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Green Building Curmudgeon

Diabetes and Green Building

Looks like I’m back to my food analogies again

Looks like I live in the heart of Type 2 diabetes country. Here's to hoping that my reasonably good eating habits will keep me far from that disease.

I barely know who Paula Deen is, although from what I can tell, she seems to be quite the marketer of traditional southern cooking as well as herself. (I may be a little jealous of her self-promotion skills). Her latest big news is that after years of eating and promoting heavy, butter-laden food, she has gone public with her Type-2 diabetes, a condition she has had for three years.

She only went public with her illness after she signed an endorsement deal with Novo Nordisk, a diabetes drug. This seems to me to be about the most self-serving act possible. She spends years making millions marketing unhealthy food to her fans, then figures out how to make more money by helping sell them the medication they need to not get sick or die from what she sold them before.

Anthony Bourdain, a food curmudgeon if there ever was one, tweeted

on the subject: “Thinking of getting into the leg breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later.”

From food to buildings

In this particular analogy, it seems to me that Deen’s behavior is not unrelated to the eco-bling I recently addressed in this blog. Her excessive use of butter and sugar contributed to her diabetes, and her use of medicine to correct the situation is not that much different from big inefficient homes with ground-source heat pumps and photovoltaic systems that are called green.

It’s all in the behavior – with food, it’s eating healthier and less. In the case of homes, it using less energy and living in smaller homes.

Can I get a sponsor?

Now my own diet could improve — I take statins for high cholesterol — but I eat better than most people and only want to go so far in changing my diet.

Similarly, in the past I have been guilty of promoting and building oversized green homes, and I currently consult and certify them because I need to make a living. But I don’t, and probably wouldn’t, start hawking solar panels or ground-source heat pumps (unless of course they decide to start paying me gobs of money – are you listening, manufacturers?)

But Deen already has gobs of money and she is negatively affecting the health of millions of Americans who are influenced by her shows and stores. If I only had that much affect on people, I suppose I would be as rich as she is.


  1. EweKxSVTNL | | #1

    It is unlikely that her diet
    It is unlikely that her diet contributed to her diabetes. From Jenny Ruhl at - " The message that diabetes researchers in academic laboratories are coming up with about what really causes diabetes is quite different from what you read in the media. What they are finding is that to get Type 2 Diabetes you need to have some combination of a variety of already-identified genetic flaws which produce the syndrome that we call Type 2 Diabetes. This means that unless you have inherited abnormal genes or had your genes damaged by exposure to pesticides, plastics and other environmental toxins known to cause genetic damage, you can eat until you drop and never develop diabetes."

  2. Expert Member
    CARL SEVILLE | | #2

    Diet and Type 2
    Mike - I appreciate the reference, and I see that Type 2 diabetes isn't always directly related to diet, but according to WebMD and other references, it is often the result of "obesity and lack of physical activity" and high fat diet. Everything I have heard is that many at high risk can avoid actually contracting the condition with better diet and exercise. There are far to many children with it, mostly due to their poor diets and lack of exercise. But I didn't even realize this was a health website, I thought we were talking about construction.

  3. CKQVPn5YhE | | #3

    type 2 and west Virginia
    Mike -- There was an interesting series of articles in the NYTimes about type 2. It was clear that native Americans and Mexicans (who are native Americans) have a genetic disposition for type 2. However what really sets it off for everybody regardless of genetic background is their diet and lack of exercise.

    Construction and design folk can help by putting in more stairs, long garden path, no parking space etc.

  4. EweKxSVTNL | | #4

    "The message that diabetes
    "The message that diabetes researchers in academic laboratories are coming up with about what really causes diabetes is quite different from what you read in the media."

    I would say WebMD and NYTimes qualifies as media.

    Lack of exercise and being over weight are risk factors for type II diabetes. They are correlational and not necessarily causal, because correlation does not prove causation. Are obese individuals at greater risk because they are obese or because there lifestyle exposes them to more environmental toxins? I am not suggesting that a healthy diet and exercise are not important for overall health, just that, in this case, I think there are more important factors involved.

    I apologize for getting off topic but, after all, part of the reason we are building green is for our health.

    Steve - Why do we need more stairs? No one uses the ones that are already there.

  5. wjrobinson | | #5

    Ski 50-80 days a year. No
    Ski 50-80 days a year. No diabetes. Stairs optional.

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