Category Archives: Health

Nutrition Rating for Foods

I’ve recently come across a concept called Yale University’s Overall Nutritional Quality Index (ONQI) . It apparently has also been monetized into the 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.

Broccoli 100
Blueberries 100
Strawberries 100
Greek yogurt non fat 100
Okra 100
Orange 100
Green beans 100
Sweet Potato 100
Spinach 100
Kale 100
Celery 100
Cherries 100
Pineapple 99
Radish 99
Summer squash 98
Watermelon 98
Apple 96
Green cabbage 96
Tomato 96
Clementine 94
Watermelon 94
Mango 93
Red onions 93
Fresh figs 91
Grapes 91
Banana 91
Milk (skimmed) 91
Avocado 89
Oatmeal 88
Raisins 88
Atlantic salmon fillet 87
Walnuts 84
Almonds 84
Atlantic halibut fillet 82
Catfish fillet 82
Cod fillet 82
Tilapia fillet 82
Oysters 81
Swordfish steak 81
Prawns 75
Shrimp 75
Clams 71
Pecans 69
Monkfish fillet 64
Peanuts 60
Milk (whole) 52
Scallops 51
Turbot fillet 51
Pasta 50
Turkey breast (skinless) 48 – NuVal gives it a 73
Tinned peas 49
Prunes 45
Chicken breast (boneless) 39 NuVal gives this a 57
Orange juice 39
Lobster 36
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
Raisins 26
Cheese 25
Green olives 24
Bagel 23
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
Salami 7
Hot dog 5
Cheese puffs 4
Milk chocolate 3
Apple pie 2
Crackers 2
Fizzy drinks 1
Popsicle 1


Esther Gokhale Back Posture Method

Since I’m always looking for ways to minimize my back pain, I ran across this woman and her approach to better posture.

Esther-Gokhale-bookHere is her book available on Amazon or your local library.

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

Air Filter and Box Fan


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.


Does Chlorinated Water Kill Your Microbiome?

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 site which has a lot of information on chloramines.

To summarize the 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.



Microbiome Notes

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

More Videos

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”

Cleveland Clinic

Washington Post

NIH – 1 – 2

Stanford Low FODMAP

Role of FODMAPs in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Review.

Central Clinical School, Monash University


Kinesio Tape for Back Problems

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.

Video #2

Video #3

More Links


Avocado Benefits


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.


Are Plastic Containers Safe for the Microwave?

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.

Probiotics – Report by Washing Univ and Barnes-Jewish Hospital

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.


Ernestine Shepherd – 78 Year Old Body Builder

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.

Ernestine’s Regime

– 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.

– Facebook

– Trainer is Yohnnie Shambourger

– A typical day

– Exercise Class she teaches –

How to Get Up After a Fall

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.


Arsenic in Rice

Consumer Reports has a disturbing report on Arsenic in Rice – especially for kids, this could be a real problem. They are starting to make a Quinoa pasta, which may be a good alternative.

Here’s the report below.

Consumer Reports – Arsenic – November 2014




Coconut Oil

There seems to be a fair amount of good press for coconut oil, so here is some information below

Dr. David Perlmutter  recommends 1 to 2

Dr. Oz also likes coconut oil.

WEBMD is not as enthusiastic and says this,”The evidence that coconut oil is super-healthful is not convincing and these claims appear to be more testimonials than clinical evidence.”

Dr. Mercola

It will be up to you to see if you want to try this new oil.




Dr. Perlmutter Recommendations

While there are many people to follow who give health recommendations, Dr. Permutter is one who seems to make sense to me. I’m using this page to keep track of his recommendations.

Note – here are some changes, my wife has noted using this program

  • MUCH better sleeping at night.
  • Better digestion
  • Lower blood sugar
  • Small weight loss
  • Energy levels are low – I’m hoping this goes away with time

Here are my notes.

  • Better energy levels during the day – fewer ups and downs.
  • Better thinking/mind activities – my brain seems to be clearer and full of ideas.
  • Lower blood sugar levels.
  • Lost about 5 pounds 
  • Digestion – does not seem to help.
Supplements –
DHA:  1,000mg/day.(this is equal to four of the fish oil tablets I am taking.) Link-1,
Resveratrol: 100mg twice daily.
Turmeric: 350 mg twice daily.
Probiotics: 10 billion active cultures from at least ten different strains, including lactobaccilus acidophilus and bifidobacterium.
Coconut Oil: 1-2 tablespoons of an organic variety daily.
Alpha-lipoic Acid: 600 mg/day.
Vitamin D: start with 5,000 units of Vitamin D3 daily, get tested after three months, and adjust accordingly.



Other Topics


Set aside a few hours on Saturday or Sunday and use that time to cook all your meals and snacks for the week. Grill seven chicken breasts, hard-boil 12 eggs, sauté a few servings of vegetables.


  • Avocado
  • Beef – grass fed
  • Hummus + veg’s for  dip


Benefits of Cherry and Cranberry – no sugar.

Cranberry –

Cherries –

Cherry juice –


IBS notes – April 20, 2015

  • Dr C said if you do a survey of people over 40 – 40% will have IBS

Doctors Suggestion

  • Probiotic- Align, Florastor or VSL #3
  • Follow Standford Low-FODMAP diet
  • Miralax – take once a day
  • Benefiber – once a day.
  • Dicyclomine 20g – antisadmodic – take two per day.
  • Fiber – eat more.


