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Zec Reviews – Trabasack Mini Connect

The following is a wonderful review of the Trabasack Mini Connect, kindly written for us by fellow blogger Zec.

Zec has been a wheelchair user for a number of years, and we’re glad to say that his Trabasack Mini Connect seems to have provided the perfect perch for his tablet computer whilst not only out-and-about, but at home, too!

Please read on for Zec’s review and you will find further info about his blog at the end.

I have on my lap a bag/tray called a Trabasack© that was sent to me to try and review, I always review honestly. I have seen a Trabasack on Facebook and Twitter before but and here is a confession, I thought it’s something I wouldn’t need as I thought it might be for someone who has higher needs than me.

Photographic overview of the Trabasack Mini Connect in its packaging, which lists the benefits and features of the lap tray bag

A brand new Trabasack Mini Connect in packaging – ready to be tried and tested!

The one I have on my lap is the Mini Connect, it’s the smaller of the two that I was sent but I have immediately decided it’s my favourite.

It’s about 14 by 10 inches with two very sturdy fabric carry handles; on one side is a flat tray that is covered with a fabric that the hook side of Velcro will attach to. A zip with a double open zip with rings attached to the zipper that allow very easy opening even if you have poor grip, manual dexterity and arthritic hands would be able to open it easily.

Inside a zipped pocket contains a bean bag that allows the bag to mould to your legs, this means it’s not only very comfortable and this is important because my legs are very sensitive, it also means the bag is level on your lap. I use a Sony Xperia Z tablet because a laptop hurts my legs; I spend a lot of time laid in bed or on the settee and the tablet is ideal.

Photograph shows the back of a white tablet computer case, with two parallel strips of black adhesive hook tape on the back.

Securing items such as tablet computers or iPads to the surface of the Mini Connect is quick and easy, using our adhesive velcro tape.

Now that I have the Trabasack Mini Connect it’s even better, I used a pack of Trabasack Hook sticking tape, a pack contains four 2.5 x 30cm pieces and I used two pieces on my tablet case and attached it to the tray, in hindsight one piece cut into two would have been adequate because it is more than secure. I’m laid slightly to one side but the Mini Connect is still sat straight and secure, inside I have my meds for today and my mobile phone, although there is room for it on the tray and that is what I have just done now I have thought of it.

I keep my glasses secure when not wearing them by sliding an arm through one of the D rings. Laid in bed the tablet can sit on the Trabasack on my stomach or on the quilt and doesn’t slip and slide about. I have hung the Trabasack on the back of my wheelchair next to the settee to watch a film and there must be many more ways that I haven’t used yet. It is also ideal for when I have an outpatient appointment; I take my tablet along to pass the time because quite often it’s a long wait.

Now I’m not a slim person, some may even go as far as to say I had a big belly and I guess they are right. So sat in my wheelchair, my lap space is at a premium, having the tablet on my lap is awkward and I have to make sure I hold it, in between I have to put it in my rucksack on the back of my wheelchair and its almost asking for someone to steal it, but now it can sit on my lap secure and I can put it inside the Trabasack when I’m finished and know it’s in sight and safe.

Photograph of a tablet computer and iPhone attached to the tray surface of the Trabasack Mini Connect wheelchair tray bag

Here Zec’s phone and tablet computer sit safe and secure upon the tray surface of the Mini Connect.

I have had the Trabasack Mini Connect for a good few weeks, my tablet is always attached to the front and when I am not using it, I just flip the tablet case closed and it stays there. All I do when I want it is to pick up the Mini connect by the handles and onto my lap and open the tablet, it then sits on my lap so naturally, it even sits on one leg without a balance problem. Yesterday I took the tablet off of the Trabasack for the first time and honestly I didn’t like it and put it straight back on, it’s perfect and my in-laws were talking about getting one for their iPads.

The Trabasack can be carried by the handles, over one shoulder with one strap or worn like a rucksack. In a wheelchair a strap can go around your waist (unless you are a biscuit eater like me) or two side straps can attach to the wheelchair or buggy. I slide a strap around my thighs and it is secure. The thing is, the Trabasack Mini isn’t just handy because I have a disability, it would be useful on the train or in a car, its handy storage for a tablet or notebook and some extra items that you need to take along. The design is perfect and the optional media mount attachment can be used to hold an ipad, tablet or kindle at the right angle or wrapped to hold a bottle in place.

