Our Property Management includes getting the best deals for our clients. You can save approx. 10% on your fuel bill by changing suppliers. ELECTRICITY & GAS If you have Electricity and Gas, we recommend moving both to EDP (the French company) for best rates. Gas Natural also bills for electricity. But after the initial offer the price goes through the roof. EDP contact: 900 907 000 / firstname.lastname@example.org ELECTRICITY ONLY Right now, our preferred alternative to Iberdrola is Endesa. You still pay Iberdrola, so no need to make changes there. But instead of 0.17 euros per KwH, the price is 0.14 euros (17.6% less) and you get two hours of electricity free every day. Most people chose 8pm to 10pm for their free hours. The only catch is that there is a monthly maintenance charge of 2.60 euros + IVA. For most users, this is nothing compared with the savings. Also the maintenance will be useful, if ever you get a problem and need to get someone in. Emergency call out electricians are very expensive. Endesa contact: 666 095 590 (whatsapp Fran/Angela)
If you use an electric water heater you can reduce your energy bill by using a timer and setting to be on a few hours at the beginning and end of the day. However there is an undesired side effect, you get even more problems with limescale. In hard water area, limescale forms when there is a change in temperature or in pressure. If the water heater is switched on and off, the water will cool down then warm up. So the water heater will scale up, which has two effects. 1) limescale absorbs heat. A layer of scale in the heater and in the pipes will increase the amount of energy consumed to get hot water to shower. 2) the water heater will become clogged up with scale and need to be replaced every 5 years or so. If you use an electric water heater, you need something to stop the formation of limescale. And that something is the Hydroflow S38 (Itash). Hydroflow uses radio waves with signals measure in kiloherz (kHz) to prevent the formation of hard limescale and to dissolve existing limescale. This is the same Hydroflow that is used to prevent scale in Steam ovens and steam baths and works very well with the very hard water in Spain. Our sister web site ww.aguaeco.com has more info and a very good offer for on-line customers. Click AGUAECO to find out more Haga clic en AGUAECO-ESP para ver la pagina en castellano.
If you are doing a ‘flat reform’, the typical Valencian builder will expect you to lower the ceiling with escayola (plaster), to make it easy to rewire the flat. However Escayola does nothing to insulate the flat from the cold / heat or from noise. Also you lose much more headroom with Escayola. The cost effective alternative is pladur (plasterboard), fitted with a layer of roofing felt between the old ceiling and the plasterboard. Insulation against temperature changes is important in top floor flats and on walls that get hit by the afternoon sun. Sound insulation is also important. In the main bedroom I recommend sound insulation in the ceiling and on the wall where your bed head will be. When contracting for ‘pladur’, make sure that the contractor puts in the best / thickest roofing felt. If you do not include painting in the contract, make sure that the installer prepares the board for paint. Ie applies tapes to the joints and filler to the holes left by the nails.
You can eat as well as you can, but without regular exercise your body will let you down eventually. If weight is an issue, then exercise will help you get to where you want to be, and stay there. "Advice is offensive" as per Samuel Johnson. Everyone has their own way. So this is not advice, rather a record of what I do. WALK LOTS - on the flat in Valencia GYM TWICE A WEEK - A typical session is no more than an hour long. 15-20 minutes in the gym, 10 minutes in the steam bath and 10 minutes in the jacuzzi. The rest of the time is changing, showering etc. I do this just before lunch, when I am not tired out. My 15 minutes in gym involves short bursts of intense activity. For example I start with 5 minutes on the elyptical machine - a sort of treamill with handles so you cannot fall off. I do one minute to warm up, then a I go as fast as I can for 10 seconds. then back to normal. At the start of the next minute I 'give it 10' again. I used to do 6 minutes. But by going for it in short bursts, I have cut it back to five minutes. I see others in the gym, doing a steady speed for 20 minutes or more, which could become very boring I imagine. After the elyptical machine, I do some mat work, trunk curls, bottom lifts, leg lifts. two sets of 20. I do one leg at a time, which suits an older body. After that I do one set of 20 pushes and pulls on 6 different machines. I go a weight I can manage without straining myself .... 5 or 6 out 10. I do the sets quite quickly. The monitor in the gym would have given me a much longer routine. So I haven't troubled the monitor, apart from getting myself weighed once a month. I don't do medical insurance . Instead I pay a monthly sub to the gym, which is my preventative maintenance.
