Author Archives: Tom Terrific
Here’s a speech I did for Toastmasters on tips to keep your basement dry and how to be prepared if there is a problem. Gutter Guards are another topic I didn’t have time to go into, but I use them also.
I didn’t have time to cover sewer backups, but Ask This Old House did a great segment on this.
I’ve recently come across a concept called Yale University’s Overall Nutritional Quality Index (ONQI) . It apparently has also been monetized into the NuVal.com website. The idea is that foods are rated on a scale of 1 to 100, with one hundred being the best and one being the worst. The idea is that consumers want to get the most nutrition in the least amount of calories. NuVal won’t post their list for some reason, but they do give ratings on Facebook. I’ve put together a list of both the ONQI from Wikipedia and the NuVal information that is posted on Facebook. Mostly they both agree, but in some cases they are different.
Here is their list.
Greek yogurt non fat 100
Green beans 100
Sweet Potato 100
Summer squash 98
Green cabbage 96
Red onions 93
Fresh figs 91
Milk (skimmed) 91
Atlantic salmon fillet 87
Atlantic halibut fillet 82
Catfish fillet 82
Cod fillet 82
Tilapia fillet 82
Swordfish steak 81
Monkfish fillet 64
Milk (whole) 52
Turbot fillet 51
Turkey breast (skinless) 48 – NuVal gives it a 73
Tinned peas 49
Chicken breast (boneless) 39 NuVal gives this a 57
Orange juice 39
Pork tenderloin 35
Flank steak (Beef) 34
Turkey breast 31
Veal chop 31
Veal leg cutlet 31
Beef tenderloin 30
Chicken drumstick 30
Pork chop (boneless centre cut) 28
Chicken wings 28
Lamb chops (loin) 28
Leg of lamb 28
Ham (whole) 27
Green olives 24
Peanut butter 23
Condensed cream of broccoli soup 21
Salted, dry-roasted peanuts 21
Fried egg 18
Swiss cheese 17
Diet fizzy drinks 15
Non-streaky bacon 13
Pretzel sticks 11
Dark chocolate 10
White bread 9
Hot dog 5
Cheese puffs 4
Milk chocolate 3
Apple pie 2
Fizzy drinks 1
I’ve been a big proponent of Lynda.com for many years and now I just noticed that it is Free for St. Louis County Library Users.
Lynda.com is a video resource and training company with a LARGE list of programs and skills which all of us need to learn and refresh.
You will need to setup what they call a Profile at Lynda – just your name and email address.
Note – normally this would cost $25/month.
Here’s the link to setup an account.
Since I’m always looking for ways to minimize my back pain, I ran across this woman and her approach to better posture.
I took a few notes from one of the programs she did.
- If you are sitting, get up and move ever fifteen minutes. She suggests rolling your shoulders in a circular motion.
- She says that your back and hips should be in a “J ” shape. Buttocks out – not tucked in.
- Don’t arch your back
- You want your knees angled down.
- She suggests having a wedge in your chair so that you are angled down.
Videos are below
Since the mold, pollen and air seems to be so bad this year, I was theorizing that if I used a very good air filter and attached it to a box fan, my air quality would get better. I used the Filtrete Healthy Living Elite Allergen Reduction Filter, MPR 2200. These cost about $15 on Amazon.
As you can see from the picture, this simple setup is doing an excellent job at filtering our the small particles in the air.
While you could use this in your furnace, I’ve found that it reduces the air flow quite a bit. I ended up putting one of these filter fans upstairs and one downstairs.
It’s interesting that my wife’s allergy symptoms have abated since using this filter setup.
I was reading the latest book from Dr. David Perlmutter, Grain Maker, where he makes the statement, “Chemicals, such as chlorine, that are added to many sources of water, to kill bad bacteria will also kill good bacteria, probiotic bacteria.”
Since I’ve been drinking chlorinated water my entire life, as most Americans have, I was disturbed by this statement so I thought I’d do some research.
First off, Dr. Perlmutter doesn’t offer any scientific research for this statement. I wish he had sited some sources.
On the other hand, it does seem to make some sense. I’ve learned from practical experience that putting gold fish in a bowl filled with tap water will kill them fairly quickly. My logic is, if it will kill a gold fish, wouldn’t tap water also kill bacteria in your gut?
In 1998, the magazine, Scientific American, asked the question, “How does chlorine added to drinking water kill bacteria and other harmful organisms? Why doesn’t it harm us?” Their answer back then was, “Food in our stomachs and the materials normally present in the intestinal tract quickly neutralize the chlorine. So chlorine concentrations along cell membranes in the gastrointestinal tract are probably too low to cause injury.”
I did find some interesting research as to how tap water affects garden plants and lawn. Their main conclusion was, “Researchers have found that chlorinated drinking water may kill a number of microorganisms in soil or a compost pile. However, their reproduction rate is so rapid that populations rebound in a short time.”
In the St. Louis area, they add ammonia to the chlorine to keep it more stable – they call this chloramination.
