Lower meat consumption will help water scarcity issues, say researchers

According to the new study, reducing use of animal products can have a considerable impact on areas suffering scarce water resources, as meat production requires more water than other agricultural products.

This dietary change, together with other actions such as reductions of food losses and waste, could also tackle the future challenges of food security, says lead author Mika Jalava from Aalto University in Finland.

“Our results show that reducing animal products in the human diet offers the potential to save water resources, up to the amount currently required to feed 1.8 billion additional people globally; however, our results show that the adjustments should be considered on a local level,” said Jalava and colleagues, writing in Environmental Research Letters.

via Lower meat consumption will help water scarcity issues, say researchers.

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Fake Meats, Finally, Taste Like Chicken – NYTimes.com

By STEPHANIE STROMAPRIL 2, 2014

Last May, Whole Foods recalled two types of curried chicken salad that had been sold in some of its stores in the Northeast.

The retailer’s kitchens had accidentally confused a batch of “chick’n” salad made with a plant protein substitute with one made from real chicken, and reversed the labels.

Consumers buying the version labeled as having been made from actual chicken were instead eating vegetarian chicken salad — and thus inadvertently were exposed to soy and eggs, allergens that must be identified on labels under federal regulations.

“None of the customers apparently noticed the difference,” said Ethan Brown, founder and chief executive of Beyond Meat, which made the substitute in the product that was recalled.

The error demonstrates just how far “fake” meat — producers hate the term but have not come up with a catchy alternative to “plant-based protein” — has come from the days when desiccated and flavorless veggie burgers were virtually the only option for noncarnivores.

Demand for meat alternatives is growing, fueled by trends as varied as increased vegetarianism and concerns over the impact of industrial-scale animal husbandry on the environment. The trend has also attracted a host of unlikely investors, including Biz Stone and Evan Williams of Twitter, Bill Gates and, most recently, Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong magnate.

“I’ve tasted a few,” Mr. Gates wrote in a multimedia piece on the Beyond Meat investment that was posted to his blog, “and they’re very convincing.”

Mr. Brown said that one of the big agricultural commodities businesses that trades in meat also has a tiny stake in Beyond Meat, though he declined to name it.

Some investors look at the development of viable meat alternatives as a sustainability issue.

“Frankly, we’ve never said we’re interested in food,” said Randy Komisar, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers, a venture capital firm that has backed Google and Facebook — and Beyond Meat. “What we’re interested in is big problems needing solutions, because they represent big potential markets and strong opportunities for building great returns.”

Among the problems he listed that his firm’s investment in Beyond Meat are intended to address are land and water use, stress on global supply chains and the world’s growing population. “These are venture-scale problems with venture-scale returns,” Mr. Komisar said.

Or as Josh Tetrick, a founder of a company that makes “eggs” from plant proteins, said: “We didn’t start Hampton Creek to get into mayo or because we were thinking about making muffins and cookies. More than anything we’re trying to reverse what we see as a problem, which is cheap and convenient food that is always going to win in China, win in India and win with my father, but isn’t good for the body or animals or the environment.”

Andrew Loucks, president of the United States frozen foods business at the Kellogg Company, said in an email that the company, which owns the MorningStar Farms brand of vegetarian products, was seeing growing consumer demand for less fat, cholesterol and calories, which often translates into a desire to eat less meat.

MorningStar offers a variety of products, including veggie dogs, a line of ground meat substitute called Crumbles and burgers made from things like black beans and chickpeas.

“Much of the new growth in the segment is coming from younger consumers who seek foods that fit an overall lifestyle, be it for health reasons or personal ethics,” Mr. Loucks wrote. “They are not just seeking foods that mimic meat. Instead they specifically want vegetarian foods with distinctive flavors and visible, recognizable ingredients.”

For whatever reason, the desire to replace meat proteins with proteins derived from plants is spreading, although the market is still minuscule. Mintel, a market research firm, reports that sales of meat alternatives grew 8 percent from 2010 to 2012, when sales hit $553 million.

“Not that long ago, electrical cars were considered nonperformers, and when Prius came out, a lot of people didn’t think there was a market for it,” said Yves Potvin, founder and chief executive of Gardein Protein International, which makes the Gardein line of meatless products. “Now people are willing to pay $70,000 for a Tesla, and more than one million Prius cars are sold each year.”

MorningStar Farms accounts for more than 60 percent of the market, according to Mintel, while new competitors like Beyond Meat and Hampton Creek have sprung up in the last five years. Gardein, founded a little more than five years ago, is the granddaddy of new companies making meat substitutes. Its products, sold by conventional retailers like H-E-B and Target as well as specialty groceries, include “chicken” wings, “fish” fillets, “beef” tips and breakfast patties.

via Fake Meats, Finally, Taste Like Chicken – NYTimes.com.

All about Iron!

Here’s a great NYTimes Blog post I’m reading right now for anatomy and phys 2.

