How to Save

What You Should Know About a Recent Gluten Free Diet Study

Posted on Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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DeLallo PastaThere are two kinds of people who eat a gluten-free diet. In one group, there are people who are doing it because they have celiac disease or an allergy or intolerance to foods that contain gluten. In the other group, are people who chose a gluten-free diet because they think it will make them lose weight. A recent study about gluten-free diets is going around the internet, but is being presented in a misleading way.

A person who has been diagnosed with celiac disease must avoid consuming gluten. Their doctor will recommend these people eat a gluten-free diet because it is the only form of treatment for celiac disease. Gluten will actually cause damage to the intestines of a person who has celiac disease.

Other people, who have been diagnosed with an allergy to wheat, rye and/or barley, will also hear their doctor recommend that they stay away from gluten. The same is so for those with a diagnosed gluten intolerance.

Other people choose a gluten-free diet because they believe it will help them to lose weight. This group doesn’t have to avoid gluten. (Their bodies can safely process it.) Typically, if you visit a doctor and ask for advice on how to lose weight – the doctor is going to suggest getting more exercise and avoiding sugar (not gluten.)

A study done by researchers from the University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Michigan, and Dartmouth University is being passed around the internet. Unfortunately, some people are presenting the results of that study in a misleading way.

You may have heard that a gluten-free diet results in increased levels of arsenic and mercury – two toxic metals that can lead to cardiovascular disease, neurological problems, cancer, and other health problems. What isn’t being emphasized is that the result came from a relatively small sample size of people who ate a gluten-free diet.

The study includes 7,471 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Of those people, only 73 reported being on a gluten-free diet. Tests of urine and blood found that arsenic levels were almost twice as high in the gluten-free group compared with the much larger group that ate gluten. The same tests found mercury levels were higher in the gluten-free group.

There are two things you need to understand about these results. One, more studies need to be done before we can conclude that a gluten-free diet poses a significant health risk. Two, there is speculation that the health risks have to do with the amount of rice that people who eat gluten-free are consuming – but this has not yet been proven.

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JC Penney is Closing Stores

Posted on Monday, March 13th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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JC Penney announced that it will be closing up to 140 stores. Now is a good time to shop the JC Penney nearest you for some great deals.JC Penney announced that it will be closing up to 140 stores. The full list of the locations of JC Penney stores that will close will be released later this month. Now is a good time to shop the JC Penney nearest you for some great deals.

The reason why JC Penney will be closing so many stores is due to some of the same reasons why other big chain stores have been closing. JC Penney reported a bigger-than-expected drop in same-store sales for the holiday quarter. It’s having difficultly competing against other, similar, stores and against online retailers.

JC Penney has stated that the stores being closed represent less than 5 percent of annual sales. In general, when a location closes, it has big sales on the merchandise that is still in the store. The hope is that customers will come buy it so they won’t have to spend money on shipping it to another location.

AOL Finance has a list of JC Penney locations that are at the greatest risk of being closed, based on sales data. The list came from Morningstar Credit Ratings, and is not an official list from JC Penney.

