U.K. Pub Chain Adds Vegan Dishes to Its Menu

Nikkie Sutton wrote . . . . . . . . .

The Hungry Horse chain has launched a vegan range on its new menu at more than 280 of its pubs across the country.

The vegan options, which are now available, include seven plant-based dishes such as the pub classic – fish and chips.

This dish is produced by plant-based supplier VBites and is made of fish-free ‘fish’ flakes, as well as a Bakewell tart, which is served with vegan vanilla-flavoured ice cream.

Dishes on offer include a starter option of vegan roasted tomato soup, served with a vegan-friendly poppy seed bun.

Vegan options

For main dishes, diners can choose from a classic salad bowl with crumbled falafel and sesame seeds as a salad topper; three vegan fish-free fillets; chickpea and sweet potato curry; vegan fish-free fillets and chips; or a vegan falafel burger.

Hungry Horse senior food development manager Jason Radbourn said: “After listening intently to our customers’ feedback, it came through loud and clear that we needed to experiment with our dishes to cater to a broader range of diets.

“Working closely with our suppliers, we have not only introduced a number of new plant-based dishes, but we have also put a spin on some of the traditional pub classics we offer, such as fish and chips, which is now available with vegan fish-free fillets and is already proving popular with our customers.”

Hot trend

This comes after a report from McCain found that vegan food was a hot consumer trend​ impacting the food sector.

The number of adults following a vegan diet has risen by about 500% since 2016, McCain said, with 3.5m vegans now living in the UK.

More venues are moving towards plant-based ingredients like jackfruit, tempeh, seitan and aquafaba to cater for this demand, with just over half (52%) of outlets offering at least one vegan option.

Source: The Morning Advertiser

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Vegetarian Casserole with Green Bean and Millet

Ingredients

1 cup cooked millet
6 cups canola oil (for frying millet)
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray
chopped fresh parsley and thyme leaves (optional)

Method

  1. Line a jelly-roll pan with several layers of paper towels. Spread cooked millet out into a thin layer on paper towels. Let stand 1 to 2 hours to dry out surface moisture, stirring grains occasionally.
  2. Heat canola oil in a large Dutch oven to 375ºF (check with a submerged thermometer).
  3. Add 1/2 of the millet to the oil. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until the millet are browned and crisp (do not let the oil drop below 350ºF). Remove with a fine wire mesh ladle. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Fry the remaining millet as in step 3. Set the fried millet aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  6. Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling water 5 to 6 minutes or until almost tender. Drain and plunge into ice water. Drain and pat dry.
  7. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add onion and shallots, cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high. Cook 8 minutes or until mushroom liquid evaporates.
  9. Stir in thyme. Combine sherry and soy sauce. Add sherry mixture to pan and cook 4 minutes or until liquid evaporates.
  10. Combine milk and flour, stirring well with a whisk. Stir milk mixture into pan. Cook 2 minutes or until bubbly and thick, stirring constantly.
  11. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, salt, and pepper. Add green beans. Toss gently to coat.
  12. Spoon mixture into a 3-quart glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle fried millet evenly over top. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until filling is bubbly. Garnish with parsley and thyme leaves, if desired.

Makes 12 servings.

Source: Everyday Whole Grains

In Pictures: Food of Shichichi in Tokyo, Japan

Vegan Macrobiotic Kaiseki Cuisine

The 10 Best Probiotics for Vegans

Jayne Leonard wrote . . . . . . . . .

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the body and provide several health benefits. They are also present in some foods and supplements.

While yogurt is one of the most popular dietary sources of probiotics, it is not suitable for vegans. Luckily, there are many other ways for people on a plant-based diet to eat more probiotics.

The best vegan probiotic foods include:

1. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage dish that is popular in many Eastern European countries.

It is rich in probiotics, as well as potassium and vitamins C and K. People can make sauerkraut by letting finely cut cabbage ferment in brine, which is a highly concentrated saltwater solution.

The Lactobacillus bacteria on cabbage convert its sugars into lactic acid. The result is a crunchy and sour condiment that works well in sandwiches, salads, or on its own.

Many health-food stores and supermarkets also sell sauerkraut. It is best to choose an unpasteurized product, as pasteurization destroys much of the beneficial bacteria.

2. Kimchi

Kimchi is a spicy, fermented cabbage dish that is popular in Korean cuisine. It contains probiotics, vitamins, and antioxidants. The process for making kimchi is similar to that of sauerkraut, but it also includes spices and some other vegetables.

People can make kimchi at home or find it in health-food stores. Vegans who are eating out should check that restaurant kimchi does not contain seafood.

3. Pickled vegetables

Pickling vegetables in brine creates a tasty, probiotic-rich snack or side dish that is suitable for vegans. It is possible to ferment almost any vegetable.

Although fermented vegetables are rich in several nutrients, they also contain a lot of sodium. To avoid the risks of a high-salt diet, such as high blood pressure and water retention, people should enjoy pickled foods in moderation.

4. Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea that has had a revival in recent years. To brew kombucha, people will need a SCOBY starter, which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. This gelatinous mass does not look very appetizing, but it is full of beneficial microorganisms.

Kombucha contains low levels of alcohol. Some versions contain enough alcohol to classify them as beer, so they may not be suitable for some people, including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

5. Water kefir

Water kefir is a probiotic beverage. As with kombucha, it requires a starter culture of bacteria and yeast, which comes in the form of water kefir grains. These are available online, in health-food stores, or from fermented-food enthusiasts.

