FODMAP is NOT about gluten free!

(BACKGROUND: FODMAPs are five kinds of carbohydrates: fructans, galactans, fructose, lactose, and polyols. For some people, FODMAPs cause digestive problems. A FODMAP diet is where you avoid FODMAPS.)

A lot of FODMAP resources recommend avoiding gluten. This is bad advice: the FODMAP diet is about problem carbohydrates. Gluten is not a carbohydrate; it’s a protein! Avoiding gluten is not a goal of the FODMAP diet.

Here’s why many are confused. Gluten-free products generally do not contain wheat, barley, or rye. These should be avoided on a FODMAP diet. Therefore, FODMAP-sensitive people may have success with some gluten-free products.

But not all! Some gluten-free products have FODMAPs. For example, Rudi’s Multigrain gluten-free bread has inulin. People on a FODMAP diet cannot have inulin; it’s a long-chain polymer of fructose!

So what’s my point? FODMAP dieters will probably end up buying gluten-free products. However, you’re doing it not because of the gluten–a protein–but because of the carbohydrates. Products that contain gluten but do not have the problem carbohydrates, like beer, are generally not a problem on the FODMAP diet.

Democrats are lying about the public option


Mark my words: a public option health care plan will someday be the only plan.

Don’t put any faith in today’s democrat promises. With a few votes and a sympathetic president, future liberals can (and will) alter public option’s scope. With impunity. That is government’s track record:

  • Social Security expands: At inception, a 1% tax on the first $3,000 of income funded the system. By 1940, it paid $35 million of benefits. Now it’s a 6.2% tax on the first $102,000 of income and pays $650 billion of benefits. (source)
  • Income tax expands: In 1913, when the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified, the income tax was 1% of all earnings over $3,000. Now it is between 10% and 35%, depending on your bracket. (source)
  • Even the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation expands: “When the PBGC was created in 1974, Democrats running Congress assured everyone there was no taxpayer risk because the agency would be funded by fees from pension plans, as well as by the assets of plans the company takes over.” “Now the PBGC has a $33.5 billion deficit,” and this is before it is about to take on much of Delphi’s pension, a politically-motivated, union face-saving “second biggest pension bailout in PBGC history.” (source)
  • How about those automaker loans? What started in 2008 as large loans is now a giant taxpayer giveaway that just won’t end.

I could fill a whole blog post with expansionism.

Even with current democrat promises, public option probably starts out with a massive tax subsidy and forced lower payments than what private insurers can negotiate (a la Medicare). It will creep like St. Augustine grass and gradually smother all other options. Future expansionists will just seal this fate.

Don’t get me wrong: the current system is flawed. And Obama is right about a lot of its flaws. But as an expansionist liberal, anything he prescribes is quackery.

Greenwashing the Green Spot

A nearby gas station called the Green Spot recently opened. The prior owners (when it was a Mobil) had gas prices well above market, so I appreciate that the new owners charge the same for gas as everyone else.

But I had to suspend my gag reflex after reading greenwashing in my local community magazine (pages 24 and 25 of this 19MB PDF–yikes!). According to a quote they got from co-owner Alvaro Garza, “our mission is to reduce our carbon footprint by offering an alternative lifestyle…”

Specific examples of where carbon footprints aren’t being lowered:

  • They sell biodiesel gas, which has several flaws. Even if you could argue that these flaws could someday be resolved, the fact remains that current consumption of biofuels almost certainly causes more harm than good. For example:
    • Several studies show that production and use of biofuels produces more carbon emissions than just burning plain gas. (link)
    • It takes more energy to produce biofuels than they save, which in turn increases carbon emissions, oil importation, and our trade deficit. (link)
    • Biofuel production increases prices of food, starving the poor. (link)
  • They sell organic goods, production of which require more energy (carbon!) and land than conventional foods. (link)
  • The article’s feature picture depicts a Jeep Liberty SUV. In addition to being an iconic member of a gas guzzling class of vehicles, it has the worst or 2nd worst fuel economy in recent Consumer Reports small SUV comparisons. (The diesel raised it from worst to 2nd worst; several gas-engined SUVs with higher overall ratings got better mileage.)

    (This image stolen from Advocate Publishing.)

And it sounds like a lot of what they sell are carb-loaded snacky foods. Ladies and gentlemen, refined carbs are refined carbs. The refined carbs from organic sugar cane and fresh fruit juices make you just as fat and unhealthy (and ultimately requiring more carbon-intensive health care services) as the corn syrup in Coke.