  • Pinnacle Hills Promenade, Rogers, Arkansas
  • El Con Center, Tucson, Arizona
  • Mt. Shasta Mall, Redding, California
  • West Covina Mall, West Covina, California
  • Westminster Mall, Westminster, California
  • Westfield Trumbull, Trumbull, Connecticut
  • Southland Mall, Cutler Bay, Florida
  • Tifton Plaza, Tifton, Georgia
  • North Riverside Park Mall, North Riverside, Illinois
  • Yorktown Center, Lombard, Illinois
  • Glenbrook Square Mall, Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Muncie Mall, Muncie, Indiana
  • West Ridge Mall & Plaza, Topeka, Kansas
  • Country Club Mall, LaVale, Maryland
  • Westfield Wheaton, Wheaton, Maryland
  • Maine Mall, South Portland, Maine
  • Southdale Center, Edina, Minnesota
  • Crossroads Center, Saint Cloud, Minnesota
  • Mall at Barnes Crossing, Tupelo, Mississippi
  • Windsor Square, Matthews, North Carolina
  • Greenville Mall, Greenville, North Carolina
  • The Mall of New Hampshire, Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Quaker Bridge Mall, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
  • Destiny USA Phase I Syracuse, New York
  • Palisades Center, West Nyack, New York
  • Great Northern Mall, North Olmsted, Ohio
  • Northtowne Mall, Defiance, Ohio
  • Penn Square Mall, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Park City Center, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Capital City Mall, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
  • Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
  • Indiana Mall, Indiana, Pennsylvania
  • Montgomery Mall, North Wales, Pennsylvania
  • Oxford Valley Mall, Middletown Township, Pennsylvania
  • Coastal Grand Mall, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Hamilton Place, Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • South Plains Mall, Lubbock, Texas
  • Potomac Mills, Woodbridge, Virginia
  • Kitsap Mall, Silverdale, Washington

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March is National Nutrition Month

Posted on Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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National Nutrition Month is a great time to improve the way your family eats by making healthier food choices.The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wants you to know that March is National Nutrition Month. Their website has plenty of helpful information about eating right.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. It was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1917 by a group of women who were dedicated to helping the government conserve food and improve the public’s health and nutrition during World War II.

The theme for the National Nutrition Month 2017 is “Put Your Best Fork Forward”. The theme reminds people that each bite counts. It also is meant to inspire people to start with small changes in order to make healthier lasting changes that they can enjoy.

Here is some helpful information that can be found on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website:

* Ease your family – and yourself – into healthier ingredients one at a time. Buy whole-wheat bread instead of white sandwich bread. Swap the whole milk for low-fat milk.

* Make fresh fruits and vegetables convenient to grab and eat. Clean and cut fresh vegetables and right away and put them in plastic bags. Fill a bowl with fresh fruit.

* Canned foods retain as much nutrient value as their fresh or frozen counterparts. Choosing canned fruits, vegetables, beans, and meats can lighten the burden on your wallet.

* Every person in your family should eat a minimum of two pieces of fruit per day. Take the number of people in your family and multiply it by two. That’s the number of pieces of fruit that you need to have in your home for one day.

There is a section of the website dedicated to information regarding food allergies and intolerance. It includes articles that help you understand the difference between a food intolerance and a food allergy, signs that your baby may have a sensitivity to a certain food, and ways to manage food allergies during the holidays.

You can also browse sections of the website that are dedicated to food and health for men, for women, for seniors, and for parents. There is also a section for kids which is split into sections based on a child’s age. Choose from: for baby, for toddler, for preschooler, for gradeschooler or for teen.

There are plenty of recipes for a variety of healthy food choices that can be found on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. Find one that sounds good, go shopping for the ingredients, and give it a try!

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Save Money by Reducing Food Waste

Posted on Monday, March 6th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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You can save money on groceries by reducing the amount of food that goes bad and ends up in the trash.How much money do you spend on a typical trip to the grocery store? You can save some money on groceries by reducing the amount of food you waste. All you have to do is keep track of what you spent and how much food you threw away.

How to Reduce Food Waste

The National Resources Defense Council did a study in that revealed that Americans throw out the equivalent of $165 billion dollars each year of food waste. From this, they came up with some suggestions that would help consumers to reduce food losses and save money.

Eat Your Leftovers
Restaurants tend to serve customers portions of food that are more than one person can eat. As a result, many people end up taking home their leftovers.

How much did you pay for that meal? If you ate your leftovers, you got two meals for that price. If you ended up throwing away your leftovers, it is as though you threw half the cost of your meal into the garbage.

Plan Your Meals
Take the time to plan out all of your meals for a week. Get a paper calendar or make use of a whiteboard. Write down what you will have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. If you have plans to go out to dinner – write that down.

Make a list of all of the ingredients that you need to make those meals. You may already have some items at home. The list helps you remember what you need to buy the next time you go grocery shopping. Don’t forget to use coupons – either paper or digital – to save more money on food.