In the words of Samuel Johnson, the great writer from the 18th century, the giving of unsolicited “advice is offensive”. So what follows is not advice, it is simply what I eat day by day. Breakfast
- A glass of water with a teaspoon of salt and a splash of cider vinegar
- A cup of tea (often with 2 or 3 table spoons of oats in the mix)
- Scrambled eggs made with loads of butter, a splash of milk
- 1 or 2 eggs, if I did not have them for breakfast
- Black coffee (Café largo)
- or A slice of full fat cheese wrapped around a slice of hard butter
- Or Cheese/butter/ham wrapped in a lettuce leaf or two. You can make a sandwich of anything using lettuce instead of bread.
- Or a selection of Nuts
- Corteza de cerdo (like pork scratchings) dipped in cream cheese or sobrasado
- Celery with sobrasado is also nice. Sobrasado is processed fatty pork and maybe is not the best fat. but it's gluten free, so it cannot be all bad.
- A Rice dish (see below) this is not proper Keto, but I like it
- A salad + cheese and half an apple
- Butternut squash with cream cheese
- grilled meat or fish
- PG tips, green tea or another coffee
- plain popcorn with a bit stevia and salt. has a carb content, so not for the hard line Ketoner. But at least they are gluten free.
- nuts - mercadona do a good range of natural nuts and seeds (ie not fried in palm oil). Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are great mixed with almonds, cashews, hazels, brazils.
- Consum do salted peanuts in their shells. Peanuts are not approved by hard liners. but again they are gluten free, so they can't be all bad.
- Mercadona gluten free Maize chips have a carb content, so not for everyone.
- Lightly sautéed Kale / cabbage that has already been steamed with fried bacon bits
- Big bits of meat on the bone with lots of fat. Best if grass fed, but good anyway.
- Caulirice – steamed grated cauliflower makes a good rice
- Caulimash - Cauliflower steamed so it is soft, then masked with butter and nutmeg
- Courgetini - You need a gadget to do this to spirilise a courgette. The result is a good spaghetti substitute. Best steamed lightly so it does not go mushy .
- Pizza – with a base made from almond flour. You could use a mix of chick pea flour (garbanzo). But it adds to the carbs. So best not if you want stay in Ketosis.
- Meat and fish to taste.
- 2 or 3 table spoons of Greek yoghurt mixed with a table spoon of extra virgin cococnut oil and a spoon full of ground flax seed (lino in Spanish) or cacao powder
- A handful of raspberries or strawberries with full fat cream. They make a good iced cream.
- Half an apple with cheese. more nuts
- Apples and fruit in general have sugar, so no more than protion of fruit per day. Half a banana is you must.
- Dark chocolate 70%+ cacao with no added sugar, with stevia even better. but watch out the stevia is often much less than the sugar.
- menta poleo (mint tea) infusion to finish with.
- Heat a big pan up with some olive oil.
- Add anything you want to the pan ie Fried onions, veg, beans, diced apples, apricots, squash chopped small, sausages or morcilla (blood sausage) or anything with a low sugar content
- Add 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, turmeric for the colour.
- tabasco or garam marsala if you want to spice it up
- Add the water (2 bowls) .. bring to boil
- Add rice * (1 bowl) and cook for 14 minutes
- You can use grated cauliflower instead of rice, in which case 8 minutes boiling should be enough.
- Switch off and cover a leave it to finish cooking for 5 minutes.
Generally flats in Valencia are not well insulated for noise or for temperature. The solution is to insulate, especially if you are in a top floor. EXTERNAL WALLS - If a room is hit by the sun in the summer, you can reduce the temperature in the room by installing an extra layer of plasterboard with a layer of insulation . This will cost 3 cms of room space. It is even better if you can leave an air gap between the wall and plasterboard. CEILING INSULATION - Good insulation can reduce the temperature in a top floor room by 10%. In a middle floor it will minimize the noise from the neighbours above you. The best and most economical solution is as follows
- Fit insulation felt to the ceiling
- Install a metal frame with more felt, leaving an air gap
- Fit plain plasterboard to the frame.
- Finish the plasterboard with a skim coat of plaster for a perfect finish.
- Fit a ceiling fan for maximum comfort.
