Falafel is the crispy street food staple enjoyed by millions around the globe – and it’s being honoured on Tuesday with its very own Google Doodle.More than just a vegetarian lunchtime snack, the humble falafel defies dietary requirements because it's loved by meat-eaters and vegans alike thanks to its flavourful chickpea filling. It’s versatile too, and can be consumed in anything from a hummus-filled pitta bread wrap to a fresh and zesty salad.Recipes vary, but the traditional falafel is made by blending chickpeas with herbs and spices, rolling the mixture into small balls and deep frying them. It sounds like a simple process. But the falafel’s origins are slightly more contentious.While several regions claim the delicacy as their own, it’s almost impossible to trace who exactly invented it, as variations have been eaten around the world for centuries.It’s traditionally viewed as a Middle Eastern dish and is a common sight in restaurants and at market stalls across the Levant – Israel even has its own song to homage its love of falafel, titled “And we have falafel”.The majority of the world’s chickpeas are produced in India, but falafel isn’t as much of a staple there as it is in, say, Egypt, where falafel is made using fava beans and is known as “ta’amiya”.It’s thought that the first people to start eating falafel in pita bread were Yemeni Jews, but the dish has surged in popularity across the world along with the rise of vegetarianism. In North America, falafel could only be found in specific Arabic or Jewish neighbourhoods and eateries up until around 1970. Now, it’s widely available across the US in mainstream restaurants and is topped with everything from Yemeni hot sauce to Iraqi fried aubergine.Falafel also appeals to health-conscious diners thanks to its high protein and complex carbohydrate content.In 2012, the world’s largest falafel was created in a kitchen at the Landmark Hotel in Amman, Jordan. It weighed 74.8 kilograms (164.8 pounds) and had a height of 152 centimetres (59.8 inches). It took 25 minutes to fry.
Reality TV shows such as Love Island are encouraging young people to smoke or drink underage by bombarding them with images of alcohol and tobacco more than other prime-time programmes, a new study finds.The study, conducted by researchers from University of Nottingham’s Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, measured depictions of alcohol and tobacco products on several reality programmes that aired on UK channels for 112 episodes between January and August 2018.The programmes analysed also included Made in Chelsea, The Only Way is Essex, Geordie Shore and the now discontinued Celebrity Big Brother.In total, the researchers estimated that 4.9 billion images of alcohol were shown to the UK population in the episodes, including 580 million to children under the age of 16.Meanwhile, 214 million overall tobacco impressions were shown to the public, including 47 million to children under 16.Researchers analysed the number of one-minute clips containing tobacco and/or alcohol imagery in the episodes, including actual use, implied use, tobacco or alcohol-related materials, product-specific branding and estimated viewer exposure to the imagery on screen. This data was then combined with audience viewing figures with mid-year population figures for 2017.The research’s findings, which are published in the Journal of Public Health, showed that alcohol content appeared in all 112 episodes and in 2,212 one-minute clips, which is the equivalent of 42 per cent of all the footage studied.Meanwhile, alcohol consumption was apparent in 18 per cent of footage and 34 per cent featured inferred consumption, predominantly by characters holding alcoholic beverages.Love Island included the greatest number of clips showing alcohol, while alcohol branding featured in 69 per cent of Geordie Shore episodes.Tobacco content appeared in 20 of the 112 episodes, with the majority (98 per cent) – including actual tobacco use, inferred tobacco use, and tobacco paraphernalia – featuring in Celebrity Big Brother.“Given that seeing alcohol or tobacco imagery in the media promotes use among young people, our study therefore identifies reality television shows as a major potential driver of alcohol and tobacco consumption in young people in the UK,” says Alexander Barker, lead researcher on the study from the University of Nottingham’s Division of Epidemiology and Public Health.“Tighter scheduling rules, such as restricting the amount of content and branding shown in these programmes, could prevent children and adolescents from being exposed to the tobacco and alcohol content.”The researchers previously reported high levels of tobacco imagery, including branding, in the third series of Love Island in 2017.However, after complaints over the level of smoking in the series to Ofcom, ITV decided to remove all smoking content featured in the show, resulting in the new study finding no content of that nature in last year’s series of the hit programme. At the time of receiving the complaints, an ITV spokesperson said: “The islanders are only shown smoking if this happens at the same time as they are having conversations we believe to be editorially important to the narrative of the show.”The spokesperson added that the contestants’ cigarettes were in plain white packs so that the show would not be seen to be promoting one brand.The Ofcom Code prohibits product placement of alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and other tobacco products. The organisation states that there must be “editorial justification” for a product to be placed in a programme.In light of the new study, a spokesperson from Love Island told The Independent: "Alcohol is always restricted and provided by production in moderation at our discretion."They added that while smoking is prohibited within the villa or the villa garden this year, producers have provided a designated smoking area outside of the villa where islanders will be able to have a cigarette if they choose to."Islanders will only be able to use the smoking area alone which will limit conversations," they added.
