The worst days to fly in 2018

Trust us — there are a handful of days in 2018 that you seriously DON'T want to travel on.

This is a good time to start planning a vacation, because if you know when to fly – and just as important, when not to fly – you could save some real money.

An analysis of airfare data from Fare Compare provide several do-not-fly dates that shoppers should keep off their calendars.

  • The early January date: Relax, the do-not-fly date of Jan. 8 has already passed, so you don’t have to worry about it; we only mention it because this final day for expensive holiday fares returns every year (though it varies by a day or two). In 2018, the cheap winter travel season officially kicked off on Jan. 9, and continues into March. There are some notable exceptions, though, so keep reading.
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  • Feb. 15-17: These dates are typical travel days for Presidents’ Day weekend, because some folks are lucky enough to get that Monday off. Airlines know demand rises during this period, and in turn, raise their prices. If possible, pick another weekend in January or February for a getaway.
  • March 10-11: Another expensive weekend, because it marks the start of Spring Break for schools in several cities across the U.S. These expensive weekends will continue through April 21-22, so if you want to travel during this time without breaking your budget, we suggest including at least one weekday in your itinerary, especially a Tuesday or Wednesday.
airport line ticket counter reuters

Avoiding certain dates gives you a better chance of avoiding popular travel days — and it saves you money, to boot.  (Reuters)

  • June 22: This is the last relatively cheap day before the expensive summer season gets underway, and note that we say ‘relative’ — airfares for flights in this time period will have been on the rise since April. If you can get away before June 23, which is the start of the peak travel season, you will almost always see some savings.
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  • Aug. 27: This is the last do-not-fly date of summer; the airline fall season gets underway Aug. 28. At that point, kids in many school districts across the U.S. head back to class which means a lot of the demand for travel disappears. However, if you can get away starting Aug. 28 or beyond, you may be able to save significantly.
  • Sept. 9: This is the last do-not-fly date of summer for travel to Europe. Fly to London, Paris or Rome starting Sept. 10, and fares will be cheaper. But if you want to find really cheap fares to Europe? Go now, in January and February.

Not sure which are the cheapest days to fly from your city? Use a month-by-month search tool, like the one on FareCompanre, but there are others. They’ll all help you see instantly the cheapest deals from your part of the world.

Even if you weren’t planning a trip this year, you might want to take a look just for the fun — some of the prices can be extraordinary.

Ticket sales for Winter Olympics in South Korea are sluggish; tensions with North Korea temper interest

Near the end of December, some 655,000 tickets for the Winter Games in South Korea had been sold, according to the organizing committee’s official website Pyeongchang2018.com.

That is 61 percent of the 1.07 million tickets that organizers had set as a target for the event, whose opening ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 9. Even the website acknowledged that the sales “had been sluggish.”

Pyeongchang Olympics AP

Near the end of 2017, only 655,000 tickets to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang had been sold. Organized originally expected to sell 1.07 million for the February Olympic Games.  (AP

Speculation is that interest in attending the games has been affected by the tensions between South Korea and North Korea; the site of the Winter Olympics is a mere 50 miles from the demilitarized zone separating the two nations. What’s more, the remote rural town of Pyeongchang is not alluring enough to attract travelers, some in the tourism industry say.

I think people are too fearful about North Korea, but to be honest [Pyeongchang, South Korea] is not a great tourist destination to begin with. You’ve got to be going because you want to see the Olympics.

– Brian Peters, CEO of Bucket List Events, Texas-based travel agency

“I think people are too fearful about North Korea, but to be honest it’s not a great tourist destination to begin with,” said Brian Peters, CEO of Bucket List Events, a Texas-based travel agency that offers sports-themed packages, told L.A. Biz. “I guess I should be espousing the opposite viewpoint, but it’s just not a great tourist destination. You’ve got to be going because you want to see the Olympics.”

International Olympic Committee member Gian-Franco Kasper told a French media outlet that the tensions with North Korea are affecting interest in attending.

“I will tell you the truth: I do not expect too many spectators at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games,” Kasper said. “The current political crisis in the region does not encourage Europeans to travel to South Korea.”

