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The Fastest Way to Learn a New Language in 8 Steps

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Maybe you need to learn a new language so you can speak it on an upcoming trip.

Or so you can take on new job responsibilities.

Or so you can read your favorite novel in the language it was first written in.

Whatever your reason for learning a new language, you can probably agree it’d be ideal to learn it fast.

Yet the idea of learning a language, especially when you’re learning it from scratch, seems anything but fast: You’ll have to learn a new grammar, memorize vocabulary words, practice speaking…

But learning a new language doesn’t need to be a slow or tedious process. Although nothing can replace the hard work and effort it requires, you can absolutely learn a new foreign language fast if you follow the right strategy and dedicate yourself to the process.

Follow these eight steps, and you’ll be on your way to mastering that new language faster than you ever imagined!

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The Fastest Way to Learn a New Language in 8 Simple Steps

1. Set language-learning goals.

The first step to learning a new language fast is to set goals for what you want to achieve. When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. If you don’t set goals, how can you know what you want to achieve and measure whether you have achieved it?

When faced with the idea of learning a new language, most of us feel overwhelmed. There are so many words to learn and so many different ways to study. Setting goals narrows your focus so you can stop worrying about the details and get down to business.

Research shows that people who set the right kind of goals are more likely to achieve success.

Use these guidelines to get the most from your goals:

  • Focus on specific, tangible outcomes. Set detailed goals, and focus on what you plan to learn rather than how much time you plan to study. An example of a good goal might be, “This week I’m going to learn 30 Spanish vocabulary words related to shopping.”
  • Set short-term goals. It’s good to have an ultimate goal—the thing you eventually hope to achieve. But long-term goals are too overwhelming to motivate you on an everyday basis. Break down your ultimate goal into smaller bits, and set smaller goals for each week or month.
  • Challenge yourself (but not too much). Goals work best when they make you push yourself. But if they’re too daunting, they can actually discourage you. A good way to get around this is to set goals with a range of outcomes. For example, you might say, “I want to learn 30-50 new vocabulary words this week.” The lower number in this range helps you feel the goal is achievable, while the higher number allows you to push yourself.
  • Write down your goals. Writing down goals helps you commit to them. Post your goals in a prominent place, like your bathroom mirror or the home screen of your smartphone.

2. Learn the “right” words.

Languages are made up of a shocking number of words. English, for example, has between 600,000 and 1 million words.

Luckily, you don’t need to learn anywhere near that many words to be proficient in a language. Consider this: the top 100 words make up about 50 percent of English language texts, and the top 1,000 words make up about 90 percent!

Check out these lists of the top 1,000 words in these languages:

By focusing on learning these words first, you can eliminate wasted time and increase the amount of information you understand very quickly.

3. Study smart.

When learning your words, you’ll learn faster by using the very best study techniques.

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For example, one of the best ways to learn vocabulary words is to use flashcards. Flashcards help you focus on individual words and allow you to test yourself, which helps you memorize new information.

When you learn with flashcards, follow these tips to learn fast:

  • Try out electronic flashcards. Paper flashcards work just as well as they ever did, but electronic flashcard programs like Anki provide some great benefits. By using electronic flashcards, you can easily carry large stacks on your smartphone or tablet, and you can take advantage of flashcards that other people have created and made public. These programs also automatically change the order of cards and use spaced repetition to gradually increase the amount of time between repetitions of a flashcard. Both of these techniques help you learn faster and better.

To maximize your use of SRS programs and electronic flashcards, check out polyglot Olly Richards’ Conversations course, which is designed to help you set up workable, step-by-step systems for learning your target language. You can also get more targeted help with the Uncovered courses, which introduces the basics of specific languages including Spanish, French, German and Italian.

  • Make sure to guess the meaning of a word before turning over the card. Flashcards work best when you use them to test your memory, so don’t be too quick to flip the cards over. Even if you don’t know a word, make a guess.
  • Learn the translations first, then learn to produce the new words. It’s easier to learn the translation of a foreign word than it is to learn to say the foreign word when you see its English equivalent. Start by looking at the side of the flashcard with a foreign word on it, and memorize what the English translation is. Later, turn the cards over and use them to practice producing the foreign words when you see their English equivalents.

Practice makes perfect, but effective practice makes perfect even faster!

Some more great strategies for integrating new words alongside and beyond flashcards include:

  • Visualize and vocalize. Visualize the word you’re learning, imagine the image of what it represents and say the new word aloud. This helps you connect the concepts and can improve memorization.
  • Gesture. The brain learns better when you use physical actions while learning. Take advantage of this by gesturing. If you want to learn the German word Schuh (shoe), say the word while you pretend to put on a shoe.
  • Use the word in your native language. When you’re learning a new language, it can be hard to practice words in context because you haven’t yet mastered enough vocabulary to make complex sentences. To get around this, simply use the word in your native language. For example, if you’re learning the Spanish word casa (house), you could say, “I’m going to go to my casa now.”
  • Keyword technique. Make up a sentence with the new word you’re learning, the meaning of the word and a word in your native language that sounds similar. For example, if you want to learn the Spanish word mesa (table), you could think of an English word that sounds similar and make up a sentence like, “My kitchen table is always a mess!”  Since “mess” and mesa are very similar, this can help you remember the new word.

