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The latest news on Features from Business Insider

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    chamula coca cola church

    • Business Insider's "Household Name" podcast just wrapped up its first season, and we learned some pretty crazy facts.
    • The podcast covered stories about topics like the last Blockbuster stores in America, Mexico's "Coca-Cola Church," and the man behind Trader Joe's Two-Buck Chuck.
    • To hear the full stories, subscribe to Business Insider's podcast, "Household Name."
    • Here are some of the most interesting facts from season one. 

    Did you know that TGI Fridays used to be a singles' bar? Or that Donald and Ivana Trump saved Pizza Hut's stuffed-crust pizza

    The first season of Business Insider's new podcast, "Household Name," just wrapped up, and we learned plenty of interesting facts. 

    Over the course of six months, the "Household Name" team traveled the country, digging into the little-known stories behind some of America's best-known brands, including Coca-Cola, Macy's, Brooks Brothers, and Blockbuster. 

    To hear the full stories, subscribe to "Household Name" on Stitcher, Spotify, Overcast, Google Play, Pocket Casts, Podcast Addict, Castbox, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

    Here are some of the most fascinating things we learned from season one of "Household Name": 

    Subscribe to: Business Insider's "Household Name" podcast

    SEE ALSO: THE REAL '2-BUCK CHUCK': The true story of Charles Shaw, a Napa wine pioneer who started the brand but never earned a penny from the Trader Joe's phenomenon

    When TGI Fridays founder Alan Stillman opened the restaurant's first location in 1965, his business plan "was to meet a lot of women." The chain opened in the midst of the sexual revolution in the 1960s, and Stillman intended it to be a singles' bar.

    Read more about TGI Fridays' past » 



    Donald and Ivana Trump starred in the Pizza Hut advertisement that kicked off the success of the chain's stuffed-crust pizza in 1995. Pizza Hut was struggling to sell the stuffed-crust pizza prior to the ad starring the recently divorced Trumps.

    Read more about Donald Trump's Pizza Hut commercial »



    In the first year following the ad, stuffed-crust added $300 million in sales at Pizza Hut.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    friends tv show

    Even if you weren't tuned in way back in 1994, these days, it's highly possible you've seen at least one episode of "Friends." The series — which recently celebrated 24 years since its debut— is still watched (or binged) and loved around the world. But even the most passionate "Friends" fans might not know all of the show's behind-the-scenes secrets.

    For instance: did you that there was a reason the group was always able to snag their Central Perk couch? Or that a member of N*Sync was nearly a guest star? It's time to learn a few little-known "Friends" facts … and maybe ace some "Friends" trivia in the near future.

    "Friends" wasn't the first name choice for the show.

    It actually had a number of working titles — Insomnia Cafe, Six of One, and Friends Like Us— before it was shortened to the single-word name, according to NBC.



    Courteney Cox wanted to play Monica, but was originally offered the role of Rachel.

    Nancy McKeon, from "The Facts of Life"fame, was considered for Monica, according to E! while both Jane Lynch and Kathy Griffin auditioned for the role of Phoebe, according to The Washington Post.



    Two of the main cast members almost missed out on the show because they were signed onto other projects.

    Matthew Perry was starring in a FOX pilot called "LAX 2194," which was about alien baggage handlers in the year 2194, while Jennifer Aniston had auditioned for six pilots that year and was waiting to see if one, called "Muddling Through," would be picked up. Neither show ended up making it, but, unfortunately, Jennifer was still waiting for the news by the time the cast took their photos, so she had to sit out for a few — just in case, according to People magazine.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    key lime pie

    Pie is pretty much the definition of comfort food. In fact, nearly every culture has its own unique take on this universal dish.

    From savory meat-filled recipes to open-faced tarts that will satisfy your sweet tooth, check out 17 delicious pies from around the world that'll make your mouth water.

    Bobotie pie, which hails from South Africa, offers a mix of fruit and meat.

    Bobotie pie is a traditional South African dish that's typically made of minced meat, dried fruit or chutney, and curry — topped off with an egg custard or pastry.



    Pie de limón is a popular dessert in Chile.

    Pie de limón is a simple treat with a sweet biscuit base and lemon or lime filling, according to this recipe featured in "Tea Time," a documentary by POV that follows five Chilean women who have gathered monthly for 60 years.

    The filling, which is often made with sweetened condensed milk in Chile, is typically topped with whipped cream or meringue. 



    Torta pasqualina is usually served on Easter and special occasions in Italy.

    According to Bon Appétit, torta pasqualina is typically stuffed full of Swiss chard, ricotta cheese, and a whole egg baked into the crust.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    modern family couple comfort sad

    When people get into committed relationships, no one ever truly expects their partner to be dishonest with them. Whether you've been together for three months, three years, or 30 years, developing the feeling that someone is being dishonest can be incredibly uncomfortable. 

    Patricia Vercillo — private investigator and VP of Operations at The Smith Investigation Agency and Smith Training Centre— told INSIDER, however, that you shouldn't let those things get you down.

    "The truth always finds a way to surface," she said. "Regardless of the lying party, eventually something in their story will sleep. Often, it's those that are surrounding the lie who will accidentally tell all. Poke around and ask others — don't just rely on one source for your information."

    If you've been feeling like your partner is developing a tendency to be dishonest with you, here are 10 signs that can help you get to the truth. 

    Their hands are giving it away.

    When trying to determine whether your partner is lying to you, it's a good idea to pay close attention to what they do with their hands.

    For example, behavioral analyst and author Dr. Lillian Glass wrote in her book "The Body Language of Liars" that when someone is lying, they might be pointing an excessive amount. This is because "when a liar becomes hostile or defensive, he is attempting to turn the tables on you," she wrote. 

    They also might use their hands to touch or cover their mouth.

    "A telltale sign of lying is that a person will automatically put their hands over their mouth when they don't want to deal with an issue or answer a question," wrote Glass.



    Their non-verbal expressions don't match their words.

    According to divorce mediator, relationship coach, and psychotherapist Toni Coleman, you should look out for non-verbal cues.

