How to Survive a Killer Asteroid

When Galileo trained his telescope on the moon in 1609 and discovered perfectly circular craters dominating its topography, astronomers began to wonder how they formed. A few astronomers, like Franz von Gruithuisen, an early-19th-century German, proposed asteroid impacts as the cause. But most rejected this theory based upon one simple, supremely confounding fact: The moon’s craters are almost perfect circles. And, as anyone who has thrown a rock into dirt can tell you, that isn’t what an impact scar should look like. Instead, the mark will be oblong, oval, and messy. (Gruithuisen probably didn’t help his cause by also claiming to have seen cows grazing upon moon grass in these craters.) Further misleading any theorists, astronomers could make out little mountains in the center of each depression. Thus, for 300 years the majority of astronomers and physicists believed that (1) cows did not graze upon moon meadows, and (2) lunar volcanoes, rather than meteors, had pocked its face.

Then, in the early 1900s, astronomers like Russia’s Nikolai Morozov* began observing newly developed high explosives and made a rather startling discovery: Large explosions differ from thrown rocks in a number of ways, but most ominously—at least for our species’ continued existence—they leave circular craters regardless of their angle of impact. As Morozov wrote in 1909 after conducting a series of experiments, asteroid impacts would “discard the surrounding dust in all directions regardless of their translational motion in the same way as artillery grenades do when falling on the loose earth.”

Before Morozov’s discovery, astronomers were aware that asteroids could be devastating. “The fall of a bolide of even ten miles in diameter … would have been sufficient to destroy organic life of the earth,” wrote Nathan Shaler, dean of Harvard’s Lawrence Scientific School and proponent of the volcano theory, in 1903. But most believed this was an entirely theoretical exercise, partly because, as Shaler noted in his defense of the lunar volcanism theory, the very existence of humanity proved this sort of impact could not have occurred.

Morozov’s calculations changed that. Once you know the true origins of the scars on the moon, you don’t have to be an astronomer—or even own a telescope—to arrive at the sobering conclusion that asteroids carry apocalyptic potential and that their impacts are inevitable.

Shaler was, in a way, presciently incorrect. An asteroid of nearly the size he described did impact Earth and did wipe out the planet’s dominant species. Only rather than wiping out humans it cleared the evolutionary path for a shrew-sized placental mammal to eventually crawl, walk, and consider a camping trip to the apocalypse.

You might think the survival of your shrewlike ancestor proves that a larger-brained mammal like yourself would stand a reasonable chance. Unfortunately, the shrew had a number of apocalypse-friendly adaptations humans have since lost. The shrew could survive on insects, burrow away from the heat, and had fur to warm itself during the freezing decade that followed. You could replicate some of the shrew’s survival strategies. You could burrow and expand your diet. But evolution has robbed you of others, and your opposable thumbs might not be enough to save you when that twinkling star enters Earth’s atmosphere at 12.5 miles per second.

At impacts of that speed, Earth’s atmosphere behaves like water. Smaller rocks—called meteors—hit the atmosphere like pebbles into a pond; they decelerate rapidly at high altitudes, either burning away in their friction with the air or decelerating to their low-altitude terminal velocity of 164 mph. But the mountain-sized Chicxulub asteroid hits our atmosphere like a boulder into a puddle. It maintains its velocity until impact, plunging through the entire 60 miles of atmosphere in fewer than three seconds. The asteroid screeches over Central America, emitting a sonic boom that reverberates across the continents.

It falls so quickly that the air itself cannot escape. Under intense compression, the air heats thousands of degrees almost instantly. Before the asteroid even arrives, compressed and superheated air vaporizes much of the shallow sea that covers the Yucatán in the late Cretaceous. Milliseconds later, the rock plunges through what’s left and slams into bedrock at more than 10 miles per second. In that instant, a few near-simultaneous processes occur.

First, the impacting meteor applies so much pressure to the soil and rock that they neither shatter nor crumble, but instead flow like fluids. This radical effect actually makes it easier to visualize the formation of the crater, because the undulations of the earth almost exactly replicate the double-splash of a cannonballer in a backyard pool. The initial splash in all directions is followed by a delayed, vertical sploosh when the cavity created by the impactor rebounds to the surface.

New York Is Taxing the Rich. Here’s Who Made That Happen.

