Good social media experiences don’t outweigh bad ones for young adults

(Reuters Health) – For young adults, the adverse effect of negative social media experiences on mental health outweigh any potential benefits of positive experiences, a study of university students suggests.

Each 10 percent increase in a student’s negative experiences on social media was associated with a 20 percent increase in the odds of depressive symptoms, researchers found.

But positive experiences on social media were only weakly linked to lower depressive symptoms. Each 10 percent increase in positive social media interaction was associated with only a four percent drop in depressive symptoms – a difference so small that it might have been due to chance.

“This is not inconsistent with the way we see things in the offline world . . . The negative things we encounter in the world count more than positive ones,” said study leader Brian A. Primack, director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

“If you have four different classes in college, the fourth class that you did poorly in probably took up all your mental energy,” he told Reuters Health by phone.

Primack said he believes social media lends itself to negativity bias because it is saturated with positive experiences that leave people jaded.

As reported in the journal Depression and Anxiety, Primack and colleagues surveyed 1,179 undergraduate and graduate students, ages 18 to 30, at the University of West Virginia in August 2016. They asked students to estimate what percentage of their social media interactions were positive or negative. They also assessed students’ depressive symptoms using a four- item standardized questionnaire called the Patient -Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) scale. Participants were asked how frequently in the past seven days they had felt hopeless, worthless, helpless or depressed.

Sixty-two percent of participants were female. The majority were white. About half were single, and about half were at least 20 years old.

This is not the first time researchers have tried to gauge the effects of social media. According to a study published online last month by the Pew Research Center, teens have mixed views on the impact of social media on people their age. Thirty-one percent of teens said social media’s impact is mostly positive impact, 24 percent described it as mostly negative, and 45 percent felt social media have neither positive nor negative effects. (

Aaron Smith, associate director of research on internet and technology issues at Pew Research Center in Washington, DC and a coauthor of that study, told Reuters Health that teens who reported a negative impact of social media were troubled by bullying and rumors, among other things.

Among the limitations of the study by Primack’s team is that the subjects aren’t representative of a broad swath of the public, so the results cannot be generalized to a more diverse population. Also, the authors acknowledge, participants may have under-reported their depression. Furthermore, the researchers did not have enough information to disentangle cause and effect.

Michael Schoenbaum, senior advisor for mental health services, epidemiology and economics at the National Institute of Mental Health, told Reuters Health in a phone interview that he found the new study “deeply frustrating.”

“There are lots of important questions about the role of social media in our psychological lives and, in particular, how the effect that social media might have on people with psychological distress or on people who are vulnerable to psychological distress . . . and I don’t think this study answer all of these questions,” he said.

Schoenbaum added, “One cognitive error in social media is to imagine if you turn it off your social life is over . . . As a researcher, but also as a parent, I definitely think turning it off needs to be an option.”

SOURCE: Depression and Anxiety, online June 6, 2018.

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Beyond 10,000 Steps: Six Things You Should Be Tracking

Optimise fat loss with a BPM monitor

“Rather than focusing on calories burned, use your fitness tracker to monitor your heart rate, and the length or intensity of activity to get a better overall understanding of your health,” says Andy Magill, head coach at VitalityHealth. “Trackers that have a BPM monitor or optical sensors will measure your heart rate or pulse, allowing you to work within key zones – or push yourself harder.”

Recognise stressors with Heart Rate Variability

“HRV is the variance in time between each heart beat,” says Andy Page, S&C coach at Pure Sports Medicine. “You might think of it as a steady rhythm, but the time difference between beats is affected by many lifestyle factors and small differences are a marker of high stress. By monitoring HRV, you can learn to recognise and manage stressors in your daily life. Putting off tricky tasks until the end of the day, for instance, can affect your ability to relax when you get home.”

Plan workouts with Firstbeat tech

Firstbeat technology, which is now available in Garmin, Sony and Suunto products, uses HRV to calculate post-exercise oxygen consumption and your anaerobic threshold – among other things. “Not all exercise is created equal – the intensity and duration of exercise can affect us negatively if not monitored,” says Page. “We use Firstbeat to plan optimal training times, manage stress, enhance recovery, exercise effectively and reduce injury risk.”

Head off illness with a skin-based thermometer

“Some fitness trackers have the ability to monitor your body temperature through a thermometer that sits against the skin,” says Magill. “While this might be overlooked as just a nice extra, abnormal spikes or drops could be early signs of sickness, giving you a nudge to up your vitamin C consumption, get some rest and fight off an illness before it flares up. A healthy body temperature should sit between 36.1°C and 37.2°C – if it strays, something’s up.”

