Category: Health

What makes chocolate chip cookies so addictive?

(CNN)When I reflect on my childhood baking memories, one that stands out is a tray of warm chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven. It was so tempting to eat the raw dough while making them — talk about a lesson in delayed gratification — but in 20 or so minutes, delicious buttery, sugary cookies dotted with chocolate chips would be ready to enjoy.

Never mind fancy desserts; chocolate chip cookies have always been one of my favorite treats. And if you are like me and find them irresistible, you probably can’t stop after a few bites.
“Even today, after eating and living with them for 40 years, I still can’t stop eating them,” said Kathleen King, founder of Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton, New York, and creator of the top-rated chocolate chip cookie according to Consumer Reports. “I am either eating no cookies, or I am eating several. I can’t have one.”
    But what exactly makes chocolate chip cookies so universally craved in the first place?

    The emotional attachment to chocolate chip cookies

    “I think a lot of it has to do with the connection to our past, whether it was a grandmother, a mother, a place visited, a summer home or family time. It’s also usually the first cookie every child learned how to make, and so I think there’s a tremendous emotional attachment and remembrance with the chocolate chip cookie,” King said. “Lifestyles are changing, but that connection is still hanging on.”
    Eating chocolate chip cookies can be associated with a range of emotions. “If I’m celebrating, I can have a couple of cookies, but if I’m sad, I want 10 cookies,” she said. “While the cookie is in your mouth, that moment is happiness — and then it’s gone, and you’re sad again, and you have another one.”
    The happiness that comes from sharing homemade chocolate chip cookies cannot be underestimated. King, who started baking chocolate chip cookies and selling them when she was 11 years old, said her biggest motivator for baking them was the joy they brought other people. “That really made me happy — and probably, a lot of people that bake will say the same thing: Sharing [chocolate chip cookies] makes people happy.”

    Addictive ingredients

    Aside from the emotional comfort that chocolate chip cookies may provide, there may be scientific explanations for why we salivate for them. Some research suggests that ingredients in chocolate chip cookies may have additive properties. Take sugar: Evidence in humans shows that sugar and sweetness can induce rewards and cravings comparable in magnitude to those induced by addictive drugs, including cocaine.
    A traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for ¾ cup of granulated sugar and ¾ cup of brown sugar, yielding 10 grams, or 2.5 teaspoons, of sugar per cookie.
    Then there’s the chocolate, which, in addition to sugar, contains small amounts of a compound known as anandamide. Interestingly, anandamide is also a brain chemical that targets the same cell receptors as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana that is responsible for its mood-altering effects. That’s not to say chocolate will produce the same “high” as marijuana, but there may be a chemical basis for the pleasure we get from eating chocolate.
    According to Gary Wenk, director of neuroscience undergraduate programs at the Ohio State University and author of “Your Brain on Food,” high-fat, sugar-rich cookies will raise the level of anandamide in our brains independent of what’s in the cookie, because it’s our body’s response to eating such a tasty item. “The fat and sugar combine to induce our addiction as much as does the anandamide,” Wenk said. “It’s a triple play of delight.”

    Texture and flavor: Key to a cookie’s addictive characteristics

    All of this science may sound intriguing, but the simplest explanation for why chocolate chip cookies are so delectable may have to do with the mix of ingredients that combine in a way that appeals to our senses.
    “A chocolate chip cookie is a brilliant contrast among the flavors and among the textures,” said Gail Vance Civille, founder and president of Sensory Spectrum, a consulting firm that helps companies learn how sensory cues drive consumer perceptions of products.
    The flavor of chocolate chip cookies, according to Civille, is “a beautiful amalgam of caramelized butter and sugar,” the result of the browning of butter and caramelizing of sugar while it bakes. The combination of the toasted grain with the browned butter, caramelized sugar, vanilla and chocolate are “the beautiful rich flavors that blend together in a chocolate chip cookie,” she said. And as the chocolate melts, it becomes more aromatic and punches up the flavor.
    It sounds counterintuitive, but salt is important too, even in sweet treats. “It is what adds interest to food, even if it’s a sweet food, because it makes the sugar and other ingredients taste better and come together better,” Civille said. “A pinch of salt in cookies really makes a difference, and it enhances sweetness a little bit.”
    King noted that “with Tate’s, we were the first to do the thin and crisp, which is kind of an addictive mouthfeel, and we were also the first to do a little bit heaver on the salt. People don’t even put salt in cookies, but [without salt], it tastes flat.”
    Other secrets to making delicious chocolate chip cookies include using butter instead of shortening or margarine; brown sugar, which has a molasses-like quality to it; and pure vanilla, according to King. A high-quality flour and a really good chocolate chip are also important.
    The texture of chocolate chip cookies also plays a big role in their appeal. “Just on the texture side, [the chocolate chip cookie] has a lot going for it,” Civille said.
    “Every bite will be interesting. … You will hit the cookie, which has crispness due to air pockets in the cookie crumb, and then the chocolate, which is dense and uniform when you bite through it. It’s like a symphony orchestra playing together. … It’s very harmonious,” she said.
    One of the simplest ways to test whether the flavor and texture of chocolate chip cookies are “addictive enough” is to observe people eating them.
    “When I would create any product, if I put it out as a sample to my staff and if I didn’t watch them unconsciously go back and take some more, then I felt it wasn’t good enough. There’s a lot of good, but I didn’t want good. I wanted that addictive thing,” King said.

