Sunday, February 18, 2018

14 Cheap, Healthy Eats

bowl of lentil stew
1 / 14


Serving size: ½ cup cooked
Cost per serving: Around 20 cents
Calories: 115
They're little, but they pack in protein -- 9 grams per serving. They’re also low in fat, so they can be a healthy, less expensive sub for meat. Plus, they’re a good source of folate, iron, and potassium. And they have plenty of fiber, so they’ll keep you feeling full longer. Try brown, green, or red lentils as a side dish, in a salad, in stews, or over rice.
Swipe to advance
vegetarian salad with eggs
2 / 14


Serving size: 1 egg
Cost per serving: About 25 cents
Calories: 72
With 6 grams of protein each, eggs are another cheap sub for meat. They’re full of nutrients, like vitamins D and A, and choline -- essential for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Experts say one egg per day won’t throw off your cholesterol numbers. So crack one for breakfast, try one hard-boiled on grain bowls and salads, or scramble some as a base for veggies or in tacos.
Swipe to advance
oatmeal with walnuts and blueberries
3 / 14


Serving size: ½ cup (dry)
Cost per serving: About 22 cents
Calories: 140
A hot bowl of oatmeal makes a great breakfast. Or use oats as a healthy filler in meatloaf, burgers, casseroles, and fruit cobblers. Their fiber will keep your stomach satisfied and can lower cholesterol and boost your immune system. They also have antioxidants that may help protect your cells from damage.
Swipe to advance
sliced roasted potatoes
4 / 14


Serving Size: 1 medium potato
Cost per serving size: About 15 cents
Calories: 170
Sure, they’re not so healthy as french fries or slathered in butter and sour cream. But spuds have vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, and may help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Slice one and roast it in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, or top a baked potato with veggies or lean turkey chili for a cheap, easy meal.
Swipe to advance
sweet potato fries
5 / 14

Sweet Potatoes

Serving size: 1 medium sweet potato
Cost per serving size: About 30 cents
Calories per serving: 105
In just one, you get 400% of your daily vitamin A needs, and more than a third of your vitamin C. Sweet potatoes do have more sugar than white ones, but they have fewer calories and carbs and more fiber. Baked or sliced and roasted, they make a great side dish. Or try mixing shredded ones into muffin batter for added nutrition.
Swipe to advance
sardine sandwich
6 / 14


Serving size: About 4 ounces
Cost: About $1.70
Calories: About 90
These little fish are good sources of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), which help prevent heart disease. For fewer calories, look for those packed in water, not oil. Try them on some whole-grain bread with lettuce and tomato, or chop them with lemon juice and onions to make a fish spread.
Swipe to advance
cannellini beans
7 / 14


Serving size: ½ cup cooked
Cost per serving size: 10 cents
Calories: About 100
With about 7 grams of protein per serving, you can sub beans for meat in many recipes. And they’ve got plenty of fiber, folate, potassium, and magnesium. To cook dry beans, soak them overnight, or boil them for a couple of minutes and let them sit off the heat for an hour before cooking. If you use canned ones, drain and rinse them first to cut down on salt.
Swipe to advance
popcorn kernels close up
8 / 14


Serving size: 2 tablespoons of kernels (3-4 cups popped)
Cost per serving: About 18 cents
Calories: 140
Along with the crunch, popcorn packs fiber, which will satisfy you longer than a lot of snack foods. And it’s a tasty way to get one of the three servings of whole grains you need every day. A cup has less than a quarter of the calories of the same serving of potato chips. Skip the butter and salt, and add flavor with dried herbs.
Swipe to advance
wholegrain pasta spaghetti
9 / 14

Whole-Grain Pasta

Serving size: 2 ounces (uncooked)
Cost per serving: 17 cents
Calories: 200
Pasta gets a bad rap, but in a reasonable portion, it can be part of an affordable, healthy meal. Plain noodles are low in fat and salt. Whole-grain versions have twice the fiber as white pasta and will raise your blood sugar less. Try spaghetti, penne, or macaroni with a homemade tomato sauce, or tossed with olive oil and sauteed veggies.
Swipe to advance
smoothie with kale and banana
10 / 14