Keep Your Receipt
One simple way to figure out how much money you are losing to food waste is to keep track of what you end up throwing away. Did half a loaf of bread go bad before you could eat it? The receipt tells you what you paid for that loaf of bread. Make a list of how much food you threw away and what it cost you. You might be surprised by how much of the food you buy ends up in the garbage!

Cook Only What You Can Eat
One really easy way to reduce food waste is to cook only what you can actually eat (or what your family can eat). Consider portion sizes as you are preparing a meal. The goal is to make just enough food so that everyone gets enough to eat. This avoids the problem of what to do with the leftovers.

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How to Make a Healthy Sandwich

Posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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How to Make a Healthy SandwichLunch often includes some kind of sandwich. Not all sandwiches are equal, though. Some are loaded with more calories than you need, while others are a fairly healthy choice. It all depends on what the sandwich is made of. Here are some tips to help you make a healthy sandwich.

How to Have a Healthy Sandwich

Share with a friend
Restaurants and fast food places are notorious for selling people a much larger portion of food than is healthy to eat. Bring a friend or family member to lunch with you and split that giant sandwich into the two portions that it is supposed to be.

Another option is to set aside half of the sandwich right away. Eat half the sandwich for lunch, and save the other half for later.

Make an open sandwich
One way to reduce the amount of calories you are eating is to make a sandwich with only one piece of bread (instead of two). Pile plenty of vegetables and protein onto the bread. You won’t have to worry about how to fit it all between two pieces of bread.

Try a wrap
The number of calories in a slice of bread differs, depending on exactly what kind of bread you are using. A romaine lettuce leaf doesn’t have many calories at all. Some restaurants offer wraps in addition to sandwiches. Fast food places might have a “low-carb” option. They will wrap your burger in a lettuce leaf instead of a hamburger bun.

Read the labels
If you don’t read the nutrition labels on food very often – you are in for an unpleasant surprise. There are a lot of processed foods that contain sugar. Most people know that cookies contain sugar. Did you know that some condiments contain sugar, too?

Before you add ketchup, or mustard, or mayonnaise to your sandwich, take a minute to read the label. Find out how much sugar that condiment has hiding inside it. Check the amount of calories. You can skip the condiments and add moisture to your sandwich with tomatoes (or other juicy vegetables) instead.

Avoid processed meats
The easiest thing to throw onto a sandwich is some processed, sliced, lunchmeat. It might be tasty, but lunchmeat can contain a lot of sodium. A healthier option is cooked chicken breast, or leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner. If you need a quicker option, try canned tuna or canned chicken. Look for a can that is labeled “no salt” or “low salt”.

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Money Saving Tips from a Couple who Saved $50,000

Posted on Monday, February 13th, 2017 at 4:38 pm
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Are you looking for ways to save money?  Consider the advice from a couple that saved $50,556 last year.Are you looking for ways to save money? Many of us have heard the same old tips, over and over again, about how to do that. If you are out of ideas on how to save money, consider the advice from a couple that saved $50,556 in 2016.

The advice comes from a couple who actually used these tips themselves. The Chicago-based couple, Matt and his fiancee, had a lot of student debt and were struggling to set aside any money. Matt’s blog is called Distilled Dollar. It has plenty of advice for those who are pursuing financial independence.

Here are just a few tips from The Distilled Dollar that may help you save money:

Do more than reading the tips
Many of us have read articles (like this one) that include tips for saving money. Matt points out that it takes more than reading about money saving tips. You have to actually implement the tips you read about. He says that once money saving habits are in place – the momentum takes care of itself.

Brew your coffee at home
It is very convenient to start your work day by heading to the nearest Starbucks (or whatever your favorite coffee shop happens to be.) Usually, the coffee drinks you buy from a cafe cost around $3.00 – or more.

You can save money by brewing your coffee at home. Buying a big bag of coffee costs less, per cup, than does a drink from Starbucks. Matt says they went without Starbucks for an entire year.

