Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting

dietAt one point you may have heard the terms “keto” diet and “intermittent” fasting. Ketogenic Diet is a low-carb diet wherein an individual cuts back on food high in carbohydrates like rice, bread, pasta, soda, pastries. Individuals who are on a keto diet get their calories from proteins and fats. On the other hand, an Intermittent Fasting is an eating routine wherein an individual switches from fasting, normally for sixteen hours, and eats only for the remaining eight hours of the day.

During a fridge repair a couple of months ago when I became aware of intermittent fasting. I was already contemplating that time about losing unwanted pounds and my sister mentioned it to me. I dismissed it at first, thinking it was another fad in a long line of diet plans that came and went. Then, I saw a friend doing exactly that. In her case, she was even doing OMAD or one meal a day, while doing intermittent fasting. Whew! I asked her about it and she told me that it was, in fact, very effective in losing unwanted pounds and keeping it from coming back. She started with the basic intermittent fasting, 8:16. Eight hours of window for eating, sixteen hours of fasting. It was easy for her so she started stretching her fasting hours from sixteen to eighteen up to twenty six hours that time I found out about her diet. I was sure I could not do it no matter how much encouragement she was sending my way.

Is Intermittent Fasting effective? In my personal opinion, yes, it does. Imagine starving your body for sixteen hours (basic fasting period). Hours without food, our bodies burn fat and exhaust sugar stored in it. That translates to weight loss especially for longer periods of time that you are fasting.

How about Ketogenic Diet? Similar to intermittent fasting, when the body exhausts the sugar stored in it, you will lose weight. Eating less than 50 grams a day, burning sugar fast, after a few days you start losing unwanted pounds in your body and, for me, that’s an effective way of dieting. It is hard, yes, but many individuals have been doing it nowadays.

What is my choice between the two? I am all for intermittent fasting! I have tried it once and I was able to do it for a month. I lost weight that, thankfully, I have not gained back again even when I stopped fasting. I plan to do it again. A doctor-friend of mine told me that fasting is also good since our bodies regenerate good cells when under fast. Those with diabetes are great candidates, too, but with the supervision of their doctors and nutritionists.

All in all, my take on dieting is this: whatever works for you. As long as the diet is good for the body and truly promotes weight loss in the most natural way, then, go for it!

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Meal Planning

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Do you go to the supermarket or grocery store with or without a list of items to buy? Do you plan the meals you will cook for the next couple of days?

Meal planning is one way to help save time and money when it comes to grocery shopping. Gather the family to discuss the food they want to eat for the week. (A weekly plan is easier to compared to a monthly one.) Make a list. Discuss the costs and time it will take to cook it. Then, make a meal plan for the next five or seven days. From which you can extract a list of grocery items you need to buy.

Make sure you are done with your freezer repair before going to the supermarket or grocery store. You need your freezer space for the items you are going to purchase and stock up for the next couple of days. Also, make sure you have those fridge bags where you can store your meat, veggies, and other ingredients to keep it fresh.

Here’s how to do meal planning properly.

List all the meals you plan to cook for the week, or next couple of days, depending on your goal. Think of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, snacks in between meals, just to be sure.

List down all the ingredients you will need. Garlic, onions, tomatoes, bellpeppers, herbs. Pork, chicken, beef. Flour, cornstarch, pasta. Everything you will need to complete all the meals in your plan for the week.

Bring the list with you to the grocery store or supermarket. Bring a pen or pencil and tick off all the items you already have in your cart or basket.

When you get home, start cooking those meals that you can store in the fridge and can be reheat when about to be eaten. Normally, meals can be pre-cooked so that it won’t take you as long to cook it as when you need it that day.

Working moms attest to the fact that meal planning is a huge cost and time saver for them. My sisters and I, though not yet mothers, can also attest to the efficacy of meal planning in our daily working lives. Meals that are cheap can easily be budgeted. The time in the kitchen can be decreased and limited. Also, if you are on a diet, meal planning is a great way to control your food intake!

Just make sure the pantry is well-stocked. Make a list and check it twice. Don’t waste ingredients by buying what is already available in your pantry. Check your refrigerator for leftovers. There are meals that you can cook out of it. Buy only what you need. Cook and eat those you know will easily spoil or rot. Don’t let food go to waste by buying and stocking mindlessly.

Meal planning is easy especially when it becomes a part of your weekly, or monthly, routine.

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To sell or to keep?