Serving size: 1 medium-large banana
Cost per serving: 15 cents
Calories: 112
This fruit gives you fiber, vitamins B6 and C, and potassium, which balances blood pressure and keeps your heart healthy. It’s also easy on your stomach, which makes it a good option when you’re getting over tummy troubles. Make one a portable snack, or blend it as a healthy base for smoothies.
Swipe to advance
peanut butter and celery
11 / 14

Peanut Butter

Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Cost per serving size: 15 cents
Calories: About 190
Yes, it has quite a bit of fat. But it’s mostly the healthy, unsaturated kind. It also has potassium and even some fiber. And it’s not just for sandwiches -- try some on celery sticks or apple slices for a satisfying snack.
Swipe to advance
fresh hummus
12 / 14


Serving size: ½ cup
Cost per serving: 50 cents
Calories: 170
They give you a solid 10 grams of protein, a shot of iron, and plenty of fiber. You can put them in salads, cook them in a curry sauce for a spicy entree, or put them in your food processor to make hummus.
Swipe to advance
bag of greens on cutting board
13 / 14

Bagged Greens

Serving size: Around 3 cups uncooked
Cost per serving: 75 cents
Calories: 30
Spinach, kale, collards, and turnip greens are low in calories and full of nutrients like folate, iron, fiber, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C. The pre-washed, bagged kinds are super convenient and still affordable. Use them for a tasty salad, add them to whole-grain pasta, or you can boil, steam, or saute them as a perfect side dish for just about anything.
Swipe to advance
frozen vegetables close up
14 / 14

Frozen Veggies

Serving size: ⅓ cup cooked
Cost per serving: 50 cents
Calories: About 30
You’ll generally get just as much nutrition from frozen vegetables as you do from fresh, sometimes more. Plus, they stay good longer than fresh produce, so they’re less likely to go to waste.

The Best Time of Day to Weigh Yourself

woman uses calorie counter

Your Diet

The balance between energy in (eating) and energy out (burning off those calories) is why your weight goes up and down. If you take in more than you burn, you gain weight -- sometimes right away. Losing that weight can be hard, too. To lose 1 pound, experts say, your calorie balance (eating minus burning off) needs to be 500 fewer than normal each day for a week.
woman on scale

How You Weigh Yourself

You can't just hop onto your bathroom scale and expect a spot-on measurement every time. The flooring your scale sits on (it should be on a hard surface), how you stand (weight even on both feet), and the clothes you wear (or don’t) need to be consistent. If not, you may see wildly different numbers.
man on scale

The Scale You Use

We all know you can jump onto a scale at the doctor’s office, drive back home, jump onto yours, and see a big difference. Scales differ. Digital ones are usually more accurate. Whichever type you use, make sure you zero out your scale before you climb on.
woman sleeping

When You Weigh Yourself

Morning is usually the best time to get your most accurate reading. You’ve had some sleep, and you probably haven’t had much to eat or drink yet. As the day goes on, though, you will. Expect your scale to top out after a big meal. If you brace yourself, it’s a little easier to take.
man on stationary bike


Some athletes can drop 6% to 10% of their body weight after a single workout (that’s mostly in sweat). Your change may not be as drastic. But dropping a pound or two after you hit the gym isn't uncommon.
woman blows nose

Your Health

Illness and disease can bring unexpected weight change. Cancer, diabetes, heart failure, and even the common cold can have ripple effects. If you lose your appetite or retain water, that may tip the scale one way or the other. Talk with your doctor if you see changes that you didn't expect.
medication bottles

The Medicine You’re Taking

Many drugs, including anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, and opiates, can cause quick weight loss. Other meds, like insulin, antidepressants, and some anti-epileptic drugs, could make you gain weight quickly. Always ask your doctor about side effects of the medicines you take, both prescription and over-the-counter.
woman getting glass of water

Drinking Too Much Water

A quart of it weighs about 2 pounds. If you just drink it -- and you don’t exercise -- that’ll show up on the scale right away. That doesn't mean you should give up H2O. In the long run, drinking water (especially instead of high-calorie sugary beverages) can help you lose weight.
man with headache

Not Drinking Enough Water

Somewhere between 55% and 75% of your body is water. Falling below your natural level can bring headaches or dry skin. If you fall too far under, you may have trouble thinking straight. You may also drop weight suddenly. If you don’t drink enough to replace what you lose through the day, the scale will show it.

