Character Sweets

Sanrio Character Macaron

The macarons are sold by Fujiya Cake Shop in Japan for 180 yen (tax included) each.

Tacos with Lentil and Cauliflower


1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
2 cups cooked green lentils
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice, divided
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder pepper
1/3 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 tsp hot sauce
10 corn or flour tortillas

Optional Toppings

avocados, diced
sliced radish
crumbled Feta cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the cauliflower on one baking sheet. Add the lentils to the other baking sheet and pat them dry.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp lime juice, oil, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, sugar, garlic powder, and pepper.
  4. Pour 3 Tbsp of the lime mixture onto the cauliflower and stir well, making sure the cauliflower is evenly coated. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until golden, stirring halfway through.
  5. Add remaining lime mixture to the lentils. Stir well to ensure the lentils are evenly coated.
  6. Add the lentils to the oven after the cauliflower has roasted for 15 minutes. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly crispy and golden.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, cilantro, 1 Tbsp lime juice, and hot sauce. Set aside.
  8. Fill the tortillas with a scoop or two of the lentils, cauliflower, cilantro, avocado, and radish. Drizzle the tacos with the sour cream mixture. Add Feta cheese and salsa. Serve immediately.

Makes 5 servings.

Source: Lentils for Every Season

In Pictures: Foods of Bar Crenn in San Francisco, USA

Wine bar serving French-style small plates

The Restaurant

USDA Unveils Prototypes For GMO Food Labels

Merrit Kennedy wrote . . . . . . .

The USDA has released several options for what the labels might look like.

Foods that contains genetically modified ingredients will soon have a special label.

We recently got the first glimpse of what that label might look like, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its proposed guidelines.

This is the product of a decades-long fight between anti-GMO campaigners and Big Agriculture companies, which left neither side completely satisfied, as NPR has reported.

After Congress passed a bill in 2016 requiring labels on foods containing GMO ingredients, the USDA launched a long process to figure out the specifics. When it asked for feedback, it received 112,000 responses from consumers, farmers and manufacturers, among others.

The result?

There are a few options, and they look kind of like the labels you’d see on health food. They’re brightly colored, with greens and blues and yellows. They feature the letters B-E. Below that, some of them have a curved line.

“I mean, they look like a little smiley face,” says George Kimbrell, the legal director for the Center for Food Safety, which has pushed for labeling. “They’re very pro-biotech, cartoonishly so, and to that extent are, you know, not just imparting information but instead are essentially propaganda for the industry.”

Other options include a smiling sun, or a circle with growing plants.

The letters B-E stand for bioengineered — a term critics say is unfamiliar to the U.S. consumer, compared to more commonly used phrases like genetically engineered or GMO.

Grocery store shelves already have a lot of products with the label non-GMO, many of which include an image of a butterfly on a blade of grass.

“It’s misleading and confusing to consumers to now switch that up and use a totally different term, bioengineered, that has not been the standard commonplace nomenclature for all of this time,” says Kimbrell. He says he’d prefer these foods to be labeled with a circle saying “G” or “GMO.”

The USDA said it was not able to speak about the labels until they are finalized.

And industry representatives such as Nathan Fields, the director of biotechnology and crop inputs at the National Corn Growers Association, say the new term provides a clean slate.

“There’s some connotations around some of the terms that have been used that do cast the technology in a negative light,” says Fields. More than 90 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered, though Fields says he does not expect the labels to negatively impact the industry.

The National Corn Growers Association was supportive when Congress passed the mandatory disclosure standards, in part because states such as Vermont were creating their own rules about labeling genetically engineered foods. Fields says they were concerned about a state-by-state patchwork of laws, preferring a single national standard.

Farmers have also grown more comfortable over time with the idea of labels, says John Heisdorffer, a soybean producer and the director of the American Soybean Association, which has in the past come out against the idea. Soy, like corn, is also more than 90 percent genetically engineered. “The product has been around for a long time,” Heisdorffer says. “You don’t hear of any folks getting sick, or beyond that, through biotech.”

Although long term risks are hard to pin down, scientists have not found hard evidence that GMO crops are any less healthy for humans to consume than other crops. That’s what the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded in 2016 after reviewing more than 900 research papers on the topic.

Nevertheless, the public wants these labels. Polls show that a majority of Americans want to know whether their food is genetically engineered.