    Personal preferences

    Although there are some universally appealing qualities of chocolate chip cookies that make them so addictive, specific preferences may vary from person to person. One may crave chocolate chip cookies that are soft and gooey; another may long for crispy, crunchy cookies.
    Most people prefer semisweet chips, which have a soft melting quality that can lend itself to a more addictive mouthfeel with the crunchy caramelized cookie, according to King. But some may opt for milk chocolate, and others may like the taste of bittersweet chocolate in their cookies.
    The optimal ratio of chocolate chips to cookie is also a personal preference. “I’ll put a bag on the table, and my husband will turn them over and look for the least amount of chips, but I’ll look for the most,” King said.

    A happy indulgence

    Whatever one’s individual chocolate chip cookie preference — or “addiction” — it’s fair to say that these beloved cookies can have a place in a balanced diet, as long as you are willing to keep portions in check.

    Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

    “The main thing is not to think of food as good food and bad food. It’s all good. It’s how much you eat of it,” King said. “I used to be overweight, and I had that in my mind, if I ate a cookie, that was bad and now the day is ruined, instead of just, ‘that’s cool.’ “
    So whether it feels like a true “addiction” or not, indulging in a chocolate chip cookie or two should be a happy experience.

    This State’s New Abortion Bill Is So Restrictive It Might As Well Be A Ban

    Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Mississippi’s New Abortion Law Is Wildly Restrictive

    By Mehak Anwar

    The latest news when it comes to abortion access is not reassuring. On Thursday, March 21, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill that bans abortions in the state once the fetus’s heartbeat can be heard. The bill, which is poised to be one of the strictest abortion bans in the country, could ban abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, around the time early traces of fetal heartbeat can be perceived. Elite Daily reached out to Bryant’s office for comment on the bill and his remarks, but did not immediately hear back. Mississippi’s new abortion law is wildly restrictive, and reproductive rights activists and organizations are preparing to fight back.

    Mississippi’s abortion bill, SB 2116, which is slated to take effect on July 1, 2019, not only prohibits abortions of “an unborn human individual with detectable fetal heartbeat,” but it also penalizes physicians who perform the abortions. The bill states:

    A physician performing an abortion on a pregnant woman after determining that the unborn human individual has a detectable fetal heartbeat is subject to license revocation or disciplinary action.

    At the signing ceremony, Bryant celebrated the bill, calling a heartbeat “the universal hallmark of life since man’s very beginning.” Elite Daily reached out to Bryant’s office for comment on the bill and his remarks, but did not immediately hear back.

    For further insight on the bill’s impact, Elite Daily reached out to Dr. Natalie Hinchcliffe, a family medicine provider in Ohio and Fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health. Dr. Hinchcliffe tells Elite Daily that Bryant’s definition of a heartbeat is not a medical definition, but the governor’s personal one. Hinchcliffe added, “The attempt to politically define when life begins is a direct attempt to control women and pregnant peoples’ bodies by applying the personal beliefs of some politicians onto everyone.” Elite Daily reached out to Gov. Bryant’s office for comment on Dr. Hinchcliffe’s statement, but did not hear back at the time of publication.

    Mississippi, which only has one clinic offering abortion services in the entire state, will join a list of states like Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri, and Texas, that have recently introduced or passed extremely restrictive abortion bills, including six-week bills in states like Iowa, which a state judge declared unconstitutional.