Efforts to get a comment from the Olympic committee were unsuccessful.

Pyeongchang AP 1

A travel expert says the sluggish sales are partly due to the location of the Games, which are in the more rural city of Pyeongchang. “I guess I should be espousing the opposite viewpoint, but it’s just not a great tourist destination. You’ve got to be going because you want to see the Olympics.”  (AP)

South Korea has a lot riding on the event — not the least of which is an expectation that it will boost its economy, the fourth-largest in Asia.

Lee Hee-beom, the head of South Korea’s Winter Games organizing committee, said last year that the expectation was that hosting the event would bring nearly $30 billion — through such things as tourism and construction — to the country over the next decade.

Pyeongchang Cauldron Reuters

The head of South Korea’s Winter Games organizing committee hoped the event would bring nearly $30 billion — through such things as tourism and construction — to the country over the next decade.  (Reuters)

Pyeongchang2018.com described the Winter Games as “a good chance to promote the country’s beautiful mountains, scenic vistas and other tourism-related products.”

MyBucketListEvents.com says the total cost of going to the Winter Games for anywhere between 7 to 19 days is $4,895. The cost of a round trip flight to Seoul from the United States around the time of the Winter Games averages about $1,000, according to several travel websites.

A sample budget for the event in Money Magazine showed a total cost of $4,683 that included $915 for a flight to Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, $1,870 for a one-week hotel stay near the event, $200 for a Pyeonchang Rail Pass from Seoul, and $1,548 for four ticket packages for alpine skiing, pairs figure skating, speed skaing, a men’s hockey match and snowboarding.

Officials say there’s still time for sales to pick up.

“All in all, they feel very confident and I’ve always said that we have to trust the Koreans,” said Christophe Dubi, executive director of the Olympic Games, to USA Today. “They’ve always said there would be a boom and a last-minute surge of sales.”

Chef who claimed she spiked vegan dishes with meat quits after receiving death threats

A chef who posted on social media that she "spiked a vegan" with meat is facing harsh backlash.

A chef accused of spiking a vegan diner’s meal has quit her job after receiving death threats.

Laura Goodman found herself at the center of a storm and even called in cops after making the “joke” in a late night Facebook post.

She has now left her job at Italian restaurant Carlini in Shropshire, about 155 miles north-west of London, after being bombarded with angry messages.

A spokesman for the restaurant said: “Laura Goodman has today tendered her resignation from Carlini and the board of directors are currently considering their options.

“Whilst this process is being completed, Laura will not be working at either of the restaurants, which will re-open later this week.

“As part of a pre-planned recruitment drive, Carlini is also recruiting for an additional head chef to work across both its restaurants in Shropshire.”

Goodman was embroiled in the scandal after boasting in a Facebook group how she “spiked a vegan a few hours ago” on Saturday evening.

The Rome-born chef also blasted: “Pious, judgemental vegan (who I spent all day cooking for) has gone to bed, still believing she’s a vegan.”

A pal said today she was in a “bad way” and “too scared to leave the house” following the fury.

The friend added: “She can’t believe how she has found herself in this position. She actually made a flippant remark which wasn’t even true. She didn’t actually ‘spike’ anyone’s food. It’s been a nightmare for her.”

Yesterday, her fiancé and business partner Michael Gale said their “world has been turned upside down” since the flippant remark was shared around the world.

He said Laura had been drinking and was annoyed after a group of vegans did not order from a special menu she created for them – and one even ate a margarita pizza with mozzarella cheese.

He said: “We’ve completely shot ourselves in the foot. We now understand that in the vegetarian and vegan world, saying that you’ve ‘spiked’ someone’s food means that you put meat in it, which isn’t the case here.

“I think that the whole storm that has arisen has come from that word ‘spike’.

“She deeply regrets that she used it, she didn’t mean to cause offence when she used it, and she’s sorry.

“She’s sorry not just for us, but for all of the people that she’s offended.

“At the time of making the post, it was in the small hours of the morning, and Laura had probably had too much to drink and was angry that they hadn’t chosen to have the dishes that she had prepared for them.