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Our family has a Ford Everest SUV for about five years now. It was a car loan and it took a couple of years to finish paying for it. It was my Dad’s car and he took care of it like a father to a child. Carwash, full tank, annual change oil. Registered on time and the insurance renewed annually as well. Even called someone for dash cam installation when it was fairly new.

My Dad passed away last year, March 10 to be exact. It was a blow to all of us because he truly was the head of the family and he took care of almost everything for all of us. We realized how dependent we were on him when he was taken away so suddenly. He would drive me to work, drive my nephew and younger sister to their respective schools, drive us almost anywhere we needed to go to. And, then, gone.

So, it’s been close to a year now that the SUV has been sitting in our garage. My brother drove it a couple of times but that’s it. We would start the engine, just to keep it going, but it’s parked in the garage, not moving.

I have been contemplating on selling our Ford Everest SUV. For one, no one wants to drive it. I can get a driver’s license and go to driving school. But, truth is, I would love a smaller car. Slightly smaller than the Everest, probably a little like a Ford Ecosport. Even my Dad knew that. Also, until I can still get a great price for it. Newer models have come out so buyers might want a secondhand car of a newer model than the one we have. On the other hand, we have the older model which was sturdier according to some professional drivers I talked to. Our SUV model is still a better choice than the newer ones. Someone even asked how much I would be selling the car but I haven’t really decided yet.

The sentimental value is overpowering my practical mind. It was my Dad’s car. He took care of it like a child of his own. He loved it. The practical side of me is pushing me to sell it not that it still has a higher resale price. Also, it is still in a very much good condition. Who would want to buy it when it is already old and in need of fixing?

Do I sell it or keep it?

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Air fryer: Is it worth buying?

Have you heard of the latest in a long line of countertop appliances? It is an air fryer nowadays! We have stoves, pots and pans, oven, microwave oven, oven toaster, deep fryer, and stovetop barbecue grill. Apparently, it is not enough. An air fryer is now a staple in most households. In our household, when something is broken, it gets fixed. We call an appliance repair specialist as soon as possible. Repair instead of immediately buying a replacement. But these days, we tend to add a new invention especially when almost everyone has and talks about it.

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So, what is an air fryer, anyway?

It is a countertop convection oven simulating deep frying without the need for cooking oil. A fan circulates hot air in high speed thereby cooking what is inside it. It is a “healthier” way of eating fried food because the food was not submerged in oil. That made most people get on board, especially the health buffs and those who are on a diet. Fried food is great! Who does not want a fried chicken? Or a fried porkchop with lots of gravy on it?

But, the question is, is it worth it? I mean, there is a real convection oven. There is also an oven toaster. Our office pantry has an air fryer so I went ahead and tested it. I bought a kilo of marinated pork belly which I normally cook in a deep fryer to make the pork skin and fatty meat crispy. First, the container basket is small. It can only fit at the very least three to four slices of pork belly, cut in two inches long and slightly more than an inch wide. It was a tight fit in it but I was able to make it work. Cooking time took about ten minutes, pausing in between to check if both sides were being fried properly. It was. The result? Tender, juicy pork belly slices. The pork skin was not crispy but tender, the same with the fatty parts of the pork. It was okay but I would have preferred for the skin to be crispy. It is healthy, though, so I forgave that result of the air fryer test.

I tested it again this time with baby back ribs. It was unsuccessful. The ribs became dry, the air fryer sucking out the juices from it. My sister cooked half of the baby back ribs using a slow cooker and it was a success! Juicy, fall-off-the-bones delicious!

Is it really worth adding to the number of countertop appliances at home? If you are into fried food, then, yes. Healthier way of frying, sure. If you already have an oven at home, I suggest not to buy an air fryer anymore. An oven will be so much better. Bigger, too. If you don’t have one, then go ahead and get one.

As for me, I think I’d stick with the big oven, our deep fryer, and the slow cooker.

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Simplicity is the key.

With all the clutter in our daily lives, most days we just want everything around us to be neat and minimal. Do you agree?

We can all I agree, I believe, that there is a very small guarantee of a clutter-free home in a house with more than two kids. There is a toy in every corner of the house. There is something you will inevitably step on especially on the staircase. Experience has taught us that the more you increase the number of storage spaces, the more clutter you will accumulate.

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Simplicity is the key.

