You probably know of Annette Funicello (10/22/1942 – 4/8/2013), the fun, pretty, happy actress who was probably the most famous Mouseketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club TV show. She also appeared in a number of those popular beach-themed movies in the 1960s, and she was in Skippy peanut butter commercials in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1992, and she died 11 years later at age 70. I can’t help but think of those peanut butter commercials she was in, and those beach movies, and the fact that she was Italian.
Eating the Wrong Foods?
As you may know from my book “Game Over, MS,” I’ve followed the Blood Type Diet very strictly since 1998. One of the reasons the diet has had such credibility from the very beginning for me is that author Dr. Peter D’Adamo says people with the B blood type (like me) tend to be good at fending off the typical maladies of modern Western society – cancers and heart disease – but our strong immune systems tend to make us susceptible to autoimmune conditions like MS, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and lupus.
Type B blood appears in the greatest density among populations spanning from Italy to the Orient, so I can’t help but wonder if Annette Funicello had type B blood. The Blood Type Diet lists peanuts and peanut butter on our Avoid list, and I’m sure she was very loyal to the brand she helped to advertise! I would be, too, if I were she.
Dr. D’Adamo also highlights tomato as a very important Avoid food in the Type B list because of its properties as an agglutinating food for our body chemistry. Italians surely eat lots of foods with tomatoes and tomato sauce! The other major Avoid food for those of us with the B blood type is chicken, and I’m sure Annette ate chicken throughout her lifetime. Chicken has always been touted as “healthy.”
Making Beach Movies in the Summer Heat
And then there’s the heat factor. Annette obviously spent hours upon days upon weeks over several years making those fun beachy movies with Frankie Avalon. If I’m right, and if she had the B blood type, being out there in that heat probably really drained her.
And the problem with MS, and with us type Bs frankly, is that we usually have a delayed physical reaction to things. We often won’t feel the reaction from being out in the heat until days later, and by that time we’ve lost the thread and don’t realize that the heat from several days ago was the cause of the reaction du jour. We just think we suddenly feel exhausted for no reason.
Annette probably toughed through it while making those movies in the heat – she was in her 20s after all, and we tend to ignore ailments when we’re in our 20s. Plus, we didn’t know as much about MS back then in the ’60s like we do now, and we didn’t yet know that it tends to reveal its ugly head earlier in life, not later. So we didn’t even know to look for it in twenty-somethings.
Taking Care of Ourselves Today
If Annette Funicello would have known then what we know now about MS, I think she would still be alive today. She would have known to eat right for her blood type (whatever that was), she would have been on an MS medication early on (which didn’t exist until 1993), and she would have known to stay cool by drinking cold fluids – and heading indoors when the heat was getting to be too much.
So raise your glass of icewater toward Heaven, thank God, and smile with gladness – just as Annette would have wanted!