    "When their words don't match their non-verbal expressions or overall behavior, this inconsistency is a red flag," she said. "For instance, if they say they care about their partner and want to work on the relationship, but their behavior communicates a lack of caring accompanied by little or no effort to improve things, they do not mean what they are saying."



    Being slow to respond could be a sign of lying.

    Is your partner slow to respond during an important conversation you're having? Kevin Darné, author of "My Cat Won't Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany)," told INSIDER that this is a key sign that you should be paying attention to.

    "When someone speaks their mind they are usually quick and decisive with expressing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions," he said. "On the other hand, if someone is searching for the right wordsor appears to be editing their thoughts, they may not be sincere. Sometimes, people tell white liesin order to avoid hurting others with the truth and other times, they are looking for ways to offer encouragement."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    kit kat 1941

    Since the mid-1800s, confectioners have been shelling out millions of candy bars a year to satisfy the sweet tooths of fans all around the world.

    The majority of classic confections have gone through a few candy wrapper design changes over the years — here's how some of your favorite candy bars have evolved over the years. 

    Hershey's chocolate bars had embossed labels.

    Before beginning the manufacture of chocolate in 1900, Milton Hershey, creator of the Hershey's bar, was a successful caramel candy seller. Hershey began selling these bars for about a nickel each. 

    The original wrapper was printed on glossy white paper and embossed with gold text. It featured the image of a cow and what appears to be a cherub, in a cacao bean, holding a chocolate bar.



    Now, Hershey's chocolate bars have simpler packaging.

    Now, Hershey’s sells over eight variations including Cookies ‘n’ Cream and Extra Creamy Chocolate and Caramel.



    Snickers used to have white, orange and blue packaging.

    Launched by Mars in 1930, the Snickers bar was named after the Mars family's favorite horse. 

    And, in 1984, Snickers bars was announced as one of the "Official Snack Foods of the Olympic Games."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    jason schneidman haircuts homeless

    Over half a million people were experiencing homelessness in the US in 2017, according to a report from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. That's 12% more people than the previous year.

    There are organizations such as shelters and soup kitchens to help homeless individuals get back on their feet, but sometimes a human connection sparks a viral moment that can change someone's life.

    Here are nine heartwarming stories of people who helped someone in need — and the chain reactions that their acts of kindness created.

    A Florida police officer helped a homeless man shave for a job interview.

    Tony Carlson, a police officer with the Tallahassee Police Department, pulled into a gas station and noticed a homeless man struggling with an electric razor, trying to shave for a job interview at McDonald's. Carlson tightened a screw on the razor and helped the man, named Phil, shave his beard.

    A patron at the gas station noticed their interaction and posted a video online, which was then shared by the police department's official Facebook page. Senator Marco Rubio's office then helped Phil acquire the necessary paperwork to complete his job application and get hired at McDonald's, according to CBS News.

     



    Lauren Puryear uses her extreme couponing skills to feed thousands of people.

    Lauren Puryear, a mental health clinician, set a goal of providing 30,000 meals to people in need by her 30th birthday. She founded an organization called For the Love of Others and uses her extreme couponing skills for charity.

    "There are coupons in the Sunday paper, or online that you can print... so I collect as many as I can, match them to the store, and that is how I am able to get the items for free," she told NJ.com.



    A woman donated all the food from her canceled $30,000 wedding to the homeless.

    Sarah Cummins of Carmel, Indiana, called off her wedding and couldn't refund what she'd spent to feed and entertain 170 guests. So she invited the residents of a local homeless shelter to partake in the bourbon-glazed meatballs, goat cheese and garlic bruschetta, chicken breast with artichokes, and wedding cake while wearing formal attire donated by local businesses and residents.

    "I will at least have some kind of happy memory to pull from," she told The Indy Star.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Larry Page Sergey Brin

    Google is known for its collection of wildly popular products, from Search to Maps to Android. But not everything the company touches turns to gold.

    Google Glass was supposed to change the world, but it quickly became a punch line. And remember Google Buzz?

    Now, Google is killing off one more product: Google+, the social network that was supposed to take on Facebook and LinkedIn. Google decided to shutter the service after a software glitch caused Google to expose the personal profile data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users (though the company says nothing bad happened).

    Of course, the best innovations are the ones that everybody thinks are doomed to fail, so it makes sense that Google has had its fair share of misses over the years. Still, we counted at least 18 products that have ended up in the Google graveyard (but there are probably more — let us know if we're missing anything).

    Here's a look at some of Google's biggest misses.

    SEE ALSO: What it's really like to work at Google, the best company to work for in the US

    Google Answers was the first project Google worked on and started as an idea from Larry Page. Answers lasted for more than four years but stopped accepting questions in 2006.

    Source: Google



    Lively, Google's virtual worlds, lasted a little over a year. Google said it created Lively because it "wanted users to be able to interact with their friends and express themselves online in new ways," but it just didn't catch on. Lively was shut down in 2008.

    Source: Google



    Google first unveiled Glass in dramatic fashion in 2012, but the device never made it to the masses. Glass came with a high price tag, software issues, potential privacy problems, and it generally looked too nerdy. Google ended consumer sales of Glass in January 2015, but it continues to sell the device to businesses and is working on a new version.

    Source: Business Insider



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Amazon Lark & Ro

    • Amazon owns many private-label brands.
    • In fact, Amazon owns more than 70 of its own private label brands, according to Recode.
    • The products Amazon sells via private label range from basic care items like cold medicine to tech accessories, fashion, and many other categories. 


    Amazon owns many private-label brands. 

    Earlier in 2018, Recode reported that Amazon owns upwards of 70 of its own private-label brands — at least 60 of which were released in 2017 or later. 

    Many of Amazon's private-label brands were started in niche categories like batteries or pet carriers, but lately, Amazon has been branching into categories that already have well-established leaders, like paper towels, which is led by Bounty.

    Though Amazon may not be able to beat out its competitors in these categories, private labels help to increase customer loyalty by making them exclusive to Amazon. Some of the private-label brands, such as Solimo, are even listed as being available exclusively to Prime members.

    The products Amazon sells via private label range from basic care items like cold medicine to tech accessories, fashion, and many other categories. 

    Here are all of the Amazon-owned brands that we could find: 

    SEE ALSO: Costco has another type of store that stocks almost completely different products, and some say it's even better than a regular Costco

    206 Collective — Shoes



    28 Palms — Men's clothing



    7Goals — Women's activewear



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    Airline ticket boarding pass and passportFrom regional pricing to flight search engines, there are many variables that determine how much you pay for air travel.

    Here are 12 misconceptions about plane tickets ― and how you can actually save money when booking your next trip.

    MYTH: Tuesday is the cheapest day of the week to purchase tickets.

    Although it might not be true that Tuesday is the cheapest day to buy plane tickets, prices can be more affordable on certain weekdays.

    According to a 2017 report by Bloomberg that analyzed data from the airfare forecasting company Hopper, the Tuesday rule only applies to 1.6% of domestic US flights, and only if you book right at midnight. Even if you complete the sale at 12 on the dot, you're going to save just $18 on average.

    Larger discounts do exist ― but they're more common for international flights. 900 of the 3,500 global routes that Hopper examined offered an average discount of $20 per ticket on Thursdays, with 600 routes shaving off $30 on Mondays.

    Thursdays are also the best bet for cheaper domestic flights. Hopper found that, on average, 3,500 out of 7,500 domestic routes lowered prices by $12 that day. On Wednesdays, 3,000 US routes offered a similar discount.



    MYTH: Some destinations are always pricey.

    With data from the flight search engine Hipmunk, GoBankingRates determined the cheapest destination to visit every month of the year.

    If you time your trip right (and are open to smaller cities like Lille, France, and Comporta, Portugal), the savings will be worthwhile. For instance, if you plan to go in May, you can fly to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for as low as $750 instead of $2,000 or more.

     



    MYTH: The earlier you book tickets, the more money you'll save.

    To determine the best time to book a flight, CheapAir.com analyzed more than 917 million airfares (and millions of trips) across 8,000 markets.

    By booking between 169 and 319 days in advance, you'll have the most options for airlines and seats ― but you'll pay an average of $50 more per ticket. According to CheapAir, the prime booking window (the time frame when you'll save the most) is 21 to 121 days before your departure.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Bridesmaids Plane Kristen Wiig

    Between the actual fight tickets, the ride to and from the airport, the extra service fees, and the pricey airport food, traveling can be pretty expensive. Luckily, there are some things that you can get on the airplane for free, Melanie Glessing, a commercial flight attendant for American Airlines, told INSIDER.

    Glessing said she’s normally happy to give passengers whatever they ask for, but sometimes the plane doesn’t have what customers want. It’s important to keep in mind that some flights don’t have extra things to spare and that the flight attendant doesn’t have control over that. But usually, there are a few things you can ask for without having to pay any more money.

    Glessing told INSIDER about six different things that you can get on the plane for no extra cost.

    Extra snacks are usually no cost.

    Is that one pack or pretzels just not enough for you? Good news: you can almost always ask for more bags of snacks free of charge, Glessing said. “Feel free to ask,” she said. “Sometimes we’re double catered depending on the flight.” So if you just didn’t get a chance to grab a meal (or if you didn’t want to pay $16 for a sandwich), you can much on cookies, crackers, and pretzels for the duration of the flight.



    Full cans of soda are usually available.

    Glessing told INSIDER that if a flight has more than 1,500 people on it, they will automatically hand out full cans of soda. But if you’re on a smaller flight and would like more than one cup of pop (you’re not alone), Glessing said that you can ask the flight attendants.

    “If someone specifically asks for the full can, we are typically happy to accommodate them,” she said.



    Headphones are usually readily available.

    The most in-demand complimentary item you can snag on a plane? Headphones, Glessing said. “Most flights are catered with complimentary headphones,” she said. “They go quick, and there usually isn’t enough for each passenger.” So if you forgot your headphones (again, you’re not alone), you’ll have to ask for a pair ASAP.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    southwest

    • I flew Southwest Airlines for the second time in my life as I traveled from New York City to St. Louis in October.
    • I came away satisfied with my flight and more likely to use Southwest in the future.
    • The plane's cleanliness and entertainment options, as well as the ability to check my suitcase for free, were the biggest highlights.

     

    As airplane seats get smaller and fees get larger, what once seemed like small comforts take on greater importance. 

    In October, I flew Southwest Airlines for the second time in my life as I traveled from New York City to St. Louis, six months after a passenger on a Southwest flight died following a mid-flight engine failure. The flight was like most others I've taken but had a few notable differences from United and Delta, the airlines I most frequently use. Some of the differences were cosmetic and others were more substantive, but overall, my flight left me with a positive impression of Southwest and increased the odds I'll use it again.

    The first time I flew Southwest, I was startled by its lack of seating assignments and unconventional boarding process. This time, I knew what to expect and was more attuned to some of the details I'd previously missed. While the plane's legroom and seat width were average and below average, respectively (according to SeatGuru), there were a few parts of my travel experience that impressed me. 

    Being able to check my bag for free was a significant perk, and the seats were cleaner and seemed to be made of more comfortable material than what I'm used to when flying economy on other airlines. Southwest's entertainment options were the biggest surprise, as the airline's website offered a wide range of movies, music stations, and television shows, many of which were free, without requiring me to download an app.

    Here's what I thought of my second experience with Southwest.

    SEE ALSO: 10 easy ways to save money on last-minute travel

    My flight was at 7:25 a.m. on a Monday, so when I arrived at LaGuardia Airport a little before 6, I wasn't surprised to find a nearly empty check-in counter.



    I was happy to find that checking my suitcase was free.

    My trip was about three-and-a-half days in total, which would have made it difficult to fit everything I needed in a carry-on bag. My suitcase is too big to qualify as a carry-on item, so Southwest's policy allowing customers to check two bags for free (so long as they're under 50 pounds and don't exceed 62 inches in any direction) saved me a total of $60 for the trip, compared to United, American, or Delta.



    The security line was a little more crowded than I expected, though not unreasonably so.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    best utility knife

    • A good utility knife can do just about anything — from cutting boxes open and slicing through carpet to cutting perfect lines into drywall or making crafts.

    • With an ergonomic all-metal handle, an intuitive and easy-to-use folding design, quick blade changing, and a built-in wire stripper, the iconic Milwaukee Fastback 3 is the last utility knife you will ever need.

    The knife may be the oldest tool known to man, and despite thousands of years of technological development, a good blade remains one of the most versatile items you can own. But your standard steel pocket knife — while great for EDC — isn't always the best tool for cutting. When it comes to making precise, arrow-straight cuts, there's no better instrument to reach for than a good utility knife.

    Often simply referred to as a "box cutter," the utility knife is a versatile and indispensable tool suited for a wide variety of applications. For carpet, leather, drywall, flooring, crafting projects — and, of course, cardboard boxes — a good utility knife is hands-down the best tool when you need to make a smooth, clean cut.

    Along with super-sharp razor-like blades that are perfect for precision cutting, utility knives offer other advantages over traditional folding and fixed-blade knives: They don't need sharpening (as you simply replace the blade when needed), the blades are typically retractable, the grips are considerably larger, and a smaller length of sharpened edge is exposed for safer cutting. Modern folding utility knives also offer the same portable convenience as a pocket knife.

    Utility knives are simple tools and the good news here is that you don't need to spend a lot of cash to get a really good one. They're not all made the same, however, with a number of different types and designs available today. We've done the research to sort out the five best utility knives you can buy, from sturdy everyday-use models to ones built for more specialized tasks. Even better: Each of our picks rings in at less than $20.

    Here are the best utility knives you can buy:

    Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

    The best utility knife overall

    Why you'll love it: A solid and ergonomic all-metal body, convenient folding design with pocket clip, quick and tool-less blade swapping, and handy wire strippers make the Milwaukee Fastback 3 the best utility knife.

    When looking for a good utility knife, you naturally want something that is durable, provides a safe and comfortable grip, and has a design that is convenient to operate with easy-to-change blades. Utility knives are pretty simple pieces of kit, but our pick, the Milwaukee Fastback 3, has a few design features that put it well ahead of the competition.

    Firstly, everything about the Fastback is dead simple to use: The folding mechanism locks tightly but can be opened with the press of a button and a flick of the wrist, blade changes are quick and simple with no tools required, and it's got a nice sturdy pocket clip for safe and easy carry. Its all-metal construction means it'll last for a lifetime, too, and the ergonomically contoured handle provides a secure and comfortable grip with a finger indentation to keep your hand from slipping.

    The Fastback also has two additional tools built right in: A small wire stripper placed towards the front of the blade and a larger gut hook on the back of the handle for stripping thicker wires. This gut hook is also ideal for quickly cutting things like twine or for opening bags without having to reach for another tool. The Fastback 3 contains a swing-out compartment that can store up to four spare blades as well, and it has the extra ability to lock the blade at 45 degrees for a more aggressive downward cutting angle.

    If there's one thing that some buyers might consider to be a drawback, it's that the Milwaukee Fastback is no longer made in the US. This isn't by itself a bad thing so long as quality control is there, and many happy owners report that the Fastback remains a solidly built tool that should last a long, long time. And with a price tag of around $18 for the Fastback 3, it's hard to fuss about details like this.

    Pros: Sturdy all-metal construction, the folding mechanism locks tightly while offering easy one-handed opening, built-in wire stripper and gut hook, the ergonomically contoured handle is comfortable and safe, quick and tool-free blade changing, and the Fastback 3 has built-in blade storage

    Cons: No longer made in the US

    Buy the Milwaukee Fastback 3 on Amazon for $18



    The best budget utility knife

    Why you'll love it: Sometimes all you need is a tool that's cheap, simple, and well-built, and the Stanley Classic does everything you need a utility knife to do for just $5.

    Good utility knives aren't super costly tools. Even the more expensive version of our top pick, the Fastback 3, will set you back less than $20. But sometimes, all you need is a cheap, simple tool to get the job done, or maybe you just want something inexpensive enough that you can buy a couple to keep around so you've always got one handy when you need it.

    No utility knife fits this bill better than the aptly named Stanley Classic. Your parents and grandparents likely have one or two of these lying around somewhere, and the design hasn't changed much over the years. This is a simple, no-frills, heavy-duty utility knife made right here in the United States, featuring a large and sturdy six-inch metal handle (which you can store spare blades in) with a thumb-activated three-position blade slide.

    Just as attractive as its all-American build quality is its $5 price tag, which would be impressive even if the Stanley Classic wasn't still manufactured in the US.

    The only drawback we can find is that, being an older design, the handle must be taken apart via a single Phillips head screw in order to change blades. This is easy to do and, given the knife's incredible value, isn't something to squint too hard at. At this price, you might as well buy a couple.

    Pros: Made in the US, sturdy and large metal handle with a built-in spare blade compartment, secure three-position blade slide, and it's an incredible value at only $5

    Cons: Handle must be taken apart to change and store blades

    Buy the Stanley Classic on Amazon for $5



    The best snap-off utility knife

    Why you'll love it: If you're tired of frequently swapping out dull blades, then the Japanese-made Olfa LA-X utility knife offers the convenience of a one-piece blade with snap-off sections and a locking slide that gives you a longer working edge.

    Given Japan's long history of blade-making, it should come as no surprise that some of the sharpest knives and razors today come from this part of the world. Olfa is a household name in the niche market of utility knives, making blades that are notoriously sharp and cut extremely well. You'll find more than a few online reviews where the user learned this first-hand, the hard way.

    Olfa makes a number of different snap-off utility knives, but our favorite is the LA-X due to its large cushioned handle with anti-slip rubber grip inserts, easy-to-use blade locking mechanism, and metal pick located at the back that can be used for quick tasks like prying off paint can lids (among many other things). This little pry bar will also help you avoid the temptation of using your blade to pry things open when you shouldn't.

    What's most notable about Olfa knives, however, is the heavy-duty one-piece blades which are cut into eight sections that you can snap off when the exposed edge gets dull, precluding the need for frequent blade changes. Another advantage of this long snap-off blade is that the Olfa's LA-X slide lock lets you extend the blade itself out a bit further, giving you a larger working edge than is possible with a standard utility knife.

    The Olfa LA-X is cheap, too, and replacement blades are also pretty inexpensive. A number of snap-off utility knifes are designed with disposable handles, but we find this to be unnecessarily wasteful when you can get the Japanese-made Olfa LA-X for around $10.

    Pros: Made in Japan, sturdy fiberglass handle with anti-slip rubber grip, the snap-off blade prevents the need to change blades when the edge gets dulled, and the locking blade slide can be extended for a longer working edge

    Cons: No storage compartment for spare blades

    Buy the Olfa LA-X snap-off utility knife on Amazon for $10



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    best natural cat litter

    • Natural cat litter has several advantages over conventional clay-based cat litter — It's more eco-friendly, it clumps well, and it's healthy for your cat.

    • For its hard-clumping action and superior odor control, World’s Best Natural Cat Litter is our top pick for the best natural cat litter.

    The fact that they can be litter trained is one of the biggest benefits of owning a cat. In order to ensure that your cat keeps using the litter box consistently, however, you need to choose the right kind of litter and keep the box clean.

    There are many different types of cat litter out there, so how do you choose the right one? If you want what’s best for your cat and for the environment, you might consider making the switch to a natural cat litter versus a traditional clay litter.

    Natural cat litter is made from a variety of materials. Some forms of natural cat litter clump better than others and some can even be flushed down the toilet. To help you decide which type of natural cat litter is right for you and your cat, we’ve read the reviews and have compiled a list of our top picks for the best natural cat litter.

    Here is the best natural cat litter you can buy:

    Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

    The best natural cat litter overall

    Why you'll love it: With its hard-clumping action and excellent odor control, World’s Best Natural Cat Litter is our top pick for the best natural cat litter overall. 

    If you’re concerned about sustainability or about the harsh ingredients in regular cat litter, natural cat litter may be a better option. Ideally, the best natural cat litter would be made from recycled and/or biodegradable materials without being prohibitively expensive. It would clump like regular clay litter and it would offer excellent odor control. Our top pick for the best natural cat litter that meets these requirements and more is World’s Best Natural Cat Litter.

    This natural cat litter comes in several formulas including recipes for multiple cats, hard-clumping action, and lavender scent. This formula is a corn-based litter with the addition of plant-based ingredients to ensure superior odor control. It forms hard clumps on contact and is both easy to scoop and safe to flush. Plus, it is lightweight and eco-friendly.

    In a detailed review of biodegradable cat litters, Consumer Search comments that World’s Best Natural Cat Litter clumps on contact and neutralizes odors almost immediately. They also note that while some formulas can be a little dusty, the clumping power and odor control is hard to beat. Kitty Catter gives this litter an A+ rating, commenting that the granules are soft and gentle on a cat’s sensitive paws.

    With more than 2,200 reviews on Amazon, World’s Best Natural Cat Litter is one of the most popular brands of cat litter in general, not just natural cat litter. Cat owners love the quick-clumping action and excellent odor control, though some find certain formulas to be dusty and high-tracking.

    Pros: Hard-clumping action, forms clumps on contact, excellent odor control, corn-based materials, soft texture for sensitive paws, great for multi-cat households, lightweight, safe to flush

    Cons: Some formulas can be dusty, may track more than other litters, very expensive

    Buy a 28-pound bag of World’s Best Natural Cat Litter on Amazon for $27.99



    The best affordable natural cat litter

    Why you'll love it: Made from a combination of natural corn materials, baking soda, and plant extracts, this Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter is the perfect affordable natural cat litter for multi-cat households.

    If you want what’s best for your cat but you don’t want to spend a small fortune on cat litter each month, you’ll be glad to know that there are affordable options out there. Natural cat litter is becoming increasingly more common, so there are brands at every price point. Our top pick for the best affordable natural cat litter is Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter.

    This litter is made with a unique blend of corn, baking soda, and plant extracts that absorb moisture and eliminate odors. This natural cat litter is specially formulated for multi-cat households, so you can be sure of its superior odor control. Made from corn-based materials, this natural cat litter absorbs twice as much liquid as regular litter and it is a low-dust formula as well. Plus, it is biodegradable and has a naturally fresh scent.

    Catster's review comments on how quickly it neutralizes odors as well as the reasonable cost and clumping ability. Cat Litter Help says the price can’t be beat and it is a low-dust formula, though the clumping ability could be stronger.

    With more than 400 reviews on Amazon and nearly a 4-star rating, this Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter is popular among cat owners on a budget. Buyers love the fresh scent and odor-absorbing technology, though there are some comments that it doesn’t clump as well as it could.

    Pros: Biodegradable materials, naturally fresh scent, outstanding odor elimination, formulated for multi-cat households, absorbs twice as much liquid, low-dust formula, clumping formula

    Cons: May not clump as well as regular litter, may track more than other litters, strong aroma

    Buy an 18-pound bag of Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter on Amazon for $14.69



    The best walnut-based natural cat litter

    Why you'll love it: For its advanced odor defense, high absorbency, and hard-clumping action, Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Litter is the best walnut-based cat litter.

    Walnut natural cat litter is made from ground walnut shells, a food byproduct that would normally be discarded. This type of natural cat litter comes in clumping and non-clumping varieties and it generally does a decent job with odor control, depending on the clumping ability. Walnut litter is generally very low in dust as well, though litter with fine-textured granules may track more than larger granules. Our top pick for the best walnut-based natural cat litter is Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Litter.

    Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Litter offers excellent clumping action and superior odor control. This litter is so absorbent that one bag does the work of three bags of regular litter, plus it is 100% natural and environmentally-friendly. This natural cat litter forms hard clumps on contact and neutralizes odor quickly, making it an excellent choice for multi-cat households. You’ll also love that it is easy to scoop and safe to flush, plus it is low-dust formula.

    A detailed review from Catser confirms that Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Litter is excellent for clumping ability and odor control. Though this formula is supposed to be low-tracking, any litter that does escape the litter box may show up easily due to its dark color. Money Crashers likes the high absorbency and odor-neutralizing power of the ground walnut shell materials.