The EPA has lots of informaion on chloramines. It has been used for decades in some communities. Here is the link. Chloramines in Drinking Water.
Josh Harkinson did an article for Mother Jones which includes this quote, “Chlorination has done tremendous good, so the default is to continue as is,” Martin Blaser, the director of the Human Microbiome Project, told me, “but whether or not there are subtler effects needs to be studied.”
A friend of mine in the field told me, “Specifically about chloramine, it seems that many water districts have switched from chlorine to chloramine because (1) it has a longer-lasting disinfection effect which keeps down bacterial growth in holding tanks and pipes, and (2) it has fewer toxic disinfection byproducts than chlorine. Chloramine is considered safe (at <4 mg/L) by the EPA. I doubt that chloramine would kill off bacteria in your body and/or probiotics at the low levels present in drinking water – it can be broken down (metabolized) by your saliva and leave your body in your urine. But I haven’t seen any specific scientific studies on this.”
Thanks to J for pointing me to the SFWater.org site which has a lot of information on chloramines.
To summarize the SFWater.org information – Water with chloramines is safe to drink.
If you still decide to remove the chloramines, then for an investment of $23 plus the filter cost, a Brita pitcher filter is an easy way to remove the chloramines..
Here are some other resources.
- Pass the Microbes Please – very interesting story.
- Science Magazine – microbiome and obesity
- Mother Jones Story
- Martin Blaser – Youtube video
I got this from America’s Test Kitchen
2 Tab of honey in one cup of water – mix it up.
Put in your cut fruit/vegetables for a minute or two and it will keep them from browning for up to 24 hours.
It seems like one of the new frontiers in human biology is the role of the 100 trillion microbial cells that we all have in and on us. Microbes outnumber our human cells ten to one. How do they affect us and our biology?
Below is a good basic video which explains the concepts.
More Links and Resources
Dr. Mercola recommends:
- NO sugar or artificial sweetner
- Stay away from commercial yogurt and kefir.
- Un-pasteurized Sauerkraut, olives, pickles,
- Don’t drink chlorinated water !
- Don’t use anti-bacterial soap.
- Buy organic food.
- Take probiotics – Take them on an empty stomach – 20 minutes before a meal – don’t get enteric coated pills –
I don’t know if the below video has any validity, but it should be an interesting theory.
Low FODMAPS – Started – Feb. 23, 2015
Oil – Olive oil or butter
Fruits – banana, blueberry, cantaloupe, grape, orange, strawberry.
Vegetables – Bell Pepper – Carrot – Chives – Cucumber – Green Beans – Kale – Lettuce – Olives – Potato – Radish – Spinach – Squash – Tomato – Zucchini
Cheese – Brie, Camembert, Cheddar, Feta. Mozzarella, Parmesan, Swiss, Hard Cheeses
Yogurt – Greek or lactose free
Milk – half and half, almond milk, Sherbert, whipping cream.
Grains – Arrowroot, Gluten Free Oats, Gluten Free Pasta, Polenta, Psyllium, Quinoa, Rice, popcorn
Protein – Chicken, Beef, Eggs, Fish, Lamb, Pork
Alcohol – Beer, Gin, Vodka, Whisky, Wine
Nuts/Seeds – use in limited quantities – Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Walnuts.
Snacks – mozzarella cheese stick – rice cakes with peanut butter – banana almonds/nuts, lactose-free yogurt – Udi’s white bread BLT –
Moderate Fodmaps – below – use limited amounts
3 cherries – ¼ avocado, ¼ cup artichoke hearts, 3 asparagus spears, ½ cup broccoli, ½ cup brussels sprouts, ¼ cup butternut pumpkin, 1 cup cabbage (savoy), 1 celery stick, ½ cup green peas, 10 pods snow peas, ½ corn cob, ½ cup sweet potato, 10 almonds
Most sources also encourage a low lactose diet.
Sue Shepherd in her book Low-Fodmap Diet gives these figures below. She also says that most people can have up to 4 grams of lactose at one sitting.
|Hard Cheese 1 oz||.1|
|Butter 1 Tab||.1|
|Cream 1 Tab||.4|
|Cream Cheese 1 Tab||1|
|Cake small slice||1|
|Ice Cream 2 scoops||4|
|Low fat yogurt 6 oz||6|
Fodmap means – “fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols”
NIH – 1 – 2
Central Clinical School, Monash University
If you’re part of the Anthem 80 million people who had their personal information stolen, you may want to do a Credit Freeze. Steve Gibson talked about this in his Security Now Podcast #495.
Here is a good article on “Freezing Your Credit.”
You have to do this with the three individual agencies and it does cost some money.
Here’s another good article from Consumers Union – part of Consumer Reports.
Article #2 from Consumers Union
In Missouri – it seems like the best $15 anyone could invest.
I’ve tried almost everything in the book for back pain and so I thought I’d give Kinesio Tape a try. I have a meeting that I go to every week and I have to sit for almost two hours. It’s tough on my back, so I’m going to try the tape. There seem to be different ways to apply the tape and where to apply it. I’m starting with the video below.
