Two Too To

Too Many
The grammar police are back in town. Too many people confuse "two, too and to." How come?

Two is numeric. It is the number two in text form. 

Too means also. As in "As well."

To indicates location or direction. As in "Go to her."

Putting it all together.

"Do you two want to go to the store too?"

Its easy once you get the hang of it.

Done!

Krill Oil

The Cons Keep Coming
I don't eat fish. I'd like to, but the taste makes me puke. Fish contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which are particularly good for ya. But that fishy flavour makes me vomit. I'd like to get more omega-3, but I can't. Problem.

What's the solution?

After some research, digging and other nefarious activities, I may have it. It seems scientists recently discovered a wonderful nautical organism, called the Krill.

Krill live in arctic waters and provide lunch for whales and other large sea going mammals. As you probably know, any fish living in cold waters produce natural oils to protect themselves from the cold.  The cold water fish, produce oils containing a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which are extremely good for us land dwellers.

Krill being a crustacian also produce a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, but, here's the rub, Krill oil does not produce that horrible fish taste or fish burpees you get after swallowing a cod-liver-oil capsule.

But wait there's more. It would appear the omega-3 fatty acids in Krill oil are 48 times more potent than fish oil. Krill oil contains high levels of DHA and EPA. As an added bonus it also contains astaxanthin.

The omega-3 in krill oil differ from fish oil, as they are bonded to phospholipids. The phospholipids in krill make for easy absorption by the body.

Pure krill oil, contains a minimum of 40% phospholipids. That's around 400mg per 1,000mg or 200mg per 500mg. If your krill oil capsules do not match this ratio, its not pure krill. Its been cut with fish oil.

I searched on Amazon and a few other places and came across krill oil capsules by Hellenia. I read the customer reviews, most of which were fairly positive, getting 4 out of 5 stars. I noticed there was no product info. No ingredient info. Nothing on EPA/DHA, or astaxanthin.

The product was reasonably priced at £20 for 180 caps, so I went ahead and purchased. I had seen other more pricey products, but was reluctant to pay more till I understood what I was buying.

When the product arrived, ingredient info on the pack said: Arctic Krill Oil 500mg, Astaxanthin 40ug, Omega-3 24%, Omega-6 4%, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Gelatin Shell.

EPA 60mg
DHA 27mg

The product gives no indication of phospholipid content. Omega-3 content is on the low side, it should be minimum 30%. The EPA is slightly low, it should be around 150mg per 1,000mg or 75mg per 500mg, depending on capsule size. DHA is very low. DHA should hit 90mg per 1,000mg or 45mg per 500mg caps. Astaxanthin is almost non-existent. Should sit at between 1.5mg up to 10mg per 1,000mg.

The product is not pure krill, its been 'cut' with fish oil. I noticed the capsules had a lemon flavouring, I guess to kill any fishy smell or taste. After taking I took two pills, there's no fishy taste. No fishy burpees. No fishy aftertaste.

This is my first foray into krill, and I learned a lot. I will not buy this product again. Next time, I'll pay more and get a better product with pure krill, more phospholipids, higher EPA/DHA, and a whole lot more astaxanthin.

You have to start somewhere.

I hate fish. I hate the taste of fish. I tried taking fish oil capsules. No way. Yuck. Fish taste with burpees? No thanks.

Done!

Diabetes Nerve Damage

Scary Stuff

Writing and doing research for a blogpost on Vitamins this week, I followed a link and came across this page over at WebMD and this page over at DiabetesWellbeing.

Its Diabetes Neuropathy, and I was kinda shocked to see the nerve damage done by high blood sugar levels. The reading drills home the point about the damage that high sugar levels do to the body.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't use sugar. I can't tolerate grains, my body can't break them down. In a perverse way, I've been spared the ordeal of eating grains and the blood sugar spikes they cause.

I have relatives that suffer from type-2 diabetes. I've watched them draw blood to measure blood sugar levels. Watched them settle down for the evening, eating fruit, chocolate, cake, cookies. Watching in disbelief. Flooding their bodies with sugar, then taking insulin medication to control the tsunami of sugar they ingested. Totally crazy.

One relative, the diabetes resulted in such poor circulation, she can't walk far. A few hundred yards at most. She gets cold quickly, again due to poor circulation. Another symptom I noticed, she gets tired, which results in mood swings, if she has to do anything other than her fixed routine.