    The Center for Reproductive Rights released a statement on Tuesday, March 19 vowing to sue to block the new bill. In the statement, CRR notes the bill “would ban abortion before many women know they’re pregnant,” which CCR calls “blatantly unconstitutional.” Elite Daily reached out to Gov. Bryant’s office for comment on CRR calling the bill “unconstitutional,” but did not hear back at the time of publication. After the Supreme Court case affirmed the right to an abortion nationally in 1973, the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in further upheld the right for pregnant people to decide to have an abortion before the fetus is viable, usually around 24 weeks. The case also affirmed that while states could regulate the procedure, they could not put an “undue burden” on individuals attempting to access abortion — leaving the debate about what kinds of burdens are “undue” ongoing.

    Dr. Hinchcliffe says that Mississippi’s strict abortion timeline constitutes an “undue burden” because it bans abortion before most people know they are pregnant. “This is beyond an undue burden. This is an impossible burden.” Elite Daily reached out to Gov. Bryant’s office for comment on Dr. Hinchcliffe asserting the bill is an “undue burden,” but did not hear back at the time of publication.

    Dr. Daniel Grossman, an abortion provider and director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), explains the implications of the bill:

    A heartbeat is not usually detectable before [six] weeks of pregnancy, which is about [two] weeks after a missed period. So that means a patient would have [two] weeks to recognize they’re pregnant, finalize their decision, find a facility with an available appointment, get time off work or from school, get the needed money together, and arrange transportation.

    Dr. Grossman adds, “This burden is so extreme that it essentially makes abortion impossible to access for the vast majority of patients.” Elite Daily reached out to Gov. Bryant’s office for comment on Dr. Grossman’s statement, but did not hear back at the time of publication.

    Reproductive rights advocates are already pushing back against the bill. In an email to Elite Daily, Deputy National Communications Director at NARAL Pro-Choice America calls the law “unconstitutional,” saying:

    It would make it harder for healthcare providers to operate in Mississippi — a state already facing a crisis when it comes to medical care for women and families — by penalizing doctors who perform abortion services and creating a nightmare scenario as medical professionals flee the state and clinics are forced to close that are the primary source of heath care for many women. Further, this bill would make no exception for women who are survivors of rape or incest, meaning survivors would be forced to carry their pregnancy to term.

    Elite Daily reached out to Gov. Bryant’s office for comment on NARAL Pro-Choice America’s statement on the bill, but did not hear back at the time of publication.

    On its website, NARAL Pro-Choice America notes that “91 percent of Mississippi women live in counties with no abortion clinic,” calling abortion policies in the state “severely restrictive.”

    Dr. Hinchcliffe notes that this law, like all abortion care restrictions, will disproportionately impact people of low income, people of color, and LGBTQIA people, adding, “Abortion is health care. Doctors know this; patients know this; it’s time for politicians to understand this.”

    Though the heartbeat bill has been signed by the Republican governor, the state can expect legal action from CCR that may block the law or strike it down.

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    Welltory packs a lot of science into its app to measure your stress levels

    Theres a lot of talk about the quantified self, but one of the grey areas remains working out your levels of stress. Usually this requires hardware devices. Now a New York-based startup thinks its come up with an approach based on specially developed algorithms and machine learning using simple heartbeat readings taken with a smartphone app.

    Welltory (iOS, Android) has also now closed its second investment round, raising $1 million from business angels. This is being used to launch the next version of the app, which is aimed at cutting down your stress levels and boosting your productivity. Luckily the app is, in my opinion, a joy to use in terms of interface and over-all usability.

    Heres their idea: Google Analytics for humans, complete with AB-testing features and KPI goals. The idea is to work out the effect of how, for instance, morning meditation, working from home or a diet change might affect stress and energy levels. You then keep what works for you and discard what doesnt.

    While the main measurement comes through measuring your heartbeat, using the same PPG technology found in most pulse oximeters, it then applies variability algorithms to assess the state of the autonomic nervous system the bodys stress and recovery regulation center. Thats how they come up with stress and energy levels.

    In fact, this is the same technique used by professionals in sports. The Red Wings hockey team relies on HRV analysis to track training and recovery with Firstbeat. Similarly, NBA players like DeAndre Jordan and Matthew Dellavedova wear HRV-based WHOOPs during games.

    But Welltory is aiming to bring this kind of monitoring to the masses.