All in all a great product that serves as a bag and a surface to work on and connect your tech.

Thanks again Zec for such a fantastic and positive review of the Trabasack Mini Connect! If you’d like to read more about Zec, please visit his blog “Sat on My Butt” for lots of insightful life stories, and his journey living with chronic pain.

Drinking Aids Review Including New handSteady

Drinking aids for Disabled People Reviewed

Drinking aids offer important, everyday assistance to those with health conditions such as tremors, Parkinsons and Cerebral Palsy. There are many innovative yet simple drinking aids available, and the newest one on the market is “handSteady”.

The handSteady drinking aid is a drinks cup with a rotatable handle. Even though many everyday items have evolved in terms of design, it would seem that the humble cup has remained the same for centuries. Although many people find drinking from a normal cup easy, if you suffer from dexterity issues, tremors, weakness or muscle pain you will find that fixed-handled cups can cause pain and other difficulties.

Creating the handSteady Drinking Aid

drinking aids for the elderly, Chris Peacock stood infront of a brick wall, holding his handSteady cup and its box.

The handSteady drinking aid was created by Chris Peacock

The handSteady drinking aid was created by Chris Peacock, an inventor and Physics graduate from Southampton. After one of his closest family members had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, they found that it affected their ability to drink. It was at this point that Chris looked around for options for Parkinson’s drinking aids to no avail, and he knew he should use his creative talents to fill this much neglected gap in the market.

Designing a new adaptive drinking aid

Chris started upon a post-graduate Masters in Industrial Design Engineering, and decided to base his studies on creating a new drinking aid for not only his relative, but millions of others in need of extra help with drinking.

Chris’ project garnered support from a number of influential and acclaimed innovations institutions, including a Dyson Scholarship, a Kenny Yip Award and an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Scholarship.

The result of Chris’ hard work, innovative thinking and scholarly support was the new handSteady drinking aid.

How Does the handSteady Work?

Often the most simple of ideas can revolutionise the world, and the handSteady is set to do just that. The handle of the handSteady cup is rotatable. This means that instead of having to hold a cup at an uncomfortable angle, the handle can be tilted to suit your specific needs.

The handSteady cup self-levels and will stay upright until you’re ready to drink, no matter what angle you hold it at. You do not have to twist your wrist to bring the cup to your mouth helping to

geriatric drinking aids infographic showing a hand holding the handSteady cup with information about how it works.

The handSteady drinking aid stays upright, is easy to tilt and always keeps steady.

reduce pain. Other everyday cups force the user to keep the cup in an upright position, and if you suffer from tremors or muscle weakness or rigidity, this can often mean that spillage can occur very easily.

With the handSteady drinking aid cup, you no longer need to twist and bend your wrist to take a drink. The rotating motion of the handSteady handle means that you do not have to tilt your head backwards, or rely on elbow or wrist action to take a sip of liquid. The cup can be tilted using your other hand, your thumb or simply by using your lips.

The handSteady cup is ideal for those with tremors or hand coordination problems. By rotating the handle 90 degrees, it can be carried whilst walking with a reduced chance of spillage. It also allows for limited elbow movement when moving the cup towards your mouth for a drink. Providing users with the ability to keep their elbows close to their sides whilst drinking can help to eliminate tremors that would otherwise cause drink to spill.

The Benefits of Using a handSteady Cup

Having problems with the simple act of drinking can cause many people to feel embarrassed and self-conscious. Having little control over your movements can cause drink to spill easily, staining clothes and furniture. It is for this reason those with certain health conditions feel anxious about going out with friends and family to drink in public. However, the design of the handSteady provides not only a practical and effective drinking aid, but also a piece of mind for those that use it. The assurance that drinks will no longer spill due to tremors or muscle weakness can provide independence and dignity, whilst providing an easy and comfortable drinking experience.