Its been years since I took sugar, and recently cut out grains. I suffer from Celiac disease, so cannot tolerate grains. My diet is almost ketogenic or paleo. I exist mostly on meat, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, sour cream, with cheese or full-fat yogurt thrown in from time to time. Most calories come from olive oil or the natural fats in meat/cheese/yogurt.

Not running the body on sugar, means the highs and lows are levelled out. As most calories come from fats and proteins. If no food is available, or if I skip a meal I don't experience a sugar crash. If there is no food, the body simply switches from dietary fat to body fat, without distress.

If you're a marathon runner, burning up miles each day, you can consume sugar and grains no problem. If your a regular joe, with a sedentary lifestyle, its more difficult.

High sugar and grain consumption is responsible for the obesity and diabetes epidemic sweeping through the world. Gary Taubes gives a talk on the subject. Its around 60mins, if you have the time or the mind to watch it.

If your a high sugar consumer, diabetes and nerve damage are waiting for you.

Done!

Blogger Bug Fix

Code Problems
Blogger mostly does a good job, though its not 100% error free.

If you switch from Compose to HTML mode to layout a blog post, when you switch back to Compose and save your work, Blogger insists on rearranging the layout of the page. Blogger adds additional line breaks. Graphics get repositioned.

Saving your work in HTML mode retains your layout.
Here's how to fix it.
Switch to HTML mode and find the line:

<div style="text-align: justify;">
<br /></div>

Delete it.

Another problem I encountered recently, draft content gets overwritten.

Find the image and delete the line break:

<br />

That will push he image back in line with text content.

A while back I started a blog post on Gnome 3 and saved it in draft. Went back to drafts and loaded the Gnome 3 post. The contents had been replaced with content from another post. I lost all content.

Its difficult to recall what you wrote a few weeks down the road. I have no choice but to rewrite the blog post with new content.

Unnecessary

Newcastle FC Slump

Howay The Lads
Mike Ashley took over Newcastle back in 2007; both Ashley and Newcastle have enjoyed a bumpy ride under his ownership. Ashley sunk a lot of money into the club and made some dubious and questionable decisions. Yet Ashley is a billionaire, having built his business up from scratch, so he is no fool.

Earlier this year, Ashley signed Alan Pardew the incumbent manager, on a long-term contact. By long term we are talking 8-years, which in Premier League Football terms is a lifetime. Once a team perform poorly and hover near the relation zone, the revolving door of Premiership management spins fast.

A few days ago Nigel Adkins, the Southampton manager was relieved of his duties after a run of poor form. He was the third Premier League manager sacked, after Roberto Di Matteo and Mark Hughes. You have to question the wisdom of signing a manager to an 8-year contract.

Alan Pardew did well when he first landed at Newcastle, but their recent slump, from 4th in the Premier League to their current lowly 16th, two slots above the drop zone, raises the prospect of another casualty.

Last season Newcastle finished 5th on 65 points. Newcastle had a good start to the season, but the team are not currently playing well. They've gone into a total meltdown, which suggests there is much wrong. Newcastle have won 1, drawn 1 and lost 8 games of their last 10. Scoring 11 goals and conceding 24. Troubling times for Pardew.

To add to the managers headache, Newcastle captain Coloccini wants to quit the club and return to Argentina; and Demba Ba the clubs top goal scorer has signed for Chelsea.

I watched Newcastle struggle yesterday, against Reading (who sit in 18th). With Demba Ba gone, Papiss Cisse was firing blanks in front of goal. Without immediate improvement, they will be in the drop zone next month.

There are two views to a long-term contract:

1. If the manager is successful, you want to keep him. Signing a long term contract to stop other teams from poaching him.

2. If the manager's success does not last, the club are stuck with a losing team.

Whichever way you go, there's no guarantee of success.

Its a tough call.

Discount? What Discount?

Why Not Pay More?
I was checking out vitamin prices and availability online, when I came across this discount vitamin store. Great. Now I can get all my vitamins in one place... 

...if I want to pay more.

With a name like Discount vitamins and herbs you'd expect some kind of deal.

Wrong.

At Discount vitamins and herbs.com I checked out the price of Twinlab Magnesium 400mg (200 Capsules). Affordable at £14.19 plus shipping.

