Fast Food, Slow Death?

The all too familiar story: no time to cook, kids are late for soccer practice and McDonald's is on the way. Since it will not take more than a few minutes to shoot through the drive through we'll do the fast food stop. Or all too familiar story number 2: lunch hour at work and I need to pick up my dry cleaning, fill a prescription, and take the car to get gas and find time to eat. Sure enough Taco Bell is on the way and they have a drive through as well. These real life situations play out for all of us, millions of us, everyday. Since time has become one of our most precious commodities the sacrifice we make is often in our diet.

And yet it does not need to be this way. By following a few healthy practices you can still go to your favorite fast food chain and, 30 years from now, live to tell about it. The key is knowing what to select from the menu and balancing that meal with the rest of the day's food intake.

Choose Your Menu Items With Care

Choose a main dish item that is low in fat. As an example, when faced with the choice of a bacon cheeseburger or a regular hamburger, the regular hamburger wins every time. In the battle of the regular hamburger or the grilled chicken breast sandwich the chicken wins hands down. Why? Here's an example:

Wendy's Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich has 360 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 0 trans fat. Compare that to the Wendy's Big Bacon Classic which has 580 calories, 29 grams of fat and 1.5 grams of trans fat. Put either choice with a medium fry and you have added another 440 calories and another 21 grams of fat. Choose, instead, the Baked Potato with Sour Cream and Chive and you add 320 calories and 4 grams of fat – a better choice indeed.

Choose side salads and salad bar vegetables as these provide extra vitamins and add dietary fiber. In addition they fill you up without adding lots of extra calories. Be sure to use low fat or non-fat dressing or better yet, a simple vinaigrette dressing. More dietary fiber can be found in the choice of whole wheat or whole grain buns and rolls.

If your sweet tooth kicks in have fresh fruit or frozen yogurt. Or go for the reduced fat ice cream versus the shake. Again an example, this time from McDonald's: 16 oz. Triple Thick Vanilla Shake has 550 calories and 13 grams of fat. The Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream Cone has 150 calories and only 3.5 grams of fat. Granted the lower calories alternative is not as decadent but it also will not clog your arteries by increasing your cholesterol intake and it will satisfy the sugar craving.

Watch Your Portion Size

Portion control is also a key element to successful fast food dining. Although many restaurants have discontinued the super size trend, most portions are simply more than we need to consume. These large portions look like real value when viewed in the monetary sense but when measured by way of their contribution to weight gain and its complications they are simply not worth it.

Choose the smallest size possible especially if you are having hamburgers or fried foods.

Share large or high items with someone else.

Eat half your order and take the rest home. Yes, I know we are provided to clean our plates because there are children starving in China. At least that's what many mothers over the years have been heard to say. The fact is being a member of the Clean Plate Club will also get you entry into the Fat Club, the High Cholesterol Club, and if your really fortify the Heart Disease Club.

Remember These 3 Key Points

1. Reduce total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
2. Increase intake of whole grains
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables

Fast food is one of the great innovations of the 20th century. Here in the 21st century we need to manage how we take advantage of its limitless access. To do so will maintain a balance between food as satisfying fuel that keeps our human engine running and toxic waste that will eventually lead to shorten life spans.

If You Thought You Missed The Internet Profit Revolution Try CryptoCurrency

When most people think of cryptocurrency they might as well be thinking of cryptic currency. Very few people seem to know what it is and for some reason everyone seems to be talking about it as if they do. This report will hopefully demystify all the aspects of cryptocurrency so that by the time you’re finished reading you will have a pretty good idea of what it is and what it’s all about.

You may find that cryptocurrency is for you or you may not but at least you’ll be able to speak with a degree of certainty and knowledge that others won’t possess.

There are many people who have already reached millionaire status by dealing in cryptocurrency. Clearly there’s a lot of money in this brand new industry.

Cryptocurrency is electronic currency, short and simple. However, what’s not so short and simple is exactly how it comes to have value.

Cryptocurrency is a digitized, virtual, decentralized currency produced by the application of cryptography, which, according to Merriam Webster dictionary, is the “computerized encoding and decoding of information”. Cryptography is the foundation that makes debit cards, computer banking and eCommerce systems possible.