4. Start using the language all day, every day.

As a beginner, it can seem overwhelming to try to use the language all day, but it’s not as difficult as it seems. There are many easy and even fun ways to make the language a part of your regular life.

First, make use of every moment you have to learn new words. Take flashcards with you, and study them during your train or bus commute (but not while driving, please!) or when you’re waiting to meet a friend.

When you start to feel tired, switch from active learning to passive learning by doing what you would normally do in your native language in your target language. Try watching a video or TV show, or streaming radio broadcasts in your target language.

There are many online resources to access entertaining audio and video clips. You can go to YouTube, search for radio stations and discover more native language content on the internet.

You may be asking, “How can I possibly watch a video or listen to the radio when I only know a handful of words?”

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That’s where a program like FluentU comes in handy. With the FluentU program, you can watch content in your target language and understand everything thanks to accurate, interactive subtitles. This includes TV show clips, news segments, funny commercials and other native language media.

Besides having subtitles in English and your target language, the FluentU video player also lets you see the definition of any word at a click.

From this screen, you can check the grammar, pronunciation and example sentences of the word you clicked on. You can also see the word in use in other videos and add it as a flashcard.

Personalized exercises, interactive transcripts, vocabulary lists and other learning features round out this learning program. FluentU makes it possible to study with authentic videos in 10 different languages under one account.

So don’t neglect your listening skills, because listening to your target language can have many positive effects, including:

  • Becoming accustomed to the cadence of the language.
  • Learning to identify and understand common words.
  • Learning to understand using only context and a few cognates.
  • Staying motivated!

5. Seek out real-life practice.

Some of the best learning happens in real-life situations, particularly when you have no choice but to use a foreign language.

The easiest way to gain real-life practice is to travel or study abroad. Going abroad creates opportunities to be surrounded by people who speak the language you want to learn, many of whom don’t know your native language.

This is the favorite approach of organizations like the Peace Corps, which regularly places people with little or no knowledge of a language into full immersion situations. Although such situations can be uncomfortable, they provide enormous motivation to learn quickly.

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But even without traveling abroad, you can immerse yourself in real-life situations that give you loads of language practice. Try these options:

  • Meet with a language partner weekly or biweekly. You might pay your language partner for his or her time or offer to exchange one hour of practice in the language you want to learn for an hour of practice speaking English.
  • Join a conversation club. Many cities and schools have conversation clubs where language students meet regularly to practice having informal discussions in their target language.
  • Use an online tutoring or language partner site. Sites such as Coeffee.com or My Language Exchange can introduce you to people who speak the language you want to practice. Even if you don’t see them in person, you can gain real-life language practice by chatting online.
  • Volunteer with immigrants in your city. Find volunteer opportunities on a site like VolunteerMatch or Idealist, or directly contact organizations that serve immigrants who speak the language you want to learn.
  • Visit businesses where people speak primarily your target language. Perhaps there’s a Mexican restaurant nearby where you can enjoy delicious food and practice your Spanish with the waiters or owners, or perhaps you can practice your Chinese at a grocery store that sells food to the local Chinese community.

6. Learn about the culture.

Understanding a language is about more than understanding words on a page. It’s important to learn about the culture and history associated with these words.

Knowing something about a country or culture’s history, current events, religious beliefs and common customs can help you understand a lot about what people say and do.

Researchers have found that children learn to read in a second language better when they understand the culture and context behind the pieces they read.

As you begin to study a new language, take some time to learn about the culture of the people who speak that language. Don’t feel this is a waste of time, even if it involves reading and watching videos in your native language. It will help you enormously and can even prevent you from making embarrassing and potentially offensive mistakes.

7. Test yourself.

Knowing that you plan to take a test is a great way to motivate yourself to learn faster.

Try to regularly test yourself in little ways. If you’re learning from a textbook, take practice tests or complete the exercises at the end of each chapter. You can also play online games or take online tests. Online practice tests can be found in almost any language, including French, Spanish, Japanese and German.

Planning to take a standardized test several months to a year after you begin learning a new language can also keep you motivated, and having the results can help you “prove” your language level to potential employers, schools or even just yourself.

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The ACTFL OPI test is popular in many language-learning circles and widely respected. It tests oral proficiency and provides a score that ranks your level anywhere from “Novice Low” to “Superior.”

Some languages also have a standardized test specific to that language, such as the JLPT for Japanese or the HSK for Chinese. Ask teachers or professionals who know the language what tests they recommend.

8. Have fun!

We tend to learn best when we’re enjoying ourselves, so don’t forget to make language learning fun.

Playing games is a great way to have fun while learning. Games take advantage of our natural competitiveness and can help us practice language skills even when we feel tired.