The handSteady drinking aid is an ideal alternative cup for those with:

  • Tremors
  • Limited Dexterity or Slowness of Movement
  • Swallowing Difficulties
  • Joint or Muscle Pain, Stiffness or Weakness such as Arthritis

 

handSteady’s Innovative and Inclusive Design

medical drinking aids. Image of the handSteady cup with a list of features including 1. Curved Rim, 2. State of the art materials, 3. Rotatable handle, 4. Ergonomic geometry, 5. Double Arc handle

The handSteady uses state of the art materials and design to ensure spillage is at a minimum.

When Chris Peacock designed the handSteady it was to first and foremost serve a purpose and help people to drink easily. However, he was also passionate about creating a product that looked as good as it functioned. The elegant design of the handSteady is based upon the traditional bone china cup many of us use on a daily basis. The innovative materials used to create the handSteady reflect the delicate colouring of bone china and also make it 31% lighter than normal cups. This provides even more ease of use and comfort, especially for those that suffer from muscle weakness or stiffness. The handSteady also boasts a number of other benefits, including a large handle with a guard to prevent hot drinks burning your hands, that is big enough to be held in the “power grip” hold.

The cup also features an ingenious curved rim, that guides liquids to the centre of the mouth when drinking, and ensures liquid returns to the cup to avoid dripping. Each of the handSteady drinking aid cups can hold 250ml of liquid, is insulated to keep drink cooler/warmer for longer, is stain resistant and can be conveniently cleaned in a dish washer.

The new handSteady drinking aid is truly a revolution in everyday design, and solves a number of drinking problems that had yet to be tackled without the use of tubes or straws.

To purchase the fantastic handSteady drinking aid or for more information, visit Chris’ site handsteady.com.

 

Other Drinking Aids Currently Available

Now we’ve covered the new handSteady, let’s take a look at some of the other innovative and practical drinking aids available on the market.

The Hydrant 750ml with Straw

Image of the Hydrant 750ml drinks bottle with tube useful as a drinking aid for quadriplegics

Hydrant 750ml – Buy at Equ4l.com

Created and developed by Mark Moran, the Hydrant is a water / drinks bottle with a twist. This drinking aid is a bottle with a unique one-piece cap/clip/handle that can be secured on to almost any equipment including beds, wheelchairs, bikes and more. The user can drink from the bottle with ease using the drinking tube that fits securely to the Hydrant bottle. Having this ability to drink through a tube means those that are weak or struggle to hold a cup or bottle can simply sip through the straw with ease. Not having to reach for a drink and having the Hydrant by your side helps to keep patients hydrated and comfortable.
Much like the handSteady, the Hydrant provides independence so that the user doesn’t have to rely on asking for help when they need a drink. The Hydrant holds 750ml of liquid and the drinking tube includes a special bite valve that opens under pressure, allowing the user to drink at a comfortable pace. Once the bite valve is released, the tube closes to avoid leaking and spillage of liquids.
The Hydrant 750ml with Straw can be purchased from Equ4L.com – Equipped 4 Life, by clicking the button below.

Orange button with text "buy at equ4l.com" - click to purchase

 

The DUO Cup Holder

Image of a white mug with the DUO providing a second handle.

Ergonomic DUO can be easily attached to a regular mug or cup.

The basis of the DUO cup holder is that it adds an extra handle to your favourite cup. Making your cup or mug two-handed is ideal for those that struggle to grip and hold a cup using only one handle. Rather than having to purchase new two-handled mugs or cups, you can now transform your favourite everyday cup with the DUO.
The DUO will safely and securely fit around your mug of choice, and the ergonomically shaped handle provides a steady and study grip whilst also protecting your hands from hot drinks. The DUO can also be attached to glasses as well as ceramics, and this ability to adapt drink ware you already own is not only easy to do, but also cost effective in the long term.
The DUO cup holder is for sale at Equ4L.com, and can be purchased by clicking the button below.

Orange button with text "buy at equ4l.com" - click to purchase

 

Easi 2 Drink Anti-spillage Drinking Aid Insert

wheelchair drinking aid with ladies hand holding a yellow mug with tea and a Easi 2 Drink aid inside.