Cryptocurrency isn’t backed by banks; it’s not backed by a government, but by an extremely complicated arrangement of algorithms. Cryptocurrency is electricity which is encoded into complex strings of algorithms. What lends monetary value is their intricacy and their security from hackers. The way that crypto currency is made is simply too difficult to reproduce.

Cryptocurrency is in direct opposition to what is called fiat money. Fiat money is currency that gets its worth from government ruling or law. The dollar, the yen, and the Euro are all examples. Any currency that is defined as legal tender is fiat money.

Unlike fiat money, another part of what makes crypto currency valuable is that, like a commodity such as silver and gold, there’s only a finite amount of it. Only 21,000,000 of these extremely complex algorithms were produced. No more, no less. It can’t be altered by printing more of it, like a government printing more money to pump up the system without backing. Or by a bank altering a digital ledger, something the Federal Reserve will instruct banks to do to adjust for inflation.

Cryptocurrency is a means to purchase, sell, and invest that completely avoids both government oversight and banking systems tracking the movement of your money. In a world economy that is destabilized, this system can become a stable force.

Cryptocurrency also gives you a great deal of anonymity. Unfortunately this can lead to misuse by a criminal element using crypto currency to their own ends just as regular money can be misused. However, it can also keep the government from tracking your every purchase and invading your personal privacy.

Cryptocurrency comes in quite a few forms. Bitcoin was the first and is the standard from which all other cryptocurrencies pattern themselves. All are produced by meticulous alpha-numerical computations from a complex coding tool. Some other cryptocurrencies are Litecoin, Namecoin, Peercoin, Dogecoin, and Worldcoin, to name a few. These are called altcoins as a generalized name. The prices of each are regulated by the supply of the specific cryptocurrency and the demand that the market has for that currency.

The way cryptocurrency is brought into existence is quite fascinating. Unlike gold, which has to be mined from the ground, cryptocurrency is merely an entry in a virtual ledger which is stored in various computers around the world. These entries have to be ‘mined’ using mathematical algorithms. Individual users or, more likely, a group of users run computational analysis to find particular series of data, called blocks. The ‘miners’ find data that produces an exact pattern to the cryptographic algorithm. At that point, it’s applied to the series, and they’ve found a block. After an equivalent data series on the block matches up with the algorithm, the block of data has been unencrypted. The miner gets a reward of a specific amount of cryptocurrency. As time goes on, the amount of the reward decreases as the cryptocurrency becomes scarcer. Adding to that, the complexity of the algorithms in the search for new blocks is also increased. Computationally, it becomes harder to find a matching series. Both of these scenarios come together to decrease the speed in which cryptocurrency is created. This imitates the difficulty and scarcity of mining a commodity like gold.

Now, anyone can be a miner. The originators of Bitcoin made the mining tool open source, so it’s free to anyone. However, the computers they use run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The algorithms are extremely complex and the CPU is running full tilt. Many users have specialized computers made specifically for mining cryptocurrency. Both the user and the specialized computer are called miners.

Miners (the human ones) also keep ledgers of transactions and act as auditors, so that a coin isn’t duplicated in any way. This keeps the system from being hacked and from running amok. They’re paid for this work by receiving new cryptocurrency every week that they maintain their operation. They keep their cryptocurrency in specialized files on their computers or other personal devices. These files are called wallets.

Let’s recap by going through a few of the definitions we’ve learned:

• Cryptocurrency: electronic currency; also called digital currency.

• Fiat money: any legal tender; government backed, used in banking system.

• Bitcoin: the original and gold standard of crypto currency.

• Altcoin: other cryptocurrencies that are patterned from the same processes as Bitcoin, but with slight variations in their coding.

• Miners: an individual or group of individuals who use their own resources (computers, electricity, space) to mine digital coins.

o Also a specialized computer made specifically for finding new coins through computing series of algorithms.

• Wallet: a small file on your computer where you store your digital money.

Conceptualizing the cryptocurrency system in a nutshell:

• Electronic money.

• Mined by individuals who use their own resources to find the coins.