The idea is to have a minimalist interior design for the house. Open-plan layout, with just key pieces for the living room, kitchen and dining area, starting with entrance doors up to closets and laundry room. The front door will be painted a striking color: red or blue. The dining area will have a large table with simple wooden chairs. Or it can be a kitchen with kitchen island counter seating. Perhaps a booth seating? The latter is great for small kids. Minimal kitchen cabinets but a pantry will compensate for the shortage in storage area. A living room or family room will have couches, a simple wooden center table, and a floor lamp. There is a laundry room directly after the mudroom. The bedrooms will have a bed, built-in cabinets. The bathrooms will have a shower stall, a toilet, built-in cabinets, too.

With the commercialization of almost every aspect of our lives, we tend to overspend on things we actually do not need. And this applies to our homes. We have too many of any single item especially dinnerware. I do believe majority of us is guilty of this, with the automatic reasoning that we are buying extra for guests.

If our goal is to have a clear mind inside our homes, even with kids, we need to downgrade. Again, simplicity. If we turn to minimalism, a clutter-free home will always be on the forefront of our minds. Our tendency to buy more, store more, will be gone, if not minimized. I would like to think that even kids will have less clutter because of the awareness of a neat home.

Transitioning from a traditional house to a minimalist will not be easy. Imagine the number of items you will have to get rid of when organizing your stuff. Do a garage sale. Give away to charity but only those items which are in good condition and will be of use to the recipients. It will be hard to part with some items but if you are really keen on a clutter-free home, sacrifices have to be made.

Again, simplicity is the key. It will have to start from a decision and everything else will follow. Of course, getting every family member on board the idea is a priority step. If one is not on board, there will be clashes along the way.

Your home is your haven. It needs to be a place where you can breathe and be at peace.

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2021 Investment Update By: Arthur Doglione

Raise your hand if you predicted 2020 would see a global pandemic, massive unemployment caused by
the first ever government mandated economic shut down in history, a highly contested election, and a
stock market recovery from the lows that was amongst the strongest in U.S. history, all in the same year?
Ok, put your hand down, there is always one in a crowd! While the calendar has turned all the pages of
2020, there are many differing opinions as to the current health of the U.S. economy and financial
markets, have they come too far too soon, what effects will government stimulus and economic
dislocations have on the financial markets in 2021 and beyond?

Widespread uncertainty in 2020 failed to dampen the outlook and recovery of equities in Q2 and Q3
2020, record low interest rates were certainly the fuel and spark the markets needed, however the markets
took a pause in early Q4 as election chaos gave investors pause, until positive vaccine news once again
provided the spark in November 2020. Stocks across the board have risen to new heights, awakening even
value stocks from their multiyear slumber. However, following such an impressive rise some on Wall
Street believe the rally has come too far too soon, prompting calls of a “bubble” in both stocks and bonds.

While it is our opinion that we are not currently experiencing a bubble in equities, we will grant that the
most striking characteristic of economic bubbles, the very thing that fuels their existence is our blindness
to them! Perhaps we should first define what a bubble is, one definition of a bubble is that an assets price
rises rapidly to the point of being disconnected from any reasonable measure of its inherent value. This is
typically caused by emotional inertia driving future expectations higher causing an implausible gap
between price and value, some might say Bitcoin! Just an observation largely based perhaps on an
inability to make a case for its value given many still can’t even determine if it’s a currency or a
commodity! If it’s a currency there is not, and cannot ever be enough in supply to serve this role, if it’s to
be viewed as a commodity similarly to gold or silver, I’ve yet to find anything that requires Bitcoin in its
manufacture. It may very well continue its explosive price ascent, but attempts to determine “what it’s
worth” have been difficult, if not futile.

One asset class where we believe weakness will continue is bonds; with rates at record lows and
significantly elevated federal spending to support the economy as well as fund party pledges, we are
aware the Fed’s desire is to keep short term rates at low levels, this does not preclude the free markets
from pulling the intermediate and long end of the yield curve higher. This realization may seem unsettling
to some investors, however, if the economy does start to show better growth in the second half of 2021 as
we expect it will, we will likely see rates rise and bond prices fall. Alpha Fiduciary has focused on bond
allocations largely supported by real assets or special circumstances which we believe are preferable to
own, relative to traditional fixed rate bonds, in rising rate environments.

Finally, earning season will likely provide support for stocks as we begin to see the world return to a
more normal operating environment, it would not surprise us to see at least a temporary surge in
economic growth before settling in to a more gradual and sustainable GDP growth in the 2.5% range as
pent-up demand is satisfied in 2021.

While we don’t think most longer-term investors should underweight stocks in this environment, we favor
a core/tactical approach to equities as we believe this presents an attractive upside capture while posed to
potentially reduce downside exposure should factors signal to reduce equity exposure in the event it’s
warranted.