About a decade ago, it became increasingly common to hear public school parents in New York talk about carting rolls of paper towels, boxes of crayons and dry erasers into classrooms because teachers lacked basic supplies. Manhattan private schools were planning greenhouses and displaying cafeteria menus on flat-screen televisions, but in a new Dickensian era of public education, there would be neither magic nor Magic Markers.

We might trace the origin of this decline specifically to the spring of 2011, during Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s first year in office, when he persuaded the State Legislature to cut year-to-year expenditure on education and health care by more than $2 billion, refusing to consider a millionaire’s tax to offset the reductions. This was the first time in more than 10 years that the state had cut overall annual spending.

Among the many other consequences was that housing stability now also seemed less and less assured. The cuts pushed New York City to eliminate an important rental assistance program, sending record numbers of people into homelessness. By the summer of 2012, nearly 300 families a month were seeking shelter after their subsidies had run out. When he announced that budget, the governor declared “a new day in New York.” It was a new day of a kind — the morning of a long, aggressive period of austerity.

That era effectively came to a close this week with a deal between Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers that at long last did not genuflect to the blanket interests of the very wealthy. The $212 billion dollar budget for the coming fiscal year — $79 billion larger than the governor’s first budget — relies on federal stimulus money but also on tax increases levied on those who have done exceedingly well.

Even if it has come at personal advantage to the governor, redirecting attention away from his multiplying scandals, it signifies a major step toward equity in a place long distinguished by economic divisions made all the more awful by Covid. It is important to recognize, though, that we did not get here by default — not solely by way of Mr. Cuomo’s diminished authority or his loosened grip on things.

That narrative misses the impact of years of activism on the part of political progressives, labor unions, immigrant organizations and so many others. Groups like the Working Families Party successfully campaigned for a more left-leaning State Legislature and in recent months made a relentless effort to deliver the message that the state needed to spend more on improving the lives of average people and less on kowtowing to a population whose greatest pandemic agony was the inability to find an available contractor when it seemed like the pool house needed some shaking up.

In addition to funneling a record $29.5 billion into schools, the new budget delivers billions of dollars in rent relief and aid to small businesses and arts groups, as well as $2.1 billion to undocumented immigrants — so many of whom have made the delivery of consumable goods possible during this time of affluent seclusion. A new report from the Fiscal Policy Institute indicates that this will help 290,000 people — 213,000 of them in New York City and virtually all of whom had been excluded from most forms of Covid-related economic relief.

Among the many protests, marches and actions that called attention to the need for this measure, about 80 undocumented workers went on a hunger strike around the state. One of the strikers, Veronica Leal, a Mexican immigrant and single mother living in Washington Heights, lost 14 pounds in 18 days. She last worked as a housekeeper on March 26, 2020, she told me. She used her savings to pay rent until that savings ran out.

On Wednesday, the hunger strikers broke their fast with a rally in Washington Square, celebrating what they perceived as a newfound sense of dignity after so many years of neglect at the hands of the social safety net.

In January, 170 grass roots organizations along with dozens of legislators formed the Invest in Our New York coalition, which in the subsequent months made close to one million calls to lawmakers, sent more than 260,000 texts to residents across the state, held 100 teach-ins and placed hanging cards declaring “Tax the Rich” on 120,000 doors. The coalition spent a lot of time explaining how tax cuts for the wealthy played out. In 2012, for example, New Yorkers earning between $500,000 and $2 million a year received the largest tax cuts of any income-bracketed group; two years later came corporate tax cuts.

Although progressives did not receive all of the tax changes they sought, they struck a victory in the hike to state income-tax rates on top earners. Anyone making more than one million dollars a year will now see an increase from 8.82 percent a year to 9.65 percent. Leaving federal and local taxes out of the equation, what it means, for example, is that a couple earning $2 million a year will now see their state income-tax burden rise from $176,00 a year to $193,000. The highest tax bracket would reach 10.9 percent and affect only incomes over $25 million.

Opponents of tax increases on the wealthy have forever argued that even the slightest incremental change will send New Yorkers fleeing to income-tax-free Florida. Now we will have an opportunity to see how many people making $2 million a year will really move from the Upper East Side to South Beach — a location where climate models predict two feet or more of sea-level rise by 2060 — for a savings equal to the cost of a five-year-old Chevy Malibu. These are people who essentially require grief counseling when their children are forced to go to Vassar. Are they really going to pull their children out of elite private schools that have fed the Ivy League for hundreds of years to settle down in a place with a diet named after it?

