Reduction Missouri Blind Pension Program

Dear Missouri Representatives,

Thank you so very much for the $33 a month reduction in the Missouri Blind Pension Program. I have been a recipient of this great program for several years and it has allowed me and others to live a life without the need for other assistance programs or financial assistance from others.

I received a letter today that notified me as of January 2015 I will receive $33 less instead of an annual increase. This will be a total of $66 less each month for my family, as my Wife also receives Missouri Blind Pension.

We will continue to stay warm in the winter, we will still be able to afford food but the one thing that we will not be able to do is to forget this when it comes time for your reelection.

You are the ones who had the ability to change rules, procedures, and laws but chose not to.
So regardless of your party label, we will be voting against you and doing all that we can do, online, email, and in person to encourage others to support us as you have chosen not to.

If you live in Missouri, please contact your rep and share your thoughts. You can find your rep by going to: http://www.house.mo.gov/

Tracking Packages

My Wife and I have been using a great service to keep track of packages. We use Ship-Rack and love it.
They will keep track of your packages all in one place regardless of the carrier.

Before ship-rack I had an app on my phone for UPS, another for FedEx and tracked packages from the post office on their web site. I have the ship-rack app on my Moto X and they have an app for IOS users too.

 

Before you can start using this service you do need to install the app and give them your email address. This way ship-rack will know when they get an email from your address with a tracking number, where to send the data to. Its quick and simple, they don’t ask for your mother’s maiden name, your favorite food or your credit card number, ship-rack is free.
At least in the android app it is sponsored by ads. The ads never got in my way but I decided to spend 99 cents to remove ads, mainly just to support ship-rack and their great service.

 

Here is how I do package tracking now. When I buy something online and get a shipment notification from the place I bought something, I just copy the tracking number and paste it in a new message. The address I send the tracking number to is:

 

 

packages@ship-rack.com

 

 

In the subject I write a short label for what the package is, coffee maker, wool hat, flavored coffee, etc..

If you get a shipment notification with the tracking number already in the email, you can forward the entire email to the same address, just remember to change the subject so you’ll know what the package is. Ship-Rack will automatically get the tracking number out of the email.

 

A few minutes later I get a confirmation email from ship-rack saying they are now tracking the package I just sent them.
A minute or two after that the app on my phone notifies me of the new package.

It has the number of days until delivery, the label I put in the subject of the email, the tracking number and the current status of the package.

As ship-rack gets updates on the package they update the data in the app. On my Moto X, I can double tap the listing and go to the carrier’s site using the browser on my phone with the tracking number already entered. When the package has been delivered I can double tap and hold on the listing to get more options. I double tap on archive and that package is gone from the main screen of the app.

 

 

This great service just makes it so much easier to keep track of packages, no matter who is delivering. We frequently buy from Amazon and we never know which carrier they will select for a package. With ship-rack we don’t have to go install apps for each carrier, sign up for an account either in the app or on the carrier’s web site. Its just simply taken care of all in one place.

 

 

My Wife and I have added each others email address as an alias in the ship-rack app. So when she adds a package to ship-rack I get it added to the app on my phone. The same goes for when I add a package, my Wife automatically gets it added to the app on her phone. That way we can both be aware of when to expect a delivery.

For more information please visit the ship-rack web site:

http://www.ship-rack.com/

 

 

 

I wasn’t paid by ship-rack in any way, just sharing info about a great free service.

Eating More Carbs

A couple of months ago I realized that it was time for a change in

what and how I was eating. There are many things related to

having Gastric Bypass Surgery that I have learned on my own.

First, I want to remind everyone that just because something works

for me, that doesn’t mean that it will or will not work for you.

If you put me next to someone who had the same surgery, there are

big differences as we are all individuals. Our bodies all do

slightly different things, one person might tolerate a food item

differently than me. I might have a preference for something that

just isn’t appetizing to you.

One of the things that helped me in making changes to what I eat

is a study that looks at the amount of carbs someone should be

eating when they are a few years out from having Gastric Bypass

Surgery.

