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Turkey-style Vegan Pumpkin Soup


3 cups vegetable stock (broth)
1 cup red lentils, soaked in water overnight and drained
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
6 tablespoons olive oil
2-1/4 lb Hokkaido pumpkin, peeled and diced
1 onion, quartered
1 head of garlic, unpeeled
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
3 sprigs sage, halved
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon sweet paprika, to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 440°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pour the stock into a large saucepan, add the lentils, and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
  3. Combine the turmeric, 1 teaspoon of the cumin, the ginger, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Add the pumpkin and onion chunks and mix well to coat the vegetables in the spices.
  4. Transfer the pumpkin and onion to the prepared baking sheet and tuck the head of garlic and the lemon wedges in between the pumpkin and onion pieces.
  5. Arrange the sage around the pumpkin cubes. Bake for about 15 minutes, then remove the garlic and set aside.
  6. Return the other vegetables to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
  7. Discard the sage and peel the baked garlic. Scrape the pulp from the lemon wedges, removing the seeds. Reserve the peel.
  8. Using a food processor or high-speed blender, blend the garlic, lemon pulp, pumpkin, and onion in batches until smooth. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  9. Finely chop the reserved roasted lemon peel.
  10. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the parsley, lemon peel, paprika, and the remaining cumin. As the spices release their aroma, remove the pan from the heat.
  11. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the spiced parsley and lemon peel, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Vegan: The Cookbook

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Germany in Crucial Data Drive to Understand Radioactivity Risk in Food

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David Anderson wrote . . . . . .

The German government is hoping to garner crucial data to help it better understand the risks involved from the consumption of radiation-emitting radioactive elements in foods such as uranium in a major study.

The study forms part of the mammoth seven-year long research undertaken by government body the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfS) into the national diet called the BfR MEAL Study (meals for exposure estimation and analysis of foods).

The wide-ranging research focuses on the substances contained in the foods consumed by Germans, which the German government hopes could prove crucial in assessing and improving the national health.

Staple foods covered in study

In this study focused on radiation, the BfR has teamed up with government advisory body, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), to scrutinise radiation caused by radioactive elements in a range of foods, including cereal products, vegetables, potatoes, dairy products, meat and fish.

“Even though radiation emitting radioactive elements like uranium are only contained in small quantities in food, their chemical properties and radioactivity could pose a risk if they are ingested over a longer period in higher concentrations,” said BfR president professor doctor Andreas Hensel.

“The actual risk is now being assessed within the scope of the cooperation with the BfS. In this way, the BfS and BfR will jointly obtain more data for risk assessment.”

Focus will be on examining foods in Germany for a range of substances including nutrients, heavy metal and food additives, as it looks to determine the mean concentrations of these substances in the average human diet.

The BfS will be given selected samples to examine for various natural radionuclides like uranium, radiom-226, radium-228 and lead-210. Natural radionuclides can occur in different concentrations and combinations in rock and minerals, so can also be contained in foods.

The BfS will analyse various radioactive elements in the food samples and will make dosage estimations for the public on the basis of the test results.

Negligible risks

“Humans cannot perceive or feel radiation with their senses,” said Wolfram König, president of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection.

“So people must have valid and reliable data, which we provide. This joint study should help us gain a better understanding of possible or negligible risks and enable us to compare and classify them.”

The BfR MEAL Study was commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). It is set to run for seven years and will aim to take into account the entire range of food consumed in Germany.

The goal is to gain information for the first time in Germany about the concentrations of various substances contained in the foods eaten by consumers.

It covers the entire food spectrum and analyses food in the state in which it is typically eaten, in bulk samples, representing meals. The BfR will buy about 50,000 to 60,000 different foods and preparing them in a kitchen specially set up for the purpose.

The first results are expected in 2018.

Source: Food Navigator

Too Little Sleep May Raise Risk of Death in People with Metabolic Syndrome

People with a common cluster of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes were approximately twice as likely to die of heart disease or stroke as people without the same set of risk factors if they failed to get more than six hours of sleep, according to a new observational study published in the association’s open access publication Journal of the American Heart Association. For those who got more sleep, the risk of death was more modest.

The study, funded in part by the American Heart Association, is the first to measure sleep duration in the laboratory rather than rely on patient reports and the first to examine the impact of sleep duration on the risk of death in those with a common cluster of heart disease risk factors.

The researchers randomly selected 1,344 adults (average age 49 years, 42 percent male) who agreed to spend one night in a sleep laboratory as part of the Penn State Adult Cohort. Based on their test results, 39.2 percent of the participants were found to have at least three of the risk factors, that when clustered together are known as the metabolic syndrome. For this study, the cluster included body mass index (BMI) higher than 30 and elevated total cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting blood sugar and triglyceride levels.

During an average follow-up of 16.6 years, 22 percent of the participants died.

Compared to people without the same cluster of risk factors, those with metabolic syndrome who clocked more than six hours of sleep time in the lab were about 1.49 times more likely to die of stroke during the 16.6-year follow-up period, while those who slept less than six hours in the lab were about 2.1 times more likely to die of heart disease or stroke. The short sleepers with metabolic syndrome were also 1.99 times more likely to die from any cause compared to those without metabolic syndrome.

The relationship was particularly striking because the researchers adjusted for sleep apnea – sleep interrupted by pauses in breathing that is a known heart disease risk.

“If you have several heart disease risk factors, taking care of your sleep and consulting with a clinician if you have insufficient sleep is important if you want to lower your risk of death from heart disease or stroke,” said study lead author Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Penn State College of Medicine and sleep psychologist at the Sleep Research & Treatment Center of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

He noted that sleep lab studies are often used to rule out sleep apnea, but physicians should also note insufficient sleep in the lab because it may signal a higher risk of death in patients with risk factors for heart disease.

A recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association on sleep duration and quality noted that an increasing number of Americans suffer from sleep difficulties or choose to curtail sleep in favor of other social, leisure, or work-related activities and this may be associated with adverse cardiovascular risks and outcomes.

As the Fernandez-Mendoza research was an observational study, the results cannot establish a cause-and-effect, only an association between short sleep and mortality in people with the metabolic syndrome. Additional limitations include that the study used only one day of sleep lab results and enrolled too few minority patients to determine whether there are racial differences in the relationship between short sleep times and mortality.

“Future clinical trials are needed to determine whether lengthening sleep, in combination with lowering blood pressure and glucose, improves the prognosis of people with the metabolic syndrome” said Fernandez-Mendoza.

Source: American Heart Association

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