The frequency of your bowel movements can say a lot about your health.

What Your Poo Says About You

The frequency of your bowel movements can say a lot about your health. (Photo: Getty Images/Yahoo)

It’s something we’ve all wondered, but were probably too sheepish to actually ask: How often should you go No. 2?

Despite the squeamish factor, experts say it’s a legitimate question. Your bowel movements are an important indicator of your overall health, says board-certified gastroenterologist Anish Sheth, MD, co-author of What’s Your Poo Telling You?.

While the answer to how often you should use the bathroom is typically “it depends,” it really depends when it comes to your bowel movements. A typical schedule “may vary from three times per day to three times per week, depending on the person,” Sheth tells Yahoo Health.

The range is so wide, he explains, because how often you have a bowel movement can be influenced by a range of factors, from your diet and lifestyle to stress. Even traveling can have an impact. Of course, the behavior of your colon is a factor, too. If your colon absorbs too much fluid from your stool, you can have hard bowel movements that are difficult to pass — or wind up with constipation and subsequently go fewer than three times per week.

Constipation can lead to more serious issues such as diverticulitis (an inflammation of the intestinal lining), or can be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome, which is often accompanied by abdominal pain and bloating. While it’s normal to be irregular here and there, Sheth says that constant constipation is a sign that it’s time to have a candid conversation with your doctor.

On the lower side of the normal B.M. range? Try to increase how often you work out and aim to eat healthier. People who go No. 2 more often tend to be physically active and eat more foods with fiber, registered dietitian Joey Gochnour, tells Yahoo Health.

He recommends switching to whole grains, adding a high-fiber vegetable to each meal, such as carrots, beets, or spinach, and having at least one or two pieces of fruit each day (raspberries are a good high-fiber option). And, just like drinking plenty of water is good for ideal bladder health, it’s also important for moving things along in your colon.

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Largest Seawater Desalination Plant to Open Next Year

Largest Seawater Desalination Plant to Open Next Year

The proposed site of the

The San Diego area will soon be the home of the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. But with a steep $1 billion price tag, the question is whether the Carlsbad Desalination Projectwill be worth it from a financial and environmental perspective.

Drought-plagued farmers probably think so, because after three years of drought they can’t irrigate: California’s reservoirs are filled with more mud than water. When operational in 2016, the plant will provide up to 50 million gallons of water daily to San Diego county’s 3 million residents. Still, that’s only 7 percent of the region’s water needs.

But a recent article in Fortune notes that desalination is “far more expensive than damming rivers and pumping ground water. Furthermore, critics worry about the environmental consequences and argue that water conservation is a much cheaper option.”

Water conservation is a good option, assuming that there is water available to conserve.

Regarding desalination, “We end up spending a lot of money and getting very little water,” says Conner Everts, executive director of the Southern California Watershed Alliance, who was quoted in the Fortune article. He opposes desalination plants because of their cost and their potential impact on the environment. “Don’t think of the ocean as an endless reservoir, but a fragile ecosystem,” he continued. Everts says the briny waste that goes back into the ocean could kill marine life.

It has taken 12 years of planning, including more than six years in the state’s permitting process, to get the final approvals from state regulatory agencies. Construction was also delayed by more than a dozen lawsuits that raised environmental concerns.

A 30-year Water Purchase Agreement is in place between the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) and Poseidon Water for the entire output of the plant. Poseidon specializes in developing and financing water infrastructure projects, primarily seawater desalination and water treatment plants.

The desalination plant site is a 6-acre parcel in an area that leaves the majority of the Encina Power Station (EPS) property open for potential recreational or redevelopment activity at some future date.

The desalination facility is connected to the discharge channel of the EPS at two locations. The intake pump station is connected to the upstream portion of the discharge channel and delivers 100 million gallons per day of seawater to the desalination facility. Half the seawater processed by the desalination facility will be converted to high-quality drinking water. This water is delivered to Carlsbad and the surrounding communities.

The remaining water, 50 million gallons per day of seawater with an elevated salt content, is returned to the discharge channel where it is diluted with additional seawater prior to being discharged to the ocean. “This ensures that the increased salinity will not impact the marine organisms in the vicinity of the discharge channel,” according to the plant’s project overview.

To desalinate or not to desalinate? This is another of those “it’s complicated” climate change infrastructure issues that will become even more so as water battles come to the fore in areas where there is too little of it — and other areas where rising sea levels will provide too much of it.

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3 Socially Unacceptable Things One Dad Only Does Around His Kids

3 Socially Unacceptable Things One Dad Only Does Around His Kids

3 Socially Unacceptable Things One Dad Only Does Around His Kids

Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images

By Serge Bielanko

One of the fringe benefits of being a dad is that my kids don’t really know what the word ‘cool’ means yet. I dig that. I have three rugrats all under the age of 6, and although I’m well aware that the day is coming when my oldest daughter, Violet, will look at me and say that I’m the source of all shame in her life (“Please, DAD, just drop me off at the corner before we get the school!”). Thankfully, that day hasn’t come yet. I still have a little wiggle room when it comes to being silly with them. I’m still able hang with them and act like one of them and get away with it (well, most of the time).

As lame as it may sound, kids let you be kids again. It’s an undeniable fact that if you run around town with a gang of Nickelodeon-watching, Goldfish-crcaker-eating, sippy-cup-sippin’ young guns, you’ll find yourself on the silly side of things before too long.

In case you haven’t been down this particular avenue in life just yet, let me tell you something: Kids don’t always understand that you’re messing with them or that you’re trying to make them laugh. Once you understand that they pretty much make the rules up and you’re just a slave to their whimsical folly, you’ll actually start to enjoy being with them – and one of the main reasons is because you’ll be able to act just like them: like a total and utter mentally deranged asshat. (Which, psssst, is a very very liberating feeling, my friend.)

So run with it while you can. Do funny and semi-harmless things with your kids that you wouldn’t be caught dead doing with anyone else. Because you deserve to act like an idiot sometimes nd they deserve to know that Mom and Dad are really just a couple of overgrown brats. Here’s 3 socially unacceptable things I do with/around my kids, either because it makes me feel young again OR because embracing my uncoolnesss is really what parenting comes down to.

1. I do voices – and I don’t just imitate Patrick Star or Mr. Krabs, I BECOME THEM.

I do voices. Character voices. A lot. I used to do them in my marriage too, for my wife. Or AT my wife is probably the more honest way to put it. She didn’t seem to enjoy that. But my kids do. Now when I say I do voices, I’m not saying I do some half-assed Mickey Mouse voice when I’m tucking them into bed, man. Oh no. I get into character, sometime like six or seven characters at once. I’ve almost driven off the damn road putting on full Broadway productions while I’m driving my gang around.

So, who do I do? Psssssh. Who do I NOT do is more like it. These days, I’m all up in the Spongebob world. My Henry, 3, and Violet, 5, are straight-up junkies for that show and since I think it’s one of the most brilliant things that’s ever been written, I jumped at the chance to imitate the residents of Bikini Bottom. Am I any good? Well, that’s not really for me to say, but let me put it this way: You’re godd*mn right I’m good! I cruise us down mountain roads and farm lanes around where we live and I turn on the freaking jets, man. I don’t just ‘imitate’ (little wee man voice) Patrick Star or Mr. Krabs, I BECOME THEM! I get so high on watching my kids laugh in the rearview that there are times when I know I’ve lived my life all wrong. I should’ve been committed to the nut house long ago, before life and responsibility ever set hooks in me.

I would have made a wonderful madman. I really would have.

2. I’m a master fart-sound maker. 

Straight up: if you have young kids and you don’t spend at least like 20 minutes a day making fart sounds with them, guess what? You suck at living. I try and make my kids laugh as much as humanly possible. Not just so I can massage their tender mental state or see their fragile smiles break out and sunbeams sparkle out of their ever-loving eyeballs. I try and make my kids laugh because it is a challenge I have set up for myself, a gauntlet of no return. As a divorced man in his forties, I need to challenge myself in fresh and vibrant ways that don’t involve skiing or any situation where I can get bruised, laughed at by women or killed. So, I’ve got these kids and why not incorporate them into my own childish needs?

When I interrupt one of their rambling monologues from the backseat of the Honda with a real ripper, a fart sound so prolific and profound that it sometimes makes my baby, Charlie, kick his feet up in the air in an effort to protect himself from whatever kind of demon has just entered the vehicle, I know what’s coming next and it always makes my day. They stop their chatter and for a long second silence fills the car. Then. They erupt in giggles to the point of tears and pretty soon, no matter how tired or cranky they might be, they start making their own fart sounds, too. I’m not the kind of guy who tosses word delightful around all that much. But in this case, that’s the word.

3. I lie, fib, and tell slightly warped truths.

We talk about Bigfoot. Obviously, there’s risk involved when you’re dealing with very young children. Hell, when I was 7 I saw a preview for a Bigfoot movie on TV and I was so horrified that I ended up having to sleep in my little brother’s bed for the next nine years. But my three-year-old, Henry, caught wind of Bigfoot somehow and is excited by the idea of a Yeti running around in the woods by our house, so who the hell am I to deny him the horror or thrill that comes with young paranormal fascination, you know?