Improve recovery with a pulse oximeter

“If your fitness tracker has a pulse oximeter you’ll be able to measure the levels of oxygen in your blood, helping you determine whether you’ve fully recovered from a workout,” says Magill. “It works by detecting the light absorption of to see how much oxygen reaches your extremities. This type of measurement is usually used by pro athletes, but knowing when your body is fully recovered from exercise will help prevent you overdoing it or straining any muscles.”

Upgrade your sleep with wrist actigraphy

Actigraphy-enabled devices translate wrist movements into sleep patterns, giving you a useful guide to the quality of your shut-eye. “Sleep quality is as, if not more important, than sleep duration and tracking can monitor it effectively,” says Page. “Eating dinner, drinking alcohol and exercising intensely within two hours of going to bed are all things that can seriously disrupt your sleep quality – if you see it suffering on your tracker, you’ll be able to address that.”

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Exclusive Paul Smith Interview | Coach

Photography: Sabine Villiard

Paul Smith didn’t want to be a fashion designer when he was growing up. He wanted to be a road cyclist like his hero, the Italian rider Fausto Coppi. “My love affair with bicycles and bicycle racing began on my 12th birthday, when my father bought me my first racing bike,” he tells Men’s Fitness backstage after his recent Paris Fashion Week Show. “He bought it from a man who was a member of the local cycling club, and I started going down there. I listened to the older members talking about the sport, I went out with them on training rides, and eventually I started competing in time trials and track races.”

While models and event staff scurry back and forth around us, and an increasingly anxious press officer fails to marshal the pack of international media vying for the main man’s attention, Smith remains an island of calm in a sartorial sea of chaos. In fact, everything about him seems out of step with the image-driven industry he inhabits.

“What I loved about cycling was the fact that it was a sport that was about working-class men with grit, determination and strength, which really appealed to me,” he says, leaning into the conversation as his suit crumples around the creases of his long, elegant frame.

Born in Beeston, a small town in the East Midlands, in 1946, Smith left school at 15 without any qualifications and went to work in a clothing warehouse. A cycling accident at the age of 17 broke his femur and, at the same time, shattered his dreams of becoming a pro rider. His first shop, which opened in Nottingham in 1970, only traded a couple of days a week because he had to do other jobs to pay for the stock and running costs. He did things the hard way. He did things his way. And almost five decades later, he’s worth an estimated £300 million.

He still owns the business and says retaining the values that brought him initial success is why the Paul Smith brand has endured while tastes and trends have evolved. That’s one of the reasons why we’re here today. His first menswear collection was shown in Paris in 1976 and he has remained loyal to the city offer since.

What are your memories of your first Paris collection?

I have such vivid memories of being in Paris to sell the collection for the first time. I had a tiny hotel room in the Odéon area. By night the room was where I slept and by day it became my showroom. I laid all the shirts out on the bed and hung the suit jackets on the back of the wardrobe door. For the first few days I didn’t have a single customer and then suddenly, on the last day, someone came by and that was the appointment that changed everything. I haven’t looked back since.

What is this latest collection about?

It’s about my history. As a young designer I studied tailoring. Couture fashion is very much about how you stitch things. What a dart does. How to put a shoulder in beautifully. One of my teachers was a military tailor. That’s about cutting the cloth and making the person look very regal and very important. I learned a lot from that. You may have noticed today that a lot of the trousers are very slim. It just gives height. And the way you put the waist into the shape of the coat or the jacket – it gives people a very nice shape.

You’re known for making suits. What does that particular garment mean to you?

I wear a suit every day. I like wearing a suit because you can wear it with trainers and a white T-shirt or with a shirt and tie. There’s so much sportswear out there, which we make and we do very well with, but so many brands are doing that now… It’s not in my heart. What’s in my heart is beautiful fabrics, playing with textures, playing with pattern and playing with proportion. You may have noticed that the tailored jackets in this collection are longer at the front than they are at the back, which gives you this elegance.

What gives a Paul Smith suit its identity?

We’re known for making classical items but with an element of surprise. I’m firmly of the belief, though, that if something isn’t broken you don’t fix it.

Speaking of which, you’ve been consistently popular for decades. How has that been possible?

We’re still an independent company. I left school at 15 and until the age of 17 I wanted to be a racing cyclist. After a bad crash I ended up meeting some kids from the local art school and became interested in fashion. But I’ve always been practical so when I opened a little shop it was only open two days a week and I supplemented my existence by doing other things. So over the years I got a great deal of experience of how to do things. And that’s meant I’ve been able to stay independent as a company when so many people from my era have been taken up by big groups.

For me, we’re still independent and we’re blessed with the ability to be spontaneous and experimental. I mean, the decision to do a show which is predominantly tailoring – if I was part of a big group we’d have to discuss the current trends or whether it’s good for the brand image. But I just go, “Let’s do tailoring!” And it works.

