EverlyWell – hack your heath

I’m not happy if I don’t feel like my body is operating at peak efficiency…yet sometimes it’s hard to figure out why things seem off.  If you have the time and patience, scheduling a trip to the doctor is always the best option.  For a quick peek into the systems of your body, there are at-home tests you can do to test an amazing number of things.  The company I’ve been trying out is EverlyWell, and they offer a really large variety of tests, depending on what conditions you’re trying to debug:

  • Food sensitivity test
  • Food sensitivity+
  • Postmenopause test
  • Women’s fertility test
  • Perimenopause test
  • Metabolism test
  • Metabolism+
  • Thyroid test
  • Testosterone test
  • Breast Milk DHA test
  • DHA+
  • Men’s health test
  • Women’s health test
  • Vitamin D and Inflammation test
  • Vitamin D test
  • Cholesterol and lipids test
  • Heavy metals test
  • Sleep and stress test
  • HbA1c test
  • STD test
  • Ovarian reserve test

You get the idea!  These tests aren’t covered by most insurance companies, but depending on what you want to test and why, that may be the case anyway (or if you’re on a high deductible plan, it’s all out of pocket anyway, and you can at least use an HSA or FSA to pay for these).  It’s cheap, quick, and easy…well sort of easy…some tests DO require some drops of blood so you need to be able to handle that!  Just remember…whatever your results, don’t play internet doctor and go crazy over this…but DO use the results to determine if you need to schedule an appointment with a doctor to investigate further!

Get 10% off if you use this link.

REI dividends are here!

It’s dividend season, yay!  A time when we celebrate(?) how much money we’re spending on *stuff*.  Hopefully though, it’s at least stuff that has facilitated life experiences, which are the real treasure in life!  Last year I picked up a couple new kayaks, and a mountain bike for my kid, so my dividend this year is going towards a better backpacking tent.  I can’t wait for warmer weather!

The Instagramification of photos

Instagramification…ok, so I made that one up.  But…that’s what I want to talk about, making stuff up. My Instagram feed seems full of pictures that seem otherworldly…brilliant, vibrant colors, sureal lighting…if you use Instagram, I think you know what I mean!  I had a traditionalist mentality for a long time, but am now appreciating the beauty and artistic expression that results.

So my pondering these days is focused on…deception?  If I tweak my photos a ton, it’s obvuously unreal and art.  But if I do so only mildly, like the picture here…is that being deceptive?  I think it does a good job of expressing how the scene appeared to me…even if it’s not completely accurate.

btw follow me on Instagram as @espressomatt

My growing awareness of our diets’ impact on the environment

Last fall, I switched to a vegan diet briefly, before settling on pescatarian (a vegetarian diet, plus fish).  While I did this out of health concerns, this process has begun to open my eyes to the impact that animal-based foods have on our environment.  I’m still trying to figure out if there can be a balance, but do think it’d be better if I can get to a full vegan lifestyle.  Yeah…lifestyle.  Not just diet.  But that’s a ways off still.

So, what issues have been on my mind lately?  Well first, there was a great article in Outside Magazine about OR4, a wolf that played a large part in that species reintroduction into the wilds of Oregon.  The only real controversy regards the occasional wolf killing of livestock, sheep and cattle.  It’s rare, and farmers are financially compensated, but still, the bulk of objection to wolf reintroduction anywhere comes from that group.  It’s already been shown that wolves are beneficial to the health of the ecosystem in Yellowstone.  By having a meat-based diet and using animal products (wool), we’re indirectly having a negative impact on the health of the ecosystems we live in.

Another thing I’ve learned was just today, reading that over half (60%) of the lakes in New Zealand are deemed unsafe for humans to swim in…due to pollution from dairy farming.  Wow.  I have to assume that dairy production in the US has at least some similar effect, but I haven’t read anything about that yet, I need to learn more.

Of course, there’s the issue of methane produced by cows and its effect on global warming, too!

I’m realizing that to achieve my goal of protecting the environment to the greatest extent possible, I need to further reconsider my diet and not support industries that are directly harming it.  However, I don’t have a good sense right now of to what extent the production of plant-based foods negatively impacts the environment.  I know there are concerns about water usage (almonds, especially) and destruction of native habitat, but are there other issues I need to be more aware of?  The quest for knowledge continues.

Review: Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight with integrated solar panel

Goal Zero Torch 250 flashlightI love multi-function, high tech devices…so when I saw this new flashlight from Goal Zero, I had to pick one up and give it a try!  It features an internal, non-replaceable lithium-ion battery and multiple lighting and charging options.  At about $80 at Amazon, it’s hardly cheap…so is the cost justified?  Read on to find out…

Continue reading “Review: Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight with integrated solar panel”

Investing in chaotic times

The stock market got a little wonky there for a bit though has settled down…but it provided me with a good reminder to have patience and not panic.  If I had bailed when the market tanked, I’d have missed this latest recovery!  It’s important to not let little blips throw you off.

The best book I’ve read on this subject, by far, is MONEY – Master The Game by Tony Robbins.  As he often says, ‘success leaves clues’…he’s made a living (and a small fortune) by studying the success of others, and compiling that into a concise steps that others can follow to achieve similar results.  In this book, he took that same approach to financial planning, and it’s a great read.  One of the points he makes is that mutual funds are basically garbage…you’re better off just putting your money into an index fund (if you’re investing in stocks).  Warren Buffet recently won a million dollar bet involving exactly that…he bet that a low cost S&P 500 index fund would provide better results than a collection Protégé Partners hedge funds.  He won, with a 7.1% return compared to 2.2% from the funds.  Oh, and note that Buffet donated the winnings to Girls Inc. of Omaha, to help teen girls transitioning out of the foster system.  Anyway, the book is less than $15 at Amazon, it’s a small price to pay for the knowledge contained inside!

Using graphene to filter and desalinate saltwater

As the global population increases and water supplies become less predictable due to global warming, finding sources of clean drinking water becomes even more critical. Just ask residents of Cape Town, which expects to run out of water around April 12nd! The obvious solution is to desalinate ocean water, but that’s a very energy-intensive process. Well, researchers in Australia found a way to use a graphene film to act as a filter; its structure allows water molecules to pass through but blocks larger contaminant particles. Most membrane filters get clogged up quickly, but this one keeps working even as it gets coated in contaminants. It’s nowhere near a commercial product yet, but is a promising solution to a growing global concern.

(more at FastCompany)

The end of the road for the internal combustion automobile engine

The days of gas-powered cars are numbered. Sure, electric cars are cool and promising and are gaining in popularity worldwide, but an announcement by Volvo really helps make clear the powertrain of the future.  As reported by MotorAuthority, Volvo is no longer working on any next generation gasoline powered engines.  This doesn’t mean they’ll stop SELLING them any time soon…the current generation can last quite some time, I’m sure.  But they’re looking ahead, and they apparently don’t see the profit in developing new gas engines, not with the rise of electrics.  A big step, really, and one I expect other car companies will emulate.  Or…maybe it’s just a publicity stunt?  Volvo is owned by Chinese company Geely…so are they making this announcement for the eco-friendly news benefit, while actually planning to switch to Geely engines in the future if electrics haven’t reached the point needed by then?

Also in electric vehicle news…delivery company DHL did the math on Tesla’s new semi truck, and figured they’d break even on it in less than two years, compared to a conventional diesel truck.  For large companies that are willing to invest in capital equipment like this, switching their short/mid range fleets to electric is really a no-brainer!  It’s only a matter of time, too, before trucks like the Tesla are suitable for long-haul trucking.

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