Now, I’m not saying that Bigfoot is real or not. (He’s real). But no matter what you think, I’m a big believer in believing. I think the more kids believe in Bigfoot and Santa and dragons and witches and tooth fairies and whatever else floats out there in the imagination, the better their minds will grow and thrive. So sometimes you have to lie to kids to take them to a magical place up in their heads. Lying gets such a bad rap, which I get. But there is such a thing as GOOD LYING which we all ought to embrace a little more, especially when it comes to puffing up our work resumes or getting jiggy with our tax write-offs (home office, anyone?). And especially, especially when it comes to telling our kids about the Great Big World out there, waiting to be discovered by them when the time is right.

What kid, raised on good lies to the point where their imagination is a fat, sweet foie gras of creativity, isn’t going to hit the world running when his time comes? What kid staring out the window of a Honda with wild-eyed fascination, scanning the tree lines for a dark splotch of Bigfoot isn’t more poised to be a great writer or musician or film-maker someday?

Maybe you think that’s not true.

But then again, you probably laugh at the Bigfoot believers, too. And that’s why you’re missing almost everything.

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6 Daily Habits of Hugely Successful People

6 Daily Habits of Hugely Successful People

BY SCOTT STEINBERG | YAHOO SMALL BUSINESS

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The most successful people share a striking number of similar habits. Regardless of whether they’re the CEO of a technology startup, or manage a popular local neighborhood retail outlet, their reoccurring patterns of behavior often pave the way to ongoing levels of achievement.  Below are six habits that hugely successful people use to maximize productivity, effectiveness and success – by following them, you can also catapult yourself further and faster towards achieving your own personal or professional goals.

Minimize Distractions

According to Basex, a management science company, it’s estimated that distractions cost U.S. businesses $588 billion per year, a number that continues to grow. Besides costing businesses billions in resources, these sneaky time consumers undermine concentration and can make it hard to stay focused on a task or consistently follow important train of thought. Learning to ignore these nuisances can help you create less stress, improve productivity on the job, and enjoy a happier workday, so put your phone away, log out of your social media accounts, and close your office door during your most productive hours. If you’re not quite sure which distractions eating up your day, try tracking your schedule by creating a running diary for two to three weeks to find out.

Get Enough Rest

Productivity can suffer if you don’t feel your best, and one of the most important factors of feeling up to par is maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. Getting enough rest is one of the easiest things you can do to revitalize your mental clarity, passion and energy. The National Sleep Foundation states that there’s no magic number when determining the right amount of sleep needed, but studies show that those who get 7 hours of sleep a night are far more productive. Research dating back decades also shows a marked decline in productivity after a typical 40-hour workweek – anything more produces diminishing returns. So be sure to take breaks, rest, and recharge: It may vastly improve your creativity, productivity and output.

Follow a Morning Ritual

By doing the same things every day when you wake up, you’re letting your mind focus on the bigger tasks at hand. Plus, establishing a routine of getting up and getting active first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day with a blast of energy – energy you can immediately begin spending on professional and personal development. (Hint: The smartest investment you can ever make is in yourself.) For example, many hugely successful people don’t just wake up earlier and spend time working out to improve fitness, start the day strong, and reduce stress. They also read business books, catch up on the news, get up-to-date on emails, or listen to podcasts while exercising, starting the day off strong by accomplishing multiple goals in one fell swoop.

Prioritize Your Day

Hugely successful people have a daily agenda that helps visualize what they would like to accomplish that day. It’s an easy way to give them a sense of work balance since they can see exactly what’s on their plate, as well as help them focus and mentally prepare for the challenges that they’ll be facing. Mimic their behavior by creating a daily “to-do list” of your own the evening before each workday, and prioritize tasks by importance. That way, you immediately know where to begin your work the next morning, and can tackle the most difficult challenges first, improving productivity and making the rest of your workday look like a breeze by comparison.

Take Care of Yourself

You may have heard successful men and women say, “I work hard but I also play hard.” These folks are well aware that it simply isn’t possible to operate at full speed every waking hour. They know that taking time for yourself is one of the biggest steps in avoiding work burnout. Try relaxing a little each day and use your free time to indulge in something you truly enjoy. Taking care of yourself also means eating a healthy diet, which includes breakfast, to fuel your body and mind for the challenges ahead. Staying organized both in the office and at home eliminates stress and is another way to take care of yourself.

Put First Things First

Not every task is equal, and successful people account for this when they budget their time. Whether you function best in the early morning hours or late in the afternoon, use your peak performance hours to knock out harder tasks and bring you closer to your goals. Save less-pressing tasks such as skimming through interoffice memos or submitting speaking proposals to annual industry conference organizers for a time when you’re not exactly ready to move mountains. Get the most important tasks done first – the rest will seem trivial by comparison. These important tasks should be tackled while you’re at your freshest, most awake, and best.

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Say Goodbye to ‘Made-In-China

And say hello to the breakthrough technology that’s launching a 21st-century industrial revolution right here in America. Business Insider calls it “the next trillion dollar industry.”

The suits on Wall Street think this idea is too good to be true. But the guys who brought you the iPod and Amazon.com are already on board. You still have time to join them, if you act fast…

Tell me if this sounds crazy. I just saw a violin appear out of thin air and play a Bach sonata.

And that’s not the half of it.

Right before that, I saw someone cram a milk jug into a metal tube and pull a shoelace out at the other end. Heck, when I sat down to my desk this morning, I saw an anatomically perfect human kidney spun together on a cotton candy wheel. A surgeon used it to perform a successful transplant.

You’re right. All of those things do sound crazy! But all of them are real.

And technology experts are convinced that this is just the beginning.

Not just hackers, hobbyists, and over-caffeinated engineering professors, mind you. We’re talking some of the biggest players in the big ideas business.

They saw the same incredible video demonstrations that I did, and decided they just had to get a piece of the action.

  • Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos joined an investment group that plowed $10 million of venture capital into this game changer.
  • Google rushed their development team to make a software app for it.
  • Hewlett Packard cut a deal with one of the two main hardware makers.
  • The Consumer Electronics Association featured it at their 2013 extravaganza in Las Vegas, where it was named “best emerging technology.”
  • The Pirate Bay — the world’s most powerful digital copyright cheater — released a manifesto declaring that intellectual property law is now obsolete and predicting the death of the factory as we know it. All because this “impossible” technology is now not only possible, but affordable.

Naturally, there are skeptics.

When it comes to truly disruptive ideas that force us to rethink our basic assumptions about everything, there always are.

There were “reasonable” people who thought the light bulb, the radio, the television, and the cell phone would never be commercially successful. (See the box on the right for a good laugh.)

But that’s the thing about “reasonable” people. When they imagine the future, they only see the present.

The truth of the matter is, the world we enjoy today is built on technologies that imagined anew future.

Technologies that transformed ordinary people’s lives by making them easier and better.

And that’s exactly what this invention does.

Business Insider research analyst Pascal Gobry calls it “THE NEXT TRILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY.”

That’s trillion with a “T”! But even if you think Mr. Gobry is getting a little carried away, subtract an entire zero from that number, and you still get an industry as big as the medical technology industry, the digital advertising industry, and the global coffee industry.

And right now, only a few forward thinking investors understand how truly enormous this change will be.

But when we’re looking at an industry that’s sustained a mind-blowing 26.2% annual growth rate for more than 20 years… how much longer do you think that can last?

Look, I’ve never been the kind of guy who gets caught up in the “next big thing” hype.

My name is Mark Brooks, and I publish an award-winning financial newsletter calledMotley Fool Stock Advisor.

Believe me, I’ve seen a lot of “next big things” come along in my day. So I don’t blame you if you want to look before you leap.

Here at The Motley Fool, we don’t chase after hype. We look for smart investments that have outstanding long-term growth potential.

We think for ourselves, and we think you should too.

So it took me a lot of research before I clearly understood how 3D printing was going to change our world in a profound way.

More than anything, it was one conversation that changed my mind…

That’s why I urge you to take the next few minutes to read this report from cover to cover.

In plain language, it breaks down this incredible technology and how it will transform everything about our economy — from manufacturing, to transportation, to healthcare, to defense, to education, to… you name it.

You’ll learn about the three visionary companies that are destroying the S&P 500, and the one man who knows exactly when and how to invest in them.

He’s up 397.1% since making his first investment in this technology in 2008. The rest of the market returned only 44.5%. He made 107.3% with his second 3D printing investment in 2009, even better than the 73.2% return that everyone else has made since then. And he’s made an incredible 339.4% by adding the third and final piece of this trillion dollar puzzle last January. (The S&P grew 34.2%.)

He’s the one who convinced me this technology is for real. And that I needed the right plan if I wanted to invest in it.

What can I say? I’m a believer now.

So I was nodding my head in agreement when I saw the following headline on the newsstand at the airport the other day. It was in Forbes. It said this invention…

“Will Change Absolutely Everything It Touches”

Are you ready to find out what it is?

