Food & Wine

Watch Out for These ‘Dirty Dozen’ at the Market

One of our favorite fruits just landed on the “Dirty Dozen” list…

Last week, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released this year’s list of their findings for foods that are most contaminated by pesticides. The top 12 offenders receive the label of the “Dirty Dozen.”

The Danger Lurking on Your Stove

A few years ago, my friend Porter Stansberry tried to poison me.

I was down in Miami visiting him when he decided to cook us breakfast. Coming back into the kitchen for another cup of coffee, I found him cooking eggs and black beans in a nonstick pan… and using a metal fork to stir and flip the food.

Have You Bought Next Year’s Turkey Yet?

Tomorrow, enjoy your family, food, friends… and especially the turkey.

Turkey is a great source of lean protein (which means less calories).

Would You Eat 40-Year-Old Canned Corn?

Who in their right mind would eat a 40-year-old can of corn?

In 1974, scientists tested a can of corn that was dated from 1934… 40 years earlier. NPR reported that when they opened the can, “The contents looked and smelled pretty much like ordinary canned corn.” The nutrient level was generally unchanged.

The Beverage Trend You Need to Join

Only water outpaces the popularity of this beverage around the world…

And the number of U.S. folks drinking it is growing.

A Lesson in Income Investing at the Grocery Store

Imagine your spouse sent you to the grocery store to pick up a few regular items you use day in and day out – items with a far-off expiration date, like cans of tuna.

At the store, you discover the tuna you’ve been buying for $4 a can is now on sale for $2. What would you do?

I know what I’d do… I’d buy more cans.

If I usually bought 10 cans, I could now buy 20 for the same price… I might even double my “usual” purchase… and stock up on 40 cans or more.

And yet… it seems like a lot of investors would rather shout at the store manager.

It’s especially galling with fixed-income investments… When folks see the price of interest-generating bonds and notes drop… they complain about “losing money.”

That’s like griping that the tuna is on sale…

When fixed-income securities are cheap – when the tuna is on sale – that is the time to buy more of them.

Here’s the thing – we love sales. And for our income portfolios, we like to buy fixed-income securities to generate income. Generally, these can include funds stuffed with bonds, preferred shares, or a mix of different kinds of investments.

Let’s look at bond funds as an example. These are a selection of bonds that are sold in a bundle as a fund. You buy shares of the fund to get a piece of the bonds and the interest they pay.

But, when a bond drops in price, its yield goes up… That’s because the interest it pays divided by its now lower price goes up. So it makes sense that when bond prices dive, the yield will increase… So as an income hunter, you’ll want to use the opportunity to buy more.

Plus, reinvesting your higher interest payments in the fund grows your income stream even faster. And the money that the fund gets from maturing securities can now be put to work at even higher interest rates than a month or two ago. Take advantage of the lower prices and stock up on them like you would on cans of tuna.

As regular paid-up subscribers know, another measure we use to see if the fund is “on sale” is something called the net asset value, or NAV.

Buying funds when they’re trading at a discount to NAV is a fantastic strategy. We love doing this with closed-end funds. Closed-end funds issue a limited number of shares. So the share price can fluctuate based on investor demand… and not necessarily match what the securities in the fund are worth. This means that closed-end funds can trade above (“at a premium”) or below (“at a discount”) the value of the fund’s assets.

I prefer to invest in funds that are trading at a discount to NAV because it’s like buying a dollar’s worth of stuff for $0.80 or $0.85. If you don’t remember, we discussed why buying at a discount to NAV is a solid idea in this issue.

Here’s a look at how the discount to NAV changes over time. This is a chart of the Western Asset Emerging Markets Debt Fund (ESD) that we recommended last fall.

Read This Before Drinking Your Next Morning Coffee

Longtime readers know that I love coffee…

So I was happy to hear the ruling this summer by the Nanny Police… the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)… finally removing coffee from the list of known cancer-causing agents, or carcinogens.

The Low-Fat Diet Delusion

Even as a new medical student, I knew the advice was utter nonsense.

Starting in the 1950s, docs started advising folks to use margarine and skim milk instead of butter and whole milk. It was the beginning of America’s delusion regarding low-fat diets.

This Common Grilling Mistake Could Make You Sick

It’s that time of year when most Americans break out the charcoal and lighter fluid.

Most Americans own a barbecue grill, and many grill at least twice a week during the summer.

How to Know if Your Local Seafood Joint Is Poisoning You

The hills of North Carolina aren’t known for fresh seafood.

During a recent visit, I was surprised to find the daily specials in two restaurants were a dangerous type of fish… tilefish.