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Saturday, December 12, 2020

The BEST flashlight that should be in your pocket!

 The BEST flashlight that should be in your pocket! 

I’ve carried various flashlights for decades, long before LED flashlights were possible. When LED replacement lamps started coming out, there was a renewed interest in what was possible in flashlight performance in both battery life and brightness. 

I’m the kind of guy when asked “Do you need a light turned on?” I usually reply that I have my own personal lighting while I illuminate my path. While I’ve carried different sizes of flashlights big and small, a year or so back I finally settled on one that’s a balance between size, battery life, and light output. Prior to this flashlight I used to carry a larger FourSevens Quark Pro. It used bigger AA batteries, had a multitude of modes, even Bluetooth. It was a bit over the top. Then I lost it one day. Crap. There goes $90+. So I decided to downsize a bit. The flashlight that fits this role is the Streamlight Stylus Pro

Let’s look at a few key points of this flashlight.

1. COST - The Streamlight Stylus Pro is under $20 delivered from Amazon, AND it comes with batteries. I can lose this flashlight and it’s really no big deal because it’s hard to complain about the price. 

2. SIZE. Since it uses a pair of AAA batteries it’s about the diameter of your pinky finger. That means you can place it in the corner of your front pocket and move about your day not feeling it. AAA batteries are common and low priced. We’ll talk more about batteries later. 

3. QUALITY BUILT. The clip is strong, so it holds fairly tight in your pocket. It’s also removable, which means you can replace it if it breaks. It rarely comes off by accident. I’ve never had to order one. The anodized aluminum construction makes it lightweight and you have the ability to engrave it with your info. I have a handy little rotary engraver that I love for things like this. The tail cap is o-ring sealed and the power button has a nice firm click on and off. Sure it doesn’t have precision square cut threads like a Quark, but who cares? 

It comes with a nylon belt holster which I find cumbersome and generally leave it in the pack. This flashlight belongs in your pocket!  Is it as bright as the $90+ Quark? No, but it’s plenty bright enough to assist with 99% of your daily needs. It only has one brightness level. It’s either on or off. Often said simplicity = reliability. 

Let’s talk about batteries for a minute. While I have a vast array of Eneloop rechargeables, I find that quality alkaline batteries last the longest and are the brightest. I would avoid the expensive lithium AAA batteries. Why? Because regular alkalines will warn you well in advance when it’s time to change them. The light will start to be dimmer and you will notice, however you still have usable light for some time. Lithium cells offer nearly full power until the bitter end and drop dead instantly with no warning, usually while you’re in the middle of something important. The batteries I like the best and suggest are the ones from IKEA and also the newer “leak proof” batteries from Anker - The same company who makes high quality USB chargers that everyone raves about. I don’t trust any other chargers for my Apple products other than the OEM or Anker. Costco’s Kirkland branded batteries are pretty good too. I recently had a bad pack of Duracell’s that leaked in many of my devices and destroyed a couple of them, so I stay away from them now. 

They flashlights are available on Amazon for the best price in various colors. There is even a micro version now which takes only 1 AAA battery and can fit in the smallest of pockets. You can also buy extra tail caps and clips if needed, but I’ve only lost a clip once over the years and never had a tail cap switch fail. Lastly I have a small rotary engraver that is the handiest little thing in the world for marking tools of all kinds. I have my name and cell phone # engraved in the flashlight should I ever loose it and an honest soul comes upon it. I recommend this engraver over those old fashioned plug in models with the big needle tip your dad had in the garage. It uses the same great AAA batteries I talked about and just hold it like a pen and hit the button.

Here’s are links to these items.

Streamlight Stylus Pro RED - Currently $15. Super deal!
Streamlight Stylus Micro - Smaller length, takes 1 AAA battery, not quite as bright but same great qualities. 
Streamlight spare clip & switch cap -  This is only $1 more than the clip alone, get the switch cap for the extra buck

Eneloop rechargable AAAs - Work great and good to have around house
IKEA AAA Alkaline 30 Pack - Some of the best Alkaline batteries ever tested.
Anker AAA Alkaline batteries 24 pack - Great batteries in a leakproof design
Folai Cordless Engraver Pen with diamond tip - Mark your tools ASAP!
Join Coinbase - develop skills for using the future of money.

And heres a pic of my beat up Streamlight Pro, still working great!  I replaced the clip I lost with a new clip and black tailcap. Its only $1 more to order a spare clip WITH a new tailcap. As a bonus it differentiates my flashlight from my coworkers at a quick glance.

I enjoy sharing my experiences and life hacks that make my life easier and hopefully yours as well. 