Has any element of your success been down to your competitive cycling background?

I rode in mass starts, not in time trials, and as a mass start rider you work as a team. You help the guy who is a good climber on the mountain day and you help the sprinter on the flat day. That’s what it’s like in business. I’ve got hundreds of staff and we play to strengths. I learned that through bike riding.

You’ve spent a lot of time with elite riders such as Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish. Have you learned much from them?

Perhaps the passion for minute gains by doing something a different way. At 10am today I did a talk for about 300 of my staff who are here in Paris. And what I talked about was not going down the obvious route and instead thinking laterally, thinking in a different way. So yes, you could do things this way, but what if we tried this? What if we tried that?

How about the creative element? Do you have a particular process that you go through when you’re starting a project?

I go back to London tomorrow and the following day I’ve got my theme meeting for my next collection. Those themes might come from looking through books or looking at pictures I’ve taken. It could be of a tree. It could be graffiti. It could be of an old wall. Some texture. And then, I don’t know where it comes from, but I’ve just got loads of ideas written down on paper. It might just say, “butterfly wing colours” or it might say “graffiti”. Or, like in this collection, the idea is very much about rough and smooth and opposites.

The word you would have found in my notebook a year and a half ago was “irreverence”, which may end up as bike boots with a suit. Rough and smooth might mean shearling here and worsted wool there. I don’t really know where it all comes from.

How do you assess the general state of creativity in the industry?

Well, the problem is… no, not the problem, the point is it’s sad how concerned so may people are with what other people are doing. We’re all so obsessed with following each other. Possibly because we’re so over-informed with news and social media. We’ve almost got too much information. So in my industry it’s always, what did this brand do, what did that brand do? I say to my team, yes, you should know what they are doing, only to know what not to do!

Another thing you do differently is taking a lot of your own brand’s photography. What do the pictures have because you took them that they couldn’t have if an outsider were taking them?

I started taking photographs when I was 11 and my dad was an amateur photographer. That was when you used film, so I used to develop and print as well in a darkroom. And I’d have lovely conversations with my dad. He was very spontaneous. He loved the caught moment. And I’ve got a sense of humour. I’m quite an easy going person and I think that comes across in the photography. Another photographer might give you a beautiful photograph but it would probably be very contrived or very posed. Over the years I’ve said to some quite famous photographers, “I want humour” but they don’t seem to get humour.

When you were getting into cycling, and you’d see the black-and-white pictures that had that gritty romance to them, were you interested in the aesthetic side of the sport or was it just about going fast?

I loved the fact that, while of course your type of bike is important, it’s very much about your focus and your strength. Whereas with a car, say in formula one, it’s more that this team has done well this year because their car happens to be correct. Yes, you can get the seconds out of a good bike, but it’s always about you. And I’ve always been keen to have enough strength to make sure that I’m the one who always works harder or works a bit longer.

We understand that you go for an early morning swim every day. Is that right?

Yeah, at five o’clock. Every day. First of all, I like London early in the morning. I love to see the sun come up in summer. I swim for about 15 minutes and it stretches the body, clears your head. I get into the office at about six and there’s nobody there. You can get yourself sorted for an hour and a half and then slowly people start coming in.

You’ve been incredibly successful in your career. What do you think are the key ingredients of success, whatever the endeavour?

It’s all about getting the balance of all the ingredients right. Not getting lost in the creativity and making things that don’t sell, but also never standing still. Fashion is about today and tomorrow – I never forget that.

You’re just about to launch a new fragrance, Hello You. What are the key ideas in this latest scent?

Although this is a subtle scent, there is a very fresh twist too. That’s central to Paul Smith. The new fragrance has lovely notes of bergamot and vetiver, both of which remind me of the early part of my career, which was a time when they were particularly popular.

How important to you is the fragrance you’re wearing at any given time?

I like the idea of a fragrance that is a reflection of your personality. Generally speaking, for me that means more low-key, subtle fragrances. Some people choose to have different fragrances for different moments or even seasons, which I think is a very lovely way of relating to fragrance. There is so much power in a scent, it can be uplifting, or energising and always very personal to the wearer.

What should a Paul Smith fragrance embody?

The familiar with an element of the unexpected. Not overpowering in any way. A subtle aroma that the wearer can enjoy and keep returning to.

You seem to be a very happy person. Why do you think that is?

A few things. My father passed away when he was 94 and he was always friendly, always seemed to have lots of people around him. If you walked into a room he might be shy for two minutes but then the barriers would be broken down, so hopefully I’ve got some of his genes and some of his charisma in me.