“It was a stupid remark in a closed group. She didn’t expect it to go viral, which was maybe a bit naive of her.

“She’s horrified by what she’s done, embarrassed and deeply sorry.

“With some of these threats that she’s received, she’s almost suicidal. She doesn’t want to go outdoors.”

Gale said Goodman has received threats of death, violence and lawsuits from all over the world.

Carlini and a sister restaurant in Shifnal, Shrops, also called Carlini, have received phantom bookings and their Google and Tripadvisor pages have been flooded with one-star reviews.

One furious troll even contacted a waitress’s mother.

Gale said: “I would just like to reassure customers that they shouldn’t be concerned about this flippant remark, because it doesn’t have any bearing on the food that we serve here.

“Laura bent over backwards to try and come up with something special for them, and it’s so sad that it’s ended like this.”

Since Goodman’s post, the restaurant’s Facebook page has been deleted but people have posted dozens of bad reviews in response on TripAdvisor and Google.

One TripAdvisor user called for Laura to be prosecuted for her actions.

Another said on Google: “Feeding a non vegan meal to someone who has made the compassionate or potentially even medical choice not to eat animal products intentionally is disgraceful.

“And then to brag about it on your Facebook Page, I hope you’re ashamed of yourself.

“Your business is not too far from where I live and you can rest assured you will never have the custom of me or any of my friends again.”

Another added: “This lady should be charged with assault.

“We are vegan for a reason, to disregard our wishes and boast about contaminating food is at least a sackable offence.”

Vegans now plan to protest outside the restaurant, demanding it be shut down.

And the storm of criticism over the restaurateur’s comments have now seen Shropshire Council involved.

It confirmed: “We have received complaints and are investigating”.

McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s debuting cheap menu items amid fast-food price wars

McDonald’s may have rolled out a brand-new version of its long-gone Dollar Menu on Thursday, but Mickey D’s isn’t the only fast-food franchise gearing up for a price war in 2018.

Taco Bell, which previously announced plans to debut 20 different $1 items to its menu in 2018, announced on Wednesday that its new $1 Nacho Fries will be available starting on Jan. 25.

The fries, which come dusted with “Mexican seasoning” and a side of nacho cheese sauce, will also be available in both Supreme and Bell Grande versions (i.e., with additional toppings such as beef, sour cream or pico de gallo) for $2.49 and $3.49 respectively, per a press release. The Tex-Mex chain had previously hinted about adding fries to its menu during an October Twitter exchange with Mark Hoppus of Blink 182.

nacho fries

Taco Bell’s new $1 Nacho Fries will be available starting on Jan. 25. Customers can also order “Supreme” or “Bell Grande” versions for an additional fee.  (Taco Bell)

Wendy’s, not to be outdone, also expanded its “4 for $4” menu on Wednesday, and now allows customers to choose from eight different entrée choices including its Double Stack, Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Grilled Go-Wrap, Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, Crispy Chicken BLT, Jr. Cheeseburger, Spicy Go-Wrap or Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe. Like before, each entrée can be paired with chicken nuggets, french fries and a drink for just $4.

McDonald’s, meanwhile, had simply revamped one of its older, more popular promotions — the Dollar Menu — to create its new “$1 $2 $3 Menu,” which is available as of Jan. 4. While the original incarnation of this pricing model hadn’t been included on the menu since 2013, customers can now order sausage burritos, cheeseburgers, soft drinks or McChicken sandwiches for $1; McGriddles, Buttermilk Crispy Tenders, Bacon McDoubles or small McCafe drinks for $2; and triple cheeseburgers, Sausage McMuffins, Happy Meals and a newly-added fried chicken sandwich for $3.

wendy's 4 for 4

Wendy’s expanded its “4 for $4” menu to include eight different entrees, each of which can be paired with fries, nuggets and a drink for $4.  (Wendy’s)

The recent price wars may have even prompted fast-food restaurants to introduce new items to their standard permanent menus: In-N-Out, which hadn’t added a new item to its menu in over a decade, is once again serving hot cocoa ($1.60) after the drink disappeared from the menu over 50 years ago.

