Ask Doc

Are Food Prices Really Falling?

“Where are you shopping?”

That was the No. 1 question we got in response to our article on food-price deflation. (And some folks expressed their disbelief in far harsher words…)

In our article, we looked at food prices across the entire U.S., not prices specific to regions or states. And, as we detailed, food prices in the U.S. are falling.

But prices can vary from state to state, town to town, and store to store.

Hawaii and Alaska, for instance, are notorious for high food prices.

So while average food prices across the U.S. have fallen, depending on where you live, that might not be your experience.

But there are easy ways to compare food prices in your area to make sure you’re getting the best deals.

MyGroceryDeals.com allows you to compare items at different stores. Just type in your zip code and the item, and you’ll see prices in your area.

You can also compare prices use the app OurCart. This app allows you to create a shopping list and compares prices in your area. (You do need to create an account to use it.) Keep in mind that the app is fairly new and relies on user-submitted prices.

Let’s take a look at some other e-mails we got this week…

Q: Hi Doc – love the updates. Wondering if you have any information on female hair loss? My wife has had blood tests and only thing [out] of ordinary ranges is her iron levels. She is 45 and not yet to menopause. Any thoughts? – P.R.

A: Hair loss, unfortunately, often hits women in their 40s and 50s. While we can’t get into specific medical advice, it’s a good chance to cover some of the main reasons women lose their hair.

First, women in their 40s and 50s often experience changes in hormone levels thanks to pre-menopause and then menopause. In fact, nearly every woman in this age range will have some degree of hair loss, according to Harvard Health.

If hormones aren’t to blame, it could be a sign of other health concerns. For example, one of the symptoms of thyroid problems is hair loss. Women in particular have a higher risk for thyroid issues, and the risk only increases with age. You can read more about thyroid problems and other symptoms in our issue here.

Similarly, iron deficiency is also a cause of hair loss. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology covered the connection in a 2006 article (which you can read here). The writers explain that the best way to treat the condition is to eat enough whole foods to get iron naturally.

Third, some research suggests that taking too much vitamin A is connected to hair loss. We addressed this in our issue on “The Dangers of Fat-Soluble Vitamins,” which you can read here.

Even things like stress or genetic predisposition could play a role. Remember to keep your stress in check with exercise and meditation. And a chat with other women in the family could help find a common pattern.

Why I’m Not ‘Doom and Gloom’

No matter how well the economy is doing, there are plenty of talking heads out there telling you the next disaster isn’t far off.

The questions I receive most often are asking when I see the next market collapse coming or why I’m still bullish on the economy.

That’s why a recent e-mail from a subscriber grabbed my attention. I’ve highlighted some of the most important parts below:

Everything you write makes perfect sense to me. And what I like the most about you is that you don’t pretend to have a custom made crystal ball…

Think Skeptically

Several hundred folks watched me give a presentation this week in Las Vegas…

I opened up my “Think Skeptically” speech with a magic trick (that fooled no one)… And I told the audience that I hoped they would be skeptical of me as well.

This Income Strategy Keeps Working, Trade After Trade…

Today, we’re talking options.

Even for experienced traders, the term “options” is scary.

There’s a long-standing belief among investors that options are risky. They can be, if you do it wrong…

But when you trade options the right way, they reduce your risk – giving you huge amounts of downside protection on blue-chip stocks. That’s why I’ve written about the safety of trading options several times in Retirement Millionaire Daily.

Lately, lots of readers have e-mailed asking more about my option-trading strategy.

So today, I’m answering some of the most recent questions I’ve received…

Q: Doc… I am interested in how you “work” the weak or bear markets with this service. Do you recommend more puts? What is [the] range of the number of trades that you recommend each month? And how long are they in play? – M.T.

A: It doesn’t change much whether we’re in a bull market or a bear market…

If you can tell me exactly when bull and bear markets start and stop, please come over and we’ll let you take over my newsletters. I can’t – and don’t – invest for catastrophic losses. It doesn’t work… and it never will.

Instead, I recommend you keep plugging away, saving and investing your money, and diversifying your risk across many asset classes. Your wealth is nearly guaranteed to grow, and you can sleep well at night.

