Precocious Puberty: A Growing Issue for Young Girls

When I first read the novel Little Women, it made me feel…reassured.  The story of the March sisters’ journey from girls to women seemed much less intimidating than I thought the transition would be.The story’s central character, Jo, reflects on the experience of growing up saying,

I think she is growing up, and so begins to dream dreams, and have hopes and fears and fidgets, without knowing why or being able to explain them.

That was growing up for a girl then. Growing up now, the things a girl can’t explain include over developed breasts and the early onset of a menstrual cycle. According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, American girls are maturing physically earlier and earlier. Preteen girls who have not yet let go of their American Girl dolls are being fitted for their first bras, scrubbing away at acne, and carrying pads in their backpacks to deal with periods that are increasingly starting in fourth grade or earlier.

Related Article: Oral Sex on the Rise

With the body maturing faster than the mind, young girls are being exposed to a myriad of risks, both physical and psychological.

 

Causes of Precocious Puberty

Precocious puberty is

when someone’s body begins changing from a child into an adult too soon. The process of changing from a child into an adult is known as puberty, and puberty that begins before age 8 for girls and before age 9 for boys is considered precocious puberty.

irls of today are experiencing precocious puberty more often and are hitting puberty sooner than any generation in history. About 15% of American girls now begin puberty by age 7, according to a study of 1,239 girls published last year in Pediatrics. Over the last 30 years, we’ve shortened the childhood of girls by about a year and a half. (Early physical maturation is occurring in boys as well, though that won’t be the focus of this article.)

The early onset of puberty has consequences that continue to be an issue well into adulthood, thus, even if a woman has gone through the puberty phase, she will forever feel the effects of it starting early. There are many explanations as to why this process, known as precocious puberty, begins early.

Related Article: Balls of Fury: Eunuchs Live Longer?

According to Dr. Frank Biro, director of adolescent medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the rise in the childhood obesity rate is partly to blame. Fatty tissue produces leptin, which stimulates the release of sex hormones. According to Biro,

The girls who are obese are clearly maturing earlier. BMI is, we found, the biggest single factor for the onset of puberty.

puberty bpa

Yeah, but they were on sale… http://www.saferchemicals.org/

Additionally, there may be environmental factors involved.  Dr. Biro goes onto say that some investigators are focusing on environmental contaminants like PBBs and more notoriously, BPA, common ingredients in plastic products that have endocrine-disrupting powers of their own. The Centers for Disease Control says that the blood of the average American carries traces of 212 different chemicals. All of these chemicals have the power to disrupt the endocrine system by either mimicking hormones, blocking them, or changing the way they’re metabolized and excreted. The longer we ignore these often times preventable causes, the more we will continue to upset the biological balance.

 

The Effects of Early Puberty 

There is another kind of biological balance that is even harder to control. Young girls who fall into precocious puberty are forced to balance their rapidly changing bodies with the standard development of their minds. When pre-sexual minds find themselves in newly sexualized bodies, substantial emotional damage can be done. Dr. Michelle Klein, a pediatric endocrinologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center, treated a 6 ½ year old who was already developing breasts and pubic hair. Klein stated that,

She would get into a bathing suit at camp, and the other kids would tease her. She was already a good deal taller than her peers, and adults would talk to her as if she was older and more mature–and expect more-mature behavior out of her too.

puberty height

Did I shrink or did you explode upward? http://www.saferchemicals.org/

This becomes problematic to a child because she is not receiving a message consistent with her actual age. She won’t understand the expectations on her because she is not mentally prepared to do so.

Related Article: All Your Kids Are Sexting 

People are judging girls based on what they can see, but as with everything, appearances are deceiving. According to Erin Diamond, author of “Big Feet, Training Bras,” and “Going All the Way”:

Girls who develop physically faster are assumed to be more sexually active than their peers…Early developers are also more likely to engage in relationships of a sexual nature before they are emotionally prepared to do so.

This leads to a myriad of psychological disorders, including depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, eating disorders…all due to a process that is beyond their control. Not only are young girls at an increased risk of emotional turmoil, they also have physical side effects to contend with. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, early sexual maturity means more estrogen exposure for breast tissue, thus, introducing a cancer risk.  If a girl gets her first period before 12 years of age, the risk of breast cancer is 20% more than if she got it at 14. Additionally, breast cancer risk is increased by 5% for every year younger a woman is when she begins her periods. As you can see, growing up, more than ever before, is now hazardous to a girl’s health.

 

What Doctors and Parents are Doing to Help

puberty hypothalamus

The biological process driving the worst years of our lives. http://www.lupronped.com

In light of these hazards, it is now time to reset the puberty clock. Science is offering new options that will help to literally shut off puberty for a year or two so that a child’s chronological, psychological, and physical age all align. The new treatment involves monthly injections of Lupron, a medication that neutralizes the effect of the puberty inducing hormones, otherwise known as GnRH. It does this not by reducing the level of the hormone in the body, but by increasing it. GnRH is released by the hypothalamus in a pulsing pattern, and the injections are designed to fill in the gaps between the pulses. The body interprets the neutralized GnRH state as no GnRH at all, and the sped-up maturation stops.

Related Article: For Cure Administer Two Times Daily- How Effective is Our Medicine? 

While drugs are effective, they can be expensive. For uninsured Americans, these drugs can cost $1000’s each month. Presently, the only drug available for precocious puberty is Lupron. But according to the Physicians’ Desk Reference, Lupron has 265 possible risks and side-effects, including cancer. Lupron can cause severe problems such as tremors, seizures and memory loss.

In light of these dangers, it is important to know that there are natural methods available to help prevent or mitigate the problem. They may seem small when compared to medicinal treatment, but if we all practice these small solutions regularly, we could help to create a change in a young girls life that she will carry with her as long as she lives.

First, throw out your plastic water bottles; microwave your food in glass containers as opposed to plastic. This can lower your exposure to the dangerous BPA chemical. Since obesity is a strong contributing factor to precocious puberty, keeping weight down can prevent the hormonal effects of carrying too much body fat. This is where a healthy diet and regular exercise become very important.

Related Article: The Dangers of Fat Acceptance 

puberty children

Don’t judge your children, love them. http://www.amagazineofrandom.com

In addition to all of this, the most effective strategy may simply be awareness; we need to be aware of the pressures faced by young girls in our society. It is the responsibility of parents, teachers, coaches and any other significant figure in a girl’s life to remind her that her worth is not tied to her outward appearance. Little girls need to be assured that they are loved no matter when changes to their body and mind may occur. It is important to remember that to any child, happiness is knowing you are loved. 

And that is the most important thing; the happiness and contentment of little girls as they navigate their way through such an arduous journey. But for some, the journey is complicated in a way they may not be emotionally mature enough to handle. By discussing the causes, examining the effects, and identifying some solutions, we see more than ever that just because a little girl looks like a woman on the outside, that does not mean she is woman on the inside. While today’s little girls grow up much differently than the March sisters, they do still have one thing in common. As author Louisa May Alcott said,

The emerging woman will be strong-minded, strong-hearted, and strong-souled,

and that is true about a woman at any age.

 

Sources:

http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1112716850/puberty-in-boys-age-102112/

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/10/30/peds.2012-3773.abstract

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Signet-Classics-Louisa-Alcott/dp/0451532082

http://www.americangirl.com/index.php

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2010/08/09/peds.2009-3079.abstract

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/precocious-puberty/DS00883

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/268337.php

http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1112993027/us-girls-entering-puberty-earlier-than-ever-110413/

http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polybrominated_biphenyl

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocrine_disruptor

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2097388,00.html

http://www.bradley.edu/sites/bodyproject/sexuality/puberty/

http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(07)00983-3/abstract

http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/FirstPeriodOccursBeforeAge12.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23084519

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2927128/

https://www.lupronped.com/central-precocious-puberty/treating-precocious-puberty.aspx

http://www.biolreprod.org/content/56/4/1012.full.pdf

http://www.whale.to/a/sellman.html

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/424368-the-emerging-woman-will-be-strong-minded-strong-hearted-strong-souled-and

 

The 20 Biggest Wastes of Money and How to Avoid Them

money garbage

Waste of Money http://1four.co.uk

We all spend too much money on something out there. After all, money in and of itself is useless unless we are spending it. That being said though, some of the everyday things people spend their money on are an absolute waste and a downright scam. In this post, I will go over the 20 biggest wastes of money that we continue to spend our hard earned cash on. I am not here to judge anyone in particular, just the human race as a whole that I am happily a part of. How many of these are you guilty of?

 

1) Cigarettes

Cigarettes are bad for you, like really bad, like proven to cause cancer and a multitude of other illnesses bad. Despite what you tell yourself, and unlike other substances such as cannabis, there are actually no real benefits to smoking cigarettes, especially when it comes to the money in your pocket. There are however hundreds of reasons to quit.

Related Article: Smoking: A Pre-existing Condition Under Obamacare

To begin, cigarettes do not just contain tobacco, they contain over 599 additives. These 599 additives turn into 4000 different chemicals through the chemical change of burning the tobacco. 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer. Some of the lovely chemicals that cigarette smokers deeply inhale include: carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanides and ammonia. The initial 599 additives have been approved as safe by the FDA, but they were approved without being burned. The FDA never once approved the 4000 chemicals created through the burning process that are known to be noxious poisons. You are spending your money on unapproved carcinogens.

According to the CDC:

Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030. Cigarette smoking account[s] for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women.

Translation: Cigarettes are a near guaranteed death sentence, a death sentence that consists of horrible pain and struggling until the very last moment. Oh, and if you don’t die from smoking cigarettes, you are still more likely to get sick. Because they lower the effectiveness of the immune system and other bodily functions, the CDC notes that compared to non-smokers, smokers are more likely to develop:

  • coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
  • strokes by 2 to 4 times
  • men developing lung cancer by 23 times
  • women developing lung cancer by 13 times
  • dying from chronic obstructive lung diseases (such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema) by 12 to 13 times

So if cigarettes are so harmful, why do people start smoking in the first place? The major reasons are:

  • Media advertising
  • Epigentic predisposition
  • Parental influence
  • Stress relief
  • Self medication
  • Appetite suppression
  • Rebellion
  • Social benefits
  • Peer pressure

Some of these reasons for starting are understandable and may seem like benefits from the get go. For example, stress relief doesn’t sound so bad. The problem is that once the incredibly strong sway of nicotine addiction sets in, which could be within days, cigarettes themselves become a stressor because smokers are antsy, anxious, and stressed without the tool they have become dependent on for solving their stress. Quite the downward spiral. The truth is that any physical benefit from smoking quickly subsides as the body builds a resistance to the nicotine found in tobacco. The positive benefits, such as appetite suppression and mood elevation, quickly fade in place of the same old you, that same old you that you originally tried to alter with a highly potent poison. Keep in mind that nicotine is incredibly potent, with resistance and dependency forming very quickly. To be precise, it is:

  • 1000 X more potent than alcohol
  • 10-100 X more potent than barbiturates
  • 5-10 X more potent than cocaine or morphine

What about social benefits? Isn’t it great to be able to do something with your mouth and fingers to distract from the awkwardness of getting to know other people? The truth is that in this case you are only slightly curing a symptom of a problem with much deeper roots. If you require a biologically destructive tool to be able to comfortably talk to people, then you should put your focus on overcoming this societal fear rather than using an irrational crutch forever and ever.

Related Article: Cannabis Cures Cancer and More: A Thorough History and Review of the Evidence

It should be obvious that the rest of the list consists of very shallow and poor reasons for choosing to take up such a clearly destructive and incredibly hard-to-break habit. Not to mention, cigarettes are extremely expensive.

Super, super expensive in fact! In 2011 a pack of cigarettes cost between $4.74 (West Virgina) and $11.90 (New York), depending on the state. In 2012 the price range for cigarettes changed to $4.84 (West Virgina) to $12.50 (New York). If you live in New York and smoke a modest 1 pack of cigarettes a day, you’re spending $87.50 a week, which is $4,550 a year. Not surprisingly, a recent study found that cigarettes smokers in New York that made $30,000 a year or less spent a whopping 25% of their income on cigarettes. 25% of their income on something that has no real benefits past the first couple weeks, is incredibly difficult to stop doing, is proven to cause cancer, and shortens your life span by at least 10 years. Go figure.

You might be thinking, ‘Hey, I’m sure some people enjoy smoking until the day they die whether they develop cancer or not.’ The odds are against you friend. 69% of smokers in the United States admit to wanting to quit completely with 52% of smokers trying to quit in 2010. Feel like throwing your health and money away? Grab a pack of cigarettes.

Sadly, even today, despite so much available information, 4,000 kids younger than 18 smoke their first cigarette everyday, and everyday 1000 kids younger than 18 become daily smokers. If you are attempting to quit smoking, there are many ways to change behavior and break habits successfully. Don’t give up on yourself, you’re worth it!

Related Article: A How To: Behavior Changes and Breaking Habits

 

 

2) Designer Clothing and Fashion

designer clothing expensive

projectmotherhoodnyc.com

If there was ever an absolute scam, this is it. Billions of people around the world have been brainwashed into believing that brand names equate to better quality and ‘cool factor’. While this may be the case in some instances, it is not the norm.

Whether it be sunglasses, watches, hats, handbags, pants, jackets, shoes, or any other material possession, much of the world is not happy unless they have an item made by their favorite designer. The problem is that designers charge insane amounts of money for products that often cost them about the same amount as it costs Walmart to make their products. The difference is that they claim their name and minimum amount of labor is worth the hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars extra.

The brainwashing goes even further when people insist that they need to buy new clothes each season to keep up with the changing fashion. High end clothing companies and designers would have you believe that you are not cool unless you pay them exorbitant amounts of your hard earned money four times a year to keep up with the ‘in crowd.’ What an ingenious way to suck consumers dry.