 

D.C. restaurant changes dress code after being accused of ‘racism’

A black man was allegedly denied entry to a bar for wearing sneakers, while a group of white men wearing the same sneakers were allowed in.

A popular restaurant and nightclub in Washington D.C. has changed its “no sneakers” policy after many guests claimed it was not being applied universally to all races.

Brian Gordon, who is African-American, said he had arranged a get-together with friends at El Centro D.F. restaurant one recent evening around 10:30 at night. However, while his friends were inside waiting for him, Gordon said he was denied entry because of his footwear.

Gordon was wearing white leather Converse high-tops — and the bar/nightclub area has a dress code that prohibits wearing sneakers.

“They’re not like ratty, dirty sneakers,” Gordon told The Washington Post. “They’re brand new, they’re leather. They were clean, fresh, white. It’s not like I showed up in five-year-old Chucks.”

Gordon texted his friends in the bar to tell them he wasn’t allowed in because of his shoes. His friend, Yesha Callahan, said she looked over at the bar inside and saw a group of white men wearing tennis shoes.

“They all have sneakers on,” Callahan said. “One guy had the same sneaker style that [Gordon] had.”

Eventually, a friend of the group was able to get Gordon in, but they decided to have a drink at another establishment down the street.

Gordon told the Washington Post that he doesn’t have an issue with the no-sneakers policy, “but if it’s not being applied universally, then it’s a problem.”

Callahan was upset by the incident and wrote an article detailing the exchange for The Root, which was widely shared.

As the story gained traction, more people started to make claims against the restaurant for unfair and “racist” behavior.

One person wrote on Yelp, “Racist. My boyfriend (who is Puerto Rican) was denied entry into this establishment because of their “no tennis shoe policy.” Meanwhile, I (White) was able to get in WITH THE EXACT SAME SHOES ON.”

The user continued with, “Read the [Yelp] reviews here, it seems like y’all have a serious racism problem that you don’t feel like addressing.”

Another responded to Callahan on Twitter, writing, “This happened to my friend last year! I have refused to go back ever since. Very racist bouncers.”

Following the backlash against the bouncer and the establishment, Ayyaz Rashid, managing partner of the Sandoval Restaurant Group that runs El Centro D.F., removed the sneakers policy and fired the bouncer who had turned Gordon away.

Rashid said that celebrity chef Richard Sandoval, of Sandoval Restaurant Group, has a “zero tolerance for anything discriminatory,” the Post reported.

Rashid also said when guests in the bar are not observing the dress code, it is usually because they had dined in the restaurant, which does not have a dress code, and then stayed around for the nightclub.

While Rashid argues that the dress code policy was “no different than any D.C., L.A. or New York Lounge,” he still says the company will be “doing extra training to discuss this issue, to make sure [employees] understand what is right, what is not right.”

Rashid says, “I am a person of color myself. So to hear that I would be enforcing such policies, it’s pretty personal to me.”

Gordon, Callahan and their friends were glad to hear how the incident unfolded, but were upset that El Centro had received complaints regarding racial discrimination before and had not acted.

“It shouldn’t take this massive amount of attention,” Callahan said. “If you want to have a policy, have it, but enforce that policy across the board. Don’t allow your bouncers to enforce it across their own biases.”

Ivanka Trump mostly wears clothing from own brand, report says

The Wall Street Journal analyzed images shared on Trump’s official social media accounts from when she was appointed to the White House role, in March, through November.

Special adviser to the president and fashionista Ivanka Trump has critics divided on the ethics of sporting looks from her eponymous label on official business.

According to a Dec. 27 report from The Wall Street Journal, the first daughter has worn dresses, shoes, jewelry and bags from her namesake label in 68 percent of official appearances. The investigation analyzed images shared on Trump’s official social media accounts from when she was appointed to the White House role, in March, through November

Though President Trump’s eldest daughter has stepped away from her role at the helm of IT Collection LLC, the intersection of fashion and federal politics seen in her case is unprecedented, the Journal noted.