You can also focus your learning on things that you find interesting, like a favorite hobby.

If you like to sew, for example, study words in your target language related to sewing, watch instructional sewing videos and talk with tailors who speak your target language.

If you’re learning French and fascinated by French politics, learn words used to describe political processes, and immerse yourself in articles about political issues, videos of political debates and talk shows about current events.

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Finally, make friends who speak your target language or are interested in learning it. Languages aren’t meant to be learned in a vacuum! Real-life social events and conversations are what make language learning fun and worthwhile.

Make a point of talking to people and learning more about their lives and cultures.

You might be surprised at how excited they are to share information with you, and how quickly you make lasting friendships in the process.

Written by Katherine Kostiuk
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HOW TO

200 Couple “Must-Ask” Questions

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200 Couple “Must-Ask” Questions.

Whether you are a new couple, or you’ve been a couple for years and years, we’ve got loads of
questions for couples that will be perfect for getting a great conversation going.
Some questions are more serious than others so have a look through and see which questions for
couples are right for you and your partner. Infact, with the valentine season fast approaching there’s no perfect time to get to know your partner better.

Let’s go!

Getting to know your partner questions
One of the most important things in a relationship is learning about your partner. You can know what to
expect from them and can figure out if you two are a good match.

What’s your ideal way to spend a vacation?
What makes you dislike a person?
Do you think you are a confident person? Why or why not?
What about yourself are you most proud of?
What would the best version of you be like?
What life experiences did you miss out on?
When are you the most “you”?
How did you fall out with some of your previously close friends?
Are you happy with the people you surround yourself with? Why or why not?
What musical instrument do you wish you could play?
When has a mundane occurrence or chance completely changed the course of your life?
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received?
What age would you like to live to?
If you could travel to any country in the world for one month, where would you go?
What is your favorite memory of someone who isn’t in your life anymore?
How superstitious are you?
What has been a recurring theme in your life?
What was your most inappropriate or embarrassing fart?
What do you think happens after death?
What are your top 5 rules for life?
What’s your favorite thing in your / our house?
What book or movie do you wish you could experience for the first time again?
If you had a friend who spoke to you the same way you speak to yourself, would you keep them as a
friend?
What petty thing that people do really gets on your nerves?
What brings meaning to your life?
What is something you wish you could say to people but can’t?
What are some of the most attractive traits a person can have?
What’s a secret you’ve never told anyone?
What small pleasures do you enjoy the most?
Who is the most irritating person you know?
What has been your biggest screw up so far?
What have you struggled with your entire life?
What is the most significant change you would like to make in your life?
What do you want out of life?
What calms you down the most?
What are kinds of things do you find repulsive?
What would your perfect life look like?
If you received a salary to follow whatever passion you wanted to, what would you do?
What’s your most embarrassing story about being sick?
What friend have you not thought about in a long time?
What’s the craziest thing that has happened at a job you worked at?
Who do you act nice around but secretly dislike?
If money was no object, and with no input from me, how would you decorate your / our house?
How good are you at reading people?
Are you hopeful about your future?
Who do you want to be more like or who do you look up to most?
What were the healthiest and unhealthiest periods of your life?
What’s the worst emotional or mental anguish you’ve endured?
What do you like most about where we live?
What do you worry about?
What’s something you screwed up and then tried to hide?
What’s the scariest / creepiest place you have ever been?
Do you think the world is improving or getting worse? Why?
How do you think society is changing? Do you think we’ll change with it?
What’s the worst thing that people are proud of?
What’s the biggest betrayal you have ever experienced?
What would be the greatest gift to receive?
What is something that you are dreading?
What makes you feel super fancy?
What would you want your obituary to say?
What has taken up too much of your life?
What’s the most disheartening and heartening realization you have come to?
What was the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
Would you take 3 million dollars if it meant that the person you hate most in the world gets 9 million?
What part of you as a person still needs a lot of work?
What are some words of wisdom that have stuck with you all these years?
How well do you know yourself?
What is your best (not worst) flaw?
How forgiving are you?
Tell me about a time you almost died.
Are you ashamed of anything you did in the past? If you are comfortable talking about it, what was it?
Do you prefer living in the countryside, in a town, or in a big city? Why?
What’s your fondest memory of a tree?
What are some of the most pleasant sensations for you?
Are you happy with the career path you chose or do you wish you had chosen a different career?
What’s the most unethical thing you do regularly?
What is way more difficult than it sounds?
What job do you think you were born to do?
What’s the biggest financial mistake you’ve made?
What makes you lose faith in humanity when you think about it?
What was the most painful thing to hear?
What biases do you think you have?
What are you battling that you don’t tell anyone about?
What luxury do you enjoy treating yourself to?
What do you most like to do when you have alone time?
What is normal now that will be considered unethical and barbaric in 100 years?
When you’re gone when you want to be remembered for?
If there was a horrible accident and you were unconscious and on life support, how long would you
want to be on life support?
Do you believe in good luck and bad luck? How about things that are lucky or unlucky?
If you had a million dollars to give to any charity, what type of charity would you give it to?
What’s something that a lot of people are afraid of, but you aren’t?
If you could open a business what type of business would you open?
What can someone do that makes them immediately unattractive to you, no matter how attractive they
are physically?
What untrue thing did you believe for an incredibly long time?
What were the three most important turning points in your life?
What animal are you most afraid of?
What scandal happened in your neighbor or town when you were growing up?
How well do you think you would handle prison?
What’s the most awkward social situation you’ve been in?
What is something that scares you on a daily basis?
When was the last time you cried?
What’s the most peaceful/restful night of sleep you’ve had?
What’s the most dangerous, thrill-seeking thing you would consider doing?
What’s your biggest regret?
Is it better to trust people or not trust people? And why?
What do you think your best and worst personality traits are?
Who do you miss the most?
What is the hardest life lesson you’ve had to learn?
What do you take for granted?
What’s the most stressful situation you’ve been in? How did you handle it?
What’s the most ambitious thing you’ve attempted?
How often do you change your opinions or how you view the world?
What’s the biggest opportunity you were given?
What is something we should enjoy more because it won’t be around for long?
What’s a question you wish people would ask more often?
What is the saddest thing about your life that nobody knows?
What are you most sentimental about?
Do you think people more people look down on you or up to you? Why?
What question do you most want an answer to?
What are some of the telltale signs of a shallow person?
What do you look forward to most in the day?
If you could instantly learn a talent or skill, what would you want to know how to do?
When is your favorite time of day?
What are the best and worst things about the period of history we are living through?
What’s the most rewarding thing in your daily routine?
What weird thing stresses you out more than it should?
When do you feel like you are really in your element?
How likely are you to believe in conspiracy theories?
What are some alcohol-induced stories of your younger days?
What’s the best way for someone to improve themselves?
What was the most productive time in your life? How about the least productive?
What three words best describe you?
How well do you function under a lot of pressure?
What is your weakness?
What are two of the most important events in your life?
What is something you know is bad for you but you can’t seem to get away from it?
What’s the biggest favor you’ve done for someone?
How does your current morning routine compare to your ideal morning routine?
What brings you the most joy?
What are you purposefully ignoring even though you know you should probably deal with it?
What do you wish you were better at?
Is there anything you did wrong for years and years, only to discover later that you were doing it wrong?