Related Article: Income Inequality in America: Red Herrings and Wealth Envy

This form of brainwashing comes largely in the form of advertising, celebrity worship, and companies/independent designers banking on your insecurities. According to David A. Aaker, the vice chairman of Prophet, a brand consulting firm:

The cost of creating those things has nothing to do with the price, it is all about who else is wearing them, who designed them and who is selling them.

It’s not about price, it’s about competing with everyone around you. And for what? To look the flashiest? Readers, I have news for you: You are an adult, and if you haven’t figured this out yet, it doesn’t matter what other people think of you. The only time it matters is in a job interview, because a job has the benefit of giving you the ability to support yourself. Your potential boss is not looking at your wardrobe, he is looking at a single outfit. But even in that instance, guess what? Unless you have the Walmart logo on your button down collared shirt, your boss will have NO IDEA how much you spent on your clothing. As long as you look presentable, that is what matters, and it does not take $500, $200, or even a $50 shirt to do that.

The mark ups on all clothing are astronomical, but this is especially the case with designer clothing. Did you know that Kohl’s department store has been caught hiking up the price of their products right before a huge sale? It is even possible to pay more for a sale price than you would have for the normal price of the good. There is a reason why all your favorite designers are living in multiple mansions, driving cars that cost more than your life’s net worth, and purchasing their own islands: they tricked you. They have the world at their fingertips, and what do you have? Their sewn together fabric. Woopdie-do.

Related Article: A Note on the Top 1%: Psychopaths or Superhumans?

If you just can’t break the habit of buying designer goods and clothing, all hope is not lost. Head to a resale shop like Plato’s Closet and pick up some designer clothes at a fraction of the price. Sure, the clothes might be used, but after washing them no one will be able to tell the difference. Plato’s Closet has incredibly high standards for their clothing and even the slightest defect will be noticed and that piece of clothing removed from the store. You may be wearing used clothes, but at least you won’t have to work 20 hours of overtime next week to pay back the growing interest on your Macy’s credit card.

*Note: Another great idea is to buy clothes and other art from Etsy.com and support independant, and possibly even local artists/artisans. At least you’ll know that your particular item is one of a kind instead of wearing the same Abercrombie shirt as every other 20-something-debt-up-to-their-nose-fashion-freak.

 

 

3) Playing the Lottery

You actually have a better chance of being killed by a mountain lion or becoming president of the U.S.A than winning the Mega Millions Jackpot or the Megabucks Slot Machine Jackpot. There is a reason winning the lottery is called a pipe dream, and it’s not because pipes help you win.

200170608-001

 

4) New Cars

Buying a new car is one of the best ways to cut your money into little pieces and throw it to the wind. The moment you drive your shiny new vehicle off the lot it depreciates in value by up to 40% of the price you just paid only seconds before. So, if you pay $25,000 for a new car, within seconds of the purchase it is worth only $15,000. Yikes! By the end of the third year your 4-wheeled baby is worth about 40% of its original price. If you’re planning on holding onto yo6a00d83451b3c669e2013486235de6970c-800wiur car for longer than 3 years its only going to get worse. The older a car is, the slower it depreciates in value.

Don’t forget that it’s impossible to know whether you will get into an accident or not, potentially totaling your car. Remember, you might be the best driver in the world, but what about everyone else?

 

 

 

5) Bottled Water

Bottled water is next on the list. Not only is bottled water a completely unnecessary expenditure in all but the most extreme cases, it is also extremely detrimental to the environment and your wallet.

While there is an ongoing debate regarding the safety of many plastics and various other ingredients found in plastic bottled water, what is not debated is the effect on the environment. Bottled water clearly effects the already heavily burdened environment in a highly negative way. Just because you throw your plastic bottles in the recycling bin does not mean that the bottle is being reused; it’s probably being dumped right into a landfill or the Pacific Ocean.

Related Article: Unprecedented Changes and Extinctions Occurring in Marine Life

bottled water landfill waste money

ipsofactoradio.blogspot.com

Every bottle you buy and toss away has on average a 28% chance of actually being properly recycled. Keep in mind that due to improper recycling practices and the rise of plastic use around the world, parts of the Pacific Ocean contain more particles of plastic than plankton. Sea life consumes this plastic, is caught by fishing companies, and goes right back on your plate. You are eating the water bottles you throw away, that is not an exaggeration.

Furthermore, there is no clear proof that bottled water is any healthier to drink than tap water. While our tap water is not very clean, containing harmful drugs, plastics, pesticides and other dangerous elements, there is no evidence that bottled water does not contain the same substances. You are better off buying a water filter and filling your own BPA free water bottles at home. The best reason to fill up your own water bottles at home is how much money it will save you in the long run.

Related Article: The 5 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot

Think gasoline is expensive? Bottled water costs up to 3 times as much per galon! To make matters worse, bottled water costs over 1000 times more than tap water, the water you are paying for each month anyway! The absolute worst part? Many studies have found that a large percentage of bottled water is just tap water.

On average, each person in the U.S. consumes 167 plastic bottles of water each year. You can use this bottled water cost calculator to figure out your own wasteful spending, but let’s just assume you are average. If you buy 167 bottles of water per year at a low price of 1.50 per bottle (some bottles of water like Fiji brand could cost up to $5.00 per bottle in the stores) you are looking at $250 dollars per year. Compare that to buying a water filter and a reusable water bottle and the purchase already pays for itself even before the end of a year. Remember that the water filter and water bottle are almost endlessly reusable.

Related Article: Conservation Efforts of Earth’s Seven Continents

The multi-billion dollar bottled water industry is one of the most lucrative businesses in the world, and it is a complete scam. Ever notice that Evian is naive spelled backwards?

*Note: The one instance where it is extremely tempting to buy bottled water is while traveling where it is unsafe to drink the water. The same suggestion applies: buy a couple reusable BPA-free water bottles and just fill them on the go at your hotel/hostel. You can even get a lightweight, compact UV water purifier to bring with you and ensure your water is completely safe to drink. If you live or are traveling in North America, a great solution to bottled water is to take advantage of purified water vending machines, an idea that many bottled water companies are implementing. These vending machines can often be found outside of supermarkets.

 

 

6) Weddings

Weddings: one of the prime sources of gossip on Facebook, and one of the ultimate stressors for couples and relatives alike. Weddings are romanticized and embedded deep into the psyche of little girls from the time they are toddlers. Since time immemorial, humans have simply accepted that the culmination of success and happiness in a relationship must lead to a budget crippling, single-day expenditure called a wedding. Of course, most weddings just end in the creation of bridezillas and couples taking out a few additional loans to base the foundation of their future lives on. No wonder so many marriages end due to arguments over finances.

wedding waste of money

Who needs a house? http://www.glamour.com

The majority of couples end up paying far more for their wedding than they had originally budgeted for. After adding up so many variables (the wedding dress, makeup and hair, DJ, decorations, food, wedding favors, invitations, photography… the list is seemingly endless) the final price of a wedding usually ends up being about the price of the downpayment on a new couple’s house. I suppose that’s easy to understand when the average price of a DJ is $748, and the average price of a photagrapher is $1,777. Even saying thank you costs big bucks, with the average price of thank you cards totaling $94.

Related Article: Afraid to Wake Up? Conquering Fear and Living the Lives We Want

In 2012, couples and their families in the U.S. spent an average of $28,427 on wedding ceremonies alone. This is an absolute waste of money, especially for something that lasts less than a full 24 hours. According to the Bureau of Business & Economic Research, the median personal income in the United States in 2012 was $42,693. That means that on average, couples are spending 66% of the average person’s income on a single day to celebrate, well, themselves. Spending the cost of a house downpayment on a single day to remind everyone of your love: that might be the very definition of both insanity and vanity.

The truth is that traditional weddings are downright unnecessary and insultingly wasteful to the rest of the struggling world. Amy Keyishian reminds women in her article “Why I think Weddings are a Stupid Waste of Money,” to not make the mistake of spending thousands for a wedding. By not spending so much:

You’re not a princess, princess. You’re a smart cookie. Trust me, that’s so much better.

If you are spending anywhere near the United States average on a single day, this is a great chance to improve your creativity. There are a remarkable amount of DIY wedding ideas that you can implement to ensure that your wedding is a low cost, creative, unforgettable experience. There are also many ways to have the traditional wedding you’ve been fantisizing about on the cheap by cutting out some of the unnecessary expenses. One of my favorite solutions is cutting out all the ridiculous party favors. According to Gail Johnson, a Decatur, Ga.-based wedding and event consultant:

expensive wedding

bahmankadeh.blogspot.com

I can’t tell you [how] many times guests leave these items on the tables or take them home and toss them. Entertaining your guests with a great meal and entertainment is plenty, so there is no need to spend money on wedding favors.

Weddings are not a fairytale, they are part of a multi-billion dollar industry that wants as much of your money as possible. What’s so romantic about that?

Related Article: Money: Designed to Fail

*Note: Even the prospect of marriage isn’t entirely necessary nowadays. Although there are a great deal of federal benefits afforded to married couples, domestic partnerships and civil unions are a great option as well. Check out your state policies to see if a civil union or domestic partnership is a better alternative for you and your significant other. Remember, marriage does not equate to true love.

 

 

Rolls of Paper Towels7) Paper Towels

One ton of paper towels is equal to 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water. 3,000 tons of paper towels are produced in the U.S. each and everyday. That means that each day approximatley 51,000 trees and 60,000,000 gallons of water are used so that Americans can dry their hands.

Related Article: Wood Pulp is Changing the World

The solution is simple. Instead of shelling out clams for disposable paper towels each time you go the supermarket, make a one time purchase and buy reusable dish towels instead. It costs $13 for a 12 pack of reusable cotton dish towels. Throw them in the wash when they get dirty, dry them, and repeat. I know Bounty brand is tempting, but it destroys the bounty of our environment!

 

8) Diamonds/Jewelry

Many people purchase diamonds and jewelry as gifts that symbolize true love. This was not always such a widespread practice though. Giving a diamond ring as an engagement gift is only about a century old. Furthermore, the only reason people do it, as usual, is because a very clever business convinced all of us that it is not only a great idea, but a crucial one. Oh well, at least diamonds and other precious jewelry are a great investment right? Wrong. This myth has been dispelled time and time again.
The value of jewelry rises at about the same rate of inflation, but good luck selling your jewelry at even half that price. The biggest issue with trying to sell jewelry is that high-end jewelry stores generally do not buy back precious stones and metals. The amount they would offer sellers would be embarassingly low as they would have to offer them the wholesale price, not the insanely high mark-up price that we all pay.

Related Article: A Planet Covered in Diamonds

Diamonds and jewelry are a horrible waste of money and the very opposite of a smart investment. You’re better off recalibrating your societally learned bourgeoisie tastes and heading to Etsy.com for truly unique, creative, and beautiful jewelry. Besides, is it really worth putting so many eggs into one basket. Owning a $5,000 dollar diamond ring means that if your ring is lost or stolen, so are all those greenbacks the ring is worth.

Keep in mind that an unknown amount of diamonds on the market are blood diamonds, and it is very hard to be sure of the source of your precious stones. When you flash your bling-bling, there’s a good chance you are announcing to the world that you happily support slavery, suffering, and mass death. Support Etsy instead.

 

 

9) Fast Food

Fast food: quick, convenient, cheap, and a total waste of money. In 1970, Americans spent $6 billion on fast food. In the year 2000 that number rose to $110 billion and continues to rise year after year. To give you a better perspective of these numbers, every day 25% of the adult U.S. population shoves fast food down their gullets.

Fast food might seem like a bargain, but the truth is that you are scamming your body and your wallet with every bite you take. Sure, you can get a meal that will fill you up for 3 dollars by ordering off the dollar menu, but is it worth it? Is a dollar worth the nutritional value and health detriment of a Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger? The simple answer is no. Let’s take a look at the not so simple answer.

Related Article: Obesity Has More to Do With Diet Than Exercise

Eric Schlosser describes in his book “Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal” the ugly truth behind fast food: it tastes good, but is utterly destructive to your body. In an excerpt from Fast Food Nation, Schlosser explains that:

The Food and Drug Administration does not require flavor companies to disclose the ingredients of their additives, so long as all the chemicals are considered by the agency to be GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe). This lack of public disclosure enables the companies to maintain the secrecy of their formulas. It also hides the fact that flavor compounds sometimes contain more ingredients than the foods being given their taste. The ubiquitous phrase “artificial strawberry flavor” gives little hint of the chemical wizardry and manufacturing skill that can make a highly processed food taste like a strawberry.

A typical artificial strawberry flavor, like the kind found in a Burger King strawberry milk shake, contains the following ingredients: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amylketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone (10 percent solution in alcohol), α-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, γ-undecalactone, vanillin, and solvent.

fast food waste money

mrmeltdown.com

Here’s a hint: much of what you just read does not belong in your body, and that is just one example among tens of thousands of products. Despite this, American kids between the ages of 6 and 14 eat fast food 157,000,000 times every month. One of the major reasons is that the flavor wizardry of fast food keeps you wanting more. Simply put, fast food is addictive.

Related Article: Save the Food Pyramid by Cutting Out Carbs

You’d be hard pressed to find a doctor who would suggest that even a small amount of fast food is okay to eat. In fact, many doctors in the UK are demanding a ban on fast food chains near schools due to how serious of an epidemic fast food, and consequently obesity, is. That is why fast food is an utter waste of money. Sure, you won’t starve if you eat it, but you are far more likely to become obese and have very serious health problems down the road if you eat fast food on a regular basis.