    Competitors in this space are usually hardware-based, such as the aforementioned WHOOP (which is a $500 device) and Firstbeat, which has several hardware partners.

    Welltory is free as a basic version, but the paid version of the Welltory app has a Quantified Self Dashboard, which lets users collect data about their lifestyles.

    It also can be synced with fitness trackers and Fitbits, Apple Health and Google Fit to collect data about sleep, nutrition and physical activity. It also supports RescueTime (a desktop-based productivity tracker), home weather stations that track your surroundings and more.

    Over time it generates charts for you to work out correlations between behaviors. So for instance, you can see if walking an extra mile a day helps stress levels, or see if meditation sessions are affected by the weather that day.

    Jane Smorodnikova, co-founder, says the Quantified Self remains a mystery to most, so bringing all the data together in one interface helps explain it. They can see how their activity influences their stress, how many hours of sleep they need to recover properly and what lifestyle habits influence their productivity at work. Stress and energy measurements is the key that connects the dots of your lifestyle data and makes it easy to get real insights.

    Welltory says it currently has 125,000 users and 650,000+ heart rate variability measurements. Its also got a healthy growth in paid users.

    Co-founders Alexander Lyskovsky, Jane Smorodnikova and Pavel Pravdin are all quantified self aficionados who come from engineering backgrounds who wanted an approach based on science and hard data. They were advised by Professor Roman Baevsky, a space medicine expert who is currently a consultant at NASA and the Mars 500 project, who applied heart rate variability to the space program in the 1960s.

    Here’s Why Having Herpes Is Kinda NBD Betches

    I’ve had my fair share of “herpes scares,” one of which led to me dragging my friends into a bar bathroom so they could watch me spread my ass cheeks and inspect my literal butthole for bumps. In my defense, that area is hard to get a good look at with a hand mirror. Anyway, these instances always ended the same: my friends assured me I was fine, I went and got tested at the local clinic, and then two weeks and five thousand panic attacks later, I was told that my results came back negative. Every time, my friends reminded me that “of course” I didn’t have herpes. I used condoms and herpes was a big, bad thing that didn’t just happen to anyone. But then one night, I sent an incredibly graphic photo of the inside of my labia to a friend asking her if she thought it was the herp, as you do, and she advised me to go get tested ASAP. She didn’t seem as convinced as usual, but she still assured me that I was “probably fine.” I went through the usual process, but it quickly became more and more clear that this time was different. Sure enough, when my results came back…they were positive. And here’s the thing: I had used condoms. As it turns out, herpes can just happen to anyone, and TBH it’s not even a big or bad deal. Sorry for being so chill but like, herpes is supes common and doesn’t even affect my health. I’ll tell you more about this by the end of the essay, but so as to not keep you completely on the edge of your seat, the answer is yes, I still f*ck.

    Not to be a bitch, but more than one in six Americans has genital herpes. And oral herpes is even more common. More than 50% percent of Americans have oral herpes, although people seem to care less about this. Oral herpes is “just cold sores,” and yet genital herpes is “social suicide.” But the truth is, they are almost identical viruses. In fact, the virus I have is HSV-1, which is associated with oral herpes, but it activated on my gennies (I will be referring to my genitals as gennies to make this more fun). This means I probably got HSV-1 when someone with oral herpes went down on me.

    HSV-2 is the virus that is referred to as genital herpes, and it’s not completely identical in its makeup to HSV-1, but it’s pretty damn close. Both viruses can show up on your body as sores, although both usually do not show up at all. Approximately 80% of people with genital herpes never notice any symptoms, either because they don’t get any, or because they are so mild they don’t realize what they are. This is part of why herpes is so common: most people who have it don’t realize they do, so they transmit unknowingly (so it’s actually much less likely to get herpes from someone like me, since I know I have it and can therefore take the necessary precautions to not spread it. Just as a like, PSA re: f*cking me).

    On top of this, most standard STD tests don’t include a herpes test. If you’re thinking “WTF??,” you and I have something in common. The CDC doesn’t recommend testing people without symptoms for herpes, which doctors may tell you is because they assume the stigma of having herpes is greater than the health risks, so unless you need to treat symptoms, there’s really “no point” in testing you. This is what one of my sexual partner’s doctor told her after I suggested she go get tested when I received my diagnosis. Of course, letting people live in “ignorant bliss” by not testing the 80% of people with herpes who don’t have symptoms only leads to the virus being spread more. But according to doctors, this is to stop people from dealing with the stigma. So let’s talk about the stigma, shall we?