The Easi 2 Drink insert restricts wave motion and the tendency for liquid to spill.

The Easi 2 Drink is a white plastic device which can be inserted inside of mugs and glasses to help reduce spillage. It was specifically designed to help those with tremors or coordination problems drink without spilling liquids. The Easi 2 Drink anti-spillage aid can be placed inside any standard sized mug or tumbler, and the unique shape of the device helps to restrict the swaying motion of liquids. This in turn helps to avoid spillage for those who struggle to hold a cup steady.
The Easi 2 Drink Anti-Spillage aid can be easily inserted in to any cup, mug or glass and can be removed for cleaning. The handy pocket-size design means you can carry it with you anywhere and easily adapt any drinking vessel without needing to carry a special cup or bottle. The Easi 2 Drink can withstand liquids from 0-100 degrees Celsius and is available to purchase here.

 

 

NRS Thermo Safe Mug

Image of the blue version of the NRS Thermo Safe Mug

The design of the NRS Thermo Safe Mug makes it suitable for people who cannot tip their head/neck back to drink.


The NRS Thermo Safe Mug is a stylish and modern looking drinking aid that keeps drinks hot or cold for longer. The large, easy to hold handle provides enough room to be held via the “power grip” hand position and is ideal for those with arthritis. The NRS Thermo Safe Mug is insulated yet lightweight, and has been designed in a special cone shape which makes drinking easier for those with limited movement of the neck.
The frosted white body of the mug contrasts with the blue (or red available also) rim, which makes it easier for the user to see the top of the mug.
NRS Thermo Safe Mugs come in either red or blue with lids to be purchased separately. Each mug can hold up to 6 fl oz of liquid and is microwave safe.

If your drink of choice is usually tea or coffee, check out our previous post about safer alternatives to disposable hot drinks cups.

 

Strawberi Straw Holder

Image of a red Strawberi straw holder holding a green straw in a glass.

Strawberi is an award winning straw holder that grasps a straw securely against the side of a glass or cup.


Strawberi straw holders are a simple yet ingenious little device that attaches to the side of your glass to keep your straw in place. The Strawberi keeps your straw steady and upright, which means you can drink hands free and not have to worry about the straw moving about. This is ideal for those with tremors or muscle weakness. The Strawberi drinking straw holder can be attached to any type of drinking cup or glass and helps to eliminate any stress or mess that can be caused by trying to keep the straw in the right position.
The Strawberi is also perfect for young children who are learning to suck via a straw and the added bonus is that they are dishwasher safe for extra cleanliness and time-saving.

 

And finally…Thirst Aid Helmet Drinking Hat!

Image of plastic helmet hats with holsters on the sides for holding cans of drink.

Contemporary style, ultimate functionality – hands-free drinking aid the Thirst Aid Helmet

Or, if none of the innovative and practical drinking aids we’ve mentioned so far take your fancy, why not opt for the classic Thirst Aid Helmet?! Hat AND drinking aid in one, the Thirst Aid Helmet offers multifunctional practicality unrivalled by any other drinks-hat on the market. Hands-free hydration has never been so simple – avoid spillages and unnecessary fumbling for the nearest beverage with your choice of bottle or can firmly attached to your head. The Thirst Aid Helmet allows you to holster either a bottle or can firmly to either side of your head, and once the drinking tubes have been inserted, you are left entirely hands-free for anything you desire. Ideal for sports events, drinking on the go or even relaxing at home, the Thirst Aid Helmet is the ultimate in style and functionality. This may seem like a bit of fun, but hey, if  it works for you then why not?

😉

Please tell us what is your favourite drinking aid in the comments below:

Religious Fasting Spiritual and Physical Benefits

Religious Fasting Spiritual and Physical Benefits

Religious fasting is the traditional practise of abstaining from eating food for an extended period of time. It is said that fasting for religious reasons can make one feel more spiritual and connected to God. There are many different religions that take part in regular fasting. Certain Christian groups fast each week, along with Muslim people and those of the Jewish faith.