Take a look at the nutrition facts for your favorite fast food chain. A Big Mac alone contains 540 calories, 29 grams of fat, and 1040 mg of sodium. Add the obligatary order of large french fries and you just tacked on an extra 500 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 350 grams of sodium. Based on a 2000 calorie diet, that single meal consisting of a burger and fries accounts for 50% of your alloted daily calories, 83% of your alotted daily fat intake (consisting of a great deal of saturated fats and some trans fats thrown in for good measure), %58 of your daily sodium intake, and 36% of your daily carbs at 108 grams. Not a pretty picture, is it? Let’s paint a complete picture just for fun and eat 3 meals at McDonalds, shall we?

 

Breakfast:

Minutemaid Orange Juice: Calories (190), Fat (0), Carbs(0), Cholesterol(0), Sodium (39mg)

Egg McMuffin: Calories (300), Fat (12g), Carbs(30g), Cholesterol(260mg), Sodium (820mg)

Hashbrown: Calories (150), Fat (9g), Carbs(15g), Cholesterol(0), Sodium (310mg)

 

Lunch:

Big Mac: Calories (540), Fat (29g), Carbs(45g), Cholesterol(75mg), Sodium (1040)

Large Fries: Calories (500), Fat (25g), Carbs(63g), Cholesterol(0mg), Sodium (350g)

21 fl oz Diet Coke: Calories (0), Fat (0), Carbs(0), Cholesterol(0), Sodium (30mg)

 

Dinner:

Big N’ Tasty With Cheese: Calories (510), Fat (28g), Carbs(38g), Cholesterol(85mg), Sodium (960mg)

Medium French Fries: Calories (380), Fat (19g), Carbs(48g), Cholesterol(0), Sodium (270mg)

Mcflurry with Oreo Cookies: Calories (510), Fat (17g), Carbs(80g), Cholesterol(45mg), Sodium (280mg)

21 fl oz Coke: Calories (0), Fat (0), Carbs(58g), Cholesterol(0), Sodium (15mg)

 

Totals:

Breakfast: Calories (640), Fat (21g), Carbs(45g), Cholesterol(260mg), Sodium (1169mg)

Lunch: Calories (1040), Fat (54g), Carbs(108g), Cholesterol(75mg), Sodium (1420mg)

Dinner: Calories (1400), Fat (64g), Carbs(224), Cholesterol(130mg), Sodium (1525mg)

 

Full Day Total: (Daily values based on a 2000 calorie diet)

Calories (3080) 154%DV

Fat (139 g) 214%DV

Carbohydrates (377 g) 126%DV

Cholesterol (465 mg) 155%DV

Sodium (4114 mg) 171%DV

 

Combine these atrocious numbers with all the artificial additives and preservatives in fast food and its easy to understand why it is so unfathomably unhealthy and not worth a single penny!

Related Article: The Obese Shall Inherit the Earth

The fats found in most fast food products have been linked to increased fat around the abdomen and an increased risk of diabetes. There is also clear evidence that fast food (constituting the foundation of a poor general diet) is in large part responsible for childhood obesity. Even seemingly healthy options at fast food chains are coated with hidden fats and biologically harmful ingredients. Keep in mind that all of the health problems caused by eating fast food also increases individual and statewide health costs.

What is the point of eating food that only serves to harm you? Doesn’t it make more sense to spend a little extra cash for the sake of actually eating a nutritional meal, maintaining health, and steering clear of medical bills? Paying more for healthy food actually gives you bang for your buck, as opposed to fast food which only serves as a health detriment in the long run.

Besides, eating healthy doesn’t have to be more expensive! In fact, with some careful planning, eating healthy and cooking your own meals at home could be even cheaper than your weekly fast food budget. For example:

Don’t have time to cook? Might as well start making time for more hospital visits. I can’t put this any nicer: find time! It is your life and well being we are talking about here! You could be spending $200 to $400 a month on healthy food, or a ‘fair price‘ of $63,648 on heart surgery. $63,648 is equal to 13 to 27 years of paying for healthy food. It’s your choice.

Related Article: The Life Changing and Life Lengthening World of Fasting

If you don’t think eating healthy foods will fill you up enough, remember that getting filled up is entirely dependant on food density, rather than calorie content. While 4 pounds of fruits and veggies will provide about 400 calories, 4 pounds of pop tarts will provide nearly 10,000. If you think 4 pounds of veggies won’t fill you up, give it a try. You won’t even make it a fourth of the way through.

People that struggle with body fat management tend to fill up on energy dense, processed foods. This means stored energy for later.

Translation: Fatness.

If we eat 4 pounds of energy-controlled, whole, real food – we get lots of nutrition with a calorie count that our body can handle.

Check out the differences outlined below:

Most people in the U.S. are consuming (on average) the following amounts of food each day:

2.0 pounds of meat, dairy and eggs
1.5 pounds fruits and veggies
0.5 pound grains
0.5 pounds added sugars, fats and oils
= 4.5 pounds
= about 3,700 calories per day

What if we switched this around?

2.5 pounds of fruits and veggies
1.0 pounds of grains and legumes
0.3 pounds nuts/seeds
0.3 pounds meat, dairy and eggs
0.1 pounds added sugars, fats and oils
= 4.2 pounds
= about 2,075 calories per day

You can eat healthy without paying anymore than you would for fast food and still be left completely satisfied. The dollar menu is an illusion; nutritionally the food is worth far less than a dollar.

If you happen to work 120 hours a week for $1 an hour, then there are still options for you. If for whatever reason you must resort to eating fast food, there are ways to make healthier choices when perusing the fast food menu, as well as ways to make normally unhealthy fast food healthier. Some of my favorite suggestions are to drink water instead of a soft drink, undress your meal by removing unnecessary sauces, and to research all ingredients. Don’t waste your money on non-nutritional garbage. Think of healthy food as an investment in yourself.

fast food waste money

“Supersize Me”

 

10) University

While some countries enjoy free university and college, here in the U.S. we are stuck paying prices that a Middle Eastern oil mogul would be awed by. From 2008 to 2010 the average tuition cost for American universities rose by 15%. For some schools, it was even as high as 40%. On average, in the 2010 to 2011 school year, the average cost of one year of tuition, room, and board for all insitutions across the U.S. was $18,497. To split that total up, the average 4-year private institution cost $32,617 per year while the average 4-year public institution cost $15,918 per year. That is a whole lot of dead presidents. Some for-profit universites, which are not included in those averages, could cost even more.

Related Article: Public School Failure in America

students-in-front-of-the-academic-building-on-the-texas-a-m-university-campus_slideA university education is not a waste of money for everyone out there, but for a huge percentage of the population it absolutley is. Think long and hard before setting foot on campus: there is no return policy. If you are paying $20,000 a year to get a bachelors degree, by the end of 4 years you are looking at spending the price of a brand new condominum, or 2 brand new condos, depending on where in the U.S. you lay your head at night. And that’s IF it takes you 4 years to complete your degree. The average time it takes to complete a bachelors degree is 54 months, or 4.5 years. So, if you are on the upper end of that average, and going to an above average university, you could be spending closer to $200,000. You could completley pay for 2 houses for that price; live in one and rent the other one out. We are talking about a very serious amount of money just to listen to people considered experts in their field give lectures. From my experience it is mandatory to buy the new version of their book each year too.

Despite what society would have you believe, going to college or university isn’t for everyone. A degree does not guarantee success, nor does it guarantee a job. With unemployment currently hovering around 7.5%, employers only plan on hiring an extra 2.1% of graduates compared to 2012, a number that they had originally estimated to be 13% in the Fall of 2012. Unemployment for people under 25 in the U.S. is closer to 16%. Financially, the situation is even more troubling for recent grads:

Young college graduates with full-time jobs earned an average hourly wage of $16.60 last year, roughly $34,500 a year. That is down 7.6 percent from 2007. Benefits are also a problem. Between 2000 and 2011, the share of young graduates whose jobs provide for retirement plans dropped to 27.2 percent from 41.5 percent. The trend is troubling given that most students are graduating from college with huge debts.

Let me reiterate: having a degree does not guarantee success, or even make success any more likely. The most important thing when thinking about university is to consider who you are as an individual, and to remember that there are so many other options. An article from Learnfinancialplanning.com shares a very poignant story.

A friend of mine recently told me the story from when she worked at McDonald’s back when she was still in high school. Someone came along and applied for a job. Under “educational experience”, the individual listed a 6 year degree in Calligraphy.

They hung the application on the wall and had quite a few chuckles.

They laughed because the degree was absurd and stereotypical. There are precious few things one can do with a degree in Calligraphy. Spending $50,000 was probably a bad choice. The individual could have simply learned the trade without the degree, and saved thousands.

Don’t go to a degree it isn’t necessary. If it is necessary, and you can make your money back with a typical job in the field you’ll be getting your education in, then go for the degree. Just rationally analyze your situation, your goals and the necessity of the degree, and you’ll be fine.

Related Article: Science Says “Smart People are Idiots”

studentdebtEducation comes in many forms, don’t let society convince you that university is the only way. So, what are your alternatives to university? How about traveling the world? Backpacking through different countries is a great way to widen your perspectives and find out what you truly want to achieve in life. It is also one of the best ways to meet other people and create a solid network. The age old saying ‘it’s not about what you know, but who you know’ still applies. Volunteering or interning is also a great way to get experience in a field without having to pay tens of thousands of dollars to find out that it doesn’t really appeal to you. You could also apply for vocational training, or even start a business. Ever heard of Mark Zuckerberg? He didn’t need a degree to make Facebook.

While not everyone who starts a business will succeed, the lessons you will learn will be an invaluable tool you can take with you for the rest of your life. PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel is even paying university students $100,000 to drop out of school and attempt to start a business. According to Thiel,

Learning is good. Credentialing and debt is very bad. College gives people learning and also takes away future opportunities by loading the next generation down with debt.

In a similair vein, Cameron Herold, an entrepreneur since he was a child, points out the importance of recognizing and fostering entrepreneurial talent in kids. He gives an extraordinary TED talk on how exactly to raise kids to better their chances of becoming succesful entrepreneurs, if not more successful people in general when they grow up.

Related Article: Paul Ryan: “School? Get a Job! In Fact Get Three!”

Sure, you may be nervous to go against the mold of society, but just remember that there’s no rush. Take some time to think about what you want out of life. Society insists that we go to university, graduate, and start a career as quickly as possible; don’t listen to everything you hear! Your life is yours to live. If going to university/college turns out to be a mistake, it will be a costly one that will haunt you in the form of loans and insane interest rates (6% or more!) for decades to come. You don’t have to waste your money on university if it isn’t right for you, and you can still be a fully capable, and even highly successful member of society.

If you feel alone in choosing not to go to university, check out this endless list of highly succesful people that never went to university or dropped out. Just to name a few:

Sandy Adams, U.S. congressperson. Dropped out of high school at the age of 17 to join the Air Force. Later got her GED and attended the police academy before being hired as a deputy sheriff.

Ben Affleck, actor, screenwriter. Left the University of Vermont after one semester; then dropped out of Occidental College to pursue acting.

Chuck Allen, banker, co-founder of the National Scholastic Surfing Association, and founder of the U.S. Amateur Snowboard Association. At the age of 19, he moved from Oklahoma to California and began working odd jobs until he was established enough to move on to a banking career.

Woody Allen, screenwriter, actor, director, and producer. Was thrown out of New York University after one semester for poor grades. Also dropped out of City College of New York. As he admitted, “I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics final. I looked within the soul of the boy sitting next to me.”

Hans Christian Andersen, short story author, fairy tales. Left home at the age of 14 to find work. Later attended Copenhagen Univesity.

Peter Arnell, advertising executive. Never attended college. Talked his way into the advertising business after graduating from high school.

Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, software programmer. Studied mathematics at the University of Melbourne but dropped out because other students were doing research for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Dan Aykroyd, actor, comedian. Dropped out of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

Keep in mind that this list consists only of famous drop outs with last names that start with the letter ‘A.’

Related Article: Coursera: Free Online Courses from the World’s Top Universities

 

 

11) Charity/Non-For-Profit

When you donate to charity it gives you a nice, warm feeling inside. You get to help the world, at least a little bit, from the comfort of your own home. In 2011, individuals, corporations, and foundations in the U.S. collectively donated $298.42 billion to charitable organizations. The sad truth is that a surprisingly large percentage of many charities’ donations do not go to helping anything or anyone at all, but instead cover the costs of overheads.

charity perpetuate poverty waste of money

michellegallardogsoc151.blogspot.com

Even well known organizations such as Feed the Children have been found to be utterly inefficient. While the founder and former president of the organization Larry Jones purchased a $1.2 million dollar house to better “reach out to celebrities,” Feed the Children was caught lying about donating food to the needy in Haiti. They hadn’t fed a single person!

A few weeks ago I was was traveling through Sumatra, trekking through the jungle with a guide. The guide explained to me that people from North America and Europe think that the money they donate to NGO’s such as the World Wild Fund for Nature is being used to make a difference. He expressed a very different reality, telling me that:

They do nothing to help the wildlife here, and often do more harm than good. They helped pay for feeding platforms for the dying organgutans, but this only makes the orangutans dependant on humans for food. It also spreads disease to the orangutans. Because they have nearly 97% identical DNA with humans, they can catch our sicknesses and have no way to cure themselves. WWF is useless.

Even handing out money to homeless people you pass on the street is often totally unhelpful because tiny amounts of money that they do not and cannot save only serves to perpetuate their poverty. What they need is direction, not beer money.

Related Article: Ever Heard of Microcreditng?

I am not going to claim that every single charity is a waste of money though! You can use the sites Charity Watch, and Charity Navigator to check the efficiency of charities and find out if the money you donate is actually being used to help the needy.

Another option is to look into is microcrediting. Microcrediting is:

a small loan that individuals invest towards small businesses or entrepreneurs in developing countries. It can also help to improve the lives of many women who, unlike men, have less of a chance to find stable employment.

This provides the direction that the needy require, hopefully allowing them to escape from poverty for good.

