New Snack: Dinosaur Character Sweet Bun

A box of 6 buns is sold for 1,210 yen (tax included) at the Fukui Prefecture Dinosaur Museum in Japan.

The mochi bun is filled with sweet white bean paste.

Vegan Lasagna


1 tablespoon salt
12 lasagna noodles
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound fresh spinach, rinsed
3 cups marinara sauce
3-1/2 cups non-dairy ricotta
1/2 cup shredded non-dairy mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup non-dairy Parmesan


  1. Lightly oil baking sheet and set aside. Into a large pot of boiling water, add salt and lasagna noodles and cook for 6 minutes. Drain noodles and arrange individually on baking sheet.
  2. In a large skillet, warm oil. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add spinach in batches until wilted. Drain and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. In a lightly oiled baking dish, spread 3/4 cup tomato sauce, then add 3 lasagna noodles. Spread 1/3 ricotta over noodles and add 1/3 of spinach mixture. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons mozzarella over mixture, then add 1 tablespoon of Parmesan. Repeat two more times. Top last layer of noodles with remaining sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
  5. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and cook 10 more minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Veg News magazine

Vegetarian Cup Noodles

Arielle Weg wrote . . . . . . . . .

Nissin has released their first ever vegetarian Cup Noodles. The meat-free soy sauce flavor will hit shelves alongside the already existing lineup of chicken, spicy chicken, and beef flavored Cup Noodles today. You can find the new option at most grocery stores for 99 cents.

This new vegetarian-friendly option from Cup Noodles follows Top Ramen’s two vegetarian varieties, which were released late 2017. During Top Ramen’s rebrand, the company cut sodium, removed artificial flavors, removed added MSG, and added two new vegetarian options to their lineup. The Oriental flavor dropped the beef flavoring, and was renamed as vegetarian soy sauce ramen. Additionally, Top Ramen released a vegetarian chili flavored package of noodles.

The new Cup Noodles vegetarian soy sauce flavor features edamame, carrots, and bok choy, which is a great option if you want to up your veggie intake.

Source: My Recipes

Mediterranean Diet Linked to Preventing Depression

Kashmira Gander wrote . . . . . . . . .

The much-lauded Mediterranean diet can add another string to its bow. According to a new study, it can protect against depression.

Scientists believe a diet rich in plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, olive oil and nuts, as well as fish, could cut a person’s risk of developing the depressive disorder.

Such foods contain high levels of vitamins, minerals and polyphenols (macronutrients found in some plants) as well as fiber, and therefore have anti-inflammatory powers, according to the authors of the study, which was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. By default, a Mediterranean diet is also void of foods that can trigger systemic inflammation in the body, which has in the past been associated with depression.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people are currently living with depression worldwide, a figure that leaped by 18 percent between 2005 and 2015.

Depression is characterized by feeling sad, losing interest in otherwise enjoyable activities and struggling to complete daily tasks, lasting for at least two weeks. Peolpe with depression can also feel lethargic, experience a change in their appetite and sleeping habits, and feel worthless, guilty and hopeless, which can lead to suicidal thoughts.

Yet, despite its prevalence, the disorder is little-understood and treatment (which can include therapy and medication) is only effective in one in three cases, the authors noted.

The researchers behind the study pored over 41 existing studies completed in the past eight years to arrive at their conclusion. Of the total, four investigated the Mediterranean diet and depression specifically, and included 36,556 adults. Of the participants who followed a Mediterranean diet, 33 percent were less likely to develop depression than those whose diets deviated most from the regime.

Camille Lassale, author of the study and research associate at the Institute of Epidemiology and Health at University College London, said the aggregated results from a swath of studies revealed “a clear pattern that following a healthier, plant-rich, anti-inflammatory diet can help in the prevention of depression.”

“There is compelling evidence to show that there is a relationship between the quality of your diet and your mental health,” she said.

“This relationship goes beyond the effect of diet on your body size or other aspects of health that can in turn affect your mood.”