The idea of a fasting diet may seem like a modern fad to many in the Western world, however in other continents fasting has been part of daily life for centuries.

The Fast Diet

The Fast Diet is a book that was recently released by Dr Michael Mosley. The book offers advice and tips for maintaining an intermittent fasting diet to aid weight loss. Intermittent fasting is also known as the 5:2 diet. This involves restricting calorie intake for 2 non-consecutive days per week. On these “fasting” days you must eat less than 500 calories. However, on the other 5 days you may eat as you wish. Due to the overwhelming success of the Fast Diet book, an informative and handy book of Fast Diet recipes has now been published. The recipes allow you keep below 500 calories without getting too bored of the calorie restrictive dishes. This fasting approach to weight loss has gained the attention of many fans and we have covered the topic in full here in our The Fast Diet post.

 

Religious Fasting

Although religious fasting does have weight loss benefits, this is not the reason why many take part in fasting as part of their culture or religion.

In this blog we will cover why people fast for religious reasons, and both the spiritual and physical benefits of religious fasting.

Religious Fasting Definition

According to wikipedia, the act of fasting is described as:

[the] primarily an act of willing abstention from all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a single day (24 hours), or several days. Other fasts may be only partially restrictive, limiting particular foods or substance. The fast may also be intermittent in nature.

In terms of religious fasting, this usually takes place intermittently.

Christian Fasting

Black and white photograph of an open bible on an empty plate, with cutlery either side.

Religious fasting relates to spirituality rather than weight loss

Fasting is mentioned several times within the bible. Religious fasting is part of everyday life for a number of Christian communities. Catholics for example take part in partial fasts that deny them certain food types, this generally takes place during Lent and lasts 40 days.

In Classical Pentecostal churches, religious fasting is more common. Many people of the Pentecostal faith take part in weekly fasts. It is said that fasting helps to cleanse the soul and bring a calm mind. This in turn brings one closer to God and can help strengthen your empathy and understanding of the greater spiritual meaning of life.

Mormon Fast Sunday

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints take part in a total fast of food and drink. This usually takes place on the first Sunday of each month. During this fasting period, members will miss two consecutive meals, missing 24 hours of food.

Hindu Fasting

Fasting for spiritual reasons is a very important part of Hinduism. There are different fasts that are observed by each member of the faith, and it is a personal choice which they take part in.
Often people of the Hindu faith will choose to fast on the day of the week that corresponds with their favourite deity. For example, those that worship Shiva will fast on a Monday. Whereas members who follow Vishnu will instead fast on a Thursday.

Islam and Fasting

Fasting is one of the most crucial aspects of the Islamic faith. Fasting is considered the fourth of the “Five Pillars of Islam”. The Five Pillars of Islam are similar to the “10 Commandments” of Christian faith. The Five Pillars of Islam are 5 basic acts that must be followed and create the foundation of Muslim life.
The most notable period of fasting is known as Ramadan – the holy month. During Ramandan followers of the faith should not eat nor drink from dawn until sunset.

Judaism and Fasting

Religious fasting for Jews involves not eating any food or consuming any drink, even water. Orthodox Jews usually fast for 6 days a year. The most important and well-known day of fasting for those of Jewish faith is Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Atonement, every Jew must fast entirely. The afternoon before Yom Kippur sees Jews take part in a large and festive feast in lieu of the upcoming fast.

Spiritual Benefits of Fasting

Although each religion takes a different approach to fasting, they all have one thing in common – prayer. Prayer and spiritual strength are the primary reasons why people of all faiths take part in fasting. There are other physical benefits of fasting which we will cover later in this post, however this is not the intention of religious fasting.

Spiritual Fasting and Prayer

Many members of each different fasting faith will argue that fasting has no importance without the inclusion of prayer. As interviewed on the Radio 4 broadcast on the subject of religious fasting, Pastor Grace Komolafe talks about the spiritual benefits of fasting:

“Fasting is so beneficial for us, every Christian, so that, that will keep us calm. It will actually detox us because we need to be detoxed, not only from all the toxin but from unbelief. When you fast, you discover that on your spirit is just lifted up. You know, you understand the word of God more. You have more revelation of the word of God. Fasting should be put back on the menu of the church because it is our inheritance. In fact, fasting is an instrument of humbling.”