US superstore Target is being praised for its welcoming breastfeeding policy that encourages mothers to feed their children “wherever and whenever” they like.A shopper at the store recently posted a photograph of a framed sign explaining the retailer’s stance on breastfeeding to parenting community page Breastfeeding Mama Talk on Facebook. The memo, which was taken at a Target store in Weatherford, Texas, explains that customers are welcome to nurse anywhere in the shop because they think “momsrock”.The notice also tells mothers that the store has a dedicated nursing room for more comfortable and private feeding that is available for them to use, and that it is stocked with “free goodies” to make their time there “even sweeter”. “Happy Nursing, and Happy Shopping!” the sign reads. The post has since garnered more than 37,000 likes and received thousands of comments from parents praising the positive message. “This is amazing to hear,” one person commented.Another added: “Awesome, Target. Many nursing mums thank you. It's great to know how comforting you guys are towards is nursing mamas.”Many mothers also shared their encouraging experiences of breastfeeding at Target stores. “I had a lady once harass me in the food court at Target. She went to get a manager. And the manager ended up asking her to leave and gave me a free drink,” one person commented. “I was a new mum with a tongue-tied baby. That simple gesture made my year.”Another person wrote: “A manager gave me a free water & pretzel when I was nursing a few years ago because she remembered how hungry [breastfeeding] made her. I love Target.”Others shared positive stories about how employees at Target went out of their way to make sure that they were comfortable while breastfeeding. “I nursed in the outdoor furniture section, and had a couple staff members make sure I was comfortable,” one mother shared. Another added: “I recently nursed at target in the dressing room and everyone there was great.”This isn’t the first time that Target has been applauded for keeping new parents in mind. In 2015, Target became one of the first department stores to announce it would be adding baby changing stations into both men and family restrooms after actor Ashton Kutcher launched a Change.org petition calling on them to "rectifying the legacy of gender discrimination".The news comes just days after a group of Texas mothers held a “nurse-in” at a public swimming pool in support of a woman who was asked to cover up or leave after breastfeeding her son.
Facebook posts might be better at predicting some health conditions than traditional demographic information, a new study suggests.Researchers at Stony Brook University and The University of Pennsylvania Health System have found that the language people use on Facebook could help clinicians predict whether or not they suffer from illnesses such as depression and diabetes in a similar way to physical symptoms.The research team used an automated data collection technique to gather and analyse the entire Facebook post history of almost 1,000 patients, who had also linked their electronic medical records to their social media profiles.After acquiring and examining information on the language used in their posts and their demographics, such as age and sex, the researchers found they were able to identify 21 different conditions using data collected from participants’ Facebook posts alone. These included psychosis, anxiety and alcoholism.In 10 of the conditions identified, researchers concluded that Facebook data was a better predictor than demographic information.Some words had obvious links to the conditions. For example, the team found that those who used words such as “drink” and “bottle” in their posts were more likely to abuse alcohol.Less obviously, those who used religious language in their posts, e.g. words such as “God” and “pray”, were 15 times more likely to have diabetes compared to those who rarely used those words.Lead author Raina Merchant, director of Penn Medicine's Center for Digital Health, said: "This work is early, but our hope is that the insights gleaned from these posts could be used to better inform patients and providers about their health."As social media posts are often about someone's lifestyle choices and experiences or how they're feeling, this information could provide additional information about disease management and exacerbation."Senior author Andrew Schwartz, assistant professor of computer science at Stony Brook University, added that our “digital language” reflects a different aspect of our lives to traditional medical data and could provide medical professionals with key diagnostic insights."Many studies have now shown a link between language patterns and specific disease, such as language predictive of depression or language that gives insights into whether someone is living with cancer,” he added. “However, by looking across many medical conditions, we get a view of how conditions relate to each other, which can enable new applications of AI for medicine."In light of the findings, the research team suggests there may be potential for developing systems that allow patients to hand over their social media data to medical officials should they choose to so that they can provide clinicians with additional data that may improve how effectively their condition is treated. "For instance, if someone is trying to lose weight and needs help understanding their food choices and exercise regimens, having a healthcare provider review their social media record might give them more insight into their usual patterns in order to help improve them," Merchant explained.Merchant is conducting a trial later this year to test this theory.
