Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Plan To Stop The Sugar Addiction

 How to stop the sugar addiction which leads to sugar cravings.

Many adults have been addicted to sugar for years. I have spent the past twenty-five years trying to become sugar free. I admit I succeed for six to eight months at a time and then fall off the wagon. I usually am not successful at getting right back on the wagon. I think it is a multifaceted process of become sugar free and living a life of sugar free.

In order to be successful at living a sugar free life, you need to learn about your body and the cravings for sugar. I discovered the cravings are much stronger after eating sugar. I have been successful at living sugar free when I tracked my eating with a food diary. 

The food diary shows just how much sugar are you eating. I tracked how I felt after eating sugar. I want to understand why I want more and more sugar. I wanted to understand why I go back and get the second piece of pie, cake, brownie. One handful of peanut M&M's leads to another, and yet another handful. Why? What triggers a sugar binge? Why does one bite lead to a craving for more and more?

The journey of living a sugar free life starts by not eating sugar. This is where the food diary helps keep notes on how you feel. Detoxing sugar is not fun! But after four to six days without sugar, the physical cravings disappear. Once detoxed from sugar, this is how I have learned to live without sugar.

I have used the following step-by-step process to help me live a sugar free diet.
  1. I always eat breakfast within 30-45 minutes of waking up.
  2. I always include protein in my breakfast.
  3. I do not drink soda, or juice. I drink water, tea, and coffee.
  4. I always eat protein with each meal.
  5. I eat on a regular schedule with three meals a day. A snack of protein has helped me avoid sugar.
  6. Exercise of some fashion, a daily walk helps me feel better.
  7. Sleep is critical! This is where I have messed up in the past. A regular sleep pattern of eight plus hours is essential for success. When I am sleep deprived, I crave carbohydrates and eventually fall off the wagon and eat sugar.
  8. Meals must be prepared before you are hungry! It is easy to reach for carbohydrates and sugar filled snacks when you are hungry and trying to prepare a meal. 
  9. Avoid stress if possible! If under stress, exercise, pray, meditate, take a long bath, shower, talk to a friend, try to avoid eating. This is where I have messed up in the past and have eaten sugar snacks.
  10. If you chose to eat sugar and want to continue on a sugar free diet, do not beat yourself up. The next day make the decision not to eat sugar. I have found this is a day to day process. Our world is filled with sugar snacks and drinks. It is hard to avoid the pitfalls but can be done.

Personal note: I have been eating sugar since Christmas Holidays. Stress and circumstances beyond my control have put me out of my comfort zone. The old habit of reaching for carbohydrates during stressful times has once again reared its ugly-head.

Heart Failure

April 18, 2013- Mother had been home since Tuesday April 16, evening. She is so fragile and weak. Her breathing is labored. We had to take her back to the hospital the morning of April 18, 2013. She was re-admitted with heart failure and rental failure.

She has had ups and downs this past week. We were waiting for her kidneys to get strong enough to handle the dye so they can do a heart catheterization. The decision was made to move her to Charlotte. This way a procedure could be performed if needed while doing the catheterization.

The heart catheterization was preformed and news was good. We give praise to God for this good news.

Mother is continuing to improve and get stronger Friday and Saturday. We are thankful for the strength she has gained.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Roller Coaster of Life

This week has been a roller coaster filled with highs and many lows. Mother was much weaklier and sicker when she left the hospital Tuesday than when she was twelve days earlier when she was admitted. We got to bring her home Tuesday evening. She was so weak and sick she could not walk more than two feet and she had to sit to rest. She had a heart attack in the hospital. Her kidneys are not functioning properly since her hospital stay. We had to help her get up from the chair just to walk 24 inches before she would have to sit and rest. It was a struggle to breath. She was total care and did not seem to be improving. She was re-admitted to the hospital Thursday.

If she lives, her doctor said she will have to go to a facility to recuperate and gain her strength. She is so sick and weak. She has several serious health problems. It is such a struggle to breath. It has become a catch 22. A medication that would help one issue will harm another issue. 