 

12) Makeup

Makeup? More like mark-up! The price of makeup is marked up by 78% on average. Ladies, all 80% of you that wear makeup on a regular basis have seen and paid for these high prices, but is it really worth it?

The average woman spends $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime, money that contributes to an industry worth more than $382 billion. Lost makeup alone costs women $400 a year on average. All of this money to alter your physical self in order to be more comfortable around people that will judge you regardless of the mask you wear. Daily makeup use is also very unhealthy due to the chemicals that are absorbed into the skin, and subsequently the bloodstream. Anything that has a 78% mark-up, is unhealthy for you, and only serves to hide who you really are is an absolute waste of money.

If makeup gives you a greater sense of confidence and security, then I can certianly understand your argument. But ladies, moderations is key. Your health and wallet will thank you dearly!

 

 

13) Greeting Cards

Whether it is for birthdays, anniversaries, religious holidays or just to say thank you, giving greeting cards is a staple tradition of society. It is subsequently a mindless waste of money. As Pretired Nick excellently describes:

At the local stores, the customer plays his or her role, flipping through the cards as quickly as possible until one is found that will “work” — not perfect, just “good enough.” The card is mindlessly purchased, a name is unemotionally signed and the card sits until it’s time to hand it over to the receiver. That moment is funny, too, with the giver anxiously waiting while the receiver opens the card, fakes a chuckle at the joke and says a heartfelt “thank you.” If it’s a group setting, the card is then passed around so everyone can enjoy the hilarious joke. And, then, of course, after the journey from forest to factory to store to lucky recipient, the card is usually recycled [or thrown away].

Related Article: Fooling People into Passionate Belief

The greeting card has become an object we now take for granted. We may as well pretend to open a card, say “blah, blah, blah” out loud, and then mock throw the card away; it will yield the same results only with less waste. Giving a greeting card is equivalent to giving a person a clump of dirt and saying “look, I picked this clump of dirt for you rather than any of the other clumps, how great is that!?” sad_batman_greeting_card_by_hatpire-d53ecao

They are a drain on the environment, a social stressor, and most of all, a sink-hole in your wallet. Americans spend between $7 billion to $8 billion each year on over 6.5 billion greeting cards.Birthdays are by far the most popular card sending occasion. And listen up ladies; you are responsible for a whopping 80% of all greeting card sales!

Related Article: A How To: Behavior Changes and Breaking Habits

The average price of a greeting card falls between $2 -$4. If you buy greeting cards for a modest 10 people, on 4 different days out of the year, you are spending $80 to $160 per year on something that is glanced at, thrown away, and never thought of again. If you are buying cards for more than 10 people, well… you may as well just burn your money and leave out the middle man.

I know, I know, you still don’t want to break the societal mold and just stop giving greeting cards, so what can you do? Luckily for you, technology!

You can always send your friends and family an e-card and save the environment, money, and your time. The best part about sending an e-card is that they are usually free. Even Hallmark, the almighty Baron of Greeting Cards, offers unlimited e-cards for only $1 per month! E-cards will also reach the recipient instantaneously. Goodbye snail-mail, hello 21st century!

Related Article: Go Go Gadget: Wearable Tech

Another major reason for not buying greeting cards is that picking a piece of paper from amongst other pieces of paper requires zero creativity. The same applies to ready made e-cards. If you truly want to show someone that you care about them, make your own greeting card or e-card. There is endless amounts of greeting card software available for those that are not creatively inclined.

For those with even a minute semblance of creativity, get a piece of paper, put a writing instrument in your hand, and make your own. Simple, yet surprisingly not so obvious.

 

14) Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper may be the single most belligerent thing humans have ever conjured up. It’s single, solitary function is to be ripped apart and thrown away. That’s right, not recycled, but thrown away, because the dyes and chemicals in wrapping paper make it non-recyclable.

Here are some disgusting facts about wrapping paper and its evil cousin, ribbon:

Related Article: Unprecedented Changes and Extinctions Occuring in Marine Life

The environment is just one consideration. Think about how much time you spend wrapping each and every gift. I’ve seen people set aside entire nights devoted solely to wrapping with paper that will be immediately disregarded in lieu of what is inside of it. Waste of time, waste of resources, burden to the environment, and an utter waste of money.

Let’s assume a naked gift is simply going to far. You’re modest and have a sense of dignity, and you want your gifts to reflect your top notch moral values. I understand. Here are some cheap, eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper:

Related Article: A Product That Will Turn You into a Tree After Death

More often than not, wrapping paper is dyed and laminated. It can also contain non-paper additives, such as gold and silver coloring, glitter and plastics. Additionally, it can be very thin and contains few good quality fibers for recycling. To make matters worse, it usually has tape on it from gift wrapping. Recognizing that those pretty words at the beginning of this paragraph probably distracted a few pro-wrapping paper fiends out there, if you do receive a gift covered in it, make sure to reuse it and not just throw it in the garbage.

The way I see it, giving unwrapped gifts can be a great gauge of a person’s personality. If they seem irritated, angry, or disappointed that you didn’t wrap their gift, then they missed the whole point of your giving them a gift in the first place. They are short-sighted and ungrateful. Pat them on the back, leave them alone for the time being, and send them over to this article for some perception restructuring. We’ll have them back to you good as new in no time.

Related Article: Sweden is Running Out of Trash

 

15) Vitamins

Many of us took Flintstone vitamins as kids, take vitamin supplements as adults, and will continue taking vitamins well into the winter of our lives. You probably already know this, but I’ll remind you anyway: food, that natural stuff that grows out of the Earth and comes in various shapes and colors, contains the same vitamins and nutrients found in all the pills you’re popping!

Just because vitamin supplements contain nutritious elements doesn’t mean they’re your best option for attaining nutrients. In fact, the only reason ANYONE takes vitamins is due to a single Nobel prize winner named Linus Pauling, who despite decades of clear scientific data showing the opposite, claimed that taking multivitamins would eradicate the common cold, cure cancer, and Vitaminsamongst other miracles, extend life expectancy to 150 years. In case you weren’t sure, Linus was dead wrong.

Related Article: Cannabis Cures Cancer and Everything Else

Although just about the entire global scientific community agrees that multivitamins/ nutrient supplements do more harm than good in the long run, over half of the American population still takes their daily multivitamins. This is largely due to age old hype and unfounded propaganda convincing people that money spent on vitamins equates to years of elongated, healthy life.

Even a glance at the tip of the research iceberg regarding the effects of multivitamins makes it clear that they are incredibly dangerous and in fact detrimental to health. They are a waste of money in the same way that cigarettes are. The vitamin and supplement industry combined is worth nearly $90 billion, despite the fact that according to Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, it is clear that:

The concept of multivitamins was sold to Americans by an eager nutraceutical industry to generate profits. There was never any scientific data supporting their usage.

Studies repeatedly make it clear that this multi billion dollar market is pure quackery, and yet:

On October 25 [2011], a headline in the Wall Street Journal asked, “Is This the End of Popping Vitamins?” Studies haven’t hurt sales. In 2010, the vitamin industry grossed $28 billion, up 4.4 percent from the year before. “The thing to do with [these reports] is just ride them out,” said Joseph Fortunato, chief executive of General Nutrition Centers. “We see no impact on our business.”

HealthyVitaminFeatureRelated Article: Starve Cancer by Eating

Just eat food! As long as its not a money waster like fast food. It borders on impossible to consume too many vitamins or other nutrients from actual food.

If you do have certain allergies or restrictive diets, your choices may be slim, but there are SO many options out there. Be creative and do your research. You don’t need pills to be healthy, quite the opposite!

 

 

16) Cleaning Products

How many households including your own do you know of that have a cabinet filled with cleaning products? I’m willing to bet there’s bottles you didn’t even know you had sitting under your sink, filled with chemical names you can’t pronounce or even begin to know the danger of. The truth is that all of those bottles of biological/environmental poison can be replaced by a few simple, sunder-kitchen-sink-cabinet-organization-hall-of-fame-21605295afe substances/solutions that you can make yourself in moments for a fraction of the cost.

Related Article: For Humanity’s Sake Wash Your Hands!

Websites abound with various options for creating your own cheap household cleaning products. These cleaning products often involve white vinegar, lemon zest, certain essential oils, and the legendary baking soda! I consider it legendary because baking soda can save you money by being used in literally hundreds of different ways, from deodorizing smells, to cleaning produce, to putting out fires!

A mixture of baking soda and white vinegar mixed with a solution of water can take care of just about any area in the home that needs some cleaning and disinfecting. If you’re looking to kill mold, instead of bleach, use clove oil, which in my experience works just as well.Need to cut grease? Use lemon juice, it’s that simple!

Related Article: pH Levels and Your Scalp

In no time, by making a few simple changes, you can clean your home non-toxically and on the cheap. Not to mention, think of all the cabinet space your cans of Febreeze and Oxy had been hoarding that is now ripe for the filling! For 1000’s of cheap, alternative cleaning ideas, check out the following links:

Non-Toxic Home Cleaning Solutions

1001 Uses for White Distilled Vinegar

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Recipes

Cleaning with Clove Oil

 

 

17) Gadgets

gadgets31

Give me 6 of everything please. http://tech.gaeatimes.com

We love our gadgets! How could we not? With a single device that fits into our pocket we can put our lives on autopilot and have even more time for shopping, Jersey Shore re-runs, and fast food.

But, and I know I should walk on eggshells when I ask this, do we really need all our fancy gadgetry? Of course not, but it makes life so much better. So, let’s rephrase the question: Do we really need a new gadget so often? Do we really need to upgrade our phone every 6 – 12 months, get a new computer every 1-4 years, buy the latest, greatest, mind-bending fast machine the moment it is released?

Related Article: The Draw of Cellphones

We all know that technology changes rapidly; there is always something new. Weeks after buying state of the art technology it is rendered obsolete by the next best thing. It is simply impossible to keep up with every single generation of new gadgetry. And yet, in the face of impossibility, we humans persevere, and practically kill ourselves trying to keep up with society’s view of the Western dream:

A television in every room, a computer, a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone, printer, faster internet, a bigger television, a better computer, an external harddrive, faster laptop, new headphones, more advanced smartphone, faster internet, new camera, 3-D television, quad core computer…. you get the idea.

Related Article: 3D Printing: The Next Revolution in Creativity

Isn’t it incredible that the moment we hear rumours about the iPhone 5S, suddenly, our iPhone 5 seems like a drab toy barely capable of entertaining a Neanderthal? The tech industry, specifically the at-home-electronics industry, is a Yoda-level swindler when it comes to convincing you that what you need is the next greatest technological development NOW. The industry, like all big industries, is a master of constantly reigniting your desires for something new, and convincing you that what you have simply isn’t good enough.

Every 3 – 12 months Apple releases a new model of the iPhone, and its out with the old, in with the new. Their sales continue to rise, and the population continues to fork over their hard earned cash for something they pretty much already have. And that’s just the iPhone! Countless other gadgets, electronics, and gizmos attain the status of ‘necessary to our lives’ on a daily basis. How is it possible that a device that can do everything, including have a conversation with you, can bore us in less than a year? Our grandparents used to get a kick out of playing wall ball for half a day. Wall ball, a game so simple that you can describe the entire premise of the game with two syllables: wall, and ball. Try to do the same with Final Fantasy. And yet, More than 20 Final Fantasy games later, we need more, more, MORE!

Related Article: Oculus Rift and Omni Treadmill: Gaming of the Future

The hard truth is that in contemporary society, enough is simply never enough. Take a look at the graph below. It is evidence of the aforementioned truth.

 

According to the graph:

— In 1900, <10% of families owned a stove, or had access to electricity or phones

— In 1915, <10% of families owned a car

— In 1930, <10% of families owned a refrigerator or clothes washer

— In 1945, <10% of families owned a clothes dryer or air-conditioning

— In 1960, <10% of families owned a dishwasher or color TV

— In 1975, <10% of families owned a microwave

— In 1990, <10% of families had a cell phone or access to the Internet

Today, at least 90% of the [U.S.] has a stove, electricity, car, fridge, clothes washer, air-conditioning, color TV, microwave, and cell phone. They make our lives better. They might even make us happier. But they are not enough.

Related Article: Income Inequality in America: Red Herrings and Wealth Envy

Compared to a single generation ago, everyone has everything, and yet, the majority of everyone is in debt and/or living paycheck to paycheck. So, is the only solution to become the fool on the hill and live gadget free? Not a chance. The answer is far less extreme.

Decrease your frequency of gadgetry/electronics purchases. That’s it. As long as you can still browse the internet, take pictures and video, call friends and family, play endless amounts of games, take notes, have conversations with AI, and pinpoint your exact latitude and longitude in the blink of an eye, you DON’T need a new gadget that performs the exact same functions with the sole added bonus of a fingerprint scanner for an additional $500 or more. Gadgets themselves are not a waste of money, far from it. It’s a waste of money to buy a brand new, redundant gadget so often. Let’s have a look at some solutions to your expensive gadget habbit:

Related Article: Your Old Android Phone Can Save the Rainforest

Virtual-Keyboard

Is that a thing? Oh my god I need that right now! new-gadgetstech.blogspot.com

Be honest with yourself. Buy a single gadget that meets your needs. Don’t buy a new one until you TRULY need it. If you have a built in camera in your phone, do you really need a state of the art $2800 camera? Unless you are a professional photographer, the answer is no.

Look for sales. For many people, a sales price means that because the item is so cheap they have money left over to play “what’s the quickest way to empty my wallet?” This defeats the purpose of buying items on sale. Take advantage of sales prices, but don’t spend the money you save on something else you don’t need. Be patient. Some of the best sales can pop up at any time. Use sites like slickdeals.net to ensure that you are getting the best bargain price possible.