Water kefir grains help ferment sugar water, juice, or coconut water to form a mild-flavored and healthful drink. With proper care, the grains grow regularly and survive for years.

Vegans should avoid milk kefir and milk kefir grains, as these are dairy-based.

6. Tempeh

Tempeh is a soy-based food that is similar to tofu but involves the fermentation of the soybeans. As a result of this fermentation, tempeh is rich in probiotics and protein. Its firm texture makes it suitable for use in a variety of dishes.

Vegans can use tempeh in salads, stir-fries, burgers, sandwiches, and more. It is also an excellent source of protein.

7. Sourdough bread

Traditional sourdough bread requires a sourdough starter, which is a combination of flour and water that has fermented for several days.

A person must regularly “feed” the starter with flour to allow them to use it again and again to make fresh sourdough bread.

Not all sourdough bread contains probiotics, so it is essential to check the ingredients first. Many stores and companies do not use a fermented starter culture to make their sourdough.

8. Miso

Rich in antioxidants, B vitamins, and beneficial bacteria, miso soup is a great option for vegans looking for a probiotic fix.

Other uses for miso paste include:

  • salad dressings
  • stir-fry sauces
  • marinades

It is vital to use warm, rather than hot, water when making miso soup, as high temperatures kill probiotic bacteria.

9. Fortified dairy alternatives

Some fermented dairy alternatives, such as soy- and nut-based milk and yogurts, contain live cultures. Manufacturers add these beneficial bacteria to dairy alternatives to boost their health benefits.

A person can check the label for Lactobacillus and other probiotic strains in these products.

10. Supplements

While probiotic-rich foods are a good option for vegans, not everyone has the time to make these foods, and some people may not like how they taste. In these cases, supplements offer an easy alternative.

Not all probiotic supplements are suitable for vegans, however, so always check the label carefully.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not regulate probiotic supplements, so there is no guarantee that these products contain the strains of bacteria that the manufacturers claim they do. People should research products before buying them and ensure that they come from a reputable source.

Benefits of probiotics

Research into the benefits of probiotics for health is ongoing. Researchers are discovering that different strains of bacteria have a range of effects on the body. It may be best to eat a variety of probiotic-rich foods to ensure that different strains enter the body.

Some of the potential benefits of probiotics include:

  • Improved digestion: Probiotics help break down food and speed up digestion. They may also reduce constipation and symptoms of Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Reduced risk of cancer: Studies indicate that disturbances of the gut microbiota may play a role in various diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colitis-associated cancer. As a result, researchers suggest that probiotics may help prevent these diseases.
  • Vaginal health: The vagina contains an abundance of bacteria. Antibiotics, spermicides, and birth control pills can throw off the delicate balance in the vaginal tract, leading to infection. Probiotics may restore the balance and help prevent these issues.
  • Mental health: Experts believe that good gut health may influence mental health. Research suggests that probiotics may reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, although additional studies are necessary to confirm this.
  • Fewer antibiotic side effects: Over a third of people who take antibiotics develop antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD). Therefore, some doctors recommend that people take probiotics alongside antibiotics to prevent AAD.
  • Reduced risk of metabolic diseases: Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are types of metabolic disease. Regularly consuming probiotics may prevent and treat these conditions.
  • Diabetes management: Other research reports that probiotics may improve glycemic control and lipid metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes.

Source: Medical News Today

Scientists Find 500 More Genes That Influence Blood Pressure

In what is being billed as the largest genetic study ever conducted, British scientists report they have spotted more than 500 genes that play a role in blood pressure.

The research, which involved more than 1 million people, expands the understanding of the genetic factors that determine blood pressure and could lead to new treatments for the condition, according to researchers from Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College London.

“This is the most major advance in blood pressure genetics to date,” said study author Mark Caulfield, director of the National Institute for Health Research Barts Biomedical Research Centre.

“We now know that there are over 1,000 genetic signals which influence our blood pressure. This provides us with many new insights into how our bodies regulate blood pressure, and has revealed several new opportunities for future drug development,” he said.

“With this information, we could calculate a person’s genetic risk score for high blood pressure in later life,” Caulfield explained in a Queen Mary University news release. He is a professor and researcher at the university.

Doctors could then suggest lifestyle interventions, including weight loss, lower alcohol consumption and exercise, for those at genetic risk for high blood pressure, he added.

High blood pressure, which is a risk factor for stroke and heart disease, claimed almost 8 million lives around the world in 2015 alone, the researchers noted.

For the study, they examined the DNA of more than 1 million people and cross-referenced their genetic information with their blood pressure.

After comparing the people at highest risk for high blood pressure with those at lowest risk, the team calculated that all the genetic variants linked with the condition were associated with blood pressure that’s roughly 13 mm Hg higher.

Among the newly identified blood pressure genes were variants already tied to other conditions, including the APOE gene linked to heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers noted some genes also played a role within the adrenal glands, and in body fat.

Study co-leader Paul Elliott, from Imperial College London, said, “Identifying these kinds of genetic signals will increasingly help us to split patients into groups based on their risk of disease.”

The findings also pointed to some possible new treatment approaches for high blood pressure. One of the newly found gene regions linked to high blood pressure is already targeted by the type 2 diabetes drug canagliflozin (Invokana, Sulisent). This drug and medicines used to treat other diseases could be safely and inexpensively repurposed for the management of high blood pressure, the researchers said.

The findings were published in the journal Nature Genetics.

Source : HealthDay


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