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Texas jewelry store's 'shotgun wedding sale': Buy a ring, get a gun for free

A Texas jewelry store will hold its annual “Shotgun Wedding Sale” starting Thursday and ending Saturday.

Thacker Jewelry in Lubbock is offering a gift certificate for a shotgun or rifle at local gun store LSG Tactical Arms with each purchase of an engagement ring over $2,000.

>> See the store's Facebook post here

Thacker Jewelry Shotgun Wedding Sale is next Weekend. Free Shotgun or Rifle with purchase of engagement ring over...Posted by Thacker Jewelry on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Owner Joe Thacker gave some insight on the promotional event, now in its third year:

"The idea, of course, is the wordplay and the old shotgun wedding. Not going back to the negative connotation, playing off of that and it’s been a lot of fun. We had a lot of people participate and this year we’ve even gotten into it more."

You can RSVP for the sale here. If you can’t make it to Texas in time, put this on your calendar for next year.

>> Read more trending stories

(H/T: CNN)

>> Watch a video about the sale

​Final SGWSTalk about getting a Bang for your Buck! Once you watch this Thacker Jewelry video you'll be talking about our famous Shotgun Wedding Sale this weekend! Scoot on in to Thacker Jewelry for this incredible sale! #thacker #shotgunweddingsale #lubbockPosted by Thacker Jewelry on Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Your Good-Better-Best Guide to the Grocery

