Character Curry Dishes

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A Vegetarian Side-dish with Brussels Sprouts and Avocado

Ingredients

1-1/2 lb Brussels sprouts
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
3 tbsp pine nuts or split blanched almonds
1 tsp dried oregano
3 tbsp raisins
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe avocados
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp chopped mint or parsley

Method

  1. Halve the sprouts unless they are very small. Add them to a small amount of boiling water, bring back to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic, if used, pine nuts, oregano, and raisins with a good dash of seasoning. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, or until the onion is softened.
  3. Meanwhile, halve the avocados and remove their pits, then quarter the flesh and remove the peel. Cut into chunks and toss in the lemon juice.
  4. Add the sprouts to the onion mixture and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until they are really hot. Stir in the avocados and parsley, or mint, then cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the avocado is hot and slightly creamy. Serve at once.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Healthy Vegetarian Cooking

Veggie Burgers Go Mainstream with Bloody Impossible Burger

Jen Skerritt and Deena Shanker wrote . . . . .

Creating a veggie burger that tastes like beef has been a kind of holy grail for meatless food makers since bland-tasting grain patties first arrived in U.S. supermarket freezers during the 1980s, back when staples of health-conscious hippie menus began to work their way into the mainstream.

With granola bars, soy milk and organic produce sold almost everywhere today, companies including Impossible Foods Inc. and Beyond Meat have developed vegetarian products that may be as close as anyone has come to mimicking real ground beef. They have the same fibrous texture, sizzle on the grill, and even excrete what looks like red beef juices when you bite into the burger.

Healthier and more natural foods are a growing share of the $1.5 trillion spent annually by Americans to eat, as consumers demand products with less fat or cholesterol that are safer for the environment. Meat processors Tyson Foods Inc. and Maple Leaf Foods Inc. are investing in plant-based proteins as alternatives to pork, chicken and beef, while billionaire Bill Gates and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla say meatless meat is the food of the future.

“We’re not telling anybody not to eat meat,” said Ethan Brown, the chief executive officer of El Segundo, California-based Beyond Meat, which announced last month it will expand U.S. distribution of its Beyond Burger with a deal to sell it at more than 280 Safeway Inc. supermarkets in California, Nevada and Hawaii. “This is a just a new form of meat.”

Demand is shifting toward plant-based proteins made from lentils, quinoa, beans and peas as more shoppers see their buying decisions as impacting the environment and their own health, according to a January report from Sustainalytics, an Amsterdam-based corporate researcher.

Substitute Meat

Annual global sales of plant-based substitute meat have gained 8 percent a year since 2010, to about $2 billion currently, and are growing at twice the rate of processed meat, according to an Oct. 18 report from Bloomberg Intelligence. The market for meat substitutes may grow 8.4 percent annually over the next five years, with China helping to speed the expansion as it seeks to cut meat consumption in half by 2030, according to estimates in the Sustainalytics report.

In the U.S., the transition is well underway.

Beyond Meat’s burgers — made with peas, coconut oil and beet juice (for the blood effect) — have been available in Whole Foods Market Inc. stores since October, and the Safeway deal announced May 25 expanded distribution even further. It’s also sold at markets in Hong Kong as well as 13 on-campus dining halls at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Another new product is from Impossible Foods, a Redwood City, California-based startup that makes an animal-free burger from wheat, coconut oil and potatoes. It isn’t currently sold in stores because the company wants to first establish its brand in popular and high-end restaurants. It’s on the menu at 20 eateries now, and with the expansion of a production plant in Oakland later this year, Impossible Foods is targeting sales to more than 1,000 restaurants.

“That’s been a very deliberate strategy,” Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown — who isn’t related to the Beyond Meat CEO — said in a telephone interview. “It’s not until we’re substantially larger that we’ll go into grocery stores.”

Fancy Menus

The Impossible Burger already is available on several coveted New York menus, including at David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi restaurant, which Brown said gives his product some foodie cred for meat eaters who might otherwise consider the patties a science-fair project. “That’s a priceless endorsement,” he said.

Investors are lining up, too. Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods, the largest U.S. meat producer, acquired 5 percent of Beyond Meat, and a venture unit of Minneapolis-based cereal maker General Mills Inc. also holds a stake. At Impossible Foods, stakes are held by Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures and UBS AG. Gates, the world’s richest person, is an investor in Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.

“We love the product, we love the sustainability, the attitude that they have,” Tyson CEO Tom Hayes said in an interview. “Plant protein is growing faster than animal protein. For us, we want to be where where the consumer is.”

Reformulating Recipes

While alternatives to meat won’t replace the real thing, more companies are investing in the industry and reformulating recipes so consumers can’t tell the difference, said Kenneth Shea, a food analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Skillman, New Jersey.

“Consumers, more and more, think in terms of sustainability,” Shea said. “They’re looking to eat more plants as opposed to red meat due to the perceived health benefits.”

While most consumers want to keep eating meat, they’re becoming more informed about the consequences on the environment and sustainability. It takes about 15,000 liters (3,963 gallons) of water to produce 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of beef, compared with 1,600 liters for a kilo of wheat, according to estimates from the Water Footprint Network.

“Clean meat” production requires far less land and water than conventional meat, requires no antibiotics, and eliminates the environmental repercussions of animal waste and contamination during runoff, according to a report from Washington-based non-profit The Good Food Institute.

