Picking the Fastest Line at the Supermarket

Inside a Whole Foods in Brooklyn. CreditNina Westervelt for The New York Times

You dash into the supermarket for a few necessities. You figure it will be 10 minutes — tops — before you are done and on your way home.

Then you get to the checkout lanes and they are brimming with shoppers. Your plan for a quick exit begins to evaporate.

But all is not lost.

For anyone who has ever had to stand in line (or if you are a New Yorker, you stand on line) at a supermarket, retailer, bank or anywhere else, here are some tips from experts for picking the line that will move the fastest.

Get behind a shopper who has a full cart

That may seem counterintuitive, but data tell a different story, said Dan Meyer, a former high school math teacher who is the chief academic officer at Desmos, where he explores the future of math, technology and learning.

“Every person requires a fixed amount of time to say hello, pay, say goodbye and clear out of the lane,” he said in an email. His research found all of that takes an average of 41 seconds per person and items to be rung up take about three seconds each.

That means getting in line with numerous people who have fewer things can be a poor choice.

Think of it this way: One person with 100 items to be rung up will take an average of almost six minutes to process. If you get in a line with four people who each have 20 items, it will take an average of nearly seven minutes.

Those minutes add up. Richard Larson, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who is considered the foremost expert on queues, estimated that Americans spend 37 billion hours a year waiting in lines.

Go left for faster service

Robert Samuel, founder of Same Ole Line Dudes, a New York-based service that will stand in line for you, said in an email that most people are right-handed and tend to veer to the right.

Look for female cashiers

“This may seem sexist, but I prefer female cashiers,” Mr. Samuel wrote. “In my experience they seem to be the most expedient at register transactions and processing.”

A. J. Marsden, an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Fla., suggested checking to see if a cashier was talkative and commenting on every item being scanned. If so, avoid this line “unless there is no one in that line, in which case, just deal with the chatty cashier,” she said in an email.

Study the customers ahead and what they are buying

It is not just the number of people ahead of you, but their age and what they are buying that can make a difference, Professor Marsden said. Older people will take a bit longer because they can have difficulties that delay the checkout process, such as not understanding how a debit card works, she said.

Also consider the number of different items they are buying, Professor Larson said. Six bottles of the same soda will go faster than six totally different items, some of which cannot be scanned, such as vegetables, he said.

If you have no irregular items, such as produce, use a self-service checkout, Mr. Meyer said. “You’ll lose the human contact but gain time,” he said.

Choose a single line that leads to several cashiers

Not all lines are structured this way, but research has largely shown that this approach, known as a serpentine line, is the fastest. The person at the head of the line goes to the first available window in a system often seen at airports or banks.

Getting into a single line also provides a sense of psychological relief because it eliminates the choice of where to go and second-guessing about the best line to choose, said Julie Niederhoff, an assistant professor of supply chain management at Syracuse University.

Still, most people prefer to take their chances with parallel lines — individual lines dedicated to a single cashier — even though most of the time they end up picking a slower line, Professor Marsden said.

Douglas E. Norton, a professor of mathematics and statistics at Villanova University, said studies had typically shown that with three tellers, each serving his or her own line of customers, the wait time was three times longer on average than a single line leading to an array of tellers.

So why is the less efficient parallel line model used at grocery stores? “Essentially, nobody wants a huge line of folks with full grocery carts winding (like a serpent) around their store,” he said in an email.

Beware of lines with obstructions

If you find yourself in a line that snakes around a corner or where the cashier’s view of the number of customers is obstructed by a wall or a shelf, be prepared for a longer wait, one study found. The study, released in June, noted that obstructions hinder the feedback cashiers get from seeing how their work thins the line.

What can you do to speed up service?

Mr. Samuel recommended:

• Always face bar codes toward the cashier.

• When buying clothes, remove the hangers and pull the tags out for easy scanning.

• Use the buddy system at the express lanes. Split the items so you each stay within the maximum number allowed and then get out the door quicker.

Remember: A lot of the waiting game is mental

To some degree, waiting is all in your head. Research has found that, on average, people overestimated how long they waited in a line by 36 percent.