I thought so. And I’d hate to keep you in suspense any longer.

It all started in the early 1980s, at a small laboratory in Southern California’s canyon country.

That was right around the time that Hewlett Packard and Epson were marketing the first commercially successful desktop printers.

Skeptics at the time said no office would ever buy its own printer.

Then they said that it made no sense to put one on an employee’s desk.

Then they said that nobody would want one in their home. That color printing would never work. Or photo printing…

But think about how much desktop printing has changed our working lives. Do you remember mimeographs? Carbon paper?

Secretaries?

Meanwhile, at that lab in the sun-kissed Santa Clarita Valley, researchers were already laying the groundwork for the next revolution.

Printing Chart 1985 and 2011

This bold advertisement predicted that desktop printers would be an $11.84 billion market by 1985. The estimate turned out to be too conservative. The market for 3D printers was over $1 billion in 2011… how big could it become by 2015? And how much could you profit?

What was it?

If you think about it, a printer is really just a nozzle that moves from side to side, spitting out or pressing ink onto a two-dimensional surface — a piece of paper.

It’s not really the ink or the paper that matter, but the precision of the device, and the computer program that guides it to lay down the desired pattern.

That same computer software also powers more advanced two-dimensional printing technologies, like laser printers. And if we can print in two dimensions…there’s no scientific reason why we can’t also print in three dimensions.

(Click “play” on the video below and you’ll see what I mean!)

Yes, there are 3D printers. You just saw a real one in action.

And just like 2D printing did, 3D printing is exceeding expectations by rapidly becoming both cheaper and better.

Machines that cost more than $100,000 a decade ago are now selling for $1,299.

And they can now print with more than 99 different materials. Not just high quality plastics, many of which are completely recyclable (like milk jugs) or biodegradable. But also some of the most durable and useful physical materials we use in the “analog” world, like wood, glass, rubber, steel, and concrete. Some printers can even handle biological materials like human kidney cells. Or composites of more than two materials that create special properties like heat resistance. Some can make three dimensional objects from ordinary printer paper and even chocolate.

But who would want to print in 3D?

How about an architect building a model? Or a product designer making a prototype? Or a dentist casting a mold?

These are some of the professionals who are already gaining a competitive edge by using 3D printing technology.

(One dentist in Belgium even fabricated an entire titanium jaw and successfully implanted it in an 83-year old patient. He says “there are no limits” to what 3D printing can do in the medical field: “We can replicate bones and even make them stronger than the original. It’s like the Six Million Dollar Man.”)

I know, I know.

As soon as I heard “3D” I thought it was just a gimmick.

I remember those ridiculous blue and red glasses we wore at the drive-ins in the 1970s. I remember when everyone was talking about “virtual reality” in the 1990s. And I’ve heard all the hype about today’s 3D movies and 3D televisions (personally, they just make me dizzy).

But when it comes to printing, 3D actually makes sense.

In fact, it makes MORE sense than 2D printing does. I’m being completely serious!

Think about it… do we really need to print paper documents anymore? We can scan and email anything. I mean, I suppose we’ll always physically sign and stamp our most important documents, like college diplomas and property deeds.

Our world just isn’t made of paper anymore. And really, it never was.

Our world is made of physical objects with three-dimensional “resolution.”

But right now, the way we create, manipulate, and transport those objects is just as primitive as dispatching a messenger on horseback with a scroll and a wax seal.

And that’s all about to change.

Scientists at Drexel University in Philadelphia are using 3D technology to create exact scale-model replicas of ancient dinosaur bones, a breakthrough that was never possible before. Another group of researchers is making shells for “homeless” hermit crabs. (They like the printed shells even better than the real thing.)

Of course, paleontologists and hermit crabs don’t pay big money for their 3D printing needs. But guess who does:

The United States Air Force.

They’re using the technology to fabricate sophisticated parts for their new F-35 fighter jets. Rolls Royce is using them too.

And better precision is just one of many advantages that 3D printing fabrication holds over the traditional manufacturing process.

It’s Faster… with 3D printing, the delay between design and fabrication is now a few hours instead of a few weeks. Motorcycle maker Ducati cut 20 months (or 70%) off its usual development time for a new racing engine.

It’s Cheaper… companies that use 3D printing don’t need to tie up capital investing in expensive tools and dies. They can also eliminate shipping costs. A small supplier to Nike called Union Footwear got a leg up on its bigger competitors by faxing its design bid in 3D.

It Encourages Innovation… by eliminating the delays and costs created by traditional “manufacturability” constraints, 3D printers allow designers to change their minds and implement a new idea at any time. An Ohio company that supplies crash test dummies to automakers is using the technology to produce new shapes and sizes that respond to client needs that can evolve by the day.

It’s Less Wasteful… traditional manufacturing is “subtractive,” discarding up to 90% of the initial blocks of raw material. 3D printing is an “additive” process that builds objects from the ground up, layer by layer. One architect is even using it to make entire buildings.

It’s More Durable… designers can tweak these “additive” printers to produce denser (but lighter) layers of material than would usually be possible. The Smithsonian is using 3D printers to digitize their entire collection; the statue of Thomas Jefferson you see in the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC is actually a 3D replica of the original brass statue.

Karl Marx said the problem with capitalism is that it makes “everything solid melt into air.”

I think we all know the problem with Karl Marx !!

But it turns out he was right about this one thing.

Actually, his statement doesn’t go far enough.

With three dimensional printing…

There is no longer any important difference between a computerized design that exists in “the cloud” and a real, physical thing.

If you remember the old Star Trek shows, which take place in the distant future of the 23rd century, a device that could print physical objects from computerized designs was called a “replicator.”

Incredibly, this science fiction is now fact.

And here’s how smart 21st century capitalists like you and me can take this real-world replicator straight to the bank.

While everyone else will be left behind, wondering how they missed out on something that makes so much sense.

If a physical object is a software code, then… there are no longer economies of scale in manufacturing.

In other words, it won’t make sense any more to pay Chinese factory workers to make 100 million duplicates of the same product. Better to pay local designers to make 10,000 different products specially tailored to individual customers — in the exact size and style they want to buy. Products they can receive in the mail, or print out at Home Depot, FedEx Office, Wal-Mart, or whichever retailers are smart enough to embrace this technology first.

If a physical object is a software code, then… everyone from an aerospace engineer to an ice sculptor is really a computer programmer creating digital designs.

And the market for those designs will be just like today’s market for music, movies, and books. You’ll have the iTunes store, Amazon.com, and other legitimate download vendors on one side of the law, and a thousand fugitive “pirate bays” on the other. Your grandchild’s Happy Meal toy will be scanned onto your smart phone at the cash register and it will be finished printing before you get home from the drive-through.

Finally, if a physical object is a software code, then… the companies that make the best design software and the companies that can offer a comprehensive package of hardware, input materials, and servicing stand to make HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

Just like Hewlett Packard, Epson, and Canon have made on 2D printers. And here’s how…

What did you pay for the desktop printer you own now? Probably not all that much.

OK, now here’s a better question. What did you pay for the cartridges? And how much money does your company pay in servicing costs for its main printer hub?

This is what economists call a “razor and blade” model. Sell the razor as cheaply as you can. But lock in repeat business from loyal customers who need replacement blades.

Right now 80% of the people buying the raw materials that 3D printers use, in the form of cartridges and powders, are using them to create and test prototypes. But once 3D printers come to be used mainly for the end stages of production — a research firm called Wohlers that has expertise in this area says it will happen before the end of the decade — the demand for those “blades” will increase dramatically.

Demand will also skyrocket as the technology becomes more mainstream, just like it did for computers and cell phones. That will push prices down, which in turn will pull demand even higher.

The Atlantic explains the process like this:

“First… companies create and use a very expensive set of technologies. Then, garage tinkerers start to use… cheaper, smaller versions of the original technology. They create a culture that makes the technology easier to use and they give it more users, which drives down its costs. Finally, when it is sufficiently cheap and easy to use, mass market consumers start to buy it.”

Right now, we’re at the very beginning of the transition from the “garage” stage to the “mass market” stage.

And that’s the moment when you want to be investing.

Sure, you could make some money later.

You could wait until the market is more “proven.” But as we’ve seen, this technology is already scientifically sound, and it’s already used by professionals in every imaginable field of human enterprise.

You’d really be waiting for other investors to catch on. Because when the big money on Wall Street finally embraces 3D printing, the growth in this industry is going to be massive.

Did you invest in Apple in 1980? Did you invest in Microsoft in 1986?

If so, you’re probably reading this on your yacht, sipping a $150 glass of champagne.

If not, this could be your second chance.

And I’ve heard comparisons that are even more exciting.

Three-dimensional printing “may have as profound an impact on the world as the coming of the factory did… Just as nobody could have predicted the impact of the steam engine in 1750 — or the printing press in 1450, or the transistor in 1950 — [this] technology is coming, and it is likely to disrupt every field it touches.”

It gets better…

3D Headlines

The person who just compared the 3D printer to Gutenberg’s revolutionary printing press isn’t a wild-eyed blogger living in his parents’ basement.