Amazon.co.uk offers the same product Twinlab Magnesium 400mg (200 Caps) for £13.14 plus shipping.

If you're willing to search a little you can get quality products for way less. At the UK store of Bodybuilding.com you can pick up Twinlab Magnesium 400mg (200 Caps) for the princely sum of £5.10 plus shipping.

A saving of £9.

But wait, there's more. It's not just vitamins and minerals, they'll rip you on other supplements too.


Amazon.co.uk offers Source Naturals NKO Neptune Krill Oil 500 mg (60 softgels) at a cost of £21.07 plus shipping.

Go over to uk.bodybuilding.com pick up Source Naturals NKO Neptune Krill Oil 500 mg (60 softgels) for £13.81 plus shipping.

How crazy is that? You pay £20 less.

Across a range of vitamins, minerals and other supplements, uk.bodybuilding.com was way cheaper than other online outlets. Buying a range of products, you'll pay much more shopping elsewhere.

I calculated it cost an extra £32 buying the same products from Amazon. Paying even more if I buy from other discount stores. Amazon are no longer cheap as they once were. They've established a position in the marketplace, and now leverage it for maximum profit.

Don't make assumptions. Do some digging. Do some research. Before you reach for the credit card.

Google's the answer.

Liverpool FC Inexorable Rise

Unrelenting
After sacking Kenny Dalglish in the summer and appointing Brendan Rodgers as the new manager, Liverpool enjoyed a woeful start to the season. Liverpool played well against Manchester City and almost beat the Premier League Champions, but for a defending blunder by Martin Skrtl in the last few minutes of the game, that gifted a goal to Carlos Tevez. The game ended a 2 - 2 draw.

Since then, Liverpool's performances have yo-yo'd  like a newly promoted team struggling to stay in the top flight, rather than a club with 5 European Cups and 18 English League titles in their trophy cabinet.

Rodgers has financial constraints, and cannot throw cash at the problem. Dalglish spent £115 million on players last season, with a poor return on his massive investment. Just one of the reasons he was shown the exit door.

Rodgers has worked hard at reshaping his squad and getting the team to embrace his philosophy of passing, pressing, possession football. Though, for Liverpool, this is nothing new. Historically, Liverpool always played the passing game. It was the foundation of their success in England and Europe. Over the last 10 to 15 years, amnesia set in and their game-play changed.

Rediscovering the passing game, has been a painful experience for Liverpool, with mixed results. Some good, some poor. At times the football has been beautiful, fast flowing, one-touch. Other times, shaky, nervous, filled with self-doubt.

Liverpool have struggled to win at home, even under Dalglish's tenure. Once known as fortress Anfield, teams no longer fear playing in front of the Kop. Things are turning round, as they won their last three home games. In the last 10, Liverpool have won 7, lost 3; scoring 24 goals and conceding 11. Slowly their home and away form improved. Their tails were up.

On December 14, Rodgers had the temerity to suggest Liverpool could finish in the top two of the Premiership. Confidence is a fickle quality. Too much, you are inflated. Too little, you become deflated. The right balance is vital.

Next day, Aston Villa beat Liverpool 3-1 at home, a big set-back for the team; their confidence dented. The following week they played Fulham, again at Anfield and caned them 4-0. A week later Liverpool travelled to Stoke with expectations high, after beating Fulham so emphatically. Stoke 3 - Liverpool 1. Another disappointment.

Liverpool won their next three Premier League games followed by an away game at Man United, where Liverpool capitulated to a 2 - 1 loss. Consistency has been a problem for Liverpool. In the game today, they were back to winnings way, thumping Norwich 5 - 0 at Anfield.

At the beginning of the season Liverpool were hovering just above the relegation zone. Slowly, incrementally they have climbed the table. They now sit 7th on 34 points, 6 points behind Tottenham in 4th. I'm confident Liverpool will finish in the top 6. Its also conceivable they can land a top 4 spot and play Champions League football next season. Results hinge on their consistency and confidence levels. 

Liverpool have not beaten a top 6 team this term. Their next Premiership game is away at Arsenal. They must beat Arsenal at the Emirates and show their true colours. One week later, they play Manchester City away. The next two Premiership games will decide their fate.

Brendan Rodgers is the right man for the job. He shares the same footballing philosophy as many of the great Liverpool managers of the past. Liverpool have played lovely football at times, but lovely football is not enough. A killer instinct and a strong determination to win are indispensable. It may take another season or two, before Liverpool regain a reputation as all-conquering.  

