Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Facebook-Free February! Also Twitter.

I decided to give up Facebook and Twitter for a month. They were taking up too much time and it was way too irritating following the idiocy and the ups and downs, especially on Twitter.  I think the fake news about Trump and the Russian hookers was a tipping point. The number of Tweets announcing it, analyzing it, joking about it and ultimately determining it was fake made me realize what a time-waster it was to follow the blow-by-blow of a complete fiction.

Yes, I realize the irony that this post will automatically feed both the Eternity Matters Facebook and Twitter pages.  I will post some links from my Feedbly blog software that will go to both places, and I have some things already set to publish.  And I will glance at the title bars now and then to see if there are any messages (some people only message me through Facebook, for example, and I don’t want them to think I’m ignoring them).

It has only been a day but so far, so good!

Diet and fitness: Simple ways to be healthier for yourself, your family and the kingdom PLUS bonus smoothie recipe update

Health and fitness aren’t just about appearance.  It is about feeling better, having more energy, being less of a burden to your family, saving money (health problems are very expensive), being a better servant for the kingdom, and more.

Nobody likes diet tips from lean people, so I never give them in person.  Hopefully it will be a safe thing to do via a blog.  I was blessed with a high metabolism, so I don’t assume that it is easy for everyone.  But I eat what I want, when I want, and never gain weight.  That was a real drag when I was young and obsessed with gaining weight, but it isn’t so bad now.

These may seem like obvious tips, but consider that there are so many horrible diet programs out there that promote all sorts of counterproductive behavior.

It is all about habits.  Going on and off diets makes the problem worse.  Obsessing about food also makes it worse.

Just do a lot of small things: Eat often (yea!), eat healthy things first, eat a little less, eat a little healthier and exercise a little more.  No fad diets.  No extreme workouts.  Just make some small but permanent changes to your habits.

Eat often.  Seriously, when I eat often I eat pretty healthy foods and don’t crave junk.  But the hungrier I get the more I crave things like McDonald’s.  Don’t let yourself get too hungry.

Eat healthy foods first.  They fill you up so you don’t eat as many bad things.  You can enjoy treats, but don’t start with them.

Eat smaller portions.  Humans were not meant to eat giant plate fulls of fatty foods along with multiple high-calorie beverages.  You should have leftovers from 90% of restaurant meals.

Getting regular exercise and sleep help your metabolism.  Exercise burns calories, increases metabolism and reduces your appetite, so even a little bit it helps you in three ways.  Ironically, sleeping too little has been shown to decrease your metabolism.  Exercise can be as simple as going for a walk a few times a week.  People set themselves up for failure when they assume it has to be an intense, daily, 90 minute ritual.

Find something you like well enough and do that.  It won’t feel so much like exercise.  My wife and I took up ballroom dancing a few years back.  It isn’t my primary exercise, but it does have a lot of benefits.  My point here is that I never think about it as exercise, just as one of my hobbies.  I’ve seen people lose tons of weight and get much more fit by ballroom dancing.

Eat breakfast – its the 4th most important meal of the day!  Apparently skipping breakfast is bad for your metabolism as well.  I love breakfast foods.  I could eat them three times a day.

If you just eat a little less and a little healthier and exercise a  little more, many positive things will happen.

BONUS: Here’s the latest incarnation of my Veggie Boy smoothie recipe.  One of my first posts ten years ago (have I been blogging that long?!) was about my not-quite-patented Veggie Boy smoothies. I figured I was due for an update.

I’ve been making health smoothies for almost 40 years and have now achieved the state of the art. Here is the used-to-be secret recipe for my Veggie Boy protein smoothie. (For you Cheers fans, you’ll remember this is the name of the health drink Woody was hypnotized into liking. “You can really taste the kale!”).  Yeah, there are fruits in it as well, but “Fruity boy” just doesn’t have the same ring.

It is really, really healthy. Vitamins, protein, fiber, low fat, all natural, etc. Drink it for breakfast and you can eat Snickers the rest of the day.  I have a couple glasses for breakfast and some more for lunch or after I work out.  I never eat cooked vegetables and am fairly unlikely to eat them raw, so consuming them in smoothie form is a gigantic plus.

