What is Nowruz? Persian New Year traditions and food explained | CNN

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CNN
 — 

Just as spring is a time for rebirth, the Persian New Year is a time to celebrate new life. Nowruz is celebrated on the spring equinox, which Tuesday, March 19.

This celebration of spring is filled with symbolism around rebirth and renewal, because spring is a time when life is coming back after a long, cold winter, said Yasmin Khan, the London-based human rights campaigner turned author of “The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen,” “Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen,” and “Ripe Figs: Recipes and Stories from the Eastern Mediterranean.”

These three cookbooks from Khan inspire and provide a window into the cultures and stories of people from the Middle East through food.

The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

CNN: What are some of Persian New Year’s traditions and rituals?

Yasmin Khan: On the last Tuesday before the New Year, there is a tradition to make small bonfires in your garden. Traditionally people jump over the bonfires, and it’s supposed to be a symbol of purification, challenges of the year gone by, and energetically cleansing you and preparing you for the year ahead.

A key tradition is to set up an altar in your house called a Haft-seen, which means seven S’s in Farsi. You place seven things on your altar that begin with the letter S in Farsi, which are symbols or qualities you’d like to invite in for the year ahead. You can have apples for good health, candles for light, eggs for fertility, wheatgrass for rebirth and renewal, vinegar for wisdom, and a gold coin for abundance and prosperity. Each person chooses items that have meaning for them.

The festival lasts two weeks. At the end of the festival, you take the wheatgrass you’ve been growing on your altar and you take it down to some running water somewhere. You tie knots in the wheatgrass then throw it into the running water. It would float off along with all your hopes and dreams for the year ahead.

CNN: What food is important for the holiday?

Khan: Like all cultural celebrations, food is a really integral part. Because it’s a festival celebrating spring, we eat lots of green and fresh herbs. For example, there’s this dish called Kuku Sabzi (see recipe below), which is a gorgeous herb and spinach frittata that we always eat on the first day of the year in our house. The frittata is fragrant and aromatic and is served with flatbreads, sliced tomatoes and pickles.

The first meal of the Persian New Year is always fish served with herb-flecked rice filled with dill, parsley and chives in it. The two-week festival is a time of celebration with people you know … traditionally you go to people’s houses and eat lots of delicious sweets and pastries.

CNN: What are some easy ways people can join in the celebrations?

Khan: Cooking is probably the easiest and most fun way to celebrate the new year. I really recommend that people give some Persian recipes a go. As well as being delicious, they’re healthy and vibrant with all the herbs that are packed in them.

In the weeks before the new year, we do a big deep spring cleaning called “shaking down the house” in Farsi. It’s really lovely to have a focus and have something that is about bringing in new life, renewal and rebirth during this difficult time.

And no one regrets a spring clean, so I think that’s also a really great idea. I think this is a beautiful kind of nonreligious festival that everyone can join into and that we can all relate to. It’s a time where we really try and let go of any difficulties that we’ve had in the past year and try to start the new year with a clean slate.

This Iranian frittata is a sensational deep green color and tastes like spring on a plate, bursting with fresh herby flavor. It is incredibly quick to throw together, will keep for a few days in the fridge, and can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Serve as an appetizer or as part of a mezze spread, wrapped up in a flatbread with some slices of tomato and a few salty and sour fermented cucumber pickles, or add some crumbled feta and lightly toasted walnuts for a more substantial main.

Makes 4 servings as a main or 8 servings as a starter

Prep time: 15 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

7 ounces|200 grams spinach

1 3/4 ounces|50 grams fresh parsley

1 3/4 ounces|50 grams fresh dill

2 2/3 ounces|75 grams fresh cilantro

5 medium eggs

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaf

2 teaspoons sunflower oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Instructions

1. Wash spinach, parsley, dill and cilantro, then dry well on paper towels or in a salad spinner. Squeeze out as much moisture as possible; if the greens are wet when they are cooked, they will make the kuku go spongy. Chop finely or blitz in a food processor, in a couple of batches.

2. Heat broiler to high. Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add turmeric, flour, salt, pepper and fenugreek leaf. Stir in the chopped spinach and herbs.

3. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Add garlic and gently fry over low heat to soften, about 2 minutes.

4. Make sure garlic is evenly distributed around the skillet, then pour in the egg mixture. Cook over low heat until kuku is almost cooked through, 5-8 minutes. Finish off in hot broiler.

5. Let kuku cool slightly, then cut into triangular slices to serve.

This is typically the first meal served during Nowruz, according to cookbook author Yasmin Khan.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

Marinade

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dark soy sauce

Juice of 1 medium lemon

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

4 salmon fillets

Mixed herb rice

1 3/4 cups white basmati rice

Sea salt

Pinch of saffron strands

Pinch of granulated sugar

2 tablespoons freshly boiled water

1 small bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 small bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped

2 tablespoons bunch fresh chives, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

Sunflower oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

Instructions

1. To make the marinade, combine garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil and cayenne pepper, if using, in a deep bowl. Add salmon, turn to coat well, cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

2. Rinse and parboil rice and prepare the saffron liquid. Place saffron in a pestle and mortar with sugar and grind until you have a fine powder. Add just-boiled water and let steep for 10 minutes.

3. Very carefully, fold rice, chopped herbs, garlic clove and 1 tablespoon oil together, being careful not to break the rice grains.

