Garagesale Guru’s Journal

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Aspartame… scary stuff.

February 20th, 2008 · No Comments

Going off-topic to discuss something that has been bothering me for a while.

Aspartame - does anyone in the general public REALLY know what this stuff is?

Short story: Aspartame is a dangerous excitotoxin. Yes, really. Aspartame ingestion causes Formaldehyde accumulation in the body. Again; yes, really.

Longer story: Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, etc), was suddenly approved after eight years of controversy by a brand new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr, just appointed by President Reagan (a pharmacologist who had been in office less than three months and had little background in food additives) in July 1981, overturning the vote of his own Scientific Board of Inquiry.

Aspartame is made of phenylalanine (50% by weight) and aspartic acid (39%), both ordinary amino acids, bound loosely together by methanol (wood alcohol, 11%). The readily released methanol from aspartame is within hours turned by the liver into formaldehyde and then formic acid, both potent, cumulative toxins.

I won’t go on and on and quote case study after case study, but I will include a number of links below this post that I urge people to follow and read. Just one thing to keep in mind: The independent studies are the ones that came up with the results conclusively linking aspartame to over 90 moderate to severe symptoms. The case studies done by, funded by, or associated with developing lab(s) and the FDA can’t seem to find a thing wrong with it. Curious.

My own story: when Diet Coke was first released in the 80s, I became a fan in a big way. Something I could drink all the time, and not get as big as a house?? I’m IN! In a matter of a few short years I was happily addicted to the stuff. I drank nothing else, and it got to the point where I’d have to crack one first thing in the morning to even function - much like coffee drinkers. That part was the caffeine addiction, obviously. But regardless of what aspect had me hooked, it had me.

Fast forward to college, when I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

Fast forward some more to after Bratling was born (and yes I drank it all through my pregnancy, with the approval of my doctor and endocrinologist both) when I was no longer able to sleep. I would lay in bed for hours before finally falling asleep, and rarely felt refreshed. Then my eyes became very dry, and I was suddenly no longer able to wear contact lenses.

Not long after this, I began to notice an alarming amount of fuzzy headedness, and memories that were once clear beginning to fade or were gone completely. Often I couldn’t remember tasks I’d done only hours before, and I wasn’t even 30 years old. I chalked it up to being stressed, and for a while didn’t put any thought into it.

The only reason I finally stopped drinking Diet Coke was because my stomach was being destroyed by the sheer amount I ingested on a daily basis. I could go through 2 cases (48 cans) in a week. I had acid reflux constantly, and sharp pain in my abdomen frequently. I suppose something that can clean the rust from a chrome bumper or dissolve metal can’t be too good for your body in large doses. Go figure.

I had tried to stop drinking it before, because I knew by that point that it was hurting me, but addiction is a monster. Going a single day without drinking any meant debilitating headaches. But I did stop, and after a week or so of sheer hell, the headaches went away. A couple of years later I was starting to remember certain things - like my daughter’s first steps - which had been “MIA” for several years, and headaches were few and far between.

It’s now been 5 years since my last Diet Coke, yet certain symptoms still plague me. After doing some further research I came across study after study regarding aspartame, and those results not only made perfect sense in my case, but made my hair stand on end.

Then there is a possibility that the aspartame I ingested during pregnancy will have long term health concerns for Bratling, who is now 13 years old. That she seems unscathed so far is a relief, but what about her future?

Bratling II (now 3 yrs old) came along after I had stopped drinking Diet Coke (the doctors had told me I’d never be able to conceive again, and just a year after I stopped drinking diet coke I actually DID…a rather huge coincidence in my opinion) so hopefully there will be less chance of anything long term for her as a result. However, I was devastated to learn that for quite some time I’ve been giving my daughter a daily dose of poison in the form of Flintstones Vitamins, of all things! I never once thought to look for aspartame in a child’s vitamin. What a betrayal of trust it is to find that Bayer would put something like aspartame in their products. They’ve certainly lost my business. And the vitamins are in the trash.

I’m still researching, and looking for natural ways to detoxify my body, and I sure hope that it will take care of the remaining symptoms. Sure would be nice to wear contacts again, and not have my legs and feet swell up. One thing I know for certain is that aspartame is something that my family will never put in their bodies again. I am now a rabid label reader.

I urge you to stop eating or drinking things with aspartame in them. If you can’t, or won’t, at the very least PLEASE don’t let your kids eat or drink anything with it. Don’t ingest it when you’re pregnant either. It just isn’t worth the risk.

As promised, here are those links, and there are hundreds more if you Google for them (they will open a new window so you don’t lose this one):

  • WNHO Aspartame Research
  • Various studies mentioned - and this one is on the FDA’s own website!
  • Aspartame — History of Fraud and Deception
  • Aspartame, the Silent Killer
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet) Formaldehyde Poisoning, Health Destruction…
  • → No CommentsTags: General Ramblings

    Um… NO.

    February 10th, 2008 · No Comments

    Driving home in a veritable blizzard yesterday after an early morning meeting, I did an actual double take - someone had a garagesale sign out!

    Fighting the urge to investigate because I had to get home, and wishing I had a camera with me to snap a picture, I could only shake my head. Folks… here in Guruland… it’s winter, ok? There is more than 2 feet of snow on the ground, and hello… it’s still SNOWING.

    Now, I get that you want to sell your stuff, and I get that it doesn’t have to be the height of summer to do so, but really. Even I wouldn’t attempt to hold a garagesale in the dead of winter. It’s wrong on so many levels.