Upgrade instead of buying new. The next time your computer starts processing information in slow motion, consider upgrading its component parts rather than buying a whole new one. If you have 8gb of RAM, and your computer has a 16GB RAM capacity, just buy more RAM. Upgrades will not always be the better value, but they often are. Make sure to do a price comparison.

Related Article: Augmented Reality Blows My Mind Twice

Wait for the price to come down. Within as little as a few months after a product’s release the price will inevitably decrease. The truth is that technology companies have already developed the technology years before it is released, meaning that nothing is really state of the art. Everything you see on the market is technologically inferior to what actually exists. Simply put, you will never truly have ‘the best.’ So, is it really a big deal to just deal with your perfectly capable piece of tech for a few more months, or even years, in order to eventually buy a product at a fraction of its original price?

Watch out for gadget overlap. If you have a laptop that can do practically everything you don’t need a tablet for the sole fact that it has a touch screen. People have survived without touch screens since, well, forever, and you will too. If you have a $20 pair of headphones that work, unless you are Mark Zuckerberg and have a couple billion dollars to throw away, you do not need a $1200 pair of headphones. No, you don’t.

Related Article: TVs, Brains, and Zombies, Oh My

Be rational and reasonable. If you’re a man and you find a computer that is 10% of its normal price but only sold in pink, just be the guy that has a pink computer! You just saved 90% and are now able to eat food without charging your nutritional intake to a credit card.

Heil Kitler! First it was the house that looks like Adolf, now we bring you the cats of the furred Reich  1

You’ve already stared at Kitler’s moustache 14 times this week!

Be satisfied with the incredible god-like gadgets you already own. Compared to a single generation ago, the capabilities of even our most basic gadgets make people living in the 21st century seem like Gods to the rest of former humanity. Keep this in mind the next time you find yourself perusing Amazon for something better. Buying new gadgets, like any type of shopping, is a drug and a status symbol, and you are wasting your cash trying to keep up with the Joneses for the sake of a slightly better screen resolution and larger harddrive space to look at even more high quality pictures of cats with Hitler moustaches.

Related Article: Cute Baby Animal Pictures Increase Productivity

What’s the rush anyway? Due to exponentially accelerated change, in the very near future we won’t be able to tell the difference between biology and technology.Cherish the time when you actually have the choice to be separate from your precious gadgets. The singularity is near.

Related Article: The Singularity is Nigh Upon Us

 

 

18) Eating/Drinking Out

money_food

Eat up, this meal is going to cost you! angellebatten.com

There’s nothing like a nice dinner out with a glass of wine to demolish your bank account. Society romanticises the notion of eating and drinking out, making us believe that going out for a meal or a drink should be the norm. Check your perceptions and you’ll come to see that there is nothing romantic about paying outlandishly high prices for something you can obtain at the market for a fraction of the price right down the street from the restaurant.

Sure, going out to wine and dine affords us a pleasant, stress free night, but in the same vein as gadgets, the problem comes in when we start wining and dining too often.

Related Article: Food Myth: Don’t Eat After a Certain Time

While America as a whole doesn’t spend the most on food and alcohol compared to other nations, food and alcohol still does some serious damage to our collective paycheck. The worst part is that more often than not, we choose to pay for outlandishly overpriced food and drinks at restaurants and bars.

In the last 30 years, from 1982 to 2011, alcohol at stores has decreased in price by 39%, while alcohol from bars and restaurants has increased by a whopping 79%.

Despite these statistics, over the same 30 year period, Americans have increased the amount of alcohol they buy from restaurants and bars by 14%, and have decreased the amount they buy from stores by 16%.

This means that as Americans, we have consciously chosen to spend drastically more money on booze than we have to. Why would we choose to spend nearly double the amount for a product, despite having the clear option of a cheaper deal on the same product right down the street. Must be the booze.

Related Article: The Life Changing and Life Lengthening World of Fasting

What about restaurants? Are we more rational with our restaurant spending? Surely there’s some financial rationality left in the human race.

The good news is that in 2012, a survey from Gallup reported that 77% of Americans were eating at home the day before the survey, which is a fantastic number compared to the 10% who reported they had eaten at a restaurant. The bad news is that when it comes to money, percentages can’t hide the fact that we are throwing it all away on eating out.

61% of Americans say that they want to cut back on their restaurant habit. Clearly we are feeling guilty for the amount of time spent hassling waiters and gorging ourselves in public.

Related Article: Burning Fat App on Your Phone

How much a person dines out is dependant on numerous factors, including gender, age, income, and region. Writers at Mother Jones used information acquired by Bundle.com, a company that analyzes credit card data from Citigroup, to create a food spending chart of major cities around the United States. They found drastically different spending behaviors across the country. For example, the average person in Austin, Texas spends $420 a month on dining out, whereas the average person living in Detroit, Michigan only spends $69 dollars each month on dining out. People living in Austin spend nearly 6 times as much on dining out compared to people in Detroit. According to Mother Jones:

Austin, Texas, spends almost twice the national average for dining out; five Detroit households could eat for a year on an average Austinite’s food budget.

How is it that we are spending so much on food? Don’t these amounts seem drastic? A large part of the reason, as we all know, is that restaurants overcharge us. The only reason restaurants exist in the first place, like any business, is to fill a niche and ultimately make a profit. The only way to make a profit is to charge you more than they paid for the food and drinks. Much, much more, especially since they buy everything in bulk.

Related Article: Why Don’t We Eat Insects?

Barring very special occasions, your best option is to just not eat out all. Even in instances where your family or friends invite you out, invite them to your place and let them know why you would rather make a meal at home. What are some reasons it is better to make food at home?

      • It’s cheaper. This is probably obvious to you, but what might not be so obvious is just how much you can save by not eating or drinking out. For example, Crystal Brothers from Servingjoyfully.com saved her family over $50 per week, or $2600 each year by simply not eating out. Think of all the iPhones you could buy with those savings! Also, if you have some self control, make sure to buy your alcohol in bulk. For example, buy cases of wine instead of a single bottle at a time. You could save 40% or more using this method.
      • It’s more fun. Cooking is an art form that combines all 5 of your senses. The texture of the foods involved, the smell and taste, the colors and presentation, as well as the sounds of preparation all play pivotal roles in the experience of cooking. It is also a great chance to experiment. Buy foods at a foreign supermarket you’ve never even heard of and look up a recipe for them. You might find a new favorite. Take a traditional recipe and spice it up or down. Cooking at home can be a journey of culinary self discovery. You can even get the kids involved or, throw on some tunes, pour a glass of wine and make it into a healthy and delectable date night.
      • It’s healthy. Cooking at home is mentally, emotionally, financially, and physically satisfying. Choosing ingredients and preparing a meal provides mental stimulation. Cooking with a partner gives you more time together to develop a stronger emotional bond. Being in control of the sodium content, fat, cholesterol, etc. in your meal makes it a healthier alternative to eating out. Lastly, your budget will love you for choosing the economical path.
      • You’re in control. You are in control of the ingredients so it can be healthier. You can also control the portion sizes, which is one of the major reasons we in the West take up so much space. Drinking at home can also be more fun as it provides a more intimate scene. Instead of shouting across a noisy bar you will actually be able to hear and engage in proper conversation. Most importantly, being in control can lessen the chance that you will drink industrial amounts and/or drive drunk.
      • Better for the environment. Eating at home is better for the environment for various reasons. Each year America wastes about 40% of all the food it produces. This frightening percentage means that a family of four loses nearly $2,275 per year solely due to food waste. Studies have shown that one of the major reasons for such extreme levels of food waste in America is due to portion sizes, especially those served in restaurants and bars. And, if portion sizes are too big, what do you do? You take your meal home in a plastic container, inside of a plastic bag. Waste upon waste upon waste.

Related Article: The Obese Shall Inherit the Earth

If you’re going to cook at home and aren’t the experimental type, you’ll need some solid recipe sites to inspire you with cooking ideas. Below is a list of some of my favorite recipe sites:

Really though, the internet is full of great ideas for at-home cooking. Take a look in your refrigerator and do a Google search of the ingredients. A delicious recipe is bound to pop up. Or, you can use Recipe Key to find recipes based on what’s in your refrigerator and pantry. You can even make your own baby food. The possibilities are endless.

Related Article: The Power of Hemp Seeds

You know why you shouldn’t eat out, and why it is so much better to eat at home, but what about those uncontrollable urges? How can they be avoided? Here are some tips for avoiding the urge to eat out:

**Note about tipping: Do not go out to eat or drink unless you are also willing to tip. Not tipping is not a way to save money. Waiters, waitresses, bartenders, busboys, and other members of the hospitality service are paid well below minimum wage all across America, (usually between $2.13 and $4.95 per hour) nearly all of which goes to paying taxes. By not tipping a server, you are effectively telling them that you don’t care whether they are alive or not. Even worse, if you don’t tip a server, they are literally PAYING FOR YOU to eat at the restaurant. A percentage of what a server is tipped is given to bartenders, busboys, and other restaurant workers whether a server is tipped or not. If you tip a server 18%, 14% goes to the server, and 4% goes to other employees. This tip-share is different for each restaurant, but the large majority of restaurants have a tip-share.

Related Article: Volunteering is Good for Your Health

If you don’t know how to tip or how much you should tip, read this tipping guide carefully.

 

 

19) Luxury Hotels

How cool would it be to stay in a hotel with a private pool, a grand piano, 12 rooms, and ivory furniture? Even if you had the money, it would still be an utter waste.

accommodation08

Who cares about a mortgage payment, look at all the lanterns we have in our luxurious abode!! http://www.doonbeglodge.com

Sure, you could stay in some of the most expensive hotels in the world and talk to your personal, hotel provided butler all day, but what’s the point of paying top dollar for a luxurious nights sleep. Why bother traveling in the first place?

Related Article: Breathe Deep to Relieve Stress

The most meaningful and memorable vacations are those in which you can truly step outside of your normal day to day life and experience something new and exciting. Sleeping on a super comfy bed in an air conditioned room after ordering room service does not fall into that category.

When my partner and I were traveling through Laos we had the option of staying at a $26 per night hotel, or a $3 per night hostel. While both of these options are incredibly cheap by Western standards, we opted for the $3 hostel. We met another couple who opted for the $26 per night hotel. After exchanging descriptions of our respective accommodation we realized that both places had the exact same amenities. The only difference was that the hotel room had a slightly better view and a larger room. Too bad the only time they went back to the room was to go to sleep, at which point the expensive view they had been enjoying all day outside of the hotel was too dark to see.

Related Article: Money: Designed to Fail

m_1156651a

Classic example of a kitchen in a cheap hostel. http://www.realadventures.com

Keep in mind also that hostels almost always have a public kitchen where you can cook your own meals. This saves even more on food, and gives you the opportunity to shop at a supermarket and live like a local.

Instead of spending so much money on the hotel room, spend the money on a dish you’ve never tried, an unforgettable experience, or something else you come across unexpectedly. Traveling, if done right, will provide you with a truly enriching cultural experience, a cultural education, endless fun, a chance to meet new people, and most of all, an opportunity to get out of your shell and grow into an even more broad minded, well rounded you.

Experience the world, not a hotel room.

Related Article: Fun Fact: You’re the Cause of Boredom

Some great sites to use for finding reviewed hotels, hostels, and guest houses for very cheap can be found below:

Hostelworld

Agoda

Booking

 

For those of you looking for a truly unique experience along with FREE accommodation, even in your own country, check out the following sites:

Help Exchange (HelpX)

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)

Couch Surfing

 

 

20) Gyms

ronnie

“Why bother buddy, you’ll never be this big!” http://www.skyhdwallpapers.com

Gyms; the place most of us go to force ourselves to do exercises we hate, exercises that we could be doing for free. What a waste of time and money. Unless you are a professional body builder you have no business giving a gym a single penny.

Related Article: 7 Minute Workout to Burn Fat

Any given gym, like most places we waste our money at, is part of a multi-billion dollar industry worth nearly $20 billion as of 2008. The average gym membership costs $55 per month, and yet, on average, people only go to the gym 2 times per week. Steven Levitt, the author of Freakonomics, stated in the New York Times that

people who buy annual gym memberships often overestimate how much they’ll actually use the facilities by 70%.

In fact, 67% of people with gym memberships never even use them.

Who are we kidding? That’s right, ourselves.

Related Article: Awareness and Dealing with Rejection

Before gyms, did exercise simply not exist? Of course not. Why are you running on a treadmill when it is free to run outside? Or, if you want to run inside, go to your local park district and run around the track for free. Why are you lifting finely sculpted pieces of heavy metal? Just go lift any heavy object that exists on planet Earth, the results will be the same. Oh, you enjoy swimming as a form of exercise? Well, is the $40 gym really the only place with a body of water?

Going to the gym has become a status symbol and social soiree. The gym has more to do with conversation than it does with fitness. Why are you spending any money at all, no matter how little, to stand around talking? And if you are actually exercising, you need to start thinking outside the box gyms have trapped you in.

Related Article: Obesity Has More to Do With Diet Than Exercise

Instead of wasting your money at a gym try doing exercises you can do at home, in a park, or in other places that are free. Try out yoga, callisthenics, a jog around the block, the full body 7 minute workout, maxalding, or even just going for a walk.

You can even incorporate your workout into everyday life. While at the supermarket do a few more laps around the store once your cart is fully loaded. Sprint to the bus stop instead of walking. Do jumping jacks during a commercial break. You can even make a game out of it; for every 30 minutes of GTA V that you play, do 10 push-ups. Or, every time you catch yourself logging into Facebook, do 15 lunges.

Related Article: Salamba Sirsasana: It’s Time to Do a Headstand!

If you’re still not convinced and want to continue pretending you go to the gym far more than you actually do, at least take advantage of tried and true techniques for slashing the cost of gym memberships.

