In Pictures: Baking Hybrids in the UK

The Croll – Croisssant Bun

The Cronut – Croissant Donut

The Dagel – Dounut Bagel

Rainbow Bagel

Red Velvet Blondie Doughnuts

Macaron Cupcakes

The “Freakshake” – Concoction of milkshake, Cake, Donut, and Biscuit,


Vegetarian Salad with Avocado, Pomegranate and Grapes


1 ripe pomegranate, cut in half
1 cup black grapes, cut in half and seeded
2 small ripe avocados
1 tbsp lemon juice
fresh mint leaves to garnish


4 tbsp white-wine vinegar
2 tbsp orange juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp honey
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp peanut or sunflower oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together wine vinegar, orange juice, salt and pepper and honey. Slowly whisk in olive oil and vegetable oil until dressing is thick and creamy. Stir in the chopped mint. Set aside.
  2. Into a medium bowl, scrape seeds out of pomegranate halves. Add grape halves and toss to mix.
  3. Cut avocados in half and remove pits. Using a round-bladed knife, run it between skin and flesh of avocados, working skin away from flesh until skin is removed.
  4. Place avocados, round-side up, on work surface and, using a sharp knife and starting 1/2 inch below stem end, cut avocado lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices, leaving stem end intact.
  5. Arrange each sliced avocado half on 4 individual plates. Using palm of hand, gently push avocado slices forward to fan out slices. Sprinkle lemon juice over them.
  6. Sprinkle a quarter of the pomegranate seed-grape mixture on to each avocado half and spoon over dressing. Garnish each plate with a few mint leaves.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Healthy Vegetarian Cooking

The Rise Of Mock Meat: How Its Story Reflects America’s Ever-Changing Values

Deena Prichep wrote . . . . . . . .

Labor Day is the last hurrah of grilling for much of America. And at many of these summertime cookouts, you’ll find veggie burgers alongside (or instead of) the traditional beef and brats. Whether for health, environmental or ethical reasons, more people are tossing veggie burgers on the grill — even carnivores.

Today’s mock meats are getting closer and closer to the taste and texture of the real thing. But as more Americans embrace these next-generation veggie burgers, we can’t help but wonder — where did veggie burgers come from in the first place?

For early vegetarians, the lack of a meaty veggie burger with decent char wasn’t just because our forebears hadn’t mastered isolating wheat gluten and pea protein. It was ideological.

“Through the 1850s and 1860s, vegetarian food is purposely plain,” explains Pennsylvania’s Marywood University historian Adam Shprintzen, who traced the history of early American vegetarianism in his book The Vegetarian Crusade.

“Part of the reason they’re avoiding meat is the fear of overstimulation,” he says. “Health reformers were afraid of blackening food with pepper and other spices that were thought to overtax the system.”

In the mid-19th century, when the American Vegetarian Society formed, fare wasn’t much more extravagant than boiled vegetables, coarse wheat breads and custards. But toward the end of the century, the food started to change, Shprintzen notes, in a way that mirrored the change in vegetarianism itself.

“The push towards mock meat really represents a push in the nature of vegetarianism,” he says. “It tries to realign vegetarianism away from radical politics, and toward using vegetarianism as a vehicle for success — reform for the benefit of the individual, rather than social reform.”

A broader approach to wellness

Against this backdrop, it’s no surprise that the first commercial mock meat came out of one of the most famous destinations for personal health of that era — Michigan’s Battle Creek Sanitarium.

Historian Howard Markel became well-versed in the intricacies of the sanitarium when he dug into the history of the men behind it for his book, The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek. And yes, we’re talking those Kelloggs. Although the name is now synonymous with breakfast, their original mission was to take a broader approach to wellness, with a retreat founded on their Seventh-Day Adventist health principles — a vegetarian diet, with days full of exercise (and sans tobacco and alcohol).

Many guests of the Battle Creek Sanitarium signed up for the program because of dyspepsia — aka heartburn, indigestion, bloat and other such digestive unpleasantness. And Markel says it’s not surprising, given the diet of the time.

“They ate a lot of cured salted meats simmering in fatty gravy, a lot of butter, a lot of fried foods, a lot of sugar — and washed it down with a lot of alcohol.”

Although Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s vegetarianism was inspired by his faith, the prevalence of indigestion (Walt Whitman called it “the great American evil”) gave Kellogg’s clean eating a toehold in the wider culture, as the sanitarium drew guests such as women’s and civil rights activist Sojourner Truth, pilot Amelia Earhart and Tarzan actor Johnny Weismuller. In addition to health treatments, guests dined on then-revolutionary dishes like those containing soy milk or probiotics, flaked whole grain cereals … and mock meat.

“The doctor, as part of his own research, had a food lab,” explains Markel. He, his wife, and his brother began to experiment with nut-based mock meats. And, according to the notebooks, there were a lot of experiments.