Yesterday morning, when I left the hospital I felt like I was leaving my child at daycare. I keep telling myself she was in good hands. I hate she is with strangers. I wonder if that is scary to her? It is to me.

It was sad leaving the hospital last night. I am in prayer for the Lord's will be done in her life. I grief for lost shopping trips, and lost lunches. I wonder if she will be alive for this Mothers Day, her birthday, and Christmas? We have started the long good-bye.

Monday, April 15, 2013

How to Increase Gas Mileage

I wrote this in 2008. I am often ask how to increase gas mileage? These simple procedures can save you money on gasoline.  The majority of these suggestions the average person can do themselves with the exception of the tune-up.

Buy the lowest octane level of gasoline that is required for your vehicle. Refer to  your owner's manual for the octane rating which is required for your vehicle. If your vehicle knocks or pings when you fuel up with regular unleaded, then use the next level of octane gasoline. This could mean your vehicle needs a tune-up. By not using expensive premium gasoline, this will save you hundreds of dollars in a years time.

If you have a garage park your vehicle in your garage. This will help your vehicle stay warmer in winter and cool in summer. Thus  you will save gas by not having to use the defroster in the winter. In the summer if the car is stored in the garage, the vehicle will be cooler thus you will save on air-conditioning.

Tire pressure needs to be checked once a week, use the recommended pressure in your owner's manual. One can also find this information inside the drivers door jam on the vehicle. To get an accurate reading of tire pressure, be sure to check tire pressure when your tires are cold. Improper tire inflation will damage your tires, and lower your vehicle's gas mileage. When the tires are under inflated the tire has more resistance to the roadway, thus your engine works harder to maintain a set speed. The vehicle's gas mileage may go down as much as 15 percent. Under inflated tires may reduce the life of your tires by 15 percent plus. I have seen this happen.

Gas mileage can be boosted up 4 to 5 percent by keeping the vehicle in tune. Regular tune-ups are a must for the best fuel mileage. A misfiring spark plug can reduce a vehicle's fuel efficiency from 25 to 35 percent. A bad coil can greatly reduce fuel mileage.

Replace the vehicle air filter to improve gas mileage. You can tell when the engine air filter needs to be replaced  it will be clogged with dust and dirt.  This causes your engine to work harder thus your vehicle becomes less fuel-efficient. The engine air filter should be checked every three months, or at 3000 miles when the oil is changed.

You will save money or increase your mileage, by use lowest octane gasoline, park in a garage, check tire pressure, keep vehicle tuned-up, and changing the air filters. I hope these suggestion help increase your fuel mileage.

How To Save Money With Summer Driving

I wrote this article in 2008. I hope it helps you to get your auto in shape for the summer driving. The following suggestions should help your autos run more efficient and prevent costly breakdowns.

I am often ask how to protect your auto? Most want to know what they can do to get the most out of their autos. First, I recommend  you change your engine oil regularly. I would increase the viscosity of my oil at least for summer driving. I personally use the higher viscosity oil in my autos year round.

I know what many are thinking? What is oil viscosity? Viscosity is simply the oil’s resistance to flow at a given temperature, usually we refers to viscosity as the thickness of the oil. The lower the viscosity rating or weight, the oil is thinner. The higher the viscosity rating, the oil is thicker. Some oils are also multi-viscous, which means the oil's thickness can change depending on its temperature. Multi-grade oils offer better engine protection than straight weight oils by preventing the oil from becoming too thick when cold, while maintaining a heavier oil weight when hot. The oil still thins out with heat, and thickens up as it cools, but at any given temperature it should measure within the specs for a weight oil at that temperature.

We need to discuss synthetic oils. As a usual rule, conventional oils lack the performance of synthetic oils in the areas of low-temperature performance and high-temperature oxidation stability. The synthetic oils do offer more protection. I personally like the synthetic oils. The synthetics seem to offer more protection for our engines. I recommend you follow your owner’s manual.

How do you know which type of oil to use in your auto? Your vehicle's owner's manual will list the manufacturer's oil recommendations. Many late model autos recommend oil grades of 0W-40, 5W-20, 5W-30. The owners manual should tell you what grade of oil to use in different climates, and temperatures.

