The Cold Truth About Dairy-Free 'Ice Cream'

iStock
iStock

Warmer weather often brings shoppers to linger in front of the frozen dessert section of their local supermarket. In addition to the standard assortment of Ben & Jerry’s, you might notice more non-dairy options taking up freezer space. Dairy-free and lactose-free treats are certainly beneficial to the lactose-intolerant, but do they hold any other advantages?

CNN reporter Lisa Drayer recently examined the growing assortment of “non-dairy frozen desserts.” (Per FDA regulations, anything labeled “ice cream” has to contain dairy ingredients.) In many cases, products created using dairy alternatives like soy, coconut, almond, or cashew milk can often be lower in calories and saturated fat—sometimes as low as 120 calories and 0 grams per half-cup. By comparison, an equivalent serving of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream comes in at 280 calories with 9 grams of saturated fat.

Other non-dairy options can actually exceed their conventional ice cream counterparts, either with more calories or more saturated fat, especially those made with coconut milk. And non-dairy doesn’t mean manufacturers curb the amount of sugar used, which can sometimes be as much or more as their dairy competition. They may also use sugar alcohols to bring that sugar count down, which some consumers may have trouble digesting.

In a fair head-to-head comparison, Ben & Jerry's offers two varieties of Chocolate Fudge Brownie. The conventional version has 260 calories with 12 grams of fat and 27 grams of sugar. The vegan option has 200 calories, 11 grams of fat, and and 16 grams of sugar. Not a huge difference.

The final scoop? “Non-dairy” or “dairy-free” doesn’t automatically mean healthier. Check nutritional labels and try to avoid treats with heaping amounts of saturated fats.

[h/t CNN]

Scotland Could Become the First Country to Provide Universal Period Products to Citizens

emapoket, iStock via Getty Images
emapoket, iStock via Getty Images

Fears over where to find—and how to afford—sanitary products before their next menstrual cycle may no longer be an issue for people in Scotland. Earlier today, as the BBC reports, Members of Scottish Parliament passed the first part of a bill that would make items like pads and tampons free to the public.

The Period Products Bill was first put forth in 2017 to address period poverty, which affects people who are unable to afford essential menstrual hygiene products. Pads, tampons, and some reusable menstrual items are currently available to students in primary schools and universities in the country. The Scottish government has also expanded the program to include additional public places and sports clubs, but this new bill goes even further. If passed, Scotland would become the first country to provide free period products to citizens on a universal scale.

Ministers in the Scottish Parliament were initially concerned about the bill's £24 million ($31 million) annual price tag, but earlier this month, members of all parties in the government came out in support of the legislation. Though the bill passed through the first stage of parliament today, February 25, the BBC wrote that "The government is expected to put forward a raft of amendments to address their 'significant' concerns about the legislation," including the aforementioned cost.

Period poverty is an issue that's felt around the world. In America, many lawmakers are fighting to end the "tampon tax": a sales tax that's added to sanitary products and waived from other hygiene products deemed essential in many states, like dandruff shampoo.

[h/t BBC]

10 Simple Tricks for Charging Your Smartphone Faster

Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images
Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images

Smartphones always seem to reach low power at the least convenient moments possible. If you've ever urged your device to charge faster in the minutes before a phone interview or when you're about to board a plane, you can relate. While the easiest way to avoid this scenario is to plug in your device before the battery dips into the danger zone, if you've already reached this point, there are simple ways to speed up the charging process.

Some hacks for charging a phone faster involve steps you can take in anticipation of the next time you're surviving on minimum energy. Certain gadgets, like special chargers and battery packs, will power-up your device more efficiently than others. For moments when your phone is dying and all you have is your regular charging cable, adjusting your phone's settings to minimize the power it consumes also works in a pinch.

You can find some specific ways to charge your phone quickly below: 

  1. Plug it into a wall outlet instead of a USB port.
  1. Use a portable battery pack.
  1. Buy a special "fast" phone charger.
  1. Switch to low power mode.
  1. Switch to airplane mode.
  1. Let your phone drain completely on its own once a month to the extend the battery life.
  1. Close any background apps.
  1. Stop automatic app updates.
  1. Don't check your phone while it's charging
  1. Keep your phone out of the heat.

For more tricks for making your phone usage more efficient, check out these tips for typing faster.

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