“Ivanka Trump is testing the boundaries on federal rules that bar government employees from using their position to promote brands that personally enrich them,” Guian McKee, associate professor of presidential studies at the University of Virginia, told the outlet.

Trump’s fashion brand, which currently rests in a trust run by her brother-in-law Josh Kushner and sister-in-law Nicole Meyer, is valued at over $50 million and generated between $1 and $5 million in income between March and May, according to Newsweek.

Nevertheless, because it’s a private company, there’s no way to calculate exactly how it has fared since her father’s inauguration. High end department stores such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus dropped Trump’s line earlier this year amid boycotts and reportedly floundering sales.

“On the one hand, there’s something ridiculous about suggesting that Ms. Trump not wear whatever clothes are in her closet, and as the founder of a fashion brand that bears her name, presumably part of her job has been to promote said brand by wearing it — to, in effect, demonstrate her belief in her own products,” New York Times chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman said of the Journal’s report.

On the other hand, Friedman noted, it’s impossible to sever the visible tie between Trump and her aspirational fashion line, or calculate the promotion her position in the White House has given it

For her part, Trump denies the allegation that she is trying to advertise her brand through her political role.

“If what motivated me was to grow my businesses and make money, I would have stayed in New York and done just that,” she said via email to the Journal.

5 easy cocktail recipes to spice up your New Year party

NEw Year's Eve, Cocktail Recipes, New Year's story idea

New Year celebrations have already started and with the weekend here, it’s only expected that you would want to spend time with your loved ones with good food, music and a glass of amazing cocktail in your hand. But good cocktails are kind of like a rarity these days and even though the Internet is flooded with recipes, it’s imperative to get your hands on the right one, lest you don’t want to disappoint your guests if you are hosting a house party.

We have assembled five cocktail recipes that are simple to prepare and will have your guests humming in no time.

Grant’s Espresso Martini with a scotch twist

cocktail recipes, New Year cocktail recipes, homemade cocktail recipes, cocktail recipes for new year, easy cocktail recipes, martini recipes, indian express, indian express news

Ingredients

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50ml – Grant’s Family Reserve
1 Shot Espresso
25ml – Kahlua

Method

* Make an espresso and fill shaker with ice.

* Add all the ingredients and shake.

* Strain and garnish with coffee beans.

Rusty Nail

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Ingredients

50ml – Grant’s Family Reserve
25ml – Drambuie
Lemon Twist or Orange Rind

Method

* Add ice to the glass.

* Add Grants whisky and Drambuie to the glass and stir.

* Garnish with a lemon twist or orange rind.

The Irish Mule by Chef Abhinav Sharma, Factory By Sutra

cocktail recipes, New Year cocktail recipes, homemade cocktail recipes, cocktail recipes for new year, easy cocktail recipes, martini recipes, indian express, indian express news

Ingredients

59ml – Irish whiskey
177ml – Ginger beer (or more)
Juice of half a lime (about 29ml)
Lime slices (optional, for garnish)
Mint sprig (optional, for garnish)
Ice

Method

* Fill a copper mug (or other glass) with ice.

* Pour in whiskey and lime juice, top with ginger beer.

* Stir to mix, garnish with lime slices and mint sprig.

Indian Spiced Mulled Wine by Chef Abhinav Sharma, Factory By Sutra

cocktail recipes, New Year cocktail recipes, homemade cocktail recipes, cocktail recipes for new year, easy cocktail recipes, martini recipes, indian express, indian express news

Ingredients

½ bottle – Red wine
1 – Cinnamon stick
2 – Star anise
2 – Cloves
1 – Orange, sliced
1 – Lemon, sliced
50g – Brown sugar

Method

* Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan and simmer gently for 6-8 minutes, without boiling.

* Alternatively, place the ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low until warm (1-2 hours, depending on your slow cooker).

* To serve, pour the mulled wine into heatproof glasses.

Ballantine’s 12 Raspberry Collins

cocktail recipes, New Year cocktail recipes, homemade cocktail recipes, cocktail recipes for new year, easy cocktail recipes, martini recipes, indian express, indian express news

Ingredients:

50ml – Ballantine’s 12 Year Old
12.5ml – Raspberry purée
12.5ml – Lemon juice
12.5ml – Sugar syrup
5-6 – Fresh raspberries
Soda water
Ice, Lemon

Method

* Drop 3-4 fresh raspberries into a highball glass and lightly bruise with the back of a bar spoon.