• A stable, finite system of currency. For example, there are only 21,000,000 Bitcoins produced for all time.

• Does not require any government or bank to make it work.

• Pricing is decided by the amount of the coins found and used which is combined with the demand from the public to possess them.

• There are several forms of crypto currency, with Bitcoin being first and foremost.

• Can bring great wealth, but, like any investment, has risks.

Most people find the concept of cryptocurrency to be fascinating. It’s a new field that could be the next gold mine for many of them. If you find that cryptocurrency is something you’d like to learn more about then you’ve found the right report. However, I’ve barely touched the surface in this report. There is much, much more to cryptocurrency than what I’ve gone through here.

10 Marketing & Social Media Tactics to Boost Holiday Sales

Tis the season for holiday sales!

Shoppers are flocking online in search of gift giving ideas. According to Mashable, "65% of shoppers tap social media looking for the perfect gift … and two out of three shoppers purchased a gift they found via social media."

So what are the best ways to cash in on seasonal sales with your business?

Whether you are a service-based business or sell products, here's some suggestions to get in the spirit with holiday sales.

1) Learn from the Ghost of Christmas Past

Look at metrics from last year's holiday sales. What products were bestsellers? Which promotions created the largest lift in sales? What special offers were a total bomb?

Discover what worked and did not so you can capitalize on it when you plan this year's promotions.

2) Make a Holiday Social Media Cover Image

Decorate your social media business pages with a specially designed cover image. It's the perfect place to announce special holidays promotions and deals.

Be sure to create one for all of your social media accounts.

3) Use Holiday Hashtags

Twitter shoppers may use hashtags to find their next purchase. So take advantage of hashtags to get discovered.

Some popular hashtags include: #blackFriday, #DIY, #holidaysssavings, #stockingstuffers, #holidays, #Christmas, #Hannukah, #Kwanzaa, #NewYears

4) Create Social Media Graphics for Promos and Deals

Everyone loves getting a great deal when holiday shopping. Make festive graphics promoting special promotions that make purchasing the perfect item irresistible.

Deals can include:

• one day only,

• limited quantity sales,

• buy-one-get-one free,

• special discounts or holiday coupons.

Consider offering a "12 days of Christmas" promotion with a special deal each day!

Canva makes it easy to make custom holiday social media graphics.

5) Boost Sales with Free Shipping

Consider offering free shipping for holidays gifts. Create highly visible buttons or banners promoting it on your website.

Or you can boost the order size by offering free shipping on orders over a bigger dollar amount such as $ 100.

Studies show that shipping costs are one of the largest detracts to making a purchase online so this one tactic could result in big returns for you.

6) Offer Gift Ideas

Holiday shopping can be frustrating when you do not know what to buy for the person who has everything. You'll want to promote your bestselling gifts.

Make gift buying easy by sharing gift suggestions like:

• 5 gifts for mom,

• 10 gifts grandparents love,

• 5 gift ideas for tech savvy teens etc.

Then offer links to purchase each of the items you mention on your blog and on social media.

Better yet, if you have a blog, write articles based on these topics and refer to your products within the article with links back to the purchase page.

7) Write Reviews

If you offer one of the hot new products of the season, consider writing and reviewing a review about it on your blog. In this review you could mention your own offers that would be a great gift accompaniment.

As an example, do a review of the top three smart phone accessories for Mom this Christmas and share pictures of them with a red bow on them along with a side-by-side features comparison. Then mention how your offer go great with these gift ideas while including links to purchase.

You could also incorporate your Amazon affiliate link for those products

8) Suggest Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Help idea stumped shoppers by offering suggestions for small items for everyone on their shopping list!

Write a blog post with the hottest stocking stuffers for the season. Share daily stocking stuffer ideas on social media using hashtags like: # beststockingstuffers2016 #cheapstockingstuffers #stockingstuffersforwomen

9) Reward Loyal Customers

Offer to give a $ 100 Gift Card to a randomly selected customer cutting posting a picture or video with your product on social media. Set up a campaign having them use a special hash tag like #christmascountdown.

This can help your promotional campaigns to go viral as customers share on their timeline and family / friends see their post.