4. Preheat oven to 400°F/Gas 6. Place an 8”-wide nonstick saucepan with snug-fitting lid over a medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 2 tablespoons oil. Add 1 tablespoon saffron liquid and season with a pinch of salt. Once the fat is hot, sprinkle a thin layer of rice over the bottom and firmly press down to line the base of the pan. Using a large spoon, gently layer the rest of the rice on top, building it up into a pyramid shape. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make 4 holes in the rice. Dot remaining 1 tablespoon butter into holes and then pour over the rest of the saffron liquid.

5. Place a clean tea towel or 4 paper towels on top of the pan and fit the lid on tightly. Tuck in the edges of the tea towel, or trim paper towels to fit, so they won’t catch the flame. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to very low and cook 15 minutes more. Take rice off heat and let sit. Do not be tempted to sneak a peek while it is cooking as this will disturb the steaming process. When rice has been cooking for 10 minutes, place salmon on a baking tray and bake skin side up until cooked to your liking, 10-15 minutes.

6. Once rice has cooked, fill sink with 2” cold water and place saucepan – with lid still tightly on – in the water. This will produce a rush of steam that should loosen the base of the rice. Remove lid, place a large plate on top of pan and quickly turn rice over. Present the herbed rice with the fish and serve immediately.

This recipes are adapted from Yasmin Khan’s book “The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen.”

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Rat poop, bug bits, mice hair: How many ‘unavoidable defects’ are in peanut butter and other foods you eat? | CNN



CNN
 — 

Brace yourselves, America: Many of your favorite foods may contain bits and pieces of creatures that you probably didn’t know were there.

How about some mice dung in your coffee? Maggots in your pizza sauce? Bug fragments and rat hair in your peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Oh, and so sorry, chocolate lovers. That dark, delicious bar you devoured might contain 30 or more insect parts and a sprinkling of rodent hair.

Called “food defects,” these dismembered creatures and their excrement are the unfortunate byproduct of growing and harvesting food.

“It is economically impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects,” the US Food and Drug Administration said.

So while there’s no way to get rid of all the creatures that might hitch a ride along the food processing chain, the FDA has established standards to keep food defects to a minimum.

Let’s go through a typical day of meals to see what else you’re not aware that you’re eating.

The coffee beans you grind for breakfast are allowed by the FDA to have an average of 10 milligrams or more animal poop per pound. As much as 4% to 6% of beans by count are also allowed to be insect-infested or moldy.

As you sprinkle black pepper on your morning eggs, try not to think about the fact you may be eating more than 40 insect fragments with every teaspoon, along with a smidgen of rodent hair.

Did you have fruit for breakfast? Common fruit flies can catch a ride anywhere from field to harvest to grocery store, getting trapped by processors or freezing in refrigerated delivery trucks and ending up in your home.

Let’s say you packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone’s lunch. Good choice!

Peanut butter is one of the most controlled foods in the FDA list; an average of one or more rodent hairs and 30 (or so) insect fragments are allowed for every 100 grams, which is 3.5 ounces.

The typical serving size for peanut butter is 2 tablespoons (unless you slather). That means each 2 tablespoon-peanut butter sandwich would only have about eight insect fragments and a teensy bit of rodent filth. (“Filth” is what the FDA calls these insect and rodent food defects.)

Unfortunately, jelly and jam are not as controlled. Apple butter can contain an average of four or more rodent hairs for every 3.5 ounces (100 grams) and about five whole insects. Oh, and that isn’t counting the unknown numbers of teensy mites, aphids and thrips.

Apple butter can also contain up to 12% mold, which is better than cherry jam, which can be 30% moldy, or black currant jam, which can be 75% moldy.

Did you pack some of the kid-size boxes of raisins for your child’s midafternoon snack?

Golden raisins are allowed to contain 35 fruit fly eggs as well as 10 or more whole insects (or their equivalent heads and legs) for every 8 ounces. Kid-size containers of raisins are an ounce each. That’s more than four eggs and a whole insect in each box.

Any Bloody Mary fans? The tomato juice in that 14-ounce Bloody Mary could contain up to four maggots and 20 or more fruit fly eggs.

And if you’re having a fruity cocktail, just be aware that the canned citrus juices that many bars use can legally have five or more fruit fly eggs or other fly eggs per cup (a little less than 250 milliliters). Or that cup of juice could contain one or more maggots. Apricot, peach and pear nectars are allowed to contain up to 12% moldy fruit.

Oh, gosh, the possibilities are endless! Did you know there can be 450 insect parts and nine rodent hairs in every 16-ounce box of spaghetti?

Canned tomatoes, tomato paste and sauces such as pizza sauce are a bit less contaminated than the tomato juice in your cocktail. The FDA only allows about two maggots in a 16-ounce can.

Adding mushrooms to your spaghetti sauce or pizza? For every 4-ounce can of mushrooms there can be an average of 20 or more maggots of any size.

The canned sweet corn we love is allowed to have two or more larvae of the corn ear worm, along with larvae fragments and the skins the worms discard as they grow.

For every ¼ cup of cornmeal, the FDA allows an average of one or more whole insects, two or more rodent hairs and 50 or more insect fragments, or one or more fragments of rodent dung.

Asparagus can contain 40 or more scary-looking but teensy thrips for every ¼ pound. If those aren’t around, FDA inspectors look for beetle eggs, entire insects or heads and body parts.

Frozen or canned spinach is allowed to have an average of 50 aphids, thrips and mites. If those are missing, the FDA allows larvae of spinach worms or eight whole leaf miner bugs.

Dismembered insects can be found in many of our favorite spices as well. Crushed oregano, for example, can contain 300 or more insect bits and about two rodent hairs for every 10 grams. To put that in context, a family-size bottle of oregano is about 18 ounces or 510 grams.