You may think I hate the Green Spot. I don’t. It’s convenient, gas prices are finally fair at that location, and they have neat stuff inside. I want them to succeed.

However, I was brought up in a home where the breadwinner toiled for and was employed by a nonprofit. I work with a couple of nonprofits. I value nonprofits. They deserve our charity; supporting them achieves a higher moral purpose.

I resent when for-profits steal altruism for their own personal gain, and that’s what’s going on with greenwashing the Green Spot. Support the Green Spot where they provide a value to you, but don’t do it because you think you’re fulfilling some higher purpose. You’re not.

Open lunches are stupid

When I was in high school, I resented our closed lunch. We were forced to stay on campus for our 25 minute lunch period.

Open lunch means students can leave campus for the lunch period. Open lunches have the allure of longer lunch periods, freedom, and fun.

Now that I have a more mature perspective, I believe any school district selling reasonable lunches on-campus would be patently irresponsible to allow open lunches.
Look at the downsides of open lunches:

  1. Higher insurance. That’s what my school district told me.
  2. Hooks children on garbage foods. Where do children on open lunch go? Mostly fast food restaurants, where they eat garbage: fried, greasy, salty foods packed full of refined carbohydrates and low quality fats.
  3. Costly. A $2 class A lunch is a lot cheaper than gas, vehicle wear and tear, and any restaurant meal.
  4. Denies children a healthful lunch. A traditional cafeteria lunch is far more healthful and balanced than anything children usually select at restaurants.
  5. Exposes children to risk. What’s safer: sitting in the cafeteria or being in an old hand-me-down car piloted by fellow children rushing to get back to campus before the lunch period ends? Where are children most likely to get in trouble: at school, or in an unsupervised, off-campus environment?
  6. Longer school day. You have to allow transportation times in open lunch periods. That had to be made up with a longer school day.

The upsides are? Anything? (Do you really believe many children go home during open lunches? Ha ha!)

Having no useful purpose, open lunches are wasteful, expose children to unnecessary risk, and jump start them on debilitating health problems.

Open lunches are a terrible idea.

Wired up the den

Since the ceiling is out, I wired up the den for speakers.

Our TV is in one corner, and the couch is on the opposite side of the room. My wife never wanted to drape cables around a wall, so I figured that since the ceiling is out, it’s the perfect time to run speaker wires.

The whole job took me about 3 1/2 hours, not including patching wall holes.

Even though I only have a dinky 5.1 speaker system, I wanted to be wired for 7.1 channel surround sound setup just in case I luck across such a system some some day. That means I needed to run 4 pars of speaker wires between the walls. Add that to some category 5e network cables, and that would be a hassle!

Home Depot sells a single sprinkler system wire bundle with ten 18 gauge wires. An uncle in the audio business me that 18 gauge solid is plenty for unpowered speakers, so this 18/10 sprinkler wire is what I used!

Installation took a few steps.

A drywall cut for a junction box and to poke a hole through the fire block:

Cuts through the fire block:

3 cuts on the opposite wall:

Yes, 3 cuts. I made the first cut at the traditional fire block level because my stud sensor said something was there. Opening it up, I found nothing!

When I fished the wire from the top, I ran into something about 1 foot down. It turns out some 2x4s are stacked laterally at that point to support the wide opening to the left. Cutting above that, I found that I could slip the wires between an opening between the 2x4s.

Then about 1.5′ from the floor, I ran into something else! Cutting right above that point, I found a traditional fire block and had to cut through it.

Here’s my speaker cable handiwork:

Since the sprinkler cable had 10 wires (5 pairs), and since the speaker connector QuickPorts came in packages of 5, I went ahead and hooked up all five pairs.

On the suggestion of a neighbor, I ran two cat5e cables to the TV area. Supposedly the complexity of media center stuff would appreciate the availability of the two ports. And if I ever got a cable modem, I could head it back behind the TV and run its data to a router or switch in a hall closet.

Can you tell it has been 8 years since I last punched a RJ45 jack?

Don’t worry, I cleaned up the wires before installing it.

Here’s the connections behind the TV:

The other side of the room looks the same except for one less data port.

There wasn’t much noteworthy about the way I ran this through the ceiling except that I tried to distance the network cable from power wires:

My recollection is that fluorescent ballasts are the biggest signal killers, so this may not have made much a difference.

Since I was in the attic anyway, I took a long exposure picture:

I’ll never get this view any more unless, heaven forbid, the ceiling collapses again!