Questions about their family and childhood

When you are looking for relationship questions, it’s always important to ask about family and
childhood. Knowing where your partner came from can help you understand how they are now.

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What is something your parents did or used to do that really embarrassed you?
What small seemingly insignificant thing did your parents, or someone else say when you were a child
that has stuck with you all this time?
What is the best or worst thing you inherited from your parents?
What made you realize that your parents were just human like everyone else?
What habits do you still have from childhood?
What family vacations did you take as a child?
How traditionally “normal” was your family?
Children are often very similar to their parents. How do you want to be different than your parents? And
how do you want to be similar to them?
What school subjects did you like and hate most when you were in school?
What unique game of pretend did you frequently play as a child?
What movie seriously scarred you as a child or as an adult?
What irrational fears did you have as a child?
What toy played the most significant part in your childhood?
What are some of your earliest memories?

Relationship questions
Here are the main questions for couples that deal with the relationship itself. It’s important to be nonjudgmental when asking and answering these questions. It’s not about telling your partner the things
they do wrong or the things you want from them. It’s about working together as a couple to build a
healthy relationship.

What is something I did that you thought was exceptionally kind or thoughtful?
What new hobbies or activities would you like to try together as a couple?
What’s our greatest strength as a couple?
What could we do to make our relationship stronger?
What is something small that we can do daily for each other to make our lives better?
How much space / alone time should people in a relationship give each other?
What questions should partners ask each other before getting married?
What do I do that makes you the happiest?
How important is it for individuals in a relationship to maintain their own separate identity?
What makes our relationship better than other relationships?
What do you think our life will look like in 10 years?
What do you think would bring us closer together as a couple?
What kind of memories do you want to make together?
What do you think the most essential thing in a successful relationship is?
What’s your favorite way we spend time together?
What’s your favorite gift I’ve given you?
Where do you want to live when we retire?
In what areas do you think our personalities complement each other? (i.e. One is too reckless, and the
other is too cautious, and it balances out to a happy medium.)
How well do you think we communicate?
What adventure would you like to go on with me?
What’s the best relationship advice you’ve received?
What are some things you really like about me?
What do you think the hardest thing about marriage/being in a relationship is?
What can I do to most help us?
What do you see as your role in our relationship?
What would be a deal breaker for our relationship, something you couldn’t forgive?
What makes us different than other couples?
What do you think would be the best way to strengthen our relationship?
What are some of your relationship goals?
How realistic do you think couples in movies and TV are?
What does a happy and healthy relationship look like to you?

Couple questions about sex
Sex is an important topic to talk about in any relationship. It’s important to know what each of you
considers a healthy and enjoyable sex life.