Our transmissions are often overlooked. It is important to service your transmission. I recommend changing the fluid and filter the old fashion way. Service according to your owner manual, hard winter driving can be hard on a transmission. Many transmission problems come from overheating. We often overheat our transmissions when we tow heavy objects and continuous stop and go traffic. Winter driving in snow can overheat the tranmission especially rocking the vehicle from the snow when one gets stuck. The transmission fluid burns, at higher temperatures causing it to losing its lubricating quality. The fluid becomes oxidized leaving deposits all over inside the transmission. Not changing the fluid, too little fluid, using wrong type of fluid, sooner or later, this will results in transmission failure.

The Coolant or antifreeze mixture is essential to keeping your engine protected. The mixture of coolant and water inside your radiator needs to be a 50:50 mixture of antifreeze and water. This is important to protect your engine. During freezing winter weather too little antifreeze can put your engine and the components of the coolant system in danger of freezing and cracking. The hot summer heat can cause an auto with low coolant to overheat. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When you combine the water with an equal amount of antifreeze, the new mixture boils at a higher temperature. The coolant also adds some protection to hoses and prevents some rust and corrosion. The coolant system needs to be flushed every 3 years or less depending on the PH of your coolant.

The belts and hoses are also essential to the operation of the engine. The belts and hoses during the winter months are subject to hot and cold temperature fluctuation. The summer heat is also hard on belts and hoses check the belts and hoses. I recommended having them checked before leaving on a summer vacation if you are driving. If they break, you can be strand on the side of the road in the hot summer heat.

The battery is next on our list. The winter is tough on your battery. I recommend a high cold cranking amps battery.  Battery's are rated by CCA, cold cranking amps. This term is used to define a battery's ability to start an engine in cold temperatures. The rating is the number of amps a new, fully charged battery can deliver at 0° Farenheit for 30 seconds, while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts, for a 12 volt battery. The reason I suggest a high CCA rating, is because higher the CCA rating greater is the starting power of the battery.

Many are shocked to discover the hot summer heat is also hard on a battery. Hopefully, the following suggestions can help prevent you from being stranded on the side of the road. All batteries more than three years old should be tested since there is a higher rate of failing with older batteries. This is a good time to clean the posts and connections. They need to be corrosion free. I recommend that you always carry jumper cables. The red is always put on the positive post (+) and the black cable is put on the negative (-).

This is also a good time to check all fluids. Let's not forget rear-end and other parts that need to be check for gear oil. See your owner manual for types and level of fluids in each system. I feel like I need to interject here. It is extremely important to fill to proper levels of fluids and use proper filters.

The next item we are going to address is tire pressure. It is vital to have properly inflated tires. Read your owner's manual if available, check driver’s door, or glove box to find the correct tire pressures. The tire pressure specifications are for when the tires are cold. Therefore be sure to check the pressure when the tires are cold. This means before the auto has been driven. Improper air pressure may lead to an accident. There are other reasons the correct tire pressure is important. It provides the optimal contact between the road and your tires. This helps your tires wear properly which extends the life of the tires greatly. Proper inflation also improves your fuel mileage. Your summer tire pressure may need to be adjusted to compensate for hotter operating conditions. Do remember to check your spare tire’s pressure bi-monthly especially before trips.

We need to be able to see thus wipers and wiper fluid are the next are to check out. The wiper blades need to be changed once a year. The reason is because the blades can dry out; when this happens they need to be replaced. The wipers can start separating the rubber can separate from the wiper. This can scratch your windshield. Now that we have change the wiper blades, lets check and fill the wiper fluid. This is especially needed for the summer with the increase in bugs, pollen, and dust. Not that our wipers are new and we have fluid lets clean the windshield. I recommend clean windshield, grille, hood, headlights, and bumper at least weekly. Bugs flying into our auto can damage the paint. The headlights on our autos need to be cleaned and polished for summer driving. At this time, check to see if all you lights are functioning properly.