      • Pay month to month
      • Check with your health insurance to see if they will give you a discount for having a gym membership
      • Look for sales and promotions, especially on sites like Groupon
      • Try out a free trial memberships at multiple gyms before committing

The fact remains… unless you are a professional or a highly disciplined individual, a gym is almost always an unnecessary, utterly wasteful expenditure.

Just so you are fully aware, this is the only form of human that can claim his or her money is well spent at the gym:

 

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http://www.charitynavigator.org/

http://www.mint.com/blog/consumer-iq/splurge-vs-save-which-beauty-products-are-worth-the-extra-cost-0413/?display=wide

http://www.medindia.net/news/Make-Up-Unhealthy-for-Skin-22507-1.htm

http://www.youngentrepreneur.com/

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505125_162-51407464/summer-internships-6-best-ways-to-get-one/

http://www.ibewcco.org/why-join-the-ibew/apprenticeship.aspx

https://wondergressive.com/2012/08/31/obesity-has-more-to-do-with-diet-than-excercise/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/01/12/save-the-food-pyramid-by-cutting-it-by-the-limbs/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/01/04/the-obese-shall-inherit-the-earth/

https://wondergressive.com/2012/09/24/the-wonderful-healthier-life-changing-and-life-lengthening-world-of-fasting/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/03/14/public-school-failure-in-america/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/04/21/science-says-smart-people-are-idiots/

https://wondergressive.com/2012/08/18/coursera-free-online-courses/

https://wondergressive.com/2012/08/16/paul-ryan-school-get-a-job-in-fact-get-three/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/01/22/ever-heard-of-microcrediting/

https://wondergressive.com/2012/11/24/volunteering-is-good-for-your-health/

……………………………………………………………………………………..

http://www.ehow.com/how_6945763_clean-clove-oil.html

http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm

http://www.moneycrashers.com/how-to-save-money-with-baking-soda/

https://www.ecocycle.org/hazwaste/ecofriendly-cleaning

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/07/the-vitamin-myth-why-we-think-we-need-supplements/277947/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2012/10/19/vitamins-good-for-you-bad-for-you-or-what/

http://www.reportlinker.com/ci02037/Vitamin-and-Supplement.html

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/effects-of-taking-too-many-vitamins

http://pretired.org/saving-money/greeting-card-tyranny/

http://www.greetingcard.org/AbouttheIndustry/tabid/58/Default.aspx

http://rubberstamping.about.com/od/opportunities/a/GreetingCardFactsandFigures.htm

http://www.123greetings.com/

http://www.hearts.com/ecolife/sustainable-giftwrap-reusable-gift-bags-boxes/#_edn1

http://earth911.com/recycling/paper/wrapping-paper/facts-about-recycling-wrapping-paper/

http://www.environmentreport.org/story.php?story_id=4795

http://www.recycleworks.org/resident/holiday_facts.html

http://www.thedailygreen.com/going-green/tips/recycled-paper-gift-wrap-461207

http://earth911.com/news/2012/12/18/eco-friendly-wrapping-paper/

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https://wondergressive.com/2013/08/04/biggest-wastes-of-money-part-1/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/08/18/biggest-wastes-of-money-that-we-all-continue-to-pay-for-part-3-fast-food-and-education/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_iOS_devices#iPhone

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Fantasy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siri

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/the-100-year-march-of-technology-in-1-graph/255573/

http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/why-get-a-new-iphone-when-you-can-download-most-of-the-new-software-features-for-free-20130913-2tpqu.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerating_change

https://wondergressive.com/2013/02/11/the-singularity-is-nigh-upon-us-2/

http://www.ted.com/talks/ray_kurzweil_on_how_technology_will_transform_us.html?sa=U&ei=sowtUt38BcqZiAf-74HABA&ved=0CEQQtwIwCQ&usg=AFQjCNG0oJMmVydCi4PJjcPLQWYLLOY76w

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-DSC-RX1-Cyber-shot-Full-frame-Digital/dp/B0097CXFCC/ref=sr_1_6?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1379228687&sr=1-6&keywords=camera

http://slickdeals.net/

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/frugal/how-long-wait-for-price-drops.aspx

http://www.amazon.com/Beyerdynamic-T1-Audiofile-Stereo-Headphone/dp/B0031RD3YY/ref=sr_1_6?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1379230951&sr=1-6&keywords=headphones

http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/escape/worlds-15-most-expensive-hotel-suites-747256

http://www.agoda.com/

http://www.hostelworld.com/

http://www.booking.com/

http://www.helpx.net/

http://www.wwoof.net/

https://www.couchsurfing.org/

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/07/magazine/07wwln_freak.t.html?ex=1325826000&en=970953e6241456e4&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0

http://www.statisticbrain.com/gym-membership-statistics/

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703436504574640651941267992.html

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/cheap-gym-membership

http://www.groupon.com

http://www.tribalance.com/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/05/16/seven-minute-workout-to-burn-fat/

http://www.military.com/military-fitness/workouts/avoid-gym-by-using-calisthenics

http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/09/09/10-countries-that-spend-the-most-on-food-alcohol-and-tobacco/

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/06/19/155366716/what-america-spends-on-booze

http://www.gallup.com/poll/156416/americans-spend-151-week-food-high-income-180.aspx

http://nrn.com/corporate/consumers-cut-back-restaurant-spending

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuHOPshyxQGGdFY1SzVrNzZoYnN5clV1b0NrejAtVEE#gid=0

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/01/calculator-food-spending-budget-frugal

http://community.ally.com/straight-talk/2012/01/ally-bank-looks-at-what-americans-spend-on-dining-out/

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuHOPshyxQGGdEowT21KN0ZobWQxUHFQcVcxN1Naemc#gid=0

http://www.servingjoyfully.com/

http://moneysavingmom.com/2012/06/how-we-are-saving-over-2600-per-year-by-not-eating-out.html

http://www.taste.com.au/

http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2013/06/11/american-food-waste-facts/

http://sustainablereview.net/portion-size-key-restaurant-food-waste-research-finds/

http://allrecipes.com/

http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/

http://www.itipping.com/tip-guide-restaurant.htm

http://allrecipes.com/my/menus/planner.aspx?e3=TB_3.0.0_Menu-Planner

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/cheap-wine-deals/

wondergressive.com/2012/08/15/edible-landscapes/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/03/07/income-inequality-in-america-whats-the-big-deal/

Biggest Wastes of Money (Part 1): Cigarettes, Fashion, Lottery, New Cars

 

 

We all waste our money on something out there. After all, money in and of itself is useless unless we are spending it. That being said, some of the everyday things people spend their money on are an absolute waste and a downright scam. Over the course of five posts I will go over what I see as the 10 biggest wastes of money (including 10 (dis)honorable mentions) that people spend their hard earned cash on. I am not here to judge anyone in particular, just the human race as a whole that I am happily a part of. How many of these are you guilty of?

 

Part 2 of this series can be found here: Biggest Wastes of Money (Part 2): Bottled Water, Weddings, Jewelry, Paper Towels

Part 3 of this series can be found here: Biggest Wastes of Money (Part 3): Fast Food, University, Charity, Makeup

Part 4 of this series can be found here: Biggest Wastes of Money (Part 4): Wrapping Paper, Greeting Cards, Vitamins, Cleaning Products

Part 5 of this series can be found here: Biggest Wastes of Money (Part 5): Gadgets, Dining Out, Luxury Hotels, Gyms

 

Cigarettes

Cigarettes are bad for you, like really bad, like proven to cause cancer and a multitude of other illnesses bad. Despite what you tell yourself, and unlike other substances such as cannabis, there are actually no real benefits to smoking cigarettes. There are however hundreds of reasons to quit.

Related Article: Smoking: A Pre-existing Condition Under Obamacare 

To begin, cigarettes do not just contain tobacco, they contain over 599 additives.  These 599 additives turn into 4000 different chemicals through the chemical change of burning the tobacco. 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer.  Some of the lovely chemicals that cigarette smokers deeply inhale include:  carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanides and ammonia. The initial 599 additives have been approved as safe by the FDA, but they were approved without being burned.  The FDA never once approved the 4000 chemicals created through the burning process that are known  to be noxious poisons.

According to the CDC:

Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030. Cigarette smoking account[s] for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women.

Translation: Cigarettes are a near guaranteed death sentence, a death sentence that consists of horrible pain and struggling until the very last moment. Oh, and if you don’t die from smoking cigarettes, you are still more likely to get sick.  Because they lower the effectiveness of the immune system and other bodily functions, the CDC notes that compared to non-smokers, smokers are more likely to develop:

  • coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
  • strokes by 2 to 4 times
  • men developing lung cancer by 23 times
  • women developing lung cancer by 13 times
  • dying from chronic obstructive lung diseases (such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema) by 12 to 13 times

So if cigarettes are so harmful, why do people start smoking in the first place? The major reasons are:

  • Media advertising
  • Epigentic predisposition
  • Parental influence
  • Stress relief
  • Self medication
  • Appetite suppression
  • Rebellion
  • Social benefits
  • Peer pressure

Some of these reasons for starting are understandable and may seem like benefits from the get go. For example, stress relief doesn’t sound so bad. The problem is that once the incredibly strong sway of nicotine addiction sets in, which could be within days, cigarettes themselves become a stressor because smokers are antsy, anxious, and stressed without the tool they have become dependent on for solving their stress. Quite the downward spiral. The truth is that any physical benefit from smoking quickly subsides as the body builds a resistance to the nicotine found in tobacco. The positive benefits, such as appetite suppression and mood elevation, quickly fade in place of the same old you, that same old you that you originally tried to alter with a highly potent poison. Keep in mind that nicotine is incredibly potent, with resistance and dependency forming very quickly.  To be precise, it is:

  • 1000 X more potent than alcohol
  • 10-100 X more potent than barbiturates
  • 5-10 X more potent than cocaine or morphine

What about social benefits?  Isn’t it great to be able to do something with your mouth and fingers to distract from the awkwardness of getting to know other people?  The truth is that in this case you are only slightly curing a symptom of a problem with much deeper roots. If you require a biologically destructive tool to be able to comfortably talk to people, then you should put your focus on overcoming this societal fear rather than using an irrational crutch forever and ever.

Related Article: Cannabis Cures Cancer and More: A Thorough History and Review of the Evidence

It should be obvious that the rest of the list consists of very shallow and poor reasons for choosing to take up such a clearly destructive and incredibly hard-to-break habit.  Not to mention, cigarettes are extremely expensive.

Super, super expensive in fact! In 2011 a pack of cigarettes cost between $4.74 (West Virgina) and $11.90 (New York), depending on the state. In 2012 the price range for cigarettes changed to $4.84 (West Virgina) to $12.50 (New York). If you live in New York and smoke a modest 1 pack of cigarettes a day, you’re spending $87.50 a week, which is $4,550 a year. Not surprisingly, a recent study found that cigarettes smokers in New York that made $30,000 a year or less spent a whopping 25% of their income on cigarettes.  25% of their income on something that has no real benefits past the first couple weeks, is incredibly difficult to stop doing, is proven to cause cancer, and shortens your life span by at least 10 years. Go figure.

You might be thinking, ‘Hey, I’m sure some people enjoy smoking until the day they die whether they develop cancer or not.’ The odds are against you friend. 69% of smokers in the United States admit to wanting to quit completely with 52% of smokers trying to quit in 2010. Feel like throwing your health and money away? Grab a pack of cigarettes.

Sadly, even today, despite so much available information, 4,000 kids younger than 18 smoke their first cigarette everyday, and everyday 1000 kids younger than 18 become daily smokers. If you are attempting to quit smoking, there are many ways to change behavior and break habits successfully. Don’t give up on yourself, you’re worth it!

Related Article: A How To: Behavior Changes and Breaking Habits

 

 

 

Designer Clothing and Fashion

designer clothing expensive

projectmotherhoodnyc.com

If there was ever an absolute scam, this is it. Billions of people around the world have been brainwashed into believing that brand names equate to better quality and ‘cool factor’. While this may be the case in some instances, it is not the norm.

Whether it be sunglasses, watches, hats, handbags, pants, jackets, shoes, or any other material possession, much of the world is not happy unless they have an item made by their favorite designer.  The problem is that designers charge insane amounts of money for products that often cost them about the same amount as it costs Walmart to make their products. The difference is that they claim their name and minimum amount of labor is worth the hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars extra.

The brainwashing goes even further when people insist that they need to buy new clothes each season to keep up with the changing fashion. High end clothing companies and designers would have you believe that you are not cool unless you pay them exorbitant amounts of your hard earned money four times a year to keep up with the ‘in crowd.’ What an ingenious way to suck consumers dry.

Related Article: Income Inequality in America: Red Herrings and Wealth Envy

This form of brainwashing comes largely in the form of advertising, celebrity worship, and companies/independent designers banking on your insecurities. According to David A. Aaker, the vice chairman of Prophet, a brand consulting firm:

The cost of creating those things has nothing to do with the price, it is all about who else is wearing them, who designed them and who is selling them.

It’s not about price, it’s about competing with everyone around you. And for what? To look the flashiest? Readers, I have news for you: You are an adult, and if you haven’t figured this out yet, it doesn’t matter what other people think of you. The only time it matters is in a job interview, because a job has the benefit of giving you the ability to support yourself. Your potential boss is not looking at your wardrobe, he is looking at a single outfit. But even in that instance, guess what? Unless you have the Walmart logo on your button down collared shirt, your boss will have NO IDEA how much you spent on your clothing. As long as you look presentable, that is what matters, and it does not take $500, $200, or even a $50 shirt to do that.

The mark ups on all clothing are astronomical, but this is especially the case with designer clothing. Did you know that Kohl’s department store has been caught hiking up the price of their products right before a huge sale? It is even possible to pay more for a sale price than you would have for the normal price of the good.  There is a reason why all your favorite designers are living in multiple mansions, driving cars that cost more than your life’s net worth, and purchasing their own islands: they tricked you.  They have the world at their fingertips, and what do you have? Their sewn together fabric. Woopdie-do.

