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New airline regulations would require baggage fee refunds for delayed luggage

Airline passengers are about to get new consumer protections under measures being rolled out by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The new measures include efforts to institute a requirement for airlines to refund checked baggage fees when bags are substantially delayed. Congress passed a bill in July to require refunds for delayed bags.

The DOT will also consider a new rule to require airlines and ticket agents to list prices with fees for extra services alongside fares.

“Airline passengers deserve to have access to clear and complete information about the airlines they choose to fly and to expect fair and reasonable treatment when they fly,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a written statement.

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The moves by the DOT come after an executive order issued by President Barack Obama directing federal agencies to consider how to better inform consumers and relieve burdens on competition.

Another requirement will call for large U.S. airlines to report how often they mishandle wheelchairs.

And online travel sites will be prohibited from displaying flights with bias toward certain airlines without disclosing that bias.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines said it has agreements with the most popular online travel agencies, but said some online travel agencies “have proven to have misleading, deceptive and/or fraudulent business practices.

Under the new federal measures, airlines will also be required to provide a clearer window into their operations, including figures on the total number of mishandled bags and checked bags, rather than only reports of mishandled bags and total passengers. They will also be required to report data on flights reported by domestic code-share partners.

Delta said it welcomes “refreshed reporting around baggage handling,” and said it has invested in baggage handling reliability. The airline also said it welcomes the code-share partner reporting requirements and prohibition of fare bias, and said it continues “to advocate for full transparency of the price of the ticket.”

Airline industry group Airlines for America said portions of the administration’s proposal could drive up the cost of air travel.

“Dictating to the airline industry distribution and commercial practices would only benefit those third parties who distribute tickets, not the flying public,” Airlines for America president Nicholas Calio said in a written statement.

Learn to Love Vegetables

When I became a vegetarian, I could have probably counted the number of fruits and vegetables that had crossed my lips the previous 18 years on two hands. But things are different these days, and veggies are the highlight of my lunches and dinners. But it wasn't always that way. Like most people, I hated all things green and healthy. I get questions about this a lot--people calling themselves picky eaters, saying they don't like a single vegetable out there. Take it from a person who was just like you. You CAN learn to like vegetables. And beyond that, you CAN meet your daily quota in a variety of tasty ways. Here are 8 techniques and tips I used to like vegetables. Try them yourself--you just might be surprised. Say no to plain vegetables. One of the main reasons people don't like vegetables is because they try to eat them plain. If you're new to eating healthy, this is one of the worst things you can do! Most people don't have the taste buds for a plate of steamed broccoli or spinach. And why should you have to suffer through that for the sake of your health? The thing I did most when I started eating healthier was put vegetables into things I already ate: broccoli mixed in with macaroni and cheese, chopped carrots mixed in with seasoned rice mixes, and frozen spinach added to a can of soup are just a few examples. This is a great way to introduce veggies into your diet, where the flavors of the other