August 13, 2012, 12:01 am

A Host of Ills When Iron’s Out of Balance

By JANE E. BRODY

Iron, an essential nutrient, has long been the nation’s most common nutritional deficiency. In decades past, many parents worried that children who were picky eaters would develop iron-deficiency anemia. My mother boiled meat I refused to eat and fed me the concentrated broth in hopes I’d get some of its iron.

Now baby foods, infant formula and many other child-friendly foods, like breakfast cereals, breads, rice and pasta, are fortified with iron. Today iron deficiency is more likely in infants who are exclusively breast-fed, young children who consume too much milk, menstruating and pregnant women, vegans and strict vegetarians, and people who take medications that cause internal bleeding or interfere with iron absorption.

These days, more attention is being paid to the opposite problem: iron overload, which studies indicate can damage internal organs and may increase the risk of diabetes, heart attack and cancer, particularly in older people.

In examining more than 1,000 white Americans ages 67 to 96 participating in the Framingham Heart Study, researchers found that only about 3 percent had deficient levels of iron in their blood or stored in their bodies, but 13 percent had levels considered too high. Continue reading

Why should I eat…. Eggplant

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Making some ratatouille again today. I got to thinking – what makes eggplant unique?

Here’s the brief on it’s goodness from wh foods

  • Eggplant is an excellent source of digestion-supportive dietary fiber and bone-building manganese. It is very good source of enzyme-catalyzing molybdenum and heart-healthy potassium. Eggplant is also a good source of bone-building vitamin K and magnesium as well as heart-healthy copper, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and niacin. Eggplant also contains phytonutrients such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.

Here’s another interesting blurb –

When laboratory animals with high cholesterol were given eggplant juice, their blood cholesterol, the cholesterol in their artery walls and the cholesterol in their aortas (the aorta is the artery that returns blood from the heart back into circulation into the body) was significantly reduced, while the walls of their blood vessels relaxed, improving blood flow. These positive effects were likely due not only to nasunin but also to several other terpene phytonutrients in eggplant.

Nasunin is not only a potent free-radical scavenger, but is also an iron chelator. Although iron is an essential nutrient and is necessary for oxygen transport, normal immune function and collagen synthesis, too much iron is not a good thing. Excess iron increases free radical production and is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Menstruating women, who lose iron every month in their menstrual flow, are unlikely to be at risk, but in postmenopausal women and men, iron, which is not easily excreted, can accumulate. By chelating iron, nasunin lessens free radical formation with numerous beneficial results, including protecting blood cholesterol (which is also a type of lipid or fat) from peroxidation; preventing cellular damage that can promote cancer; and lessening free radical damage in joints, which is a primary factor in rheumatoid arthritis.

Eggplant is in season especially in August through October so eat up! A healthy way of eating it besides ratatouille is babaganoush. (garlic, tahini (ground sesame seeds), lemon juice and olive oil? How can you go wrong with that!)

 

Kale Recipes: 5 Ways to Make Kale Less Boring | Women’s Health Food Blog: Get easy recipes, healthy food swaps, and cooking products

I thought today’s article from Women’s health was funny as last night I tried to give my husband a baby kale salad and he picked at the cucumbers from it and tossed the kale. I don’t mind the taste, but here are some recipes for those who do!

Kale is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. The leafy green is very low in calories (36 calories per cup) and is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K. It’s also a good source of fiber and minerals such as manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron.

Problem is, kale isn’t the sexiest veggie in town. If you’re like me, you routinely toss a bunch of it into your grocery basket, but don’t quite know what to do with it once you’re home. Because of its bitter taste and a texture that requires a learned appreciation, kale’s not first on my list of go-to salad ingredients. Luckily, there are countless (meat-free!) ways to doctor up this good-for-you green. Try these five kale recipes and learn how to incorporate it into your next breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack.

Healthy High C Smoothie Kale for breakfast? You bet. With a powerful blender and sweet ingredients like kiwis and orange juice, you won’t notice kale’s taste or texture, but you’ll still reap all the nutritional benefits.

Cheese and Kale Quesadillas Put a healthy spin on a typically bad-for-you dish opting for whole-wheat tortillas, a small amount of feta cheese, and kale.

Kale and Lentil Salad With so much flavor from ingredients like bell peppers, tomatoes, and sunflower seeds, this salad doesn’t even need dressing. Try it with some chopped seasonal fruits such as apples, grapes, strawberries, or blueberries.

Creamy Potato, Kale, and Leek Soup Use late summer and early fall to perfect the hearty soup recipes you’ll enjoy all winter long.

Roasted Kale Chips Health food disguised as junk food? We’ll take it. Try this brilliant snack idea from chef Tyler Florence.

via Kale Recipes: 5 Ways to Make Kale Less Boring | Women’s Health Food Blog: Get easy recipes, healthy food swaps, and cooking products.