Your Daily Coffee

Studies show that your cup of java (or three) can help you keep your weight in check. Caffeine might help squelch your appetite or burn a few calories. But be careful: A high-calorie, high-fat drink might push the scale the other way, too.
woman salts pizza


Too much of it in your diet is bad for your heart. It can cause you to retain water, too. That can raise your weight. Plus, people with high-sodium diets tend to eat more processed foods and snacks. Those are all high in fat and calories. Too much of those can put pounds on in a hurry.
woman holds stomach

Bathroom Breaks -- or Lack Of

Your weight can change depending on how much you’ve used the bathroom. Eat a big meal, but don’t have a bowel movement? It shows. (It's called fecal weight.) Too much to drink can register on the scale, too, if you don’t pee. On the other end of the spectrum, diarrhea can bring dehydration and weight loss.
woman awake at night

Your Sleep Habits

Studies show that how much -- or how little -- you sleep can change your weight. For example, after sleepless nights, you may feel hungrier than usual. That can cause you to eat bigger meals, which can lead to scale shock later in the day.
mature woman stretching

Your Age

You may not see your weight change on the day you turn 30 (or 40 or 50). But as we get older, many of us gain weight naturally (we may become less active or have other changes like menopause). After about 60, you may start to lose your appetite (it may be harder to chew, or you may be ill or depressed). That can cause you to drop pounds.
scale with yoyo

Your State of Mind

While you’re stepping on a scale a few times a day, know that changes happen. Don’t get too worked up about it. Weighing yourself every day to stay aware of those ups and downs can help you keep a healthy weight -- or at least stay within a couple pounds of it.

Inspirational Quote – February 18, 2018

“Some people are going to reject you, simply because you shine too brightly for them, and that’s okay, keep shining."

If you are reading this quote you are probably a very spiritual, sensitive soul and, as such, possess your own “inner light.” You may be on your own spiritual journey and therefore constantly learning and growing in knowledge and becoming comfortable in your own power. In a perfect world everybody you know would be encouraging you and proud of what you are accomplishing. However, in our less than perfect world, this is often not the case as one person or several people around you can become envious of your newfound wisdom and focus in your life and may gradually distance themselves or indeed may attempt to deter you from staying on your spiritual path. Stay focused and do not allow anybody, no matter who they are, to have the power to dim your precious “light.”

The Revolutionary Power of Diverse Thought

Elif Shafak is a Turkish author, columnist and speaker who writes stories of women, minorities, immigrants, subcultures, and youth in both Turkish and English. In this Ted Talk, she exposes the unprecedented challenges facing the world today, the attraction to and fallacy of following demagogues, and how these same problems will show us the way forward: the indispensability of democracy, the need for global solidarity, the beauty of cosmopolitanism and diversity, the portability of homeland, and the telling of stories that evoke the taste of freedom. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

How to Lower Your Risk of Oral Cancer

fruits and vegetables background

Go Heavy on Fruits and Veggies

A lack of nutrients can lead to changes in your mouth that make cancer more likely. But vitamins and antioxidants in fruits and veggies rev up your immune system, and that helps protect you. So get at least 5 servings of them a day and mix them up for plenty of variety. Carrots, Brussels sprouts, and squash are especially good for your mouth.
steamed vegetables

Cook Smarter

To get the most bang for your fruit-and-veggie buck, don’t cook all the cancer-fighting goodness out of them. Enjoy some of them raw to get the full effect. When you do cook them, stop when they get tender and still have some life in them. Also, cooking oils can form cancer-causing substances at high heat. So instead of frying, it’s a better idea to bake, boil, broil, or steam your food.
woman pruning flowers

Use Sun Protection

Too much time in the sun doesn’t just raise your chances of skin cancer, it’s also a problem for your lips. If you can, stay out of direct sunlight in the middle of the day -- that’s when it’s strongest. When you do go out, wear a hat with a wide brim that shades your whole face. Use lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and put it on often. And stay away from tanning beds.
men toasting shot glasses

Cut Down on Alcohol

Heavy drinking over the years irritates your mouth in ways that can set you up for oral cancer. You’re twice as likely to get it if you have 3 to 4 drinks a day. And your odds skyrocket if you both smoke and drink heavily. So if you do drink, keep it in check with just one a day for women or two for men.
open condom wrapper