Paprika can have up to 20% mold, about 75 insect parts and 11 rodent hairs for every 25 grams (just under an ounce). A typical spice jar holds about 2 to 3 ounces.

By now you must be asking: Just how do they count those tiny insect heads and pieces of rodent dung?

“Food manufacturers have quality assurance employees who are constantly taking samples of their packaged, finished product to be sure they’re not putting anything out that is against the rules,” said food safety specialist Ben Chapman, a professor in agricultural and human sciences at North Carolina State University.

Sometimes they do it by hand, Chapman said. “They take 10 bags out of a weeklong production and try to shake out what might be in here,” he said. “Do we have particularly high insect parts or was it a particularly buggy time of year when the food was harvested? And they make sure they are below those FDA thresholds.”

What happens if it was a buggy week and lots of insects decided to sacrifice themselves? Can they get all those eggs, legs and larvae out?

“They really can’t,” Chapman said. But they can take the food and send it to a process called “rework.”

“Say I’ve got a whole bunch of buggy fresh cranberries that I can’t put in a bag and sell,” Chapman said. “I might send those to a cranberry canning operation where they can boil them and then skim those insect parts off the top and put them into a can.”

That’s gross. Will I ever eat any of these foods again?

“Look, this is all a very, very, very low-risk situation,” Chapman said. “I look at it as a yuck factor versus a risk factor. Insect parts are gross, but they don’t lead to foodborne illnesses.”

Much more dangerous, Chapman points out, is the potential for stone, metal, plastic or glass parts to come along with harvested food as it enters the processing system. All foods are subjected to X-rays and metal detectors, Chapman said, because when those slip through, people can actually be hurt.

Also much more dangerous are foodborne illnesses such as salmonella, listeria and E. coli, which can severely sicken and even kill.

“Cross-contamination from raw food, undercooking food, hand-washing and spreading germs from raw food, those are the things that contribute to the more than 48 million cases of foodborne illness we have every year in the US,” Chapman said.

Well, put that way, I guess my disgust over that rodent poop in my coffee seems overblown.

Maybe.

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Worried about your drinking? Use Dry January to check it | CNN

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CNN
 — 

There are lots of great reasons to decide to go “dry” in January and give up alcohol. Perhaps you imbibed a bit too much over the holidays or want to start a healthy routine and can’t afford the calories or the zap in energy and motivation that drinking can bring.

“Or it may be someone who truly is starting to wonder or question their relationship with alcohol, and this is an opportunity to really explore that,” said Dr. Sarah Wakeman, medical director of the Substance Use Disorders Initiative at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“For some people saying, ‘I’m not going to drink this entire month,’ might be really hard, so trying to do so may show you how easy or difficult it is for you,” said neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez, who conducts classes at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

What is the advice from experts on how to have a successful “dry January”? Read on.

It helps to be clear about your goal to make it a habit, said Wakeman, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“The research we have on goal setting says goals are more likely to be achieved if they’re really relevant to you as an individual and not abstract like ‘I should stop drinking because drinking is bad,’ ” she said.

Concrete goals such as embracing new sleep habits or an exercise routine will help make giving up drinking easier, she said.

“I really want to stop drinking because I know when I drink heavily I don’t get up the next morning and I don’t work out is a very specific goal,” Wakeman said.

Additional motivation can come from the health gains you can make from reducing or eliminating alcohol, experts say.

“Drinking less over time can have really measurable benefits in your health in terms of your blood pressure, your risk of cancer, your risk of liver disease and other conditions,” Wakeman said.

“Over the course of a month, you may notice some short-term benefits like better sleep, a better complexion due to improvements in your skin, feeling more clearheaded and having more energy,” she added.

READ MORE: Why my ‘Sober October’ lasted a year

Many of us may be familiar with SMART goals from work or school settings. They are used to help people set attainable goals. The acronym stands for:

  1. Specific: Set an achievable goal, such as cutting back on drinking three days a week. You can add days until you reach your final goal.
  2. Measurable: How many drinks will you cut — and what are the drink sizes? A beer is 12 ounces, a glass of wine is 5 ounces and a serving of spirits is 1.5 ounces.
  3. Achievable: Make sure there are not a bunch of social engagements where alcohol is likely to be served during your month of abstention.
  4. Relevant: How is not drinking going to help me with my life and health?
  5. Time based: Set a reasonable time frame to finish your efforts. If you like, you can set another goal later.

“If you set a bar too high, you may fail, so it’s better to set smaller goals to achieve it,” Hafeez said. “Nothing starts without an honest conversation with yourself.”

Informing a few friends or family members of your goal can help you reach it, experts say. For some people it may work to announce their plan on social media — and invite others to join in and report back on their progress.

“That’s where I think ‘dry January’ has kind of caught on,” Wakeman said. “If you publicly state you’re going to do something, you’re more likely to stick with it than if you keep it to yourself.”

READ MORE: How much you drink could have an influence on how your teen drinks

Drinking is often associated with social gatherings or fun times. That can train your brain to see alcohol as a positive. You can combat those urges by replacing your drink of choice with something equally festive or flavorful, experts say.

“For some people it can be just sparkling water, and for other people it’s actually having a mocktail or some sort of (nonalcoholic) drink that feels fun and celebratory,” Wakeman said.

“Substituting one behavior for another can work because you’re tricking your brain,” Hafeez said. “That can absolutely help you avoid temptation.”

An entire industry is devoted to making nonalcoholic drinks that taste (at least a bit) like the real thing. Some even claim to have added ingredients that are “calming” or “healthy.”