Cook at home instead of dining out
Two things happen when you make a habit of dining out instead of cooking meals at home. One, you end up spending more money than you need to. It costs much less to make a hamburger and fries at home, from groceries you already spent money on, than it does to buy a similar meal from a restaurant. Two, the groceries you bought might not get eaten before they go bad. That’s a waste of money!

Matt from Distilled Dollar says that when they started cooking at home more they ended up finding creative ways to save money at the grocery store. They also ended up eating healthier than before.

Delay buying new clothes
Are you someone who loves to buy new clothing – even if you don’t actually need it? Chances are the clothing you already have will do just fine. Delay buying brand new clothing as long as possible. It might not be fun, but it is a good way to save some money. New clothes can be expensive!

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February is American Heart Month

Posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that February is American Heart Month. Here are some tips for keeping your heart healthy.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that February is American Heart Month. They point out that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Heart disease is preventable. Here are some tips for keeping your heart healthy.

The CDC recommends that people eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help a person to avoid heart disease and its complications. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Adults should have at least 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Limit the amount of processed foods that you consume.

Eating foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limit salt or sodium in your diet. Doing so can also lower your blood pressure.

The CDC also recommends that you exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Speak with your doctor to find out what kind of exercise he or she recommends for you and how long or often you should do it.

Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. The CDC recommends that you do not start smoking. If you are a smoker, the CDC says you should talk to your doctor for suggestions on how to quit smoking. Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink can help. Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure.

The Mayo Clinic has more advice on how to keep your heart healthy. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you control your portion size. How much you eat is as important as what you eat.

The portions sold in restaurants are more than anyone needs. Unfortunately, people tend to forget that and end up overeating. The Mayo Clinic recommends that people use a small plate or bowl to help control their portions.

Another helpful way to control your portions is to keep track of the number of servings you eat. One serving of pasta is ½ cup (or about the size of a hockey puck). A serving of meat, fish, or chicken is about the size and thickness of a deck of cards. When in doubt, use measuring cups and spoons, or a scale, to figure out portion size you should be eating.

The Mayo Clinic also recommends that you create daily menus. Planning ahead makes it easier to ensure you get a variety of different nutrients in your diet. Variety can also make your meals and snacks more interesting.

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The Best Things to Buy in February

Posted on Monday, February 6th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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Here are a few of the very best things to buy in February when you can get them for the lowest prices of the year.You can save some money if you wait to purchase something when it is on sale. Every month, there are certain things that you can expect to pick up for a low price. Here are a few of the very best things to buy in February when you can get them for the lowest prices of the year.

What to Buy in February

Tax Software
Tax Day is April 18, 2017. This is when everyone’s individual tax returns are due to the Federal government. The companies that sell tax software are competing, right now, for your dollars. They hope you will buy their software (instead of their competitor’s software). If you look around, you might find coupon codes from companies like TurboTax, H&R Block, and others.

Mattresses
How old is your mattress? If you need a new one, the best time to buy it is during the February Presidents Day weekend sales. On average, mattress deals range from 20% to 40% off, depending on the manufacturer and the model. Ask if the store gives any freebies with the purchase of a new mattress (such as a free frame, mattress protector, or pillows). Some stores will sell floor model at up to a 50% discount.

Canned Foods
February is National Canned Food Month. Check your favorite coupon websites, newspapers, and email resources for coupons on canned food. One of the great things about canned foods is that they store longer than fresh foods can. Stock up on canned foods in February, while the price is low, and you won’t have to buy as much next month when the prices go back up.

The food bank near you is always going to appreciate donations of canned goods. Before you shop, ask the food bank what kinds of canned foods they need the most. Your dollar will stretch farther on canned goods in February than at any other time of year.

After Valentine’s Day Deals
That beautiful heart shaped box of chocolates that caught your attention before Valentine’s Day will drop dramatically in price the day after Valentine’s Day. If you can stand to wait, buying it the day after can save you some money.