“There is also emerging evidence that shows that the relationship between the gut and brain plays a key role in mental health and that this axis is modulated by gastrointestinal bacteria, which can be modified by our diet,” explained Lassale.

Tasnime Akbaraly, of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, Inserm and University College London, and co-author of the study, said it supported the idea of dietary counseling being part of doctor office visits, including those for mental health.

“This is of importance at a patient’s level but also at a public health level, especiially in a context where poor diet is now recognized to be the leading cause of early death across middle and high-income countries and at the same time mental disorders as the leading cause of disability,” she said.

But not all experts are convinced. Naveed Sattar, a professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, told BBC News that the results should be approached with a “dose of caution.”

“While eating healthier is good for many reasons, we need more evidence before we can say plant-rich diets can improve mental health,” he said.

Aisling Pigott, a qualified dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association who was not involved in the study, told Newsweek: “The problem is chicken and egg. Does a good diet lead to better mental health or does being in a positive place allow you to choose healthier options. This review doesn’t really address the difference but highlights a link.”

“More research is needed to evaluate how specific parts of the diet can support mental health management, but it further supports the importance of looking after yourself and your health,” Pigott said.

The average person is advised to eat regularly and consume lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

“Within reason, lots of fruit, veg and less processed meats will help mental and physical health,” she said.

Source: Newsweek

6 Ways to Lower Your Stroke Risk

Hallie Levine wrote . . . . . . . . .

Every 40 seconds or so, someone in the U.S. has a stroke, with adults 65 and older accounting for about two-thirds of these temporary blockages of blood flow to the brain.

“As you age, you’re more likely to ­develop risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight,” says Ralph Sacco, M.D., chairman of the neurology department at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and president of the American Academy of Neurology.

But many strokes can be avoided. In fact, 10 risk factors, which can all be lowered, are responsible for about 90 percent of strokes, according to a study published in 2016 in The Lancet. And healthy lifestyle steps are important. “Lifestyle is probably the most impor­tant thing out there and may often be more ­potent than any medication,” Sacco says. Try these strategies to reduce your risk of stroke.

Control Blood Pressure

Of the 75 million Americans who have high blood pressure, only about half have it ­under control, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

That’s important, because the Lancet study suggests that high blood pressure is responsible for 48 percent of strokes.

“High blood pressure damages the inner lining of your blood vessels, which can lead to blockage within the artery wall,” says Brian Silver, M.D., a spokesman for the American Heart Association (AHA) and a professor and vice chairman of neurology at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.

What to do: Have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years or ­annually if your readings are higher than 120/80 mmHg.

If you’re 60 or older and have no other cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes, high cholesterol, a smoking habit), you don’t need medication unless your systolic (top) reading is at or above 150, according to new guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

You can usually control border­line blood pressure (120 to 139 over 80 to 89 mmHg) with lifestyle changes such as limiting sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, regular exercise, and weight loss if needed.

For those at high risk for heart disease or who have a history of heart attack or stroke, and a systolic of 140 mmHg or higher, the guidelines recommend considering medication.

Manage Other Health Conditions

High cholesterol, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and depression increase stroke risk to varying degrees.

What to do: If you have any of these conditions, ask your doctor to assess your heart-disease and stroke risk. (You can also check the ASCVD Risk Estimator, which uses your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, diabetes status, and several other factors to determine your 10-year risk.)

For high cholesterol, your doctor might suggest quitting smoking, losing excess weight, being more active, consuming a heart-healthy diet, drinking alcohol in moderation only, and controlling blood glucose. If this is insufficient after three to six months, consider a cholesterol-­lowering statin drug, especially if your LDL (bad) cholesterol level is higher than 190 mg/dL.

Have diabetes? Talk with your doctor about lifestyle steps, and, if needed, medication to keep your A1C (a measure of long-term glucose levels) below 7 percent, blood pressure under 130/80 mmHg, ­total cholesterol under 200 mg/dL, and LDL cholesterol under 100 mg/dL, says the National Stroke Association.