We are ready for summer driving. I do recommend an emergency kit for the trunk. The following items are suggested. I keep them in my trunk. A First-Aid kit,  A Flashlight, Extra Batteries, Triangle Reflector Kit, Working Gloves, a Change of Clothes, including Walking Shoes, Dried Fruit, Nuts, or other Non Perishable Food, Bottle Water, Sport Drink, Hand Sanitizer, Paper Towels, Clean Towel, Jumper Cables, A Gallon of Antifreeze, Duct Tape, Wire, Electrical Tape, Green Slime Sealant for Tires, and A few Hand Tools. These items can come in hand if you are stranded on the side of the road.

In conclusion, the above maintenance if done properly should extend the life of your auto. Changing oil, transmission fluid, checking belts and hoses, and checking coolant are the first step to ensure your auto will last many years to come. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of spring and the upcoming summer. 

How to Replace a Toyota Corolla 98-02 Inside Door Handle

This is an article I wrote years ago. I have had several phone calls the past couple of weeks concerning these inside door handles.  They are relative easy to change. I have had numerous women change these. Leave a comment with phone number if you need help finding the handles and installing them.                         


 Tools Needed:
  • Flat Head Screwdriver
  • Philip Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Door Panel Remover Tool (if available)
  • Old Big Towel's
Materials Needed:
  • Replacement Car Door Handles
  • Screw either New or from Old Door Handle
  • You may need door panel clips

 How to replace the inside door handle on a Geo/Chevrolet Prizm and a Toyota Corolla 98-02?
The amount of time needed for this repair will vary accord to your skill level from 30 minutes to one hour. I suggest you have a small box or magnetic tray to put your parts and screws into when they are removed.

  1. First remove the screw from the inside door handle, save this screw. The old door handle can be removed at this point. Sometimes the door handle is still connected to the door opening mechanism and will not come free. If this is the case do not worry, you can remove it after the door panel has been removed.
  2. Remove the arm rest in the middle of the door panel. This piece snaps off. You should use a flat-head screwdriver underneath the panel apply pressure to loosen the clips. Pull upward with constant even pressure, the arm rest will snap off.
  3. After removing the arm rest you will find two more screws, remove and save these screws.
  4. Next step is to remove the door panel with caution the clips break easily.
  5. Use your door panel remover tool (if available) start at the bottom of the door panel. If you are using a flat head screwdriver pull up, at this point use put your fingers under the plastic, and pull out towards you with firm, even pressure. Be careful these  clips often break, they can be replaced.
  6. Go around the edges of the door unsnapping the door panel.
  7. When the panel is free, lift it up and over the locking mechanism. Be carefully do not let the door panel fall to the ground, it can get scratched. This is where the big old towel's come in handy. Let the panel rest on the towels. 
  8. Power windows and locks will have wires coming from the door into the panel. The wires limit how far you can move the panel from the door. These wires can be unsnapped and the panel can be laid down. I suggest placing it on towel's to prevent scratching.
  9. The wires do not have to be unsnapped to replace the handle.
  10. The metal rod with an L-shape at the end extends out towards the door handle. The tip of the metal rod is to be inserted into the receiving hole on the replacement door handle. There is a piece of plastic that acts as a buffer that may still be connected to the piece of metal. You may need to remove the old piece. Your new door handles will already have this piece of plastic in the hole. Use whichever one works the best.
  11. Attach the metal rod to the door handle with the door handle inserted into its proper place in the door panel. You may need to snap the metal rod into place inside the door handle.
  12. Place the door handle in the door panel and to the door itself. There are three arms extending from the back of the door handle. The two L-shaped ones are on the top and bottom. The other arm is a pole, or cylinder. You will need to line up the holes as you reattach the door panel.
  13. Lift the door panel up over the locking mechanism when reattaching the door panel then lower it into position.
  14. The door handle should slide into place into the door, and you'll then have to slide it to one side in order to align the screw hole with the screw hole in the door.            
  15. Once everything is lined up, apply firm pressure up against the panel to snap into place.
  16. When everything is snapped back into place, close the door and test the handle.
  17.  Screw back in the two screws you removed behind the arm rest and one screw in the replacement handle.
  18. Reattach the arm rest to its original location, it will snaps back into place. Congratulations you are finished.