* Add 50ml of Ballantine’s 12 Year Old, 12.5ml of lemon juice, 12.5ml of sugar syrup and 12.5ml of raspberry purée.

* Add ice and top with soda water.

* Stir mixture together to ensure that the liquid and fruit is evenly distributed.

* Garnish with two fresh raspberries and a lemon slice.

‘Spider web inspired implant may control type 1 diabetes’

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Transplantation of stem cell-derived, insulin-producing islet cells is an alternative to insulin therapy, but that requires long-term immunosuppressive drug administration. One well-researched approach to avoid the immune system’s response is to coat and protect the cells in tiny hydrogel capsules, hundreds of microns in diameter. However, these capsules cannot be taken out of the body easily, since they are not connected to each other, and there are hundreds of thousands of them. The ability to remove the transplant is key because of its potential to form tumours, researchers said.

“When they fail or die, they need to come out. You do not want to put something in the body that you cannot take out. With our method, that is not a problem,” said Minglin Ma, assistant professor at Cornell University. Taking inspiration from the way water beads on a spider’s web, Ma and his team first attempted to connect the islet cell-containing capsules through a string but realised that it would be better to put the hydrogel layer uniformly around a string instead. That string is an ionised calcium releasing, nanoporous polymer thread, the researchers said.

This thread — which the group has dubbed Thread — Reinforced Alginate Fiber For Islets enCapsulation (TRAFFIC) — was inspired by a spider’s web but, according to Ma, is even better because the hydrogel covers the thread uniformly. “You do not have any gaps between capsules. With a spider’s silk, you still have gaps between the water beads. In our case, gaps would be bad in terms of scar tissue and the
like,” he said. This therapy would involve minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to implant about six feet of hydrogel-coated thread into the patient’s peritoneal cavity.

Get your glow back after the holidays with these expert skincare tips

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We all have our share of skin problems and it’s particularly bad after the holiday season with late nights, and a whole lot of eating and drinking. Most people complain about dull and tired looking skin during this season, which is heightened by the unfriendly winter cold.

In addition to your daily dose of moisturising, cleansing and toning, it’s time you take extra care and detoxify your skin in order to get rid of wastes and impurities.

Dr Lovneet Batra, clinical nutritionist, Fortis Healthcare and Dr Sakshi Chopra, bariatric nutritionist, Jaypee Hospital, Noida share expert tips with us on how to get the glow back.

Revitalise your skin with foods rich in antioxidants

Add pumpkins to your diet as they are rich in antioxidants and zinc, and can help revitalise your skin, regulate oil production, improve skin tone and reduce the appearance of open pores. You can also opt for tomatoes as they are loaded with a strong anti-aging antioxidant, lycopene, an essential element for a younger looking skin. It also helps in getting rid of toxins accumulated from alcohol and sugar binges, says Batra.

Antioxidants present in eggs, lutein and zeaxanthin, provide protection against free radicals. They also help in hydrating the skin leaving it soft and firm.

“You can also have green tea in the morning with honey or apple cider vinegar, which is rich in antioxidant”, says  Chopra.

Turmeric and fruit/mud face packs can do wonders

According to Batra, turmeric containing the antioxidant curcumin has proven to be one of the most effective anti-aging agents. It decreases the free radical load, leaving your skin looking younger.

You can mash raw turmeric, squeeze out the juice, and either apply it on your face or consume it raw with a small glass of lukewarm water and honey.

For skin glow, Chopra recommends applying a fruit pack or a mud pack. Fruit packs can include strawberry, kiwis and bananas. Alternatively, you can try a face pack, which has high turmeric content.

The best time to apply any pack is before going to sleep. Just keep it on for 20 mins and rinse off with water.

Work on those dark circles and blemishes

“Potatoes work as a natural bleaching agent for skin lightening and can help get rid of dark circles and puffy eyes”, says Batra.

