegan and raw-food teachers and innovators, who have taken the vegan and raw-food lifestyle to creative heights, are also Type Os. They include Matthew and Terces Engelhart, the husband-wife team who founded Café Gratitude based in Northern California; Lou Corona, a health coach in Southern California; John Kohler out of Sonoma, California, who offers more than 900 YouTube videos on a myriad of raw-vegan lifestyle topics;
Alissa Cohen, a raw-food chef and restaurateur; and Frank Ferrante, a New York tough guy who unwittingly tripped onto the raw-vegan lifestyle and became the break-out star of a grassroots documentary titled May I Be Frank.
Even so, Neal Barnard, MD, says making a big deal out of vegans being Type Os is like making a big deal out of people being right-handed (even though the odds are slimmer with four blood-type choices rather than just two). Bernard, a soft-spoken but outspoken vegan and a Type O, takes it seriously, however; he champions the vegan lifestyle and its environmental and health benefits at the national legislative level. Raised on a Midwestern farm where he ate the typical meat-at-every-meal diet, he has since established the Physicians? Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC, to advocate for plant-based eating principles elbow-to-elbow with federal policy-makers.
“A well-meaning book entitled Eat Right for Your Type suggested that people with different blood types need to follow different diets,” Barnard said. “Type A blood meant a vegetarian diet was good. Type O meant you needed meat, etc. However, research studies have shown that people who begin plant-based diets do well regardless of their blood type and no one has been shown to need meat at all.”
Cousens goes even further by stating that any diet based on blood type and endorsing meat-eating is “biased material against vegans and is serious misinformation.”
The idea that Type Os need meat is ludicrous, asserts Cousens, who?s been a vegan for 38 years.
“When you organize your diet to your ?constitutional? type,” he says, “everybody does better on a live vegan diet, without a doubt.” Cousens, an expert in Ayurvedic principles, adds that “99.99 percent” of people who want to be vegan are successful when they eat according to their “constitution” rather than their blood type.
“Thriving is the right word,” surmises Cousens. “I?m doing 10 times more push-ups at 68 than when I was a football player at 20. That?s called thriving. This is an important topic because it?s been abused and used inappropriately to justify eating meat. People will use anything; we have to understand it?s part of the game.”
With the assistance of students in his master?s program, Cousens is compiling data on “constitution types” that he asserts will debunk blood-type eating programs, particularly ones that delineate blood types according to meat and dairy products. “We?re coming up with new data that will be appropriate for live-fooders,” he said. “We?re doing experiments properly. We?re going to have probably 60 live-food types for pure, organic food,” adding that commercial breakfast cereals don?t qualify as quality vegetarian or vegan fare.
Close-mouthed on the details, Cousens says he doesn?t want to “pre-empt” his findings or dilute the juice of the forthcoming book, which he says will be completed in two more years. But he does unabashedly state that all blood types are better off on a raw vegan diet. “There are a variety of systems on how to organize your diet,” he says. “Of those systems, the most inconsequential is blood type.”
As agrees Jacob Swilling, a PhD in clinical nutrition and a lacto-ova vegetarian for 40 years. “I do not believe diet should be chosen according to blood type,” said Swilling, an author with more than 25 years in biochemistry research and founder of Know Your Options Center in Costa Mesa, California. “I don?t find any kind of science that validates that from a biochemistry point of view.”
Swilling said his patients? conditions were actually aggravated by following a blood-type diet. “It flies in the face of the evidence I give patients with different kinds of cancer and other diseases where they?ve been trying to follow a proper diet according to their blood types. The outcome of that has been a very bad experience.” A greater truth, he points out, is that no two people on this planet are alike. It?s called bio-individuality. “There are so many people who don?t fit the model,” he says.
Swilling, whose latest book is about balancing the body?s pH, HCl and blood sugar levels, said the bigger point is healthy longevity. The formula, he said, is twofold: keeping blood-sugar levels stable throughout the day and electrolytes balanced.
“It?s the protein that maintains the blood sugar control throughout the day,” asserts Swilling. “There we have extensive evidence. The ancient tribes ate protein foods that had no relationship to blood types and reached ages of 120; they were siring kids at 80 and they could run 30 miles a day.” Swilling said that one important factor to these tribes surviving and thriving were “the kind of electrolytes they were drinking from the pristine rivers and flows from the side of the mountains.”
Brian Clement also agrees that there?s no one blood type or person, for that matter, that does better than any other on the raw diet. “There are variations on the raw diet,” he said. “Rather than different people reacting well to the raw diet or not, there are different nuances within the raw diet.” Some of those nuances, he said, are characteristics such as metabolism. If it?s too fast, Clement said it can be slowed down by eating heavier foods like raw, organic, soaked and sprouted nuts. People with a sluggish metabolism, he continued, need faster energy-producing foods such as vegetable juices, more salads and greens that are light and watery.
When it comes to the argument that ancient tribes ate animals and animal products, Cousens said that was done only when vegetables were scarce. “The idea that they were heavy meat-eaters is simply not true,” he said, “although it?s possible that when no vegetables were available during the Ice Age, there would be more meat-eating for survival. But not a few million years ago and certainly not 6,000 years ago in Genesis when we have strong evidence that the diet was primarily vegan, live foods.”
The first question, bar none, that most raw-fooders get is “Where do you get your protein?” In other words, the old refrain, “Where?s the beef?” But the real question, according to experts, is, “What is the quality of the protein you?re eating?” with many pointing out that meat-eaters often eat way too much protein and eliminate too little, which can make them overweight, undernourished and, all in all, pretty sick.
The only real statement that can be made about blood type playing a role in diet, according to Cousens, is that those who are Type A die younger if they eat meat. “After 5,000 autopsies,” Cousens said, citing a book, The Answer Is In Your Blood Type, by Steven Weissberg, MD, and Joseph Christiano, fitness expert, “what they found was that if you?re blood-type A and you ate meat, you literally died 16 years sooner, at the average age of 61, from either heart disease or cancer. But if you were a vegan Type A, you?re more likely to live to age 75. If you?re type A, you really have to go vegan.”
No matter what the blood type, Cousens says, no one needs that much protein anyway. When asked, “Where do you get your protein?” Cousens replies, “You can?t miss.” According to American Journal of Nutrition, vegetarians get twice as much protein as they need. “It?s way overrated,” he said. “Protein is needed for reproduction and repair; an excess turns to sugar in the body and is actually toxic. Most people are getting too much and it actually weakens them.” And, he added, people don?t need that much. “There?s no data whatsoever,” he said, “that there?s any blood type that needs more protein than another.”
Instead of worrying about meat protein, Swilling said the most important factor to maximizing healthy longevity, after maintaining a healthy level of blood sugar, is overwhelming the body with electrolytes. Clement agrees on both points. “Every study that?s ever been looked at seriously on longevity shows low sugar is certainly number one for longevity,” said Clement, “and minerals are the way electricity moves through the body so that?s the way to have more electrical charge.” In other words, more juice, more life.
When it comes to electrolyte balancing, Clement and Swilling recommend plant-based minerals and trace minerals, with Swilling suggesting combining all three of the main categories of electrolytes: 1) plant minerals and trace elements, 2) sea minerals and 3) volcanic minerals, “which have electro-magnetic fields that are five to 50 times more potent than plant or sea,” he said.
Clement said the jury is still out on the digestibility of volcanic minerals, which are pulverized from rock. “The good part is that volcanic rock is ionic and it is electrically charged at very high levels,” he said. “After water and air, the ionic minerals in the rock are probably one of the most highly charged.”
Blood type and food aside, the greatest contributing factor in disease, the antithesis of longevity, is stress, Swilling says. When people are stressed, he explained, they overproduce hormones in a state of panic, which creates catabolic activity. ” Instead of anabolic activity, which repairs, heals and regenerates, it?s the other way around. The body attacks itself to release resources, hormones, that it?s not getting from the daily diet.”
Which brings up a blood type correlation that is proving meatier and even more provocative than protein, and could be the antidote to the catabolic consequences of stress. That correlation is sexual choices.
“Type Os tend to be attracted to other type Os and like vigorous sex,” Cousens said, citing studies documented in Weissberg and Christiano?s book. “Type ABs like slow and gentle sex.” And, even though Type AB constitutes only two percent of the world?s
population and the chances are slim, ABs are attracted to and tend to marry other ABs, according to Weissberg and Christian?s research.
The authors go on to state that more than 65 percent of the 720 couples in their study were the same blood type. “What I?m saying,” adds Cousens, “is that there are some things about blood types.” And, it seems, more in-depth research for all of us to do.
“It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.”
— Albert Einstein (blood type A, vegetarian)