How well do you think our sex drives match up?
How important do you think sex is in our relationship?
What are you into, but haven’t told me about?
What do I do in bed that drives you wild?
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve done sexually?
Besides orgasms, what is the best part of sex?
What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you while having sex?
When am I at my sexiest?
What would you like me to do in the bedroom to spice things up a bit?
What’s better than great sex?
What do I do outside the bedroom that turns you on?

Couple questions about having kids
It is vital that a couple is on the same page when it comes to kids. There can be a lot of strife and
heartache in a relationship if one partner absolutely wants kids and the other doesn’t, or if you both
have wildly different expectations for raising children.

Do you eventually want to have children? How many children do you eventually want? Why?
What’s the worst parenting mistake a couple can make?
What is the best way to raise children?
How would we know if we did our job as parents well?
Do you think it is more important for a couple with kids to focus on the kids more or each other more?
Why?
How do you think having kids will / has changed our lives and relationship?

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FOOD & CUISINE

14 Ways to Eat Less Sugar Without Missing It

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This article was made available courtesy of eatingwell.com

A life without any sugar is a life we don’t want to live. And thankfully, experts say you don’t need to eliminate it from your diet. But shaving off some grams here and there is something most of us should be doing. “I’m not of the view that we should be draconian about this,” says Mattes. “Sugars do add palatability. And the most nutritious diet, if it’s not palatable, will have no health benefit—because people won’t eat it.” These strategies can help you find that balance.

1. Utilize the new added sugar line on labels

“Always check the Nutrition Facts panel to see how much added sugar is in a product—like cereal or yogurt—and compare it to other brands,” says University of Thessaly nutritionist and epidemiologist Renata Micha. “Between two or three options, you can aim for the one that has less added sugar.”

2. Target your weaknesses

In the U.S., most added sugar comes from the following five sources: sweetened beverages; desserts and sweet snacks; sweetened coffees and teas; candy and other sugars (jams, syrups, toppings); and breakfast cereals and granola bars. Figure out which category you tend to get the most added sugar from and start cutting back there. You’ll get the greatest reduction in overall sugar and boost in health benefits, says Ewoldt.

3. Look for high-quality carbs

Many packaged products—tortillas, granola bars—fall into a nutritional gray zone. They may be made with whole grains (good) and still contain lots of sugar (not so good). Even more stealthily, the front of the package may declare “no added sugars,” but the manufacturer has replaced this nutrient with something else, such as refined starches that have no fiber and affect your body in ways similar to added sugars. “So it’s important to assess overall carb quality, not just sugar alone,” says Micha.

One simple way to do that: use the 10-to-1 metric. This means for every 10 grams of total carbohydrate that a product contains, 1 gram or more should be fiber. (It’s based on the ratio of total carb to fiber found in whole wheat.) Micha and her colleagues discovered that when they applied this trick to U.S. supermarket foods, it quickly identified items with higher-quality carbs that also happened to be lower in sugar. And they were healthier in general—lower in sodium and higher in protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B , vitamin E, zinc and iron.

14 Ways to Eat Less Sugar Without Missing It

4. Don’t drink your sugar

You know that soda is potum non grata, but other sugary beverages may slip past your nutritional radar. Coffee drinks like a bottled Frappuccino can have 34 grams of added sugar, and one 20-ounce sports drink packs as much as 48 grams—which is just about 100% of your daily limit. (For comparison, a can of Coke has 39 grams.) “Sports drinks serve a purpose for elite athletes, or let’s face it, when we’re sick with the flu or prepping for a colonoscopy. But for everyone else, just choose water,” says Nancy Farrell Allen, M.S., RDN, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And let’s not forget cocktails. Alcohol itself contains no or very little sugar, but when you add the coffee liqueur to your ‘tini—that’s when the grams can go through the roof.

By eliminating even one sugary beverage a day and instead sipping water with a squeeze of lime or orange for flavor, you can dramatically reduce your sugar intake—especially given that sweetened beverages are the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet, says Micha. You could also try drinking seltzer in fun flavors, infusing your water with fresh fruit or eating an apple or orange alongside a glass of ice water. We love the Strawberry, Basil & Lime Infused Water pictured above.

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5. Take your time

All of our experts recommend weaning yourself off sweetness slowly. Do you add sugar to your coffee or tea? Then use a little less tomorrow. A few days later, dial it back a bit more. Studies show that reducing sugar by 5 to 20%—equivalent to deleting about 4 to 12 grams daily—is not noticeable, and that over time your perception of sweetness intensity changes. In one trial, people who limited their sugar intake for 2 to 3 months rated pudding as much sweeter than those who did not.

6. Be wary of packaged bars

We love the grab-and-go convenience of them, but granola and energy bars supply a lot of the added sugar in our diets. So scan for ones that are low in sugar and as minimally processed as possible (short ingredients list of recognizable whole foods). They often taste just as good and can save you 5 to 15 grams of added sugars (that’s between 1 and 4 teaspoons of sugar) per bar! Even better, put a handful of nuts, seeds and oats, plus some unsweetened coconut flakes and a few dark chocolate chips (11 of them only have 2 grams of added sugar) in a travel container for a snack that’s packed with nutrients, protein, fiber and very little sugar.