You should also add cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and kiwi to your diet as they are loaded with antioxidants and can help you fight the blemishes. Chopra says having a glass of strawberry smoothie or a kiwi smoothie can help you get glowing skin.

Vitamin C and Vitamin E to prevent cell damage

Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, which is an antidote for cell damage. So you should definitely include that in your diet, but besides that, you should also have paneer, papayas and fruit punches.

Says Chopra, “Vegetables containing high fibre and water content, for example, vegetable smoothies like spinach and kale or spinach and cucumber are good for skin.”

Stay hydrated

Coconut water is hydrating and full of muscle relaxing potassium. It helps in clearing breakouts as a result of too much sugar or processed fried foods during party season.

How to keep your family fit and health

Believe it or not, kids’ fitness is important for their lifestyle. Experts suggest at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

The following fitness trends offer fun ways to exercise for kids as young as 5 years old.

Dance

Kids like having fun when they attempt physical activities. It may be easier for them to get active if you allow them to find their groove, says Zumba instructor Sonwabo Bomvana.

He says dance classes are ideal for kids aged 5 and older, as they can jam to their favourite music while getting fit.

“Classes feature age-appropriate moves and music designed to stimulate mental activity and improve flexibility, such as contemporary, pantsula or gumboot dance.” He suggests fun activities to avoid boredom.

Gyms not for adults only

Gone are the days of kids being limited to the little playroom while their parents sweat in the gym.

Mary Mutlanyane, Momentum wellness ambassador, says mixing exercise and play is a great way for parents and children to work out.

She says more yoga studios are offering classes that you and your child can do together to stretch and relax, while physical endurance sports such as soccer and netball can help adults and kids get fit.

“While your kids are practising or playing a match, rally the other moms and dads together and go for a jog around the field or court. This weekly workout is a great way to burn some calories. Let your fitness tracker notch up some points; you don’t have to sit on the sidelines feeling bored,” she says.

She also recommends doing fun activities with children, such as walking dogs, as another way of getting fit.

Glenn Joselowitz, co-founder of The Kids Gym in Cape Town, says children are no longer as active as they used be because of technology.

“It is important for kids to get physical education and be taught about healthy lifestyles while they are young so that as they grow, being active becomes a lifestyle.”

Karate

While karate is beneficial for children’s fitness, there are more benefits to it.

According to a recent study conducted by the University of California, practising martial arts has helped to reduce theft, vandalism, and physical and verbal aggression in children aged 6 to 18.

Yoga

Lindsay Morgan, a remedial teacher and qualified children’s yoga instructor, says yoga has been proven to assist in the reduction of stress and encourages better sleep.

She says over-exposure to too much information and stimulus before children’s brains are fully developed can make it difficult for them to cope.

“Yoga enhances children’s concentration by promoting mindfulness. It teaches them to focus on what is happening right now.”

Not only does it boost children’s self-esteem, but yoga also teaches little ones to accept and express their feelings appropriately, and learn tolerance.

It also helps children to cope better under stressful situations.

Ballet

Although, traditionally, ballet was not used for health reasons, nowadays this form of dance is increasingly practised as a form of exercise.

Debbie Calder, from Just Move Dance and Fitness Studio in Cape Town, says ballet is an excellent activity for children because it does not only promote exercise, but helps children with life skills such as discipline, musicality, rhythm and confidence.

She says ballet involves physical strength, agility, and helps children to remember different positions and pathways of movement. It also helps improve concentration as well as balancing, co-ordination and flexibility.

“At a young age, ballet involves more musicality, rhythm, balance and nurturing a general love of movement.

As one gets older, ballet becomes increasingly more physical and therefore requires a lot of discipline, fitness and strength,” said Calder.

Use the jungle gym

Mutlanyane says the jungle gym in a park can also be used for doing sit-ups and push-ups.

“Pushing your child on the swing is a great exercise for adults, and you can lean against the side of the slide to do squats while pushing your child.

“Pull-ups on rungs, if there are any, and using the park bench for balance during leg raises are all great options.

If your children are slightly older you can even do a race together,” she said.