Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday's Fave Five - I'm grateful for...

A blogger friend of mine posts five things she's grateful for every Friday.  She has talked me into doing the same so here goes! 

1.  Cooler days!  Summer is drawing to a close and today is only supposed to get to about 80 degrees.  It's almost noon and just 72 outside, so I'm planning on keeping the windows open all day - no air conditioning!  My dog Tally is also loving being able to wander in and out as she pleases.

2.  My son Chris has a new place to live.  He needed to be out of his current home by today.  The place he had lined up earlier in the week fell through and he and his two new roommates were scrambling to find somewhere.  They were able to find a house that fits their needs in Alameda and they can move in right away.

3.  I didn't have to pay at WeightWatchers this morning!  I have managed to stay at my goal weight so I am free!

4. I am grateful for the person who left a big bag of apples on my doorstep yesterday (my neighbor I think).  A sign that fall is truly here.  I can almost taste the apple pies, cakes, and butter that are most definitely in my future!  What else should I make with them?

5.  My stepdaughter - it is her birthday on Tuesday.  Happy Birthday Christi!  Plus, I am grateful for the precious grandson that her and her husband Al have given us - I got to babysit him for a whole day this week!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

iPhone Apps - Fooducate and Diet ScanCalc


If you often find yourself at the grocery store trying to make sense of the food labels and deciding whether or not something is good for you, then check out this iPhone application.  It uses the phone's camera to scan in the UPC barcode and then gives you information about the product.

The free version of Fooducate
has ads that run along the
bottom of the screen

It points out facts that the manufacturers don't necessarily want you to notice such as excessive sugar, tricky trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, additives and preservatives, controversial food colorings, etc.  It also gives the calories and WeightWatchers point value, but does not give a full nutritional breakdown, i.e., fat grams, carbohydrates, protein, etc.  It will only mention if a nutrient content is particularly high or low.  Nor does it tell you the serving size, which would be useful. 

You can also type in a product search rather than scanning the bar code; this means that you have the option to use it on your first generation iPad.  There are many other features, including keeping track of items that you've previously looked at and storing your favorites.  You may leave a comment about a product also, and read what other 'fooducators' have to say about it.

First of all I shook my phone to look at a random product.  Up popped Pineapple Caffeine-Free Shasta.  Needless to say it got a 'D' grade for containing 13 teaspoons of sugar, controversial artificial colors, and high fructose corn syrup. 

Next I scanned in my breakfast cereal - Kashi Go Lean.  This was much better!  It scored an A- for containing 40% of the daily fiber requirement, just 1.5 teaspoons of sugar, and only 140 calories a serving.  It even gave a warning on the fiber:  "Proceed slowly...consuming too much, too fast may cause bloating."

I have the free version on my iphone, but there is a version without ads for $3.99.  I really don't think the ads are that intrusive so I will probably stick with the free one.   This is a nifty little app that is rated 5 stars in the App Store.

Diet ScanCalc

This is a much simpler app and is designed for people following the WeightWatchers program.  Once again you scan the bar code on a product and it calculates the number of points per serving.  It gives you the points to one decimal place, so it is necessary to round up or down, but it does give the serving size, so is very helpful. 

It stores products that you have previously scanned, but they are in chronological order and it would be more helpful if you had the option to sort them alphabetically or perhaps by point value.  Maybe this will come in a future update.

Overall though, very useful and super easy to use.  Saves opening my WW app and typing in grams of fat, protein, carbs, etc., or pulling out my WW calculator.

This application is also free.