It helps to have a powerful blender to chop up the carrots and frozen stuff, but a simple one will suffice. We splurged and got a Vita Mix a few years back and I couldn’t be happier.  It gets used at least once per day.  (It replaced a 2 HP Waring blender.  It was nice and powerful, but didn’t blend quite as well on frozen things.  Oh, and it turns out that those blue sparks coming out of the bottom meant that it was “arcing,” which apparently is a bad electrical thingy.)

It used to be more of a production to make the smoothies it so I’d skip it when I was busy, but with the extra power I can use more frozen things.  For example, it saves a lot of time to use frozen fruit so I can just drop them in instead of cutting them up each morning.

And it saves you money as well.  If fruit, such as bananas, starts to go bad you can freeze it for smoothies instead of throwing it away.  I hate to waste things.  And when a local fruit stand was selling older bananas at 1/3 the regular price I bought a lot and froze them.

The rest of the family uses it often to make more normal (read: tastier) but still quite nutritious drinks.

Here’s the current recipe.  Believe it or not, it tastes OK.

  • Plain Greek yogurt — very high in protein — the generic kinds are much cheaper than Chobani and such
  • Milk (preferably whole milk)
  • Baby carrots
  • Baby spinach
  • Yellow squash
  • Frozen beets (though not too many, as they have a strong taste)
  • Bananas
  • Some frozen mixed fruit – strawberries / blueberries / raspberries / blackberries – Wal-Mart has a good deal on these and it is easier than buying them fresh.
  • Any other fruit we’ve got. I’m not picky.

Don’t tell CPS, but when Daughter #1 was young I told her one Halloween that she could eat all the candy she wanted if she had a small glass of Veggie Boy first. I thought she actually liked it (it is rather sweet tasting), but I learned years later that she choked it down. I would have let her eat as much candy as she wanted anyway. Fortunately, she is the forgiving type, and she and her sister turned out fabulously despite many parenting moments like that.

P.S. I never understood the juicer concept. Seems like you are throwing out all the good stuff.

Writing about things that I won’t write about.

There are a few things I refuse to get excited about or to write about . . . uh, except for this post . . .

Merchants marketing Christmas too early!

Starbucks cups!

Not saying just the right greeting during the holidays!

Exactly how you should/shouldn’t celebrate Christmas!

Etc.!

Seriously, I’ve already wasted too much time on those topics just by writing this brief post.  If other people care enough to write about them, go ahead.  Those don’t even make my top 100 list.  I refuse to get caught up in them.

Diet and fitness: Simple ways to be healthier for yourself, your family and the kingdom

vegetables.jpgHealth and fitness isn’t just about appearance.  It is about feeling better, having more energy, being less of a burden to your family, saving money (health problems are very expensive), being a better servant for the kingdom, and more.

Nobody likes diet tips from thin people, so I never give them in person.  Hopefully it will be a safe thing to do via a blog.  I was blessed with a high metabolism, so I don’t assume that it is easy for everyone.  But I eat what I want, when I want, and never gain weight.  That was a real drag when I was young and obsessed with gaining weight, but it isn’t so bad now.

These may seem like obvious tips, but consider that there are so many horrible diet programs out there that promote all sorts of counterproductive behavior.

It is all about habits.  Going on and off diets makes the problem worse.  Obsessing about food also makes it worse.

Just do a lot of small things: Eat often (yea!), eat healthy things first, eat a little less, eat a little healthier and exercise a little more.  No fad diets.  No extreme workouts.  Just make some small changes to your habits.

Eat often.  Seriously, when I eat often I eat pretty healthy foods and don’t crave junk.  But the hungrier I get the more I crave things like McDonald’s.  Don’t let yourself get too hungry.

Eat healthy foods first.  You can enjoy treats, but don’t start with them.

Eat smaller portions.  Humans were not meant to eat giant plate fulls of fatty foods along with multiple high-calorie beverages.

