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How to Cut Cholesterol while Sticking to a Budget

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Your cholesterol count is an important measure of your overall health, particularly the functioning of your cardiovascular system. Having too much of this fat-like substance can put you at risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. The substance builds up along the walls of your arteries, narrowing them and slowing (or even blocking) the flow of blood to your heart. Your heart needs freshly oxygenated blood to operate, so the reduction caused by cholesterol is dangerous-and if a blockage completely cuts off the blood to a portion of your heart, you’ll suffer a myocardial infarction, better known as a heart attack.

Since high cholesterol itself doesn’t cause any symptoms, it’s important that you get your levels checked to know if you’re at risk, particularly if you’re over 25. If you find out that need to lower your cholesterol, it can seem like a daunting task, particularly if you’re stretched for cash. Health food is expensive, as is a gym membership, and the stress of being broke isn’t great for your heart either. Not to worry: here are six foods that you can eat to lower your cholesterol without breaking the bank in the process.

1. Beans

Whether you’re trying to save money or cut cholesterol, beans are a great choice. They’re a great source of protein, as well as soluble fiber, which we need 5-10 grams of daily, and they’re low in cholesterol. There are also so many different options to choose from – black beans, red beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, the list goes on. And they’re inexpensive, typically coming in at under 50 cents per serving. Just avoid canned beans that come in fat-rich sauces.

2. Tuna

Fish are great for your heart. They’re high in unsaturated fats, so they increase HDL, the good kind of cholesterol, and lower LDL, the bad kind. Unfortunately, salmon, herring, and other fish are often expensive. Not so with tuna! You can buy tuna in bulk for cheap at most grocery stores and prepare it in a number of delicious ways.

3. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter, like fish, contains poly- and mono-unsaturated fats, meaning consuming it lowers your LDL cholesterol and raises your HDL. Try switching from lunchmeat sandwiches (packed with nitrates) and unhealthy mayonnaise to peanut butter. It’s tasty and cheap, particularly when you buy it in bulk, and it stays edible for three months or more without refrigeration. Buy a big jar and keep it in your pantry.

4. Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is cheaper than butter, lard, or shortening, and it can be used in their place when cooking many dishes. Having eggs? Scramble or fry them in canola or sunflower oil instead of butter. These oils lower your LDL, while butter and other animal products raise it, and eggs themselves, while high in cholesterol, have a minimal effect on its levels in the blood-it’s the saturated and trans fats we fry them in that raise our cholesterol.

5. Eggplant

Soluble fiber is important for lowering your cholesterol, and this vegetable is a great source. You can roast it, cook it in vegetable oil, or prepare it in any number of other creative ways, and its meaty texture makes it a great replacement for meat. And it’s not as expensive as many other fresh vegetables.

6. Oats

Instead of starting your day with fast food or a sugary cereal, go for oatmeal instead. Oats and oat-based foods are full of the soluble fiber that helps cut cholesterol, and they’re much cheaper than the marshmallow puff cereals we often indulge in instead. Oats also make a surprisingly filling afternoon snack.

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Lifestyle

Why You Should Ditch the Cigarette and Start Vaping

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With the recent uptick in popularity of vaping, many cigarette smokers are asking themselves: Is vaping right for me? Ever since e-cigarettes first debuted, they have been hailed as a less health deteriorating alternative to smoking. Although, they are not completely healthy either, e-cigarettes and mods provide cigarette smokers a healthier alternative and can even help users quit smoking.

For those who do not know, e-cigarettes contain a mixture that is infused with nicotine which is then vaporized in the pen and inhaled by the user. By doing this, e-cigarettes do not produce any smoke, only vapor. A typical mod consists of three parts: the battery, the tank, and the coil (located inside the tank). Typically, a mod can range from $45 to upwards of $200 depending on the size of the battery, the tank, and the amount of voltage it can produce. A typical bottle of e-cig juice sells for $15-25 for a 60 ML bottle.

In this article, we will outline several benefits of vaping compared to smoking.

Less Expensive

One of the main reasons people choose to switch from smoking to vaping is economic. While a typical, half-a-pack-a-day cigarette user might spend about $100 a month on cigarettes, a bottle of e-cigarette juice typically runs around $20 and lasts about two weeks. That means people who make the switch to vaping can save about $60 a month. In addition, you will save all that time running back and forth to the gas station every time you need a pack of smokes.

Health Benefits

Health benefits are a pretty obvious benefit of vaping. While we do not necessarily have enough data to see what the long-term effects of vaping are, we can say that they are less-harmful than traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes do not contain any tobacco and they do not produce any tar, carbon monoxide, nor smoke. In addition, e-cigarette juice contains only 5 chemicals, compared to over 5,000 in a typical cigarette.

More Freedom to Vape

More and more restrictions are being put on traditional smokers every year. Nowadays, smoking is banned in most public places, restaurant, and nearly every airport across the world. Meanwhile, vaping gives you the freedom to curb your nicotine addiction in more places. Since vaping produces no smell, no ash, and no second-hand smoke effects, it is accepted in many places where cigarettes have become taboo.

A Pathway to Quit

Many users have used e-cigarettes to help them kick year-old addictions. Vaping can help put you on the pathway to quit by allowing you to control the amount of nicotine you put in your juice. Most users start out somewhere between 6 and 12 mg of nicotine and then move down gradually until eventually reaching 0 mg. By gradually winding down your nicotine intake, you are putting less stress on your body than if you were to just quit cold turkey.

Final Thoughts

While there are some drawbacks to vaping, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. In this article, we discussed just a few of the advantages that vaping can provide. We hope with this knowledge you will feel ready to kiss your cigarette pack goodbye and make the switch to a smoke-free lifestyle.