In his annual letter to shareholders this week, JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, predicted a post-pandemic economic boom — a “euphoria” built on excess savings and pent-up demand — that, he said, could easily last into 2023. He also pointed out that there were tax loopholes — breaks for owners of private jets, for example — that the country could do away with.

Only a few days earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported that March residential real estate sales in Manhattan had climbed to their highest level in 14 years. What lobbyists who have reflexively fought higher taxes for years never understand is that in New York, cash flow is not the only status marker of the rich. So is enlightenment.

Ex-Northeastern Coach Solicited Nude Photos From Students, U.S. Says

A former Northeastern University track-and-field coach was arrested in connection with a scheme to trick female athletes into sending him nude or seminude photos, federal prosecutors announced on Wednesday.

The former coach, Steve Waithe, 28, of Chicago, was charged with one count of cyberstalking and one count of wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a statement.

From October 2018 to February 2019, Mr. Waithe worked as a track-and-field coach at Northeastern University in Boston, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. During that time, prosecutors said, he asked to use female athletes’ cellphones “under the pretense of filming their form at practice and at meets,” according to the statement. At times, he was observed “scrolling through” the phones while holding the devices as if he were recording video, the complaint said.

Beginning in February 2020, Mr. Waithe orchestrated a scheme to trick female athletes into sending him nude or seminude photos of themselves, prosecutors said.

Mr. Waithe contacted the victims through social media accounts and claimed that he had found compromising photos of them online and offered to “help” them get the photos removed from the internet, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

While using assorted pseudonyms, including variations on “Privacy Protector,” “Katie Janovich” and “Anon,” Mr. Waithe requested the photos from the students, ostensibly to conduct “reverse image searches,” according to the statement.

From at least June 2020 through October 2020, Mr. Waithe cyberstalked at least one athlete at Northeastern via messages on social media, an anonymized phone number and an intrusion into her Snapchat account, prosecutors said.

According to the statement, the investigation revealed that Mr. Waithe’s internet browser history included searches for information on how to hack Snapchat accounts and visits to websites with titles like, “Can anyone trace my fake Instagram account back to me?”

Mr. Waithe also reached out to victims under the premise of “athlete research” or “body development study,” prosecutors said.

Identifying himself as “Katie Janovich” or “Kathryn Svoboda,” he emailed potential victims and described a phony study for athletes “and requested information relating to height, weight and diet habits,” according to the statement.

The emails, prosecutors said, also asked the women to send photos of themselves in a “uniform or bathing suit to show as much skin as possible” and suggested that the images would not be shared or saved.

The emails included attachments of sample nude and seminude images of “Katie” to demonstrate what types of pictures the victims should send, court documents said.

Investigators said they had identified more than 10 victims of the so-called body development study ruse and over 300 related nude and seminude photos in Mr. Waithe’s email accounts.

Mr. Waithe was fired from Northeastern University in February 2019 “as a result of a university investigation into his inappropriate conduct toward female student-athletes,” Renata Nyul, a spokeswoman for the university, said in a statement.

“Impacted students were provided with resources for counseling and holistic support for their well-being,” she said, adding that the university police worked with federal law enforcement in the case.

Mr. Waithe previously worked as a track-and-field coach at other academic institutions, including Penn State, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Tennessee and Concordia University Chicago, according to the charging documents.

Calls to phone numbers associated with Mr. Waithe’s name were not immediately returned on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer.

The cyberstalking charge provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The wire fraud charge provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, the office said.

Make Mealtimes Less Stressful With the Advice From These Podcasts

Illustration for article titled Make Mealtimes Less Stressful With the Advice From These Podcasts

Photo: Maglara (Shutterstock)

When we want to find new ways for our children to appreciate food, we often turn to cookbooks for guidance or look for the latest food trend on the internet. But nowadays, we can also turn to the podcast app on our smartphones for advice from parents and professionals to help us get kids out of that culinary rut and make mealtimes less stressful for everyone.

We recently found five shows that helped inspire us to find new ways for our kids to develop a positive relationship with what’s on their plate. If there are others you enjoy that aren’t listed here, please share them in the comments.