Here is a link to that study:

http://goo.gl/Mxkovp

Right around that same time I had lab work done by my family

Doctor. I see my weight loss surgeon every January and get blood

work done. I like to get blood work done in the middle of the

year, just to check on things.

The report came back and I had elevated enzyme levels in my liver

and kidneys. I started thinking about what I had been doing

different in my diet. I did some research online and figured out

those elevated enzymes are because I was taking in too much

protein. I had gone crazy with protein drinks. Its not that I was

replacing meals with shakes, its just the number and way I was

having them was too much for what my body could handle.

So after reading that study, I started making changes to eat more

carbs in a day, making my goal around 130 g carbs and keeping the

sugars low.

On August 15 I weighed 174 pounds. This was 10 pounds more than I

was about a year before. It was at this point that I started

making changes. October 18 I weighed 169 pounds. I see the loss in

weight as a result of eating higher carb foods, still getting in

the amount of protein that I need and only having a protein shake

every other day or so.

Below is information on what I ate last Saturday including

nutritional information for each item.

Again, this is what works for me, so consider this before you make

any changes to what and how you eat.
Eggo Nutri-Grain Whole Wheat Waffles with Walden Farms Blueberry Syrup

http://goo.gl/y2n8QL

Serving size: 2 waffles

Total Carbohydrate

28 g

Dietary Fiber

3 g

net carbs

25 g

Sugars

3 g

Protein

5 g
Kahiki Chicken Egg Rolls

http://goo.gl/CtHJn1

Serving size: 1 egg roll

Total Carbohydrate

20 g

Dietary Fiber

1 g

Net Carbs

19 g

Sugars

2 g

Protein

5 g

I had two egg rolls so double the nutrition info if you are

counting the total numbers of what I ate.

Jose Ole Mini Tacos Beef & Cheese

http://goo.gl/M3bb7Y

Serving size: 4 mini tacos

Total Carbohydrate

19 g

Dietary Fiber

5 g

Net Carbs

14 g

Sugars

1 g

Protein

7 g

I had six tacos so the actual numbers are slightly higher for what

I ate.

Big Train Fit Frappe Espresso

20 g protein

2 cups silk unsweetened soy milk 14 g protein

34 g protein total
Peanut Butter and JamPita Pocket

Oro wheat Pocket Pita 100% Whole Wheat

Serving size:

1/2 flatbread

Total Carbohydrate

20 g

Dietary Fiber

5 g

Sugars

2 g

Protein

5 g
Old Home Creamy Peanut Butter

Serving size

2 tbsp

Total Carbohydrate

7 g

Dietary Fiber

3 g

Sugars

0 g

Protein

8 g

I put 4 tablespoons in mine.

Smuckers Concord Grape Jam with Splenda, Sugar Free

Serving Size

1 tbsp

Total Carbohydrate

5g

Dietary Fiber

0g

Sugars

0g

Protein

0g
Total net carbs for my PB&J:

28 g

Total sugars:

2 g

Total protein:

21 g

TotalsFor Day:

73 g protein

112 g carbs

I would have had something else to eat before bed but my allergies

were driving me crazy. I took some benadryl and went to bed early.

I still drink plenty of water with crystal light / store brand.

Usually around 60 – 70 ounces each day. I also drink about 3 or 4

cups of coffee too. I sweeten the coffee with sugar free syrup.

I go back and forth between Torani and DaVinci brands, depending

on which flavor I’m in the mood for. Lately I’ve been using the

sugar free sweetener syrup from DaVinci. Its the same that is in

their other sugar free syrups, just no flavoring. It adds some

sweetness to the flavor of the coffee.
I know some weight loss surgery programs frown on caffene. Some

are very strict saying never never never while other programs

don’t have a restriction. I waited until about 6 months after I

had gastric bypass surgery to start making changes. My surgery

program was one that was strict about caffene. So I chose to do

this on my own. I kept a food and weight log. I kept track of what

I ate, how much caffene I was drinking and my weight each week.

Guess what? My apetite didn’t increase as I was scared into

thinking that it would. My weight kept going down and so I decided

that my body was fine with caffene in my diet.