“I’m skeptical of anything that claims to relax you or have amazing health benefits that comes in a glass regardless of what it is,” Wakeman said. “But if it’s an alternative that allows you to feel like you’re not missing out on a social situation and helps you make the changes that you want to your alcohol consumption, I don’t think there’s any downside to that.”

READ MORE: How to stop using alcohol as a confidence crutch

5. Track your progress, goal and feelings

Even if you don’t end up cutting out all alcohol, tracking your emotions and urges to discover your triggers can be helpful, Wakeman said.

“Even just measuring your behavior, whether it’s alcohol or exercise or your diet, can be an intervention in and of itself,” she said.

“Even if someone’s not yet ready to make changes, just keeping a diary of when you’re drinking, what situations you’re drinking more and how you’re feeling at those times, can really help you identify sort of trigger situations where you may be more likely to drink,” Wakeman added.

There’s an additional piece that’s important in accomplishing a “dry January,” experts say. It’s important to notice if you — or a loved one — are showing any negative symptoms from cutting back or eliminating alcohol. It could be a sign that you need professional help to reach your goal.

“The first thing to be mindful of is whether or not you actually have an alcohol use disorder,” Wakeman said. “If someone’s been drinking very heavily ev

ery single day and is at risk for withdrawal symptoms, then it can actually be dangerous to stop abruptly.”

A person with an alcohol use disorder, who has gotten used to having a certain level of alcohol in their body every day, can go into withdrawal and experience severe physical symptoms such as shakiness, sweating, rapid heart rate and seizures.

“That would be a real indication that you need to talk to a medical professional about getting medical treatment for withdrawal and not stopping on your own,” Wakeman said.

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The top 10 things to watch in the stock market Wednesday

The 10 things to watch Wednesday, Dec. 6

1. U.S. stocks are higher in premarket trading Wednesday, with S&P 500 futures up 0.45% after back-to-back days of losses. The move comes amid increasing signs the labor market is loosening, suggesting the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hikes are succeeding in cooling the economy. U.S. private payrolls rose by 103,000 last month, according to the ADP National Employment Report, well below forecasts for a 130,000 increase.

2. Home builder Toll Brothers (TOL) delivers better-than-expected quarterly results, with revenue of $3.02 billion and earnings-per-share of $4.11 on stronger margins. The company also provides upbeat commentary around 2024, with mortgage rates expected to come down.

3. Bank of America downgrades PayPal (PYPL) to neutral from buy, while lowering its price target to $66 a share, down from $77. The firm doesn’t think PayPal is “broken” but needs time to fix things, calling 2024 a transition year.

4. JPMorgan shuffles around its oil ratings, upgrading Devon Energy (DVN) to overweight from neutral, while downgrading EOG Resources (EOG) to neutral from overweight. The firm also lowers its price target slightly on Club name Coterra Energy (CTRA) to $29 a share, from $30, while reiterating an overweight rating and keeping the stock as a “top pick.”

5. Morgan Stanley downgrades Plug Power (PLUG) to underweight from equal weight, while lowering its price target to $3 a share, down from $3.50. If you want a hydrogen play with less of the risk, stick with Club holding Linde (LIN). It’s the largest supplier of liquid hydrogen in the U.S. and doing a lot for clean hydrogen, too.

6. Morgan Stanley resumes coverage on JM Smucker (SJM) with an equal-weight rating and $122-per-share price target. The firm liked Smucker’s quarterly results but cites “several concerns,” including the company’s acquisition of Hostess Brands and the risk posed by GLP-1 drugs.

7. Bank of America calls semiconductor company Qualcomm (QCOM) a “top pick” amid the end of the global smartphone downturn. The firm expects global smartphone shipments to rise by 5% in 2024.

8. Citi upgrades Signet Jewelers to buy from neutral, while raising its price target to $119 a share, up from $93. You can hear the full story from CEO Gina Drosos on Tuesday’s “Mad Money“. 

 9. Can Club holding Starbucks (SBUX) break a 12-day losing streak now that the bad news is out? CEO Laxman Narasimhan said Tuesday at a Morgan Stanley conference that the recovery in China is “perhaps half the rate of what you would expect it to be given what you saw in the fourth quarter last year.” Shares of the coffeemaker were up 0.5% in early trading, at $96 apiece.

10. Exxon Mobil (XOM) says it plans to repurchase $20 billion worth of stock annually through 2025 after its acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) closes. The oil major is buying back $17.5 billion of stock this year.

(See here for a full list of the stocks at Jim Cramer’s Charitable Trust.)

What Investing Club members are reading right now

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Don’t serve disordered eating to your teens this holiday season | CNN

Editor’s Note: Katie Hurley, author of “No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident and Compassionate Girls,” is a child and adolescent psychotherapist in Los Angeles. She specializes in work with tweens, teens and young adults.



CNN
 — 

“I have a couple of spots for anyone who wants to lose 20 pounds by the holidays! No diets, exercise, or cravings!”

Ads for dieting and exercise programs like this started appearing in my social media feeds in early October 2022, often accompanied by photos of women pushing shopping carts full of Halloween candy intended to represent the weight they no longer carry with them.

Whether it’s intermittent fasting or “cheat” days, diet culture is spreading wildly, and spiking in particular among young women and girls, a population group who might be at particular risk of social pressures and misinformation.

The fact that diet culture all over social media targets grown women is bad enough, but such messaging also trickles down to tweens and teens. (And let’s be honest, a lot is aimed directly at young people too.) It couldn’t happen at a worse time: There’s been a noticeable spike in eating disorders, particularly among adolescent girls, since the beginning of the pandemic.