Kiddos in the Kitchen

Like any parent, Stephanie Conner wants her son to develop a healthy connection with food. But when he was diagnosed with multiple food allergies, including to dairy, peanuts, and soy, she felt “stuck” on how to help him build that relationship.

She created the Kiddos Cook blog and its audio offshoot, Kiddos in the Kitchen, to help develop her son’s love of all things culinary. In each monthly episode, Conner shows that cooking with kids can be messy (literally and figuratively), but it doesn’t have to be complex.

Her questions for doctors, feeding specialists, chefs, and restaurateurs reveal a genuine curiosity that is inspiring and comforting. And it can be a relief to any stressed-out parent to hear cookbook author Chef Del Sroufe say that, like most parents, he also cycles through the same recipes week after week when he isn’t entertaining guests.

Healthy Family Project

Simple things like growing your food in a garden or meal planning can seem intimidating or like a drain on your valuable time. Amanda Keefer, mother of two girls and the host of the Healthy Family Project podcast, is aware of how overwhelmed parents can feel when they hear buzzwords around food trends, and she takes that into consideration when speaking with her guests.

We especially love that she’s not shy about discussing what she feels are her own shortcomings, and the bloggers, doctors, and dietitians she talks to offer her valuable advice in an engaging way; this isn’t a boring lecture series about all the things they think you should be doing. The tone will make the listener feel less alone in their struggles to feed their children.

The Messy Intersection

Like any good podcast, Diana K. Rice’s The Messy Intersection draws you in with engaging stories. Her guests certainly have compelling stories to tell. They range from getting shamed by a pediatrician for feeding their kids Lucky Charms, to the challenges of breastfeeding, to bonding over episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. 

Rice encourages listeners to “embrace the mess” and creates a safe space for her interviewees—usually the registered dietician’s peers—to share the evidence-based insights that stem from their stories about “raising kids resilient to diet culture.” And she isn’t afraid to play devil’s advocate when their opinions get a little passionate.

Tube to Table

With all the messiness and social anxiety that comes with ensuring their children receive proper nutrition, it can be stressful being the parent of a tube-fed child. But weaning them toward a more traditional mealtime experience comes with its own set of challenges.

Hosts and feeding specialists Jennifer Berry and Heidi Liefer Moreland invite their guests to share practical guidance that cuts through the conflicting information parents often receive and helps shine a light on a condition many parents and doctors are still discovering how to treat. One Apple Podcast commenter even wrote that Tube to Table “normalized all the feelings I’ve ever felt” raising a tube-dependent child.

Food Crimes

Podcasts aren’t just for parents. Food Crimes is a parody of courtroom procedurals where actual kids argue real cuisine cases in front of a judge to discover who should get their just desserts for not sharing a milkshake or forgetting to put the yogurt back in the fridge (guilty!).

Episodes are about the length of a car ride home from school, so your littles will be entertained while you get your true crime fix. There’s a catch: The podcast is on the Pinna platform, which requires a subscription—but you can avail yourself of a four-week free trial to see if the service is right for your family.

How to Introduce Your Kids to Vegan and Plant-Based Diets

Illustration for article titled How to Introduce Your Kids to Vegan and Plant-Based Diets

Photo: Jacob Lund (Shutterstock)

For parents of kids who are picky eaters, introducing any new food item into their diets can be a challenge. That challenge gets even more complicated when parents try to introduce kids to vegan or vegetarian diets—especially when they’re doing it at older ages.

The good news? There are a lot more options now than in the past. Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, a holistic nutritionist, vegan chef, cookbook author, and television personality, points out that plant-based food products have improved in accessibility and taste over the years.

“I’ve been vegan for 23 years, and it is insanely simple now,” she says. “There’s an alternative for pretty much anything—ice cream, meat substitutes, [and] the cheese substitutes are amazing. Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger, non-vegans eat that and many think it tastes the same while also being healthier and better for the planet.”

The variety available now obviously includes the food itself, but information is prevalent now, too. Scott-Hamilton notes that there are websites, apps, influencers, and personalities on social media platforms—and even recipes from large companies and restaurant chains that are plant-based or vegan.

“Information is out there and prevalent, and you don’t have to dig anymore,” she says.

For kids, especially older kids who have previously been eating meat, Scott-Hamilton says those options make it much easier to introduce new foods or replace old ones.

