blueimber: (Default)
Despite dreading trying the raw food bars;
cause sometimes this stuff sucks and sometimes it ain't cheap-
i can officially put my seal of approval on
the Miracle Reds bar from MacroLife Naturals.
it's like someone soaked dried fruits in juices and rolled them up with crushed nuts.
in fact
that's exactly what it is-
and it was like the center of a fig newton bar or one of those 'berry' breakfast bars
only without the breading/cookie part.

they make two others, both considered to be green (foods?)
chocolate and cinnamon
Apple Lemon Ginger-
and of course
reviews to follow.

i might consider buying boxes of these so that i can always have one or two on hand-
they are about 2 and a half dollars each;
but a box of 12 puts them at about 2 dollars each.
each 'Red' bar is 180 calories;
8 grams of fat
24 carbs, 4 in fiber, 18 in sugar-
3 grams protein and they are 10% of your daily iron, and 75% of your daily vitamin C.
Considering the 2000 calorie, 20 grams of fat diet
this isn't too bad;
part of a meal if the remainder of the meal is low or fat free...
given the sweetness i would generally rule this to an afternoon snack.
but in the morning i suppose it isn't bad if you've got a big bottle of water to get through-
i have always found that these things taste better if you follow each bite with a good bit of water-
and that it helps feeling more full...
i know my stomach looks for bulk while my body doesn't need whatever all that bulk is
so the water helps greatly
tricking my body
until it can realize that this is all it needs.

i am happy with it, and glad i tried it.

in other news;
reading on CNN today about the generational divide between the under 50 bracket
who strongly support Obama's healthcare plan and
the over 50'ers who
oppose such action
i think was
summarized best in the following paragraph of the article:

"In any health care system, tough decisions that affect individual patients -- such as which people get certain treatments and which treatments are too expensive or ineffective -- must be made. The poll suggests that Americans are split on whom they prefer to make such choices, with 40 percent saying it should be the insurance companies and an equal amount believing that the government should make the call."

leaving out of course approximately 20%; and also taken into consideration that these polls are usually astoundingly small samples of the population and not always conducted in a manner to ensure that all parties get to be heard-
that is besides the point
the point is

who would you feel more comfortable making healthcare choices for you?
Let's break this down into simple simple asethetics here;

Option 1.  Insurance companies.
Here is how this works.  You get sick or it's your yearly exam.  You go to your doctor, your doctor does routine, covered procedures.  There is a need, based on the results of the tests, for you to have a procedure that is expensive and needs approval for coverage.  Since, mind you, we're in the future in this scenario; your health plan is funded through the government, the healthplan looks at how much money you have given to them and how much money the government has given to them to allot to you- and then they pay all those analysts and decision makers, usually tipping from the pot of money the government has allotted for your care, beacuse surely this is part of your care; then asks the government if they can give them more money for you because you're sicker and you need to have this procedure approved.  The government, because you know, it really is just a parent who doles out money when a problem rises- says; well, we can pay a little more- so go ahead, we'd hate to see anyone denied if they need it.  So then the healthplan tells you you're approved for such and such coverage and that you're responsible for such and such co-pay.  You have the care you need, and the doctors perform what they have to and you can return to life as normal.  Now sometimes it doesn't always go so smooth; and sometimes these back and forths can take months; durring which time you could get worse, you could loose a job or any number of bad things, and in the worst case- they deny the procedure that the doctors reccommend for an older procedure more widely practiced by other doctors who've been doing it longer.  Sometimes its true that newer procedures that haven't been given long enough trial periods can lead to complications in the affected area later on, especially with bones and artificial elements inside the body, joints; tendons- that kind of thing.... but it is also true that medicine and science are advancing at a high and expensive rate- new procedures could turn out to be leaps and bounds above the same routine tried and true methods.  We need realistically another 10 to 15 years to tell... and by then there will be things even more advanced.  The co-pays generally range anywhere from 60/40 to 90/10, and up to 100% coverage, really based on how much the plan pinches from how much the government gives.  Premiums are simply the oversight and maintenance costs of running the administrative end of the plan. 