“My mom is obsessed with (seeing) her Facebook friends losing tons of weight without dieting. Is this even real?” The question came from a teen girl who later revealed she was considering hiring a health coach to help her eat ‘healthier’ after watching her mom overhaul her diet. Sadly, the coaching she was falling victim to is part of a multilevel marketing brand that promotes quick weight loss through caloric restriction and buying costly meal replacements.

Is it real? Yes. Is it healthy? Not likely, especially for a growing teen.

Later that week, a different teen client asked about a clean eating movement she follows on Pinterest. She had read that a strict clean vegan diet is better for both her and the environment, and assumed this was true because the pinned article took her to a health coaching blog. It seemed legitimate. But a deep dive into the blogger’s credentials, however, showed that the clean eating practices they shared were not actually developed by a nutritionist.

And another teen, fresh off a week of engaging in the “what I eat in a day” challenge — a video trend across TikTok, Instagram and other social media platforms where users document the food they consume in a particular timeframe — told me she decided to temporarily mute her social media accounts. Why? Because the time she’d spent limited her eating while pretending to feel full left her exhausted and unhappy. She had found the trend on TikTok and thought it might help her create healthier eating habits, but ended up becoming fixated on caloric intake instead. Still, she didn’t want her friends to see that the challenge actually made her feel terrible when she had spent a whole week promoting it.

During any given week, I field numerous questions from tweens and teens about the diet culture they encounter online, out in the world, and sometimes even in their own homes. But as we enter the winter holiday season, shame-based diet culture pressure, often wrapped up with toxic positivity to appear encouraging, increases.

“As we approach the holidays, diet culture is in the air as much as lights and music, and it’s certainly on social media,” said Dr. Hina Talib, an adolescent medicine specialist and associate professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in The Bronx, New York. “It’s so pervasive that even if it’s not targeted (at) teens, they are absorbing it by scrolling through it or hearing parents talk about it.”

Social media isn’t the only place young people encounter harmful messaging about body image and weight loss. Teens are inundated with so-called ‘healthy eating’ content on TV and in popular culture, at school and while engaged in extracurricular or social activities, at home and in public spaces like malls or grocery stores — and even in restaurants.

Instead of learning how to eat to fuel their bodies and their brains, today’s teens are getting the message that “clean eating,” to give just one example of a potentially problematic dietary trend, results in a better body — and, by extension, increased happiness. Diets cutting out all carbohydrates, dairy products, gluten, and meat-based proteins are popular among teens. Yet this mindset can trigger food anxiety, obsessive checking of food labels and dangerous calorie restriction.

An obsessive focus on weight loss, toning muscles and improving overall looks actually runs contrary to what teens need to grow at a healthy pace.

“Teens and tweens are growing into their adult bodies, and that growth requires weight gain,” said Oona Hanson, a parent coach based in Los Angeles. “Weight gain is not only normal but essential for health during adolescence.”

The good news in all of this is that parents can take an active role in helping teens craft an emotionally healthier narrative around their eating habits. “Parents are often made to feel helpless in the face of TikTokers, peer pressure or wider diet culture, but it’s important to remember this: parents are influencers, too,” said Hanson. What we say and do matters to our teens.

Parents can take an active role in helping teens craft an emotionally healthier narrative around their eating habits.

Take a few moments to reflect on your own eating patterns. Teens tend to emulate what they see, even if they don’t talk about it.

Parents and caregivers can model a healthy relationship with food by enjoying a wide variety of foods and trying new recipes for family meals. During the holiday season, when many celebrations can involve gathering around the table, take the opportunity to model shared connections. “Holidays are a great time to remember that foods nourish us in ways that could never be captured on a nutrition label,” Hanson said.

Practice confronting unhealthy body talk

The holiday season is full of opportunities to gather with friends and loved ones to celebrate and make memories, but these moments can be anxiety-producing when nutrition shaming occurs.

When extended families gather for holiday celebrations, it’s common for people to comment on how others look or have changed since the last gathering. While this is usually done with good intentions, it can be awkward or upsetting to tweens and teens.

“For young people going through puberty or body changes, it’s normal to be self-conscious or self-critical. To have someone say, ‘you’ve developed’ isn’t a welcome part of conversations,” cautioned Talib.

Talib suggests practicing comebacks and topic changes ahead of time. Role play responses like, “We don’t talk about bodies,” or “We prefer to focus on all the things we’ve accomplished this year.” And be sure to check in and make space for your tween or teen to share and feelings of hurt and resentment over any such comments at an appropriate time.

Open and honest communication is always the gold standard in helping tweens and teens work through the messaging and behaviors they internalize. When families talk about what they see and hear online, on podcasts, on TV, and in print, they normalize the process of engaging in critical thinking — and it can be a really great shared connection between parents and teens.

“Teaching media literacy skills is a helpful way to frame the conversation,” says Talib. “Talk openly about it.”

She suggests asking the following questions when discussing people’s messaging around diet culture:

● Who are they?

● What do you think their angle is?

● What do you think their message is?

● Are they a medical professional or are they trying to sell you something?

● Are they promoting a fitness program or a supplement that they are marketing?

Talking to tweens and teens about this throughout the season — and at any time — brings a taboo topic to the forefront and makes it easier for your kids to share their inner thoughts with you.

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Jim Cramer’s top 10 things to watch in the stock market Friday

My top 10 things to watch Friday, Nov. 3

1. U.S. stocks climb higher in premarket trading Friday, with S&P 500 futures up 0.46% after rising nearly 5% over the previous four sessions. Equities remain on track for their biggest weekly gain of the year. Government bonds also continue to rally this week, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury pulling back to around 4.5%. Oil prices tick up 0.78%, bringing West Texas Intermediate crude to just above $83 a barrel.