Summer nights are so synonymous with romance that there’s an entire song dedicated to them. Whether it’s the balmy climes, the enchanting sunsets, or – if you live in the UK – the surprising semblance of sunshine, there’s just something about this time of year that sets the scene for love.But before you start planning picnics, consider taking a more creative approach by planning a stroll over Bristol’s famous suspension bridge, or going to see some opera in Leicestershire, or enjoying one too many Aperol Spritz’ on a rooftop in London.Outdoor dating offers an eclectic mix of culture, sport, and a whole host of miscellaneous bonding activities – think fishing for chub on the River Lea.Here’s our pick of the best outdoor dates ideas around the UK for a summer full of loving. Head to a waterparkIf slipping and sliding on a range of inflatable obstacles on the water sounds like your idea of fun, take your beloved to one of Aqua Park’s three sites in Suffolk, Cardiff and Rutland. With slides, chutes and plenty of floats to climb over and under, the outdoor water park is akin to the kind of course you’d see on popular game show, Total Wipeout. Prices range from £20 to £22 (for a 50 minutes session) and you can book online here. Visit an opera festival Opera isn’t for everyone, but sitting in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside and soaking up the sunshine while listening to Mozart sure sounds romantic, regardless of your musical tastes. The Nevill Holt Opera summer festival takes place every year in a 400-seat theatre Overlooking landscaped gardens and sculptures. You can eat there too, either The festival runs from 12 June to 2 July and opens with a new production of Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece, A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Anna Morrissey.Prices start at £110 and you can book online here. Take a hikeHiking might sound daunting, but it really is just a fancier-sounding version of walking. And it can make for a perfect date if you find the right route. Cult US snack brand LÄRABAR has teamed up with London-based fitness influencer Adrienne Herbert to create a series of so-called “Urban Hiking” routes across the UK for summer. The routes are designed to help Brits discover new spots and hidden national gems, such as Regent’s Canal in London and Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge.Click on the locations for three-hour long routes in Bristol, London and Essex. Eat your way through an outdoor food marketFood markets have been around for a while, but they’re a perennial source of fun for singletons and couples alike. Sample a selection of artisan goods at Lewisham’s Model Market, which is conveniently located on a rooftop that offers stellar views of the city. Or make your way around the vibrant Dinerama in Shoreditch for a smorgasbord of street food stretched across two levels in an open-air arena in the heart of east London.Both are curated by street food aficionados, Street Feast. Entry is always free, prices vary from stall to stall. Read more here. Sip on an Aperol Spritz from a rooftop bar> View this post on Instagram> > summer’s here... for real this time 🌅🌇🌅> > A post shared by Franks Cafe at Bold Tendencies (@frankspeckham) on Jun 2, 2018 at 1:05pm PDTThey might’ve once been seen as a kitschy New York City import, but rooftop bars are now ubiquitous in Britain. With photogenic views and copious cocktails on tap, they make for an ideal date spot, particularly at sunset. For Londoner’s, head to Frank’s Cafe in Peckham or Culpeper Roof Garden in Whitechapel. Those in Manchester should venture to the foodie haven that is Hatch while Edinburgh daters should assemble in SKYbar, if not for its diverse cocktail selection than at least for its beguiling view of the city’s famous castle.Frank’s CafeThe CulpeperSKYbarHatch Frolic around a botanical garden> View this post on Instagram> > One of our favourite seasonal highlights ☀️ The beautiful laburnum archway is now flowering behind Kew Palace in the Queen’s Garden. KewGardens VisitLondon> > A post shared by Kew Gardens (@kewgardens) on May 2, 2019 at 8:20am PDTRoaming around the enchanting Kew Gardens in Surrey is ideal for a first date and not just because of the idyllic surroundings, but because it gives you plenty to talk about when you find conversations running dry – perhaps you’re discussing whose commute is more efficient. From the incredible powers of plants to the fascinating science behind biodiversity, there’s much to learn at Kew. And when you’re done exploring, you can head to one of Richmond’s famous riverside pubs to continue the fun. Tickets start at £13.95. Book online here. Go fishFishing is one of the most underrated date activities. Sure, the pungent scents of salmon and sea bream might not exactly scream romance, but sitting together, side-by-side, while patiently waiting for something exciting to swim along is a brilliant way to enjoy each other’s company. There are great fishing spots all around the UK (the River Lea is one of the top), but find one close to you using Fishbrain, the Swedish-born outdoors app that helps connect people to local fishing locations in