And the other thing is that I’ve been with the same lady since I was 21. We’re very at ease with each other so I’m not searching for something. I’m not going through trauma. I’m blessed with patience. And I’ve learned good manners over the years. Good manners means you ask, you don’t tell. You say please and thank you. And if there’s something you’re not sure about you discuss it rather than just shout. And that makes for a happy ship.

We should probably mind our own manners and make this the final question. What does the Paul Smith brand mean to you?

Easy-to-wear clothes that are beautifully made. It stands for honesty. And what honest means is that I’ve got clients who have been with me for 25 years. There’s a safety in their minds. “I’ll find something at Paul’s shop.” You know, you don’t have to worry about it. My eyes will have sorted it out for you. So hopefully that’s true.

Say Hello To The New Paul Smith Scent

“This fragrance has a strong personality but it’s not challenging,” says the fragrance’s co-creator Dominique Ropion. “It has a classical structure behind it but something unique inside. Classical structures have lasting appeal, but you have to find something new to give the fragrance personality.”

“When you make a fragrance for Paul Smith you need to have a funny and original touch,” says Fanny Bal, the scent’s other architect. “The idea was to signify the traditional British spirit but with a charming touch that represented the Paul Smith stripes. We started with a strong vetiver accord, which is a traditional woody smell. You have mandarin and bergamot for the freshness, coriander and pink pepper for spiciness. Then we added lighter touches like apple and lavender. The result is versatile – you can wear it during the day and in the evening.”

Paul Smith Hello You, £45 for 100ml, buy on

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Sally Fitzgibbons’ 10 second trick to boosting your immunity

Welcome to another edition of myBody+Soul news. In today’s broadcast, we have breaking news that Hollywood has lost its spot as the number one place to learn how to become a rising star. Now taking out the title is Sally-wood. Yep folks, you heard it right here.

Sally-wood is the one-stop place for the life inspo you’ve been longing for, and that extra kick of motivation you need to help get you get on track to reaching your goals. And the best thing is, you don’t even need to fork out thousands of dollars to purchase a plane ticket to visit this mysterious place; all you need is some Wi-Fi connection where you’ll be able to have complete access to your very own life coach, Sally Fitzgibbons.

And as you friend the professional surfer on Instagram and begin to dig deep into her feed, you’ll realize two things: one, she somehow never looks stressed or upset, no matter what; and two, she never ever looks cold.

Now, while the first is pretty impressive given we’re in the middle of a friggin’ cold winter (yes, we are slowly dying here), it would be an understatement to say we desperately need her advice on how to beat this chill.

But building up your immunity to bare the cold and avoid catching the flu this season isn’t that hard at all, according to the Under Armour ambassador.

“Exposure is key and to work up to it, have your warm shower and then the last 30 seconds put it on cold and try and hop into it,” Sally exclusively told myBody+Soul.

Okay, we take that back. It sounds hard AF, but it does make perfect sense.

“You might only last ten seconds, but build up that tolerance and just connect with your breath when you’re in that cold environment, and then slowly and truly it doesn’t feel that cold anymore.”

See, now you can tell mum that exposure is good for you whenever she tells you off for not wearing a jacket.

The professional surfer also says fueling your body with the right foods is just as important to surviving the next few months without having to carry a portable heater wherever you go.

“Make sure you get your good fuel in as well, so getting in all your veggies and your variety of colours. Build up your immunity from the inside out and you should be good to go.”

Yes, unfortunately you do have to listen to mum when she tells you to eat your greens.

If you’re stuck for ideas on how to fuel your body correctly, Sally reveals what an average day on a plate looks like for her.

“I wake up and we train pretty early so you’re not really up and eating a big meal, so I’ll eat a Blue Dinosaur protein bar and about a litre of water, and head out to a surf session. Then we get back around mid-morning and go for the post-eggs, roast veggie vibe. “

After another training session during midday, Sally then whips up a smoothie bowl with frozen banana and isolate protein powder, which she then goes crazy with the decorating, and even arranges all the nuts and seeds into “a little smiley face.”

“Dinner is pretty quick like a fish, chicken or meat, and just a big colourful salad”, which is then followed by a “lemon and ginger tea at night.”

Now, advice we also terribly need ASAP is how she manages to always look like she’s just won the lotto.

First and foremost, if you think your life is stressful, times that by about 100 and you’re left with the life of a professional surfer.

To steer her brain away from any negativity, her top tip for making life easier for herself is just remembering to live in the moment.

“I just see my life as this story – it just keeps telling with the events and travel and just doesn’t have a finish line. Instead, you’re just trying to improve and better yourself.”

To do this, she focuses on her passions and the things that matter the most to her.