People make choices about what they eat for many reasons. “The whole idea that people make decisions about what to put in their mouths simply on the basis of safety is, of course, ludicrous,” says Glenn Stone, a Washington University in St. Louis anthropology professor who focuses on genetically modified crops.

This fight, he says, is about “clashing visions of agriculture,” where people concerned about the practices of powerful corporations such as Monsanto should be able to easily choose not to purchase those products.

That’s a crucial point in the broader question about which products are going to be labeled. Genetically modified ingredients, says Kimbrell, are the “tip of the spear as to the future of our food and the debate as a society that we’re having about it, and how we produce it.”

He and other labeling advocates want mandatory disclosures on products that contain highly refined ingredients made with genetically engineered crops. For example, foods with canola oil or corn starch, where modified genetic material could not ultimately be detected. The USDA is still deciding.

But Kimbrell says that this would allow a huge number of products that use GMO-derived ingredients to not have a label. He says it doesn’t matter what’s detectable in the final product. It’s how it was made to begin with.

Fields, from the National Corn Growers Association, has a different view. He thinks labeling highly refined products as GMO “isn’t necessarily completely honest, because there’s nothing to trace back to bioengineering that occurred with that specific product.”

It’s also not certain that the USDA will require the label to actually say “bioengineered.” The proposal say that companies could simply use a QR code, a kind of barcode that a phone can scan, to disclose info about the product. Industry professionals say they are clear and easy to use.

But critics say scanning a code would be one more obstacle for people who want to know how their food is made.

“People who aren’t in a place where there’s good wi-fi won’t know if it’s a GMO, and people who don’t use smartphones won’t know if it’s a GMO and also people who are in a hurry won’t know if it’s a GMO,” says Stone.

The public has until July 3 to submit comments on the USDA’s proposal.

Source: npr

A Better Diet May Prevent Brain Shrinkage in Older Adults

People who eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, nuts and fish may have bigger brains, according to a study published in the May 16, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“People with greater brain volume have been shown in other studies to have better cognitive abilities, so initiatives that help improve diet quality may be a good strategy to maintain thinking skills in older adults,” said study author Meike W. Vernooij, MD, PhD, of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. “More research is needed to confirm these results and to examine the pathways through which diet can affect the brain.”

The study included 4,213 people in the Netherlands with an average age of 66 who did not have dementia.

Participants completed a questionnaire asking how much they ate of nearly 400 items over the past month. Researchers looked at diet quality based on the Dutch dietary guidelines by examining intake of foods in the following groups: vegetables, fruit, whole grain products, legumes, nuts, dairy, fish, tea, unsaturated fats and oils of total fats, red and processed meat, sugary beverages, alcohol and salt. Researchers ranked the quality of diet for each person with a score of zero to 14. The best diet consisted of vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains, dairy and fish, but a limited intake of sugary drinks. The average score of participants was seven.

All participants had brain scans with magnetic resonance imaging to determine brain volume, the number of brain white matter lesions and small brain bleeds. The participants had an average total brain volume of 932 milliliters.

Information was also gathered on other factors that could affect brain volumes, such as high blood pressure, smoking and physical activity.

Researchers found after adjusting for age, sex, education, smoking and physical activity that a higher diet score was linked to larger total brain volume, when taking into account head size differences. Those who consumed a better diet had an average of two milliliters more total brain volume than those who did not. To compare, having a brain volume that is 3.6 milliliters smaller is equivalent to one year of aging.

Diet was not linked to brain white matter lesions or small brain bleeds.

For comparison, researchers also assessed diet based on the Mediterranean diet, which is also rich in vegetables, fish and nuts, and found brain volume results were similar to those who adhered closely to Dutch dietary guidelines.

Vernooij said the link between better overall diet quality and larger total brain volume was not driven by one specific food group, but rather several food groups.

“There are many complex interactions that can occur across different food components and nutrients and according to our research, people who ate a combination of healthier foods had larger brain tissue volumes,” Vernooij said.

She noted that because the study was a snapshot in time, it does not prove that a better diet results in a larger brain volume; it only shows an association.

Limitations of the study include that diet was self-reported and relied on someone’s ability to remember what they ate over one month, and the study was conducted in a Dutch population and therefore other populations may not have similar results.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

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