Mabel Gray Restaurant in Detroit to Feature All-vegan Menu in August

Radish carpaccio

Tom Perkins wrote . . . . . . . .

Consider that there are a limited number of animals with which to cook and thousands and thousands of vegetables, and it’s pretty easy to understand why chefs find an appealing challenge in vegan cooking.

“Chefs are drawn to vegetables. We love vegetables more than most animals,” says Mabel Gray owner and chef James Rigato of the culinary world’s growing appreciation for plant-based dining. “There are so many — ramps, fiddleheads, morels, tomatoes in season, olive oil, vinegars — it’s more exciting than ‘Look at this whole goat that I got.'”

That range will be on display in August when his well-loved Hazel Park restaurant will go vegan for nearly a month, offering an eight-course, plant-based tasting menu. That comes after a successful vegan week Mabel Gray hosted in March, which Rigato says was the result of customer requests for plant-based meals.

“That was ‘Hey, we hear you, it’s your week.’ It sold out so fast and packed the house with vegans and non-vegans, and everyone who came out had a blast,'” Rigato says, noting that only about 40 percent of customers during the week were true vegans.

“I think a lot of people are eating vegan that aren’t living a true vegan lifestyle,” he adds. “You feel better, that’s a no brainer. So to me — I eat vegan all the time, but by no means am I vegan. A lot of people want that fresher, brighter plant-based experience without having to alter their lifestyle.”

The menu will be about variety and incorporate everything from black truffles to heriloom grains to boutique vegetables that are seared, smoked, charred, raw, fermented — “all the touch points of an exciting multi-course menu, but just featuring vegetables,” Rigato says.

That means dishes like the mushroom carpaccio with shaved raw button mushrooms, pesto, lemon vinaigrette, pine nut crumble, and maitake conserva.

For those wondering, “all vegan” really means “all vegan.” Rigato stresses that he will not add an egg to a meal, or provide cream or anything else from an animal, as some requested during the last vegan menu.

He notes that he chose to roll out a plant-based menu in August for a reason.

“It’s the hottest month and one of best months for Michigan produce,” he says. “During August, fisheries and animal farms quiet down. Whitefish and walleye are swimming in deeper waters to keep cool, animals aren’t eating as much in the hot sun … and I’d much rather eat fruits, vegetables, grains, and probiotics when it’s 100 degrees out than a pound of steak.”

Tickets are $65 per person.

Source: Detroit Metro Times

Hard-boiled Egg with Tomato Curry Sauce


1 Tbsp grapeseed oil or sunflower oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 cups spinach, tough ends trimmed
4 hard-boiled organic large eggs, halved
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup chopped cilantro


  1. In large skillet over medium heat, warm oil. Add onion and salt to pan. Cook until onion has softened and is beginning to darken, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and ginger to pan and heat for 2 minutes.
  3. Add garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne. Cook for 30 seconds. Gently stir in tomatoes and heat for 6 minutes, until tomatoes begin to wilt and release their juices.
  4. Stir in lemon juice and then add spinach and cook until wilted.
  5. Gently lower eggs into the tomato sauce and spoon some of the mixture over eggs.
  6. Serve garnished with avocado, almonds, and cilantro.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Alive magazine

What’s for Lunch?

Organic Vegetarian Set Lunch at Lotus Vegecafe in Toyohashi, Japan

The Menu

  • Fried Wheat Gluten Skewer with Red Miso Sauce
  • Cabbage with Mustard Dressing
  • Spring Roll with Japanese Scallion
  • Shaved Burdock and Nuts
  • Tomato and Chickpea with Mushroom Sauce
  • Mushroom and Grated Daikon
  • Seaweed and Vegetables with Satay Sauce
  • Japanese Millet and Vegetables Salad
  • Summer Vegetables and Barley Miso Soup
  • Cooked Sprouted Brown Rice

Sodium and Heart Health

Bridget M. Kuehn wrote . . . . . . .

Low-salt diets have been a mainstay of treatment for patients with heart conditions and hypertension, but emerging evidence suggests potential harms to this approach.

A growing body of observational data has suggested there may be potential harms to salt restriction. As a result, some groups such at the World Heart Federation have recommended moderate rather than low levels of salt intake. But the data are complex, and many questions remain that only randomized trials can answer definitively.