“I think it’s just trying to keep up with the pace of the present, so just be right where your feet are and just being calm and in the moment – like not worrying about things you have to do.

“Sometimes to just relax I walk down to the beach and just sit and enjoy for a second so you’re not speeding off into the future. It’s crazy to be able to go to the ocean for so many different reasons – for competition, my passion and love, and just for complete calm and clarity as well, so it’s a pretty neat friend to have.”

And if you’re looking to master some mindfulness techniques, believe it or not, Sally says the best place to do this is actually the airport.

“Finding the rhythm of your breath is so important – sometimes to make good decisions you just need to stop and listen to your breath, clear your mind. At times you can even meditate in the water.

“I find because I travel so much, even sitting in the airport, which is the most chaotic place in the world, you sit in a quiet corner as you watch chaos hover around you. That’s one of the places you can strengthen yourself in meditation and you can try and create that bubble.”

She also advises you to step back from reality once in a while to re-evaluate your dream goal.

“Surrounding yourself with the right processes to get you to your happy place – your place where you have enough control that gives you freedom, so you’re in control of ‘this is how I do this’, and ‘this is how I’m bettering myself’.

“But remember, it’s just as motivating to chase a big dream and not know how far you are from achieving it, so it’s important to have a healthy amount of fear.”

While these few things do take time and patience to learn how to do, you can start making a change to your life by simply adopting her life motto: I can and I will.

“With a can-do attitude you will go out there and go for what you’re after. Having the right terminology with the way you communicate with yourself; if you just listen for a sec and try and not chase perfection.

“Earlier on in my career it was all about being perfect and making everything perfect, but the more you chase perfection you find so many holes along the way because you’re looking at what you don’t have all the time. So just trying to rephrase that and see the beauties you do have and go from there because again, once you surround yourself with that language, you feel empowered.”

If you’re worried you don’t have that strong and positive mentality like Sally, just remember, “you can and you will.”

For more on this topic, these are 7 motivation tips from experts that you need in your life. Plus, the benefits of working out in the cold will surprise you.

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Lower costs, fewer benefits in new health insurance option

The Trump administration Tuesday rolled out a health insurance option for small businesses and self-employed people that could lead to lower premiums but may also cover fewer benefits than current plans.

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta said the new “association health plans” will allow small business to pool their purchasing power, gaining access to some of the advantages that large employers have in the health insurance market.

“Today the Trump administration helps level the playing field between large companies and small businesses,” Acosta said. “This expansion will offer millions of Americans more affordable health care options.

The new plans would retain the same protections for people with pre-existing conditions, older workers, and women, that large company plans now have, Acosta said. However, some groups currently offer association plans, and it was unclear if the consumer protections also apply to existing plans.

A Labor Department summary said new association plans could be offered to employers in a city, county, state or a metro area that includes several states. However, plans within a particular industry can be marketed nationwide. Sole proprietors and their families could join an association plan.

President Donald Trump has long asserted that promoting the sale of health insurance across state lines could bring down premiums without sacrificing quality. But many experts aren’t convinced, because medical costs vary greatly according to geography.

Currently plans for small businesses are required to cover the Affordable Care Act’s 10 categories of “essential” benefits, from prescription drugs to maternity and mental health. Under the new approach, small employers could get coverage that comes with fewer required benefits, said Gary Claxton of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Ultimately, the idea’s success depends on buy-in from plan sponsors, consumers, insurers and state regulators. No major consequences are expected for people covered by large employers.

Acosta cited enrollment estimates that predict a modest impact: about 4 million people covered by the plans within a few years, including 400,000 who would have been uninsured. Compare that to the total number of about 160 million covered by job-based insurance.

After Republicans hit a dead end trying to repeal the Obama health law, the Trump administration has pushed regulatory actions to loosen requirements and try to lower premiums for individuals and small businesses.

Another major initiative is expected later this summer when the administration eases rules for short-term health plans lasting less than a full year that could be purchased by individuals. Those plans wouldn’t have to cover people with pre-existing conditions, but would offer healthy people much lower premiums.

Critics say the administration’s approach will draw healthy people away from the health law’s insurance markets, raising the cost of coverage, which is subsidized by taxpayers.

About 11 million people are covered by and state markets, but the administration’s priority is to try to lower premiums for another 7 million or so who buy their coverage directly and don’t get any help from the government.

State insurance regulators have been concerned about association health plans because similar plans in the past had problems with financial solvency and fraud. Administration officials said Tuesday that states and the federal government would share regulatory oversight of the plans, with states retaining their current authority.

The new plans will be phased in, starting in September.

A small business group called Job Creators Network welcomed the Trump administration move. Group president Alfredo Ortiz said it “will create more options, more competition, and lower costs for Main Street small businesses.”

