The Rule of Three

Things come in three’s or so superstition tells us. Invariably, it’s usually the bad things too. This started back in March with a tooth that needed patching up after an ancient filling fell out. The Dentist asked that I be taken off one of my blood-pressure meds as it was causing my gums to swell and that was the start of it all. Incidentally, the same tooth finally broke in July and I had to have a crown fitted.

In June we started the process of seeking a new hypertension regime. Here we are in November, having taken a few wrong turns along the way, with three pills that finally seem to be doing the trick. All that remains is to tweak the dosage of one of them to get the pressure to the intended target. Naturally, during the course of changing meds, there were lots of blood tests.

On a visit to the Nurse on October 10th, I was informed that my blood-sugar level was ‘raised’. Apparently, I’m pre-diabetic. That was a little bit of a shock but perhaps not. What that means in real world terms is – I need to increase my exercise, reduce my food intake and cut out the sweet things. Now, I don’t eat a lot of sweets – I might have a chocolate bar twice a month and it’s rare that we have a dessert with dinner in our house. No – the sugar intake is almost entirely down to beer and that is something that I need to reduce.

So, much of October has been about adjusting to a new regime. I’m making a point of getting out for a brisk walk every day. As for the beer – ironically, I was already working on reducing my alcohol consumption and had made good progress over a 3-year period. In many ways this news has been the catalyst to ‘finish the job’ and I’m pushing on towards being alcohol free at home (apart from the very occasional single shot of whisky). One thing that has been helping this is the availability of alcohol free ales. You see, my ‘alcohol’ problem is not about getting drunk – I don’t drink to get drunk and forget bad things. I just love the flavour of beer – getting drunk is an unfortunate side effect!

Changing over to alcohol free beers has issues though. In the majority of cases, the brewers either use a yeast that stops fermenting before it creates alcohol or they actively remove their normal yeast before the alcohol is made. This has the effect of leaving significant levels of sugar in the beer. To give an example from one beer I tried – there were 18g of sugar in a 500ml bottle. However, all is not gloom and doom! There is an alcohol free beer that only has 0.7g of sugar in a bottle and… It’s actually a version of one of my favourite ales – Adnams Ghost Ship. How has the brewer achieved this? They have used a process called reverse osmosis after the normal fermenting stage has completed to remove the alcohol from the finished ale. The equipment required to do that is not cheap, so hats off to Adnams for being prepared to invest money up front for a small but growing market. I hope other brewers will see the trend and follow suit. Here’s the Adnams Ghost Ship 0.5 page.

So that my friends is why October saw very little in the way of blog posts – there’s been a bit of mental angst and a lot of life rearranging to do. Three things – Broken tooth, blood-pressure meds and pre-diabetes – can turn everything upside down. Now we move forwards and hopefully restore normality to this blog 🙂