This is particularly true for patients with heart failure. Some studies have found increased mortality or poor nutritional status for patients with heart failure consuming a low-salt diet. Gold standard clinical trial data are lacking to verify this correlation, although some trials are underway.

“What we know is a lot less than we think we know,” said Scott Hummel, MD, MS, an assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Michigan and director of the heart failure program at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Health System.

Some observational studies have suggested that low-salt intake may be associated with a poor health outcome for patients with heart failure. Now, some randomized trials have been launched to provide more definitive answers.

The Skinny on Salt

Much of the evidence supporting a low-salt diet stems from studies that demonstrate that lowering sodium intake can help reduce hypertension, explained Andrew Mente, PhD, associate professor in Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. But more recent data from studies in the general population have not found a benefit to lowering sodium for people without elevated blood pressure.

“We believed that lower was better,” Mente explained. “It doesn’t quite work that way. For people without hypertension who are generally healthy, eating a normal amount of salt has a minimal effect on blood pressure.”

Data from the Framingham Study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in April that analyzed the blood pressure and dietary intakes of 2632 people aged 30 to 64 with normal blood pressures found that individuals with the lowest blood pressures actually had higher intakes of both sodium and potassium, whereas those with low sodium and potassium intakes tended to have higher blood pressure.

“These long-term data from the Framingham Study provide no support for lowering sodium intake among healthy adults to 5 g/d reduce their intake, according to a January report in the European Heart Journal.

Data from observational studies find that both very high sodium consumption >5 g/d and very low sodium intake are associated with an elevated risk of heart attack, stroke, and death, Mente noted. Those individuals who fall in the middle, consuming 3 to 5 g of sodium per day, a fairly typical amount for a Western diet, seem to fare best, he said.

“We find that there is actually a sweet spot for sodium, where being in the middle tends to be optimal,” Mente said.

One reason lowering salt too much may be harmful is that it activates the renin-angiotensin system triggering the production of hormones that could have harmful cardiovascular effects, Mente explained.

Although the observational data are concerning, there is wide agreement that randomized trials are needed to provide definitive data. There is always a possibility that factors associated with salt intake and not salt itself might be responsible for the trends seen in the observational studies. For example, people who are very ill and at risk for poor outcomes may have poor nutritional status overall, including less intake of salt and many other nutrients, as well. This may give the impression in observational data that low-salt intake is associated with worse outcomes.

“To settle the debate, what we need is a large, long-term randomized trial comparing low sodium (<2 g/d) with the usual intake (of ≈3.5 g/d) in the general population,” Mente suggested.

Until more randomized trial data are available, Mente suggested clinicians recommend moderate sodium levels in the 3- to 3.5-g/d range. “Right now, a more cautious approach would be appropriate,” he said.

Salt and Heart Failure

There is an urgent need for clinical trials of salt restriction in patients with heart conditions, in particular, studies that can help clinicians better understand the risks and benefits of this intervention for patients with heart failure.

“It’s hard for people to follow a low-salt diet, but it is thought it might be physiologically helpful for (patients with heart failure),” explained Hummel.

The aim of sodium restriction in this population is to reduce fluid retention, and the current target recommended by the Heart Failure Society of America falls into the low-to-moderate range of 2 to 3 g/d.

But several studies have identified potential harms of low sodium consumption among patients with heart failure, including higher mortality, longer hospitalizations, and higher rates of readmission.

One potential reason for harm is activation of the renin-angiotensin and sympathetic nervous systems, noted Hummel. However, contemporary treatment regimens for patients with heart failure include drugs that would block these effects. He noted that some of the studies that found harm used older treatment regimens and prolonged high diuretic doses.

“You have to adjust the treatments patients are receiving to their physiological state,” Hummel explained. He noted that preliminary results from the pilot phase of a trial called SODIUM HF (Study of Dietary Intervention Under 100 mmol in Heart Failure) that adjusted diuretics and other patient medications found beneficial effects of sodium restriction on patient quality of life and B-type natriuretic peptide levels.

Hummel and his colleagues identified another potential explanation for sodium restriction–related harms in a study they presented at the American College of Cardiology Meeting in March. When they assessed the diets of 37 elderly patients with heart failure on hospital admission, they found that patients who reported low-sodium intake ate fewer calories overall and had micronutrient deficiencies, confirming the results previous studies.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean people shouldn’t eat a low-sodium diet,” Hummel said. “But when you recommend a low-sodium diet, some people take that as I should eat less of everything.”