Lower Your Risk of HPV

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of very common viruses. You can have it in your mouth and not know it. That’s because most of the time, it doesn’t cause any issues. But in some people, it can lead to changes that cause cancer. There’s a vaccine for HPV, but it works best if you get it before you're sexually active. If you already are, you can protect yourself by limiting your number of partners and practicing safe sex.
dental appointment

Keep Up With Dentist Visits

Dentists don’t just polish your teeth, fill cavities, and get on your case about flossing. They check everything from the bottom of your tongue to the inside of your cheeks for growths that might lead to cancer. They’re on the front lines to catch any problems early on, which can make things easier to treat. See your dentist at least once a year.
man checking mouth in mirror

Give Your Mouth a Monthly Check

Between dental visits, it’s up to you to keep an eye on things. Once a month, get in front of a mirror and open up wide. Look for ulcers or unusual red or white patches that stick around for 3 weeks or longer. Check the roof and floor of your mouth, your tongue, your gums, and the inside of your cheeks and lips. If you find anything you’re not sure about, see your dentist.
putting out cigarette in ashtray

Quit Smoking

This is the best thing you can do for your mouth, and the rest of your body, too. The more and longer you smoke -- cigarettes, cigars, or pipes -- the higher your risk. But even if you’ve been at it for a long time, stopping now helps. If you do get cancer, quitting means your treatment will work better, you’ll heal faster, and it’ll be less likely to come back. And if you don’t smoke, don’t start.
non smoker and smoker

Stay Away From Secondhand Smoke

Just like with lung cancer, you need to watch out for tobacco even if you don’t smoke. When you spend time around people who do, your odds of oral cancer go up, too. And the longer you’re around it, the higher your risk. There’s no safe level of secondhand smoke.
snuff container close up

Ditch the Chew

There’s no healthy way to use tobacco. Like smoking, there are benefits to quitting chew or snuff, even if you’ve used it for a long time. Your mouth will thank you for other reasons, too. You’re more likely to keep all your teeth and avoid gum disease.
betel quid

Don’t Use Betel Quid

Popular in Southeast Asia and some other parts of the world, you chew this mix of betel leaf, areca nut, and lime. When you add tobacco to it, it’s called gutka. Either way, it’s best to avoid it. With or without tobacco, it’s been clearly linked to oral cancer.
dental technician finishing dentures

Are Dentures an Issue?

One school of thought says dentures that don’t fit well, or sharp or crooked teeth, can irritate your mouth, and that may raise your odds for oral cancer. But there’s no clear proof of that. We do know that people who wear dentures aren’t at higher risk. It’s still best to make sure your dentures fit well and that any dental work you have done isn’t bothering your mouth.
man flossing teeth

Can Brushing and Flossing Help?

Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day because it’s just good for oral health. One study seemed to show a link between good oral health and preventing HPV, which would lower your chances of having oral cancer. But the results of the study were limited, and it was only a first look. More research is needed to figure out how strong the connection is
woman using mouthwash

Is Mouthwash a Problem?

The jury’s still out. Some studies seem to show that mouthwash that has a lot of alcohol could raise your chances for oral cancer. But it’s hard to know for sure because people who drink and smoke also tend to use mouthwash more. That makes it tough to tell if there’s a clear link. The American Dental Association says mouthwash may help people over 6 because it can go where a toothbrush can’t. Use one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Avoid These Habits. Your Back Will Thank You

man hunched over tablet

Sit Hunched

Do it too much, and it can flatten the natural curve of your spine and damage the cushioned disks between the bones. This can lead to early arthritis and other problems. Gently stretch and move your head and neck in all 4 directions every half hour. To ease any pain or spasm, try applying an ice pack or heating pad to the area. Be sure to cover the skin with a light towel or cloth first. See your doctor if the pain won’t go away.