Customers are more concerned with how long a line is than how fast it moves, according to research by Prof. Ziv Carmon of the business school Insead and Prof. Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University. Given a choice between a slow-moving short line and a fast-moving long one, people will often opt for the short line, even if the waits are identical.

The psychology of queuing has also found that waits seem shorter when you are distracted. Professor Norton recommended talking to the person next to you or reading the magazines in the store’s racks.

“And try to lose the idea that you are cursed,” he said. “If you remembered the times when it actually went smoothly, you would probably realize that it evens out in the long run.”


Red Robin Red Ramen Burger

Forget getting your carbs from an ordinary hamburger bun made from bread. Now you can get them from a bun made from Ramen Noodles.

Red Robin introduced its “Red Ramen Burger” on April 4, 2016. The burger is served on a crispy ramen bun. It’s topped with Teriyaki and Chiu Chow aioli, along with a medley of chili-infused shredded cabbage, carrot and onion. It’s then garnished with fresh basil.

Red Robin Ramen Burger


Each burger is $11.99 and comes with fries. Red Robin says it is available for a limited time. The burger chain has locations throughout Michigan.

Edward Pevos is the Mlive entertainment reporter for Detroit and Southeast Michigan. You can follow him on Twitter @PaparazzoPevos


Would You Eat Burger King’s Mac ‘n Cheetos?

This may be the new junk food mashup you never asked for, but are glad it’s here. We did a taste test of Burger King’s new Mac n’ Cheetos.

The combo of Cheetos and mac n’ cheese hit Burger Kings nationwide on June 27, 2016. The Cheetos are on the outside, the mac n’ cheese is on the inside.

Here is the video of our unbiased taste test.

The new Burger King Mac n’ Cheetos are $2.49 plus tax. Each box contains five.

Taken from: M Live


A New Kind of Grocery Store

In recent years, a spate of no-waste markets have popped up across Europe. In cities like Berlin, Vienna and Barcelona, shop owners have a simple philosophy: Pre-empt waste from bags and packages by simply not offering them.

Now the trend is heading across the ocean.

Sarah Metz is working to open a zero-waste grocery store in Brooklyn, New York, where customers could bring their own reusable containers to measure out just the right amount of food items and other household products.

At the Fillery, which Metz hopes to open sometime this year, shoppers would be able to pack dry goods like grains and spices into their own glass jars or cloth sacks. Dispensers would be filled with oils, vinegar, honey and syrup. The store would sell milk from Ronnybrook Farm, in upstate New York, in glass bottles, which shoppers could then bring back on their next grocery trip. Shoppers could even get dish soap in refillable screw-top bottles.

The goal is to encourage shoppers to buy only what they need, an approach that helps cut down on the amount of both unused food and unnecessary packaging. If you only need one cup of sugar for a cake, why buy an entire 4-pound bag?

Shoppers can use their own glass jars to scoop out dry goods at Zero Waste Market in Vancouver, Canada.

Metz isn’t alone. Brianne Miller’s Zero Waste Market is set to open in Vancouver, Canada, this fall following the success of various pop-up stores in the city. And in Denver, Lyndsey Manderson, co-founder of the store Zero Market, plans to set up a tracker at her shop so customers can see how much packaging they’ve kept from going to the landfill.

After all, plastic bags are a scourge. They’re often discarded after just one trip to the grocery store, they get caught in trees and they’re doing a fantastic job of destroying our oceans. In New York alone, people throw out almost 2,000 tons of plastic bags each week. The Worldwatch Institute estimates that Americans discard 100 billion plastic bags each year.

Metz, who raised $17,000 on Kickstarter earlier this year and is currently searching for a space in Brooklyn for the Fillery, said she was inspired in part by the success of zero-waste stores in Europe, where shoppers can pick up pasta in bulk, as well as olives and chewable toothpaste. There’s even a company, Jean Bouteille, that “precycles” by making glass bottles that can be returned and reused.

In Vancouver, Miller is working with suppliers who can provide reusable shipping containers. Miller, a marine biologist who has studied coral reefs and tropical fish, says the urgency of waste reduction hit home when she found herself on a remote beach in Haida Gwaii, on the coast of British Columbia, that was strewn with plastic debris.