Still, most Americans don’t want to sacrifice taste.

“They’re hungry for a solution,” Beyond Meat’s Brown said. “It’s up to science and our efforts to get it to the point where it’s completely indistinguishable from its animal equivalent.”

Source: Bloomberg

EFSA Confirms Safe Levels for Nitrites and Nitrates Added to Food

Existing safe levels for nitrites and nitrates intentionally added to meat and other foods are sufficiently protective for consumers, EFSA has concluded after re-evaluating their safety. Consumer exposure to nitrites and nitrates as food additives is within safe levels for all population groups, except for a slight exceedance in children whose diet is high in foods containing these additives. However, if all dietary sources of nitrites and nitrates are considered, the safe levels (ADIs) may be exceeded for all age groups.

Sodium and potassium salts of nitrite and nitrate (E 249-252) are authorised as food additives in the EU. They are used in meat, fish and cheese products to hinder microbial growth, in particular to protect against botulism, as well as to keep meat red and enhance its flavour. Nitrate is also found naturally in high concentrations in certain vegetables, and it can enter the food chain as an environmental contaminant – mainly in water.

Prof Maged Younes, member of EFSA’s Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food, and Chair of the Working Group tasked with the re-evaluation, said: “We re-assessed the safety of nitrites and nitrates added to food as part of EFSA’s re-evaluation programme of all food additives authorised in the EU before 2009. Based on the available evidence, we concluded that there was no need to change previously set safe levels for either substance.”

The current acceptable daily intake (ADI) for nitrates is 3.7 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day (mg/kg bw/day). The safe level for nitrites was re-established at 0.07 mg/kg bw/day, close to the slightly more conservative existing ADI of 0.06 mg/kg bw/day.

Exposure assessment updated and improved

Using a refined exposure assessment, experts estimated that consumer exposure to nitrate solely from food additives was less than 5% of the overall exposure to nitrate in food, and did not exceed the safe levels. However, if all sources of dietary nitrate are considered (food additive, natural presence in foods and environmental contaminants), the safe level may be exceeded for individuals of all age groups with medium to high exposure.


What do we mean by exposure?

Exposure is the concentration or amount of a particular substance that is taken in by an individual, population or ecosystem in a specific frequency over a certain amount of time. When experts assess consumers’ dietary exposure to a chemical substance, they combine data on its concentrations in food with the quantity of those foods consumed. Children are often more exposed to substances because of their higher food consumption levels relative to their body weight.


For nitrites used as food additives, experts estimated exposure to be within safe levels for all population groups, except for highly exposed children, who might slightly exceed the ADI. Exposure from all dietary sources may exceed the ADI for infants, toddlers and children with medium exposure, and for highly exposed individuals of all age groups.

Nitrite is also linked to the formation of a group of compounds known as nitrosamines, some of which cause cancer. EFSA’s experts therefore also estimated their formation inside the body following the use of nitrites as food additives. They concluded that when nitrites are used at approved levels, their contribution to overall exposure to nitrosamines is of low concern for health.

Nitrite unintentionally present in meat products from other sources such as environmental contamination can also contribute to the formation of nitrosamines. EFSA’s experts concluded that these levels of nitrosamines might give rise to potential health concerns but that more research was needed to address uncertainties and knowledge gaps in this complex area.

Recommendations and next steps

Prof Younes said: “After looking at all available evidence we concluded that nitrites and nitrates added to food at permitted levels are safe for consumers in Europe. However, there are still some knowledge gaps to be filled by future research.

“In particular, further studies would be useful on nitrate-nitrite conversion in human saliva and the resulting methaemoglobin formation, on nitrosamine formation in food products to which nitrites have been added, as well as on additional epidemiological evidence in humans.”

He added: “Better data on exposure to nitrites/nitrates from other food sources than additives (including from contaminants in vegetables) would also help to provide a more complete picture and refine future risk assessments.”

EFSA’s scientific advice will inform risk managers in the European Commission and Member States who regulate the safe use of nitrites and nitrates as food additives as well as their overall levels in food in the EU.

Source: European Food Safety Authority

Want a Workout for Mind and Body? Hop on Your Bike

Riding a bike is good for your body — and your mind.

So say health experts at Penn State, who add that biking provides superb heart conditioning.

“That helps prevent weight accumulation, decreases the risk of heart disease and risk for diabetes,” said Dr. Alan Adelman. He made his comments in a news release from Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where he practices family medicine.

Riding on varied terrain offers riders the type of interval training that gives the heart a good workout, another exercise expert said.

“Working hard to climb a hill — even just a small one — followed by the recovery of going down the other side is similar to high-intensity interval training, which is very popular, and we know that it is an effective way to do physical conditioning,” said Deborah Tregea. She’s a senior exercise physiologist and campus wellness coordinator at Penn State University Fitness Center.

Cycling is a low-to-no-impact activity, so it can be a good choice for people with osteoarthritis who want to minimize wear and tear on their joints, the experts said.

People with knee problems tied to leg strength also benefit, because cycling strengthens leg muscles, according to Tregea.

Plus, cycling is an activity that families and friends can do together, and the mental health benefits it brings can be as significant as the physical ones, the experts said.

“People get a high and feel better mentally from physical activity in general,” Adelman said.

Source: HealthDay


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