 

The Physical Benefits of Fasting

The number one benefit that tempts people into a fasting diet regime is the prospect of weight loss. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help decrease central weight loss far better than other diets.

Fasting Diet and Weight Loss

Image of a knife and fork wrapped in a tape measure upon a yellow napkin

Restricting calorie intake through intermittent fasting has been proven to drastically improve weight loss.

Mark Mattson, Professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University has done numerous research into the study of fasting diets.
A recent study involved monitoring the weight loss of 100 women via three different methods of diet. A third would eat normally, a third would have a low calorie diet and the final third would take part in intermittent fasting. The results from this study were astoundingly in favour of the intermittent or 5:2 style of fasting.

[the women] were on the diets for six months, and what we found is that as expected, both energy restricted groups lost weight. But we found that the group on a diet that we’re calling the 5:2 diet, the women, they lost more belly fat and their glucose regulation was improved, so that they were able to maintain lower blood glucose levels.

Fasting Diet Health Benefits

Often loosing a few pounds can essentially increase the health of someone who is overweight. However, fasting diets can also offer more health benefits than just weight loss.
As mentioned previously by Professor Mark Mattson, fasting diet studies showed that not only can they help you to loose weight, but fasting can also lower blood glucose levels and help blood pressure levels.

Mark Mattson goes on to explain the overall health benefits of fasting:

Intermittent fasting will improve glucose regulation and therefore, protect against diabetes. And the reason that happens is that, when you go without food for an extended time period, say 12 to 24 hours, your muscle cells and your liver cells will undergo changes that make them better able to remove glucose from the blood, so that when you do eat, the glucose is rapidly removed and taken up by the cells where it’s needed and used. Another clear fact, that we’ve documented in our animal studies, is that intermittent fasting will lower blood pressure and reduce resting heart rate and enhance ability of heart to respond to stress.

Fasting and Eating Disorders

Image of piles of brightly coloured sweets/candy

Those who suffer from eating disorders such as Bulimia may binge on “comfort” food such as sweets, later to purge them from their system.

Although the act of depriving your body of food can have positive spiritual and physical effects, it can also cause harm if the practise is abused.

Going through cycles of starvation and consumption are familiar to many who suffer eating disorders. Bulimia Nervosa involves “binging and purging“, where the sufferer will firstly binge – a vast consumption of calorific and fatty foods desired by the sufferer. Once the binge has taken place, a period of purging will begin. Those with Bulimia will force themselves to vomit or take harmful doses of laxative to try and ensure they do not gain weight. The purging is triggered by not only a desire to loose weight, but a strong sense of guilt that comes from overconsumption.

Rob Waller, writer at mindandsoul.info, highly recommends the book “A Hunger for God” as a reference to religious fasting. He has also written a blog that explains the similarities and problems that can occur with religious fasting and eating disorders:

A few years ago, I facilitated a six week course on prayer and fasting. As many of the group were in their 20s and many were also female, the topic of eating disorders seemed important to cover. In this article I try to summarise how true Christian fasting might relate to different types of eating disorder…
Read More…

There are a number of blogs we’ve found that cover the problems that can occur when fasting and eating disorders become intertwined and confused. The Pay Now, Live Later blog includes a post examining the faint line between intermittent fasting and eating disorders. Also of note is a cautionary tale of using food to control stressful situations on the Marie Claire health and fitness blog.

Eating disorders such as Bulimia and Anorexia are incredibly harmful eating disorders that abuse the intake and withdrawal of food. There are a number of self-help groups that can help those with eating disorders overcome their problems, such as b-eat and your local GP can also offer you guidance and support.

Religious fasting and intermittent fasting diets can offer fantastic results for health, weight loss and spirituality if not abused. Fasting can improve many aspects of your health, but only if you continue to eat a healthy and balanced diet on the non-fasting days.

Further Information on Religious Fasting

If you would like to read further about the subject of Religious Fasting and the benefits both spiritually and physically, we have compiled a list of recommended book titles below: