Léa Sednaoui, while not a trained nutritionist, has learned the power of food as medicine. Not only has she has been a follower of The Blood Type Diet for years, she’s created a business out of it. She curates BTD-friendly recipes for our Blood Type Diet Blog and you can find more of her culinary masterpieces on her Instagram, @ChewChoose, or on her Facebook page by the same name.
ChewChoose is all about pursuing a wholesome lifestyle with simple + seasonal + sustainable recipes, based on the Blood Type Diet®.
How did you first learn about Dr. D’Adamo and The Blood Type Diet?
I had the belief that you could heal with nutrition, but I didn't know how because I do not have a background in nutrition. I started looking into it and I found Eat Right 4 Your Type by coincidence, and I read it. Although I eat healthy at home, I was very aware of my intolerances. I knew that if I didn't eat allergens, like wheat and gluten, it would impact me in a positive way. I'm usually very skeptical, things have to make sense. The book was very interesting to me, I thought it was very well written, anthropologically, sociologically, scientifically. I understood it, so I gave it a go.
What made you decide to follow The Blood Type Diet? How long have you been eating for your blood type?
Four years ago, I was reviewing the way I eat and the way I nourish myself. I was not healthy at all and really needed to get in shape. Also, my father passed away from cancer when I was very young, and he was very young, so to me, it was very important to escape the cancer that runs in my family.
What was your experience when you first started The Blood Type Diet?
I ate Beneficial foods only for Type A for 5-6 months. I was very carnivorous before, so it was a big transition for me to stop eating meat and be more vegetarian/pescetarian. I definitely felt a difference, not only in my health but my sleep patterns and my hormones. Everything stabilized, I was calmer as a person. There's all this evidence that it works, you know, the weight loss, your skin clears up, etc., but it also brought a very strong sense of calm in me. It was almost a spiritual thing, it was very soothing and made me feel in control in a very natural way. I promote it as a lifestyle because it did become a lifestyle, it is not a compromise you make when you're on a “diet,” it's just “this is how I am.”
Since I adopted this, I still believe you can heal with food. Though I don't have a background in nutrition, I’ve been very interested in the naturopathic side of things. I have ChewChoose, which has been a great platform for me to explore that. My friends come to me now, every time someone has a cold or cough, I just come up with all the food that will make them feel better so much quicker. You discover the power of plants and the power of food in a very holistic way. It's a very interesting journey.
What was the most surprising change you experienced with The Blood Type Diet?
Digestion for sure. I know people don't like to talk about that, but I was “Madame Constipation.” It was almost a disease and The Blood Type Diet turned that around. I started 4 years ago for around 5-6 months, and that year I had to travel a lot. I remember I moved back home to Beirut, I really wasn't happy and I was eating whatever (I wasn't on The Blood Type Diet anymore) and everything was jumbled.
One thing that made everything get back on track was I told myself I need some kind of anchor in my life, something that is stable. So I started cooking for myself again. The minute I cooked a Blood Type meal, in a matter of one meal, I felt so good again, it was instant. That was a real revelation and that's when I started ChewChoose. And sometimes it's hard to keep it up, like say it's the holiday season and you try some things because they are there, the minute I go back to it, it’s instant. I feel that my digestion is in check and everything is back on track. My skin also cleared up.
How do you stay motivated to keep with The Blood Type Diet?
To be honest, I just don't want to compromise. I know that certain foods will slow me down, they will make me feel sluggish and tired. I will not digest them well and I just don't want to go there. When you're healthy, it's effortless. I don't want to be unhealthy, I want to keep feeling good.
What is your favorite Beneficial? Which Avoid do you have the most trouble with?
Favorite Beneficial: Hm, so many things. Salmon, for meat, because it's easy, suits most blood types, it's an oily fish so it's good for you if you work out, it's filling, it's versatile.
Avoid: I never really enjoyed eating a lot of my Avoid foods, so not being able to eat them came as a relief. Ever since I was a kid, bananas and mangoes I couldn't digest, it was a relief to know that they are avoids. But I miss tomatoes, I used to love tomatoes.
What advice would you give other people who are curious about The Blood Type Diet or have just started The Blood Type Diet?
It’s just a way of life, and it's not a diet. I would remind people that you can eat so much because its not exclusive, for example, people think “Oh, you’re type A so you can’t have meat,” but I can have chicken and many other things. People tend to discredit things that aren't “approved,” but be patient, read about it, give it a go.
What do you think is the most important thing when it comes to The Blood Type Diet and food?
Curiosity is the key, people need to be more curious. I keep being very surprised at the amount of options that we have. We tend to live in lifestyles where we are programmed to always eat the same things; from the media, offerings in supermarkets, and the press, you know? We always eat the same things and we’re programmed to look for these things. But if you are just a little bit curious, if you try to work with the seasons, you have so many options. Discovering new foods is nice. It's about allowing yourself to be a little creative and enjoy new things and widen your repertoire of things you eat. I think that's really important: curiosity.