How to Save Money With Your Auto?

This is an article I wrote in 2009. I went back and shorten it. If you are like me, your automobile is a major investment. It is wise to do preventive maintenance to extend the life of your auto. A tune-up is advised every twenty-four months or 30,000 miles. The following is what needs to be done during your tune-up.

1. Change the spark plugs and plug wires. A set of high-quality wires is recommenced. If the plugs are platinum, they do not have to be changed for 30,000 miles.

2. The fuel filter needs to be changed. There can be small amount of water and debris trapped in the filter.

3. The PCV valve, (positive crankcase ventilation), valve needs to be replaced. The PCV valve can make your car run poorly if it gets clogged.

4. If your auto has a distributor, replace the distributor cap, and rotor button.

5. The air filter needs to be checked and replaced if dirty. It needs to be replaced especially if you live in a high smog or a dusty area.

6. The belts need to be checked for cracks, tears, and other signs of wear. The belts need to be replace if worn.

7. One needs to check all fluids under the hood. The brake fluid, power steering, coolant, transmission, oil, and windshield washer fluid, replenish as necessary. Change the oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles. One needs to time the tune-up with time to change the oil.

8. The battery needs to be checked clean terminals and cable ends.

9. The tires need to be checked and gauged, be sure to check the air pressure in the spare tire in the trunk.

The above procedures will help your auto perform at it's optimum level. These processes above can also increase your gas mileage.

From Peace to Worry In A Manner Of A Few Hours

We had a good visit with my Mama at the hospital. My Dad, brother Joe, and my sister all went together. It was the first time Joe had got to go to the hospital. Mama had improved one hundred percent. We left with a good feeling. I had a good feeling about her recovery, that I did not have before this visit.

A few hours later, I got a breathless call from Mama at 11:37 PM she was upset because her heart had acted up and had to have another EKG. She is on a heart monitor. She had a restless night and had to be given a new heart medication and three shots for pain through the the night.

This got me to thinking about the the ebb and flow of life. We all experience good and bad situations in ours lives daily. Some of us can handle the ebb and flow of life easier than others. I have observed in life some get completely submerged in destructive thinking. It seems they tend to have more lows in their lives. I wonder do these individuals ever experience any good times? I wonder do they miss the good times in life wallowing in their pity? These individuals seem to think life is suppose to be all mountains and no valleys.

When we are in a valley, it is an opportunity to have greater faith in God. This can be an opportunity to grow spiritually. I realize more than ever there is an ebb and flow of life. It would help if we learned to embrace the valleys rather than resist them. We can use these times in the valleys to cultivate our relationship with God. I trust in his plan for my life. I believe God only wants good events in my life.

Needless to say today is a little stressful worrying about my Mama with the rest of life. A work friend made the statement, "you don't look stressed." Well, I am! I wonder why some seem to handle stress better than others?

It seems people want permanency with continuity and duration in life. I know I do. We need to realize the only permanency in life is the fact nothing last forever. Life is ever changing. The idea that we’re supposed to be on a mountain all the time is misleading and it causes many to have false expectations about life.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Twist and Turns of Life

Life seems to be filled with hills and valleys ups and downs. Our days are filled with twist and turns many with pleasant outcomes. Some of theses twist and turns are planned others are unplanned alone the stream of life. The days come and go before long a person will be in the autumn of their life. It is interesting the wide range of emotions that the subject of time triggers in us.

We long for the days to fly by in our childhood and youth. This seems especially true with teenagers wishing time to pass looking forward to this and that. They have not learned as children and teenagers that the months and years of their life seem to tumble over the waterfall of life. These days, months and years of life can never be regained.

I often hear people say, "I wish I knew then what I know now."  Enjoy and appreciate life today there are not any "do-overs."

Adulthood approaches with all the responsibilities of an adult. It would be helpful if we learn to smell the roses along the stream of life. It seems we approach the waterfall of life without thought. When we go over the waterfall into the autumn of our life, it appears life downstream will never be so carefree as our childhood and teenager years.