“Kids still have developing palettes, so it’s easier to do the switch,” she says. “You can make meatballs and burgers and Bolognese sauces, and fun stuff like that with the alternatives, without them feeling like they’re missing out on the flavor or the texture.”

We asked Scott-Hamilton for some other tips for parents who are trying to introduce kids of all ages to the benefits of plant-based diets.

Start slow and get strategic 

If a kid has been eating a non-plant-based diet, it will likely be difficult to change all aspects of their diet overnight.

“Kids are going to be kids,” Scott-Hamilton says. “They like what they like, so it’s really hard to go full-tilt with them.”

Finding some vegan substitutes for kid-friendly foods is a good starting point. There are vegan versions of kid staples like chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese. For parents trying to move away from processed foods entirely, it can also be a challenge to get them to switch or give up the convenience. But there are also ways to make fun, kid-friendly foods that have hidden healthy ingredients in them.

“There are ways to sneak veggies into their food,” Scott-Hamilton says. “You can make really yummy smoothies and hide some green veggies in there, you can turn smoothies into popsicles. Kid-friendly foods can be easily manipulated without them knowing.”

Their age is also a factor. As is the case with any of us, as kids get older it can be harder to change habits or make lifestyle changes.

“If they’re, let’s say, 10 years old, it’s going to be harder to get them to switch,” Scott-Hamilton says. “When it comes to just each individual kid, you have to do it slowly and in a smart way—swapping out nuggets for the vegan kind, or not going completely vegan immediately, doing it little by little, swapping things out, getting them used to the flavors. The older they are, the tougher it might be because they’re more set in their ways. It’s easier when they’re younger, but that’s not to say they won’t switch. The foods are so delicious now, they can’t tell the difference in a lot of cases.”

Especially with older kids, parents can start slow by having things like “Meatless Mondays,” where they start with one day per week with vegan food. Scott-Hamilton also suggests swapping out ground beef on “Taco Tuesdays” for plant-based taco meat each week or even on a bi-weekly basis to get started.

“Start with things they already like to eat and then show them alternatives,” she says.

Understand the staples 

Plant-based diets aren’t much different than non-plant-based in one respect when it comes to kids: The staple foods kids need are still the same. Lots of fresh vegetables and fruits are vital.

“Vegetables are huge and whole grains, trying to stay away from processed things like pastas and breads,” Scott-Hamilton says. “The earlier you can get a kid used to eating clean, the easier it is to maintain those habits as adults. Get them started on balanced meals heavy on vegetables and making snack time healthy with fruits and nuts, homemade trail mix, things like avocado; the more whole, plant-based it can be with a smattering of fun stuff here and there, the easier it will be for them to make those healthy decisions on their own.”

Avocados are a good example of the type of nutrient-dense and versatile food that can be a key part of a vegan diet for kids. They also have a lot of fiber—and many kids don’t get enough fiber in their diet whether they are eating plant-based or not. And if the texture or color of an avocado is unappealing to a kid, it is something that can easily be hidden and combined with other foods.

Spinach is another nutrient-rich food that kids may not like much on its own but can easily be hidden in smoothies or baked into other dishes.

Make kids part of the process 

We’ve previously covered the importance of parents cooking with their kids, and Scott-Hamilton recommends taking that even further than just cooking.

“Especially with older kids but also younger kids, it’s important to bring them into the kitchen to really start to get grounded on food preparation and where their food comes from,” she says. “A lot of times, kids grow up just kind of being fed and don’t value the time it takes for food to be prepared or think about where it comes from, what it does before, during, and after to your body.”

In addition to learning basic cooking and kitchen skills, involving them in the process of how food is selected at the store or even grown is also important.

“Even as adults, people are so disconnected from the process of food that they don’t value the time it takes for one strawberry to be made,” Scott-Hamilton says. “To see the process from start to finish helps kids see the bigger picture instead of, ‘This is just food on my plate that’s served to me.’ It gives them a more well-rounded view, and they’re going to take more of an interest going forward for their own health, or for sustainability, or for animals—whatever they latch onto.”

Why You Shouldnt Worry About Your Gut Health

hands holding a model of the intestines

Photo: LightField Studios (Shutterstock)

Our digestive system is a hugely important part of our bodies, and its health is rightly important to us. Without good gut health, we might be in pain, or suffer embarrassing symptoms, or worse. But it does not follow that we need to load up on foods or products that promise to improve our gut health.