We must wait and see.

More Thrift

Clothes

More ideas for thrifty living. If you are not enticed by the idea of wearing brand name clothing, and not intimidated by peers questioning your unbranded lifestyle, Primark and Asda stores supply good quality clothing at knock-down prices.

I badly need T-shirts, boxer shorts and socks. I could go with brand names and end up paying way more than I need to. Or I could go unbranded and get them dirt cheap. Hmmm. What to do?
Branded T-shirts (Diesel or Amani) run at £30 to £35 each. Armani branded boxers (as promoted by David Beckham) or Calvin Klein boxers run at £12 to £25 each. Socks at £10. If I buy 3x T-shirts its £90 to £100. For 3x boxers its £69, and socks at £10. Buying brands I'll pay around £170 for the set.

Nike T-shirts with graphics cost between £15 and £25 each. If you want branded, you have to pay more.

Going unbranded and buying the el-cheapo range from Asda, 3x plain white or black T-shirts cost £8. 4x plain black boxers cost £10. Socks 5x pack cost £5. Total outlay £23.

This is tough. £170 or £23? What's it to be? Decision time.

No contest. Unbranded it is.

I spend £23 and put the £147 I didn't spend, into the savings account.

Thrifty living.

Done!

Moneyball

Home Run

I don't watch many movies. Most Hollywood fare is poor or worse, mostly aimed at the teenage market. Hollywood knows where the real money lies. Few movies are made specifically for adults.

The other night I watched Moneyball, the movie based on Michael Lewis' successful book of the same name. Towering performances from Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, Jonah Hill, as Peter Brand (Assistant General Manager), Philip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe (Team Manager), and Ken Medlock as Grady Fuson (Head Scout), make for an enjoyable couple of hours.

Moneyball is essentially two stories interlaced. One of evolution, one of revolution. We follow the two threads throughout the movie. The first thread tells of Billy Beane's (Brad Pitt) rise and demise as a player. The second tells of Beane's revolutionary approach to solving a fundamental, modern-day sports problem; how to build a winning team with limited funds against bigger better funded opponents.

The movies' two streams are sensibly balanced switching from flashback to the present day; slowly unfolding the historical events that impact and influence the outcome. The director Bennett Miller has extracted powerful performances from the characters and managed to hit a winner.

Pitt is superb in the lead role, with an equally strong supporting role from Jonah Hill. Pitt resonates on-screen with anxiety, trepidation, doubt, and frustration. Pitt and Hill carry the movie.

Unlike many sports movies, little time is spent on the field. The movie is mostly played out in the changing room, weights room, team coach office, Beane's office, and pick-up truck.

Moneyball is not a sports movie as such. Moneyball is about success or failure; the pressures and fallout associated with it.

If you haven't seen it, give it a shot.

You'll like it.

Thrifty

New Phone
Having started with the intention of thrifty living for the year, My old LG mobile phone stopped holding a charge.  A battery would cost £5 plus postage. Not worth the money. I needed a new phone. 

It would be nice to get an iPhone 5 or a Samsung Galaxy SIII, but that's out the question. I'm living thrifty. I've seen "Special Offers" running £35 to £50 a month on a 24 month contract! That's only £960 or £1200, if you don't overshoot your monthly allowance. How affordable is that? Err, try insane. I'm not gonna pay that kinda dough. I'd rather put the money in the bank, than give it to the phone company.

I checked out online offers and found a great deal at Argos. A Samsung E1230 Pay-As-You-Go, on the Orange Network. Cost: £8.99 + £10 initial credit top up. Wow, at £19 the phones mine and no monthly debt hanging over my head for the next two years. I'm sold on the deal.

Its a great little phone, much faster than the LG I had before. On standby or light usage, the phone holds a charge for a week. One drawback. It doesn't have a camera, but I can live with that. I have a decent digicam if I need to take any pix.

I must confess, I don't use my mobile phone much. Mostly incoming calls and sending a few text messages. Monthly top up never goes over £10. Some months, I can keep it at £5. If I indulge, my phone costs will run to £120. If I keep it tight, it will cost £60. I guess it will probably be somewhere between the two. I can live with a £90 phone bill for the year.

Once your in the swing of thrifty living, its not so hard. Resist the temptation to splash out.