Getting regular exercise and sleep help your metabolism.  Exercise burns calories, increases metabolism and reduces your appetite, so even a little bit it helps you in three ways.  Ironically, sleeping too little has been shown to decrease your metabolism.  Exercise can be as simple as going for a walk a few times a week.  People set themselves up for failure when they assume it has to be an intense, daily, 90 minute ritual.  I know people who lost a ton of weight just by taking up ballroom dancing.  It isn’t that the dancing is that strenuous.  They just went from consistently doing nothing to consistently doing something, and they found something that was fun and easy to stick with.

Eat breakfast – its the 4th most important meal of the day!  Apparently skipping breakfast is bad for your metabolism as well.  I love breakfast foods.  I could eat them three times a day.

If you just eat a little less and exercise a  little more, many positive things will happen.

Seriously, you don’t need shaving cream.

I was surprised, but it is true.  Via The Truth about Shaving Cream:

My freedom from shaving cream began twenty years ago after a friend uttered to me — just in passing, in the course of a conversation during meal preparation — the great truth that shaving cream is a racket.

I was stunned. It took many months to process the information. Ever since I have exulted in my knowledge and felt deep pity on the rest of the world for languishing in unknowingness.

Granted, using shaving cream isn’t the most time consuming part of a day and certainly not a big part of any budget.  But why spend money and time, no matter how little, on something that is not only unnecessary but possibly counterproductive?

When I first tried it I thought it would hurt, but it barely felt different from using shaving cream.  I experimented for a few days using shaving cream one side and just water on the other.  No difference.

The only thing I’d add to the advice in the link is to shave in the shower.  Less mess and an easier shave.  Shower mirrors are inexpensive and very handy (here’s one for $10).  Once you’ve done it for a while you just need the mirror to ensure you don’t take a chunk out of your sideburns (uh, not that I ever did that . . .).  The rest you can do without the mirror.

Enjoy your freedom!

Hat tip: Joe Carter

If you write much, Phrase Express is a huge time saver

Via How to Use Text Expansion to Save Yourself Hours of Typing Every Week.

In a regular day, most of us type the same things over and over again, wasting an enormous amount of time in the process. Why not let your computer do some of that work for you? That’s where text expansion comes in.

Text expansion utilities monitor your typing and trigger rules when you type a predefined phrase or key combination. When you type one of those pre-defined phrases, your text expansion utility removes your short version and replaces it with a longer phrase without requiring you to type the entire thing—saving you loads of keystrokes and time.

Phrase Express is a free tool you can use to save countless keystrokes. You type your shortcuts then hit the tab key to activate the text expansion.  If you can’t remember the shortcuts you can use the easy menu/folder system (i.e., I have a big set of apologetics, Bible, economics, politics, pro-life, etc. phrases).   Here are a few ways I use it.

If I type adr then hit the Tab key, it will write out my name, address, phone number, and email address.

Another shortcut takes a link I’ve copied and pasted it into this html line and puts the cursor where I can type in the text: <a href=”LINK”></a>.  If you use html at all this will come in handy.

My basic pro-life shortcut is plr, and typing it results in the following.  That is a huge time-saver, as I’ve used this countless times while blogging and on Facebook.

Pro-life reasoning is simple and accurate: It is a scientific fact (http://tinyurl.com/yfje8lq ) and basic common sense (what else would two human beings produce?) that a new human being is reproduced at fertilization. Seriously, go check out any mainstream embryology textbook. I’m too pro-science to be pro-choice. Based on the settled science, it is then simple moral reasoning that it is wrong to take the life of an innocent human being without proper justification, and that is what happens during 99% of abortions.

The situations surrounding abortions are psychologically complex (pressures on the mother to abort, economic concerns, etc.) but morally simple (you don’t kill unwanted humans outside the womb for those reasons, so you shouldn’t kill them inside the womb for those reasons). Their size, level of development, location and degree of dependency are not reasons to ignore their right to life. Arguments about “bodily autonomy” ignore the body destroyed in the abortion.

In other words, It is wrong to take the life of an innocent human being without proper justification. Abortion does that. Therefore, abortion is wrong.

I have a folder of tags for blog posts as well (pro-life, apologetics, etc.).  I use a shortcut to paste them in.

There are many more examples.  Any time you have a phrase you think you’ll re-use you can just highlight it with your mouse then hit Windows key-shift-n to save it.  It takes a little time to set up and get in the habit of using it, but the payback is quick and substantial.