“It didn’t hold together, or there wasn’t enough gluten, or they found boiling them at too high a temperature made them taste acrid or sour. Sometimes they even measured barometric pressure,” laughs Markel. “Like Edison, that’s classic 19th century invention — you just try a million things until it worked. John Harvey Kellogg was exactly that type of inventor, but his lab was a kitchen.”

After all this tinkering, the Kelloggs came out with mock meats formed from a mix of nuts and gluten. Their first success was Protose — Kellogg claimed that the product “resembles potted veal or chicken. It has a distinctly meaty odor and flavor. When a bit is torn off and chewed, it shows a distinct fiber. It is of such consistency that it may be masticated like tender meat and when cooked retains its form as does meat.”

This may have been a bit of an exaggeration — by all accounts, Protose tastes like, well, peanuts. And gluten. But it was protein-filled (or, to use the parlance of the time, blood-building), palatable, and, most importantly, had a monopoly in the mock-meat market. Kellogg served it to guests, and also sold cans via mail order — Markel estimates that at their height, annual sales of mock meat totaled over one million dollars.

To boost popularity, Battle Creek produced recipe catalogues explaining how to make a delicious mushroom gravy for Protose, or to serve it to taste just like veal or chicken. Later products included veggie hot dogs, as well as “skallops” and other mock meats — although, Markel notes, “They were all made out of the same thing, just shaped differently. There are only so many nuts, and so many things you can do with gluten.”

Other products followed suit in that era, mostly also from Adventist-affiliated corporations following a similar model of canned mock meat. For a while, that was pretty much the entirety of the mock-meat industry.

The new vegetarian movement

Paul Swanson, an intellectual property litigator with a special interest in food, dug into patent history to track the evolution of veggie burgers. After the initial spate of Protose-inspired mock-meat development, he says, the scene was fairly quiet (save for the mid-century development of Bac-O Bits, which are arguably more of a salad condiment than full-fledged meat substitute). But then, as the natural foods movement, countercultural resistance and other social movements took hold, eating habits similarly began to change.

“You go into the 70s, and there’s a newfound movement for vegetarianism,” Swanson observes. “You then have the second wave of innovation.”

Products like Gardenburger and Boca Burger were developed, and began to spread across the country. These veggie patties not only tasted better than their turn-of-the-century forebears — they also ditched the cans, showing up in the freezer section.

“Product placement is really important — if they want to be thought of as fresh, there’s a psychology thing going on,” acknowledges Swanson.

While these patties were sold closer to the frozen beef burgers, the second wave of mock meat was still mostly for vegetarians, or those steering clear of saturated fats (these were the days before Meatless Mondays.)

But on today’s grills, we’ll find something that’s more like a third wave of veggie burgers, engineered to be more like meat than could have been conceived in the basement health-food stores of the 1980s (or the Kellogg labs of a century prior). According to Swanson, the novelty is no longer in the processing, but in the materials themselves.

“The recent patents are more about the composition. Things that bleed … they’re doing so much work tearing apart and putting together plant matter.”

Unlike the early religiously affiliated mock-meat producers, or the second-wave countercultural companies like Oregon’s Gardenburger, some of these third-wave veggie burger makers (unsurprisingly) come out of Silicon Valley.

The vegetarians (or omnivores) who toss a veggie burger on the grill this weekend may be looking for a modern “disruption” of the meat industry — either for health, environmental or ethical concerns. Or they might just be wanting a delicious summer cookout. And they can achieve their tasty goal with a just-developed can’t-believe-it’s-not-meat creation, or the current iteration of the classic second-wave burgers.

Although sadly, not with Protose — the last cans stopped production after just about a century. But thanks to those pioneers, the modern-day bearers of the mock-meat torch can be found at pretty much any neighborhood grocery store.

Source: npr

Seven Steps to Keep Your Brain Healthy from Childhood to Old Age

A healthy lifestyle benefits your brain as much as the rest of your body — and may lessen the risk of cognitive decline (a loss of the ability to think well) as you age, according to a new advisory from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Both the heart and brain need adequate blood flow, but in many people, blood vessels slowly become narrowed or blocked over the course of their life, a disease process known as atherosclerosis, the cause of many heart attacks and strokes. Many risk factors for atherosclerosis can be modified by following a healthy diet, getting enough physical activity, avoiding tobacco products and other strategies.

“Research summarized in the advisory convincingly demonstrates that the same risk factors that cause atherosclerosis, are also major contributors to late-life cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. By following seven simple steps — Life’s Simple 7 — not only can we prevent heart attack and stroke, we may also be able to prevent cognitive impairment,” said vascular neurologist Philip Gorelick, M.D., M.P.H., the chair of the advisory’s writing group and executive medical director of Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Life’s Simple 7 outlines a set of health factors developed by the American Heart Association to define and promote cardiovascular wellness. Studies show that these seven factors may also help foster ideal brain health in adults.