One of the best things about supermarkets can also be the most confusing: all the choices! When walking from aisle to aisle, it can be overwhelming to look at all the products in each section. Just think of all the choices when you’re looking at the entire wall of cereal or a large cooler packed with tiny yogurt cups! Trying to find the best item—especially when you're trying to eat healthier or watch your intake of calories, fat or sodium—is not always a walk in the park. Within each section of the grocery store, you'll find plenty of healthful foods that can help you reach your goals. But sometimes you have to make a food choice based on budget constraints, availability or taste preferences that isn't ideal. Not to worry. This "Good, Better, Best" guide will help you make the best possible choices on your next trip to the store. If you're new to eating healthy, start at the bottom and work your way up to the top of the lists over time. Even if all you can afford is in the "good" category, you're still doing pretty well. If you prefer the taste and texture of the "better" item to the "best" choice, that's OK, too. Or maybe you're facing a hotel breakfast buffet or trying to find something healthy to eat at a party and all you'll find is the "good" choice. No matter what your situation, you'll still be able to make the best possible choices by using this simple guide. MILK Good Better Best 2% milk 1% milk Skim milk It has 3 fewer grams of fat than whole milk, yet still offers calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and protein for your body. It's a useful stepping-stone as whole- and vitamin D-milk drinkers make the healthy transition to low-fat dairy. With a mere 2 grams of fat per cup, it slashes the fat found in 2% milk by more than half. This lower-fat version of milk still has 30% of the daily dose of calcium, as well as vitamin D. It's fat-free, yet provides about the same amount of calcium and protein as higher-fat options. This is the best choice, especially for heavy milk drinkers. Skim milk may take some getting used to because it’s thinner, but it has lower amount of saturated fat and your heart will love that. YOGURT Good Better Best Low-fat Low-fat + fortified Plain nonfat Greek Low-fat yogurt is made with skim or low-fat milk, which cuts calories and fat but still provides calcium and protein. Beware of added sugar (plain yogurt, flavored with fruit or topped with whole-grain cereal is your best bet). A great up-and-coming trend in the yogurt aisle is supplementing yogurts with vitamin D. There aren’t many food sources of vitamin D, which helps in immunity and cancer prevention, so this is a great way to get an extra dose. This plain, thick, smooth yogurt has 21 fewer grams of sugar and 60 fewer calories than it's fat-free, flavored counterparts but still leaves in a great amount of protein, calcium and vitamin D. Get our expert recommendations for the best yogurts. BREAD Good Better Best Whole grain 100% whole wheat Light 100% whole wheat Bread "made with whole grains" usually contains a mix of refined flour and whole grain flour. It has a lighter texture and taste than whole wheat, making it a good choice for people who are transitioning from white bread to 100% whole-wheat bread. While it's lower in fiber, it is usually enriched with vitamins and minerals. Bread made with 100% whole wheat doesn't contain any refined or enriched flour. It's less processed and higher in fiber than white bread and whole-grain breads. Make sure "whole wheat flour" is the first ingredient on the label or else it's an imposter! This combines 100% whole wheat with calorie control. Some of the whole-wheat varieties can pack up to 100 calories per slice. Light whole-wheat bread can help you cut up to 130 calories from your sandwich if you're watching your weight. Here's how to pick the best bread. CEREAL Good Better Best Cereal without marshmallows, bright colors or clusters Whole-grain cereal Whole-grain cereal that's low in sugar If you're going to eat cereal, avoid those made like desserts (with marshmallows, clusters, chocolate flavors and bright colors). Cereals that meet these criteria are enriched with vitamins and minerals (better than nothing), but they are highly processed, full of sugar--sometimes up to two tablespoons per serving--and seriously lacking in fiber. A cereal made with whole grains is a better choice, but don't believe anything you read on the front of the box. Look for whole grains to be the #1 ingredient on the nutrition label and make sure there is at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Kashi Cinnamon Harvest and Kashi Autumn Wheat are good options that contain 6 grams of fiber per serving. The best cereal is made from whole grains and very little sugar (5 or fewer grams per serving). Grape Nuts and Total are good examples. If you’re used to cereal with more sweetness, add fresh berries or sliced fruit to help you get your 5-a-day. Get SparkPeople's top cereal picks here. PASTA Good Better Best Durum wheat pasta Whole-wheat pasta Omega-3 enriched whole-wheat pasta Standard spaghetti noodles, made from durum wheat, aren't inherently unhealthy. They're slightly less processed than semolina pasta and contain some protein and plenty of carbohydrates for energy. But durum wheat flour is refined and stripped of important nutrients like fiber. Whole-wheat noodles contain more fiber and protein per serving, while providing energy-giving carbohydrates. Load them up with vegetables and low-fat tomato sauce for a nutritious meal. Get more nutrition per bite with whole-wheat noodles that are enriched with omega-3’s. Commonplace in most supermarkets, they provide all of the goodness of whole-wheat pasta with an added dose of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. DELI MEAT Good Better Best Chicken or turkey slices Low-sodium lean meats Whole cuts of meat (preferably homemade) Buying lean deli meat cuts like chicken or turkey is better than bologna, salami and processed meats, which are higher in fat and sodium and contain nitrates, which are believed to be carcinogenic. Low-sodium lean meats are better choices for your sandwiches. Look for a low-sodium version of your favorite lean lunch meat (such as turkey or chicken). Purchasing your own skinless chicken or turkey breast to grill or bake, then slice is the best way to go. It's lower in salt, less expensive, and won't contain any of the additives of processed or packaged meat slices--and you can cook it yourself to reduce the fat and calories, depending on your method. With all the options in the grocery store, it’s easy to find items to feel good about buying. But remember: Healthy eating isn't about perfection. All foods do have some merits and even if you can't eat ideally all the time, that's OK. By striving to make the best choices from what is available to you, you'll make a real difference in your health! This article has been reviewed and approved by SparkPeople resident expert Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietitian.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1460