Adding Hummus plus Other Fiber to My Meals Every Day – Feb. 18

Adding two to four ounces of prepared hummus every day.
Should add to fiber in my diet.2 ounces = 3 grams fiber.
Adding fiber might help in weight control.
 1/2 cup of Blueberries = 2 grams fiber
+ 1 ounce – 22 almonds = 3 grams fiber (note – walnuts – 14 halves = 2 grams fiber.)


Carbonated Water for Constipation – Feb. 17, 2015

  • I’m trying Seltzer water + cherry juice (no sugar) after noon.
  • RESULTS – it bloats me up – I’m stopping this.


CoQ10 for Gum Disease and Statin Use.

My gums and teeth do seem to be better – Feb. 17, 2015


Bananas for Your Tummy


Dairy Products

Dec. 5, 2014 – Testing out no milk, cream, cheese etc. Trying almond milk as a creamer.



Pine Nuts for Late Night Snack – Nov. 24, 2014

Trying out a couple small handfuls of pine nuts around 8 or 9 pm – They are supposed to reduce hunger. They unfortunately are very expensive. They do seem to help.


Going Back to Sugar

There’s been a number of articles on the effects of using artificial sweetener. Some sites say that there are no problems, while some of the new research seems to indicate that it might lead to an increase in type 2 diabetes. Here’s one link.

There’s even some evidence that artificial sweeteners may contribute to weight gain. Weird!

Oct. 1, 2014 – Weight 184 – I’m going to stop using artificial sweeteners and see what happens. I’m going back to using sugar in my coffee, although I’m trying to use as little as I can.

Nov. 1st 2014 – gained 5 pounds – now I’m trying a Stevia product from Costco. It has some dextrose, but can’t be much since it still has zero calories.

Nov. 15 – going back to Sucralose – still gaining weight.


Melatonin to Reduce Gerd

August 1, 2014 – I’m trying 3 mg of Melatonin to see how it affects my GERD. I read it might takes a few months. I’m going to give it a try.NOTE – as of December – I’ve gone to 6 mg/night

NO EFFECT. I quit taking melatonin.

Nov. 8th – no results – I’m going to increase the Melatonin to 6 mg.


Probiotics for IBS

EST – Dec 14 – taking two probiotics every day – 1 Trunature and 1 – Natures-Bounty

January 2nd – Seems to be helping

Feb. 15 – doesn’t seem to help.

MOM – Jan 4th

January 5th – started new ALIGN probiotic – one per day.


Health Tips from the Over 90 Crowd

Sixty Minutes did an interesting show on what factors help to live to 90+

Here are some of their results

  • Exercise 45 minutes a day total – doesn’t have to be intense and can be a little bit at a time.
  • Activities – 1 hr with social activities increased longevity
  • Vitamins did not help.
  • Moderate alcohol is good – 2 drinks a day. Any kind of alcohol is good.
  • Coffee – 1 to 3 cups per day is good.
  • Maintain or gain weight. Being obese is not good though. It’s not good to be skinny when we’re old.

Persistent Cough Remedy?

Since I’ve got a cough which is keeping me up at night, I thought I’d go through some of the remedies that may or may not work.

My best results seems to be coming from a honey in hot water. I think that the hydrating qualities of water and the soothing qualities of honey seems to help a lot. I’ve got a feeling that my throat gets dehydrated and sensitive. I have to drink a lot, but I did sleep well last night.

Blood Type Diet

I have a friend who recommends the Blood Type Diet. Peter D’Adamo published a book called Eat Right 4 Your Type, which is the basis for this theory.

According to the article below, the theory has no basis in fact or scientific evidence. While a low carb or vegetarian diet will probably make you healthier, you don’t need to be a specific blood type to benefit.

NALC Health Benefit Plan – 2014

As a former letter carrier and government employee I decided to switch over to the NALC health benefit plan for 2014. This will save me initially around $4000 in premiums over the Anthem Blue Choice program. There are some trade-offs and extra costs so I will use this page to keep notes so that it might be helpful to others next year.

I like being able to get a 3 month prescription for all my drugs at CVS. I’m impressed with CVS and their service. I got the doctor to write new 3 month prescriptions and the costs were less than what I was paying at Walgreens. I didn’t have to pay the drugs as part of my deductible. Amoxicillin only costs $1.29! The cost for diabetic testing strips is cheaper on Amazon.

My chiropractor is trying to get out of the Cigna Plan because they pay so little – just $22 for a visit. This is definitely going to be an extra expense for me as the massage used to be free and now I’ll definitely have to pay for it. The chiropractor does have a $30 a visit plan which is what we may have to go to. We could switch doctors. It looks like we may be paying $85/month = $1020, for once a month adjustment and massage for me.


Doctor’s Directory
The online directory that is linked to the NALC website is buggy and gives bad results. I called NALC and told them about it. The new directory I found out about by calling is:

Also – What to ask a doctor/office BEFORE you go to them.

Are you contracted with Cigna Health Care Open Access Plus
NALC Directory?