I’ve been searching around for different places to get flavored

coffee. After finding out that the coffee shop in my local grocery

can’t make any drinks sugar free, I knew it was up to me to make

coffee at home. This way I knew what goes into my coffee and I

could make varieties the coffee shop couldn’t.

I’ve tried a few bags I bought at the grocery but have found a

place online that has a wide variety of flavored coffee and its

made fresh.

This morning I had some EggNog Royale coffee with sugar free

vanilla syrup and a spoon of cool whip. It was very very yummy.

I bought it from CoffeeFool.com and encourage anyone who wants

some great tasting coffee from a family run business to give them

a try. They do have decaf too, for those who can’t handle the

caffene.

Again, this is what works for me. If I can be of any help to you or someone you know who is considering weight loss surgery, I’m very happy to help. While gastric bypass was right for me, it may not be for you. It wasn’t for my Wife who has lost 250 pounds on the Slow Carb Diet and kept it off. I can share her experience and info as well.

blindbites@gmail.com

My Favorite Flavored Coffee

I think I’ve found my favorite place for flavored coffee.

CoffeeFool.com

They are a small family owned business in Minnesota and have a wide variety of flavored coffee as well as unflavored coffee too.
I was searching for some Pumpkin coffee and wasn’t finding it in stores. I found it online from Dunkin Donuts but when I was ready to place an order, their site just had server errors for 4 days. When it was back online, there was no mention of the pumpkin.

 

 

Coffee Fool makes their pumpkin spice coffee all year long. So I tried a bag and loved it. I’ve been experimenting with adding sugar free pumpkin spice syrup and DaVinci’s sweetener syrup, which doesn’t have the flavoring of their other syrups, just sweetens what you are adding it to.

Both were very yummy.
I placed another order for the pumpkin spice coffee and found another that sounded good. EggNog Royale coffee.
Its amazingly yummy. I’ve made it with the sweetener syrup and also some sugar free vanilla syrup too and a spoon of cool whip.

 

So that is my favorite so far. There are many options on the Coffee Fool web site for how you want your coffee, drip grind, french press, etc.. Several options for shipping too. I chose UPS ground. It shipped on a Monday and it was here on Wednesday.

Here’s a related tweet I sent this morning while sipping on the EggNog Royale:

EggNog Royale Coffee + SugarFree Vanilla syrup + spoon of CoolWhip = Yummy Here’s the coffee:
http://goo.gl/foc8PI

Android Accessibility

 

Android is my choice of operating systems for my smartphone. It is very accessible and below you will find some helpful information. Some info, like my list of apps is from me, other info has been gathered by the very helpful people on the Eyes Free google group. Other info is from a search on google.

A great tutorial for the options in TalkBack and using its gestures:
http://goo.gl/xNcJ50

 

Here is a list of keyboard commands for android:
http://goo.gl/VWZ36Q

 

Another tutorial for using the gestures in TalkBack:
http://goo.gl/VTmHve

 

The Eyes-Free Google Group:
http://goo.gl/gJe4UR

 

To join the Eyes-Free google group send an email to:
eyes-free+subscribe@googlegroups.com

 

 

Here is a list of accessible android apps that I have installed on my phone. Just for reference, I’ve got the first Moto X which is running version 4.4.4. Most of the things I do are by touch but I do use a bluetooth keyboard sometimes too, it just depends on what I’m doing.
This list is current as of the date of this posting. I don’t have any problems labeling a button from time to time. These apps are accessible for me but many people have different ideas of what accessible means.
I’ve shortened the play store links for each app.