5 Ways to Prevent Food from Going to Waste

Food spoils--and quickly! When thinking about your own kitchen, you may not view the food you toss or the leftovers you never eat as money down the drain, but food waste has a major impact on your bank account and the environment. The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that "American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy. The cost estimate for the average family of four is $1,365 to $2,275 annually." Fortunately, you can start at home and do your part to help curb food waste. You’ll be thinking green and stretching your dollars further at the same time. Some simple changes can have big effects! Here are a few ideas to get you started. Create a plan—and stick to it! Meal planning is a critical step to help you spend less and waste less. When you know what you're going to eat today, tomorrow and this coming weekend, you will only purchase the foods you need at the store, preventing you from buying foods on a whim only to have them spoil before you eat them. Creating the plan isn't enough—you must stick to it if it's going to work. Setting your sights for making chili next weekend is great, but when you lose track of time during the week and let the veggies wilt, you are throwing away more than spoiled food; you're wasting your money, too. Stay on top of your planned meal schedule by keeping a calendar on the fridge to remember what’s on the menu each day. When planning, account for all the foods you have to buy and creatively use them throughout the week. Use that eight-pack of whole-wheat hamburger buns for a cookout one night and tuna sandwiches for lunch the next day, for example. Scrape your scraps. Look for new ways to use food scraps. Instead of throwing away half an onion or extra bits of carrot, store extras in a container in the freezer. Once you’ve saved enough, boil them in water to make your own homemade vegetable broth that you can use when cooking rice and soup. (You can also compost your food scraps.) Don't like the heels of a loaf of bread? Chop them up and bake your own croutons, or dry them to use as breadcrumbs. (Your heart will thank you, too! Most store-bought breadcrumbs still contain trans fat.) Leftover bits of chicken, fish, shrimp, or tofu can be used in a soups or salads the next day. If you have a dog, you may be able to treat her to certain scraps from fruits, vegetables, and meats as a treat, but check with your vet first. Plan to preserve. Consider preserving your own food if you don't have time to eat it before it goes bad. Pickling, canning, drying (dehydrating) and freezing are all ways to extend the shelf life of many fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We often only think of cucumbers when it comes to pickling, but in reality, almost any vegetable can be pickled. Canning your own fruits, vegetables, sauces and soups can be a fun family event, and it can make farm-fresh foods available all winter. Raisins are dried grapes, but have you ever considered drying mango, pineapple or apple slices? This can be done in a food dehydrator or on a low setting in your oven. However you do it, drying fruit is a great way to make your own grab-and-go snacks and to prevent fruit from going bad. The freezer is often underutilized. Bread, scrambled egg mix, leftover coffee, tea, and broths can all be frozen for later use. Your homemade soup, cooked rice and other dinner entrees can also be frozen if you don't have a chance to eat the leftovers in time. Try using an ice cube try to store single serving pieces of purees, sauces and beverages. Freeze leftover coffee for an iced coffee drink, or a cube of frozen veggie broth to whip up some gravy later in the week. Make smoothies down the road by freezing mashed or chopped fruit. Almost anything can be frozen except for canned foods in the can (although they can usually be removed and frozen) and eggs in the shell. The USDA’s Freezing and Food Safety information sheet offers tips on freezing food and thawing it successfully. Keep your eyes on the size. Serving up the correct portion size can help stretch you food dollars and eliminate waste created from uneaten portions—not to mention cut calories for weight management! You should be getting two servings from each boneless, skinless chicken breast. If you’re cooking for one or two, cut your meat into the correct portion sizes and freeze the rest that you won’t eat right away. Stick to these proper portions to feed more people per dollar and cut down on what you may be scraping off the plate! Compost. Throwing away (or composting) food should be your last resort if you can't eat it or preserve it first. When food lands in a landfill, it's out of sight, out of mind. So what's the big deal? Well, food and lawn waste makes up 25% of all waste in landfills, which are so densely packed that oxygen isn't readily available. When oxygen is lacking during the decomposition process, the food emits methane gas, which is 20 times more toxic than carbon dioxide. All this methane is bad for the environment, and the inhospitable conditions of landfills make it difficult if not impossible for natural materials like food to break down properly. Each ton of organic matter we can divert from a landfill can save 1/3 of a ton of greenhouse gases from being emitted into the environment. Plus, composting can provide you with your very own "black gold" for free, allowing you to condition and enrich your soil, saving money and turning your food into nutritious fertilizer that will nourish future plants. If you can’t think of a way to utilize extra foods and food scraps, composting is a better alternative than the trash. Think of it as a way to save the nutrients you’ve paid for by transferring them into new foods as you garden! Many foods can be composted, and it's a lot easier and sanitary than you might think. Check out SparkPeople's Composting Guide for Beginners to get started. Overall, reducing food waste requires you to become more aware of what you’re tossing and come up with creative ways to utilize the scraps—or prevent them entirely. Becoming a leftover king or queen, being a savvy shopper, and serving up proper sizes will all help you become a more efficient user of food, saving you money and helping preserve our natural resources. Selected Sources: Garden Compost from backyardgardener.com Freezing and Food Safety from USDA.gov Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill from the NRDC Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1481