It is becoming clear that inflammation is the main cause of most ill health. The biggest cause of inflammation is sugar (in all its forms), closely followed by gluten. LOW FAT - Low fat, high sugar has been the norm for 40+ years. The big problem with low fat is that if you don’t use fat in processed foods, you have to replace it with sugar or a sugar substitute. So skimmed milk or low fat yogurts have more sugar than the full fat equivalent. Fat fills you up. If you don’t eat fat, it is hard to stop eating. SUGAR - Sugar fuels the diabetes & obesity epidemic. Cancer cells feed off glucose. Alzeimers is regarded by many as type 3 Diabetes. Eliminate / reduce sugar in your diet, is the best way to increase your chance of good health. Sugar is in nearly every processed food… breakfast cereals, jams and condiments, snack foods, sugary fizzy drinks (beer included sorry), pre-cooked meals. To avoid sugar you need to read the labels closely of packaged food products carefully. A glass of wine is OK. But wine has sugar, so .... GLUTEN - Gluten is the sticky protein that makes bread, pasta, cakes and processed food taste good. Combine gluten with sugar and you have a deadly combination. Studies show that avoiding gluten and sugar will reduce your chances of getting diabetes and dementia considerably. It also is connected with other conditions such as hypothyroidism and Ataxia Cerebellum. see paper on Gluten-Ataxia (2012) Gluten is addictive and it is best to give it up slowly. If you do it from one day to the next, there will be withdrawal symptoms. I had three months of unpredictable mood swings, before I adapted to a life without gluten. Now I am free of gluten, I find that I think more clearly and I feel much happier in myself. GOOD FAT - The best way to cut down on sugar and gluten is to increase your consumption of good fat. Good fats include coconut oil olive oil, butter, animal fat, fish oils, avocadoes, most nuts, full fat cheese, eggs. The less processed the food, the better. So Virgin oils and grass fed meat is best. Bad fats included vegetable oils, margarine, most processed meats. Nuts fried in palm oil are not good either. CHOLESTEROL - Doesn’t fat cause cholesterol? you may ask. Good saturated fat promotes good HDL cholesterol. Sugar and bad unsaturated fats promote bad LDL cholesterol. As you get older, cholesterol levels rise. In 2013 a cause for concern were “very high levels (above 190) of the harmful cholesterol known as LDL -- not a patient's total cholesterol”. If you eat good fat and avoid sugar and gluten, cholesterol is not such a problem. CARBOHYDRATES - When you are young you can eat anything, provided you exercise to burn it off. But as you get older your metabolism slows down and it is best to reduce the intake of carbohydrates, especially carbs high in sugar, such as bread, pasta, pizza, potatoes, cakes, snack food. Carbs like oats or rice may not include sugar in their composition. But when carbs are digested they generate glucose (ie sugar). So if you are trying to avoid sugar in all its forms, you need to restrict your intake of carbs. KETO HIGH FAT, LOW CARB - Keto is short for Ketones. The body and brain have two sources of fuel Glucose and Ketones. If you eat a ‘normal’ diet you will be eating more than enough glucose, which creates inflammation and prevents your body using the ketones that are stored in your body fat. To make Ketones the primary source of food for your brain and body, you need to eat high fat low carb. if you have ill health - physical or mental - or carry too much weight , then a Keto diet could be a solution. FOOD SUGGESTIONS - The internet is full of recipes for those on the Keto (high fat low carb) path. Recommended books include : The Grain Brain by Dr Perlmutter and Wheat Belly by Jimmy Moore Click Keto Tips to see how I get by
In recent years, a number of ex-pats have been struck down with viral meningitis. The Spanish in the campo talk about a 'Tiger mosquito', a mosquito bite seems to be the cause in most cases. Meningitis is a serious condition causing swelling of the brain and leaves an older person with bad headaches, no energy and no will to do anything ... for six months or more. I researched this last year for the partner of a friend of mine, who was at her wits end. The doctors said it should go away after a few weeks. But it went on for months. Their story was this. They were cleaning up the family country house in Picassent, when my friend got bitten and became ill. His partner spotted the symptoms and pointed the doctors in the right direction. She knew something was up, because her first husband had died from meningitis a few years before. You can see the results of my google research on Meningitis sequela ADVICE - The advice to anyone living outside the city, is make sure that you have insect repellent close to hand, when you are working in the garden. You can also use the gel from an aloe vera plant. Insects don't seem to like the aloe bitters. But you are safer with an insect repellent. If you get flu like symptoms combined with headaches, see a doctor straight away and make sure they test for meningitis. Make sure you have medical cover. If you 'work' as an autonomo for a few months you are entitled to a Spanish SIP card and cover from the Spanish national health. Otherwise you need a medical insurance, such as ADESLA.