Or an excitable housewife who saw the detectives on CSI using a 3D printer to make a model of a crime scene bullet.

He’s a writer for The Economist. (The thinking businessman’s favorite sleeping pill.)

His 3D printing article was the COVER STORY.

And The Economist isn’t the only traditionally sober publication doing backflips over the incredible potential of this industry.

It seems like everywhere I look these days, I see an article about 3D printing.

The problem is, none of these articles have compelling, easy to use advice for the individual investor who wants to put money into this industry NOW but isn’t sure which companies to invest in.

That’s why, when it comes to my own money, I rely on David Gardner.

He was one of the first high-profile investment advisors to understand the tremendous potential of 3D printing.

That was back in 2008 when nobody in the news media was talking about it, and when most of the companies in the industry weren’t even showing a profit yet.

In the years since, David has identified three companies in the 3D printing industry that he calls “top dogs” and “first movers.” Companies positioned to dominate over the next 10 years because they have the six key traits that signal explosive growth.

It’s the same method that made David a legend in the investment business. (CNN’s Money.com website calls him one of “the most widely followed stock pickers in the world.”)

He’s delivered mind-bending returns — in the worst economy since the Great Depression, he’s picked companies that soared 2,378%, 3,243%, and even 4,209%. But he also built his world famous reputation by sticking up for the little guy — individual investors like you and me who need sound advice to navigate a financial system that’s rigged to benefit insiders.

In 2009, he recommended a small French company called Dassault Systèmes.

In fact, this company was so tiny and so obscure that it wasn’t even trading on one of the major U.S. stock exchanges. Even now, it’s considered a “pink sheet” stock, which means that it’s too small for Wall Street to give it the time of day.

Don’t worry. Buying this stock through an online brokerage like Fidelity, Ameritrade, E-Trade, or Charles Schwab is easy.

Finding anyone who’s heard of it probably isn’t.

And good luck explaining that funny accent mark. (I don’t know how to pronounce it either. I just know this is a great company that more people should be investing in.)

Dassault Systèmes makes high-end software for engineers and designers.

Dassault Systems vs SP 500

What do I mean by high-end?

Boeing uses Dassault Systèmes software to create 20,000 parts for its planes, including the new the 787 Dreamliner. And the guy who designed the iPod for Steve Jobs is giving the keynote address at Dassault’s trade show in San Diego.

The bulletproof credibility that comes with having major league users and fans like those means this company, which makes the best “computer aided design” (CAD) software in the world, is also:

The first piece of your 3D investment puzzle

Keep reading and I’ll show you how to make life-changing investment returns by applying the “razor and blade” test to the market for 3D printer hardware, supplies, and servicing.

But right now, ask yourself this… what about the shaving cream?

When it comes to manufacturing anything these days, that’s exactly what CAD software is. Good luck trying to use the razor without it.

That’s why Jaguar, Land Rover, and Tesla all use Dassault Systèmes CAD software to perform simulations for their new vehicle designs. And why Fender uses it to create their guitars.

Dassault also has a strong foothold in the education market; its 100,000 current customers include 64 universities and schools. In fact, the company even created a popular software program that teaches students how to design racecars and robots with Legos. First they model them online, then they build them with the bricks.

(And imagine how this kind of hands-on, next generation science education is going to take off when teachers can create fully customized parts and designs with the 3D printers I’ll tell you more about in a minute.)

The other great thing about this company is that CAD is already a mature, multi-billion dollar industry.

So unlike most “pink sheet” stocks, Dassault Systèmes has a rock solid business model and real revenues — it made $2.7 billion in 2012, and 17% of that money is pure profit.

Profit they’re plowing back into the business so that Dassault Systèmes is well positioned for the tipping point that’s coming any day now in the 3D manufacturing industry.

In fact, I’d argue that the main reason this company isn’t listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is that its managers would rather spend their time perfecting the software that runs the 21st century printing press, instead of filling out the endless paperwork that the SEC requires from foreign companies. (BMW and Nestlé took the same route to entering the American capital markets.)

That’s why now is the perfect time to get on board — before CAD explodes again with the coming 3D manufacturing revolution, and before Dassault Systèmes moves off the pink sheets and onto every investor’s shopping list.

How Will Your Grandchildren Remember You?

I think about this all the time. (And I don’t even have any yet!)

I want to be the one who teaches my grandchildren how to throw a curveball. How to squirt milk through their noses. How to recognize the song that a bluebird sings on the first day of spring.

But more than anything, I want them to go to a great college and start their working lives with the kind of wise choices they can only make if they aren’t being crushed by debt.

And really, to be honest, I want them to know that I did everything in my power to make that possible for them.

That means more to me than anything I could do with a blank check for my own sunset years. (Although… I’ve always wanted to go on a safari. And to play golf at Pebble Beach. And…)

We all want to leave a legacy of great investment returns for our families.

But the right opportunity might come along once in a lifetime.

And even when it does, you have to know how to take advantage.

That’s why I’m so proud of the work that David Gardner and his brother Tom do inMotley Fool Stock Advisor. And that’s why, at the end of this letter, after we put together the last two pieces of the 3D investing puzzle… I’m going to try to sell it to you.

(I’m not really supposed to say that, but I’d rather not beat around the bush.)

Here’s the way I look at it.

Anyone can have a lucky guess. Maybe even two or three lucky guesses.

But Dassault Systèmes is just one of dozens of high-flyers that David Gardner has recommended to members of Motley Fool Stock Advisor.

Recommendations those Stock Advisormembers have used to make huge investment gains that have helped them transform their lives.

The reason David’s track record is so reliable is that, unlike all the acrobats, lion-tamers, and clowns who perform in the three-ring circus that is called (with unearned dignity) “the financial news and advisory industry”… David picks great companies.

Great companies. Not great bubbles.

Because truly timing the market — picking a stock on exactly the right day, the right week, or even the right month, is impossible.

Nobody in the “circus” admits this, but it’s true.

Good investments are made for the long term. I don’t mean 100 years. 5 is plenty. 10 is even better.

You see, it doesn’t take much to be “long term” when we’re talking about Wall Street. The trading computers that Goldman Sachs and the other big banks use to move most of the world’s money around change their mind every nanosecond, all because some other trading computer changed its mind.

I have no idea how any of that works, and I suspect they don’t either. It gives me a headache and a stomachache just thinking about it.

But the good news is… none of it really matters.

What does matter is understanding the long term, big picture historical trends that really impact our lives. Like 3D printing.

And strangely enough, that means making great investments is easy.

You just need some sound guidance to point you to where the best long term opportunities are, some spare cash, and the mental discipline to turn off all the non-stop, 24-hour noise from the financial media.

I’ll give you an example.

David Gardner recommended AOL in the summer of 1994. (I doubt I need to explain to you that the Internet was a “big picture historical trend.”)

The stock had already quadrupled in the 12 months leading up to that moment.

Sounds like pretty bad timing. I’m sure he wishes he had picked AOL 12 months earlier. But nobody’s perfect.

He was probably happy enough when the stock he picked “too late” grew 100 times bigger in the next 6 years.

AOL made David Gardner famous.

But these days, David hates it when I bring up AOL (or eBay, Starbucks, Amazon.com, or some of the other great companies he discovered in the 1990s).

He doesn’t want everyone to think he’s a one-hit wonder, or that his best days are behind him. And he wants investors to understand that it’s the strategy behind those picks that really matters.

It’s a simple strategy he’s repeated many times over for investment gains that left the stock market in the dust. In fact…

A randomly selected stock portfolio taken from any of the 150 picks that David Gardner has published since 2002 beat the total returns of the S&P 500 an astounding 98.4% of the time. It produced a positive return 100% of the time. And 54.6% of the time it doubled the S&P 500.

How do we know? We tested it.

10,000 times.

And again that is a completely random selection. No cherry picking of any kind whatsoever. Could you put together an even better portfolio for yourself with just a few hours of research into David Gardner’s picks? Of course you could.

Even though David isn’t right every time, he’s been right so many times, about so many stocks, that have made Motley Fool members so much money, that he’s given ordinary investors like you and me a way to realize our financial dreams with no headaches and no stomachaches.

Here are just a few of the “top dogs” and “first movers” that David has uncovered in the past few years:

Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) — Up 1,745% since 2006

MercadoLibre (Nasdaq: MELI) — up 852% since 2009

IPG Photonics (Nasdaq: IPGP) — Up 350% since 2008

Catamaran (Nasdaq: CTRX) — Up 825% since 2009

Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) — Up 4,209% since 2004

Universal Display (Nasdaq: OLED) — Up 243% since 2005

When you see returns like these, I’m sure you can understand why I sprang into action when David told me he’s become convinced that “the future is now” for 3D printing.

In just a minute, I’ll tell you how to claim your complimentary copy of David Gardner’s detailed investing kit for 3D printing industry, and I’ll give you a chance to join the Stock Advisor community for a special, limited-time price.

But first, let me tell you a little more about the other two incredible companies that David’s so excited about. And let me explain…

What’s a “top dog”? And what’s a “first mover”?