The 8 Best Fast Food Breakfasts

You know that breakfast is important, but when you're in a pinch in the morning, sometimes fast food is the quickest option. It's no secret that fast food isn't the healthiest or most nutritious option, but when it's the only option, whether you're traveling or running late for work, it helps to know how to make the best choices. Some menu items are definitely better than others. There are countless grab-n-go restaurants, each offering a different menu from the next, and with a little searching, you can find one option at each location that's lower in fat, sodium and calories than the others. Many fast food breakfasts can provide enough fat to last you all day, enough saturated fat for three days and sodium in levels that will make your blood pressure spike just looking at them. So how do you make the right choice? Do your research before you're in a pickle so that you know what to order for your quickie meal. Nearly every fast food restaurant lists nutrition information on its website, and SparkPeople's nutrition experts have done the research for you, listing the best options (or lesser evils) for each restaurant in our Dining Out Guide. And here, we’ve put together a "best of breakfast" list to guide you through your morning. And with the heftiest breakfasts out there racking up around 1,000 calories, placing a smart order can help keep you continue achieving your goals even when you’re pressed for time. When you’re ordering, look for keywords that will tip you off to selections that are higher in fat and calories. High-fat meats like sausage, bacon and steak are sure to add grams of fat (and saturated fat) to your breakfast. A bit of cheese on an egg can fit into a great calorie level for a meal, but extra cheddar topped on a breakfast sandwich or burrito can send it over the edge. Some restaurants add sauces to their meals that can amp up the calorie level, so stipulate no sauce or sauce on the side, if possible. Any menu choice with a biscuit will usually be higher in the calorie and fat department than English muffins or toast. One thing you won’t find when you’re looking at the drive-thru menu is the presence (or amount) of trans fats in each food. Many restaurants have eliminated trans fats from certain menu items, a smart move because trans fat is now known to be the most unhealthful fat you can consume. It's so bad, that experts are saying we shouldn't eat any, yet some restaurant foods contain up to seven grams of trans fat. This is information you’ll need to seek out before you place your order. Trans fat should be avoided whenever possible. If the nutrition facts on a restaurant website don't list trans fat, be wary. Below, we’ve done a bit of research for you by picking one breakfast item from each of eight popular fast food restaurants. None of these breakfast choices are ideal in terms of nutrition or health promotion, but if you’re going to choose fast food, these items have the fewest grams of fat, trans fat and calories at their respective locations. Note that the sodium levels are still quite high, as they are in most fast food options, so select lower sodium foods throughout the rest of the day to balance out your total sodium intake. Restaurant & Menu Item Calories Total fat Saturated Fat Trans fat Sodium Arby's Egg & Cheese Sourdough 392 12 g 3 g 0 g 1,058 mg Burger King Ham Omelet Sandwich 330 14 g 5 g 0 g 1,130 mg Carl's Jr. Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich 460 21 g 9 g Unknown 1,050 mg Chick-Fil-A Chicken Burrito 410 16 g 7 g 0 g 940 mg Hardee's Frisco Breakfast Sandwich 420 20 g 7 g Unknown 1,340 mg Jack In The Box Breakfast Jack 290 12 g 4.5 g 0 g 760 mg McDonald's Egg McMuffin 300 12 g 5 g 0 g 820 mg Subway Cheese Sandwich 400 17 g 7 g 0 g 940 mg None of these items should be part of your diet on a regular basis, but as the occasional treat or breakfast on-the-run, you can make them fit into an otherwise balanced and healthy diet. For more healthy and quick breakfast ideas that you can grab from your own kitchen, check out these speedy morning meal ideas. And remember that with a little planning, breakfast can be quick, easy, and healthy. This article has been reviewed and approved by Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietitian.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1449

4 Good Reasons to Buy Local Food

If you’re buying California-grown organic strawberries because you know organic food is better for the environment, then you might want to reconsider your purchase—or at least your motivations. While choosing organic over "conventional" does reduce the pesticide burden on the ecosystem, shipping organic food thousands of miles across the country creates an even greater environmental woe—fossil fuel consumption. Says Barbara Kingsolver, author of the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, transporting fruit from California to New York, for example, is about "as efficient as driving from Philadelphia to Annapolis and back in order to walk three miles on a treadmill in a Maryland gym." In a 2005 issue of the journal Food Policy, researchers stated that although organic farming is valuable, the fact that organic food often travels thousands of miles to get to our supermarkets creates environmental damage that outweighs the benefit of buying organic. Before the advent of the highway, most food was grown or raised on family farms, packaged or processed nearby, and sold in local retail outlets. Today, this has become the exception to the rule, as the average North American meal logs more than 1,500 miles from farm to table. Although this shift results in an exceptional selection at the grocery store, it causes a host of other problems. Taste, quality, freshness, and nutritional value all decrease, and the environmental burden balloons. So what’s the alternative? Buy local. Buying food that a nearby farmer has grown or raised uses far less fossil fuels, and the benefits don’t stop there. Locally grown food is also better for:

  • Your taste buds: Traditionally, farmers selected breeds of crops for their flavor and growing abilities, and let them ripen until ready to eat. Now, more often than not, breeds are selected for their ability to withstand the rigors of cold storage and cross-country transport and are plucked from the vine far before their time. This results in tomatoes whose flavor only slightly resembles tomatoes and strawberries that are strawberries in name only. Buying local will yield food so fresh and ripe that your taste buds won’t know what hit them.
  • Your health: The moment an item of produce parts from its mother plant, its nutritional value begins to decline. Produce at the supermarket has likely been in transit or sitting in the display case for days or weeks. Local produce was probably picked in the last 24 hours and is still in its nutrient prime.
  • Farmers: According to Stewart Smith from the University of Maine, in the year 1900, 40 cents of every dollar a consumer spent on food went to the farmer. Today, only 7 cents goes into the pockets of food growers. The remainder is spent on storage, packaging, marketing, and shipping. Farmers are struggling more than ever as a result. Buying directly from local farmers can help reverse this trend.
  • Your local economy: In his book Eat Here, Reclaiming Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket, Brian Halweil states that, in comparison to imported produce, "a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy." All that extra money circulating in your neck of the woods translates into better schools, safer streets, and nicer parks perfect for picnics with all the healthful foods you purchased locally.
Buying local also means buying what’s in season in your area and not buying what isn’t. Thanks to modern supermarkets, we’re so accustomed to having what we want when we want it (watermelon in April, asparagus in September and tomatoes in the dead of winter) that eating any other way sounds like deprivation. Yes, getting used to tomato-less winters can be a challenge. You'll soon realize that tomatoes taste better when you’ve waited for them, not only because they’re at their season’s best, but also because you’ve waited. Kingsolver says, "It’s tempting to reach for melons, red peppers, tomatoes, and other late-summer delights before the summer even arrives. But it’s actually possible to wait, celebrating each season when it comes, not fretting about it being absent at all other times because something else good is at hand." The variety of a local, seasonal menu is a boon to your health, too. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) recommends choosing a variety of foods, to cover all of your nutritional bases. Eating local fits the bill. There is no strict definition for mileage of local food, but generally anything grown within a 50- to 100-mile radius is considered local, and obviously, the closer the better. The best source for it is your local farmers market. You’ll find veggies, fruits, meats, and cheeses, and you’ll get to buy them from the hands that picked, dug, fed, or cultured them. Depending on what you’re buying, the price may be higher or lower than you’ll pay in a supermarket, but it will always be fresher and tastier. To find a farmer’s market near you, check out www.LocalHarvest.org. Another option is to join a buying club. Farmers deliver many orders to one person’s home (or another centralized location), and the rest of the club members pick up from there. To find a buying club in your area, visit www.EatWild.com, select your state, and look for the "Beyond the Farm" link at the top of the page. It will take you to a directory of buying clubs that exist in your state. Local food isn't just another passing trend. While it might be difficult or impossible to buy all of your food locally, any amount of local food you can find and purchase will still benefit the health of your community, the planet, and your own body, too.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1473