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Rachel Roddy’s recipe for broccoli and ricotta torta | Life and style

There were – and still are for the rest of my family – grey days during our annual camping holidays in Pembrokeshire in Wales when I was growing up: tents that floated away, and rainy-day visits to the butterfly museum. But the many good days – those perfect beach picnic days – shine like Lyle’s golden syrup in our collective memories.

Sometimes the sun shone so hard, it burned our backs as we stared into rock pools, then we flung ourselves in the freezing sea to be swallowed up by waves twice our size, our legs turning mottled blue before charging back to the patchwork of towels and rugs. Lunch would have been made that morning. Sandwiches for 15 – ham, ham and cheese, cheese and pickle, all bundled in foil; eggs hard-boiled, and sausages fried, then cooled and packed along with pork pies, more cheese, and fruit in the icebox. A pitstop at the shop in Dale for bags of welsh cakes, Jamaica ginger or golden syrup cake and caramel wafers, before our convoy continued down lanes and across the disused airfield so we could all clamber down the path to the beach at Marloes.

A foil-wrapped sandwich, a hard-boiled egg and a slice of cake is always tasty, I think – even more so when you are wrapped in a towel with sand between your toes. Picnics are a thrilling reversal of normal rules: air instead of walls, sand in place of tables, fingers where knives and forks would otherwise be called for; licence to reach and grab, to swirl eggshells into the sand; to lie down and close your eyes for a while, before eating again. Sand in both suncream and sandwich and reports from one child that another has fallen off a rock or found false teeth in the surf only made things more thrilling.

On the other side of Europe, meanwhile, my partner Vincenzo and his Sicilian family had their own picnic habits, which basically meant bringing a cold Sunday lunch and lots of umbrellas to the beach in Gela: tomato- and breadcrumb-laden pizza (which still strikes me as the most unlikely beach picnic fare), a sturdy torte, baked pasta and breadcrumbed meat, and a whole watermelon to bury in the wet sand so it kept cool, which ran the risk of it floating away like an edible buoy.

The word “picnic” comes from the french pique nique, meaning you pick your spot and everyone brings something. Our family affairs now are a collision of these two worlds, hard-boiled eggs or cold sausages meeting some sort of sturdy pastry torta with a cheese filling, and slices of shop-bought cake jostling for attention with cold halfmoons of watermelon, ready be dropped in the sand and rinsed in the sea, then eaten.

I have several recipes for savoury torta dough, some with yeast, some without. For no reason other than habit, the one I use for a broccoli/ricotta filling is adapted from Marcella Hazan’s Sicilian sfincini di San Vito, which, unlike the classic deep Sfincini pizza, is a pie with a top and a bottom. It is a sturdy bake, although the yeast means the pastry plumps nicely.

Broccoli and ricotta torta

For the dough
1 tsp dried yeast
1 small pinch sugar
250g plain flour
200ml lukewarm water
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp whole milk

For the filling
500g broccoli or other greens
300g ricotta
1 egg
5 tbsp grated parmesan
Salt and pepper
Dry breadcrumbs

Put the yeast in a large bowl, add a third of the water, stir and leave for 10 minutes. Add half the flour and another third of water, a pinch of salt and sugar, the oil and milk and stir until smooth. Finally, add the last third of water and the rest of the flour and bring everything together into a soft, compact dough.

Turn on to an oiled board and knead and fold for five minutes, pat into a ball, return to an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for three hours.

Meanwhile, make the filling: boil the broccoli until tender, drain and leave to cool. In a large bowl mash the broccoli with the ricotta, egg, parmesan, salt and black pepper. Taste to make sure you have a well flavoured filling.

Set the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6 and put a flat baking tray in to heat. Divide the dough in half. Working on a piece of greaseproof paper (so you can slide the pie off later) roll one half into a circle of 25cm diameter, sprinkle with dry breadcrumbs – keeping an inch (2.5cm) short of the edges, and then spread the filling over the crumbs. Finish with a zig-zag of oil in a thin stream. Roll the second half of the dough into a disc large enough to cover the first, lay it over the filling, and press the edges of the dough together to seal.

Slide the pie on to the hot tray, brush with a mixture of water and olive oil or beaten egg and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden. Leave it to rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting, then wrapping it in foil or a tea towel to take to the picnic.

  • Food styling: Tamara Vos. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins

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My husband cheated on me and now I’m disgusted by the idea of sex | Life and style

I’m a 30-year-old woman, and have been with my husband for 11 years. We have three kids and both work full-time jobs. Three years ago he cheated on me with his ex from school. We split up for seven months then got back together, but now I’m kind of disgusted by the idea of sex. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, or how to fix this. I don’t know how much longer he will put up with this.