Self-discipline is the key.

Done!

Vitamins

Micronutrients

Vitamins are organic compounds essential to life and come in two types, water soluble and fat soluble.  Water soluble vitamins dissolve in water, typically used more readily by the body. Any  unused water-soluble are passed out the body in urine. Water soluble vitamins must be consumed daily to maintain health.

Fat soluble vitamins dissolve in fat and unused or excess are stored in the liver for later use. One reason why liver (consumed as food) is so rich in fat soluble vitamins.

Choline (Vitamin B?) is the latest addition to the B vitamin group, though it has not been fully classified yet, and has no number.


Water Soluble Vitamins
Vitamin Name   Min RDA    Max RDA    
Vitamin B1 Thiamin1.2mg Not Known
Vitamin B2 Riboflavin  1.3mg Not Known
Vitamin B3 Niacin 16mg 35mg
Vitamin B5 Pantothenic Acid  5mg Not Known
Vitamin B6 Pyridoxin 1.7mg 100mg
Vitamin B7 Biotin 30µg Not Known
Vitamin B9 Folic Acid 400µg 1,000µg
Vitamin B12  Cyanocobalamin  2.4µg Not Known
Vitamin B? Choline 550mg 3,500mg
Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid 90mg 2,000µg
Fat Soluble Vitamins
Vitamin Name   Min RDA    Max RDA   
Vitamin A Retinal 900µg 3,000µg
Vitamin D3    Cholecalciferol      15µg 100µg
Vitamin E Tocopherols 15mg 1,000mg
Vitamin K Phylloquinon 120µg Not Known
*mg = milligrams (1,000 mg in a gram)
*µg = micrograms (1,000 µg in a microgram)

Looking at the vitamin tables (although in two separate groups) you notice, they run alphabetically; A to E and then jumps to K.

What happened to Vitamins F, G, H, I, J?

Vitamin F was discovered not to be a vitamin, but fatty acids.
Vitamin G (Riboflavin) was added to the B-Vitamin group as B2 .
Vitamin H (Biotin) was added to the B-Vitamin group as B7.
Vitamin I was never used.
Vitamin J (Flavin) was added to B-Vitamin group as B2 .


Minerals
Minerals are inorganic elements and play an important role in metabolism and health. Minerals are generally also broken into two groups. Macrominerals and trace elements (microminerals). The classification is based on the quantity required or recommended to maintain health.

Macrominerals
Mineral Name   Min RDA    Min RDA   
Calcium R 1,000mg 2,000mg
Chloride   Cholecalciferol      2,000mg 3,600mg
Magnesium T 400mg 500mg
Phosphorus  P 700mg 4,000mg
Potassium C     4,700mg Not Known
Sodium T 1,300mg 2,300mg
Sulphur P 100mg 100mg
*mg = milligrams (1,000 mg in a gram)
*µg = micrograms (1,000 µg in a microgram)


Trace Elements
Trace elements are required in very small quantities by the body to maintain good physical health. Sometimes called microminerals.

Microminerals
T Element Name   Min RDA    Min RDA    
Boron R Not Known 20mg
Chromium Cholecalciferol    30µg Not Known
Cobalt T 2,000mg 3,600mg
Copper P 900µg 1,000µg
Fluorine C     4,000mg 10,000mg
Iodine T 150µg 1,100µg
Iron P 8mg 45mg
Manganese P 2.3mg 11mg
Molybdenum  C     45µg 2,000µg
Selenium T 55µg 400µg
Silicon P Not Known Not Known
Zinc P 11mg 40,000mg
*mg = milligrams (1,000 mg in a gram)
*µg = micrograms (1,000 µg in a microgram)


Other Supplements

There are a number of other supplements that include Phytochemicals, Coenzymes, and ALA.

CoQ10 is a vitamin like fat-soluble substance present in cell mitochondria. It aids in energy production (ATP to ADP). CoQ10 is naturally produced in the body.

Other
Other Name   Soluble    Amount    
Carotenoids Retinal Not Known Not Known
Flavenoid Cholecalciferol      Not Known Not Known
Phytochemicals Tocopherols Not Known Not Known
CoQ10 Coenzyme Q10 Not Known Not Known
*mg = milligrams (1,000 mg in a gram)
*µg = micrograms (1,000 µg in a microgram)