If you want to go above and beyond, make your own. It’s a great way to keep sugar in check and customize the flavors to meet your preference.

7. Swap your yogurt for skyr

This Icelandic-style yogurt is made using different types of cultures than the standard kind you may be used to, giving it a thick, creamy consistency and less sour taste. And even the flavored varieties of skyr tend to have about one-third less added sugar than other flavored yogurts—which can be quite high in them.

8. Get enough sleep

The average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours a night—yet more than 35% of Americans get less than that. Missing out on zzz’s can monkey with your hunger hormones, making you crave sugary foods (and salty ones too). However, in a review of seven clinical studies published in the Journal of Sleep Research, participants who increased their sleep duration—by anywhere from 21 minutes to 3 hours a night—had better insulin sensitivity as well as reductions in appetite, sweet cravings and sugar intake.

14 Ways to Eat Less Sugar Without Missing It
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES / PETER DAZELEY

9. Trick your palate

Studies have shown that sweetness can be amplified by concurrently stimulating your other senses, says experimental psychologist Qian Janice Wang, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science at Aarhus University in Denmark. One strategy to try: Sniff cinnamon, vanilla, cherry, almond, caramel, pineapple, pomegranate, strawberry or banana before a meal or with your food. It can make you think what you’re eating is 5 to 25% sweeter than it would taste without one of these aromas. “The smell-taste interaction together form this perception of flavor. And that’s because when we smell something, the mind is already forming expectations that it’s a sweet food,” explains Wang. “So if you have cinnamon-vanilla oatmeal every day, and you gradually reduce the sugar, by the end it may be enough to have the cinnamon and vanilla without the sugar.”

10. Avoid sneaky sources

Sugar isn’t just added to make foods taste better. It also acts as a preservative that extends shelf life and prevents staleness, makes pastries tender by preventing gluten formation and encourages fermentation by providing food for yeast, allowing breads to rise, among other qualities. For these reasons, food manufacturers add sugar not just to traditionally sweet foods, but to tons of savory ones, as well. “For example, the other day I picked up a tofu, broccoli and brown rice frozen meal—can you get much healthier than that? But when I looked at the label, it had 17 grams of added sugar, most of it from the sauce,” says Andromalos. Check out our list of sneaky sources that can easily add up. Another reason to read and compare labels!

14 Ways to Eat Less Sugar Without Missing It
CREDIT: THE VOORHES

11. Use less sugar in your baking

“Recipes for things like cookies and cakes often call for more sugar than is necessary— so you can play around and see how much you can simply leave out,” says EatingWell recipe tester and developer Laura Kanya, who suggests removing a small amount and going from there. She was able to use one-third less sugar in the Raspberry Swirl Brownies here compared to a typical brownie recipe. The cocoa and pureed raspberries add richness and natural sweetness. “Sugar does impact the moistness, texture and browning of baked goods, so you may notice a difference there,” adds Kanya.

12. Roast your veggies

Rather than steaming or sautéing vegetables and relying on dressings and sauces (which often contain added sugars) to jazz them up, pop them in a 450°F oven. It caramelizes the natural sugars and makes them taste sweeter and more intense, says sensory scientist and dietitian Sungeun Choi, Ph.D., RDN, an associate professor in the department of family, nutrition and exercise sciences at New York’s Queens College.

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13. Add it on top of baked goods

Sprinkling a small amount of coarse sugar on homemade, lower-sugar muffins, quick breads and cookies “delivers that extreme burst of sweetness and crunch with each bite, so you’re less likely to miss the sugar within the cookie or muffin,” says Andromalos.

14. Bake with natural sweeteners

Replace some of the sugar with mashed bananas or other fruits, unsweetened applesauce or blended dates, cooked sweet potatoes or prunes. This will also add moisture. “It’s a great way of getting some extra vitamins and minerals as well,” says Andromalos. “We used pineapple to sweeten our Pineapple Morning Glory Muffins—slashing the sugar content in half compared to similar muffins,” says Kanya. “And grating it incorporates the fruit into the batter.”

15. Trade flavor for sugar

The more taste you’re able to eke out of every recipe, the less sweet stuff you’ll need. “Our Cider-Sweetened Apple Pie contains less than half the added sugar of a typical recipe,” says Kanya. “How did we do it? By reducing already-sweet apple cider into a concentrated syrup.” It counts as added sugar, but the difference is we don’t need to use as much sweetener overall because the syrup’s intense flavor fools your taste buds into thinking the pie is sweeter than it actually is. You can apply this same technique to other recipes—and experiment with reducing different juices.

