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.


January 1st Chores

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.

How to Open Impossible Jars


I was close to having a hernia trying to get this jar opened and remembered that my wife Gerry had a easy way to do it.

Just slip a bottle opener under the lid, pointed in first, and pry it just a bit. That will release the vacuum seal and make it very easy to open.

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.


Goal Setting – What Not to Do

In our life we have so many electronic distractions – smart phones, tablets, laptops, music, radio, etc. that it’s increasingly tough to stay on task and accomplish our goals.

I found this video which is a good example of what not to do.

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 Tab.day.

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.




Protecting Your Garage Door from the Bad Guys

Found this video on how to protect your garage door from being open with a coat hangar.

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 – http://www.drperlmutter.com/grain-brain-seven-super-supplements-2/#more-2800
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

Two Minute Chores

My wife recently asked me for some special Xmas stamps which we had bought. She said there was no rush, and I didn’t need to do it that moment, but I knew what to do.

Rather than put off this simple task, I went upstairs and got the stamps – it took 70 seconds.

I’m not sure where I learned this productivity tip, but here it is.

If you can do a chore or task in two minutes  – go ahead and do it.

Don’t put it on a ToDo List or sticky note or hope that you’ll remember to do it later on.

Do It Now!

In Toastmasters, we send out email reminders to people for our meetings. People are supposed to respond to the email and indicate if they are coming or who their replacement is. It takes only a couple of minutes or less to respond to the email, but many people don’t respond at all. The sender then has to send a second email or even make a phone call. It’s a bit aggravating that people don’t take the two minutes to respond to an email.

This simple tip should not only make you more productive and keep your ToDo list to a minimum, but it will also keep  your associates happy.


Benefits of Cherry and Cranberry – no sugar.

Cranberry – http://jn.nutrition.org/content/145/6/1185.abstract?etoc

Cherries – http://jn.nutrition.org/content/143/3/340.abstract?sid=a85e5704-597b-41f6-8102-76d5da7afa18

Cherry juice – http://jn.nutrition.org/content/139/10/1896.abstract?sid=a85e5704-597b-41f6-8102-76d5da7afa18


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.

Weber Kettle – 2 Grates for BBQ


When we shop at Costco, the amount of meat that you are forced to buy is enough to feed a small army. Rather than break down the meat into smaller portions to cook, we prefer to cook it all and then freeze whatever is left. The question is then, how can I cook so much meat on my Weber Kettle? I’m also using a device called a Smokenator which takes up part of the grill and so I’m left with even less space for the actual meat.

I saw a device that I could add on top of my regular grill, but the problem was the cost – $45. It seemed a bit much for just an extra grill. I decided to make my own 2nd story grill. It was as easy as buying a 18″ grill for around $10.00, putting a couple of bricks on the first level grill and putting the two together. It fits under the cover well and the meat seemed to cook well in all locations.


One-Time Credit Cards

This last month I’ve had four different individuals ask for donations to worthy causes. I don’t mind supporting all these different groups, but giving out my credit card number online to different groups is not something I like to do.

Also using a credit card online, does seem to be a bit dicey these days. Hackers are getting into company databases and while you do have recourse when you have a credit card, the hassle factor makes things more difficult.

One way to keep your credit card safe is to use one-time credit card numbers. Then if someone does steal or hack that number they won’t be able to charge anything to that account.

Citibank is one of the credit card companies that have this feature and I set up a credit card with them just to get this feature. I use fake answers for the Security Questions. After you get the card, you can go online and receive a one-time credit card number which will be charged to your regular account.

I did this and while it does involve an extra step and a couple extra minutes, it does give you peace of mind that your main credit card is safe.

Here’s the process:

  • In your browser, allow pop-ups. In Chrome – Settings – Privacy – Content Settings (or just Search for Pop)
  • Go to http://www.citibank.com
  • “Select an Account” – Credit Cards
  • Login and password
  • Take Me to – account Home
  • Sign On
  • “Account Management” – Get a Virtual Account Number
  • Launch web based version
  • Note – on Chrome, it actually doesn’t popup, but I notice a 2nd version of Chrome is started and I have to open that tab.
  • Agree to terms and conditions – click the box.
  • Follow the prompts
  • Click on Generate a Virtual Account Number.
  • When it shows up on screen I do a Print Screen, put it into my photo editor and print it out.

Now you have the satisfaction of knowing that you can use the credit card safely and it can never be used again.

When you’re done, you can turn on pop-up blocking again.

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.

Air Conditioner Maintenance – Condensate Drain

My wife and I just had the house painted and were congratulating ourselves on how well the house looked when she looked up at the ceiling and said,”There’s water dripping from the ceiling!”

I immediately punched a couple of small holes in the ceiling to let the water drip out and started a 24 hour campaign to find out what the cause was. I thought that it might have been the rain we just had, or that the house cleaner had spilled some water in a bathroom area.

What I came to realize was that the water was coming from our attic air conditioner. This unit has a pipe attached to it which drains the water from the a/c unit. The problem was that the drain over time builds up sediment, rust, dust and lint, algae and possibly even insects and will eventually clog up the drain.

What compounded our problem was that the drain had a lot of 90 degree elbows through the ceiling and made it even harder for the water to drain. When our drain eventually clogged up, one of the elbows was loose and started dripping through the first floor ceiling.

$380.00 later I’ve learned a few things which might help you from having this problem in the future.

  • You need to clean out the drain at least once a year. Pour down bleach or a bleach and water solution to clean out the drain. Depending on how much you run your a/c you might want to do this more often.
  • If that doesn’t clean it out, you can try using a “Charles Gallo Drain Gun.” It uses CO2 cartridges to clean out the line. It costs $35 plus $2/cartridge.
  • You can also try using your wet/dry shop vac to clean out the line, but this did not work for me.
  • My a/c guy eventually blew out the line with a large Nitrogen tank, but with a loose fitting I decided to abandon my old line and put in a new line.
  • My a/c guy recommends a 1.5″ line for the drain. Most people put in a smaller 3/4 inch line, but that’s not as good. I used an old 1″ line that I had.
  • If you don’t have a logical opening to pour in the bleach, you will need to add some T fittings to your line.
  • I also put caps on these fittings to keep out debris and insects from getting into the lines.
  • If you’re going away on vacation – turn off your a/c, so that if this problem occurs, it won’t cause massive problems while you are gone.
  • I’m also going to put a water alarm in my attic just in case my drain would clog again and the water would go into the spill pan.

Conclusion: Your condensate drain is going to clog at some point and you’re going to have a leak if you don’t do preventive maintenance.



Fire Safety Notes

Here are a few notes from a recent CERT review.

You can find some of the CERT training materials here.

  • Fight the fire when it is small – that’s when you have a good chance to extinguish it. A small fire extinguisher will only handle a fire the size of a chair.
  • If the fire is out of control inside the house – get outside. If you go inside, the fumes are toxic and you will become a casualty.
  • If you basement is wet, don’t go down to turn off the electricity.
  • Safety is #1 priority – work with a buddy and always wear safety equipment.
  • Cooking fires – use a lid to put out the fire and don’t take the lid until it is cool. Don’t walk the pan over to the sink – you will just catch other things on fire. You also need a kitchen fire extinguisher close by. Here’s a good article.
  • Electrical – don’t use “1 to 3” types of plug adapters. Use a fused power strip.
  • Clean the back of your refrigerator and dryer – they collect a lot of fine material which could combust.
  • Program the electric company into your phone ahead of time.
  • Paint – you can fill the paint can with kitty liter and let it dry. Then it’s safe for the trash.