Will your kids need to hand out paper valentines at school next year? Have them pick out a few boxes the day after Valentines Day. Those valentines will be on sale now. Store them away, and you won’t have to pay full price on paper valentines next year.

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Pilot Program Lets SNAP Recipients Buy Healthy Food Online

Posted on Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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The USDA has created a pilot program that can help people who receive SNAP benefits to purchase healthy foods. Learn about all the details.The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created a pilot program that can help people who receive SNAP benefits to purchase healthy foods. The goal appears to be to give more options to people who live in “food deserts”.

SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In the past, the program was called Food Stamps. People were given stamps that they used to pay for their groceries. Today, people who receive SNAP benefits get a certain amount of money on an EBT card. The SNAP program is for people who are very low-income.

The USDA describes SNAP this way: “As the nation’s first line of defense against hunger, SNAP helps put food on the table for millions of low income families and individuals every month and has never been more critical to the fight against hunger. SNAP is a vital supplement to the monthly food budget for more than 43 million low-income individuals. Nearly half of SNAP participants are children, 10 percent are over 60 and more than 40 percent of recipients live in households with earnings.”

The USDA has created a pilot program designed to enable SNAP participants to buy groceries online. This decision was made to help people who live in communities where access to fresh produce and other healthy food choices is limited. For example, a person who lives in a area that does not have any grocery stores would have to rely on getting their groceries from convenience stores. Those stores don’t typically have a lot of healthy foods to choose from.

The pilot program is slated to start this summer and will last for two years. At first, the pilot program will be testing online ordering and payment. The USDA says the online payment part of the program presents technical and security challenges that they will need to fully examine before they can offer the program nationally. SNAP online purchases require a higher level of security than do most other online purchases.

Here are the retailers that are participating in the SNAP pilot program:

* Amazon – Maryland, New Jersey, New York

* FreshDirect – New York

* Safeway – Maryland, Oregon, Washington

* ShopRite – Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

* Hy-Vee – Iowa

* Hart’s Local Grocers – New York (based in Rochester)

* Dash’s Market – New York (based in Buffalo)

The USDA anticipates being able to add more retailers to the program. Eventually, the goal is to allow SNAP participants, nationwide, to be able to use their benefits to make online purchases that will help them to obtain healthy foods.

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The Limited is Closing All of Its Stores

Posted on Saturday, January 7th, 2017 at 1:59 pm
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Fans of The Limited may be surprised to learn that it is closing all of its brick-and-motor stores. Find out how to score a deal and all the details.Fans of The Limited may be surprised to learn that it is closing all of its brick-and-motor stores. The Limited appears to have announced this at the last minute. If you act quickly, you might be able to save a lot of money on the clothing that is still available at The Limited before they close.

The Limited’s last, really big, sale is taking place on Saturday, January 7, 2016 and will end on Sunday, January 8, 2016. Go there this weekend, and you can expect to find deeply discounted items. It would be wise to try on the clothing before you buy it because you certainly won’t be able to return it to the store if you accidentally bought the wrong size.

In December, The Limited had 80% off deals happening. They decided not to allow any returns. This might have been a clue that the physical stores would not be around for much longer.

The Washington Post reported that individual The Limited stores have already closed. Some shoppers have already been notified by email that The Limited near them has closed and will not be reopening. Check your email to see if you got a notification like that.

According to The Washington Post, The Limited is closing all 250 of its stores nationwide because it has failed to keep up with the trends. As you may know, The Limited focused on sensible office attire. Many of today’s shoppers want “fast fashion” – trendy clothes that are hot for a little while and then quickly go out of style.

All is not lost for shoppers who really love what The Limited offered. Their website is still available. A post titled “This isn’t goodbye…” was placed on The Limited’s website. The short message said: “We’re sad to say that The Limited stores nationwide have officially closed their doors. But this isn’t goodbye. The styles you love are still available online – We’re just a quick click away 24 hours a day.”

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