This article first appeared in EatingWell, September 2021

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HEALTH

Grief and Loss, How to Cope with Them

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Losing anything of value is never easy. Coping with grief and loss must be done your right way. Sadly, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Regardless of the type of loss you are faced with, the only thing required is that you understand the stages of grief and where you currently are on them. This understanding will provide you with healthier coping options.

WHAT DOES GRIEF MEAN?

When you lose something of great importance, your natural emotional and painful response to it is grief.  Sometimes it comes with various reactions such as guilt, disbelief, deep sadness, health disruption, insomnia, inability to eat amongst so many things. Everything i mentioned here is normal when you are faced with grief. Your grief could come as a result of losing your health, a job, a relationship, a loved one, a miscarriage, a career dream, a friendship, a safety net after infidelity or even moving homes amongst many other reasons.

I see many couples and individuals sit across me and narrate their experiences with grief. Despite the many responses to grief, one thing that you cannot take away is that the intensity of your grief is always directly proportional to the significance of your loss.

Due to the personal nature of loss, i do not expect you to grieve like any other person. This means that there is no shame with how you decide to grieve. The only thing i want you to understand is that there are stages to grieving and you must understand what stage you are in to enable yourself transition from that stage, get a new perspective on the matter and then begin to move on from the heaviness you feel.

The Sad Honest Truth About Grief

Be it the loss of a parent, child, partner, spouse, relative, friend or colleague at work, It’s all pain and you may not ever get over this loss. However, time is what truly does the magic for you because your sorrow eases, you face the loss and then gradually begin to move on from that point.

Now that you understand how unique grieving is to every individual, you must also know that what separates everyone in grief are their beliefs, their faith, previous experiences with grieving, their coping styles and lastly their personality. Do not expect to recover immediately with actual loss of a loved one, or try to heal after replacing the job, house or opportunity you lost with a new one. It takes time. While some start to feel better in weeks and months, the measurement for others grieving is usually in years.

THE PROPER WAY TO GRIEVE

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You must understand somethings about grief as this gives you an edge;

A) IF you feel pain, do not pretend it does not exists simply because you want to appear strong. This act will keep you trapped in one stage of grief longer than expected. Weakness or Strength are not the consideration at this point. Pain is.

B) Do not try to grieve the way you have seen a sibling, spouse, parent or someone else go about it. That is their own way. Trying to emulate them in this regard may not work for you and could end up doing more damage than good.

C) It’s not time to be alone with yourself and misery. Get the support of your loved ones and others who truly care about your well-being. Staying alone is not the solution to numbing the pain.

D) The feeling of grief will make you laugh, cry, smile, talk to yourself and so on. In extreme cases, clients have mentioned that grief made them romanticize with thoughts around death and suicide. Especially for individuals who lost a spouse.

E) Your emotions are not stable when you are grieving. This is what grief does to you. Forcing yourself to stabilize your emotions is not the key. Recognizing the emotions you feel is the real solution.

Available on Podcast:

Learning about the 5 stages of grief

Denial: This is the phase where an individual hasn’t yet come to terms with what has happened. The associated shock or emotional overwhelm dissociates the victim in such a way that the circumstances look like an unfolding movie plot with them as spectators.

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Anger: At this point, a realization dawns on the individual. This comes with an intense anger that has the individual lashing out angrily and questioning a lot of things.

Bargaining: The need to have this happen to distance oneself from the flurry of negative emotions suddenly triggers an emotion that wants to pass on the grief to some other person, place etc. With this comes a negotiation where depending on the spiritual beliefs of the individual sees them bargaining , going on a spiritual deep dive all in a bid to reverse the situation.

Depression: This is a phase characterized by intense sadness that comes once you start to understand the situation isn’t particularly going anywhere or changing.

Acceptance: After healthily negotiating the first phases of grief, the individual now understands that the situation truly occurred. At this point, you come to terms with the pain and truly start to own the emotions you are feeling. It is from this stage that healing starts.

Despite the fact that I have listed these phases, it would be important to note that not everyone navigates grief by following these exact steps. Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist who first intimated us with these stages of grief never intended for these stages to be a rigid framework applicable to anyone mourning. I have seen clients who went straight to acceptance from the denial stage and just when everybody else affected was struggling with denial, these individuals were already available to assist their spouse, partner, siblings or friends with their own grief.

Coping with grief and loss by temple obike

Dear therapist

Grieving and loss is a bespoke experience for everyone. The circumstances may be similar but the effect on the mourner is unique. Hence for younger therapists, there is a need to make clients identify what stage they currently find themselves in. As important as this is, it is better to allow them speak first, tell a story, relive their experiences with the deceased and as you listen with your ears and observe with your entire being, you are bound to start discovering for yourself, where exactly they are with the grieving process (even if it doesn’t quite tally with any of the stages.

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I truly hope this piece throws a lot more clarity on your current struggles with navigating loss. We are here to support you through your loss and believe that your complete healing is not too far away.