2. U.S. employment growth slows in October, with the economy adding just 150,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department’s monthly nonfarm payrolls report. That compares with September’s revised gain of 297,000 jobs and a Dow Jones estimate for October of 170,000 jobs. The news could take further pressure off the Federal Reserve in its ongoing battle to bring down inflation through higher interest rates.

3. Club holding Apple (AAPL) delivers an uneven fiscal fourth-quarter, with shares falling on lower-than-expected guidance for the current quarter. Analysts are using the results to reset expectations and lower price targets. Apple stock is down 1.7% in premarket trading, at $174.57 a share.

4. Semiconductor firm Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) reports a weak quarter as a result of Apple’s slowdown, prompting a slate of price-target reductions Friday. Barclays lowers its price target on the stock to $90 a share, down from $115, while maintaining an overweight rating on shares.

5. The takeaway from Club holding Starbucks‘ (SBUX) fiscal fourth-quarter beat is that the coffee maker needs so many more stores both in the U.S. and in China, while it’s barely begun to tackle India. Baird on Friday raises its price target on Starbucks to $110 a share, up from $100, while reiterating a neutral rating.

6. Barclays on Friday raises its price target on Club name Eli Lilly (LLY) to $630 a share, up from $590, while maintaining an overweight rating on the stock. The call seems like a good idea after Eli Lilly delivered solid quarterly results on the back of its blockbuster drug Mounjaro.

7. Shares of cybersecurity firm Fortinet (FTNT) plunge nearly 20% in early trading after its third-quarter results miss on analyst expectations, while providing a weak outlook for the current quarter. Multiple Wall Street firms downgrade Fortinet Friday on the weak quarter and signs secure networking is seeing slower growth.

8. Barclays lowers it price target on Clorox (CLX) to $115 a share, down from $118, while maintaining an underweight rating on the stock — and that seems harsh. The firm calls Clorox’s reduced outlook “prudent given the uncertainty ahead.” Clorox warned last month that an August cyber attack had significantly weighed on sales and profits.

9. KeyBanc upgrades Uber Technologies (UBER) to overweight from a neutral-equivalent rating, with a $60-per-share price target. The firm says Uber’s expense discipline should continue to drive earnings and free cash flow, while advertising “provides a lever to keep prices low to drive volumes.” Uber is set to report third-quarter results on Nov. 7.

10. Gordon Haskett upgrades Ross Stores (ROST) to buy from accumulate, with a $135-per-share price target. The firm says its third-quarter proprietary store manager survey “paints a positive picture” for both Ross and Club name TJX Companies (TJX).

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Meet the ‘queen of caviar’ who supplies Britain’s royal family with the world’s most expensive food

Laura King, founder of King’s Fine Food, was awarded an MBE for charitable and voluntary services in 2020 for her work for people with brain tumors.

King’s Fine Food

Laura King has run a caviar business for almost 20 years — even supplying Britain’s royal family with the coveted foodstuff.

But when she started in the food industry, she wasn’t a fan of caviar, which is the name for sturgeons’ roe, or eggs. “I didn’t even like caviar,” she told CNBC by video call.

Now, she’s known as the “caviar queen,” and her firm King’s Fine Food imports hundreds of kilos of caviar into the U.K. every two to three weeks.

The company sells the delicacy to Michelin-starred chefs, upscale stores such as Harrods and Selfridges, and airlines including Cathay Pacific and Emirates.

British Airways was the company’s first customer, with King’s supplying its first-class cabins with caviar. King remembers feeling anxious when she took the airline’s director of food to a racing event during her early days in business.

“I remember thinking … ‘God, I hope he doesn’t want anything expensive to eat,'” she said, recalling her concern about the company’s tight hospitality budget.

Oscietra caviar is the most popular product sold by King’s Fine Food.

King’s Fine Food

Before starting her firm in 2004, King attempted to buy caviar supplier W.G. White, where she was sales director, but was unsuccessful. “But I thought my surname is quite strong, [so I decided to] just go out on my own,” she said.

King got a loan of £170,000 ($206,500), adding the sum to her family’s mortgage to set up an office as well as packing facilities and refrigerators — caviar must be kept at between minus 2 degrees Celsius and minus 4 degrees Celsius. And of course, the stock is expensive, starting at around £300 a kilo, King said.

“It was tough … You can’t pay yourself,” King said of the early days. “I had a husband who was working … so there was money coming in,” she said of her now late husband, John King, a chef who spent time in the kitchens of top London restaurants such as The Dorchester and Le Caprice.

Now, King oversees a team of 10, including her daughter Holly — the company’s sales director — and turns over £2.5 million to £3 million a year. About 80% of those sales are caviar, with the remainder including black and white truffles, Italian Amedei chocolates and luxury food hampers.

How to eat caviar

Caviar can be served on a blini with a little crème fraîche, according to Laura King, and, as seen here, with smoked salmon.

King’s Fine Food

One way of serving the delicacy is an absolute no-no: mixing it with chopped eggs, chives and lemon juice will “take away the taste of very poor-quality caviar,” King told CNBC.

And she’s not a fan of some less traditional ways to serve caviar. “Conran always used to serve it … on Melba toast. Now for me Melba toast is too crunchy, you know, it would ruin the caviar,” she said, referring to the late British restaurateur and designer Terence Conran.

Why is caviar so expensive?

Caviar should be served using mother-of-pearl or horn spoons rather than those made with silver or other metals, because they can tarnish its taste, according to King’s Fine Foods.