Option 2.  Government. 
Here is how this works.  You get sick or it's your yearly exam.  You go to your doctor, your doctor does routine, covered procedures.  There is a need, based on the results of the tests, for you to have a procedure that is expensive and needs approval for coverage.  Since, mind you, we're in the future in this scenario; the government provides your healthcare; your doctors contact the government and say "so and so with this identifier needs this procedure.  I am reccommending this procedure on grounds of blah blah blabbity credentials such and such statistics.  i know these things because i am a doctor!" and the government says "really? well okay" and then the doctor says how much and the government says 'i'll pay blah percent' and then tells you that you are responsible to pay whatever remains.  It's usually in all examples about an 80/20 split, with the government paying the higher cost.  That's why it's insurance.    You have the care you need, and the doctors perform what they have to and you can return to life as normal. If this doesn't go smoothly; it is because the government thinks that maybe your doctor is again, mistaken and that they want a second doctor or a team to examine you to make sure that the procedure reccommended is statistically the one that will be the very best for you with all the facts considered.

Personally; obviously- there are good arguments to both options; as sometimes in health insurance companies you get decision makers who might have a passion for the business and be really well oriented with your condition and how it has been treated in others; but maybe you just get someone who is working for the plan because someone told them that healthcare was where the jobs were.  And far be it from me; but i tend to trust doctors just a little more, to be more informed of what is going on in their feilds and about what procedures might be the most beneficial, even if it means having to ask several doctors each what they think.  I don't think anyone should undergo a major medical procedure unless they talk to several doctors who advise it- and not just doctors in the same buildings; but at different facilities or specialists.

I advocate for governemt run for two reasons;

the first being the clearly logical short processing time when dealing between doctors and the government.  Honestly, all of the middlemen aren't needed; the government could do a much more efficient job of it.  They would establish roles for advocates for the patients within the system and people would get the procedures that they need, that best suit them.  Astoundingly so in countries where these kinds of plans have been put into place; people get the surgeries they need and aren't destroyed by their costs. 

and the second is the organizational aspect-  which makes more sense, thousands of healthcare plans in the dozens of states each offering several kinds of plans and options and manipulations of what the government approves and then having to operate in compliance with what the goverment states; or just straight up one single 'plan;' which is the government; offering the same kinds of plans to everyone in every state of the nation; equal and accounted for?  Meaning that when you move or are in another city, as long as you're on the government plan- you are fine and dandy and insured.  Less Hassle, less chance for being messed with-- hands down less problems.

I think that the older populations are frieghtened that too many demands by the young and sick are going to somehow take away from their care; being old and sick.  I think the truth of the matter is that more money is lost to the middleman process of having privitized healthcare plans managing the money the government allots for healthcare.  Honestly, the benefits of having private care mostly lay in the education of the people running the plan and how often they are informed and learning about changes and updates in care.  The government could probably educate, train and update these people better, fast and more efficiently than most private plans will; the government is looking to stretch every dollar while private plans are looking to maximize a bottom line.  There really doesn't need to be much further debate when it breaks down to that... you can claim that if the system is run by the government that it would use less than quality information or materials to do such things but i think that you'll find that they will rely on an established test and certificate system in conjunction with educators; colleges, hospitals, universities and vocational schools; which can vary from state to private institutions- but all able to take a bar of what much be taught and understood and disemanate it to a studeous populace.  That makes the most sense, anyways- but i might be too utopitarian, or have too much faith and hope in humans treating each other like, well, other humans. 

There are little other problems that crop up in arguments about healthcare and paying for it but the truth is in many ways we already are;  honestly, given all of the sad stories where people who were sick died or were denied care because they had no insurance, people who live in impoverished conditions- people who cannot provide for themselves without the help of the community-- i would give as much as 10% of my pay to help them, i could make that sacrifice.  I don't make a lot of money, but i can take care of myself.  a little bit off my top to help someone who can't isn't beyond asking too much, and if god forbid i was ever not able to do for myself, i would feel comfortable knowing that there was a safety net in place for me too.  That's the benefit of social programs; it allows by mandate that everyone is cared for and that everyone contributes; and that there is a scale of fair and equal.  A dollar to a medicare beneficiary is a whole lot more valueable than a dollar is to a millionaire.  