Gut health, it turns out, is not a well-defined concept. That means it’s not always possible to tell whether it’s improving or whether we even have a problem with it in the first place. Two researchers from the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University recently wrote in a Lancet journal article and on the Conversation about the fact that gut health has become more of a marketing buzzword than a scientific or medical phenomenon.

After all, what do we mean when we talk about gut health? Often it’s either the absence of unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea, or the absence of medical conditions like Crohn’s disease. These conditions and symptoms are each different, so there’s not a single state of “gut health” that we can achieve to prevent all of them. Scientists are still trying to understand the details, and research is ongoing.

The microbiome is also important, but again, scientists have not managed to come up with a way to reliably tell the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy microbiome. The exact population of microbes in two healthy people’s guts may differ from each other, for example. And despite ongoing research, we still can’t test your microbes and tell you what’s wrong with you (outside of a few specific cases, like Clostridium difficile infection).

But the idea that gut health must be important has provided a marketing boost for a plethora of products, foods, and practices that are supposed to be good for us. Probiotics, for example, are suggested to treat or prevent gastrointestinal troubles. But many fermented foods like yogurt and kombucha don’t affect the makeup of our gut microbiome, and even when they do, we don’t always know if they’re affecting it for the better.

Basically, if someone says a certain food or diet is supposed to be good for your gut health, they’re usually making assumptions they can’t back up. The scientists, Amy Loughman and Heidi Staudacher, write:

For example, there is no solid human evidence yet that intake of processed foods or refined sugar leads to negative effects on the entirety of the aforementioned gut health parameters. Neither are lists of top ten gut health foods particularly helpful or insightful; instead they simplify the complexity of diet to a handful of foods high in fibre without appreciation of important nuances.

They also point out that there are many types of fiber and that they probably aren’t all equally good for us; there is evidence that some fibers could be harmful if we eat too much of them.

A generally varied diet that includes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will probably be good for our gut health. So will other healthy habits like exercising and avoiding smoking. As they further discuss in the Conversation article, gut health isn’t a thing you achieve by drinking kombucha or eschewing sugar: “it’s dietary patterns and overall habits, not individual foods, that shift the dial.”

16 health, fitness, and wellness apps on sale this weekend

Products featured here are selected by our partners at StackCommerce.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

Invest in your health with one of these fitness and wellness apps.
Invest in your health with one of these fitness and wellness apps.

Image: Verv

Want to kick your wellness routine into high gear? These fitness, health, and sleep tracking apps are all on sale for a limited time. 

All you have to do is enter the code DOWNLOADIT at checkout and you can slash the already-on-sale prices by an extra 30%.

Using just the camera on your phone, the 3D capture system on the Onyx app counts your reps, helps correct your form, and tracks nearly any exercise you do. For a limited time, get a lifetime subscription for just $55.99 when you enter the code DOWNLOADIT at checkout.

If you have specific fitness goals in mind, enter them in this app and let BetterMe take it from there. It’ll create a personal diet plan for you, track your water intake, give you advice, and more. For a limited time, get started with a lifetime subscription for just $27.99 when you enter the code DOWNLOADIT.

Even if you’re eating well and exercising, poor sleep can throw you off track. Guide yourself toward restful sleep by streaming over 20 personalized channels of sleep meditations, bedtime stories, calming visuals, and more with Restflix. Two years of access will cost you just $34.99 (normally $99) for a limited time if you use the code DOWNLOADIT.

If you want a workout that doesn’t feel like a workout, try dancing. With Dance Forever on Demand, you can work out to cardio dance classes, mood-boosting workouts, and more. With the code DOWNLOADIT, you can get lifetime access for just $27.99 (normally $197) for a limited time.

On Rootd, you’ll engage with therapist-approved exercises, breathing tools, guided visualizations, and even an on-demand button designed to help you get through panic attacks. A one-year subscription is just $18.19 (regularly $59) for a limited time with the code DOWNLOADIT.

Fitness Ally uses your device’s camera to coach you through workouts in real time with effective feedback and helpful motivation. Get access for a year for just $13.99 (regularly $59) when you use the code DOWNLOADIT.