    With more than 130 reviews on Amazon, Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Litter has a solid 4-star review and a number of positive comments. Cat owners love odor control and clumping ability, though there are some comments that the dark color makes it difficult to tell when scooping is needed.

    Pros: Highly absorbent materials, forms hard clumps, neutralizes odors quickly, virtually dust-free, fine textured granules, comes in multi-cat formula

    Cons: Dark color may disguise clumps, tracked litter shows up easily, somewhat expensive

    Buy a 26-pound bag of Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Litter on Amazon for $22.89 + $8.99 shipping



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    mother and child

    • Parenting is a challenge, and new parents are especially susceptible to common parenting mistakes.
    • Here, author Nicole Rollender details five things she “self-corrected” on after the birth of her first child.

     

    Many new parents wish their child came with a manual, and I was no different.

    When my first baby said, “Hello, world!” on New Year’s Eve in 2008, it wasn’t the typical movie-scene birth, with a tired but happy-looking mother holding her baby in a bed surrounded by helium balloons and flowers.

    That’s why I was even more susceptible to making common parenting mistakes.

    At 36 weeks, my daughter was born at a mere three pounds, about the size of a 30-weeker — she was severely intrauterine growth restricted due to an abrupted placenta. She spent more than three weeks in the hospital NICU, undergoing a battery of tests before she came home.

    The good news is that I self-corrected several mistakes when my son came along four years later, and I felt like a more seasoned, in-control parent.

    Here are five mistakes I made when I had my first kid that I’ll never make again.

    SEE ALSO: 30 mistakes every parent makes

    1. I always assumed the worst

    Like lots of babies, my daughter had eczema all over her body — some days her skin was red and white from face to feet, even after I used the cream her pediatrician prescribed. She also had cradle cap, a scalp skin condition.

    Some days, my daughter’s eczema was so bad the marks looked like burns, and she’d scratch her skin and cry. And then I’d cry, thinking her eczema would develop into a chronic, untreatable condition.

    These head-to-toe skin conditions weren’t pretty, but my pediatrician was right: Skin issues are common in babies and after a few months, they cleared up completely.

    Now, if either of my kids gets sick outside a regular cold or develops a strange skin rash or a high fever, I call my pediatrician. There’s always a doctor or nurse to answer questions 24 hours a day, and they can be very reassuring.



    2. I compared my kid to everyone else’s

    For the first two years of my daughter’s life, as is common in babies with SIUGR, she was a finicky eater and didn’t grow quickly. We had to take her for weekly and then monthly weigh-ins to make sure she was thriving.

    Because my daughter was born so tiny and stayed smaller than other kids, I constantly asked other mothers with kids the same age how tall they were or how much they weighed.

    At her well visit right after her second birthday, my daughter’s pediatrician said she wasn’t concerned about her weight anymore, even though she was still tiny.

    Today, at age 9, she’s 50 lbs., whip thin, but a total firecracker. My 5-year-old son is the same weight as her, and they’re both right where they should be.



    3. I put too much importance on milestones

    Like many other new parents, I constantly tracked my daughter’s milestones, against online data and other kids. I worried when another baby crawled or walked first, or started stringing together sentences on his first birthday.

    Ultimately, my daughter crawled, walked and talked, and then ran, jumped, and starting turning cartwheels.

    Babies all develop at their own pace. A good pediatrician, like ours, monitors your child’s growth and development at every visit, and will honestly tell you if there’s a need for testing or early intervention.

    I decided to stop obsessively tracking milestones with my second child. Funnily enough, my son, who was born nine weeks premature, did lots of things earlier than my daughter, like saying his first word (bottle) at 9 months old.



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    porto bookstore Livrarialello portugal

    • In March I left New York to travel around the world as Business Insider's international correspondent. Over the course of more than six months, I have so far visited 12 countries.
    • While I've had some epic adventures, not everything lived up to the hype. Some bucket-list attractions were overpriced, uninspiring, overcrowded, or just plain boring.
    • Among the offending attractions: the "most dangerous hike in the world" in China, the Marina Bay Sands mega-hotel featured in "Crazy Rich Asians," and the Greek isle of Mykonos.
    • I thought it might be helpful to share which of my recent adventures weren't worth the trouble.
    • If you're looking for the things you should do, I have a list of those too.

    Let's be honest, some things simply don't live up to the hype.

    There's a temptation when going on a big trip abroad to come back singing the praises of everything you did and saw, whether it's a mediocre, all-inclusive island resort or an adrenaline-pumping off-road trip through the desert.

    But that muddies the waters. Sometimes, you get to a place, attraction, or activity only to find it overpriced, uninspiring, overcrowded, or just plain boring. If you don't call that out, how do you know some experience you've had really was life-altering?

    When I left to travel as Business Insider's international correspondent in March, I knew there would be amazing adventures along the way. I also knew there would be more than a few duds. Among them: the "most dangerous hike in the world" in China, the Marina Bay Sands mega-hotel featured in "Crazy Rich Asians," and the Greek isle of Mykonos.

    With 12 countries and six months checked off on the trip so far, I decided it was time to pinpoint my least favorite adventures. Perhaps it'll help you reevaluate an upcoming trip, adjust your expectations for a bucket-list location, or feel less pressure to go see or do that thing that everyone is telling you that you must do.

    Here's they are:

    SEE ALSO: From off-roading in China to 22 hours of sunlight in Moscow: the one thing you have to do in 12 countries around the world

    In China, I headed to Mount Hua, or Huashan, considered to be one of China's five sacred mountains and one of the most popular tourist attractions and pilgrimage sites for Chinese people. The mountain actually has five main peaks — a North, South, East, West, and Center.



    While breathtaking, it's considered to be one of the world's most dangerous places to hike, due in large part to the infamous plank walk located on the mountain's highest peak, South, which has a height of 7,070 feet.



    Unfortunately, I never got to the plank walk. The easiest way to get to the mountain's peaks is by cable car. The line was insanely long. You can't even see the cable car in this picture.



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    airplane

    With the tight quarters, stuffy air and close proximity to strangers, flying generally does not have a soothing effect on passengers.