It’s pretty simple, actually.

A “top dog” is a company that dominates its industry… and a “first mover” is a company with a technology or product so revolutionary that it disrupts an existing industry and creates an entirely new one.

On the rare occasion that you find a company that is both a top dog and a first mover,the chances are pretty good that you’ve found your next huge winner…

Just think of Amazon.com in the online retail market, or Netflix in the DVD-rental market. (David led investors to big gains on both of them, and still recommends them toStock Advisor members).

These companies redefined the way business was done, launched entirely new industries, and continue to dominate those industries to this day.

And you don’t need me to tell you how handsomely they’ve rewarded shareholders along the way.

So you can see why David and his investment research team work around the clock to find companies that are both top dogs and first movers.

But they don’t stop there…

You see, David discovered long ago that in order to find companies that can deliver the sort of investment returns that will have your grandchildren remembering you as an investing legend, you have to break the rules and go against much of what passes for “wisdom” on Wall Street. That’s why he searches for companies with…

a sustainable competitive advantage that can be exploited for years to come

strong past price appreciation

excellent management

strong consumer appeal

And here’s the big one…

documented proof that the financial media thinks they’re “overvalued”

Now, that might sound downright crazy…

But don’t forget, many of David Gardner’s biggest winners were recommended after the “experts” on Wall Street declared that you’d already missed your chance to buy.

When he recommended a company called Intuitive Surgical in 2005, it had already grown 500% in two years. But after he recommended it to his readers again in 2006, and again in 2008, and again in 2012, it gained an incredible 804% more.

And that’s the same opportunity David sees in the 3D printing hardware, materials, and servicing industry. These are the machines that unlock the trillion dollar potential of the revolutionary software programs created by Dassault Systèmes, the company we talked about earlier.

But unlike Dassault Systèmes, these next two companies aren’t hidden secrets.

In fact, a lot of the so-called experts think they’re overvalued.

They’ve grown skeptical about technology stocks at exactly the wrong time.

Because — sorry if this sounds like common sense, but too many investors forget it — true economic growth always comes from transformative technologies.

And that’s what makes now such a perfect opportunity to invest in 3D printing.

Remember, I’m not talking about market timing acrobatics. I can’t tell you if today is precisely the best time to buy these stocks, or a week from now, or a month from now.

Then again, it might be.

When you’re looking at a historical shift that might be a second industrial revolution, or at least, in the words of an Australian market research group:

“Bigger Than The Internet”…

…the easiest thing is just to put your money on the table right away.

Then get on with your life!

You can check in every now and then as your nest egg grows from “can’t stop worrying about it” to “can’t stop smiling about it.”

As you can see by the two stock performance charts below.

3D Printing Company 2
3D Printing Company 3

Together, these two American companies control more than 80% of the total market for 3D printing.

How do you decide between two good choices?

Choose Both.

One company is focusing on the upper end of the market, where they sell printers with the latest technology to business customers like Hyundai, Black & Decker, Medtronic, BMW, Oreck, Chipotle, Ducati, and Toro for an average of $51,000 per unit (some units cost more than $1 million).

They just shocked Wall Street by reporting a year-end income figure that more than doubles last year’s record earnings. They’ve locked in a sweetheart distribution agreement with old pro Hewlett Packard to sell their products and services in Europe. And unlike most fast-moving technology companies, they don’t have a penny of debt, just tens of millions of dollars to pour back into R&D.

The other company is taking the “razors and blades” strategy to the consumer and education markets, offering an app store full of online tools that make it easy for everyone to use their 3D printers, and selling the basic units themselves for just $1,299. (Believe it or not, this is roughly what the first desktop 2D printers cost in 1984 when we adjust for inflation… today many of them cost less than a box of paper.)

They’re also reporting revenues 44% higher than last year, and have nearly doubled the free cash on their balance sheet between 2011 and 2013. They have “almost as many patents as employees” (and they have 1000 employees). They just bought out their biggest direct competitor. And their founder and chief technology officer is the scientist who first invented 3D printing at that tiny laboratory I told you about — beating technology giants like 3M and Fujitsu to the punch.

I wish I could tell you the names and ticker symbols of these two American companies right now.

But it wouldn’t be fair to the members who are already paying for our Stock Advisorservice. (Though if you wouldn’t mind… don’t tell them the price I’m about to offer you. They might get jealous.)

It all starts with taking me up on this special offer and claiming your very own copy of David Gardner’s investing kit, “3 Stocks to Own for the New Industrial Revolution.”

I want to send you a copy today, with my compliments, entirely free.

All I ask in return is that you listen to one more offer that could prove extremely valuable to you over the coming months and years…

It’s my personal invitation to sample everything our Motley Fool Stock Advisorcommunity has to offer with NO risk or obligation whatsoever.

That’s right… I want to give you the chance to profit from David Gardner’s 3D printing picks, but also from every other recommendation that he and his team have ever made.

(His brother Tom is also a champion stock picker who has nearly doubled the return of the S&P 500 over the past decade.)

And I want you to discover for yourself everything that Motley Fool Stock Advisor has to offer — without having to risk even one dollar.

This is our “Keep Everything & Risk Nothing” DOUBLE GUARANTEE

But as I mentioned before, you deserve to get the full story so you can decide for yourself whether or not to take advantage of this incredible opportunity.

That’s why I want to send you a complimentary copy of David Gardner’s premium investing kit: “3 Stocks to Own for the New Industrial Revolution.”

Not only does this in-depth research report spell out exactly why Dassault Systèmes could be your next monster winner (in plain English, not Wall Street lingo)… it also reveals the other two “top dog” / “first mover” companies that are poised to dominate the 3D printing revolution and deliver investors incredible returns.

You see, at Motley Fool Stock Advisor, we stand behind every piece of advice, insight, and recommendation we make, with 100% confidence. Your complete satisfaction is guaranteed — or your money back!

So we want you to go ahead and take a FULL 30 DAYS to have a good look at every breakout company we’ve uncovered.

Get all the details on little-known companies that will change the world over the next decade…

And then, if for any reason you’re not totally thrilled…

… just tell us to send your money back.

Up to the last day of your first month, we’ll promptly refund every penny, NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

All the details of The Motley Fool’s three top 3D printing investments. All the content on the members-only Stock Advisor website. All the reports. All the recommendations. All the articles and investing tips.

Plus a valuable fast-action bonus detailed below — THEY’RE ALL YOURS TO KEEP WITH MY COMPLIMENTS.

And just so I’m being clear… if you decide you’d like to opt out at any point after your first month, you’ll be entitled to a refund of the full dollar value remaining in your membership account.

In other words, you’re completely protected.

But I’m pretty sure once you have a closer look at what our exclusive, forward-looking investment group is doing, you’ll want to stick around and get all the upcoming Stock Advisor recommendations…

That way you’ll have the chance to discover companies like these…

Quality Systems (Nasdaq: QSII) — Up 972%

Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) — Up 2,378%

Liquidity Services (Nasdaq: LQDT) — Up 156%

BorgWarner (NYSE: BWA) — Up 708%

National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV) — Up 116%

Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) — Up 4,209%

LabCorp (NYSE: LH) — Up 216%

Teradata (NYSE: TDC) — Up 162%

Activision (Nasdaq: ATVI) — Up 954%

Nvidia (Nasdaq: NVDA) — Up 121%

Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFM) — Up 234%

Coach (NYSE: COH) — Up 129%

MSC Industrial Direct (NYSE: MSM) — Up 204%

Of course, as intriguing an opportunity as this is, it would be a real mistake to invest based only on what I’ve been able to tell you here…

Which is why I hope you’ll take me up on my offer to get the full story on all three companies we’ve discussed in this report — directly from David Gardner…

Before the real Wall Street money starts pouring into these stocks, and making the investors who had the insight and discipline to scoop them up early FILTHY RICH!

Remember, when you accept my personal invitation and agree to sample everythingMotley Fool Stock Advisor has to offer without risk or obligation today, I’ll send you your very own copy of ” 3 Stocks to Own for the New Industrial Revolution” (a $29 value)absolutely free!

That way, you’ll have everything you need to get invested in the stocks that are dominating the world of 3D printing and helping investors like you strike it rich.

How much are these potential fortune makers worth?

Thousands of dollars? Sure. But you won’t have to pay thousands to get your hands on them.

In fact, if you join us at Stock Advisor right now through this special invitation, you can put a team of experts to work for you for just a fraction of that. Including Motley Fool co-founders David and Tom Gardner, nanotechnology expert Karl Thiel, number cruncher extraordinaire Andy Cross, no-nonsense small business owner Bryan White, and many more…

And that’s not the only good news…

Normally, you can gain access to every top recommendation on the Motley Fool Stock Advisor scorecard, plus get all our updates and reports, plus access to the members-only website that archives everything covered by Stock Advisor, for the regular membership rate of $199.

Given the kinds of returns I’ve showed you today, I’m sure you’ll agree that’s a bargain in itself. Our Stock Advisor members certainly seem to think so…

But, because I want to make absolutely sure you don’t miss out on your chance to profit from the incredible opportunity to invest in the 3D printing revolution, I’ve put together an even better deal for you.