foods you eat them with help them taste better and less noticeable. Start by adding small amounts of veggies to your standard meals, and as your taste buds adapt, you can add more and more. Mix your food. If you're one of those people who neatly puts your food into distinct piles on a plate, never mixing them up, then you might hate this idea. I'm not one of those non-food-mixers myself. Most of my meals get mixed up into one big jumble, and while it doesn't look pretty, it sure tastes good. This is similar to the tip above, incorporating veggies into dishes you already eat. But sometimes you can't just add a helping of peas to, say, a turkey burger. But served as a side, you can mix bits of veggies on your plate with the other main dishes--to add flavor and mask the taste if you don't like it. Add some flavor. When cooking vegetables, it usually takes just a little bit of flavor to make them more appetizing. I'm not a fan of plain vegetables either. I don't think many people are. But you can add flavor (and nutrition) to raw veggies with healthy dips like hummus (great with carrots, celery, sliced peppers, cucumbers and more) or your favorite salad dressing (yep, it works for things other than salads). When cooking vegetables, most taste great with just a little salt, pepper and garlic. But I find that sautéed onions and garlic make just about anything taste good, so I often cook those first and then add some vegetables to the mix, which brings me to my next point. Learn how to cook! I've had to teach myself how to cook as an adult. I come from a family of…whatever word exists to describe the opposite of a chef. Cooking has become quite a hobby for me and it's surprisingly fun, relaxing, entertaining and interesting. So how'd I learn to cook? Mostly by trial and error. But I can't take all the credit. I read books and magazines and would call my cooking friends to ask how to prepare a random vegetable that I bought at the store. Little by little, you'll pick up knowledge and learn how to make food taste (and look) great. Even if it doesn't come out perfectly, you'll still learn what NOT to do, and that's a step in the right direction. Try, try again. Most of you are probably parents who have to deal with picky eaters on a regular basis. What most feeding experts will tell you is that a child has to try a food several different times before they might being to like it. What's true for kids is the same for adults. There are foods that I swear I hated my entire life that now, I really like. I just kept trying them in new ways, in different combinations, etc. I used to think I hated strawberries because I had never had a strawberry that I ever liked. But a couple years ago, I was on a mission to find that perfect strawberry, because I just knew I'd like it if I just found a good one. And what do you know--I did. And in the process I learned that, to me, organic tastes best. And so does freshly picked berries in summer (when they're at the peak of freshness and flavor), so I only eat them then. I also learned what color they should be to taste perfect. This is just one example of how you can't write off a food, especially if it's been a very long time since you last tried it. Learn the seasons. Seasonal food is fresher, healthier, and all around better tasting. Strawberries in winter and pumpkin in summer doesn't make much sense, even if you find it in the grocery. Go to your farmer's market and talk to the growers of all things green. They'll tell you what's good and how to eat it, too. Look for veggie-packed dishes when dining out. Restaurants sure know how to make anything taste good, and that applies to vegetables too. Think outside the box. Order a vegetable side dish or a vegetarian meal instead of your usual meal. I learned that even though it looks weird and kinda gross, I sort of like eggplant sandwiches. I haven't learned how to make them on my own yet, but a local restaurant sure does a good job, so I'm leaving it to them. Do some reading. I recommend the following resources to help you love veggies a little more.