There are many different approaches to the tactical management of equities, designed and employed with
the goal to gain exposure to asset classes when they are rising, and to reduce exposure to those asset
classes to limit or reduce downside capture.

If you would like to discover if Alpha Fiduciary’s wealth management approach can benefit you, please
visit Alphafiduciary.com, or call us at 480-505-4033.

Alpha Fiduciary is a SEC registered investment advisory firm. This blog is provided for informational
purposes only and should not be construed as personalized investment advice and should not be
considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security or investment advisory service. Please refer to the
Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov) to review our Form ADV
Brochure for more information.

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Teaching kids to do chores at home.

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Studies show that letting kids take on chores at home is good for their health and well-being especially later on in life. The kids who do chores at home are most likely to fare better in life as they grow old.

Some parents are of the mind that kids should be allowed to be “just kids” and let them do the things that are for kids. There is a time for that, I do believe that, too. But I am of the mind that kids who are given tasks at home learn responsibility early on. Kids feel more competent when they know they can take on a given task like washing the dishes or sweeping the floor, or throwing the trash in the bins toronto at the back of the street alley, or even making their beds. The idea that when they do their given chores at home they contribute to the overall cleanliness and upkeep of the house is a great feeling for a kid of any age.

Here are a few suggestions on how to distribute chores to kids at home.

Give kids simple tasks to take on. Make the bed. Sweep the floor. Pick up the dirty clothes and put it in the laundry area, or even, in the hamper. For older kids: wash the dishes, take out the trash, mow the lawn, walk the dog.

There are many simple tasks that kids can do. The idea is to talk to them about the chore assignment, make sure that it is not in the way of school assignments, and that they know the goal of the tasks they are being given. Also, make sure that the tasks are age-appropriate.

Recognize a job well done. This is even if the task is not really that “well done” but given the kid’s age, you know the kid gave his best in doing his assignment. Recognize the effort. Give the kid a pat in the back. That way, the kid will feel proud of what he accomplished and will be motivated to do better next time.

Include the whole family in the assignments. This is something I feel strongly about. I love that the whole family will be involved in as simple as household chores. I am of the mind that the little ones at home will learn best from following the older ones’ examples. Walk the talk. If you want the kids to do their chores, make sure that the adults do theirs, too, and that the kids are aware of it.

Make the chores fun to do! Make the chores fun for the little ones. Give out stars for tasks done on time. Give them something to look forward to on weekends. Think of what will make the kids smile while doing their chores.

Lastly, do not scold your kid when he failed to do a chore the way you taught him how. He might have a better way of doing it in his mind.

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Budgeting for a residential construction.

Finding a place where you can build your forever home is not easy. It takes a lot of planning, trips to and from potential locations, discussions with family members. It is not just getting a building permit Mississauga. There are many aspects you need to take into consideration. The three that came to mind are location, size of the property, and budget.

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Location

The number one consideration for most families is location. Is there a school in the area? Is there a nearby hospital? What are the amenities that homeowners can enjoy when they live in the neighborhood? Are there parks where kids can play? Is it a safe place for families? Is it accessible to public commute?

Those are just some of the questions that come to mind when scouting for a place where you can build a house. The convenience of living in a great neighborhood is a big plus especially for families with growing kids. Security is also a paramount consideration when checking out a location. You do not want to live in an area where burglars lurk.

Size of the Property

How big do you want your house to be? How elaborate is the planned construction? If you already have the square footage in your mind, you can easily plan how much space your house will occupy on the property you have selected.

Front yard, backyard, car port or garage. Is there a swimming pool somewhere in the plan? Do you plan to have a landscaped lawn? How many rooms are being considered?

Will it be a bungalow or a 2-storey house? How big are the rooms? How many bathrooms are being considered?

Budget

The first two considerations, of course, will be for nothing if the budget is not yet set. How much is your budget? It is the biggest consideration because once you know how much you are willing to shell out to get your forever home constructed, you can easily pinpoint locations where your budget will be enough to purchase a property.

Based on experience, your budget should be twice the amount your architect and engineer tell you to set aside. Always have a big buffer because you do not want to find yourself short on budget when emergency arises. A pause on construction will mean a bigger cost.

So, set an amount you are comfortable to shell out. In that amount, 70% of it should go to the construction fund; 30% should be set aside as a buffer for emergencies.