Britain.Click here for more info. Take a segway tourThey may look incredibly dorky, but segways are a great way to get around speedily while seeing the sights. Buyagift.co.uk offers hour-long segway tours across the UK, with some routes taking you through verdant forests beautiful enough to make you and your date feel like you’re in a Richard Curtis film.Prices start at £39. Click here for more info. Take a ride down a London canalShow off your nautical skillset by setting sail with your date and venturing down the London canals in a self-driven electric powerboat. Red Letter Days offers river-based excursions for up to two hours where you’ll receive full training about how to drive the boat and be able to take it out yourself. You begin in Merchant Square before sailing up through Little Venice and up to Camden Lock.Prices start at £85 for two. Click here for more info. Watch a film under the stars> View this post on Instagram> > Don’t forget that our Summer Season starts next month! We’ll be screening amazing films all over the UK until September. You can get your tickets from the link in our bio! thelunacinema> > A post shared by The Luna Cinema (@thelunacinema) on Apr 30, 2019 at 12:54pm PDTPopcorn, blankets, snuggles...it’s the classic outdoor date for a reason. Outdoor cinemas have become a summertime staple in recent years, with screenings popping up on rooftops and in car parks across the country. Rooftop Film Club hosts screenings all over London, with 1990s classics such as Pretty Woman and She’s All That on this year’s lineup, while the Luna Cinema screens films at lavish locations around the UK, including Belvoir Castle and Stonor Park. Prices vary depending on the venue, but tickets sell-out quickly, so get booking sooner rather than later.The Luna Cinema/Rooftop Flim ClubHelp prevent hay fever symptomsWhile spring brings warmer weather it also marks the start of the hay fever season. If you’re one of the 18 million people affected in the UK, it makes sense to try to help prevent the symptoms of hay fever. A single dose of Pirinase Hayfever Relief For Adults 0.05% Nasal Spray in each nostril once a day could help relieve sneezing, a runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy and watery eyes. Find out more hereFor the relief of allergy symptoms. Pirinase Allergy 0.05% Nasal Spray contains fluticasone. Always read the label.Trademarks are owned by or licensed to the GSK group of companies.
If you thought you had an eventful few hours on your commute before work thismorning, spare a thought for this mum who gave birth on the side of amotorway
The majority of mothers do not exercise because they feel too guilty about taking time away from their children, Sport England has found.
Madonna has said that life would be “less challenging” for her children if they didn’t have her as a mother.The singer has two biological children, daughter Lourdes and son Rocco, and four adopted children from Malawi – David, Mercy and twins Estere and Stella.During an interview on Friday night’s Graham Norton Show, the star said that her fame undoubtedly takes a toll on her family.“I think they wish I wasn’t Madonna,” the 60-year-old said of her children.“I think it would be less challenging in their minds if they didn’t have me as their mother.”Discussing the family’s move from the US to Lisbon, Portugal, the star explained the move was so that her son, David, could attend a football academy in Europe.As a result, Madonna – who released her album Madame X on Friday –said she found herself surprisingly becoming “a soccer mum”.> View this post on Instagram> > You can’t sit with Us........... ...... ❌ estere madamex workshop> > A post shared by Madonna (@madonna) on May 31, 2019 at 9:35am PDT“I surprised myself,” she joked.“Barcelona and Turin were an option, but I couldn’t see myself living there. It would have been a lot easier if he’d liked music!”When asked whether she is an avid spectator at her son’s football matches, she said: “I admit I only watch when he’s playing. If he’s on the bench, I’m on my phone.”Madonna’s comments come months after she said she became “a little bit depressed” as a result of the transatlantic move and struggling to make friends.In an interview with DJ Trevor Nelson during an MTV live-streamed interview in April, the star said: "So I went [to Lisbon], and I thought it was going to be like super fun and adventurous, but then I found myself going to school, picking up kids, and going to soccer matches and really being 'Netty no-mates', and I got a little bit depressed."> View this post on Instagram> > And Love is 💙.....,........ The Unbreakable Bond! estere stella children family. love> > A post shared by Madonna (@madonna) on Feb 7, 2019 at 5:55am PSTLater in her interview with Norton, the singer opened up about her shows at the London Palladium later this year and said she was excited but anxious to perform.“I’m feeling anxiety right now,” Madonna told the show’s host. “Every time feels like the first time.”“I can see everyone (in London) and they can see me, which you can’t in a stadium or sports arena.Watch Madonna’s full interview on The Graham Norton Show tonight on BBC One at 10.35pm.