    Add a storm to the mix — whether it be snow, rain or lightning — and travel anxiety only gets worse. 

    Read more: I have extreme travel anxiety — here's the one thing I've found helps

    But when it comes to some of your flying fears, there's a good chance they may be unwarranted.

    Here are six myths about flying that, once debunked, should help you feel better about flying in less-than-ideal weather.  

    Myth: Weather cancellations occur because the airplane can't handle the conditions.

    Although weather-related flight cancellations are fairly common in major storm events, it has more to do with the airport than the actual airplane.

    "Usually your flight can't operate because the airport shut itself down, or the airline decided to ground a large number of flights for operational reasons," John Nance, veteran airline captain, told National Geographic.

    Most airplanes, however, are certified to operate in "extreme conditions," added Boeing spokesman John Dern.



    Myth: Summer has fewer delays due to weather than winter.

    Contrary to what you might think, summer is generally slightly worse than winter in terms of weather-related flight delays, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    John Cox, a retired airline captain with US Airways, wrote in an article for USA Today that every season has its own unique challenges. According to Cox, the most challenging time of year to fly a plane is actually mid-March to mid-April due to high wind conditions, thunderstorms, and occasional blizzards.



    Myth: When lightning strikes a plane it can cause serious damage.

    Seeing lightning from an airplane can be quite terrifying. Yet, experts say there's no reason to be concerned about lightning when you're in a plane.

    John Hansman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and director of the International Center for Air Transportation at MIT, told TIME magazine that commercial airplanes are actually built to handle lightning strikes.

    In fact, the last time a US commercial plane crash was caused by lightning occurred in 1967. Since then, aircrafts have been more extensively tested and made significantly more lightning-proof, according to Scientific American.



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    elon musk

    Ah, Elon Musk.

    The eccentric billionaire and real-life Tony Stark has courted controversy and made headlines for all the wrong reasons lately, but he's also had some remarkable success in developing world-changing technology. 

    For all his bluster, attacks on journalists, and odd behavior, he does seem genuine in his offer to help solve some of humanity's most dire problems.

    He's put his money where his mouth is. Climate change? Musk's electric car company, Tesla, has made electric cars exciting. Traffic woes and all the negative health effects of congestion-caused pollution? Musk created The Boring Company to dig a network of tunnels below Los Angeles to avoid gridlocked freeways. Colonizing other planets to save ourselves from extinction? SpaceX is working on it. 

    Beyond these moonshot initiatives, Musk has delivered real results. After Hurricane Maria knocked out power for millions of Puerto Rico's residents last year, Musk donated hundreds of solar-powered batteries to the island. 

    Below, we check in on a few of humanity's problems Musk said he wants to solve. Here's where he's at — and whether or not he's actually helping. 

    SEE ALSO: Elon Musk called a British diver from the Thai cave rescue a 'pedo guy' — then deleted the tweets hours later with no explanation

    SEE ALSO: Elon Musk's Boring Company will sell Lego-like bricks that can be used to construct affordable houses in just a few days

    The Crisis: Rescuing Thailand's cave boys

    The Fix: A "kid-size" submarine.

    During the mission to save 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand, Musk gathered engineers from Tesla, SpaceX and the Boring Company to create a "kid-size" submarine using rocket parts.

    The chief of the rescue mission said the device was not practical, and the rescue was completed successfully without Musk’s device. A British diver involved in the rescue also called Musk’s actions a “PR stunt” and said the submarine had no chance of working in this scenario. In response, Musk called the diver a “pedo guy” in a tweet, which has since been deleted.

    In September, the diver filed a defamation lawsuit against Musk in California, and he is reportedly also considering suing Musk in the United Kingdom, which has strict libel laws.

    Still, a Thai military official said Musk’s submarine could be useful for future missions, and engineers from SpaceX have met with members of the Thai Navy to train them on using it. Musk tweeted that the engineers also received feedback from British divers about improving the technology.

    The Verdict: Not helping — at least for this specific mission.



    The Crisis: Flint's lead-contaminated water

    The Fix: Replacing pipes, adding water filters.

    Flint, Michigan, continues to grapple with the effects of a water crisis in which dangerous levels of lead were detected after the state switched the city’s water supply (from Lake Huron to the Flint River) in 2014. 

    Residents who got sick reported experiencing skin lesions, depression and memory loss. 

    The US Environmental Protection Agency says any water with lead levels above 15 parts per billion requires action to minimize exposure. In Flint, lead levels in some homes surpassed 4,000 ppb.

    Lead levels fell to 12 ppb by the end of 2016, and officials say the water is now safe to drink. Some Flint residents remain skeptical. 

    Musk promised in July to fixthe pipes in homes with water contamination "above FDA levels."He also tweetedthat he will organize a weekend to add filters to houses in Flint and to "hopefully fix perception of those that are actually good."

    In October, The Musk Foundation donated more than $480,000 to install new filtration systems for water fountains in all Flint schools. The project is set to be completed by the end of January.

    The Verdict: He's helping, though it's still early. 



    The Crisis: Traffic, and the negative health effects of gridlock

    The Fix: An underground network of tunnels.

    Like many of us who aren't eccentric billionaires, Musk hates sitting in traffic. His solution to LA's notoriously traffic-clogged freeways: digging a network of tunnels beneath the city.

    Traffic is more than just an annoyance. According to a recent study, the air pollution generated by traffic can lead to an increase in heart disease and stroke risk for those living near congested areas. Other studies have shown that people living near major roadways in congested cities have an increase in emergency room visits and mortality, among other health effects

    Through The Boring Company, Musk is seeking to connect LA's densest neighborhoods with an underground "Loop" system that could carry passengers — and even cars — up to 150 miles-per-hour, cutting travel times across the city, and reducing traffic-caused pollution in the process. 

    While this sounds amazing in theory, the reality is a bit murkier, as Business Insider's Matt DeBord wrote.

    The system is set to benefit well-off Angelenos and avoids some poorer neighborhoods (where commute times are often longest) altogether. It's another billion-dollar solution to a problem that could be more easily solved by telecommuting or shifting work hours, DeBord wrote. 