The rest of the solution to all of the plagues in this country and drains that causes sucha  large populace to be in need of healthcare insurance also stems from the economy and jobs.  But there has to be a starting point, a place from which a platform can be made for improvements across the board.  The government acting as it's own force could expedite the establishment of that platform and instantely create thousands of jobs to help get it running in every state.  More jobs means more money back into the system; more back into the system creates growth.  These solutions are so clear, so obvious; it is amazing that well educated people can not see that or see it and argue against it.  We have to create change, we have to move beyond have and have not-- the basic principle behind most conflict.  This is a problem which leads to loss of life and quality of life; how could we ever justify stalling on it, especially since the problems can only truly be worked out only after it has been instituted.  We need and want this, it is time to make it happen. 


okay.  that is all....  for now, i think.

Peace and Love, Equality and Empowerment.  ^_^

blueimber: (Default)
There used to be this really great facial scrub i had that
was lemon and salt and vodka
and i loved how smooth it made my skin feel
but hated that
the price tag on it for what would be less than a dollar of salt, a shot of vodka and ya know, 25 cents worth of lemon was like 2500% mark-up.

I have had sugar scrubs that were more like shower gels
salt scrubs that were more like hail storms
always searching for one that
a. didn't cost an arm and a leg
b. had the right coarse consistency where i wasn't loosing all the salt/sugar down the drain or not getting the exfo i wanted
c. would consistently be in stock when i went to buy it.

There were a few that came close;
Lush's Ocean Salt (aforementioned retarded markup)
Freeman's Brown Sugar/Chocolate scrub
Bliss's Orange Spearmint
Fruit Frappe's Pineapple Guava Frosted Sugar Scrub

These four stand HUGELY tall in the awesome, perfect body scrub category
sad to say that none of them are ever readily on hand or affordable for real use.

so last night i decided that
i would just
make my own.

I have to tweak it a little
but i am soo thrilled with teh results--
my skin feels soft and smooth and fragrance
and the cost?
^_^ Brilliantly cheap.

Here's the basic recipe so far:

1 cup Brown Sugar (moist)
2 Table spoons Cocoa Powder (sweetened, semi-sweet, unsweetened, dutch processed, whatever)
2 Table spoons Cinnamon Powder

I added Kosher salt (2 TBSP) as well but it made it taste/smell like some kind of BBQ rub.  The salt and sugar both dissolve off as the exfoliating agents, the Cocoa and Cinnamon are the invigorating, skin stimulating main ingredients... 

I used Grapeseed oil as a 'binder' or base but the oil also suspended the spices and i had to soap them off, so next time i make the mix i think i am going to make some changes:

Quarter Cup Instant Coffee mix (not the ones with the creamer stuff added) (Caffeine is good for stimulating and reducing fat cells that populate the areas just below the skin, diminishing that cottage cheesey look that can happen)
Drops of Essential oil of Spearmint, Peppermint, Vanillia and Orange
A Dash of Ceyenne,Nutmeg and Rosemary powders (Exfo-Stimulants)
a Shot of Rum, Vodka or Tequila (Astringent)
a Spritz of Lemon or Lime (Also astringetory)
and as a binder i am going to try Coconut milk, some flavor of shower gel or an oil base like Safflower oil (less viscose, less likely to suspend the spices)

the Coconut milk should help teh scrub froth like soap but doesn't have the chemical detergents in it
If it spoils however and smells bad after a day in the shower then i think
a soap binder would do nicely
i just have to find one that will give me the frothiness i want
without stripping my skin of natural oils or the fragrance left by the spices.

I was thinking i could try also and make a scrub that used sugar and curry/paprika, but lets see where this goes first ay?

I am happy to say that, tho it had it's first stumbling block
my initial scrub this morning was OMG so good
Messy, Invigorating and Inexpensive--
my skin is soft and cool to the touch while still being lightly moisturized.


i just had a random thought
that if i made it in daily batches
i might be able to use Yogurt or egg as a binder
and i am considering what i might be able to do with crushed fruit
bananas, pineapples or other tropical fruits
i think
or even
Oh, and i should try mixes with Honey, Maple Sugar or Agave nectars too---
It will be yummy delicious fun!

I suppose as i go i will update
and heck
please give feedback if you try it and find something you like

I think i am also going to look into mud and ash paste-like scrubs too--
maybe using incense ash, dried flowers, baking soda/powder and ground nutshells, if i can get them to the right consistencies.
Ash and mud are great actually for oily skin types, the ash absorbs excess oil without stripping the skin and the carbon in the ash acts like a dirt-in-the-pore magnet, sucking the pores clean

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