Get over 700 guided workouts that you can do at home, in the gym, or even outdoors, plus music to pair them with. Everything on the Auro app is led by expert trainers and tailored to your fitness level and goal intentions.  Enter the code DOWNLOADIT at checkout and get a one-year subscription for just $17.49 (normally $59).

This versatile home workout planner covers exercise, nutrition, sleep, and mindfulness. You’ll get access to a wide range of fitness activities, meditations, and meal plans, allowing you to embrace holistic health and wellness. Get lifetime access for just $27.99 (normally $1,200) when you enter the code DOWNLOADIT.

Ultrahuman helps people achieve their fitness goals, but not just through exercise: It also helps you manage your sleep and is designed with your mental health in mind. Get lifetime access for just $55.99 (normally $399) with the coupon code DOWNLOADIT.

This app is designed to help you improve your sexual health. For a limited time, get access for a year for just $13.99 (normally $59) when you use the code DOWNLOADIT.

With YogaDownload, you’ll get access to over 1,500 yoga and other fitness classes for a full year. For a limited time, get started for just $20.30 (normally $119) when you use the code DOWNLOADIT.

Missing group fitness classes? This interactive online yoga app helps you feel like you’re in the yoga studio with others. Enter the code DOWNLOADIT at checkout to get a lifetime subscription for just $209.30 (normally $399) for a limited time.

Does falling asleep in two minutes sound like a far-away dream? Make it your reality with Restly sleep app. For a limited time, pay just $27.99 (normally $100) for a lifetime subscription when you use the code DOWNLOADIT.

Quotely helps you re-train your brain from naturally thinking negative thoughts to positive ones. Read through thousands of quotes, find motivational books, and more for just $20.99 (normally $280) for a limited time. Just enter code DOWNLOADIT at checkout.

Created by top meditation teachers and neuroscientists, MindFi can help you “recharge” and refocus whenever you want. Use the code DOWNLOADIT and pay just $27.30 (normally $365) for a limited time.

Each day of the week, Welzen will provide a new meditation. For a limited time, pay just $20.99 (regularly $149) for a lifetime subscription when you use the code DOWNLOADIT.

Overhaul your nutrition and exercise with the help of these classes

Products featured here are selected by our partners at StackCommerce.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

Learn the fundamentals of a balanced plant-based diet.
Learn the fundamentals of a balanced plant-based diet.

Image: Felix HArder

TL;DR: Learn how to take your health and wellness up a notch with the Complete Healthy Living and Cooking Bundle, on sale for $29.99 as of March 28.

Instead of succumbing to social media diet trends like tummy tea, get serious about your health and nutrition by signing up for seven courses on aligning your nutrition, exercise, mindset, and lifestyle.

With this Healthy Living and Cooking Bundle, you’ll get 24 hours of content focused on cooking and eating better, exercising in a way that works for you, and staying motivated with proven strategies. These courses will serve as a solid foundation for overhauling your lifestyle. You’ll learn all about whole food and vegan cooking, superfood nutrition, and how to set up a healthy diet plan based on those three factors. You’ll discover what to eat for weight loss, for boosting your metabolism, for building healthy bones, for gaining energy, and more. There’s even a class that’ll show you how to make deliciously healthy vegan cookies.

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Eating Mostly Restaurant Meals Linked to Higher Risk of Early Death

Signs for Taco Bell, Grinder, McDonalds, Panda Express fast-food restaurant line the streets in the Figueroa Corridor area of South Los Angeles on July 24, 2008, Los Angeles, California.

Signs for Taco Bell, Grinder, McDonalds, Panda Express fast-food restaurant line the streets in the Figueroa Corridor area of South Los Angeles on July 24, 2008, Los Angeles, California.
Photo: David McNew (Getty Images)

Dining out often might come with a hidden cost down the road, new research suggests. The study found an association between frequently eating at restaurants and a higher risk of dying earlier, along with deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Researchers at the University of Iowa looked at 25 years worth of data (1990 to 2014) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a regularly conducted and nationally representative poll of Americans’ lifestyle habits. During that time, more than 35,000 adults over the age of 20 took part in the survey and answered questions about their diet, including how often they dined out. This data was then linked to mortality data updated to 2015. By that time, there had been 2,781 deaths documented among those involved in the survey.