    → No CommentsTags: General Ramblings

    Scary Pricing

    February 1st, 2008 · No Comments

    I remember… about 10 years ago, I stopped at a small garagesale in a high rental area, because there was something that caught my eye. Don’t recall what that was, but the experience stuck with me.

    As I got closer to the actual merchandise, I realized it was all pretty old and worn out, which diminished my enthusiasm quite a bit, but I figured I’d still have a look around. You never know.

    Everything had a price on it, which is great and something I always recommend. However… this garagesaling novice was out to lunch on her pricing. She had an old couch - and by old I don’t mean antique, I just mean old - and the price tag on it was $150. I bit my lip and moved on to the table where there were a number of board games sitting. My eyes widened - surely she couldn’t be serious? The prices she wanted for these things were close to retail - I’m not kidding! Headbandz - $16?? At a garagesale?? Monopoly… $15? Oh come ON. Maybe $2… get real here.

    The garagesale owner was standing beside the $150 couch, with an expectant look on her face. I smiled at her, and shook my head. “I’m guessing you’ve never had a garagesale before.” I said, not unkindly. “Your pricing is too high, and you’re not going to sell anything I’m afraid.”

    The pleasant demeanor was immediately replaced with a scary looking scowl. “If you don’t want anything, get lost.” she sneered.

    Oh my! Were these words seriously coming out of a grown woman? I was shocked! I just stared at her for a second, then laughed, shook my head, and walked away. What could I say? Was there any point? This was far from the norm, and obviously this woman had some serious issues. I’m guessing she didn’t sell anything that day.

    Past the obvious fact that you don’t price things at or even close to retail prices, I guess there’s no real moral to this story; it has always stuck with me though, as a sad garaging experience.

    → No CommentsTags: I remember... · Tips and Tricks


    January 14th, 2008 · No Comments

    Sad but true: there are people out there who will steal you blind if you let them.

    It occurs to me that I see many garagesales set up with no real security in mind. I’ve seen cash boxes sitting open on a table with no one in sight. I’ve seen cash boxes left on tables full of garagesale merchandise, and the homeowner off talking to someone and not paying attention to it. I’ve seen people leave small children manning their own table, with cash boxes stuffed full of temptation for the unscrupulous.

    Cash boxes aside, I’ve also seen some expensive pieces of jewelry and other pricey items left towards the bottom of a driveway where anyone could grab and walk off quickly.

    Personally, I don’t like cash boxes, because they’re too hard to manage when you’ve got a bunch of people rifling through your wares and distracting you. Better that you use a fanny pack, and actually wear it, so your cash goes with you and you don’t have to stress over it.

    For expensive items… well for one, don’t sell them at garagesales - you won’t get what they’re worth. Consider private sale or an auction house. However, if you just want it all done at once, so be it. Keep those items up at the top of your driveway or in the back of your garage (wherever you’re doing your sale) and in the center of the table where people need to be obvious when they’re looking at them. I’d also post someone on that table to keep an eye on things.

    Sure it’s a garagesale, but these things still belong to you, they’re worth something, and it’s worth a few extra minutes setting your sale up to prevent problems like this as much as possible.

    → No CommentsTags: Tips and Tricks

    Fresh Start

    January 6th, 2008 · No Comments

    Ahhh, a fresh new year. The tree has been put away for another year, and the festive holiday decorations (which stop being festive and start feel cloying) taken down.

    So why is it that people start each year with great intentions for a fresh start, and very quickly lose focus and fall back into their old habits? Well, for one, we’re constantly over booking ourselves. We have so much to do that we can’t possibly do it all, and we choke up. We can’t sit at the dinner table every night and relax, together, with fresh veggies and thoughtfully prepared meals, because there is always something calling out to be done, activities to drive our kids to, different work schedules for mom and dad… you name it.

    I’m not going to sit here and say I have all the answers, because I don’t. I’m overbooked just like you. I’m often overwhelmed… just like you! My kids are on the go all the time, and they get overwhelmed too. We take on too much, and we can’t get our acts together. So I’m thinking that maybe since we know what the problem is, we can look at fixing it.

    Personally, I figure it all starts at home, so I’ve started trying to get organized there first. I’ve started a menu planning spreadsheet, and gone through my wonderful new “300 Slow Cooker Recipes” book that my mother got me for Christmas, picking out recipes that not only will my family enjoy, but include only really good food. Can I pause here and tell you just how much I LOVE my slow cookers? I have 3, and I use them all the time. Past the “eating better” resolution, I’ll do my thing, and start saying NO to stuff that will interfere with the quality of our family life. I’m going to try to get back to the gym too ;)

    If you haven’t guessed already, my intention this year is to get my act, and by proxy, my family’s act, together.

    Lest you think that I’m straying from the spirit of this website, I’ve started my garagesale wish list for 2008. I want a really good rice cooker to go along with my aforementioned mission of feeding my family better. Yep I fully realize I could get a cheap one anywhere, but I can wait, and I don’t want a cheap one. I want a really GOOD one. Besides, I like to have a mission, and this will suffice to start me off for the season when it launches in this area in a few months. I really don’t “need” anything, but maybe it’s time for a change, and I can have my own sale and get rid of the things I’m no longer interested in. Change is good.

    I’m sure I’ll have a few more things for my list when the time comes.

    → No CommentsTags: General Ramblings