    The first thing I did when my gynecologist told me I have herpes was openly cry on the streets of New York. Then I got blackout drunk. You know, the usual two-step process to hearing bad news. But I soon learned that herpes isn’t that bad, at least physically. My doctor prescribed an antiviral pill, which I can take daily in order to prevent outbreaks and decrease the chances of transmission. With these meds, plus the use of condoms, my doctor told me there is about a 1% chance of me transmitting herpes to someone during sexual contact, so long as I’m not experiencing an outbreak (sores). I’m not great at math (I’m hot), but I can tell those chances are like, really low. My doctor assured me that even if I ever experience another outbreak, it will never be as bad as the first one. Outbreaks are less severe and less frequent over time. Plus, after doing some research online, I learned that the type of herpes I have—HSV-1 on my gennies—makes outbreaks even less likely. HSV-1 is a less aggressive virus than HSV-2, and it’s likely I’ll never have another outbreak again. I literally may never see another sore on my lil gennies, and it’s very unlikely that I’ll transmit the virus to anyone else. So what’s the big deal then? Stigma, that’s what.


    No joke, this photo was literally taken on the train home from my gyno post-herp news

    I noticed the stigma right away. Wherever I went, it felt like I had a dirty secret, and not in the fun, flirty way. Whenever a guy at a bar smiled at me, all I could think about was how I had this thing that made me “unf*ckable.” I knew herpes was bad because we were all so afraid of getting it, and I’d heard plenty of jokes about how herpes is disgusting, for whores, ruins your life forever, etc. And as someone who has spent a lot of her life battling slut-shaming, it felt like my karmic punishment. I felt ashamed, gross, and unsexy. But the thing is, this was all stigma’s fault, not herpes’. Herpes is a benign skin condition. It poses little to no health risk, and it barely shows up physically. It’s very common, and yet we talk about it as if it’s this awful disease that only the unlucky and the unwanted get stuck with. Call me radical, but I think that’s f*cking stupid.

    So many of us are living with herpes, but we aren’t talking about it. A lot of us don’t want to because we’re embarrassed. I was at a Post Office recently where an employee made a herpes joke, and part of me wanted to yell, “Oh yeah, well I have herpes, so FUCK OFF,” but instead I just pretended to laugh along. That sh*t needs to change. We need to stop talking about herpes in a way that stigmatizes the many people who have it. And I completely understand that people may not want to contract herpes, but I can tell you having it has certainly not been the end of the world for me. I just wish we would talk about it more openly and realize how NBD it is, so the emotional impact of having herpes would be as minimal as the physical one. Doctors aren’t testing people without symptoms because they don’t want people to have to deal with the stigma, but pretending that herpes isn’t so common and not addressing how simple it is to deal with makes that stigma so much worse for those of us who have had symptoms.

    And now, as promised, I will tell you how having herpes has affected my sex life. For the most part, it hasn’t slowed me down. I went on Tinder a bit after getting my results and tested out the waters. My approach was messaging matches and saying, “Hey what’s up, how you doing, I have herpes.” And to my surprise, most people still seemed interested in hitting up bone zone. Of course, some weren’t as comfortable with it. One guy thought that meant I had constant open sores on my vag that would never, ever go away, which I thought was LOL. Like, if that were the case, I would def not be trying to put anything inside me, let alone a d*ck. That would hurt so bad. Anyway, there have been people who, upon hearing I have herpes, are not willing to have sex with me. And that’s okay. I respect that. In fact, in a way, it’s made being intimate with someone a more communicative activity. And honestly, that’s pretty dope.

    I’ve always been very attached to my sexuality, sometimes to a fault. I’m definitely still working on coming to terms with all of this, but I will say that my herpes diagnosis has helped me realize that while I love and cherish my sexuality, it does not define me. Just like having herpes does not define me. I was worried having herpes would mean I could no longer connect with my sexuality, but in many ways it has helped me become even more comfortable with it. I have herpes, and tbh, it’s kind of chic. All adventurous girls do, babe.

    Images: @ireeene71 / Instagram; Giphy (3)

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    Kylie Jenner Reveals How She Got Her ‘Flat Tummy’ After Giving Birth To Stormi Webster! – Perez Hilton

    Kylie Jenner is one sexy momma!

    Over a year after giving birth to daughter Stormi Webster in February 2018, the Life of Kylie star appears to have her old body back.