Related Article: A Note on the Top 1%: Psychopaths or Superhumans?

If you just can’t break the habit of buying designer goods and clothing, all hope is not lost. Head to a resale shop like Plato’s Closet and pick up some designer clothes at a fraction of the price. Sure, the clothes might be used, but after washing them no one will be able to tell the difference. Plato’s Closet has incredibly high standards for their clothing and even the slightest defect will be noticed and that piece of clothing removed from the store.  You may be wearing used clothes, but at least you won’t have to work 20 hours of overtime next week to pay back the growing interest on your Macy’s credit card.

*Note: Another great idea is to buy clothes and other art from Etsy.com and support independant, and possibly even local artists/artisans. At least you’ll know that your particular item is one of a kind instead of wearing the same Abercrombie shirt as every other 20-something-debt-up-to-their-nose-fashion-freak.

 

Dishonorable Mentions:

 

Playing the Lottery

You actually have a better chance of being killed by a mountain lion or becoming president of the U.S.A than winning the Mega Millions Jackpot or the Megabucks Slot Machine Jackpot. There is a reason winning the lottery is called a pipe dream, and it’s not because pipes help you win.

200170608-001

New Cars

Buying a new car is one of the best ways to cut your money into little pieces and throw it to the wind.  The moment you drive your shiny new vehicle off the lot it depreciates in value by up to 40% of the price you just paid only seconds before. So, if you pay $25,000 for a new car, within seconds of the purchase it is worth only $15,000.  Yikes! By the end of the third year your 4-wheeled baby is worth about 40% of its original price. If you’re planning on holding onto yo6a00d83451b3c669e2013486235de6970c-800wiur car for longer than 3 years its only going to get worse. The older a car is, the slower it depreciates in value.

Don’t forget that it’s impossible to know whether you will get into an accident or not, potentially totaling your car. Remember, you might be the best driver in the world, but what about everyone else?

 

 

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/

http://www.tricountycessation.org/tobaccofacts/Cigarette-Ingredients.html

http://www1.umn.edu/perio/tobacco/nicaddct.html

http://www1.umn.edu/perio/tobacco/nicaddct.html

http://www.theawl.com/2011/06/what-a-pack-of-cigarettes-costs-state-by-state

http://www.theawl.com/2012/06/pack-of-cigarettes-cost

http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/nyregion/poor-smokers-in-new-york-state-spend-25-of-income-on-cigarettes-study-says.html?_r=2&=_r=6&

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/02/22/consumerwatch-investigation-finds-kohls-sale-prices-arent-always-a-deal/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/fashion/29ROW.html?_r=0

http://www.platoscloset.com/

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-11/dismal-odds-winning-lottery-infographic

http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/car-buyers-guide/cbg_depreciation.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/vera-wang-house-photos-2011-8?op=1

http://www.bornrich.com/giorgio-armani.html

http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/ralph-lauren-40-million-bugatti-wins-top-prize-175719868.html

 

Related Wondergressive Articles on This Page:

https://wondergressive.com/2013/04/12/smoking-a-pre-existing-condition-under-obamacare/

https://wondergressive.com/2012/10/11/suicide-the-leading-cause-of-injury-mortality-in-the-united-states/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/03/09/cannabis-cures-cancer-and-everything-else-a-thorough-history-and-review-4-2/

https://wondergressive.com/2012/08/28/epigenetics-and-altering-your-dna/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/03/16/awareness-and-dealing-with-rejection/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/03/02/behavior-changes-and-breaking-habits/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/03/07/income-inequality-in-america-whats-the-big-deal/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/02/15/a-note-on-the-top-1-psychopaths-or-superhumans/

 

Breathe Clearer and Live Allergy Free With Nasal Irrigation: Jala Neti

 

Nasal irrigation (aka nasal lavage or nasal douche) is a method of cleaning the nasal cavities in order to avoid and/or treat allergies, sinus infections, and to generally improve breathing.

Nasal irrigation has existed for at least several thousand years, appearing in the ancient Vedas and remaining a central part of Ayurvedic medicine. It is known as Jala Neti in Sanskrit, and is the first and most essential step for practicing Kriya Yoga due to its ability to clear the nasal breathing passage: the foundation of yoga and meditation. Nasal irrigation is also an essential part of Shatkarma, the yogic system of fully cleansing and purifying the body to make way for proper and advanced meditation and yogic practices.

Related Article: Salamba Sirsasana: It’s Time to do a Headstand!

Hailed by practitioners all over the world, nasal irrigation has gained incredible prominence in the west over the last decade. Health professionals and daily practitioners agree that it is an effective method for cleaning the nasal passages and breathing easier.

According to Evangeline Lausier, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine and director of clinical services at Duke University’s department of integrative medicine,

I find it to be the first line of defense in dealing with complicated sinus problems and allergy problems, particularly  if you are developing congestion or have a sinus infection, it’s very helpful.

The tool nasal irrigation practitioners use comes in many forms with the most common and basic being a bulb syringe, squeeze bottle, or neti pot. This article will focus on neti pots, as they are the most widely used, and my personal favorite.

Related Article: Smelling Calmness (And Other Things)

By using a neti pot, nasal irrigation acts as an aid for the cleaning system that is already in place inside your nose.  WebMD explains:

The nasal passages come equipped with tiny, hair-like structures called cilia, which beat back and forth to catch dirt, bacteria, viruses, and other unwelcome substances. The cilia beat and the mucus acts kind of like flypaper, catching spores and particles you inhale. Those particles get pushed down to the back of the throat, where they are swallowed and destroyed by stomach acid.

Nasal irrigation helps thin out the mucus and improve the coordination of the cilia to help them more effectively remove bacteria and other irritants from the sinus passages.

You clean your skin, your hair, your teeth, your tongue, your ears… but not your nose, especially not your nasal cavity.  Our bodies are attacked and foraged by a constant onslaught of bacteria and microbes, and your nose is equipped with a natural filtration system to keep those creepies on the outside.  How many of you have ever seen an air filter last forever?  You need to replace it every so often, right? The same principal applies with your nasal cavity; it must be cleaned.  Have you ever seen an air filter that hasn’t been replaced in a while?  If you’ve never done jala neti, imagine what your nasal cavity must look like!

Related Article: Breathe Deep to Relieve Stress

For those of you that have concerns, nasal irrigation is a very safe practice. In fact, it is virtually devoid of any complications at all. Studies have shown that even doing it 2-6 times a day is safe and generally side effect free. The Department of Family Medicine, at the University of Wisconsin found that

daily hypertonic saline nasal irrigation improves sinus-related quality of life, decreases symptoms, and decreases medication use in patients with frequent sinusitis.

Although it is rare, a very small number of people do note minor nasal irritation, though studies have shown that the irritation is frankly worth it in view of the benefits.

So, how do you practice nasal irrigation? With a neti pot, especially those made by NielMed, it is very cheap and simple. A basic explanation of the process involves placing the spout of the neti pot in one nostril, tilting your head, and allowing a salt water mix to glide into the nostril, through the nasal cavity, and out the other nostril.  Dry yourself, and repeat.  There are details you should make sure to pay attention to, like proper drying techniques and proper salt water mixtures.  Use this explanation on how to practice nasal irrigation safely to ensure everything flows smoothly.

Related Article: No Breathing Required

By the way, if you are interested, there is a more advanced version of jala neti called sutra neti which involves cleaning the nasal cavity with a cord running down your throat that you pull back and forth between your nose and mouth. If you are planning to try out this method, make sure to read this guide from yoga-age and do it safely.

*Important Note* The most important thing to remember is to use distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water. There have been two cases of deaths linked to nasal irrigation due to unintentionally using tap water that contained a highly fatal amoeba. Please, be smart and use properly treated water. As long as you do that you have nothing to worry about.

You should also ensure that your neti pot is clean and properly dried after each use.  Think of it like any other hygienic tool: if it’s not clean, it can’t properly clean you.

Here’s to better breathing and clearer cavities!

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasal_irrigation

https://wondergressive.com/2013/05/17/breathe-deep-to-relieve-stress/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neti_(Hatha_Yoga)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda

http://www.amazon.com/Systematic-Course-Ancient-Tantric-Techniques/dp/8185787085/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369921837&sr=8-1&keywords=kriya+yoga+systematic

https://wondergressive.com/2013/03/17/belly-button-bacteria/

http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/neti-pot-nasal-irrigation-pros-and-cons

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8736053

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8736053

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12540331

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17636843

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-08/idso-ceo082112.php

http://www.yoga-age.com/asanas/neti.html

https://wondergressive.com/2013/04/29/smelling-calmness-and-other-things/

https://wondergressive.com/2013/05/14/shirshasana-its-time-to-do-a-headstand/

https://wondergressive.com/2012/08/23/no-breathing-required/

New Cancer Treatment Shows Promising Results in Leukemia Patients

New cancer treatment trials are shedding light on the ultimate solution for leukemia patients. Leukemia is a type of cancer found in blood cells which originates in the bone marrow that is inside every bone. When mainstream cancer treatments and institutions failed leukemia patents, a group of scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania decided to take those patients in as a last resort.  Using an altered form of the HIV virus, patients were given modified T-cells that directly annihilate cancer cells.

Here is a summary of how this particular cancer treatment works:

Patients’ cells are removed and then undergo the modification process. The T-cells found in the blood sample are reprogrammed to target tumor cells. This reprogramming works through gene modification using an altered form of the HIV virus. It is not deadly, and the only part used is the part that encodes a new protein, called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), into the T-cells’ surface. This protein then binds to another protein called CD19.

Related Read: Cannabis Cures Cancer and Everything Else

CD19 is a protein that is expressed in all tumor cells, as well as B cells, which are part of the immune system. The patients get a dose of B cells from the docs, so no worry there. The rest of the cells in the body do not have this CD19 protein shown on the surface, so they are ignored. The newly engineered T-cells are infused back into the patient, and start to kill off the tumors. Not to mention, the T-cells also multiply and stay present in the system.

Nine of twelve leukemia patients who received infusions of their own T cells after the cells had been genetically engineered to attack the patients’ tumors responded to the therapy. – http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2012/12/tcell/

This seems really promising. On an even more promising note, there are more scientists tinkering with similar methods to specifically have T-cells target the CD19 protein found on tumor cells. Let us pray that one day this cancer treatment works not only on leukemia, but also on lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, and all other forms of cancer as well.

Related Read: Can Genetically Modified Corn Form Tumors in the Body?

 

Sources:

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110810/full/news.2011.472.html

http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2012/12/tcell/

 

Quit Cumming, Save MANkind: The Detrimental Effects of Porn

porn hardoff

Watching porn only takes up like half of your day, it can’t be that bad! cracked.com

Though we’re a news site, I strive not to post on the bummers unless there are solutions to couple with ’em, especially when it comes to porn. The mainstream fear mongers feed enough of that drivel to the hungry baby boomer crowd, and here, we want your life to be better, at least in some way. So when I lay this terrible news on you, don’t freak out; there is an easy fix…

Get ready for…

Raw unbridled power. Soon you’ll have unparalleled focus, strength, and animal-magnetism enveloping your being like some all-mighty aura of tenacious suavity. Awesomeness. But first…

Before we take a stab at why you don’t have these things, women, this article isn’t meant for you. Glean some nifty tricks if you can, but the research happens to all be aimed at the fellas. And be forewarned, the Pandora’s Box of the male psyche really is disturbingly straight forward, so endeavor further at your own peril.

porn thumb drive

There are activities besides porn where my thumbs can come in handy? http://blogannath.blogspot.com

Gentlemen, I have some mixed news for you regarding porn. We’ve been shooting ourselves in the groin for countless generations, completely oblivious. As it turns out, when our monkey forefathers sprouted opposable thumbs nearly 70 million years ago, they launched our chimp brothers into a vortex of technological advancement, but unfortunately, in this same step, doomed our fraternal lineage to a fate of epidemic depression, anxiety, inferiority-complexes and erectile-dysfunction. No need to take bolt cutters to that wonderful fifth digit, there is an easier fix.

What’s wrong with my thumbs? And what does it have to do with porn?

Aside from allowing us, collectively, to construct tools, carry said tools, flush toilets and headshot noobs, our thumbs have been responsible for basically all of civilization as we know it, separating us through dexterity from the rest of the animal kingdom. Similarly magnanimous, from the pyramids of Giza to sliced bread, every great human advancement those little babies have rendered us capable of has stemmed from a single, all-encompassing species-driving motive: we wanted to impress women. Literally, all facets of culture and society can be broken into that basest motivation: mating. So when our primate cousins found their fingers all those generations ago, suddenly the rules of the game changed, because our every hardwired purpose for living could now be overridden in one effortless squirt. I’m talking about masturbation.

Don’t get all preachy on me now!

Relax. This isn’t some moralistic pseudo-religious naysaying on the evils of your naughty bits. The palm hair is safe.

The capacity to watch porn and masturbate has put us in a dilemma. We have a choice as men: we can study hard, trouncing all competitors, create an empire, amass a fortune, and (possibly) win the affections of some elusive supermodel goddess. Or, for the price of a bottle of Lubriderm and a stolen Wi-Fi connection, we can download ultra-high resolution close-ups of lady-bits and let our imaginations skip all that effort.

Low hanging fruit tastes better, we like to pretend.

I happen to enjoy my porn, thank you! Why is that a problem? 

It isn’t, necessarily. But there are definite drawbacks. Each ejaculation takes a toll on the philanderer’s wellbeing in several potent ways.