“All plastic ends up in the ocean, and the toxins are absorbed by animals and built up in the food chain,” Miller said. “We were on beaches in the middle of nowhere, and seeing the amount of plastic that washed up on them — the density was bizarre.”

It’s taken some time for suppliers to get used to the new requests.

“Things still show up triple-wrapped in styrofoam,” Manderson said. “We need to be practicing zero-waste as a store, and it’s about trying to find that line of when we’re not being responsible with the products delivered to us.”

A shopper shows off her collection of glass jars at Zero Waste Market in Vancouver.

Shop owners say they want to undo the huge amounts of waste that are a by-product of a retail culture that emphasizes customer convenience. It’s much easier to grab that plastic bag (or two or three) at your local corner market than to remember to carry around your own tote in case you do a grocery run.

The popularity of food startups isn’t exactly helping. Take the meal kit delivery service Blue Apron: By sending exactly what you need directly to your door, the startup in theory helps cut down on wasted groceries. But as BuzzFeed points out, nearly every ingredient comes in its own little pouch, generating an insane amount of packaging waste for just a two-person dinner. (Blue Apron said in an email that all of its packaging is recyclable or biodegradable.)

Getting people to embrace reusable containers in New York might be a challenge, since so many people in large cities are accustomed to the single-use lifestyle — where everything from coffee cups to takeout trays can be tossed without a second thought.

“People are in a very fast-paced city, and they’re looking for something that’s quick and easy,” Metz said. “That idea generates waste.”

But maybe it doesn’t have to.

Taken from: Huffington Post


5 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Keeping your house stocked with groceries is a life necessity but it doesn’t have to break the bank. We all know to utilize coupons and look out for the best prices, but what about those shopping tidbits we overlook? With a little planning and some smart tactics, you can skip out on spending those extra bucks! Check out some ways to save below.

Grocery List image1. Plan ahead: We all know to write a list before heading out to grocery shop but taking stock of what you already have is important too. Jetting out of the house to pick up some things may seem like a time saver but really planning out your trip can save you time and money.
2. Keep track of receipts: Pay for everything in one place using an app like Walmart Pay and keep track of your receipts easily. Not only will you be able to spot any mistakes, you’ll be able to keep track of how much you spend and budget better.
3. Be wary of “deals”: Just because it says 10 for $10 doesn’t mean you have to buy them all. Too often we get caught up in the idea of scoring a deal without thinking about what you really need. 10 for $10 is a great deal, unless you only need two, then it’s just a waste of money.
4. Bring your own music: Studies show that stores play music with a slower beat to make you move through the aisles at a slower pace. This causes shoppers to buy 29% more. Slick, huh? Move to your own upbeat music and save!
5. Eat Before You Go: It turns out your mother was right when she told you to make sure you ate before shopping. Studies show that things like baked goods and rotisserie chicken that are placed at the front of the store can lead you astray. No time for a meal? Pack a few mints, the strong flavor can ease your hunger while you shop.

Taken from: Essence


Healthy Foods – Don’t Be So Sure

Loaded with oats, nuts, dried fruits and other grains, granola enjoys a reputation as a “healthy” food. Ads featuring rosy-cheeked hikers and yoga enthusiasts help enhance its good-for-you status. But granola and some other seemingly healthy foods don’t always measure up to their image.

Chocolate Almond GranolaA new survey conducted by the New York Times comparing the views of a panel of nutritionists with average Americans found that the experts and the noshing public often disagree about which foods are considered healthy and which ones aren’t. Granola was the food most hotly contended.

While 71 percent of the public rated granola bars a healthy food, only 28 percent of nutritionists agreed. When it came to regular loose granola, 80 percent of the public gave it a healthy vote, but less than half — only 47 percent — of nutritionists deemed it healthy.

Why the discrepancy? Granolas and granola bars can vary widely in ingredients, Sharon Zarabi, a nutritionist and fitness expert at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, told CBS News. So it’s a good idea to read ingredient lists and nutrition labels.

“In order for something to be considered healthy, you’re looking at calories, fat, sugar and nutritional content,” said Zarabi.