This is my prelude into the subject of death and dying.  It seems this conversation is reserved for when someone we know or love is dying. I think it would be less fear inducing to start exploring your thoughts, feelings, and fears about this subject before life demands it.

My Mother has been in the hospital for the past ten days much of this time in ICU. She has serious health issues. This latest turn of events has shone light on the autumn years of her life. I wonder how she feels about her life? Does she think it has been well spent?

How do you view and feel about death? Death is a part of our lives no matter our age or health conditions. When we think about death, it helps us face our fears of death. Life is not perpetual as a matter of fact it is always ending and always changing.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

How To Stop Sugar Cravings

Cravings can be hard to stop. It seems like sugar cravings are the worst. I have to eliminate sugar out of my body four to six days before I stop craving it. There have been times I was sugar free for four days and accidentally consumed sugar and it would start me carving sugar all over again. Once, my husband accidentally put sugar in my hot tea on the fifth day of me being sugar free.

It’s a vicious cycle being addicted to sugar. Our insulin levels rise when we eat sugar. We burn off some of the sugar and our insulin level starts to fall so we crave sugar to spike our insulin levels. This rise and drop leads us to feeling tired, and fatigued.

I can limit my sugar and be successful when I increase my protein. Protein is my friend when I am trying to kick the sugar habit. I also avoid artificial sweeteners, like Saccharin or Aspartame. They make me have sugar cravings.

My cravings are the worst when I have missed a meal. The best way for me to avoid this drop in sugar level is by eating every five hours with a healthy snack of protein in between the meals to avoid that drop in blood sugar. Eating three good meals a day with a snack in between meals.

Good luck kicking the sugar habit, it will improve your overall health!

I am an Early Riser

Henry my wonderful husband and soul mate of many years is not a morning person. He can get up early and did for many years of his working career. He is retired thus he does not have to get up early. Henry worked unusual hours through the years.

I tried through the years to become a night owl so I could spend more time with Henry. I can do it but it is hard. I wake up early no manner what time I go to sleep. Henry can sleep all day. I surmise Henry had to learn how to do this since he worked unusual hours through the years.

Henry and I have one child. He is twenty five years old. Scott is not a morning person. I tried through the years to no avail to convert him into a morning person. He has ask me to please tone it down in the mornings.

I have learned through the years to pay attention to my body and go to bed when I am sleepy. I am up first and can get loads done before they wake. I can have my quite time with God before they ever wake. I cook and clean without interference. I have learned to appreciate my quite time in the mornings.

A couple of months ago I was not feeling well and sleep in to 9:30 AM on a Sunday. My precious son was up at this hour (miracles do happen).  I was awaken by my son's stereo playing. My son apologized numerous times. He told me, "you never sleep late".

I was ask how I get up early. My advice is to get ready for bed early in the evening. Once you feel sleepy go to bed immediately instead of fighting sleep. I do think it helps to get up at the same time every day. I do not recommend a snooze button.

I am thankful to God we are all different. We need night owls to work in the emergency room to be police officers that work at night. It does seems like our world is set for morning people.

My Recent Hospital Visits

I have been told  by many individuals I am the happiest person they know. The question is why am I so happy?

I have always been one to be thankful. It is my personality to appreciate and to see life in a positive view. Henry, my wonderful husband and soul mate of many years is more of a realist or a pessimistic. We balance each other out. This is why we make a good couple.

My Mama has been in the hospital for over a week. She was in ICU most of this time. My visits to the hospital have reinforced my thankful attitude. I am thankful to God for my life, good health, and my family. My suggestion for a happy life is to take time to smell the roses. Learn to appreciate what you have instead of concentration on what you do not have.

Possessions will not make you happy. I look at the patients in the rooms as I walk down the halls at the hospital some are recovering others are dying. Their worldly possessions do not manner at this point in their lives. They just want a healthy body at this point in their lives.

Happiness comes from within yourself. I have an inner peace from God which produces happiness and contentment. Contentment is a source of satisfaction. You to can have this happiness. The gift has already been given all you have to do is to accept the gift of everlasting life.