How My Mom’s Tough Love About My Body Shaped Basically Everything

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was sit in bed with my parents and read books. On one particular afternoon, I was getting ready to read with my mom, resting my back against the headboard with my knees bent to prop my book. While waiting for her to join me, I noticed with curiosity that when my knees were together, the rest of my legs didn’t touch at all. I thought that was biologically interesting and pointed it out to my mom. “That gap better stay there,” she retorted unsympathetically. I was shocked. I simultaneously felt chastised, judged, and confused. I was only 8 years old and obviously had never heard of a thigh gap. It was also the first time in my life I felt self-conscious about my body. I didn’t say a word, and we never discussed it again. But the message sank in over the following days, weeks, and years: Being thin is important, and my mom would be disappointed if I let my appearance slip. I’ve thought about this incident many times during my long, convoluted path to becoming a foodist. Mostly I’ve considered it with resentment. I mean, seriously, who says sh*t like that to an 8-year-old? Even then I knew there was something wrong about what my mother said, but that didn’t stop me from pursuing this ideal into my 20s and beyond. It’s difficult not to be resentful of my mother for instilling such a damaging value system. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be me without having gone through this. In retrospect, this was a pivotal moment in my life. I suffered through years of body image issues and near-constant feelings of failure. I endured countless awkward social interactions, especially around meals and bathing suits. One time in college, I told an entire classroom that I hated food. It’s difficult not to be resentful of my mother for instilling such a damaging value system. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be me without having gone through this. For one thing, I never became overweight or obese in an era when such outcomes are normal. My dedication to staying thin helped me cultivate strong self-discipline, which has served me well in many ways (e.g., getting through school, learning new skills). I also developed basic health habits, including exercising regularly and paying attention to my food choices. Most importantly, without having suffered through 15 years of chronic dieting, I would have never known how important it is to approach food and health as a foodist. I would never have worked so hard to get to the bottom of the food-health problem so many people struggle with. And I would have never started Summer Tomato or written Foodist, and helped thousands of others solve these same problems. My mother’s unintentionally damaging comment is an example of what I call a transformative gift. A transformative gift is any circumstance or event that feels negative in the present moment but ultimately reveals itself as a gift that benefits your life tremendously. You can probably think of a few transformative gifts that have occurred in your life. Something that at the time seemed terrible—like a bad breakup or the loss of a job—that ended up being one of the best things that could have happened to you. What’s interesting about transformative gifts is that nothing changes about the incident itself as time moves on. What changes is your perspective. Something that at first feels like a verdict is shown to be an opportunity, and suddenly our feelings about it change. What do transformative gifts have to do with your health? Identifying your own transformative gifts is important, because discovering the hidden benefit can be the deciding factor in changing your habits and behaviors. If you’re struggling with getting healthy or losing weight, there’s probably a transformative gift in your past you haven’t uncovered yet. Maybe you still see it as something terrible and have yet to see the benefit. In my case I struggled for 15 years before what felt like a life sentence of permadiets was transformed not only into a better body and a better life, but a new career. I can think of a handful of other transformative gifts in various parts of my life that pushed me in a negative direction at first but ultimately led me to a better place. Identifying your own transformative gifts is important, because discovering the hidden benefit can be the deciding factor in changing your habits and behaviors. When you experience something that stirs a strongly negative emotion, your natural tendency is to react defensively to protect