If you read the ingredient list, you can see that many granola bars and granola cereals are packed with sugar, she pointed out.

For example, Nature Valley Oats n’ Honey granola bars contain oats as the first ingredient and sugar as the second. Honey and brown sugar syrup are also a little further down the ingredient list. Another example: Quaker’s peanut butter chocolate chip chewy granola bars contain brown sugar, sugar, corn syrup and corn syrup solids.KIND Oats & Honey with Toasted Coconut bars contain tapioca syrup, dried cane syrup, honey, and brown rice syrup as sweeteners.

There’s a difference between those sweeteners, Zarabi noted.

“Sugars are defined by their glycemic index, how quickly it gets absorbed into your bloodstream and how it affects your blood sugar levels in the body. Corn syrup has a higher glycemic index than, for example, honey,” she said.

Homemade granola is one way to cut down on sugar, but still enjoy it, she said. “Granola is basically toasted oats glazed in some type of sweetener — whether it’s honey, sugar or light syrup — to make it bind and taste sweet.”

Zarabi suggests toasting your own oatmeal but skipping the sweetener, and adding fruit, such as freeze dried blueberries, for sweetness instead. You can also add nuts for a healthy fat and protein, which will help keep you fuller longer.

Coconut oil was another food that pulled diverging votes in the survey. Nearly three-quarters of Americans surveyed (72 percent) considered it healthy, but only 37 percent of nutritionists agreed.

Similarly, almost half of Americans, but only 1 in 5 nutritionists, thought SlimFast Shakes were healthy. And two-thirds of Americans viewed frozen yogurt as healthy, compared to just one-third of nutritionists.

Another big surprise was quinoa, the New York Times noted. Often regaled as a “superfood,” only 58 percent of the public considered it healthy, while 89 percent of nutrition experts gave it a thumbs up.

Wine drinkers can relax, too. Wine, along with tofu, sushi, hummus and shrimp were all voted healthy by more nutritionists than by the general public.


Nutrition Experts Say Wine is Healthy

70% of Nutrition Experts Say that Wine is Healthy  

Wine Glass Red and WhiteA lot of research has been conducted in the past couple of years aimed at answering the specific question of whether wine is healthy or not, and what we’ve seen is that the research overwhelmingly agrees that it is,  but only when consumed in moderation. According to nutritionists, wine is actually more healthy than orange juice, granola, diet soda, and steak. Kind of surprising, right?

Also surprising, the general populace doesn’t think it’s as healthy as the experts do. When polled, just slightly more than 50% of the public thought wine was healthy. This is most likely because wine is seen as an indulgence and indulgences are easily thought of as unhealthy. But The Times survey shows that even if something makes you slightly buzzed, it can still be good for you.

Other food items that a higher percentage of nutritionists found more healthy than the general populace are sushi (75%/47%), popcorn (62%/47%), hummus (92%/65%), olive oil (97%/83%), beer (25%/12%), and even butter by a slight margin (40%/35%). So remember, just because something has the connotation of being bad for you it doesn’t mean that it is. In fact, more often than not, it isn’t.

Taken from: Vinepair


Magnesium – Good for Health

Magnesium is important for our health, yet more than half of Americans don’t get enough in their diets.
The mineral is involved in more than 300 functions in our bodies. Not getting enough magnesium can result in abnormal heart rhythm, poor blood sugar control, fragile bones, muscle spasms or cramps, seizures, weakness and nausea.

Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure, produce energy and buildBeans strong bones. It also plays a very important role in transporting calcium and potassium across cell membranes, which is crucial for muscle function and normal heart rhythm.

Assessing magnesium is difficult because only 1 percent is in our blood and 50 to 60 percent is stored in our bones. Our kidneys work hard to maintain the mineral in our blood and signal our bones and other tissues when it’s needed. If you don’t consume enough magnesium, your nerves, muscles and bones will be affected and you may not even know it.

Making sure you consume enough magnesium is a good insurance policy. According to the National Institutes of Health, having enough of the mineral can help decrease our risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 23 percent; decrease our risk of stroke; make our bones stronger; reduce the number of headaches; and decrease risk of kidney stones.