King’s Fine Foods

“There’s a mystique about it, and in some ways it’s quite romantic,” King told CNBC.

King’s most popular product is oscietra caviar, which sells for between £33.40 for 20g and £1,669 for 1 kilo. It takes about eight years for an oscietra sturgeon to produce eggs, which have a “nutty, mellow taste,” according to the company’s website.

“Sevruga, oscietra, beluga [are] historically from Iran and Russia, those were the three caviars that everyone recognized … so I think [oscietra] sits in the middle, it’s very well received, and it’s an amazing taste,” King told CNBC.

King’s sources much of its caviar from Belgium and China, and, since new environmental protection rules were introduced in 2006, all of it is from farmed sturgeon, rather than wild.

Tips for startups

King has two suggestions for startups: Know your product and do the math. “Where are you going to buy [your product] from and where are you going to sell it, and … who will give you credit?” she said.

You’ve got to convince your suppliers that you’ll be able to pay for stock, King added. “You’ve got no record, so why is someone going to deal with you?” Her firm now has exclusive deals with farm suppliers.

Expect to be involved in the details and work hard. Nearly two decades after starting her business, King still packs the product, makes deliveries and takes empty pallets to a recycling center herself, she said.

And keep cash on hand, she added. “I’ve kept the money in the business. We have a lot of reserves, so if something happened tomorrow, I can keep going … for about three years,” King said.

King’s has also spent time building its reputation, and has had to deal with two bouts of negative publicity.

Laura King (left), founder of King’s Fine Food, with her daughter Holly King, the company’s sales director.

King’s Fine Food

The company unwittingly bought a batch of caviar labeled as sevruga, when it was in fact an inferior breed, attracting headlines focusing on the fact that it was a supplier to Fortnum and Mason, grocer to the late Queen Elizabeth II. King’s now runs a DNA testing program to avoid such mishaps.

The company ran into a similar issue in 2021, when King’s sold a mislabeled batch of caviar to London restaurant Scott’s. But that was a printing error, and King sued the newspaper that reported it, which clarified that “the mislabelling was simply a printing error and not a deliberate attempt to pass off an inferior product as a superior one.”

“We have to protect our name,” King told CNBC. King’s plans to have daughter Holly take over in the next two to three years, with King spending more time on the family’s charity, the John King Brain Tumour Foundation, which she set up after her husband died from a brain tumor.

“Caviar is the most expensive food in the world, so it’s quite nice if you can give something back [to a cause] … you’re really passionate about,” King said.

“We’re two women in business, probably the only two women in the caviar business almost in the world. We’ve worked hard and we try and do a good job,” she said.

Royal supplier

King’s Fine Food gained its royal warrant in 2021, meaning it can use the Royal Arms, a coat of arms recognizing that it is a supplier to the royal household, on its products and website.

King is hoping to keep the mark now that King Charles III has succeeded Queen Elizabeth II and she expects the royal household to review warrant holders early next year.

“We have the royal warrant for the queen. We supply the king, so I’m hoping, touch wood, we’ll keep it,” she said.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that King’s oscietra caviar sells for between £33.40 for 20g and £1,669 for 1 kilo.

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Here are all the portfolio moves the Club made in this week’s oversold market

People walk by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on February 14, 2023 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

With the stock market deeply oversold this week, we put cash to work by picking stocks across a range of sectors including energy, technology and materials. We also added a former Club chipmaker to our Bullpen and upgraded a premium beer name to a buy rating. Finally, Friday’s market reversal helped us make good on a pledge to trim a once-downtrodden health-care stock.

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The first tour inside Manhattan’s newest private club, with $100,000 membership fees

A battle between elite membership clubs is about to reach a whole new level, as Core Club’s new 60,000-square-foot megaclub prepares to open in Manhattan next month.

The new Core space, spread over four floors above Midtown, is the latest in a wave of elite membership clubs that have opened in major cities since the pandemic. From Casa Cipriani and Zero Bond in New York, to the Aster and Heimat in Los Angeles and ZZ’s Club in Miami, the clubs have redefined the old-world membership clubs and created safe spaces for today’s privacy-minded, highly mobile wealthy.

More than a dozen new clubs have opened or announced plans to open in Manhattan since 2020. Some, like Aman, are offshoots of hotel brands. Others, like ZZ’s and Casa Cipriani, leverage the cult-like fan base of their restaurants. Many are geographic expansions of existing hotspots, like LA’s famed San Vicente Bungalows opening in New York.

A rendering of a bar area at the Core Club, a private membership club in Midtown Manhattan.

Courtesy: Core Club

The club boom has created an arms race of amenities, with clubs vying to outdo each other with dining spaces, celebrity chefs, wellness spas, gyms, bars, pools, nightclubs, plush hotel suites and high-tech board rooms. ZZ’s Club, owned by Major Food Group and scheduled to open in Hudson Yards this fall, will boast multiple restaurants and a “culinary concierge” — a team of chefs able to whip up any dish that it’s members request.

“No one’s ever done this before,” said Jeff Zalaznick, managing partner for Major Food Group. “We’ve got so much talent in this kitchen. If you want your mother’s meatloaf in two days, we can make it. You want fried chicken, we can make it and probably make a great version.”

The price for access is soaring: the Aman Club in Manhattan, part of Aman New York’s new 83-suite hotel, charges $200,000 for membership along with $15,000 a year in annual dues. Core’s memberships range from $15,000 for an individual membership to $100,000 for a family membership, along with annual dues of $15,000 to $18,000 a year.

With more clubs scheduled to open in the fourth quarter and beginning of next year, some members worry that New York and other big cities are becoming over-saturated with club offerings, especially if the economy plunges into recession.