  • Vegetarian Times Interestingly, most of their subscribers aren't vegetarians--just people interested in eating more vegetables or healthy food in general. I adore this magazine, which is more than just recipes. It's chockfull of cooking techniques and tips, interesting bits of information about food, and a super eco-friendly spin. I'd recommend it to anyone interesting in eating healthier.
  • Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. I recently picked up this cookbook, but like the magazine above, it's far more than recipes. Learn cooking tips, food preparation techniques, and all sorts of useful kitchen information, such as how to cook and prepare beans, homemade bread and seasonal foods.
  • In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Need inspiration to eat more plants? Look no further.
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7 Whole-Grain Pastas You've Never Tried

Pasta is such a versatile food, it’s no wonder it’s so popular. A survey conducted by the National Pasta Association found that 77% of Americans eat pasta at least once per week. Used as a side dish or main entree, eaten hot or cold, topped with a variety of different items, pasta is a great source of energy (carbohydrates) that helps power your mind through a tough day at work or school and your body though a challenging workout at the gym. You might have already made the switch to 100% whole-wheat pasta, but that's not the only variety of whole-grain pasta. Did you know that a wide variety of other whole-grain noodles are readily available in grocery stores these days? Flours from other whole grains, such as brown rice, kamut, quinoa, buckwheat, corn and spelt, can all be used to make high-fiber, heart-healthy pastas, which each has its own flavor and nutritional profile. Being precise in cooking whole-grain pastas is important, as the texture can change greatly if you accidentally undercook or overcook them. This is especially true when cooking gluten-free pastas, as they tend to fall apart a bit more because they lack the sturdy protein, gluten, which helps bind pasta. Here's an introduction to some of the most common whole-grain pastas you can find at the supermarket. Buckwheat pasta Buckwheat is technically a grass, not a grain. It’s gluten-free, so is wonderful for people with celiac disease. Buckwheat seeds are ground into a dark flour, which is used to make this pasta, also called "soba noodles." The noodles are a dark brown-gray color and have a nutty flavor. Some companies add wheat flour to ground buckwheat when making pasta, so be sure to check the label if you’re trying to avoid gluten. They're often used in Asian cooking. Whole-wheat couscous Couscous is a tiny, circular pasta from North Africa and the Middle East. It's becoming increasingly popular in America but is most often made with refined wheat flour. However, you can find whole-wheat couscous. Couscous is generally steamed or boiled in water and can be topped with stews, eaten plain, or flavored with various herbs and spices. It’s commonly stocked in the grains section of larger grocery stores. Brown rice pasta Made from ground whole brown rice, brown rice pasta is lighter in color than many whole-wheat varieties and mild in flavor. It is touted as having a smooth texture that is firm and is generally found in the gluten-free section of grocery stores or  health food stores. It has to be cooked slightly longer than wheat pastas but can be used just as you would any other pasta in hot dishes, salads, soups, casseroles or other dishes. Kamut pasta Kamut is a type of whole wheat. It contains gluten but is usually tolerated by those allergic to the common, crossbred versions of wheat. It has a richer, almost buttery flavor and can be found in many shapes, such as penne, spaghetti and fusilli. Quinoa pasta Quinoa is the seed of a grass-like plant found in the Andes Mountains of South America. It is not technically a grain, but it is often referred to as a whole grain because it is nutritionally similar. It resembles couscous in size and shape but is ground into flour to make gluten-free pasta (often made with a blend of quinoa and corn flours). It’s superior to traditional white flour pasta in amounts of protein, iron and phosphorous and is considered a complete protein, which is important to vegetarians. Spelt pasta Spelt is a close relative of wheat but yields noodles with a deeper flavor. It combines well with olives, feta cheese and tomatoes for a Mediterranean-inspired dish. This niacin-rich ancient grain can help with heart health by lowering total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Corn pasta Pasta made from stone ground corn is yet another whole grain, gluten-free option when it comes to choosing noodles. It can range from white to yellow in color, depending on the type of corn used. This type of pasta can be a bit mushy, so it’s best to avoid using it in soups. Try combining it with spinach, peppers, or sun-dried tomatoes. Use the table below to help you decide which types of whole-grain noodles will be best for you and your nutritional goals. Each brand and variety will have a different flavor, so you might want to experiment with a range of new-to-you whole grains. Each of these values represents a single 2 oz serving of dry pasta (about 1 cup cooked). The fat content in all varieties is less than 1 gram per serving! Type of Pasta Calories Carbs Fiber Protein *Gluten-Free? Whole wheat 200 41 g 6 g 7 g No Quinoa 205 46 g 4 g 4 g Yes Buckwheat 200 43 g 3 g 6 g Yes Spelt 190 41 g 4 g 8 g No Brown rice 210 43 g 2 g 4 g Yes Kamut 210 40 g 6 g 10 g No Corn 203 45 g 6 g 4 g Yes *Please note that foods that are naturally gluten-free can be contaminated during the manufacturing process. Always read labels and look for certified gluten-free products if gluten intolerance is an issue for you. Sources This article has been reviewed for accuracy and approved by licensed and registered dietitian, Becky Hand.Article Source:

Eggs are Egg-cellent

Having fallen in and out of favor with nutrition experts, you’d think the fragile egg would be broken and beaten by now. Luckily, its ego isn’t nearly as vulnerable as its shell. Oblivious to the attempts to separate the egg from its well-deserved title of "best source of complete protein on the planet," the egg has managed to remain a nutritious, inexpensive, and popular food. For awhile, nutrition experts hypothesized that the high cholesterol content of eggs raised blood cholesterol levels, which can increase a person's risk of heart disease. But this hypothesis was never proven. In fact, several studies have shown that the consumption of eggs is not associated with higher cholesterol levels but is associated with higher nutrient intake.  In 2000, researchers set out to assess the nutritional significance of eggs in the American diet and to estimate the degree of association between egg consumption and cholesterol levels. Their straightforward results were published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Eggs make important nutritional contributions to the American diet and their consumption is not associated with high cholesterol levels. Specifically, the study showed that egg consumers had a higher intake of important nutrients like vitamins B12, A, E, and C than non-egg eaters, and that people who reported eating four or more eggs per week actually had significantly lower average cholesterol levels than those who reported eating zero to one eggs per week. Here are four more ways eggs can enhance your health:

  • Eggs are an excellent source of low-cost, high-quality protein. One large egg provides more than 6 grams of protein, yet contains only 75 calories. And the protein is "complete," providing all nine of the body's essential amino acids.  
  • Eggs are one of the best sources of choline. Found primarily in the egg yolk, one large egg provides 30% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this essential nutrient, which plays an important role in brain health and the reduction of inflammation. Many people are deficient in choline, which is found in trace amounts of many different foods.  
  • Eggs are a great food for those trying to lose weight. Because of the high amount of quality protein in eggs, they make a very satisfying breakfast, which is especially useful for people trying to lose weight. In one study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (2007), subjects following low-fat, calorie-restricted diets were randomly assigned to one of two breakfasts: a bagel or two eggs. After eight weeks, the egg eaters experienced 65% greater weight loss, 83% greater decrease in waist circumference, and a greater improvement in energy levels compared to the bagel-eating group. Also worth mentioning is that changes in plasma cholesterol and triglycerides did not differ significantly between the two groups. Researchers postulated that eating eggs for breakfast enhanced weight loss by increasing satiety, resulting in better adherence to a reduced-calorie diet.  
  • Eggs protect eyesight. Egg yolks contain a highly absorbable form of vision-protective carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin, which help to prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Studies published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that eggs increased blood levels of these nutrients without increasing cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
So how many eggs should you eat? Just because something is good for you doesn't always mean that more of it is necessarily better. In a 2007 study published in the journal Medical Science Monitor, no significant difference in cardiovascular diseases (like stroke and heart attack) were observed between people who consumed more than six eggs per week and those who consumed one or fewer eggs per week. So a couple of eggs a day, a few days a week, should be safe and health for most people. According to Becky Hand, a Licensed and Registered Dietitian for SparkPeople, "One egg daily can easily be a part of a well-balanced, nutritious diet for healthy adults." An important exception is for diabetics, who experienced an increased risk of coronary artery disease when consuming greater than six eggs per week. If you have a medical condition such as heart disease or diabetes, Hand suggests checking with your physician (or dietitian) regarding egg consumption and dietary restrictions. "Designer" Eggs: Are They Worth the Money? When you go to stock up on eggs, be prepared for an onslaught of choices. Beyond just white and brown, you’ll see a whole new world of choices in the refrigerator case. Are these “designer” eggs worth the extra money? It depends on the designer.
  • Cage Free, Free Range, Pastured, and Pasture Raised: You may feel like you're doing a good deed by purchasing eggs with one or more of these terms on the package. But in truth, these labels really don't mean a whole lot, as there are no rules or regulations about using these terms. If you want high quality eggs from humanely raised chickens, find a local producer whom you trust. To find one, go to, and enter "eggs" in the "Name/Description/Product" box, and your zip code in the "Where?" box. A list of farmers in your area will pop up, many of whom sell their eggs at local farmers markets.
  • Certified Organic: They hens who lay these eggs are cage-free, have outdoor access, and eat a 100% organic and vegetarian diet that is free of antibiotics and pesticides. Third-party auditors enforce these standards.
  • Grade AA, A and B: Eggs in the US are classified according to quality and freshness standards established by the USDA. AA is the most superior in quality, followed by A and B.
  • Omega-3 Enhanced eggs: When is an egg not just an egg? When it's engineered to contain Omega-3s. The hens that lay these eggs eat a diet rich in Omega-3s, which includes algae or flaxseed. The eggs they lay contain higher Omega-3 content but taste like regular eggs. These eggs may help contribute to your intake of essential fatty acids, but they don’t contain enough to make up for a diet that is otherwise low in Omega-3s.
No matter what kind of eggs you choose to eat, be sure to follow proper handling and preparation guidelines to ensure that your eggs are safe to eat. Raw or improperly handled eggs can be a source of disease.
  • Avoid raw eggs, and foods made with raw eggs (Caesar dressing, homemade mayonnaise, eggnog, and cookie dough). These foods are safe if a pasteurized egg product is used.
  • Check the carton to be sure that the eggs you are buying are clean and free of cracks.
  • Store eggs in the coldest part of the refrigerator (not in the door), and use within three to five weeks, or by the expiration date on the carton. Hardboiled eggs should also be stored in the refrigerator and used within one week.
  • When cooking with eggs, don’t leave the carton on the counter during prep time. Take out the eggs you will use and return the carton to the refrigerator.
  • Wash all surfaces, cooking utensils, and skin with warm, soapy water before and after handling eggs.
  • Cook eggs until yolks are firm.
  • Cook egg-containing dishes to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit to destroy any bacteria safely.
Give yourself a break! Poached, scrambled, baked or fried—you can rely on the inexpensive and high-quality protein of eggs as part of a varied, healthy diet. "Do be careful with whom your eggs hang out," says Hand. "Bacon, sausage, and high-fat cheeses can be troublesome characters!" This article has been reviewed and approved by Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietitian. Article Source:

How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden

Do the changing seasons leave you a little wistful for summer’s wealth of fresh produce? Then keep the growing season going all year by starting an indoor herb garden! Even if you have little experience with plants or very little space to work with, an herb garden is the perfect way to bring a bit of Mother Nature into your home, no green thumb required! And growing your own herbs is much more convenient—and affordable—than buying them at the local grocery store. Oregano, chives, mint, rosemary and thyme are commonly grown indoors, so pick a few of your favorites to begin. If you like to cook, you’ll love having fresh herbs right at your fingertips—just snip and sprinkle fresh chives on your steaming baked potato or add some pungent oregano to your special homemade spaghetti sauce. To start your herb garden, you must have a sunny window available that receives at least five hours of sunlight per day. Most herbs hail from Mediterranean locales and need the light to thrive. Keep your home between 60º and 70º to create the ideal growing conditions. While you can start your herbs from seed (more on that below), it’s easier to buy starter plants from a local nursery or farmers market. There are several types of containers you can use for the plants, but terracotta planters are very popular. Make sure your pots have drainage holes in the bottom so your herbs don’t rot. Keep a saucer or another similarly shaped item underneath to catch the excess water as it runs through. Whatever container you select should be deep enough to promote proper root development, ideally from 6-12 inches deep. You can plant multiple herbs in one container or select individual 6-inch pots for each plant. Take care when selecting the type of soil for your herbs, as plants are very vulnerable to soil-born diseases. It’s a good idea to go with a store-bought potting mix. Your local gardening center can help you select the right one for your needs. Be sure the mix is lightweight and will drain well. Pour a two or three-inch layer of potting soil into the bottom of your container and place your plant gently in the container. Finish filling it with potting mix, pressing it firmly around the plants. Leave about an inch of space at the top to make room for watering. Don’t kill your herbs with kindness by watering too often: Excess water is harmful to the roots and causes rotting. Fertilize your herbs once a month with a product labeled safe to use on edibles. Once you start to see new growth, you can begin to use your herbs for cooking. If you’d like to save some money and start your herbs from seed rather than buying seedlings, you will need to babysit your plants a bit more. Many planters are too large to start seeds in, so plant them in a peat pot first. Fill the peat pot with planting mix and then place it in a small bowl of water until the peat pot completely absorbs the water from the bowl. Bury your seeds to a shallow depth (about 3 or 4 times the seed’s diameter), planting a few types of the same seed in one pot. Cover the peat pot with a small plastic bag to simulate a mini greenhouse! Once the seeds have sprouted, you can transplant the entire peat pot into the larger planter. Place your pots in a sunny spot or underneath a grow light if your home doesn’t receive enough natural sunlight. Space out your herbs so that they don’t crowd each other and avoid putting your plants near a heating vent to avoid extreme temperature fluctuations. Here are a few herbs that are particularly well suited for indoor growth:

  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Basil is simple to grow from seed but it needs bright light and warm temperatures.
  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum): This member of the onion family is best used fresh. Chives like bright light and cool temperatures.
  • Dill (Anethum graveolens): Choose a dwarf variety instead of the standard types that typically grow about 4 feet tall. You'll need to make successive plantings to ensure a continuous crop since dill doesn’t grow back after harvesting.
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis): This is easy to grow from seed and its fresh fragrance can be enjoyed in salads and drinks.
  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare hirtum): This has a sharp, pungent flavor and can be grown from seed.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Rosemary doesn’t always germinate well from seed; grow it from cuttings or as a complete plant from the nursery. The soil needs to be well drained, but don’t let it dry out completely.
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): Many varieties of thyme are available. Cover the seed only lightly with soil or not at all if you are starting your thyme from scratch. Keep the plants moist until they are flourishing.
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Baby born at 24 weeks celebrates first birthday

A baby boy given a 5 percent chance of survival is celebrating his first birthday.

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Kaleb Arkell Graves was well-known even before he was born. His mother, Dana Griffin-Graves, shared a video of her husband, Arkell Graves, crying when he learned she was pregnant. She broke the news of her pregnancy to him by placing a pack of buns in the oven, earning baby Kaleb the nickname "Baby Buns."

Posted by Arkell & Dana's Baby Bun on Saturday, October 3, 2015

The couple had been trying to conceive for 17 years, suffering several miscarriages and a stillbirth. The pregnancy came as a big surprise, but they were thrilled to be welcoming a son.

On Oct. 20, 2015, baby Kaleb arrived 16 weeks early. Early photos show Kaleb resting in the palm of a nurse's hand.

After spending 356 days growing stronger in the neonatal ICU at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital, Kaleb was finally able to go home. Friends and family decorated the Graveses' home with balloons and banners to mark the momentous day.

"At this very moment, all of my men are asleep under the same roof," Dana wrote on Facebook the day after his homecoming. "Some days I really didn’t think that would happen."

Kaleb still requires medical care at home, but the family hopes it's only temporary.

Posted by Arkell & Dana's Baby Bun on Thursday, November 19, 2015

Can you feel the ❤️? #TeamKaleb #BabyBunsPosted by Arkell & Dana's Baby Bun on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cap and Gown! Because it's his 1st graduation!  #TeamKalebPosted by Arkell & Dana's Baby Bun on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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