Note that this article contains Amazon affiliate links and while I do get a small compensation if you purchase through my links, it doesn’t cost you a penny more to do so and helps me continue to write honest reviews of products I personally use. Thanks for reading!

Note - I also will accept any small donation with cryptocurrency. If you never dealt with crypto, this is the best time to learn because this is the future. Practice by sending a buck my way! lol. Coinbase is the best way to get started. Use this link to join.

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Friday, July 31, 2020

Staying Healthy During The Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Staying Healthy During the Covid-19 Pandemic and Beyond

  Updated August 6, 2020  

A lot of people ask me what I’ve been doing to stay healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic. As an essential employee at my workplace, I have to go to work and be around people so it makes sense that I should be doing whatever I can to avoid catching and spreading this virus. Aside from the common sense things you should be doing like wearing a mask in public, washing your hands, and using hand sanitizers I’d like to discuss health lifestyle and supplementations I’ve worked into my routine and why you should consider the same. Full disclosure. I’m not a doctor, and not even in the medical field, I’m just a research geek!  This isn’t medical advise for anyone. It’s just what I’ve found works for me after much research online. This article contains affiliate links which make it easier for you to find the products I'm using. I wouldn’t link to anything I don’t use myself, and to be honest hardly anyone clicks on my links anyhow. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1.  Multivitamin - 1 daily

I believe mostly everyone would benefit from a daily multivitamin. Nobody has the perfect diet that gives your body everything it needs in the proper ratios from the food you’re eating. Most people chose to only put food in their bodies which give them pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with that, life would be quite boring if you didn’t enjoy eating. You also know often these choices aren’t optimal nutritionally. You might have heard before “Multivitamins are inexpensive insurance”. There’s a bit of truth to that statement. A good multivitamin can help cover the nutritional dietary gap and as cheap as they are there’s no reason you should skip taking a multivitamin. But which one to take? The choices are endless. I try to seek out the best possible gender based multivitamin that doesn’t break the bank, yet provide the basic foundation of vitamins and minerals along with an expansive list of known supplements to support your body. Currently I’m taking Nature’s Way Alive! Once Daily Men’s 50+.  Have a look at the label yourself. It covers the essentials, and then some. Noteworthy to a good immune system you’ll see it contains nice amounts of Zinc, Magnesium & B6. In addition it contains digestive enzymes & mushroom complex. All great for immunity and derived from whole foods. 

    2.  Zinc, Quercetin, EGCg (green tea) 2x daily

This combination is key for preventing RNA virus replication. Zinc is well known for preventing the virus from replicating inside your cells. The problem has always been getting the zinc into the cell where it needs to be. Both quercetin and EGCG are known as zinc ionophores. They help get the zinc where it needs to be. There is plenty written on this topic if you’d like the technicals on this action. Interestingly this is also a mechanism of hydroxychloroquine. You can look at this combination as the OTC version of the hydroxychloroquine regiment. 

I take 2 different types of zinc. In the AM I take Triquetra Health’s Ionized Zinc. It’s a liquid you can put right in your mouth or in a glass of water. It doesn’t taste very good, but I don’t mind it really. I do 1/4 dropper (.25mL) before going to work . In the evenings I take a zinc tablet, specifically Solgar’s Chelated Zinc 22mg. It’s a name brand you can trust and it’s chelated for better absorption. Between these 2 additional different types of zinc, I feel I’m getting enough zinc in my system. 

At the same time, I take 1 capsule of Now Foods Quercetin and 1 capsule of Now Foods EGCg. Now Foods is also a trusted brand which I believe to be of high quality. The EGCg is sourced from green tea. If you have issues sleeping, I believe you could skip this on your evening dose. It doesn’t seem to effect me at all so I use it in my evening dose as well. The quercetin and EGCg do the same thing more or less, I just like to use them both to cover my bases. Just be sure to use them at the same time as the zinc supplement. 

    3.  Vitamin D - 5000 iu daily

Much has been written about Vitamin D deficiency in modern times. My research shows that most people today lack sufficient levels of this hormone. Your body can manufacture some from exposure to UV sunlight, however you won’t get enough no matter how long you’ve been outside even if you’re butt naked! There also isn’t enough in any multivitamin so you have to add this to your regiment. This is especially important if your ancestors evolved in the equatorial regions of the globe, where the UV sun exposure Was maximized and now you live north or south on the globe. Some statistics are showing African Americans and Latinos are more susceptible to the Covid-19 virus, and the lack of vitamin D could be playing a role here. Again, it’s a cheap and affordable supplement so you really can’t go wrong taking it. I like Now Foods Vitamin D3. If you want to spend a little more, I think the addition of K2 to the D is looking beneficial. This can be had in Vitamin K2 MK7 with D3 Supplement by LiveWell