 

Acapela TTS Voices
http://goo.gl/y7PBaw

AccuRadio
http://goo.gl/yf7Qx6

Amazon Kindle
http://goo.gl/9jCIT

AquaMail
http://goo.gl/U8Ij0

Audible
http://goo.gl/9g9uR

Beep Hourly
http://goo.gl/vDvKt

CamFind
http://goo.gl/4l4mz9

chomp SMS
http://goo.gl/IbdLi

Commandr for Google Now
http://goo.gl/ymE0Mn

Docs
http://goo.gl/s7dFFk

ETI-Eloquence TTS
http://goo.gl/r74XuS

Facebook
http://goo.gl/fu6z9

Goggles
http://goo.gl/BctQA

Google Opinion Rewards
http://goo.gl/CLmCNH

Google Voice
http://goo.gl/oHXrk

Hangouts Dialer
http://goo.gl/tRaJpm

IFTTT
http://goo.gl/zyOjbT

Messenger
http://goo.gl/wEyfq

Music Folder Player Full
http://goo.gl/vUtPvX

My App List
http://goo.gl/Bfs30

NOAA Weather
http://goo.gl/IBbzQO

NotNav
http://goo.gl/LQRUsZ

OneDrive
http://goo.gl/sNja3

Plume
http://goo.gl/b9KJj

Point Finder
http://goo.gl/BxZ2IC

Pro Weather Alert
http://goo.gl/CB3lZ

Ringdroid
http://goo.gl/HmFxV

ShakeCall
http://goo.gl/9dyzYK

Sheets
http://goo.gl/FnTpvq

Shiprack
http://goo.gl/RbRFdj

Total Commander
http://goo.gl/7U9e9

Touchless Notifications Pro
http://goo.gl/dOYbdV

TuneIn Radio Pro
http://goo.gl/ZHqFh

TWiT Pro
http://goo.gl/JWIwzb

 

 

My list of apps changes from time to time as I find new apps and remove apps I just don’t use anymore. So check back often.

 

Weight Loss Surgery Podcast & More

I’ve mentioned in a previous post about how I’ve never stopped learning. This is nothing new for me as I learned way back in high school to always look at sources of learning other than the book the teacher is required to hand out.
This became even more important after having Gastric Bypass Surgery as the place where I had surgery doesn’t have anything in their book about life after six months post surgery. I looked for info online and from others who have had various weight loss surgeries.

My learning expanded again today after reading some tweets from those at the Obesity Action Coalition’s 2014 conference. I learned that there is a weight loss surgery podcast. The tweet talked about this lady named Dr Michelle May. I was very interested in what she had to say as I’ve always been interested in those who think differently. Something that challenges traditional thinking and shows that someone has gone outside the traditional thinking style of only this way, never anything different, just do what we say.

 

 

I encourage everyone, not just those who have had weight loss surgery to always keep learning. Look at what others are saying about a topic, find out what makes them different and make up your own mind. Just because someone has a different opinion than mine, that doesn’t make me right or them wrong. We all learn from each other.

 

 

Here is a link to this great podcast site. I’ve only listened to the one withMichelle May, but will be listening to others in the coming days.
Don’t forget the host of the podcast because I think she’s pretty amazing too. I’ve talked with her a little today via twitter and I wish every weight loss center had someone like her.

 

Weight Loss Surgery Podcast
http://www.weightlosssurgerypodcast.com/

 

 

After listening to the podcast I am going to get the following book this next week, so happy its available from Audible and with the author reading it too!

Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition]
by Michelle May
http://hkc.im/4eC

 

 

If I can be of help to you or someone you know, please contact me. I’m a 20 year cancer survivor who is totally blind and had gastric bypass surgery in January 2011. Weight loss surgery can be a bit challenging when you can’t see. I have various places I go to for nutritional information and cooking directions. I’d be happy to share any of that info along with my experiences.
Steve
blindbites@gmail.com
@blindbites via twitter

Happy 11th Anniversary!!!!

I posted this to my Wife’s wall on Facebook this morning and wanted to share it with everyone who reads my blog.

 

Happy Anniversary!!! 11 great years that we’ve been married. We’ve both gone through allot in these 11 years and we are still in love and have never had a fight or arguement. That is because we are a team and are here to help, support, and love each other. I remember getting down on one knee and asking you to marry me and I was serious then when I said 2 weeks isn’t enough time to get to know you, I want to spend a lifetime together. Here’s a song to celebrate that great day on the 13th of September!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qlh4TMnjS8g