    On Tuesday, when a fan asked on Instagram Live how she “got a flat tummy again,” the 21-year-old responded:

    “Honestly, it’s all about diet for me… I’m naturally just a really skinny person… like [sister] Kendall Jenner, but not like Kendall—she’s naturally like, model status… But, yeah, I always had a really flat stomach, but I never felt it went back to before Stormi until recently. And I feel like it has a lot to do with diet. Like, I really eat very crazy usually, like whatever I want—pizza, pasta, a lot of diary, and I just kind of cut that all out, and have just been eating better, and I feel like that’s the trick for me, personally.”

    The KUWTK personality added:

    “And I also think after a child, it really does take just as long to get your body back as it did to create a child… Because, I heard that from a  lot of people. Like, it takes a full year…it really does, it really does. I definitely feel back to myself again.”

    According to a deleted tweet in March, Travis Scott‘s girlfriend gained 40 pounds during her pregnancy. The next month, Jenner said on Snapchat that she needs “to lose 20 pounds”… as she enjoyed a sheet pan of freshly baked rolls!

    Kylie Jenner and Jordyn Woods are reportedly “working on rebuilding their friendship.” / (c) Kylie Jenner/Instagram

    In regards to her pregnancy diet, the makeup mogul dished:

    “I ate lot of Eggos—and if you know me, I hate Eggos, always have… But when I was pregnant, I was like mmm! I ate like three a day. I just ate like a magnitude of food—so much, so much food. And, I was having a girl, and they say when you’re having a girl, you crave more, like, sweets vs. salty, and that was true for me. Like, a lot of Krispy Kremes, a lot of sweets. Nothing weird or crazy, but just really sweet things—ice cream, just whatever I wanted.”

    WATCH the clip (below):

    As we wrote last Friday, a People source said “[Kylie and ex-BFF Jordyn Woods‘] friendship is not 100% over” following reports that the 21-year-old model allegedly had an affair with Tristan Thompson, which reportedly lead to his breakup with Khloe Kardashian.

    Though they haven’t spent any time together, the two young ladies are texting. The insider continued:

    “Although she doesn’t live at Kylie’s, Jordyn still has things there. She and Kylie aren’t socializing, but are in contact. They are texting each other.”

    A second source said the two are “working on rebuilding their friendship.”

    In an interview with Red Table Talk‘s Jada Pinkett Smith, Woods DENIED hooking up with Thompson, except for a goodbye kiss that HE allegedly initiated.

    [Image via Kylie Jenner/Instagram.]

    50 Things People Considered Normal While Growing Up, Only To Find Out Theyre Actually Weird

    Growing up, we’ve picked up most of our day-to-day habits from our parents and guardians, learning to adapt to the world by observing and mimicking our surroundings. Most of the time, those routine practices are universal, so it’s small wonder that people just assume them to be normal and expect everyone to be on the same page. However, there are times when your world suddenly collapses as you realize you’re the only person in the room to call slippers ‘fuzzy-footsers’ or that no one in the world eats bananas whole, skin and all.

    Did you have any mind-blowing revelations of your own? Share your stories with other bored pandas to feel less weird about being lied to your whole life!


    When I was little I was terrified spiders would eat me while I was sleeping on the top bunk, so my parents had this cool contraption that was a ‘spider-trap-setter’. They’d bring it in at bedtime, I’d point it around the room, and click the handle to set a ton of spider traps each night so I could sleep.
    Fast forward to my fiancé and I registering for wedding gifts – he scanned a wine bottle opener (with the corkscrew and the arms that go up and down) and I immediately recognized it as a spider-trap-setter. It only then dawned on me that I’d been LIED TO,


    When I was a kid I had a tiny Sony stereo for cassettes. I really loved listening to music – and still do – and children’s stories. I would however only listen for like an hour or so a day, because I thought people inside the cassettes would become to tired and upset with me.


    I was probably 12 or so before I realized that not all kids spend their entire summer vacation farming. I spent my summer days weeding, picking veggies, tending hogs, cattle, chickens and I enjoyed every minute of it!


    My mom and aunt were identical twins. My aunt lived with us from the time I was born until first grade. I never realized until I started Kindergarten that not everyone had two moms that looked exactly the same and one dad. What a shocker.