For obstructive sleep apnea, see your doctor if you snore and fit into three or more of these categories: You’re male, overweight, older than 50, have a neck circumference of more than 17 inches (16 inches for women), or have constant daytime ­fatigue.

If you receive a diagnosis of mild OSA, weight loss and avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, and sedatives may be sufficient steps. For moderate and severe OSA, the most effective treatment is CPAP—continuous positive airway pressure—therapy, which blows air into your throat as you sleep.

Be aware of depression symptoms, such as exhaustion, feeling helpless or hopeless, and losing interest in activities you once enjoyed. If these last for more than two weeks, see your doctor. Mild depression may respond to an increase in physical and social activity. The next step might be cognitive behavioral therapy or, if depression doesn’t ease, medication.

Check Your Pulse Regularly

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib)—a quivering or irregular heartbeat—affects 5 percent of people older than 65 and 10 percent of those older than 80, according to the ­National Stroke Association. This can raise stroke risk by 500 percent.

What to do: Take your pulse monthly. Tell your doctor if you notice anything odd, such as a fluttering, racing, or pounding sensation in your chest. If you have A-fib, you may need an anticoagulant, or blood-thinning drug. It can reduce your risk of a first stroke by up to 80 percent, but you’ll have to be monitored for complications, such as bleeding.

“Anyone over 75 with atrial fibrillation should be evaluated for treatment with an anticoagulant, as should anyone over age 65 with other risk factors, such as high blood pressure,” Silver says.

Eat for Brain Health

The Lancet study found that about 20 percent of strokes can be linked to poor eating habits. A recent study published in the journal Stroke, for example, found that women over 40 who followed the Mediterranean-style diet—high in fish, fruits and nuts, vegetables, and beans, and lower in meat and dairy—had a 22 percent reduced risk of stroke. According to another study in Stroke, the DASH diet, a low-sodium eating plan that’s packed with fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy, appears to also reduce the risk of some strokes by 14 percent.

What to do: Follow the DASH diet. Or, Sacco ­advises, simply take these steps: Limit ­ sodium to 1,500 mg per day; get four to five servings of fruit and three to five servings of vegetables daily; eat fatty fish such as salmon at least twice per week; consume three to five weekly servings of unsalted nuts, seeds, or legumes; and avoid or limit sugary drinks to 36 ounces per week.

Keep Moving

More than one-third of strokes could be prevented by regular exercise, the Lancet study suggests. And several other studies are bearing that out. A recent one published in the journal Neurology found that among 925 stroke patients, those who reported at least 4 hours of light physical activity (such as walking) or at least 2 to 3 hours of moderate exercise (such as regular fitness training) per week experienced less severe strokes than those who were inactive. Another study, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham published in Stroke, found that people who exercise at least four times per week are about 20 percent less likely to have a stroke than couch potatoes.

What’s behind these benefits? Physical activity helps you maintain a normal weight, lowers blood pressure, and improves overall blood vessel health, Sacco says.

What to do: The AHA recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise (such as brisk walking) or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (such as swimming laps or moderate jogging) for general heart health. If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, you’ll need 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise three to four times per week to reduce your stroke risk.

Avoid Air Pollution

Almost 30 percent of strokes can be tied to air pollution, according to a study published in 2016 in The Lancet Neurology. Another study, published last year in the journal Stroke, found that people who had already had a stroke were at higher risk for a second one when they were exposed to high levels of air pollution.

“This is one risk factor that was previously unrecognized,” says Brian Silver, M.D., the AHA spokesman. One theory is that pollution damages brain arteries, increasing the risk of a blockage.

What to do: Car emissions are a main source of air pollution, so Silver suggests trying to avoid being outside in the vicinity of busy roads. Check pollution levels and stay inside when the government’s Air Quality Index is 101 or higher.

At home, use exhaust fans in bathrooms, the kitchen, and the laundry area, and nix air fresheners. Don’t let others smoke around you, and if you smoke, work at quitting. And get more advice from Consumer Reports on how to keep the air in your home clean.

Source : Consumer Reports

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