Meow! Use “Q-chan” app and Your Cat Will Love You More Than Ever

Cats have a stereotype that seems to be true more often than not. They are independent and sassy, only seeking humans when they need something. This description certainly differs from that of dogs. K9 breeds are of course known to be affectionate to a fault. Studies have long existed showing that, like humans, dogs release the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin [1].

In fact, scientists are just as curious as the rest of us as to whether cats even like their owners, especially compared to dogs. Dr. Paul Zak decided to conduct a study to measure the oxytocin levels in dogs and cats after interacting with their owners.

“He took saliva samples from 10 cats and 10 dogs on two occasions – 10 minutes before a playtime session with their owners and immediately after – and tested both samples for oxytocin.”

The results show the hormone increased by an average of 57.2 per cent in dogs but only by 12 per cent in cats.

So in theory, dogs are scientifically proven to love humans more than cats do.

However, while the research (and cliches) may indicate dogs love all, not all love dogs; some people prefer felines and would like a way to improve relationships with their snoody and sassy cats. While it can be frustrating to try to build a relationship with a cat, especially if it is well past kitten age, there is hope.

Taking care of the basics

Cats don’t require much, but in order to cultivate a happy and successful bond between you and your whiskered companion, it is important to ensure he or she has everything they need.

1. Litter Box

Make sure your cat’s litter box is somewhere they like it and is easy for them to find. Keep the box clean, or your cat may take to leaving you surprises in other places.

2. Quality food and clean water

Quality pet food often comes at a price, but it’s worth it to know that your cat is healthy and taken care of. Consult your vet to determine the appropriate food for your kitty, and of course make sure they always have access to clean water.

3. Help your cat entertain herself

Cats, much like people, don’t want to be bored. Make sure your pet has lots of fun toys to play with to satisfy their curiosity. Buy different treats and determine which your particular cat prefers. Once you’ve identified it, keep some on hand all the time.

4. Give them a good bed, or at least the option of one…

Cats are pretty independent, so they will likely find their sleeping space on their own. However, while cats often prefer to choose their own sleeping place, it’s a good idea to buy a cat bed or some soft bedding. While you may feel a little silly doing so, rub her bedding on you so that it picks up some of your scent. She’ll associate her safe, resting area with your smell [2].

5. Provide a scratching post

A scratching post can calm your cat’s nerves and prevent her from ruining your furniture!

It can be challenging to understand any animal, because they can’t tell you what they want. For instance, if you have ever owned a cat before, you know you could be petting them one moment and listening to them purr, only to suddenly be attacked by your precious pet for seemingly doing the same thing! While the cat obviously felt justified in biting or clawing at you, you were left trying to understand the sudden change in attitude. Undoubtedly, you wished there was a way your cat companion could tell you what happened. If only there was a cat to human dictionary you could reference. But wait, there might just be an app for that…

Introducing the Q-cat App

This innovative app is designed to help you capture your cat’s attention. The adorable technology is easy to use and filled with over 250 quality meow sounds!

 

Your cat will love feeling you understand him every time you press a button so signal a new meow. Plus, in an effort to start your day off right, the Q-Cat app even offers a meow alarm that allows you to play meow sounds at a set time to wake up you and call your cat to your bed. You two will feel closer in no time [3].

Attract your cat will be more simple than ever

To select different meow sounds, simply swipe up or down and tap the desired effect.

 

To set the alarm, navigate to the alarm menu of the app and chose the time and sound you’d like. Just make sure your phone isn’t on silent or do not disturb mode.

The Cat-App and you

Along with making sure your cat has all of its basic needs met, the cat-app is an ideal next step in really bonding with him or her. While it may not technically translate what your cat is telling you, it may help your cat to feel more understood by you. This further aids in a comfortable, loving environment for your feline friend and can help the two of you to trust each other more.

Download the app today for iPhone or iPad and let us know here at Lifehack how you and your cat fare!

Reference

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The Only Music That Really Eases Stress and Pain

Stress is absolutely everywhere. Even when you feel like you’re thriving in one or more areas of your life, there’s always going to be stress somewhere else. One way that people choose to reduce stress is by listening to music, specifically, putting their very favorite tunes on repeat.

Listening to the favorite hits does make people feel better. But research has found that your favorite music may not be the best choice to ease stress and pain.

Listening, Fast and Slow

Even if faster tunes makes you feel better or upbeat, only the slower tunes help reduce stress and anxiety.

Slower beats have a meditative effect. Faster beats can’t really induce this same kind of feeling. Instead, they usually encourage more alert and concentrated thinking. This is useful for other situations but not stress reduction.

A study conducted by Monash University showed that slower classical music could help reduce “anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure”.[1] The brain’s response to classical music may even help ease symptoms of depression as well as more day-to-day anxiety and stress.

Slower musical beats can alter brainwave speed, inducing a state that’s more meditative or hypnotic. Cognitive scientists and researchers in music therapy have spent a lot of time studying how musical rhythms impact our brainwaves and emotional states. This is why so many cultures (including most religious services) make slower, ceremonial music a big part of important rituals.[2]

Listening to music on headphones has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in hospital patients who need surgery. It can help reduce both physical pain and emotional distress of patients with chronic and postoperative pain.[3]

Soothing Tunes Don’t Have to Be Boring

Slow tunes, especially slow classical music, may sound boring for some listeners though. When you force yourself to listen to slow tunes that you can’t enjoy, it won’t reduce your stress but give you tension instead. You don’t need to force yourself to listen to relaxation music that you don’t like.

If you don’t already love many slow tunes, I’d recommend this Spotify playlist “Soothing Strings”. The music is calming but isn’t boring to anyone who isn’t used to listening to slow tunes.

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Here are also a handful of YouTube tracks that you might try out:

Start exploring your favorite genres to find tracks you might like to use to ease your anxiety. As you explore more and more music, you’ll find ever more effective tracks personalized to your tastes. Don’t force yourself to use music that you actively dislike but keep an open mind as you listen and pay attention to how rhythms and melodies affect your mood. You may even surprise yourself.

Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

Reference

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10 Motivational Workplace Items to Brighten Your Day at the Office

It’s nearly impossible to feel motivated at work all the time. Sitting down at your desk after lunch can seem like one of the most challenging parts of the day. You’ve worked hard all morning, your belly is full, and now you’re tired. Maybe you feel the pressure of a deadline looming over you, and instead of knocking out the work, you can’t bring yourself to start it.

Motivational challenges become even greater when you don’t particularly enjoy your job, or when you’re tasked to do something you dislike. You can be the most energetic person in the world, but when faced with work that makes you unhappy, your energy level will plummet.

Changing your environment can increase your energy

If you’re the person dragging yourself from project to project without any enthusiasm, it may be worthwhile to look at your environment. Is your work-space dirty or disorganized? An office space that looks bad, smells bad, or makes you feel uncomfortable and unwelcome could be contributing to your lack of energy.

Our environment can serve as a reflection on us, but it can also influence our mindset. Research has shown that creating a positive and motivating work station can contribute to our success, while working in cluttered and unwelcoming environments can keep us down. UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families did a study that proved that clutter affected stress levels, mood, and self esteem. [1]

Artwork can also impact your effectiveness. Surrounding yourself with creative works inspires more creativity. Warm scenes can be comforting to you. A survey suggested that 83% of employees found that artwork was an important part of the work environment.[2]

Keeping objects that inspire comfort and happiness improve your motivation and productivity.[3] The average workday takes up at least 1/3 of your time. It makes sense that making your workstation inviting and filling it with messages of encouragement will improve your mood and your work.

10 Items to bolster your motivation at work

Here at Lifehack, we’ve tracked down ten items that would make great additions to your office. These practical goodies harness the power of language to brighten your environment, inspire you, or make you laugh. Happy, motivated, and passionate workers are more productive, and they have more fun too.

1. Inspirational Pen Set

You can never have too many pens, but these inspirational pens by Sweet Water Decor add a splash of color and positivity to your day. You won’t have to look far to get motivated.

Inspirational pens by Sweet Water Decor $18.00

2. Ban.do design Compliment Postcard Book

Frame these compliment postcards to display around your work space, or use them to send positive vibes to your coworkers.

Compliment Postcard book by Ban.do Design $10.00

3. 30 Day Challenge Notepad

Sometimes we just need a little reminder to savor the good things and live life to the fullest. Remind yourself by taking the 30-day challenge. Each sheet contains a simple phrase that you can use to set the right tone for your day.

30-Day Challenge Notepad by Urban Outfitters $12.00

4. New Look Dream Big Pin Board with Cloud Pegs

This pin board is fun and functional. Use it as a vision board, or tack up photos and quotes that make you happy.

New Look Dream Big Pin Board with Cloud Pegs by ASOS $21.00

5. The Monster Mug of Motivation

Add some quirky and cute monsters to your coffee break. With monsters encouraging you with sayings like, “Keep doing the thing,” it’ll be hard not to smile and keep moving forward.

The Monster Mug of Motivation by Katie Abey Design $13.85

6. You Got This Motivation Book

Take a look at this book when you need a confidence boost, or select a favorite quote to motivate you throughout your day.

You Got This Motivation Book by ASOS $11.50

7. Knock Knock Today’s Plan of Attack Great Big Stickies

Add a little humor to the task of prioritizing your work. These giant sticky notes can help you stay focused during those busy times.

Today’s Plan of Attack Big Stickies by Knock Knock $5.92

8. Conquer Your Year: The Ultimate Planner

Break down your big goals into actionable steps and keep track of everything you need to do with this planner. There’s plenty of room to think and reflect in these pages.

Conquer your year: The Ultimate Planner by Natalie MacNeil $8.98

9. Paper Lovers Book: Inspiration

Make office art from your favorite quotes and patterns, create greeting cards, and make fun paper gifts to brighten your coworker’s day. Easily switch out your crafts so that you always have something fresh and new to decorate your office.

Paper Lover’s Book: Inspiration by Kikki.K $29.95

10. Andaz Press Motivational Framed Desk Art, Do Epic Shit

For a quick pick-me-up, this framed desk art bears a simple reminder about the type of work you should be doing. Next time you hit that 2:00 PM slump, look at your desk art, and make epic things happen.

“Do Epic Shit.” Motivational Desk Art by Andaz Press $12.99

Featured photo credit: Kaboompics via kaboompics.com

Reference

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Great Filmmakers Pick Their Favorite Movies of the 21st Century

Film directors including Antoine Fuqua, Sofia Coppola, Paul Feig, Denis Villeneuve, Brett Ratner and Alex Gibney recently spoke to The New York Times about their favorite movies of the 21st century to date.[1] Below, I highlight 20 of the choices. This is an excellent place to start if you’re looking for great movies you haven’t seen or haven’t even heard of.

Antoine Fuqua’s Selected Films

Antoine Fuqua himself has directed Training Day, The Magnificent Seven, and other films. His selections included:

Fences (2016)

Set in 1950s Pittsburgh, the film takes a passionate look at former Negro-league baseball player Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) as he fights to provide for those he loves in a world that threatens to push him down. Fences was also directed by Washington. It’s adapted from a play by August Wilson, who Fuqua says “would be proud” of the output.

Watch Fences here.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Fuqua’s comment on the movie,

“It took us into a world that I have never seen before and executed it in a visceral, gritty way. It was not only moving, but it was heartfelt, dangerous and entertaining.”

When a penniless, eighteen year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai comes within one question of winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, a police investigation reveals his amazing story. Slumdog Millionaire won eight Academy Awards®, including Best Picture of the Year and Best Director, Danny Boyle.

Watch Slumdog Millionaire here.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Fuqua on this movie,

“A world undiscovered by some, in our own backyard. And it doesn’t use the tricks of Hollywood.”

Newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis is Hushpuppy, the tenacious six-year-old force of nature in an isolated bayou community. When her tough but loving father Wink (Dwight Henry) succumbs to a mysterious malady, the fierce and determined girl bravely sets out on a journey to save him. But Hushpuppy’s quest is hindered by a “busted” universe that melts the ice caps and unleashes an army of prehistoric beasts.

Watch Beast of the Southern Wild here.

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Fuqua notes it does something a lot of movies don’t,

“sustained intensity and tension, even when it was only two people in the room talking.”

For a decade, an elite team of intelligence and military operatives, working in secret across the globe, devoted themselves to a single goal: to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden. It’s the story of that search and ultimate raid/assassination.

Watch Zero Dark Thirty here.

Sofia Coppola’s Selected Films

Coppola is best-known for Lost in Translation, as well as being the daughter of Oscar-winner Francis Ford Coppola. Here are some of her selected films:

Force Majeure (2014)

Here’s how Coppola commented on the film,

“I loved the little moments, the details that said so much.”

This is the story of a model Swedish family—handsome businessman Tomas, his willowy wife Ebba and their two blond children— on a skiing holiday in the French Alps. The sun is shining and the slopes are spectacular but during a lunch at a mountainside restaurant, an avalanche suddenly bears down on the happy diners. With people fleeing in all directions and his wife and children in a state of panic, Tomas makes a decision that will shake his marriage to its core and leave him struggling to reclaim his role as family patriarch.

Watch Force Majeure here.

The White Ribbon (2009)

Coppola loves the black-and-white photography.

In a village in Protestant northern Germany, on the eve of World War I, the children of a church and school run by the village schoolteacher and their families experience a series of bizarre incidents that inexplicably assume the characteristics of a punishment ritual.

If you like old-time photography to convey the WW1 sense, this may be for you too.

Watch The White Ribbon here.

The Savages (2007)

Coppola loved the acting of the two main performances, by Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Until recently, all John and Wendy Savage (Hoffman, Linney) had in common was a lousy childhood and a few strands of DNA. But after years of drifting apart, they’re forced to band together to care for the elderly, cantankerous father who made their formative years “challenging.” In the process, both of these aimless, perpetually adolescent forty-something’s may just, at long last, have to grow up!

If you love good acting, this is a good film to try out.

Watch The Savages here.

Paul Feig’s Selected Films

Paul Feig is considered one of the best comedy directors working today — especially for women — having helmed Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters, among others. His selected films are:

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Feig on the movie,

“One of those movies I could watch over and over again, because it was just so out of left field. In comedy, we feel that we’ve seen it all and done it all, but then an original voice comes in and you go, damn.” It is truly an original movie.

From the rural town of Preston, Idaho, comes Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder). With a red ‘fro, his moon boots, and illegal government ninja moves, he is a new kind of hero. When his friend Pedro (Efren Ramirez) decides to run for class president, it is Napoleon to the rescue to help him triumph over adversity.

Watch Napolean Dynamite here.

This Is The End (2013)

Feig says,

“They pulled off all those elements that seemed like they couldn’t work — it was emotional and funny and they did it playing themselves.”

While attending a party at James Franco’s house, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and many other celebrities are faced with the apocalypse. Kevin Hart and others make appearances.

Watch This Is the End here.

Amelie (2001)

This film was nominated for five Academy Awards, and Feig says,

“it’s so literal and yet stylish. You fall in love with her immediately.”

A painfully shy waitress working at a tiny Paris café, Amelie makes a surprising discovery and sees her life drastically changed for the better. From then on, Amelie dedicates herself to helping others find happiness…in the most delightfully unexpected ways.

Watch Amelie here.

Denis Villeneuve’s Selected Films

Denis Villeneuve is most recently the director of Blade Runner 2049. He has also worked on films including Arrival. His selected films are:

A Prophet (2009)

Villeneuve pulls out one scene for The New York Times, 

“The deer being killed in slow motion by a car in “A Prophet” (2010) remains one of the most powerful cinematic shots of the last decade.”

An impressionable and vulnerable Arabic man gets thrust into a hellish prison, and ironically discovers greater opportunities for success than he ever possessed outside of the bars.

Watch A Prophet here.

Dogtooth (2009)

Villeneuve says,

“The madness in “Dogtooth” (2010) is the most refreshing thing I’ve seen in a long time. Yorgos Lanthimos may be one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. I’m still laughing at the crazy adults running to catch airplanes falling into their garden, because their father convinced them that they were fruit dropping from the sky.”

Three teenagers live isolated, without leaving their house, because their over-protective parents say they can only leave when their dogtooth falls out.

Watch Dogtooth here. 

Dogville (2003)

Villeneuve on the movie,

“The idea of making a set without walls to show the cowardice of a community was genius.”

When a beautiful young Grace (Nicole Kidman) arrives in the isolated township of Dogville, the small community agrees to hide her from a gang of ruthless gangsters, and, in return, Grace agrees to do odd jobs for the town’s people. But as the search for her intensifies, they demand a much better deal. What they don’t know is that Grace has a dangerous secret, and their quiet little town will never be the same.

Watch Dogville here.

Brett Ratner’s Selected Films

Brett Ratner is famous for working on the Rush Hour films as well as Hercules and other big box office movies. His selected films are:

The Kid Stays In The Picture (2002)

Ratner simply calls this “one of the greatest documentaries ever made”.

Success. Scandal. Sex. Tragedy. Infamy. Robert Evans knew them all, and in this provocative and compelling documentary, he reveals how one of the greatest winning streaks in Hollywood history almost destroyed him. From his early acting days to his stellar rise as head of production at Paramount and involvement in a well-publicized cocaine sting, Evans’ meteoric career reveals the moviemaking industry during one of its most glamorous and scandal-filled periods.

If you enjoy documentaries, consider it.

Watch The Kid Stays in the Picture here.

The Pianist (2002)

Ratner on the movie,

“It will go down in history as one of the greatest Holocaust motion pictures ever made.”

The Pianist, stars Adrien Brody in the true-life story of brilliant pianist and composer, Wladyslaw Szpilman, the most acclaimed young musician of his time until his promising career was interrupted by the onset of World War II. This powerful, triumphant film follows Szpilman’s heroic and inspirational journey of survival with the unlikely help of a sympathetic German officer.

Watch The Pianist here.

Borat (2006)

Ratner calls it legitimately “one of the best comedies ever made.”

Sacha Baron Cohen brings his Kazakh journalist character Borat Sagdiyev to the big screen for the first time. Leaving his native Kazakhstan, Borat travels to America to make a documentary. As he zigzags across the nation, Borat meets real people in real situations with hysterical consequences.

Watch Borat here.

Alex Gibney’s Selected Films

Alex Gibney has directed the film Taxi to the Dark Side. These are some of his selected films:

City of God (2002)

Gibney references the opening scene, featuring a chicken and a knife, as classic.

The streets of the world’s most notorious slum, Rio de Janeiro’s “City of God” are a place where combat photographers fear to tread, police rarely go and residents are lucky if they live to the age of 20. In the midst of the oppressive crime and violence, a frail and scared young boy will grow up to discover that he can view the harsh realities of his surroundings with a different eye, the eye of an artist.

Watch City of Gold here.

Michael Clayton (2007)

Gibney makes an interesting point about what you can learn from this film,

“Great take on corruption. My favorite scene is when [George Clooney] takes care of a client who is too arrogant to know how much trouble he is in. Want to understand the 2008 financial crisis? Watch this scene.”

Clayton cleans up clients’ messes, handling anything from hit-and-runs and damaging stories in the press to shoplifting wives and crooked politicians. Though burned out and discontented in his job, Clayton is inextricably tied to the firm.

Watch Michael Clayton here.

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Gibney argues that this movie can make you think about major societal issues,

“I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about torture. This film gets deep into the horror of it all and the imagination that’s needed to survive it.”

Following a bloody civil war, young Ofelia enters a world of unimaginable cruelty when she moves in with her new stepfather, a tyrannical military officer. Armed with only her imagination, Ofelia discovers a mysterious labyrinth and meets a faun who sets her on a path to saving herself and her ailing mother. But soon, the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur, and before Ofelia can turn back, she finds herself at the center of a ferocious battle between good and evil.

Watch Pan’s Labyrinth here.

No Country for Old Men (2007)

Gibney gives it high praise,

“The ultimate post-9/11 film that has nothing to do with Al Qaeda or the politics of the Iraq war. It’s about a brutal force of terror that can’t be bargained with and can only be understood with the wisdom of a lawman philosopher.”

When a man stumbles on a bloody crime scene, a pickup truck loaded with heroin, and two million dollars in irresistible cash, his decision to take the money sets off an unstoppable chain reaction of violence. Not even west Texas law can contain it.

Watch No Country for Old Men here.

There’s a good chance you haven’t seen all these films, or even heard of them. But people who love and respect the craft of filmmaking as their own career point to these as stellar movies made since 2000. Give them a chance. You may even learn quite a bit about history or new parts of the world in the process.

Reference

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Easily Read Only What Matters to You With Instapaper

The internet has been called “the information super highway”. We have ready and easy access to the sum of the world’s knowledge. In many ways this is an incredible tool. But the sheer quantity of information out there is difficult to digest. Research has shown that the average adult spends as much as 20 hours online per week,[1] and in each second of that we are bombarded by information. We aren’t designed to receive so much information like this, so we are overwhelmed.

There is so much information out there that the good and useful information can be easily drowned out by information and articles that we have no use for. It’s easy to find yourself going through articles which prove to not be worth your time. Other times, even useful articles may be presented in ways that are difficult to read. Which in turn affects their ultimate usefulness.

What you need is a system that allows you to efficiently keep track of useful information and articles, and have them quickly accessible and easy to read. This would mean that you would no longer be distracted by useless information in order to find what you need again.

Such system exists and it’s an app called Instapaper.

Make Reading Easy and Focus

Instapaper allows you to easily store articles and text from the internet for future reading. What’s more, the text is immediately formatted into an easy to read manner. There is even a text to speech function that allows the text to be read to you.

1. Save any form of online text

Though in this piece, I’ve mostly focused on articles, Instapaper allows you to save any form of online information. So whether you want to save the lyrics to your favorite songs, great recipes, poetry, short stories, or news pieces, Instapaper allows you to create your own library of useful information.

2. Highlight and comment

Sometimes merely reading a piece isn’t enough, at times you might need to highlight particular sections or sentences of a text for future reference, some times you might need to make a comment about a section. This can be crucial if the pieces you are reading are for work or study.

Instapaper allows you to highlight and make comment to any part of your texts, ensuring both that you save time, and the pieces you store are useful as possible for you.

3. Easy customization

There is no such thing as a universal standard for readability. In fact, everyone differs. Some people like to read off white backgrounds, others like to read of brown backgrounds. Some people prefer one font, while others prefer another. The developers of Instapaper are apparently well aware of this, and I was pleased to see that it comes with a great many customization options.

You can easily change the font, text size, brightness, background color and even line spacing with ease. Thus, ensuring you will be able to read in a way that suits your preferences.

How to Get Instapaper

Instapaper has won a number of industry awards and has been featured in leading magazines such as Time, and Wired. So it is well worth the download.

There are download options for both IOS devices and Andriod devices, and it is even available as an extension for Web browsers like Firefox and Chrome. So whatever your preference, you can get it.

Best of all, of all, once you have saved the articles you want, you can access them both online and offline, so you will be able to access them at any time. Even if you are high in the sky or underground.

Install Instapaper on your phone here or Get the Chrome Extension here.

Reference

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Put Them in and Leave It! 7 Slow Cookers For Busy People To Cook Healthy Meals At Home

You’ve had a long, hard day at work, and a tiring and unpleasant commute home.

When you finally get back to your place, you have your heart set on eating a healthy, substantial meal – but you can’t find the strength or motivation to begin cooking. Instead, you take the easy way out, and pick up your phone and order a takeout.

I’m sure you can relate to the above scenario as it’s very common nowadays. Preparing and cooking a decent meal usually takes at least an hour. So, if you’ve arrived home from work, and it’s already late (and you’re exhausted), then cooking a meal is probably the last thing you’d like to do.

The problem is, eating out and ordering takeout is expensive, and in most cases an unhealthy choice.

Luckily, there is a way out of this dilemma, in the shape and form of a slow cooker. Also known as crock pots, slow cookers have become popular in recent years with people who are too busy to spend time cooking – but still want to enjoy healthy, homemade meals.

7 Slow Cookers That Can Transform Your Diet and Life

Slow cookers offer you the chance to enjoy a delicious, wholesome meal when you arrive home from work. They do this by slowly cooking your food for a long period of time at a low temperature.

This ‘slow cooking’ approach brings out the flavours in most foods, including: casseroles, pot meals, soups and stews.

Most slow cookers have Low, Medium and High settings. The Low setting will cook food about 6 to 10 hours. The High setting will cook food in 4 to 6 hours. One hour in a conventional oven at 350 F is equivalent to about 4 hours on High, or 8 hours on Low.

If you prepare your meal the evening before, or in the morning, all you need to do is switch on the cooker (at Low setting) before you head out for work. However, all the cookers we list below also have digital timers, and these will allow you to precisely choose when your cooker comes on, at what temperature setting, and for how long.

Hopefully, I’ve given you just enough information on slow cookers to whet your appetite

1. Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

This slow cooker features a digital countdown control that allows you to program cook times anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours. It also shifts to Warm setting automatically once your specified cook time has completed.

The Crock-Pot keeps food safe on the go with robust carrying handles and hinged locking lids.

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, $49.50

2. Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker

Stylish and easy-to-use, this slow cooker is equipped with protection against brief power outages, so when you come home your digital clocks might have lost their time – but your meal will still be hot and ready to eat.

It’s perfect for cooking large cuts of meat. You just need to set the desired meat temperature, and the cooker automatically shifts to keep warm when the temperature is reached.

Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker, $49

3. Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

If you want more features than slow cooking, then Instant Pot could be a good choice for you.

This top-selling multi-cooker combines 7 kitchen appliances in 1. These are: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker and warmer.

There are also 14 Smart Programs to choose from. These programs allow you to easily make, heat or treat the following: soup, meat/stew, bean/chilli, poultry, rice, multigrains, porridge, yogurt, etc.

Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, $129.99

4. Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker

This slow cooker features Cuisinart’s brushed stainless steel housing and a 6-quart nonstick cooking pot that lets you brown or sauté directly in the unit.

Three fully programmable cooking functions let you sauté vegetables, brown meats and slow cook your favorite comfort foods right in the unit.

Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker, $140.76

5. Cuisinart PSC-650 Stainless Steel 6-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

This programmable slow cooker offers a removable round-shaped ceramic cooking pot, brushed stainless-steel housing, glass lid with stainless-steel rim, and cool-touch chrome-plated handles. The 24-hour programmable digital timer has Simmer, Low and High modes – all which feature an auto keep-warm function. it also comes with a cooking rack and recipe book.

Cuisinart PSC-650 Stainless Steel 6-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker, $46.43

6. KitchenAid KSC6223SS 6-Quart. Slow Cooker

This slow cooker features an easy-to-read digital display, that ensures comfortable viewing of the remaining cook time and temperature while the cooker is in use.

The generous 6-quart capacity is perfect for small and large recipes from soups to roasts.

KitchenAid KSC6223SS 6-Quart. Slow Cooker, $99

7. BLACK+DECKER 7-Quart Digital Slow Cooker

To finish on, how about something a little different. The exterior of this slow cooker is a chalkboard, which makes it perfect for drawing on and for writing down recipes or allergy concerns. This neat feature is also great for getting the kids involved in the kitchen! With its inbuilt digital time, you can simply choose the time and heat, and let the slow cooker do the rest. (The cooker automatically switches into Warm mode when cooking is complete.)

And in case you’re wondering, the box includes two chalk sticks, so you can start writing on the cooker from day one.

BLACK+DECKER 7-Quart Digital Slow Cooker, $49.99

On a final note, you may be surprised to learn that slow cookers use less electricity than conventional ovens. So, now you have no excuses for not having tasty and nutritious food waiting for you each evening when you come home.

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