I’ve stuck to my strategy of selling puts and calls for more than six years. And it continues to work, trade after trade…

In fact, just this week we closed out a trade for a 10% return in less than a month. If you like to annualize figures to compare between track records, that’s a triple-digit annualized gain… something that even the most volatile and risky trading strategies have a tough time finding. And we only trade the best and safest blue chips.

In Retirement Trader, I give recommendations for selling uncovered puts, and I also provide what I call “IRA Alternatives.” These are covered-call trades for subscribers who can’t, or don’t feel comfortable, selling puts. Some months, I might recommend one trade, other months, I might recommend a half-dozen trades. It just depends on the opportunities I see that work for subscribers.

Typically, I recommend options that are about two months away from expiration. This is when you typically see options with the most value.

The ability to trade options for consistent income in retirement is a skill set that I sincerely believe every single investor should understand… In fact, I save every thankful e-mail from a reader who discovered how to successfully and safely trade options. It’s a huge reason why I continue to write my research services.

An Easy Way to Bond With Your Kids

About 32 years ago, my dad gave me my first newsletter subscription – one I still receive today.

It started a passion for newsletter reading that eventually led to me writing Retirement Millionaire. More than that, I was able to share this passion with my dad. We could talk for hours over the phone discussing the different topics in the newsletters we read, even though we lived in different cities.

The Tools You Need for Your Best Retirement

I don’t know you.

So that means I can’t tell you precisely which credit card, stock recommendation, or diet is best for you.

On Your Mind… Krill Oil, Pellet Grills, and No-Good Cancer Advice

After our issue on the dangers of fish-oil supplements, we got dozens of variations on the same question. Here’s just one…

Wondering what your opinion of krill oil is compared with fish oil as a supplement. I’ve been taking 100% krill oil capsules for a few years now. Krill are lower in the food chain so theoretically don’t have as many toxins in them. – B.B.

Removing Fear From My Greatest Investment Strategy

About 15 years ago, while I was researching genetic eye diseases at Duke, I met a publisher named Porter Stansberry.

He convinced me to write to his readers about what I learned during my careers in finance and medicine. Our initial conversations turned into a much bigger idea…

Blueberries, Fish Oil, and Silver Dollars

A subscriber wrote in yesterday morning with a couple of great points…

New subscriber from January 2016 and loving the option concept. Thank you for your tutelage.

We Don’t Sell Diet Pills

No one teaches much truth about what’s healthy in your diet.

Exercise gurus claim to be a source on what’s natural… but they’re usually selling diet books and pills.

Even mainstream organizations like the American Diabetes Association regularly get confused about the science. When I was in medical school, they still recommended things like white flour buns, white rice, and a couple of packets of sugar in coffee on hospital dinner trays.

Fruit is a food group that is occasionally villainized because of sugar. So I wasn’t surprised when some readers asked why I keep telling people to eat more fruit. As I’ve written many times over the years, moderation is key. Blueberries are an incredibly healthy food packed with nutrients. Just don’t eat too many at once…

Today, I’ll talk more about my No. 1 superfood, ways to supplement your retirement income, why there’s no substitute for floss, and transportation alternatives for seniors.

Q: What would be a daily recommended portion size [of blueberries] to eat? – J.V.

A: I like to have blueberries throughout the day. In the morning, I’ll eat blueberries in my cereal, oatmeal, and yogurt. And in the evening, I keep some fruit – including blueberries – close by for snacking. In total, I eat about a half-cup of blues per day.

Q: We have taken your advice and have started eating our blues with active culture yogurt – Fage and Latta Russian Kefir from Wegmans. We do rinse our blues (a pint at a time) when we get them home and store them in a glass bowl with a plate on top. We also rinse the ones we freeze. But before putting them in freezer bags we dry them on a cookie sheet. Your thoughts on our methods please. – J.S.

A: Your method is just fine. The key is to not rinse too many at once. As I mentioned, washing berries makes the skin soggy and speeds up the pace of mold growth. If you freeze the berries right after rinsing them, you should be fine. Instead of letting them sit around for too long, just use some paper towels to give them a quick dry.