Video #1 – tried this procedure and it did not help over a two hour meeting.
My wife and I just signed up for TSA pre and I thought I’d share some notes on the experience.
- You signup online at http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck
- Make sure you do the Pre-Enroll process – it will save you time when you go to Lambert airport. For some reason, I couldn’t do this initially. I made the appointment and then had to go back in do the pre-enroll. My wife however had no problem.
- Also make an appointment – just in case. It turns out that we didn’t need it as there was literally no one there when we arrived.
- In the St. Louis airport, it’s on the main floor close to the metro station – they have good signage.
- The cost is $85 – non-refundable. It’s good for 5 years.
- You will need to use a credit card – no cash or checks accepted.
- You also need to bring a passport or birth certificate.
- The only problem with the whole process is that it was hard for them to get a good scan of my fingerprints. Wash your hands well before you arrive. My wife had the same problem.
- It will take up to 21 days for them to approve you.
- You don’t get a card, only a number.
- When you get your number, go to all the airlines you use and change your profile to include the Known Traveler Number.
NOTE – while I got my number withing three weeks, my wife took two months to get her number because they had trouble getting good finger prints from her.
TIP – make sure your TSA name and your airline information match. If you use a middle name with TSA, make sure that your airline reservations have that middle name also.
There are a number of doctors and programs which suggest adding avocados to you diet. Here are some reports of their benefits. The avocados which are pre-processed and available any time are a nice alternative when your avocados are not quite ripe. The latest reports suggest that avocados help lower bad cholesterol and help in weight management.
- Helps to lower bad cholesterol. – MNT
- Helps in weight reduction – MNT
- JAHA – one avocado a day
I have some regular chores that I check-off at the beginning of the year.
- Throw away old clothes. Look for clothes which haven’t been worn all year and give them to a charity. I take this tip from Oprah who suggested turning all your hangers to face the back at the beginning of the year. If they haven’t been turned around by the end of the year, then you know you haven’t worn them all year.
- Backup your computer. Hopefully, you do this on a regular basis, but just in case you haven’t, now is a good time.
- Copy your wallet. Take out everything from your wallet and scan it and make a physical copy just in case you lose a credit card or your whole wallet. Also copy your passport if you haven’t already.
- Adjust your budget. At the beginning of each year I look at my budget and see what items need to be adjusted. There’s a good chance your cable bill and phone bill have gone up. What are ways you can reduce your bills?
- Go though your emergency supplies. See what needs to be added/updated/thrown-out.
- Goals for the coming year? Think about new goals for the year and what you need to do to reach them.
If you have any other beginning of the year tips, please share them.
The answer is a firm Maybe.
According to both Harvard, WebMD and the FDA you MUST only use plastic containers that have a “Microwave Safe” label on them. These containers have been tested and approved by the FDA.
Just be careful about what you buy and you should be safe.
Here are more links on the subject.
I was looking recently at the “Innovate” magazine put out by the above and came across an interesting article about probiotics. (The latest issue – Fall 2014 – is not yet online.) Since I usually eat yogurt and/or take a probiotics pill, the report caught my eye. The article in question was written by Gaia Remerowski.
A report on which probiotics work the best is available at:
One probiotic that is given a grade of “B” is Align. I’ve found that it is available on Amazon and Walmart and probably many drug stores. It also has a money-back guarantee – so keep the receipt. I’m going to give it a try and see if it helps me.
It also interesting that certain microbes seem to help or hurt obesity, but diet also played an important role. Here’s the link to the article and the video is below.
I found Ernestine Shepherd recently online and found her very inspiring – we all need a little inspiration every day or so. Here is a video which shows her philosophy and regime. There is no way I could do what she does, but I have tried to improve.
– Wakes up at 2:30 am
– Eats 10- egg whites scrambled, 16 oz of water and a small handful of walnuts.
– Sings a motivational song.
– Usually does a 10 mile run.
– Go to the gym and works out for 1 hr 45 min and later leads a 1 hour fitness class.
– She drinks four bottles of liquid egg whites a day.(looks to be about a quart each.)
– “Age is Nothing, but a Number.”
– Her Creed – which she repeats every day.
Note – this is a takeoff of the Optimist Creed
I promise myself to be strong, that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.
To think only the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiast about the success of others as I am about my own
To forget the mistakes of the past. and to press on to the greater achievements of the future.
And this I try to do every day, to wear a cheerful expression at all times.
And to give a smile to every living creature that I meet.
To give so much time to improving myself that I don’t have time to criticize others.
To be too large to worry, to noble to anger, to strong for fear
And to happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of myself, and to proclaim this fact to the world.
Not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith, that the whole world is on my side,
So long as I am true to the best that is in me.
– Her Mantra which she lives by –
Determined, Dedicated, Disciplined, to be fit.
– Started exercising at the age of 56.
– Trainer is Yohnnie Shambourger
– Exercise Class she teaches –
I’ve had a number of acquaintances have the problem of not getting up after a fall. I’m providing this information for their use.
Another good video
How to help someone up.