    Growing up, whenever I would eat bananas my mouth would always hurt and sometimes go numb. Kind of similar to how it feels if you eat too much sour candy. It wasn’t until I was 18 years old that I say to my mom ‘Man, I hate the way bananas make your mouth hurt.’ She then brought me to understand THAT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. So yeah, turns out I’m allergic to bananas.


    In my family, it is a tradition that if somebody bends over they are going to get a swat on the behind. I figured out pretty young that this wasn’t “normal” but continued the tradition anyway. At least until my son was about 4 or 5, and we were at the grocery store. A lady in the aisle in front of us dropped her can of pears, and I’ll be damned if my lil’ rascal didn’t run up all excited and swat her on the butt. She spun around with a shocked expression while I made apology after mortified apology. She was cool though. She laughed and said, “It’s okay, honey. That’s the cutest guy that’s swatted me on the butt in a long time.” Props to her, but we still discontinued the practice at home after that.


    For the first two or three years after I was potty trained, I thought that everyone peed standing up. So there I was, a little girl with impeccable aim.


    My family poops big. Maybe it’s genetic, maybe it’s our diet, but everyone births giant logs of crap. If anyone has laid a mega-poop, you know that sometimes it won’t flush. Growing up, this was a common enough occurrence that our family had a poop knife. It was an old rusty kitchen knife that hung on a nail in the laundry room, only to be used for that purpose. It was normal to walk through the hallway and have someone call out “hey, can you get me the poop knife”?
    I thought it was standard kit. You have your plunger, your toilet brush, and your poop knife.


    I grew up in the country and firmly believed that ice cream trucks were myths and that they only existed on TV shows.


    When I was in kindergarten, I wore my Batman costume to school EVERY DAY! Under clothes, over clothes, rain or shine. Since my mom wasn’t the type to crush my dreams of saving Gotham City or to enforce gender roles on me, I was free to be Batman(without judgement) until the middle of first grade when the other girls stopped wanting to play with me.

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    E-cigarette may become available on NHS – BBC News

    Media captionHywel Griffith reports on new EU laws to be introduced on e-cigarettes

    The UK medicines regulator has approved a brand of e-cigarette to be marketed as an aid to help people stop smoking.

    The decision means e-Voke, produced by British American Tobacco, could be prescribed on the NHS.

    Public Health England says e-cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco and help smokers quit.

    But some experts, including the British Medical Association, say the benefits and harms are not yet known since e-cigarettes are still relatively new.

    The Royal College of GPs said doctors would be reluctant to hand them out to patients without clear merits.

    Around 10m adults – one in five – in the UK smoke cigarettes.

    Many of these would like to or are actively trying to kick the habit and an increasing number are turning to e-cigarettes, the NHS says.

    In the year up to April 2015, two out of three people who used e-cigarettes in combination with the NHS stop smoking service managed to successfully quit.

    Prof Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing, Public Health England, says e-cigarettes have become the most popular quitting aid in England.

    And he thinks more people should benefit.

    “Public Health England wants to see a choice of safe and effective replacements for smoking that smokers themselves want to use,” he said.

    But Dr Tim Ballard of the Royal College of GPs said it would be unreasonable for the NHS to be asked to fund lifestyle choices for people.

    “Potentially, there may be a place for the prescription of e-Voke as part of a smoking cessation programme, but GPs would be very wary of prescribing them until there was clear evidence of their safety and of their efficacy in helping people to quit,” he said.

    “At the moment there isn’t the evidence and the guidance hasn’t been written to help GPs make those decisions.”

    1. On some e-cigarettes, inhalation activates the battery-powered atomiser. Other types are manually switched on

    2. A heating coil inside the atomiser heats liquid nicotine contained in a cartridge

    3. The mixture becomes vapour and is inhaled. Many e-cigarettes have an LED light as a cosmetic feature to simulate traditional cigarette glow.

    Different brands of e-cigarettes contain different chemical concentrations.

    Deborah Arnott of Action on Smoking and Heath (ASH) said: “Electronic cigarettes are a much safer alternative source of nicotine for smokers than cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean they are risk-free and we would discourage anyone who’s not a smoker from using them.

    “It is good news that an electronic cigarette has received a licence from the medicines regulator, as we know that they have been effective in helping smokers quit, and the cost, as part of a quit attempt, will be far lower than treating the diseases caused by smoking.”

    Another type of nicotine inhaler which closely resembles a cigarette, called Voke, was licensed in 2014 to be marketed as an aid to help people stop smoking.