yourself. This can manifest in several ways, most of which are not productive. For example, as I internalized how important physical appearance was in my family, it became a core value in shaping my identity. I didn’t want to be someone who was mocked and ridiculed (a.k.a. unloved) because of how I looked, so I went out of my way to make sure that didn’t happen. I viewed myself as someone who always wanted to be thin; therefore, I was a dieter. I could have had the opposite reaction, which would have been just as destructive. I could have rejected the value system of my mother, accepted her ridicule as a badge of honor, and doubled down on fast food and video games. I wouldn’t have had the same dieting issues, but I would have embraced a life of poor health. It is completely natural to react strongly to an emotionally traumatic experience, but it doesn’t usually bode well for your long-term happiness. Reframing the most impactful negative events in your life as gifts forces your mind out of unconscious reaction mode and into thoughtful, conscious mode. This is a very powerful thing. When you are consciously thinking instead of unconsciously reacting, you learn that you have a choice in how to respond. You have the option of stepping away from your limiting beliefs and assessing the actual pros and cons of different courses of action (or inaction). I was 26 years old when I finally stopped dieting forever and realized I could help other people do the same. The previous decade and a half of weight struggles suddenly had meaning, and I was able to take a step back and accept the good parts of my mom’s philosophy and reject the destructive parts. As an adult I’ve discovered that it doesn’t have to take 15 years to realize that something difficult is actually a gift. Getting married was particularly tough for me, as I’m a fiercely independent person and have trouble depending on other people (I get to thank my mom for this gift as well). Fortunately, by then I already knew that growth and happiness are the children of discomfort, so I leaned into it. It took a few months (and a bit of therapy), but I came out the other side with a much stronger relationship and the deepest love I’ve ever experienced. Like it or not, the toughest things in your life are what shape your character and are the best opportunities you have to create your own happiness and make life awesome. The world is full of stories of people who have endured the worst catastrophes and come out prevailing, as well as people born with everything who end up miserable. The difference is how they treat their transformative gifts. This post originally appeared on Summer Tomato. Darya Rose, Ph.D., is the author of Foodist and creator of Summer Tomato, one of TIME's 50 Best Websites. She eats amazing things daily and hasn't even considered going a diet since 2007. For a free starter kit to help you get healthy, sign up for the Summer Tomato weekly newsletter.

Drake Thinks It’s OK to Make Fun of Kid Cudi’s Depression in New Song. It’s Not

Drake has a history of throwing shade in his rap lyrics, but this time he's gone way too far. In his new song "Two Birds One Stone," the rapper mocks Kid Cudi for his mental health struggles. That's never OK, no matter the beef between the two artists. Quick backstory: At the beginning of October, Kid Cudi opened up about his decision to check into rehab after a lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety. Two weeks prior, he posted a couple tweets implying most popular rappers aren't talented because they have dozens of writers credited on each song: Drake's response? The following lyrics: You were the man on the moon Now you just go through your phases Life of the angry and famous Rap like I know I'm the greatest Then give you the tropical flavors Still never been on hiatus You stay xanned and perked up So when reality set in you don't gotta face it I'm down 200 in Vegas but winning life on a daily basis It seems like nobody wants to stay in my good graces I'm like a real estate agent, putting you all in your places Look what happens soon as you talk to me crazy Is you crazy? Man on the Moon is the name of Kid Cudi's first album, and "hiatus" alludes to his recent decision to enter rehab. Drake then brushes off depression and anxiety as "phases" and mocks medication ("xanned out" refers to Xananx) as a way to ignore reality. It's not just offensive; it's untrue. Many people have already tweeted about how absurd these lyrics are: Making fun of mental illness only furthers stigma, and prevents people from seeking help. All we can say to Drake is:

Family decorates house with 'scary' Hillary Clinton-themed Halloween decorations

Brianna Chambers contributed to this story.

With Halloween right around the corner, Americans are busy getting their final preparations and decorations ready.

One New York home found inspiration in the presidential election.

>> Read more trending stories  

Facebook user Brian McKibbin uploaded a video on Thursday of a home in Bellmore, New York, that was transformed into a Hillary Clinton-themed "haunted" house. The house is complete with signs calling the Democratic presidential nominee a "liar," a "criminal" and a "traitor," as well as posters that show Clinton caricatured and in prison.

The house also boasts a large "Trump USA" sign and American flags.

Some people called the decorations scary and others jokingly wondered who the residents would vote for.

Video of the home has been viewed more than 2 million times on Facebook.

This house in Bellmore!!!Posted by Brian Mc Kibbin on Thursday, October 20, 2016

Peanut Butter Cup Chia Pudding

While chia pudding may be a little too slimy on its own, when it’s blended with creamy peanut butter and cocoa powder, it tastes just like dessert. And we are all about dessert, especially when it's first thing in the morning. If you really can’t stand the texture, throw the pudding in the blender after it’s gelled—it’ll smooth out quite a bit. You’re welcome! Peanut Butter Cup Chia Pudding Recipe by: Rebecca Firkser Makes: 1 serving Ready in: 5 minutes, plus overnight soak INGREDIENTS 1 teaspoon peanut butter 3/4 cup milk (regular or nondairy) 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 1 teaspoon maple syrup Pinch Kosher salt 1/4 cup chia seeds Chopped peanuts DIRECTIONS 1. Melt the peanut butter slightly in a saucepan on the stove over low heat or in the microwave on medium for about 10 seconds. 2. Whisk in the milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup, salt, and chia seeds until fully combined. 3. Pour into a heatproof jar or mug and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator. 4. Let pudding set overnight in the fridge, then serve with chopped peanuts and extra maple syrup.

Dog abandoned for being fat has a new home

A 12-year-old dog named Leila, who someone left at the Cobb County, Georgia, animal shelter after her weight made her “inconvenient,” has found a new home.

At 61 pounds, it’s been hard for Leila to get up and down steps, so her past owners gave her up. Cobb County animal shelter volunteers posted a message about Leila’s heartbreaking plight the other day.

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“Leila’s previous ‘family’ left her at Cobb County Animal Control on Oct. 20 because they said it had become inconvenient since Leila had become so heavy she can no longer easily go up and down the stairs to take herself outside to potty.

Leila is so very sweet and looks like a beautiful young pup. You’d never know by looking at her that she has 12 years of life behind her.

We hope that someone sees what a beauty this girl is and snaps her up. Exercise and diet could help this beauty slim down. Her previous humans said she is GOOD WITH KIDS. Please share Leila to help her get out of the shelter!”

Apparently someone got the message. A subsequent post reported the happy news that Leila now has a new home.

UPDATE:  10-24-2016LEILA HAS BEEN ADOPTED!____________________________________AFTER 12 YEARS, HER FAMILY SAID SHE...Posted by Helping Cobb County Animals on Saturday, October 22, 2016

However, lots of other pets are still waiting. If you’re interested, the Cobb County Animal Shelter. The number is 770-499-4136.

Shelter hours for adoptions are Tuesday – Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays 2 to 5 p.m.

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