Written by Obike Temple.
Temple Obike is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, author and psychotherapist who has counseled over one thousand, two hundred clients comprising of couples, individuals, abuse victims (substance, physical, emotional and sexual) and grief-stricken clients. With over 100,000 in-counseling minutes accrued in practice.
He runs his private psychotherapy & counseling practice out of Lagos, Nigeria and has counseling centers in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. His practice also provides options for both online and on-site services. His private practice has positively empowered lives through his online counseling, podcasts, free advisory services and free online materials.  
Readership of his articles also receive a growing number of visitors alongside subscriptions to his email newsletter at templescounsel.com. His passion for empowering and uncovering the secrets to lifelong marriages and personal development led to his new book titled “Soul Bodega” available on amazon and across other online and traditional stores.Never give up on yourself! You are a journey happening through various destinations. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit our website for more info!
https://templescounsel.com/how-to-find-your-real-purpose-in-life-stay-authentic/
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BUSINESS

Advertising Market Leaders Give 5 Marketing Musts for 2023

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1. Recognize the increasingly important role of video Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing & communications officer at Mastercard talked about how video is a critical component of his business’s marketing mix. “It’s where you’re able to evoke the right emotions,” he said. “You’re able to connect with consumers to tell the story the right way, and to impress upon them the message you’re trying to convey. Video is front and center in whatever we do.” Twitter’s director, client services – retail & travel, Alex Kennedy, agreed: “Video is core to any good strategic marketing plan. Whether your objective is awareness, consideration, or even priming consumers for lower-funnel objectives like conversion, there is a role for video. And the reason is because consumers are consistently watching more video, specifically online digital video.” Kennedy also stressed the importance of understanding both the customer and their viewing context to get the most out of video. “You have to reach your consumer where they are and how they’re watching,” she explained. “That means you have to create bespoke content for the environment. That’s what’s going to be key.” 2. Make the most of the data mix, utilizing both first- and third-party data The level of understanding Kennedy described requires a data strategy that recognizes the role all the different types of data have to play. This point was picked up by Sean Popen, executive vice-president, outcome navigator at Interpublic’s activation intelligence company Matterkind. “A tactic that we’re seeing working is using a combination of first, second- and third-party data, which allows brands to tap in and get that additional reach,” he said. This view was echoed by Dawn Williamson, senior vice-president, head of sales development at Comcast’s advertising sales division, Effectv, who stressed the importance of using data to target audiences: “It’s going to be less about ‘I want to be in this show’ and more about ‘Where’s my audience, and where are they consuming content?’ because, as an advertiser, that’s where I want to be.”

3. Overcome the challenges of a fragmented viewing audience According to Dave Pajeau, executive director of programmatic/advanced TV for Effectv, video advertising will only continue to get more fragmented as more providers come in. For him, the key will be to integrate the traditional and streaming experiences, enabling measurement and targeting against the two together. “There’s a tremendous amount of viewership that still exists through traditional linear channels, and that now co-exists with new viewership through streaming platforms,” he said. “They work best together, but you have to know the right allocation for your brand and audience. So in 2023 we’ll start moving towards true cross-screen delivery, audience delivery and measurement.” 4. Understand how the consumption of advertising has evolved Brian Wallach is head of revenue for programmatic TV sales platform AudienceXpress. In his view, successful advertisers are those who understand there’s no longer one single consumer journey, no matter what the brand or sector. “Successful advertisers are consumers themselves, and oftentimes they admit they watch content in different ways,” he explained. “So now their planning and execution of media is adapting so that, if their desired audience isn’t all coming from traditional linear TV, they’re able to optimize and adapt and run media against other channels. We call these fluidity deals in the industry, where it’s less about whether it’s linear TV or digital, and more about reaching the right audience in quality programming.” For Effectv’s Williamson, it once again comes back to understanding your customers. “Clients and advertisers are really focusing on consumer behavior, and they’re studying where ad consumption is happening. So it’s less about connected TV or video-on-demand (VOD), and more about looking at the entire TV ecosystem to ensure they’re targeting the right audiences as they’re looking to get their message out there.” 5. Value a ‘one viewer’ solution Being able to track and measure viewing behavior across multiple platforms is the crucial piece of the puzzle. It will improve brands’ understanding of their customers, solve ad frequency problems and allow sequential messaging. It will also allow more accurate attribution, improving media planning and increasing efficiency. That’s why Elizabeth Luciano, senior vice-president, marketing & brand strategy at broadcaster A+E Networks, is keen to encourage everyone in the video advertising space to work together to make the ‘one viewer’ solution happen. “It’s going to be so important,” she said. “We want to deliver content when and where people want to watch it. In order to do that, we need to see how they travel across platforms.”

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Learn from your experiences

Perhaps the final word goes to Soyoung Kang, chief marketing officer at beauty brand eos. As marketers start to think about the trends that will define their 2023, she urged them to also remember the lessons of the last few years. “As we try to understand how to navigate this macroeconomic climate, it’s really important for us as marketers to continue to push forward,” she said. “We have to stay agile. We’ve built all of these muscles during the pandemic where we needed to be able to shift investments as circumstances changed. It’s time to exercise those muscles again.”
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