It can be hard to identify foods high in magnesium because the mineral is not listed in the nutrition facts on food labels. Foods rich in magnesium include nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains.

AlmondsSome people have an increased risk of losing too much magnesium each day, so they need to eat even more. This includes people taking certain medications — such as diuretics like furosemide (Lasix) — and proton pump inhibitors — such as lansoprazole (Prevacid). High blood sugars cause a loss of magnesium, and people with chronic gastrointestinal disorders may not absorb magnesium as well. Drinking too much alcohol or eating a high-protein diet can also increase the need for more magnesium.

Too much magnesium from food does not pose a health risk in healthy people because our kidneys eliminate excess amounts in our urine. However, high doses of magnesium from dietary supplements, medications or laxatives can cause diarrhea. The upper level for magnesium supplements for men and women is 350 milligrams. Most multivitamins average 100 milligrams of magnesium.

The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for magnesium vary by age and gender. Women need higher amounts during pregnancy. For adults, men need 400 to 420 milligrams each day, while women need 310 to 320 milligrams. Pregnant women need higher levels.

Most of us need to get a lot more magnesium in our diet. A blood test cannot adequately tell us if our magnesium stores are at a good level. So it’s necessary to refuel each day with foods high in magnesium to keep our bodies running like a well-tuned machine.

Easy ways to boost magnesium

peanut butterHere are some easy ways to add more magnesium to your diet.

  • Eat nuts, seeds and nut butters. Snack on nuts and add them to your salads and oatmeal.
  • Use peanut butter rather than butter on your bread.
  • Top a fruit cup with wheat germ or sunflower seeds.
  • Pick oatmeal, shredded wheat or bran flakes for breakfast.
  • Drink low-fat or soy milk each day.
  • Choose brown rice instead of white rice and whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta.
  • Eat beans. Make low-sodium soups with beans, or try a calico bean recipe or a recipe with edamame or quinoa.

    Taken from: Diluth News


5 Body Tissues Regenerated Through Nutrition

Human bodyThe human body is a complex and miraculous thing, and would not exist without continual cell turnover. When we are sick, however, regenerative processes are replaced by degenerative processes, making medicine the go-to choice for balancing our body back. But while drug-based medicines tend to be the most popular solution in today’s world, they use chemicals that prevent our body from regenerating itself. Much simpler and safer routes, like proper diet, herbs, and nutrition, should be taken instead.

Below are five bodily tissues that can be regenerated through nutrition:

1. Nerve Regeneration

There are a slew of natural compounds that offer nerve-regenerating effects. Research has found, for example, that a mixture of blueberry, green tea, and carnosine can promote stem-cell regeneration in a neurodegenerative disease.

Another study found that circumin supplements can help treat crushed nerve injuries, and pave the way for the regeneration of damaged tissues. “Curcumin is capable of promoting nerve regeneration after nerve injuries, highlighting the therapeutic values of curcumin as a neuroprotective drug for peripheral nerve repair applications,” the study abstract notes.

2. Liver Regeneration

The compound present in licorice called glycyrrhizin has been found to stimulate the regeneration of liver mass and function in the animal model of hepatectomy. Another study found that doses of 73 milligrams per kilogram body weight of carvacrol, a volatile compound present in oregano, significantly increased liver regeneration after partial liver removal.

3. Hormone Regeneration

Fluctuating hormones can occur due to chronic stress, drug interactions, poor diet or lifestyle choices, a buildup of toxic substances, and more. The main hormones in a woman’s body, for instance, are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These hormones make their way through the bloodstream, facilitating necessary alterations to bodily functions and regulating the body’s vital systems.

Vitamin C may be a great complement or alternative to hormone replacement therapy, as one study found that vitamin C stimulated almost 100 percent regeneration of estrogen, 50 percent of progesterone, and almost 60 percent of testosterone.

4. Cardiac Cell Regeneration

While it is commonly thought that cardiac tissue cannot be regenerated, research now indicates that there are, in fact, substances capable of stimulating the formation of cardiac progenitor cells, which can distinguish into heathy heart tissue. For instance, researchers have revealed that red wine antioxidant resveratrol can regenerate adult cardiac stem cells.