    The Verdict: Too early to tell.



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    soft serve

    Every US region has its own special words and phrases, and the Northeast is no different.

    An object that already has a name can become unique to an area through language — in New England, grocery carts are "carriages," water fountains are "bubblers," and soft-serve ice cream is a "creemee."

    Check out this list of 14 things you probably won't hear people say anywhere but the Northeast.

    "Jimmies" are synonymous with sprinkles.

    In the Philadelphia-Boston area, people don't dare call these ice cream toppers "sprinkles."

    According to legend, the name "jimmies" came from the Brooklyn company Just Born, who in the 1930s claimed to have invented the treat and named them after the factory worker who operated the "jimmy" machine, Jimmy Bartholomew.

    The nickname still sparks debate, as the Northeast is divided between two types of people: those who call only chocolate sprinkles "jimmies," and those who consider chocolate and multi-colored ones "jimmies."



    Thirsty? Take a sip from the "bubbler."

    Bubbler is a slang term for a water fountain, or drinking fountain, and it's only used in the Boston-Providence areas. 

    A linguistics survey conducted by North Carolina State University shows that the majority of America prefers "water fountain," and only about 18.3% of the country says "bubbler."

    Strangely, the slang has trickled into Wisconsin — but "bubbler" (or "bubblah," as some say) is forever native to the Northeast. 



    If you need to make a quick turn, just "bang a 'uey!"

    If you miss your turn while driving, the answer is simple in New England — "bang a 'uey!" 

    "'Uey," of course, refers to a U-turn. And "bang" has to do with the quickness of it — banging on the steering wheel and changing direction. Mark Wahlberg, a Boston native, describes it as "turning around." 



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    Trump cabinet resignations_10.9.18

    Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, announced on Oct. 9th she intended to resign from her position at the end of 2018 in an Oval Office press conference with President Donald Trump. 

    The administration has been rocked by high-profile departures — including Reince Priebus as chief of staff and James Comey as FBI director — since Trump took office in January 2017.

    Here are all the top-level people who've either been fired or resigned from the administration, and why they left:

    SEE ALSO: Trump's staff turnover is higher than any administration in modern history

    DON'T MISS: MEET THE CABINET: Here's who Trump has appointed to senior leadership positions

    Nikki Haley

    Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations and former Governor of South Carolina, announced her resignation on Oct. 9th.

    After Axios first reported the news, President Donald Trump announced to reporters in the Oval Office that Haley would resign at the end of 2018.

    While the reason for her resignation was unclear, Trump said she previously told him she wanted to "take a break" after serving in the post for two years.

    Haley was considered a moderating, stable force in the Trump cabinet who supported a strong US presence in the UN, sometimes at odds with National Security John Bolton, who takes a more hawkish stance on foreign affairs.

    Appearing beside Trump in the Oval Office, Haley touted making progress on issues including trade and nuclear disarmament in Iran and North Korea. Trump praised Haley's work, saying she could "have her pick" of roles if she wanted to return to the White House. 

    Haley also put to rest speculation that her resignation meant a presidential run for her in 2020. 

    "No, I am not running in 2020," she said. 



    Scott Pruitt

    Trump announced in a tweet on July 5 that he had accepted embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's resignation.

    "Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this," Trump wrote.

    At the time of his resignation, Pruitt was the subject of several federal ethics investigations for his lavish spending habits, his suspected conflicts of interests with lobbyists, and for reportedly enlisting his official government staff to carry out his personal errands.

    Democratic lawmakers accused Pruitt of using staff to get him a Trump tower mattress, to try to get his wife a position managing a Chick-fil-A franchise, and to find his family a new apartment in a posh DC neighborhood.



    Tom Bossert

    Tom Bossert, Trump's homeland security adviser, was reportedly fired from his position by John Bolton, the new national security adviser.

    Bossert's firing came on the second day of Bolton's tenure, April 10. He worked closely with former national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, ousted earlier this month, and is reportedly a close ally of chief of staff John Kelly.

    "The president is grateful for Tom's commitment to the safety and security of our great country," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement confirming Bossert's departure. "President Trump thanks him for his patriotic service and wishes him well."



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    salmon asparagus keto diet

    Eating right on the keto diet can be a bit tricky, as you'll want to focus on the right food choices that will keep you in ketosis all day long. And of course, that means avoiding sugary and processed foods as much as possible, as these foods can jeopardize all that fat-burning action you worked so very hard to achieve. To keep you fuller longer, registered dietitian Abbey Sharp, RD, recommended focusing on high-fiber and high-fat food sources that are also low in carbs. This keeps you satiated fast, she said, since both fat and fiber are very satiating.

    To help you give the pork rinds a break and find better food choices that will keep you full throughout the day, we spoke more to Sharp and other nutritional experts about the most filling keto foods that can easily be added to your diet. Below are some of the food choices they say will squash those pesky cravings in a flash.

    Mushrooms are a very filling vegetable.

    "Mushrooms are mostly made of protein, fiber, and water, making them very filling," said Alex Ruani, nutrition science educator at The Health Sciences Academy. Low-starch foods like mushrooms are unlikely to kick you out of ketosis, she suggested, making them an ideal staple during low-carb eating. To add mushrooms to your diet, she recommended stirring them with scrambled eggs. Doing so makes a delicious and very filling low-carb meal, she explained.



    Sauerkraut is rich in filling fiber.

    "With only 4.3 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams (most of which are fiber), sauerkraut is an excellent food to try during a low-carb eating regime," Ruani added. You can try making your own sauerkraut by fermenting shredded green cabbage and chopped garlic cloves in salted water, and optionally adding a carrot or two, she suggested. However, if you opt for commercial sauerkraut, she advised double-checking your labels and avoiding products with added sugars.



    Coconut yogurt can promote satiation.

    "Made from coconut milk (which is high in fat and low in carbohydrates), dairy-free coconut yogurt can be an enjoyable treat to curb sweet cravings and promote satiation," Ruani told INSIDER. Opt for sugar-free or unsweetened versions, she advised, or try making your own by blending full-fat coconut milk, probiotic cultures, and a bit of stevia for a sweet touch.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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