Too Many “Treats”

Choosing the wrong foods too often can lead to inflammation and leave out nutrients you need to be strong. Your body needs lean protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies, and healthy fats like those from avocado and salmon to build strong muscles, bones, and soft tissue in your back. Be sure to get nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D, too.
mattress store

Sleep on the Wrong Mattress

It should be firm enough to support your back, but soft enough to fit the shape of your body. Your ideal mattress can depend on how you sleep and whether you already have back pain. Want to see if a firmer one might help? Put yours on the floor for a couple of nights without the bedsprings. Some stores let you return a mattress, even after several weeks, if it causes back pain or other problems.
man sleeping on back

Sleep on Your Back …

For some people, this position can cause low back pain or make it worse. But it can be hard to change how you sleep, since it’s a habit you’ve probably had for a long time. It may help to put a rolled towel or pillow under your knees to keep the natural curve of your back. You also can try different pillow heights for your neck to find what’s comfortable.
man sleeping on stomach

… Or on Your Belly

It’s better not to do it, especially if you have a back problem. You’re more likely to toss and turn, which can strain both your neck and lower back. If you’re a belly sleeper and don’t want to switch positions, it can help to lay your head on a very soft pillow or none at all to keep your neck in the right position.
pregnant woman sleeping

How Should You Sleep?

Side sleepers seem to have the most luck avoiding back pain. Slip a pillow between your legs to take pressure off your hips and lower back, and tuck your legs slightly toward your chest. This position can be especially comfortable for people who already have back pain and for pregnant women.
man with sore back

Sit Too Long

It stresses your back muscles, neck, and spine. Slouching makes it worse. Sit straight in a chair that supports your back, and set the height so your feet rest naturally on the floor. But no matter how comfortable you get, your back won’t like sitting for long stretches. Get up and move around for a couple of minutes every half hour to give your body a break.
woman swimming

Skip Exercise

You’re more likely to have back pain if you’re not active. Your spine needs support from strong stomach and back muscles. Lifting weights can help. So can everyday activities like climbing stairs and carrying groceries. Low-impact exercises like walking, biking, or swimming can help protect the disks between the bones in your spine. Make it a habit for most days. Don’t be a “weekend warrior” who overdoes it and gets injured.
woman smoking


Do it, and you’re 3 times more likely to get lower back pain. It can curb blood flow, including to your spine. That can make the cushioning disks between your bones break down quicker. It also can weaken bones and give you osteoporosis, and it can slow healing. Even coughs from smoking can cause back pain. If you smoke, make quitting your top health priority and ask your doctor for help.


Extra pounds can strain the bones and muscles in your back, especially if you gain weight quickly. Eat slowly so that your body has a chance to let you know it’s full. Pick nutrition-packed munchies and meals so you feel satisfied with fewer calories. So if you snack on cheese or chips, try eating some veggies and plain yogurt instead.
children with backpacks

Overload Your Bag

Heavy weights can strain your back and tire out muscles that you need to support your spine. This can affect kids who lug many books. Your child’s backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 20% of their body weight. Large, padded, adjustable shoulder straps help spread the weight evenly. But only if you use both straps. Slinging your pack or heavy purse over only one shoulder can cause strain.
man biking

Ride the Wrong Bike

Or just a badly adjusted one. It’s bad for your back if you have to hunch over to grab your handlebars the way pro cyclists do. (They train hard to do it safely.) You also may have back pain if you’re too stretched out or cramped up on your bicycle. A physical therapist can help you find a bike that’s a good fit and suggest exercises to help if you have lower back pain.
woman with sore feet

Wear High Heels

You may overuse muscles in your lower back and harm your posture and your spine, especially as you age. If you wear them at the office, you might bring a pair of walking shoes for your commute. Regular foot and leg stretches, like rolling your foot on a tennis ball, can help prevent pain and strengthen muscles.

Should You Do Yoga?

Too much of any exercise -- including yoga -- can cause back pain. But in some cases, yoga can help relieve low back pain. There are lots of online resources and videos to help you get started. A yoga instructor can ensure that you use the proper form. Just 10-20 minutes a few times a week of this mind-body exercise might make you feel better. But don’t overdo it, and stop if it hurts.
woman doing crunches

Do Situps Incorrectly

Never let them flatten the natural curve in your spine. You don’t want to let your hip flexor muscles, which connect your thighs and lower back, do the work. When those muscles are too strong or too tight, they pull the lower spine, which can cause pain. Front and side planks -- where you support your stiff body on your hands, elbows, and feet -- are easier on your back and build core strength better.