The researchers classified people in the survey who reported eating out at least twice a day as frequently dining out. And when compared to people who dined out less than one meal a week on average, those who frequently dined out had a 49% higher associated risk of death, after accounting for factors like age, sex, and other lifestyle habits. They also had a significantly higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease (18%) and cancer (67%).

“Frequent consumption of meals prepared away from home is significantly associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality,” the authors wrote in their paper, published Thursday in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

These sorts of observational studies can only point to a correlation between the things they’re supposed to study, not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. And that’s one big reason why it’s tricky to make concrete conclusions about how our diets affect our health, especially something as complicated as death. A person who eats out a lot is likely different in other important ways from someone who doesn’t eat out. If someone eats out frequently because they don’t have time to cook at home, for instance, then they might also not have time to exercise or have trouble getting enough sleep.

At the same time, there is plenty of other research showing that the food we get from dining out tends to be less healthy for us than food we cook at home, especially when it comes from fast food or casual dining restaurants. So while you shouldn’t necessarily think that dining out twice a day every day will definitely and directly raise your relative risk of dying earlier by 50%, it’s probably still not very good for you.

“The take-home message is that frequent consumption of meals prepared away from home may not be a healthy habit,” the authors wrote. “Instead, people should be encouraged to consider preparing more meals at home.”

Dont Believe These Myths About Creatine

creatine powder, jar, and spoon

Photo: M.Photografer (Shutterstock)

Creatine is one of the most popular supplements for people who lift, and with good reason: There’s significant evidence showing it’s safe to take and effective at helping you build muscle. But myths persist, so let’s take a look at a few of them.

Myth: It’s a steroid or some kind of scary drug

The truth: It’s not. Creatine is a substance that our bodies make naturally, and we also get it in our diet. A pound of meat contains about a gram of creatine; a typical dose of creatine as a supplement is 3-5 grams per day. Creatine from supplements just adds to what we naturally consume. (That said, if your body is good at making creatine or if you eat a lot of meat, the supplement may not have much to add. That seems to be why some people respond better to the supplement than others.)

Another difference between creatine and steroids—besides the fact that they are completely different in terms of chemistry and biology—is that creatine’s benefits, while well-supported, are minor. It may help you get a few extra reps on a max-effort set, or shave a tiny bit off your sprinting time. Over hundreds of workouts, the extra effects add up, but it’s not going to make you massively larger or stronger.

Myth: You have to cycle on and off

The truth: You don’t. When creatine first became popular, there were still some unanswered questions about how the human body would react to being on it long term. Would we stop making our own natural creatine? Would it be harmful to our kidneys?

One way to deal with that uncertainty was to take creatine for a short time and then stop taking it for a while. But it turns out that there’s no need to cycle; creatine keeps working and our bodies keep making creatine even with long-term supplementation.

And people don’t suffer kidney damage from taking creatine, although if you get a kidney function test your doctor may notice elevated creatinine levels. (Creatinine is a product of creatine breakdown, which is normal, but in people who don’t take supplemental creatine it can be a sign of kidney damage.) There’s some disagreement on whether creatine is safe for people who already have kidney problems; talk to your doctor if that’s a concern for you.

Myth: It doesn’t work for women

The truth: Creatine studies have been conducted with more male subjects than female, but creatine is effective and has very few downsides for women.

There may be subtle differences between how men and women metabolize and use creatine. For example, this review paper points out that women may have more creatine in their muscles to start with, simply due to having smaller muscles on average. There may also be hormonal reasons why creatine has more of an effect during certain times, like pregnancy and certain stages of the menstrual cycle. But this doesn’t change the big picture: If you lift or play a sport where creatine supplementation can help, you’ll likely benefit from creatine, no matter your gender.

Myth: You have to take creatine at a certain time or in a certain way

The truth: Creatine builds up in your body over time, so the recommendation is to just take a dose every day to keep your stores topped up. That means you should take it on rest days as well as workout days, and also that it doesn’t matter whether you take it before your workout, after your workout, or at any other time of day.

Creatine monohydrate is generally the cheapest kind and the easiest to find; none of the alternative formulations like creatine citrate have been shown to be better.

When you first start taking creatine, you can do a “loading dose” for a week if you like; this gets your creatine stores topped up a bit faster. But you can also just start taking a daily dose; you’ll realize the full effects within a few weeks.