10) Share Holiday Spirit

Connect to the spirit of the holidays in your customer's hearts. Engage your customers by asking them their favorite holiday tradition.

Get people to interact with your brand by asking them to share:

a. Their most-loved family recipes from Thanksgiving or another holiday event.

b. What their most loved Christmas song is.

c. DIY Christmas decorating tips.

d. Easy gift wrapping suggestions.

Dedicated Hosting Servers – Choosing the Best

What are dedicated hosting servers?

Dedicated hosting servers, as the name implies, are servers leased to a single client and not shared with any others. In other words, if you were to sign up to a dedicated hosting plan, the server would be devoted and committed entirely to hosting your websites.

Why should I use dedicated hosting?

Dedicated hosting has a variety of advantages over shared hosting, particularly if you plan to run an ecommerce website or if you prefer a high level of control over resources.

The key advantages can be briefly summarised as follows:

  • CONTROL: over operating system and software applications
  • RELIABILITY: Reliability: quicker server response time and better performance as the server is not taxed by sharers
  • SECURITY: extremely high security is provided and you can implement your own security measures
  • RESOURCES: greater bandwidth available, ideal for high traffic and resource-intensive websites

What do I need to use dedicated hosting?

MANAGEMENT SKILLS

Although dedicated web hosting gives you the opportunity to fully manage your server, web hosts will provide varying levels of management for you, depending on your host and plan. In these cases, you will not need a high level of management skills.

FINANCES

Expect to pay more for dedicated web hosting that for shared.

What should I look for in a dedicated server?

RAM

It is crucial to have enough RAM. You should aim for at least 2 GB of RAM and the more the better. The number of concurrent users able to visit your site will be greatly affected by the amount of RAM you have. If you do not have enough RAM, under a significant load from a number of simultaneous users accessing your site, your site will crash (i.e. the Slashdot effect). This can particularly be a problem if you have database driven applications.

PROCESSOR

Choosing the best processor for your needs is also important. Intel Xeons and AMD Opterons are the current standard in server CPU architecture. Other CPUs are most likely outdated or are standard desktop CPUs and may not perform as well as the former under a significant network load.

DISK SPACE

Choose a plan with the amount you will need. Unless you will be serving up file and data archives and/or audio and video content (i.e. streaming media, mp3 downloads, etc) then disk space should not be a concern as all plans provide more than adequate amounts of disk space (e.g. 250 GB+). If you anticipate expansion, look into the flexibility of upgrade options.

BANDWIDTH (Monthly Transfer)

Look for 1000-2000 GB+, depending on your needs.

DATA CONNECTION SPEED

Look for 1000 Mbps, particularly if you are streaming video or have a large number of concurrent users. Otherwise 100 Mbps might suffice.

OPERATING SYSTEMS

Look for which are offered and what costs are involved. Many Linux distributions and BSD systems are available for free from the open source community, while Microsoft Windows Server involves a cost. Expect operating system updates to be provided.

MANAGEMENT / EASE OF USE

Look for how much management is included in the plan price. For ease of use, look for free inclusion of cPanel (web based administration). Look for hosts supporting server configuration, software, application, security and anti-virus updates, firewall services and monitoring. Be wary of the term “fully managed” as this means different things to different hosts. Investigate thoroughly.

SOFTWARE

What options do you have? What is included? Microsoft products? Look for control panel software.

SUPPORT

Look for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year phone / email technical support.

BACKUP AND RESTORATION

Look for what backup and restoration options are provided. Some plans come with two hard drives, allowing an easy back up solution.

IP ADDRESSES

Look for more than one, particularly if you plan to do ecommerce.

UPTIME GUARANTEE

Look for hosts guaranteeing 99.9 to 100% uptime and find out their compensation if it is not reached.

WEB HOSTING PRICE

Find out if there is a setup fee. Expect to pay $200+ per month for hosting.

Who provides top rated web hosting?

No doubt you will read different opinions in different places, but based on the criteria outlined above, I have identified a few stand-out dedicated web hosts with excellent reputations for quality and reliability. You will find details of these hosts at Web Host Choice [http://webhostchoice.info]