    4.  Mushroom Powder - 1 capsule per day

I’m a big believer in the power of mushrooms in the field of nutropics and immunity boosters. I’ve followed the works of the famous Dr. Andrew Weil MD, a leading doctor in Integrative Medicine for many years. He’s a big proponent of medicinal mushrooms for their immune boosting, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. When I take a mushroom complex, it gives me what I can only describe as coffee for the brain, without the jitters. I would defiantly recommend taking this before a test or exam! I use Naturealm’s Sacred 7 mushroom powder. It’s a blend of 7 great mushroom varieties. I make my own capsules with it, as it tends to be cheaper that way. Some people mix it in with their coffee but I find it tends to gather in the bottom of the cup. You can also buy it in premade capsule form. Sacred 7 Organic Mushroom Extract Capsule

    5.  SuperLysine+ - 2 capsules once a day on an empty stomach.

Quantum Health Super Lysine+ is a nice little supplement I’ve been taking intermittently for years. Usually once I feel any sort of indication that I might be getting sick. Nowadays I take it every morning before my coffee. It contains Garlic, L-lysine, Vitamin C, Echinaccea, Propolis, Liqorice root and some calcium. All great ingredients to bolster your body’s immune defenses. The bottle says 3 daily, but I think 2 is enough if you’re taking it every day,

    6. Probiotic - 1 capsule a day before bed on empty stomach

I just started taking Wholesome Wellness Organic Probiotics 100 Billion CFU. More and more I am hearing about gut health for a healthy immune system. Many Americans diets do not contain enough fermented foods where these healthy bacteria are obtained. I chose this supplement for a few reasons. The strains are those same ones contained in fermented foods, many of which are in Middle Eastern diet. This contains PREbiotics, which are the food the bacteria needs to get a head start colonizing in your system. Digestive enzymes are also included. I feel this is a great well rounded probiotic supplement to start taking. Try to take it at night before bed on an empty stomach. This is when your stomach acid level is lowest and the bacteria have the best chance to make it your intestines.

Thats about it for the supplements I take for immunity. I do take a few other things for general health like fish oil, coq10 and turmeric. Probably one of the best things you can do for yourself is avoiding sugar. By that I mean ALL sugars. Carbohydrates to be exact. Sugar is the devil. It’s addictive and it’s in almost everything because of that. It’s actually toxic to the body the same way alcohol is. I’m not making that up, so go look it up if you find that hard to believe. The best way to avoid excess sugars is to adopt a ketogenic lifestyle. That’s avoiding all sugars such as candy, soda, noodles and bread. If that sounds too difficult, it’s really not as bad as it sounds. Eating all the steak, chicken, seafood, eggs, bacon and salad you want doesn’t sound THAT bad does it?  Plus you’ll discover ways to make treats with healthy sugar substitutes like cheesecake, peanut butter cookies and scones that taste great. How will you be rewarded for this shift in eating lifestyle? For starters you’ll lose weight. You clothes will fit better. You won’t become diabetic. You’ll knees and feet won’t hurt as much. You’ll look and feel younger. You’ll have lower blood pressure. You’ll have better blood test results. You won’t need as much aspirin, tums, acid reducers, etc. You’ll just plain be a better, healthier and happier person! Personally I’ve experienced all these advantages since I started a ketogenic diet in October 2019. Maybe I’ll write more about it if there is interest? It’s probably the very best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones, in these Covid times and beyond. Stay healthy my friends!

Summary of my immunity boosting regiment. *

Updated August 6, 2020

1. Multivitamin 1x a day - Choose one that fits your gender & age!

2. Zinc - 1/4 dropper or 1 pill  2x a day 

3. Quercetin - 1 capsule 2x a day

4. EGCg - 1 capsule 2x a day

5. Vitamin D3 - 1 caplet 5000iu 1x a day

6. Mushroom Powder - 1 capsule 1x a day

Sacred 7 Organic Mushroom Extract Capsule
NutriFlair Mushroom Supplement - Heres a more affordable alternative I just picked up to try. It seems to have a nice mix of mushrooms, but focuses on the top 3. Servige size is 3, but I still only take 1 a day.

7. SuperLysine+ 2 tablets 1x a day

Quantum Health Super Lysine+

8. Probiotics -  1 capsule before bed on empty stomach

Wholesome Wellness Organic Probiotics 100 Billion CFU

* I start my morning with the SuperLysine and a cup of coffee. I have the multivitamin, mushroom & vitamin D with my morning meal. Before I leave for work I have the zinc, quercetin, and EGCg combo. After work I have the zinc, quercetin, and EGCg combo again. I take the probiotic right before bed.