There are other considerations but the three I have mentioned are the foremost on most families’ minds. I know because I have been there in the past. Our family has gone through the construction phase. And budget was the biggest mistake that we made. We did not set aside a buffer so when we met one hurdle after another, we found it difficult to move forward because our budget was not enough. Construction had to be suspended for a while until we saved enough to push through with it.

Plan the construction properly. Consult professionals. Write it all down. And when you are 101% ready, then that’s when you can push through with it.

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Online classes and meetings and IT experts.

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In this side of the world, there are three big internet companies that compete in providing citizens with the “best” of what they can offer. Their “best” is dependent on specific areas and subscriber usage. Internet provider One can be the best in this part of the city and the worst in another location of the same city. The same with internet provider Two and Three.

Imagine a number of kids in one home taking online classes using one internet connection. Or imagine the same but this time around with a number of adults participating in online meetings using one internet connection.

A lot of bad-tempered kids and adults in a given place!

One solution that I can think of is getting IT support. An IT expert can help find a solution to the problem of multiple users with a single internet connection. If there is an IT expert on standby, downtime can be minimized and a prevention to common troubles in internet usage can be anticipated.

Students in this part of the world learn through online classes. It is almost the same as to the traditional ones except instead of a blackboard, teachers use cameras and online materials to teach. I have been observing my nephew and my younger sister with their online classes. With my nephew who is in first grade, taking his classes online is effective. He is learning a lot from his teachers these days. But with my younger sister, who is already in high school, there are just so many distractions including social media which is open in her cellphone while taking classes.

There are pros and cons. Topmost pro of online classes is, of course, the safety of the students. Safe and sound at home, away from everyone who can pass on the virus to them. The topmost con, well, the stability of the internet connection.

The same goes for online meetings. Based on personal experience, being in the middle of a meeting with the boss and the internet connection going intermittent is not a very nice situation to be in.

So, here is what an IT professional, also a cousin, did to alleviate the internet situation at home.

He bought two wifi routers, one he put on the second floor of the house, another on the ground floor. The first two floors of the house are where we normally do our online work and meetings. He also got a wifi extender for my nephew’s room. He did some tinkering so that our internet connection will be enough even if there are four to six persons using at the same time. And it is working for us just fine.

Get an IT professional to help you sort your internet connection, either for online classes or meetings, or both. You need them to do some tinkering around. You need their expertise. It will help with all the online activities that we are participating in right now.

Unless you want chaos to rule when everyone is online?

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Security in these trying times.

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The unemployment rate has been down since the pandemic hit the world. It is not only confined to one part of any country. Jobless individuals are everywhere. From former rank and file workers to managers to executives. The blow on the economy took down numerous companies and with it, its workers.

Most of the time, an increase in unemployment is accompanied by an increase in crime rate. Individuals who are desperate will turn to desperate measures for them to put food on the table. Some who are on the brink of a mental breakdown would even resort to hurting whoever gets in their way.

In these trying times, it is important that we secure our homes, our families. First step is to call on locksmith markham, change the locks, and make sure that the door will do its job when everyone is at home and sleeping peacefully. An additional security would be to install a door sensor or a security door alarm.

A family was sleeping peacefully on a Saturday morning. It was broad daylight when two men entered their home through the back kitchen door. Maybe, a chemical that deepened their sleep was sprayed in the air. Maybe, their sleep was so deep and peaceful that they did not hear the two men who took appliances, gadgets, and bags with money, and other important stuff. It was a couple of minutes, at most, and it was a blessing that nobody woke up or who knew what those two men would do to whoever would stop them.

Secure every door inside your home. After the door, secure all the windows especially the ones in the bedrooms. There was a time when babies sleeping in the nursery went missing because someone took them breaking through the window. It was a scary period as I remember a dear friend went paranoid after giving birth to her firstborn. She had all windows of the nursery sealed shut. Well, nothing happened to her baby and her paranoia did not last. But can you blame a mother for making sure that her baby is safe?

It is better safe than sorry; we always hear that. And it is true. Better to take precautionary measures than be sorry later that we did not do what we must to double the security of our homes and those living in it.

Change locks. Choose the people to whom you will give the keys of the door to your home. Tell them to guard the keys fiercely. Check the windows. Seal it shut if you think it will become a way for burglars to enter your home. Change the window if you see a crack.

Security should be a priority in these trying times. We cannot see the end of this pandemic yet. It may be two years, three, or five as experts predict it to be. The end is so far out of reach. What we can do for now is make sure that we all safe and sound inside our homes.

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