One that allows you to sample everything I’ve told you about today, risk-free, for 30 full days… and then lock in two full years of Stock Advisor for just $98.

YOU’LL SAVE AN INCREDIBLE $300 off the regular membership rate.

Of course, if you’d rather not take advantage of our two year offer, you’re still welcome to join Stock Advisor for one year at the bargain price of just $49.

That’s 75% LESS than many other investors have gladly paid.

Here’s another way to think about it… for less than 14 cents a day, you get instant access to all of the potential fortune-making stock picks, premium reports, and valuable investment tools we’ve discussed today.

That’s the same amount it costs you to drive your car ONE MILE (we calculated it).

Think of it as a way to “go the extra mile” every day to secure your financial future. We guarantee that it will be worth it — or your money back!

No other team will work harder on your behalf — doing all the research, making the contacts, poring over the financial books, doing the key calculations — all to make sure you get the best investments for the months and years ahead.

And joining Stock Advisor means more than getting the ticker symbols of David Gardner’s top 3D printing plays and two more brand-new stock picks every month. Your membership also includes:

Monthly issues updating you on how our Core Stocks and Best Buys Now are performing

Breaking alerts by email with important market news that impacts your portfolio

Exclusive interviews with power players from the world of finance (like John Bogle from Vanguard) and some of the top CEOs in the world (like John Mackey from Whole Foods)

24/7 access to our lively online discussion boards — the world’s first (and best!) water-cooler for great investing ideas)

A full, no-B.S. scoreboard for all of the picks we’ve ever made in Stock Advisor. David calls it “Moneyball for the financial world,” and you won’t find it anywhere else.

So join Motley Fool Stock Advisor today and you’ll get all of the above, plus our premium investing kit…

Report Cover3 Stocks to Own for the New Industrial Revolution: Reveals The Motley Fool’s top three 3D printing plays and shows you exactly how to position yourself to cash in on the coming investment boom. (A $29 value.)

And if you join us right now, we’ll also send you one of the most valuable special reports we’ve ever put together here at The Motley Fool (a $99 value) — ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Have a look…

Get ready to cash in on…

The 5 Stock Rivalries Shaping the Future

(Introducing our BRAND NEW special report — a $99 value — yours 100% FREE when you sign up today!)

Any investor can identify a hot industry trend. But the real profits come when you can pick out the handful of winners from the ocean of losers. That’s why Motley Fool co-founders David and Tom Gardner recently rounded up a crack team of 10 of our top stock analysts to go head to head in: Motley Fool Fight Night! 5 Stock Rivalries Shaping the Future.

We’re taking five of the biggest industries in the world, and letting each analyst argue their case (with their words, not their fists)… all to identify the one company that they see controlling each industry in the coming years…

Fight Night

The headline bout features Netflix facing off against Amazon.com — and the winner emerges as the owner of ultimate TV/movie streaming supremacy. Both of these companies have already made over 1,000% returns for The Motley Fool, but we think that’s only the beginning… And the undercard is just as juicy…

  • Find out who’s winning the battle royale for 3D printing dominance — many are calling it the third industrial revolution.
  • Think insurance is boring? Not with profits like these…
  • Discover who’s catching their second wind in big banking after getting knocked down in 2008.
  • Plus, meet the new “King of Beers.”

You’ll uncover all 10 of these Motley Fool recommendations, and find out who stands to rule the ring for years to come! One of these stocks already shot up 157.80% in 2012 alone! And the 10 of them had an average return of 42.43%… nearly triple the S&P 500.

Remember, this is a BRAND NEW special report hot off the presses. And it won’t be available for long. So sign up today to get 100% FREE access… and find out exactly why these 10 companies are uniquely positioned to bring you knockout profits!

Report CoverWe’ll also throw in another premium investing kit, The One Energy Play For the Rest of Your Life. This one shows you the best way to cash in on the $520 billion industry that most investors have never heard of…

Only one company has developed an alternative energy solution that relies on common sense instead of wind farms, biofuels, solar panels, or fairy dust. In fact, it’s such a no-brainer that even President Obama has pledged to support it, giving it special mention in a recent speech. (A $29 value.)

Add it up and your free special reports and discounts are worth more than $450

Yet you’ll only pay a fraction of that — and you won’t have to risk even one dollar.

In other words, you have everything to gain — and absolutely nothing to lose.

Of course, there is one catch…

I can only guarantee everything I’ve offered you today if you join us RIGHT NOW THROUGH THIS OFFER.

More importantly, there will never be a better or an easier way to position yourself to cash in on the 3D printing revolution. So please don’t risk missing out.

Just click the “START NOW” button below to the right to join us, and begin securing a lifetime of wealth for yourself and your family today! I look forward to hearing from you soon.

START NOW

Here’s to your investment success,

Mark Brooks
Mark Brooks
Publisher, Motley Fool Stock Advisor

P.S. Remember, this is a unique win-win proposition because you’re covered by our special “keep everything and risk nothing” DOUBLE GUARANTEE. But to take advantage of this guarantee, you must join through this offer today!

P.P.S. I had to fight with our bean counters to get this David Gardner bundle offer on your desk today for this unbelievably low price. They wanted me to charge you $29 for our special 3D printing investing kit “3 Stocks to Own for the New Industrial Revolution,” plus $29 for the “One Energy Play for the Rest of Your Life” kit, plus $99 for our Motley Fool Fight Night report, in addition to $398 for two full years of Stock Advisor. So at just $98 for two years (more than 75% off the regular price) or $49 for one year, this offer is both an incredible value for your stock portfolio… and an incredible chance to start learning from a great investing mind like David Gardner. But I had to promise those guys that I wouldn’t run the offer for long, so you must join through this offer today!

All Stock Advisor newsletter returns as of October 15, 2013. All Rule Breakers newsletter returns as of October 17, 2013. Unless otherwise noted, all numbers as of October 18, 2013. Mark Brooks owns shares of Amazon.com, Netflix, National Oilwell Varco, and Activision Blizzard. The Motley Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard, Amazon.com, Apple, Baidu, Catamaran, Coach, eBay, Google, Intuitive Surgical, IPG Photonics, MercadoLibre, MSC Industrial Direct, National Oilwell Varco, Netflix, Nike, Priceline.com, Starbucks, Tesla Motors , and Whole Foods Market. The performance data quoted represents past performance and does not guarantee future results.

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8 Positive Outcomes of the Paleo Trend

8 Positive Outcomes of the Paleo Trend

8 Positive Outcomes of the Paleo Trend

This dude is clearly feeling good about eating like a caveman. (Photo by Bernd Vogel/Corbis).

By Janet Helm for U.S. News & World Report

Let me get this out of the way right now: I’m not a fan of thePaleo diet. I don’t support this restrictive, meat-heavy diet that bans so many nutritious foods, such as dairy, grains and beans. It’s a diet plan that landed at the bottom of the list in U.S. News Best Diets rankings, scoring only 2 out of 5 stars.

Even so, it was at the top of the list of most-searched diets of 2013, according to the annual Google Zeitgeist trend report. So that means a lot of people are curious about adopting the diet – or are already fully entrenched in the paleo lifestyle. This growing interest is what’s behind the burgeoning Paleo industry that’s popped up – with Paleolithic-inspired cookbooks, magazines and blogs, along with Paleo-friendly foods, snacks and restaurant menu items.

While health professionals may scoff at this primal eating plan (also known as the caveman diet), Paleo followers are so passionate about this lifestyle that they can’t help but proselytize. I’ve never seen such devotion to a diet. For nonbelievers (like myself), there’s often a concerted effort to attack the doubters. When did eating turn into a religion?

While I may not recommend a Paleo diet, I must admit there are some positive outcomes of this trend – which is showing no signs of going away anytime soon. Here are eight positive things we have to thank for the growing popularity of the Paleolithic approach, along with a few concluding thoughts:

1. Back to basics.

The Paleo diet shuns processed foods, so the emphasis is on eating closer to nature. Even though I believe not all processing is bad, I agree with the need to eat more whole, fresh, nutrient-rich foods that don’t come in a package.

2. Return of homemade.

Since so many foods are off-limits, and you can’t always get paleo-approved items when eating out, Paleo followers are cooking more at home. That’s great. Although, I don’t see how a gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free cookie is any healthier than its non-Paleo counterpart – and it’s still a cookie (which really wasn’t eaten by cavemen).

3. Abolishing a fear of fat.

Paleo is not a low-fat diet. In fact, it celebrates certain fats. For too long, people thought all fat was bad, so I’m glad to see the emphasis on olive oil, nuts and avocado. The avocado has especially enjoyed a boost from the Paleo trend – served up in smoothies, baked with an egg nestled inside a half, smashed in puddings and chopped in salads. However, I’m less enthusiastic about coconut oil, which I don’t think deserves the cult status.

4. Permission to eat the yolks.

Goodbye, egg white omelets. Now it’s in vogue to eat the whole egg. The paleo diet relies heavily on eggs, which are hard to beat as a versatile and affordable source of high-quality protein and other nutrients.