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Lifestyle

Simple Tips for a Successful Long-Distance Relationship

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It’s no secret that when we talk about long distance relationships many people will turn their nose up at the thought. Work colleagues, friends and even your own family members may try their hardest to put you off the idea. There is a belief with many individuals that long distance relationships will never work out.

Relationships are not always easy, even if they are long distance or not, but that extra little bit of distance between you and a loved one can make things incredibly difficult and unachievable. Being so far away from your loved one will no doubt make you both feel sad, this can cause frustration which may even turn to anger and needless arguments may start.

Nevertheless, having that distance apart can truly make even the smallest of things seem incredibly special. In order to keep your love strong over distance, we will be taking a look at X tips to help you keep things steady and happy.

Honesty

It is important that you are honest not only to your partner but also yourself. Long distance relationships can reign havoc on trust issues and provides plenty of room for miscommunication and misinterpretation. It’s essential that you both communicate your honest feelings with one another, especially when it comes to where you both stand within the relationship. Is the relationship closed, open or on a break? This level of honesty and communication is fundamental to your relationship, which brings us onto the next tip…

Communication

Communication is right up there with honesty on the most important aspects to any relationship, long distance or not. You will no doubt talk with one another through email, phone or online, but it’s important to make time for both of you, so you can both speak privately and openly without any disturbances. It’s essential to a long distance relationship that you remind one another that you both exist and that you are both there for each other. If you know that you won’t be seeing each other for a while, it’s important that you keep the connectivity between yourselves continuous. Use emails, telephones, instant messaging and even webcams. Whichever method you decide, keep it consistent.

Schedule

Even though the both of you will want to stay in touch as much as possible, it’s still helpful and important to know when your partner is busy and when they are free to chat. This can allow you to make calls or send a message without disturbing them. This is why it’s important to discuss what time is best to call or message and for how long you both can talk for. Coming up with a schedule that you both can agree on can put things into perspective for you and avoid unnecessary miscommunications, frustration, arguments and even anxiety.

Space

We have established that communication is one of the main priorities in a long distance relationship, but too much of it can be a little overwhelming. Don’t spend each and every waking minute texting, messaging or talking and in addition to that, it’s important that you don’t expect your partner to respond quickly or right away (they may be busy). Give yourselves breathing space from time to time, every couple needs it regardless of the distance.

Surprises

It is no secret that every one of us enjoys a gift. Send your partner a handwritten letter, have flowers delivered or even send them something unique. Every so often it’s nice to go that little extra mile and do something special in order to make your partner feel valued, special and loved and valued.

Maintaining a long distance relationship will always have its ups and downs but by using the tips mentioned above, will certainly make you see things clearly and can make even the tough times easier to manage.

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Lifestyle

Who Saved Who? How to Choose a Dog at the Shelter

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One thing that remains constantly true is that there is never a shortage of dogs at the shelter. Whether the dog was a runaway, a surrender, or was born at the shelter, there are plenty of reasons why dogs end up at there.

When considering what dog to adopt, several factors should be considered before making your final decision.

Consider the Environment

First and foremost, consider the environment the dog is currently in. In shelters, dogs are usually locked in small cages surrounded by many other dogs with varying temperaments. That is why it is important to not forget that a dog might act different when in the kennel than when you get home. Some dogs get timid whenever surrounded by a bunch of alpha dogs. Meanwhile, other dogs tend to be more aggressive to assert their dominance. A loud barker in the shelter could be a lot more charming when in a more private, quiet environment.

In addition, consider the dog’s kennel. Is it clean? Is there poop or urine on the floor? How much is the dog shedding? Is his water bowl full, empty, or spilled over? When you walk up to his or her kennel, does the dog try to jump on you, is the dog pacing around, or does he or she sit there?

Where the Dog Will Live

Whether you have a particular breed and size in mind or not, it is important to consider where the dog will live. If you live in an apartment, it can cause many complications. Some shelters will not adopt out large to dogs to apartment dwellers. While others will check with your apartment’s leasing staff to ensure that the particular breed you are looking for is allowed. With Pitbulls, Rottweilers, and other breeds deemed as aggressive it is a lot harder to find an apartment complex that will accept them.

The Questions You Must Ask

The staff at shelters can be very knowledgeable about the dogs they have up for adoption. After all, they are the ones that feed, clean, and walk them daily. There are several questions you should be prepared to ask to gain a better understanding of the behavior of the dog in question.

  • How does he do with other dogs? – Most shelters allow their dogs to play in groups, if a yard is available. Therefore, they should know if the dog is relatively good with other dogs or if he tries to fight a lot of the other dogs. This is important to know if you have other dogs or if you plan on taking the dog to a dog park.
  • Does he pull on the leash? – Many dogs are leash trained when they are puppies. It becomes progressively harder to leash train as the dog gets older. Knowing whether the dog is leash trained can give you a glimpse into how the dog was treated by the previous owner as well as give you an idea of what to expect when walking him.
  • When you throw a ball, does he chase it and bring it back? – If you want a dog to play fetch with, test out his game.
  • Does he cower when you try to pat his head? – This could be a sign of abuse by previous owners.
  • Does he have a medical history? – A lot of dogs with a medical history can be quite expensive to own. Before making your decision, ask if the dog has any major illnesses, surgeries, or allergies that you should know about.

In Conclusion

Adopting a dog from an animal shelter can be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life. However, a large percentage of dogs adopted out end up being returned just a week or two later. It is important to be inquisitive and ask lots of questions so that you may get a better understand of the dog you are adopting. Spend as much time at the kennel with the dog in question as you can and remember: Even old dogs can still learn new tricks.

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