“Our results demonstrate that resveratrol maintained a reduced tissue environment by overexpressing Nrf2 and Ref-1 in rats resulting in an enhancement of the cardiac regeneration of the adult cardiac stem cells as demonstrated by increased cell survival and differentiation leading to cardiac function,” the study abstract notes.

5. Cartilage/Joint/Spine Regeneration

Curcumin is well-known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and has been found to have a profound anti-inflammatory therapeutic potential in the treatment of spinal cord injury, specifically right after the injury.

Resveratrol has been found to significantly promote the recovery of rat dorsal neuronal functionafter spinal cord injury due to its anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation, and anti-apoptosis properties.

You can find out more information at Greenmedinfo.com, they were the inspiration and main source for this article.

Taken from: Collective Evolution


Pasta May Not Be Fattening After All

Although the Mediterranean diet has seen a recent surge in popularity, pasta is often rejected due to the belief that it contributes to weight gain. New research, you might be glad to hear, finds the complete opposite to be true.
[Pasta dish]
New research shows that pasta might not be the villain it has been painted as.

The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy diet based on the cuisine of the region.

Not only has the Mediterranean diet been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, but it also lowers “bad” cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

A recent meta-analysis, involving more than 1.5 million people, found that following the diet reduced the risk of cardiovascular mortality and, perhaps surprisingly, overall mortality.

The wonders of the Mediterranean diet do not stop at the heart, though. Other research has matched it with a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

There is also evidence that when supplemented with mixed nuts and extra olive oil, the diet might stave off breast cancer.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

These are the key aspects of the Mediterranean diet:

  • Eating predominantly plant-based foods
  • Replacing butter with olive or canola oil
  • Flavor food with herbs rather than salt
  • Only eat red meat a few times a month
  • Eat poultry or fish twice a week
  • Eat with friends and family
  • Drink red wine in moderation (optional)
  • Exercise regularly.

One prevalent Mediterranean ingredient that is generally removed from this diet is pasta. However, if the results of a recent study are confirmed, this omission may soon be a thing of the past.

Is pasta so bad?

Pasta has previously been dismissed as a part of the diet because it is loaded with carbohydrate-based calories; a one-cup serving of spaghetti has around 220 calories. In general, anyone who is seriously attempting weight loss will reduce pasta intake significantly, if not remove it entirely from their meals.

However, breaking research, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, found the exact opposite to be true.

The study, carried out at the Department of Epidemiology, I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy, took data from two large epidemiological studies to examine the relationship between pasta consumption and certain weight parameters.

In all, data from 23,000 individuals was used in the study. The participants came from the Moli-sani and INHES (Italian Nutrition & Health Survey) studies:

The Moli-sani project began more than 10 years ago and involves 25,000 citizens living in the Molise region of Italy. Its aim is to examine the role of genetic and environmental factors on health, particularly in regards to cancer and cardiovascular and degenerative diseases.

Healthy BMI, lower waist circumference with pasta consumption

The INHES collects data via telephone-based questionnaires throughout all the regions of Italy. They collate information about eating habits, how they are influenced, awareness of dietary health topics, and the reasons behind food choices. In all, 9,319 people gave information as part of the INHES.

As for the results, they might come as a surprise to many.

“By analyzing anthropometric data of the participants and their eating habits, we have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight; rather the opposite.

Our data show that enjoying pasta according to individuals’ needs contributes to a healthy body mass index [BMI], lower waist circumference, and better waist-hip ratio.”

First author George Pounis

Although pasta is often kicked to the curb when embarking on the Mediterranean diet, this no longer needs to be the case. Licia Iacoviello, head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology at Neuromed Institute, talks confidently about the changes that these findings might spark:

“The message emerging from this study, as from other scientific analyses conducted in the context of the Moli-sani Project and INHES, is that Mediterranean diet, consumed in moderation and respecting the variety of all its elements (pasta in the first place), is good to your health.”

For the pasta lovers of the world, this is good news. However, as with any component of a diet, moderation is the key to success.

Taken from: Medical News Today