Your husband clearly loves you for many reasons other than sex. And you deserve to have all the time you need to heal from the trauma of discovering his affair. It is extremely common for a betrayed partner to be turned off sex, and your husband needs to understand this. He also needs to be patient, supportive and to work hard to rebuild your trust in him. It’s unfortunate that you seem to feel that your disgust is wrong and that you need to try to accommodate him despite it. Find a way to get him to listen to you. You might say: “It would be nice if we were able to pick up where we left off, but that’s not possible for everything. It’s going to take me some time to feel sexually confident again, and I really need your understanding and support.”

Then ask very specifically for what you need – whatever that might be. Maybe you need him to be more reassuring, to provide more non-sexual loving touches, to set aside one night a week for an outing without the kids? Whatever it is, express your exact needs and teach him to treat you like the special, attractive woman you are. You are no doubt still harbouring resentment and distrust, and those understandable emotions are undermining your sense of safety with him – and that in turn curtails your sexual desire. If he makes a decent effort to comply with your requests, you will eventually trust and welcome him again.

  • Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.
  • If you would like advice from Pamela Stephenson Connolly on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to (please don’t send attachments). Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see

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Disney warns ‘Incredibles 2’ moviegoers about seizure risk after fan’s plea goes viral

The Incredibles are back — and fans of the superhero family couldn’t wait to see what the fierce five were up to after a 14-year hiatus.

While fans praised the Pixar film for its action-packed plot, some couldn’t help but notice a potential health hazard during the film: flashing lights. Strobe lights seen throughout the film led to concerns for viewers with epilepsy.

“I haven’t seen this mentioned in a lot of places, but the new Incredibles 2 movie (#incredibles2) is filled with tons of strobe/flashing lights that can cause issues for people with epilepsy, migraines, and chronic illness. This thread is spoiler free,” moviegoer Veronica Lewis pointed out in a tweet, which has been shared more than 10,000 times.

Lewis explained that the villian uses bright flashing lights as a “weapon of choice” to distract anyone attempting to attack.

“One of these scenes lasts over 90 seconds with continuous strobe light, other scenes last anywhere from 5-30 seconds,” the fan said, adding that there were no warnings about this at any point throughout the movie. 

“I am not calling for a boycott of Incredibles 2, or to change the movie. It is very well done, and the strobe lights are an important point in the plot. I just wish Disney/Pixar and theaters alike would issue a warning that the movie contains several scenes with strobe lights,” Lewis continued.

The Epilepsy Foundation replied to the viral plea on Friday, calling on Disney to issue warning on all of its channels about the lights featured in “Incredibles 2.”

“There should be a warning of the potential effects on people with visual sensitive epilepsy or migraine features,” the foundation wrote in a statement online. “For about 3 percent of people with epilepsy, exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities, or with certain visual patterns, can trigger seizures. This condition is known as photosensitive epilepsy and it’s more common in children and adolescents, especially those with generalized epilepsy and a type known as juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.”

Disney apparently heard social media users’ concerns.

Later that day, theaters across the country began posting signs that warned “Incredibles 2” fans about the lights. 

“‘Incredibles 2’ contains a sequence of flashing lights which may affect customers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy or other photo sensitivities,” the signs read. 

According to USA Today, Walt Disney Pictures sent an advisory to theaters about the issue Friday, requesting that they alert fans about the risk ahead of the film.

“I’ve never seen something like that happen,” Mauricio Mencia, a supervisor at AMC Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles, told the publication.

Disney boasted $180 million at the box office during its opening weekend in the U.S., making it the second biggest ever June debut, behind only “Jurassic World” ($208.8 million), which has its own sequel preparing to take a bite out of the box office when its opens in North America next weekend.

According to Disney, adults made up 31 percent of the audience, families accounted for 57 percent and teens 11 percent.

“This is one of the biggest over-performances I’ve ever seen,” said comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “To over-perform by $40 million means everyone underestimated the power of animation to draw huge audiences.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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US could back 1st pot-derived medicine, and some are worried

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – A British pharmaceutical company is getting closer to a decision on whether the U.S government will approve the first prescription drug derived from the marijuana plant, but parents who for years have used cannabis to treat severe forms of epilepsy in their children are feeling more cautious than celebratory.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide by the end of the month whether to approve GW Pharmaceuticals‘ Epidiolex. It’s a purified form of cannabidiol – a component of cannabis that doesn’t get users high – to treat Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes in kids. Both forms of epilepsy are rare.

Cannabidiol’s effect on a variety of health conditions is frequently touted, but there is still little evidence to back up advocates’ personal experiences. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has long categorized cannabis as a Schedule I drug, a category with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” That strictly limits research on potential medical uses for cannabis or the chemicals in it, including cannabidiol, or CBD.