The Life’s Simple 7 program urges individuals to:

  • Manage blood pressure
  • Control cholesterol
  • Keep blood sugar normal
  • Get physically active
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Lose extra weight
  • Don’t start smoking or quit

A healthy brain is defined as one that can pay attention, receive and recognize information from our senses; learn and remember; communicate; solve problems and make decisions; support mobility and regulate emotions. Cognitive impairment can affect any or all of those functions.

The advisory, which is published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, stresses the importance of taking steps to keep your brain healthy as early as possible, because atherosclerosis — the narrowing of the arteries that causes many heart attacks, heart failure and strokes — can begin in childhood. “Studies are ongoing to learn how heart-healthy strategies can impact brain health even early in life,” Gorelick said. Although more research is needed, he said, “the outlook is promising.”

Elevations of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar can cause impairment of the large and smaller blood vessels, launching a cascade of complications that reduce brain blood flow. For example, high blood pressure — which affects about 1 in 3 U.S. adults — is known to damage blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart and the brain, Gorelick noted. The damage can lead to a buildup of fatty deposits, or atherosclerosis as well as associated clotting. This narrows the vessels, can reduce blood flow to the brain, and can cause stroke or “mini-strokes.” The resulting mental decline is called vascular cognitive impairment, or vascular dementia.

Previously, experts believed problems with thinking caused by Alzheimer’s disease and other, similar conditions were entirely separate from stroke, but “over time we have learned that the same risk factors for stroke that are referred to in Life’s Simple 7 are also risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and possibly for some of the other neurodegenerative disorders,” Gorelick said.

The advisory also recognizes that it is important to follow previously published guidance from the American Heart Association, Institute of Medicine and Alzheimer’s Association, which include controlling cardiovascular risks and suggest social engagement and other related strategies for maintaining brain health.

The action items from Life’s Simple 7, which are based on findings from multiple scientific studies, meet three practical rules the panel developed in pinpointing ways to improve brain health — that they could be measured, modified and monitored, Gorelick said. Those three criteria make it possible to translate knowledge into action because healthcare providers can assess Life’s Simple 7 elements — like blood pressure — easily; they can encourage proven, health-promoting steps and they can gauge changes over time.

The AHA advisory provides a foundation on which to build a broader definition of brain health that includes other influential factors, Gorelick said, such as the presence of atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat that has been linked to cognitive problems; education and literacy; social and economic status; the geographic region where a person lives; other brain diseases and head injuries.

It is also a starting point for expanding research into areas such as whether there might be detectable markers, like genetic or brain imaging findings, that represent a susceptibiity for cardiovascular or brain illness, Gorelick said. “At some point in our lives, a ‘switch’ may be getting ready to ‘flip,’ or activate, that sets us in a future direction whereby we become at-risk for cognitive impairment and dementia.”

Dementia is costly to treat. Direct care expenses are higher than for cancer and about the same for heart disease, estimates show. Plus, the value of unpaid caregiving for dementia patients may exceed $200 billion a year.

As lives stretch longer in the U.S. and elsewhere, about 75 million people worldwide could have dementia by 2030, according to the advisory. “Policy makers will need to allocate healthcare resources for this,” Gorelick said. Monitoring rates of dementia in places where public health efforts are improving heart health “could provide important information about the success of such an approach and the future need for healthcare resources for the elderly,” he said.

The authors of the advisory reviewed 182 published scientific studies to formulate their conclusions that following Life’s Simple 7 has the potential to help people maintain a healthy brain throughout life.

Source : American Heart Association

Avocados May be Good for the Eyes and Brain

A study published in the journal Nutrients suggests that consuming one fresh avocado per day may lead to improved cognitive function in healthy older adults due to increased lutein levels in the brain and eye.

The research tracked how 40 healthy adults aged 50+ who ate one fresh avocado a day for six months experienced a 25% increase in lutein levels in their eyes and significantly improved working memory and problem-solving skills. Lutein is a carotenoid, or pigment, commonly found in fruits and vegetables that accumulates in the blood, eye, and brain and may act as an anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant.

As study participants incorporated one medium avocado into their daily diet, researchers monitored gradual growth in the amount of lutein in their eyes and progressive improvement in cognition skills as measured by tests designed to evaluate memory, processing speed, and attention levels. In contrast, the control group—which did not eat avocados—experienced fewer improvements in cognitive health during the study period.

These findings are based on the consumption of one whole avocado each day (369 mcg lutein). Additional research is needed to determine whether the results could be replicated with consumption of the recognized serving size of 1/3 of an avocado per day (136 mcg lutein). The control diet included either one medium potato or one cup of chickpeas in place of the avocado. Chickpeas and potatoes were used as the control diet because they provided a similar level of calories, but a negligible amount of lutein and monounsaturated fats.

“The results of this study suggest that the monounsaturated fats, fiber, lutein, and other bioactives make avocados particularly effective at enriching neural lutein levels, which may provide benefits for not only eye health, but for brain health,” said Elizabeth Johnson, lead investigator of the study from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Source: Institute of Food Technologists

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