Club owners and managers say they see no slowdown in demand, as the wealthy seek communities and private spaces where they can work, play, stay and network in a secure and exclusive space.

Industry watchers say the U.S. may be moving toward the London model of social clubs, where storied institutions like Annabel’s, 5 Hertford Street and White’s play a central role in the social and professional lives of the upper crust. Soho House, founded in London in 1995 by restauranteur Nick Jones, has expanded to become the global goliath of the private club world, with dozens of locations around the world and a publicly traded stock.

Casa Cipriani private membership club in New York.

CNBC

Core Club’s founder and CEO, Jennie Enterprise, said that after the pandemic, the wealthy value privacy and a sense of community more than ever.

“I think the proliferation of private clubs is a reflection of an exceptional business model,” she said. “The annuity subscription-based business model in any industry is attractive. The activity in the space certainly reflects a desire for curated communities and experiences. And probably with a dynamic of social media, and a lack of privacy, I think that discretion and private communities are probably something that is more aligned with the culture of the moment.”

A rendering of a terrace at the Core Club, a private membership club in Midtown Manhattan.

Courtesy: Core Club

Club owners say members often join multiple clubs, since each has its own focus and atmosphere. Zero Bond, founded by nightclub impresario Scott Sartiano, has more of a nightclub vibe and has hosted Kim Kardashian, Pete Davidson and Gigi Hadid. Aman has the hushed (some say eerily quiet) feel of a zen resort, while Casa Cipriani features the flashy, people-watching theater of Cipriani’s storied New York eateries.

Zalaznick said his affluent clientele is “spending more than ever” at ZZ’s Club in Miami and the company’s high-end restaurants, which bodes well for the forthcoming ZZ’s Club New York.

“The things that bring people back are great food, great service, great experiences, great connections and the staff’s ability to cater to people’s needs or desires,” he said. “That’s our focus, and that’s what will give us longevity in the club space.”

Core gave CNBC an exclusive first tour of its new club at 711 Fifth Avenue, scheduled to open in mid-October. The group opened its first space in 2005 at a nearby location on 55th street and became the most successful of the new breed of modern, business-oriented membership clubs. In need of more space and a fresh look, Core leased four floors on the top of the former Coca-Cola building and spent two years and tens of millions of dollars building the ideal layout.

Spanning the 15th through 18th floors, Core has over 6,000 square feet of outdoor terrace space with views of Central Park and the glass towers of Midtown.

The 15th floor houses 11 luxury hotel suites, which are between 500 and 750 square feet apiece. Priced at around $1,500 per night, the rooms will be available for guests or their family members. The same floor also houses a spa with treatment rooms and a salon.

A rendering of the Core Club, a private membership club in Midtown Manhattan.

CNBC

The 16th floor is home to the gym, juice bar and the Dangene Institute, which features the latest in anti-aging skincare technology.

On the 17th floor, members will find a speakeasy-style lounge, which includes a stylish bar, blue velvet couches and a glass wine and champagne vault, called the wine library. Another set of glass doors leads to the culinary lab, a U-shaped table where celebrity chefs from around the world will serve up special dishes for members.

A rendering of the Core Club, a private membership club in Midtown Manhattan.

Courtesy: Core Club

The 18th floor houses the more formal dining area, which will serve mostly Mediterranean fare during the day and a more seasonal, varied menu at night. Core’s culinary program is headed by Chef Michele Brogioni, the celebrated former executive chef at Giorgio Armani. The club’s bread and pastries (including what is arguably New York’s best lemon cake) is overseen by head pastry chef Mauro Pompili.

The 18th floor also houses state-of-the art conference and board rooms, a screening room and a flexible events space and gallery that can be used for exhibits, parties and big gatherings.

Along with the Manhattan club, Core has new locations in Milan and San Francisco and has plans for several others in the coming years, Enterprise said.

A rendering of a dining area at the Core Club, a private membership club in Midtown Manhattan.

Courtesy: Core Club

Yet Core’s main draw, she said, isn’t the spaces or the amenities, but the community and well-spring of ideas. Core produces between 150 and 200 cultural events a year, from performances, exhibits and talks, to tastings, interviews and showcases.

“We’re ideas-led, not amenities-led,” Enterprise said. “Clearly we have beautiful, world-class amenities. But what defines us is the quality of our ideas. We curate a community of relentlessly curious and unlike-minded people from across the spectrum. So people can intersect with other people from media sports, fashion, finance, science, technology, design and beyond. Our commitment to cultural programming reflects a desire for our members to endlessly cultivate themselves.”

While Core never discloses the names of any of its members, some cited in past media reports include Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, fashion designer Tory Burch, Vornado CEO Steven Roth and Estee Lauder Executive Chairman William Lauder.

Since the new location is nearly twice the size as its prior outpost and can accommodate more members, Core is accepting and starting to review new applications.

“We are getting a lot of applications,” Enterprise said. “There is no single requirement. We look for interesting, curious people who will add to the community.”

A rendering of the Core Club, a private membership club in Midtown Manhattan.

CNBC

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These non-tech stocks are ‘back from the dead.’ Here’s where we stand

Workers walk towards Halliburton Co. “sand castles” at an Anadarko Petroleum Corp. hydraulic fracturing (fracking) site north of Dacono, Colorado, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014.

Jamie Schwaberow | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A number of Club stocks that were unloved on Wall Street earlier in the year have seen their fortunes rebound in recent months, including oilfield-services firm Halliburton (HAL) and industrial Caterpillar (CAT) — creating potential opportunities to lock in gains.  

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