Due to the rise in diabetes in the USA, for decades there has been a big marketing push to get people to use zero-calorie and low-glycemic sweeteners. I previously posted about health issues I connected to a zero-calorie sweetener, and noted that I also did better on a low-carb diet. Now I’m going to explain the simple science behind why certain sweeteners, including no-cal-sweeteners and even natural low-glycemic sweeteners like agave and honey, or even just the natural sugars in wheat, apples, and onions can cause major health issues for some people.
I only learned about all of this in 2011 when a podiatrist mentioned a study that found a connection between gout and fructose. I started researching the topic, and the information I found surprised me.
It turns out that around 30% of the population of Western countries and Africa have a condition known as Fructose Malabsorption. Asia has lower numbers, but it’s still around 10%. That’s a lot of people with a condition most of us have probably never heard of.
Ugh. One month after discovering Truvia had been wrecking my gut, I ate over someone’s house only to be gifted with food poisoning. That night everyone except my daughter Coral became ill. Two days later I was informed that the humus we’d eaten had been tainted. For a change I was glad that Coral hadn’t eaten her vegetables.
After that mild food poisoning, half the time I ate anything I would get bad indigestion, followed by intense stomach pains, followed by everything being flushed out of my system from my stomach on down. This was happening a few times a week, and I had a lot of intense stomach pains and indigestion in-between the really bad bouts.
Everything I read said food poisoning should clear up on its own in one to four weeks. I waited. Six weeks later I was still suffering. So much for my summer plans of fun and productivity.
In 2008 I started having bouts of fatigue and brain fog. The brain fog became so bad that I stopped reading and writing. I simply couldn’t maintain my thoughts from paragraph to paragraph. Sometimes I’d feel better for a while, but it never lasted.
The fatigue increased over the years, along with body aches and back pains. After a few years of this I started getting full-on dizzy spells. A few times on work gigs I felt so groggy and out-of-it I feared my clients would think I was stoned.
From the start I thought it was digestive. At the same time the brain fog started the Lactase enzyme pills I took to avoid headaches when I consumed uncultured dairy stopped working. My digestion had become very sluggish. I would often get a sharp stabbing pain just under my right ribs.
I went to the doctor and explained that it felt like I had the flu without the fever, or like I was intoxicated. At my request, he sent me to a gastroenterologist. The man knocked me out and did the old tube inspections from above and below and declared it was not a digestive issue. Move on boy. Stop bothering me with your imagined digestive problems. I looked at the surface of your emptied guts and it all looks fine to me, so your symptoms must be in your mind. By the way, there’s no such thing as food intolerance. There’s no such thing as gluten intolerance., that’s all just mass hysteria, including all the science behind it. Lactose intolerance can’t cause headaches, so that’s also psychosomatic. Stomach aches, the sluggish digestion, the fatigue and headaches? All psychosomatic.
My primary physician retired soon after all this started. He handed his practice over to another doctor. After a year or so with the new guy, I decided his temperament just wasn’t a good match for me. I found myself another new primary physician. Over those years all three doctors said my blood tests showed I was healthy. All three stated that lactose intolerance didn’t cause headaches, so the headaches must have been tension headaches, even though I got them only when I ate dairy. I was frequently grilled about drug and alcohol use, and then ironically would be prescribed addictive narcotics as pain relievers. All three said I was perfectly healthy and my symptoms were psychosomatic.
With the new doctor I asked to see a different gastroenterologist. The moment I sat down with this new guy, without any real discussion, as he spent the entire time on the phone discussing another case, the doctor said I was fine and my symptoms were psychosomatic and to go home. Apparently there were notes in my medical record from the previous gastroenterologist, so I was on my own.
In the middle of December of 2011 things took a turn for the worse. I started having fairly non-stop intense headaches. The grogginess increased. The brain fog doubled. I felt jittery and anxious. It was my prior symptoms multiplied by ten. Luckily I was about to have a breakthrough.
A couple of years ago my triglyceride and cholesterol levels were borderline high. My primary physician wanted me on statins immediately! For the rest of my life! What?!
Examining the numbers, I found that both my HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) were at normal levels, but my overall cholesterol (good and bad combined) was borderline. My triglycerides were approaching borderline high levels as well.
Because I don’t like taking unnecessary prescription drugs, and I’m a smart-ass, I decided to do research instead of taking his advice.
Everywhere I looked I read that to lower cholesterol and triglycerides you needed to decrease fat in your diet. Cut out all that butter and meat! I had done raw food diets in the past for short periods. I decided to see what my blood levels looked like on a raw food diet. No meat. No dairy. Lots of fruit and veggies. I ate salads, wraps, and juiced quite a bit. Nuts for protein. Dates and fruit to sweeten deserts. I allowed myself some rice and rice-pasta on occasion. The end result? No change. I lost some weight, but my cholesterol and triglycerides were still high.
I decided it was time to look at the science.
I was using Philips Pronto remotes for over a decade. No more. My last one just died.
The Pronto was a really cool device when it first came out. From the beginning it included a fully programmable touch screen graphic interface and could replace a pile of remote controls with programmable automation. This was way before tablets and smart phones. You could build a glitzy interface and set one button to do multiple actions, like turn one the TV, turn on the receiver, switch inputs, turn on the DVD player, dim the lights, etc..
Due to all the competition from tablets, smart phones, and other cheap devices and apps, Philips stopped making the Pronto last year. There are now hundreds of automation options available. I started looking into what to use to replace the old Pronto, and quickly decided to take a totally different route. I’d just code up my own.
Our house was built in 1950. The first floor bath looked it. Hadn’t been updated in decades. Rusting medicine cabinet. A loud, rattling ventilation fan. Corroded faucet. Outdated electrical. Water wasting toilet. Aged wallpaper. Since we kept putting off a full remodel, a few weeks ago I decided to just do a quick refresh.
Above is a photo of the old bathroom.
Ripping a bath down to the studs can save you a lot of aggravating retrofitting work and allow you to get exactly what you want, but it’s also a bigger commitment to expense and inconvenience. While doing this refresh, our bathroom was never out of commission. I finished one project, cleaned-up, and then moved onto the next. The big things to keep in mind is that a full remodel gives you a fresh start, and a simple refresh has less down-time, but requires working within existing limitations of the existing room. It’s a trade off. Decide what’s more important to you.
Our bathroom felt worn out worn out. The fan noise woke people up. The faucet couldn’t be cleaned any longer. The electrical just looked and felt like danger on the wall. We also didn’t have enough storage space and had to keep some things in our hall pantry.
While working, under the layers of paint and wallpaper I discovered the room was originally pink and gray-blue with big brown-red linoleum tiles accented in a golden style equivalent to paisley. The built-in vanity had once been pink as well, so I assume it is original to the house, since pink is a very 1950 color choice. The wood drawers also have our address written in pencil on them to designate the job for the cabinet maker, which is very old school. The tile job is sloppy, and was likely slapped up by a homeowner in the last remodel, which I’d guess was in the 1970’s or 80’s. This is a room that has remained partially intact for 60 years, and would do so for a while longer now since the walls, ceiling, tiles, and vanity were staying intact.
An early decision we made was to switch from dark brass to brushed nickel. We liked the brighter metal and matte finish. The pain about switching is you have to switch everything to get a consistent look. I got carried away. I even changed the door hinges and door knob to nickel.
In case you’re not interested in the details, here’s a glimpse at what we have today:
For more details about the changes made, read on!