But for years, parents desperate to find anything to help their children have turned to the marijuana-based products made legal by a growing number of states.

Meagan Patrick is among the parents using CBD to treat symptoms in their children. She moved from Maine to Colorado in 2014 so she could legally get CBD for her now-5-year-old daughter, Addelyn, who was born with a brain malformation that causes seizures.

“My child was dying, and we needed to do something,” Patrick said.

As for the potential approval of a pharmaceutical based on CBD, she said fear is her first reaction.

“I want to make sure that her right to continue using what works for her is protected, first and foremost. That’s my job as her mom,” Patrick said.

Advocates like Patrick became particularly concerned when GW Pharmaceuticals‘ U.S. commercial business, Greenwich Biosciences, began quietly lobbying to change states’ legal definition of marijuana, beginning in 2017 with proposals in Nebraska and South Dakota.

Some worried the company’s attempt to ensure its product could be legally prescribed and sold by pharmacies would have a side effect: curtailing medical marijuana programs already operating in more than two dozen states.

The proposals generally sought to remove CBD from states’ legal definition of marijuana, allowing it to be prescribed by doctors and supplied by pharmacies. But the change only applies to products that have FDA approval.

Neither Nebraska nor South Dakota allows medical use of marijuana, and activists accused the company of trying to shut down future access to products containing cannabidiol but lacking FDA approval.

GW Pharmaceuticals never intended for the changes to affect other marijuana products, but they are necessary to allow Epidiolex to be sold in pharmacies if approved, spokesman Stephen Schultz said.

He would not discuss other places where the company will seek changes to state law. The Associated Press confirmed that lobbyists representing Greenwich Biosciences backed legislation in California and Colorado this year.

“As a company, we understand there’s a significant business building up,” Schultz said. “All we want to do is make sure our product is accessible.”

Industry lobbyists in those states said they take company officials at their word, but they still insisted on protective language ensuring that recreational or medical marijuana, cannabidiol, hemp and other products derived from cannabis plants won’t be affected by the changes sought by GW Pharmaceuticals.

Patrick Goggin, an attorney who focuses on industrial hemp issues in California, said the company would run into trouble if it tried to “lock up access” to marijuana-derived products beyond FDA-approved drugs.

“People need to have options and choices,” he said. “That’s the battle here.”

Legal experts say the changes are logical. Some states’ laws specifically prohibit any product derived from the marijuana plant from being sold in pharmacies. The FDA has approved synthetic versions of another cannabis ingredient for medical purposes but has never approved marijuana or hemp for any medical use.

A panel of FDA advisers in April unanimously recommended the agency approve Epidiolex for the treatment of severe seizures in children with epilepsy, conditions that are otherwise difficult to treat. It’s not clear why CBD reduces seizures in some patients, but the panel based its recommendation on three studies showing significant reduction in children with two forms of epilepsy.

Denver-based attorney Christian Sederberg, who worked on the GW Pharmaceuticals-backed legislation in Colorado on behalf of the marijuana industry, said all forms of marijuana can exist together.

“The future of the industry is showing itself here,” Sederberg said. “There’s going to be the pharmaceutical lane, the nutraceutical (food-as-medicine) lane, the adult-use lane. This shows how that’s all coming together.”

Alex and Jenny Inman said they won’t switch to Epidiolex if it becomes available, though their son Lukas has Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Alex, an information technology professional, and Jenny, a preschool teacher, said it took some at-home experimentation to find the right combination of doctor-prescribed medication, CBD and THC – the component that gives marijuana users a high – that seemed to help Lukas with his seizures.

“What makes me a little bit nervous about this is that there’s sort of a psyche amongst patients that, ‘Here’s this pill, and this pill will solve things,’ right? It works differently for different people,” Alex Inman said.

The Inmans moved from Maryland to Colorado in 2015 after doctors recommended a second brain surgery for Lukas’ seizures. The couple and other parents and advocates for CBD said children respond differently to a variety of strains.

The Realm of Caring Foundation, an organization co-founded by Paige Figi, whose daughter Charlotte’s name is attached to the CBD oil Charlotte’s Web, said it maintains a registry of about 46,000 people worldwide who use CBD.

For Heather Jackson, who said her son Zaki, now 15, benefited from CBD and who co-founded the foundation, Epidiolex’s approval means insurers will begin paying for treatment with a cannabis-derived product.

“That might be a nice option for some families who, you know, really want to receive a prescription who are going to only listen to the person in the white coat,” Jackson said.


Banda and Foody are members of members of AP’s marijuana beat team. Follow them at Twitter at and . Find complete AP marijuana coverage here:

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