What’s in Your Healthy Toolbox?
Recently, I have begun taking my health more seriously. For me, this involves knowing the calories and various nutrients I am eating. I have found some helpful tools for getting the job done, and would like to share them.
Of course, the most obvious is to ask sighted family or friends if they are around or within video calling range.
If not, some iPhone apps are helpful. You may likely have your own favorites, but I particularly find I prefer Seeing AI . Using the barcode scanner takes time and patience, but I can often get it done with a little perseverance. I find that practice pays off. If that doesn’t work, I will use the text recognition feature in the app, or I will use KNFBReader to do the same thing. Generally, using these apps will only give me basic information. For example, I’m happy if I can get a product name.
Recently, I purchased an ID Mate Galaxy from Envision America, and find it very helpful. If the food is in its barcode database, and the company has shared all information, I can find nutrition info, serving suggestions, and much more. You can listen to a demo of how I use the ID Mate on a recent episode of the Mystic Access Podcast.
Unfortunately, there are times when my do-it-myself approach fails. No family or friends are available, my iPhone won’t read anything, and the barcode is not found in the ID Mate’s database.
I had this situation happen recently. I had visited a health fair, and brought home close to a dozen unidentified foods. Most were given out as samples, a few I had purchased, and several of them felt alike. Unfortunately, I couldn’t identify any of them through the aforementioned methods. I called AIRA, and was very happy with the results. The agent read the information when she could, and did research to find it when she couldn’t. I could have likely done the same thing with Be My Eyes, but I don’t know how much help they would have been if they couldn’t read the package.
Here’s part of a paraphrased conversation I had with an AIRA agent that illustrates how well this worked:
Me: “I have a bar next.”
Agent: “Ok, it says it’s a salted caramel toffee pretzel bar, but I can’t see the rest of the information. May I take a picture?”
Agent: “Ok, I still can’t find calories or protein grams, so I’m Googling it… and I think I found it. The brand is Health Slim, and here are the calories and protein grams.”
Me: “I’m really curious… How do you know that is the right bar?”
Agent: “I searched for the name, because that’s a unique combination. The packaging on the first one looks identical to the packaging on your bar.”
I consider myself a savvy Internet searcher, but there’s no way I could have found that information on my own. Oh, and just a reminder, having a labeling system ready to mark items will keep you from having to do the same job more than once. And yes, the whole process is tedious, but if I think of it as a mystery to be solved, or an adventure of sorts, that helps. Also, I know that the extra work is a foregone conclusion, but I have decided my health is worth the effort!
If you have useful tools you’d like us to know about, please feel free to contact us by using the form on our main page.