The results suggest that clinicians may need to pay closer attention to their patient’s overall nutritional status.

“We’ve been focused on dietary sodium for so long, and that may be important, but there are probably a lot of other important aspects of diet we are not paying attention to.”

To better understand the role of diet and salt in heart failure, he and his colleagues are wrapping up their GOURMET-HF study (Geriatric Out of Hospital Randomized Meal Trial in Heart Failure). The trial randomly assigned 66 patients discharged from the hospital after treatment for heart failure to either home-delivered meals that are low sodium and compliant with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet or to usual dietary advice. They hope the trial will yield more information on how to boost patients’ quality of life, and will analyze biomarker data to look for potential signs of harm.

Until more data are available, Hummel says he typically recommends a lower sodium intake between 2 and 3 g/d to his patients with appropriate medication adjustments and monitors their overall nutrition status. He expects that even with these recommendations most will end up at ≈3 to 3.5 g/d. He also often refers patients to a dietician who can help them to develop a nutritious lower-sodium diet that takes into account their own food preferences.

“What we know is that one size does not fit all,” Hummel said. “What makes sense for a treatment plan 1 day may not be the same the next day. You have to keep assessing your patients and deciding what is appropriate.”

Source: Circulation

Hypertension May Cause Dementia

A new study in Cardiovascular Research, published by Oxford University Press, indicates that patients with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing dementia. This research also shows (for the first time) that an MRI can be used to detect very early signatures of neurological damage in people with high blood pressure, before any symptoms of dementia occur.

High blood pressure is a chronic condition that causes progressive organ damage. It is well known that the vast majority of cases of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia are not due to genetic predisposition but rather to chronic exposure to vascular risk factors.

The clinical approach to treatment of dementia patients usually starts only after symptoms are clearly evident. However, it has becoming increasingly clear that when signs of brain damage are manifest, it may be too late to reverse the neurodegenerative process. Physicians still lack procedures for assessing progression markers that could reveal pre-symptomatic alterations and identify patients at risk of developing dementia.

Researchers screened subjects admitted at the Regional Excellence Hypertension Center of the Italian Society of Hypertension in the Department of Angiocardioneurology and Translational Medicine of the I.R.C.C.S, Neuromed, in Italy. Researchers recruited people aged 40 to 65, compliant to give written informed consent and with the possibility to perform a dedicated 3 Tesla MRI scan.

This work was conducted on patients with no sign of structural damage and no diagnosis of dementia. All patients underwent clinical examination to determine their hypertensive status and the related target organ damage. Additionally, patients were subjected to an MRI scan to identify microstructural damage.

To gain insights in the neurocognitive profile of patients a specific group of tests was administered. As primary outcome of the study the researchers aimed at finding any specific signature of brain changes in white matter microstructure of hypertensive patients, associated with an impairment of the related cognitive functions.

The result indicated that hypertensive patients showed significant alterations in three specific white matter fiber-tracts. Hypertensive patients also scored significantly worse in the cognitive domains ascribable to brain regions connected through those fiber-tracts, showing decreased performances in executive functions, processing speed, memory and related learning tasks.

Overall, white matter fiber-tracking on MRIs showed an early signature of damage in hypertensive patients when otherwise undetectable by conventional neuroimaging. As these changes can be detected before patients show symptoms, these patients could be targeted with medication earlier to prevent further deterioration in brain function. These findings are also widely applicable to other forms of neurovascular disease, where early intervention could be of marked therapeutic benefit.

“The problem is that neurological alterations related to hypertension are usually diagnosed only when the cognitive deficit becomes evident, or when traditional magnetic resonance shows clear signs of brain damage. In both cases, it is often too late to stop the pathological process” said Giuseppe Lembo, the coordinator of this study.

“We have been able to see that, in the hypertensive subjects, there was a deterioration of white matter fibers connecting brain areas typically involved in attention, emotions and memory, said Lorenzo Carnevale, IT engineer and first author of the study. “An important aspect to consider is that all the patients studied did not show clinical signs of dementia and, in conventional neuroimaging, they showed no signs of cerebral damage. Of course, further studies will be necessary, but we think that the use of tractography will lead to the early identification of people at risk of dementia, allowing timely therapeutic interventions.”

Source: EurekAlert!

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