5. Surge in nut butters.

While peanuts are off-limits (since they’re a legume), tree nuts are fully embraced in the Paleo plan. That’s got to be one of the reasons why we’re seeing so many new nut butters on the market – creamy and crunchy spreads made with almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans and other nuts. You can also find lots of recipes for making your own nut butters – which are terrific as a topper on toast, spread on sandwiches or used in baking.

6. Creative vegetable hacks.

Since pasta and rice are forbidden, Paleo followers have turned to vegetables to replace these mealtime staples. You don’t need to be Paleo to enjoy spiralized veggie noodles or faux rice made from cauliflower. I recently wrote about these new vegetable creations, which are quickly gaining mainstream status.

7. Increase in protein snacks.

I can’t help but think it’s easier to find grab-and-go protein-rich snacks due to the Paleo trend. Most snack foods tend to be high in carbs and sugar. But now convenience stores, airports, malls and other places are stocking individual bags of nuts and seeds, proportioned nut butters, refrigerated hard-boiled eggs and gourmet jerky.

8. Combination of diet and exercise.

The Paleo lifestyle emphasizes exercise (especially CrossFit) – after all, hunter-gatherers were always on the move. So I like that nutrition and physical activity are getting equal billing. You do need both – so that’s good.

Even though there may be some positive outcomes of the Paleo trend, the diet has several flaws that I can’t get over. If people feel better following this lifestyle, then it’s hard to argue with that. I’m all for people doing what feels right. But could the reason behind the newfound euphoria be that they got rid of the junk? Of course you’ll feel better – and likely lose weight – if you curtail refined carbs, salty processed meals and sugar-laden treats.

Yes, we should be eating more whole, fresh foods. But the rationale to completely eliminate dairy, grains and beans just doesn’t hold up for me. Why miss out on a Greek yogurt parfait in the morning or a wedge of brie with a warm, crunchy baguette in the evening? Oh yeah, no baguette either.

Maybe it’s good to cut down on white, refined grains, but why miss out on oatmeal and the vast array of tasty, nutritious whole grains, such as farro, quinoa, bulgur, millet and spelt. These are all amazing ancient grains – are they just not ancient enough?

Beans and legumes are wonderful fiber-rich plant proteins. I can’t imagine banning these nutritional powerhouses. That means no hummus or falafel, no chili with beans, no black bean veggie burgers, no lentil curries and no bean salads. Oh, and I love beans and whole grains together – why eliminate these nutritious plant-based foods that have tons of research demonstrating their health protective properties? We should be eating more of them – not following a plan that forbids them.

Sure, some Paleo followers interpret the restrictions differently and allow for some of these foods, but why have so many arbitrary rules? Why spend time trying to determine if a food is truly Paleo or not?

My biggest problem is the idea of putting a label on the way we eat. Nutrition shouldn’t be an exclusive club. It shouldn’t be about what we delete – but what we eat. It’s easy to fall into the trap of ascribing foods as good and evil. Paleo has some things right, but I think the diet gets a lot wrong, too. I’d rather have people pick the best of Paleo and skip the rest – then just say they’re enjoying a healthy diet.

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The 6 Golden Rules of a Healthy Grocery Cart

The 6 Golden Rules of a Healthy Grocery Cart

The 6 Golden Rules of a Healthy Grocery Cart

The shopper next to you could be a dietitian. Here’s how to make her proud. (Photo by Getty Images)

By Kristin Kirkpatrick for U.S. News & World Report 

I like to think of myself as a fairly non-judgmental kind of girl. The problem is, when I’m waiting in the grocery store checkout line, that persona goes out the store’s sliding doors. As I wait for my turn, I find myself examining the contents of others’ carts, and sometimes – dare I say – I judge.

If I see a basket of cookies and cola, for example, I have to resist the urge to turn around and ask, “Why?” The same is true when I see a family wheeling a full cart – without a single vegetable or fruit. Most frustrating, though, is when I see what appears to be a well-intentioned attempt at healthiness that falls short, like a mom who buys a super sugary breakfast bar for her child, believing the claim it contains “real” fruit.

I wish I didn’t have these thoughts; I wish I didn’t even look. But I’ll chalk it up to my job and knowing that the food we choose to put in our bodies has a direct impact on our weight and disease status. Fortunately, the thoughts that go through my head stay there and never come out to a fellow shopper. I thought it was time to put these thoughts on paper.

I can’t blame my fellow shoppers: The grocery store is one of the most deceptive places out there, filled with confusing and oftentimes misleading front-of-package claims that trick people into thinking their food choices are healthy when in fact, they’re not. The store is also filled with tempting foods and lots of them. You might have 30 varieties of ice cream or 40 types of frozen dinners. It’s not the fault of the grocery store, either – it simply carries the items, and many stores today are pushing healthier options. That’s why it’s truly up to all of us to make the right choices. Here’s your simple guide to the best cart possible:

1. Your cart should have at least five colors.

The giveaway to a cart that’s lacking nutrient density is one that lacks color. Research suggests color is what gives fruits and vegetables many of their amazing benefits including prevention of certain cancers, neurological conditions and stroke.

A cart void of real color means that the person pushing it probably isn’t getting the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. To get yours, aim for at least three seasonally fresh produce items and three frozen items that are out of season. Purchasing a few apples, some spinach, a bunch of bananas, purple potatoes, and frozen cauliflower and carrots will get you up to the five requirements. Then, you’ll just have to go home and actually eat them, perhaps by matching your apples with natural almond butter for a yummy lunchtime snack, throwing your spinach and carrots into a hearty soup, churning your bananas into a morning smoothie or pairing your purple potatoes and cauliflower with healthy lean proteins, such as fish or chicken breast.

2. Middle aisle foods should contain fewer than four ingredients.

The old adage that the perimeter of the store is best is actually true: It’s there you’ll find “whole” foods that have minimal processing. That doesn’t mean, however, that you’ll never need to venture into a middle aisle – you will. The middle aisles contain condiments, crackers, breads, pastas, spices and cereals. Many items in these aisles are healthy, and many are not. How can you figure out the difference between the two? A good rule of thumb is to follow the ingredient trail. For example, choose a cracker that has only three ingredients over one that has 20 because the latter is more likely to contain additives and refined grains.

The rule can also be applied to pastas. Whole-grain “blends” – which are usually never 100 percent whole grain, hence the word “blend” – will often have at least five ingredients, whereas the 100 percent whole-grain (both wheat and gluten-free versions) tend to contain one to two ingredients. The ingredient rule can also apply nicely to salad dressing, rice, nut butters and even canned tomato sauces!

3. “Goodie” foods should be limited to a single serving.

It’s probably unrealistic that you’ll never put a cookie in your cart, so if you do, make sure it’s the only one of its kind and make sure it’s small. That means going for the single serve portion instead of the entire bag of potato chips, cookies or tub of ice cream. This approach allows you to enjoy a food that’s tempting without going overboard and without having enough left over to indulge all week. A 2013 study found that people who ate just a bite of a food such as apple pie or chocolate chips experienced the same appetite satisfaction as those who were allowed to indulge in a much larger portion with a lot more calories.

4. All carbohydrates should be 100 percent whole-grain.

This is perhaps the easiest rule to follow – and with the greatest benefits to your health. Simply look for the 100 percent whole-grain stamp on your breads, opt for pastas with one ingredient (such as 100 percent whole-grain flour or 100 percent brown rice flour if you’re going gluten-free,) and swap your white rice for brown, black or wild rice. Research suggests making this easy switch could help reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and weight gain.

5. Frozen meals should stay in the frozen aisle.

There is one major similarity among my patients: Those who purchase the most frozen meals cook the least. This is a huge problem if your goal is to start eating right for better health and yes, even a better weight. Most frozen meals (not to be confused with plain frozen fruits, vegetables or whole grains) are empty of any real nutritional value, and are high in refined grains and simple sugars. Further, they often contain preservatives and additives, making them no match for a home-cooked meal.

While some companies have introduced some very healthy frozen meals, as a nation, we are clearly cooking less. In fact, according to recent data, only half of us cook the majority of the time. Cooking six nights a week doesn’t mean making grand meals that take hours to prepare. On the contrary, heated frozen rice can be paired with black beans and lightly steamed broccoli for a nutritious meal that takes less than ten minutes to prepare. Broiling a piece of wild salmon will take only 25 minutes and can be paired with a simple salad of greens and olive oil. Easy “convenience” foods that take minutes to throw together into a meal include tofu cubes, chicken strips prepared ahead of time, lightly steamed frozen vegetables, bean-based pastas, frozen wild fish and even eggs (who says they can only be eaten for breakfast?) The point is, if you do it yourself, you take the control away from the food manufacturer and put it back in your own kitchen!