First, with each climax, a man losses a whole slew of essential vitamins and nutrients because semen is designed to give as much of a fighting chance to the new embryo as possible. In fact, each time we cum, we lose the protein equivalent of a large egg. That’s why we just want to nap afterward or find the whole thing gross; literally, our entire physiology is designed to propel us into this point of mutual orgasm, storing massive energy reserves to be spent at copulation, not to be squandered into a crusty sock.

Worse still, ejaculation expels testosterone reserves. Every fap session makes you less of a man in a very real sense, depleting you of your very chemical maleness (This does not apply to actual sex, however, which we’ll look at shortly. High-five!). Lastly, and we’ve covered this deeper in previous articles, masturbation effects dopamine levels on a similar scale to heroin, leading to obsessive-compulsiveness, thought-disorders, social anxiety and depression. Be honest, at some level, does that seem familiar?

You said there was good news?

Indeed, I did. Friends, if you masturbate because porn is easy and getting laid eludes you, we have some great news. Masturbating is why you’re not getting laid. You see, each time you lose that testosterone, first your body produces less pheromones, your natural arousal cologne, and the renewed secretion of pheromones creates this cloud of alpha-male essence around you, effortlessly attracting women and impressing your dominance upon fellow men.

Better still, with this unsquandered natural energy and social prowess, comfort and confidence in your own skin skyrockets, and your body instinctually makes you want to set aside the MMORPG’s and interact with other humans. You’re a natural at talking to girls, just not so much after the instant gratification of manual stimulation. Face to face socializing is what you were designed for.

Too good to be true? There are thousands of first-hand accounts of 180 degree life changes from simply giving your little buddy a rest, and closing out of the porn site. There are also massive support communities to help the transition into the new Casanova lifestyle. We all love our porn fellas, and the idea of losing our parents to cholera is probably more soothing than withdrawal from the sweet, sweet glories of a photoshopped Kate Upton…

porn kate upton

Damn, she looks good. But guess what? So do real girls. Porn is a poor substitute.

So how bout a quick self-check:

  • Do you exercise, dress classy, and/or groom your billy-goat beard from time to time, but still feel invisible to women?
  • Have you read any how-to’s by Neal Strauss?
  • Did you linger at that last photo (we all did)?
  • Does there seem like a collective decision by all woman-kind to blue-ball you?
  • Do you suspect you give the vibe of a man passing out candy from his windowless van?
  • Is your go-to stress relief the instant-gratification of internet porn?

Back to the science: Something About Mary had it backwards. Just go a few days without relief and a switch flips. Suddenly, you’re the center of everyone’s attention. Oh, thank God (teeth were gritted down to nubs of insecurity).

Can we talk about Porn?

I thought you’d never ask. Porn, fantastic as it may be, acts directly on the addiction centers of the brain. Our caveman minds are, frankly, not equipped for handling the endless feast of flesh at our fingertips thanks to the internet, because, physiologically, sex is geared to be the highest possible reward meant only for the healthiest most contributing-to-the-tribe males. This instant access is a major cause of the growing trend in apathy in the developed world. With the dopamine high of life’s ultimate purpose so reticently available, there is a dwindling (possibly non-human) percentage driven to true accomplishments.

Come on. It’s natural to like to look at women.

Totally. That’s not the point. No one’s judging. No one want’s to be told one of their favorite pastimes is a drain on them, or worse, that it’s an addiction. That’s between you and your penis to decide. By no means are we suggesting you become celibate (though many of the great minds in history went that route), or that you focus your chi to transmute your sex energy, but if your gut instinct was defensiveness, maybe try the no porn challenge for kicks.

As with all addictions, porn needs escalation to get the same thrill. So soft-core turns to hardcore turns to fetishes to taboos and tentacle-rape to friction scars and cut out front-pockets for easy access, until you’re crying over a bottle of merlot fantasizing about accidental eye-contact with the hostess at Applebee’s. (That’s universal, right?)

To getting a life. Cheers.

 

 

 

Sources:

5 Reasons Women are as Shallow as Men

7 Craziest Things Ever Done to Get Laid

The End of Low Hanging Fruit?

Composition of Human Semen

AskMen: What’s in Sperm?

Journal of Psychology: Sexual Exhaustion in Male Rats

Wondergressive: Sex is Just a Lack of Disgust

PubMed.gov: Ejaculation and Testosterone

Wondergressive: You and Your Internet on Porn

American Journal of Psychology: Subjective Experiences of Dopamine Depletion

PubMed.gov: Pheromonal Influences on Sociosexual Behavior in Men

Subject Experiences of Positive Porn Abstinence

IMDB: There’s Something About Mary 

Philip Zimbardo: Your Brain on Porn

Wondergressive: A Note on the Top 1%

A History of Celibacy 

Celibate Celebrities

The Mystery of Sex Transmutation

The 10 Steps to Porn Addiction

Oculolinctus: Eye Fetish

Engineering the Perfect Morning in 8 Easy Steps

[no_toc]

Have you had your coffee yet? Stretch it out; it’s okay. Nothing quite like the old cigarette and cup of joe to kick start the day into gear, or maybe leisurely scrolling a Wondergressive post on the john is more your speed. Remember when you’d spring to life hours before the sun, like, say on Christmas morning? You couldn’t fall asleep from excitement and erupted from slumber like the rambunctious little meth-head every kid is. Well guess what friends… we can have that majesty again, and not just once a year, but every morning. Check out these 8 simple steps to supercharging your mornings and life:

1)

If you’re reading an article on this site, you’re probably pretty smart, and kudos to you already, so maybe you’ve heard of this thing called the REM cycle. Turns out the number of cycles is not as important as we’d previously imagined; rather, timing is the key. Those non-hangover days when, even with a full 8 hours, you feel like a monkey’s been bludgeoning you with a bag of unripe oranges (maybe the 6th cup will do the trick), most likely your alarm sounded mid-REM cycle, and this is a big deal. If the cycle is interrupted, this is a day of grogginess. Contrarily, rising between REMs leaves you alert and rested. A REM cycle is 90 minutes, give or take, so instead of getting a solid 8, aim for a solid 7.5 hours a night. You’ll be walking on (not sunshine) regular terrain, throwing away the old “I’m just not a morning person.” Likewise, 6 hours (optimal on average) or less will do the trick as well, though you may want to nap later with the latter. Easy-peezy. If you need to be up at 7am, hit the pillow at 11:15pm (15mins to fall asleep). With the demons of drowsiness never again jabbing your skull, it’ll be much easier to…

2)

Wake up early. I promise this is an easy step. Was it ever hard to roll out of the race-car to pillage Santa’s haul? If you’re awesome, and I’ll bet you are, you have a to-do list 6 pages deep and it’s become more of a “shit that’ll happen when I win the lottery” list. What a vicious, unending cycle, especially since “buy lottery ticket” is on that list. But you’re clever and ambitious; you know what to do to find those extra hours to get it all done: wake up early. Like we’ve already seen, 6 hours is a great amount of sleep where you’ll feel peak-rested. Congratulations, you’ve just found an extra 2 hours of private time every day (6 extra years of consciousness added to your life). While the world hits snooze, you can…

3)

Set an isochronic alarm. Good odds you’re reading this on your phone/mp3/alarm clock/everything, and you can set an alarm to sound any noise you’d like (if you don’t know how, Google it). Trythis iso-tone. It’s a sound that, when heard, snaps the mind into high gear (Make sure to check out the science behind isochronic tones– it’s pretty cool but beyond the scope of this article). No need to shut it off, by the way. This tone makes a great background to your…

4)

Dream journal. Why dream journal? It’s fun, for one. Keeping a journal of your dreams is like sharing an intimate conversation with your subconscious; never mind if you don’t have dreams (you do, everyone dreams every single night), start with anything, even a vague memory of a color, and details will start flooding back as the pen lurches rapidly to scrawl them. Even these few minutes of creativity, because they’re first thing, set a tone of greatness for the rest of the day, although no one will hold it against you if you still need…

5)

Coffee. Yes, have your coffee if that’s your thing (did you think I’d say you couldn’t?), but that delectable god-nectar takes a bit to brew, so in the meantime, we’ll be needing an empty stomach anyway for…

5.5)

Exercise. It doesn’t take much to get the job done; we’re not training for the Olympics. 10-15 minutes of easy calisthenics right at waking gets the blood flowing and kick starts the metabolism so your breakfast won’t sludge into more mass about the spare-tire, but burn to fuel your freshly invigorated body. Thanks, science.

6)

Read. Let’s leave off the Looney Tunes this morning, or if that’s not your style, no newspaper or CNN. Instead, over the oats and bacon, we’re going to read 10 pages (that’s it, easy) of self-help. Are you in the school that thinks self-help books are for a bunch of losers who need to pat themselves on the back? Okay, a lot are, but check outthese self-help books (or for the kleptos). A mere 10 pages a day will amount to 1,300 books over your lifetime. Fun side-note: Theodore Roosevelt read an entire book every single day, even while he had his hands full with all that presidenting.

7)

Take a cold shower. This will be the hardest step to adhere to, but well worth the sacrifice. According to Dr. Kruse, the benefits of becoming “cold adapted” include:

  • Optimization of hormone levels
  • Fertility and reproductive fitness
  • Strengthened adrenal function
  • Reversal of diabetes and thyroid disorders
  • Increased immune function
  • Pain management
  • Deepened and improved sleep
  • Increased sense of well being and better attitude
  • and, it may be helpful with serious neurological diseases and eating disorders

Sounds cool (groan over shitty pun).

8)

Meditate. I’ll bet you’ve heard good things. Here’s your chance, and if you’re afraid of looking silly, no one else is up yet anyway. Here’s a beginners guide if you’re unfamiliar. That’s it. Have fun y’all, and enjoy your new, awesome life.

 

Sources:

WebMD: Stages of Sleep

PubMed.gov: Effects of Interrupting REM sleep

Iso-tone

Science of Isochronic Tones

How Dreams Work

Reasons to Exercise in the Morning

Goodreads: Self-help Books

Cracked.com: Facts About Famous People

Dr. Kruse: Cold Showers

How to Meditate

Woman Needs a New Ear, Grows a New One on Her Arm

Photo Credit: Johns Hopkins University

Photo Credit: Johns Hopkins University

After having her ear removed to stop the spread of cancer, doctors at Johns Hopkins Institute decided Sherrie Walter needed a new one.  The doctors used bone, cartilage, skin, and arteries to build a new ear, and then stored it under her forearm to allow it to grow.

The ear is in fact an exact replica.  After having it surgically attached to her head, the doctors added an internal hearing aid. Walter was filled with hope and relief during the entire ordeal.

“When my doctors told me reconstruction was possible, I thought it was too good to be true; it sounded like science fiction.  Just learning that reconstructing my ear was doable gave me sufficient physical and emotional strength, as well as the confidence I needed to go through with the surgeries.”

Finally a point to having so much free limb space.  The days when peoples’ arms and legs are lined with spare noses, ears, fingers and toes is quickly approaching.

 

Sources:

Johns Hopkins: Johns Hopkins Sugeons Use Woman’s Own Tissue to Rebuild Ear Lost to Cancer

Huffington Post: Ear Reconstruction Utilizes Patient’s Tissue, Forearm In Innovative Surgery

Scientists Develop 3D Printer Capable of Printing Cartilage That Works!

3D printing cartilage

http://www.modulab.ro It’s not so hard printing cartilage

If you haven’t heard about 3D printing, you are in for a mind boggling surprise.  Now, researchers have taken the realm of 3D printing a whole giant leap further; they have successfully tried printing cartilage. Scientists and engineers have been developing 3D printers for a while now, with companies using them to create tools, three-dimensional diagrams, or spare parts.  There are a variety of inks used in 3D printing and human tissue is now being experimented with.

Related Article: 3D Printing for All: New, Cheap 3D Printers

The 3D printing industry is only just beginning, and it is seeing exponential growth through the two main companies that hold nearly all of the patents and profits thus far; 3D Systems Corporation, and Stratasys, Inc. These two companies are on the edge of some very exciting technological developments.

The 3D tissue printer is a mix of a traditional ink jet printer and an electrospinning machine. The printed tissue seems very promising as it was:

“tested on mice and after eight weeks it had developed the structures and properties of real cartilage, demonstrating its potential use in humans.”

In the future, researchers say clinicians could develop cartilage specific to the needs of patients. For instance, an MRI scan of the body part, such as the knee, would provide a sort of blueprint and then matching cartilage could be created. Researchers are speculating that doctors in the future will have the ability of creating tissue and printing cartilage tailored to individuals so that it will be accepted into the body quicker.

Related Article: 3D Printing: The Next Revolution in Creativity

They could use MRIs or other imaging devices to create a blue print and then head to the printer to easily print off some new tissue for their patients. Printing cartilage is just the first step in personally tailored 3D printing for medicinal purposes. The possibilities of 3D printing are endless. This technology will change the future of the world and they way that economies work. Why buy something when you can print it at home? The future looks good.

Related Article: 3D? Lets go One More! 4D!

O brave new world!

 

Sources: 

3D Printer

Youtube- National Geographic Known Universe S03E06 Print Tools

NYSE-DDD

NASDAQ:SSYS

IOP Science- Hybrid printing of mechanically and biologically improved constructs for cartilage tissue engineering applications

The Star- Scientists develop 3D tissue printer that prints cartilage

Volunteering is Good for Your Health

 

A study done by United Health Care has determined that volunteering is good for both emotional and physical health of the volunteer. This is an unexpected benefit of volunteer activities. All the while I’ve thought volunteering only helps the persons targeted to be helped by the organizations, but alas I was wrong and it helps physically and emotionally all involved. So why not go get involved in your community now?

There are many resources listed below to get you started. With benefits for everyone how can you not want to jump right in?

 

Sources and Resources:

United Health Care: Volunteers Report Improved Physical, Emotional Health

Volunteer Match

National and Community Service

Volunteer.gov