6. Water, coffee and tea should dominate your drink options.

The drink aisles are larger than ever, with hundreds of options to choose from – but are all these options really necessary? What about the simplest option that comes straight from the tap? Are we so completely bored with the basics of water, coffee and tea that the drink aisle is now a must-stop aisle during our grocery trip? While chugging an electrolyte replacement drink or diet cola every once in a while won’t kill you, there are a few drinks that you may want to ban from your cart. For example, several studies have linked energy drinks to insomnia, nervousness, and negative behaviors such as smoking and excess screen time. Additionally, drinks loaded with sugar are directed linked to obesity in children and increase the risk for diabetes. In fact, a 2013 study found that drinking just one 12-ounce sugary drink increased the risk of diabetes by 22 percent.

Following these six golden rules may help to impact your cart – and your health in ways you never imagined!

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20 EDIBLE PLANTS THAT ARE EASY TO GROW INDOORS

20 EDIBLE PLANTS THAT ARE EASY TO GROW INDOORS

20 EDIBLE PLANTS THAT ARE EASY TO GROW INDOORS

The best way to ensure that you are eating the most healthy, delicious, and inexpensive food is to grow it yourself. You might think that growing your own fruits and veggies will be difficult and time-consuming, but there are so many delicious foods that you can grow in your house!

CARROTS

Carrots are one of the easiest vegetables to grow indoors because keeping a steady level of moisture in the soil is easier to maintain. There are many varieties of carrots that may be grown indoors that can not be found in produce sections of local markets. All it takes is a 12-inch pot, soil, and a sunny window, and anyone will be well on the way to harvesting beautifully delicious carrots.

GREEN BEANS

Green beans taste so much better when they are fresh rather than canned. And good news! You can grow your very own green beans at home.  Just put them in a sunny window with moist soil. Green beans grow quickly so make sure you give them little sticks for stability and support.

POTATOES

Potatoes are easy to grow in large baskets, buckets, or even plastic sacks.  Leave a little room at the top to add more compost as the plants start to develop.

KALE

Kale is surprisingly easy to grow indoors and even does well during the colder months. The trick is to sow the seeds a little farther apart to give the plants adequate room to grow. You should see sprouts within the week!

MANDARIN ORANGES

Growing mandarin oranges in pots can be tricky for two reasons: adequately sized pot and sufficient sunlight. Indoor mandarin trees will grow more like a shrub instead of a tree, but should be treated as any other indoor potted tree. You can expect a sweet and flavorful fruit in about 12 months, but that is simply an estimate and may take longer.

MUSHROOMS

Mushrooms are a very healthy addition to any diet because they are low in calories, high in fiber and contain lots of healthy potassium. Growing them at home is very simple and, since they grow best in a dark, moist environment, can be grown by almost anyone in almost any place. Harvest is usually 4 – 5 weeks from start to plate so growing these little gems indoors is very rewarding.

AVOCADOS

Indoor cultivation of avocados is a project that is most successful using a grafted dwarf sapling if a fruit bearing tree is the desired result. These plants are difficult to care for and the process includes plant support, careful feeding and pruning, and transplanting as needed. Avocados can take up to 10 years to grow to the fruit-bearing stage and that’s if all conditions are just right.

TOMATOES

One of the great things about growing tomatoes in your home is that you don’t need a green thumb to produce vine-ripened tomatoes that are excellent on salads and in recipes. With just a 6-inch pot of soil and a bright, sunny, spot, windowsill-tomatoes can be ready to harvest in a few short weeks.

LEMONS

One of the most aromatic, delightfully simple plants to grow indoors is a lemon tree. When planting this tree, the roots will need a big pot to allow for nice spread and the soil and branches must be kept moist in order to mimic a humid climate. However, providing these essential elements, coupled with proper watering and nourishment, will produce a beautifully fragrant tree that is sure to yield yummy lemons.

MINT

Mint plants are especially simple to grow and tend to thrive in a potted environment. Unlike most indoor plants, mint does not need lots of direct sunlight. Instead, mint requires indirect light, adequate drainage, and light misting in order to yield a fragrant and tasty garnish.

BELL PEPPERS

Growing bell peppers indoors allows for proper control of the growing environment which is essential for beautiful peppers. In addition, there is a longer growing season indoors which will yield more vegetables for longer periods of time. Picking right when it’s ready will also encourage new peppers to grow quickly without strain on the plant itself.

GINGER

Ginger is used in many stir fry dishes and has a distinct aroma. It can be expensive to purchase in local markets, but growing it can be easy and very rewarding. Ginger loves a humid environment so regular misting is important as well as well-drained soil and partial sunlight. Root to harvest, ginger is a favorite with in-home gardeners.

BEETS

Beets are not only a colorful addition to your plate, they are also nutritionally heavy in vitamins and minerals. Easy to grow, beets are the perfect vegetable to grow for a beginning gardener as the plants are tolerant of many different growing environments. This delicious root is a great choice for indoor gardening and will deliver a nice, fulfilling, product.

CHIVES

A quirky little plant, chives are convenient to have sitting on a kitchen countertop ready to be cut and plopped into your favorite dish. These plants like a bit of humidity so place a small dish filled with pebbles and water nearby to provide the perfect environment for a healthy plant. In a few short weeks you’ll have aromatic chives for all your favorite dishes.

ROSEMARY

One of the most challenging edible plants to grow indoors is rosemary. The most common problems with growing rosemary is powdery mildew which can easily be avoided by using a fan to circulate the air around the plant. Other problems include lack of good watering habits, inadequate sunlight, and pesky pests. Avoiding these strains on the plants will generate a healthy plant that will thrive in your kitchen.

SALAD GREENS

Growing salad greens is a great way to perk up boring winter salads and will yield a full plate of salad in about a month’s time, from seed to harvest. Using a sunny, south-facing window or a growing lights is essential to get the appropriate amount of sunlight required to produce a full, healthy, crop. One of the easiest, most delicious, plants to grow indoors is salad greens, and with a few simple steps you can have fresh greens for weeks.

RADISHES

Radishes are the perfect choice to grow indoors, as they are very quick to harvest and super easy to grow. This little, somewhat spicy, veggie is fool-proof so even kids can grow them. Radishes are a nice first vegetable for beginners and will give a first-timer a sense of pride when, in such a short time, the fruits of your labor will go from seed to plate.

SCALLIONS

Scallions are a lovely addition to many recipes. As long as the conditions are right, they can be grown all year long on a sunny windowsill. After about 8 – 10 weeks the sprouts will be ready to cut and enjoy, while leaving about 1/2 inch above the soil so that the scallions will continue to produce.

MICROGREENS

Microgreens are tiny green plants that are big on flavor and big on price in local markets. However, they are pretty easy to grow at home given a few simple supplies, a sunny windowsill, and a small container. In only 2 – 3 short weeks from planting to harvest, microgreens can be garnishing your own homemade plates.

CILANTRO

Growing cilantro indoors can be somewhat more challenging than outdoors particularly if you transplant it from an outdoor location. Since cilantro does not transplant well, make sure to start your indoor plant from seeds and provide a more sandy soil to prevent root restriction and nutrient deficiency.

PARSLEY

Ornamental and extremely sensible, parsley is a delicious garnish to almost any plate. To grow healthy and tasty, parsley needs about 6 hours in a bright, sunny spot along with the general humidity of the kitchen and cooking environment. It takes about 6 weeks from seed to plate to enjoy the fresh taste of parsley with your meals.

GARLIC GREENS

Garlic greens are sprouting, green shoots that have a mild, garlicky flavor. They are very easy to grow and only require a pot, soil, a sunny window, and water whenever dry. They take about 10 weeks from planting to harvest, and will continue to give off greens indefinitely, adding a punch to salads, baked potatoes, and anything that needs a little garnish.

BASIL

Basil can be very temperamental when growing indoors. It’s important to use a plastic container to hold in the moisture as well as properly drained soil with pebbles or sand. Also, artificial light is crucial since basil requires an intense amount of sunlight in order to bear the best crop possible.

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Will California Dry Up & Fall Off?

Will California Dry Up & Fall Off?

When the recent earthquake hit California, one of my friends commented that “California is so dry right now, I’m surprised it didn’t just break off and fall into the ocean!”
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Anthropologists shed light on gladiators’ diet

Anthropologists shed light on gladiators’ diet
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

New research in the journal PloS ONE has revealed some surprising details about the Roman gladiators’ eating habits. Rather than eating meat to bulk up for matches, the gladiators’ diet was primarily a vegetarian one, including mostly beans and grains. In fact, gladiators are referred to in contemporary reports as “hordearii,” a.k.a. “barley eaters.”

Researchers at the MedUni Vienna’s Department of Forensic Medicine and the University of Bern’s anthropology department studied bones from excavations in the ancient Ephesos — capital of the Roman province of Asia, in what is now Turkey — to reach their conclusions. The bones the researchers studied were excavated in 1993 and date to the second or third century B.C.E.

The plant-heavy aspect isn’t the only surprise, though — gladiators apparently drank ashes after their physical training as a “build-up drink,” according to Phys.org. The gladiators’ bones had “highly significant” amounts of strontium, leading the researchers to conclude the gladiators drank plant ashes. The researchers are now launching a new project to study gladiators’ migration to Ephesos from other parts of the Roman empire, using the bones as a starting point.

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