British Supermarket Launches Vegan Fish Fingers

Harriet Flook wrote . . . . . . . . .

Waitrose has launched their own brand Fishless Fingers, which are made from breaded seaweed tofu with a crispy coating, and they sound delicous.

Waitrose’s vegan Fishless Fingers are are available nationwide and online on an introductory offer of £3.19 and will then be £3.99 from 30 January.

The Fishless Fingers are part of a new range from the retailer, who have expanded their plant-based range with the addition of 40 new vegetarian and vegan own brand products, just in time for Veganuary.

Chloe Graves, chilled vegan and vegetarian buyer at Waitrose & Partners said “After the successful launch of our new vegan and vegetarian range in October 2018 we’ve been working to see what other interesting dishes and products we can add to the range.

“The Fishless Fingers are a great vegan alternative to a much-loved food which we hope our customers will love.”

There demand for vegan products has considerably grown over the last couple of years, with Waitrose reporting sales of vegan party food was up 20% since it’s launch in October.

Source: Mirror

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Vegetarian Risotto Primavera

Ingredients

generous 6-1/3 cups vegetable stock
8 oz fresh thin asparagus spears
4 tbsp olive oil
6 oz young green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
6 oz young zucchini, quartered and cut into 1-inch lengths
generous 1-1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
generous 1-5/8 cups risotto rice
4 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 oz butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
2 tbsp shredded fresh basil
salt and pepper
scallions, to garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Bring the stock to a boil in a pan, then reduce the heat and keep simmering gently over low heat while you are cooking the risotto.
  2. Trim the woody ends of the asparagus and cut off the tips. Cut the stems into 1-inch pieces and set aside with the tips.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the asparagus, beans, zucchini, and peas and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until they are bright green and just starting to soften. Set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy-bottom pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, or until it starts to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook, while stirring, for 30 seconds.
  5. Reduce the heat, add the rice, and mix to coat in oil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes, or until the grains are translucent.
  6. Gradually add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time. Stir constantly and add more liquid as the rice absorbs each addition. Increase the heat to medium so that the liquid bubbles. Cook for 20 minutes, or until all but 2 tablespoons of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is creamy.
  7. Stir in the stir-fried vegetables, onion mixture, and scallions with the remaining stock. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, then season to taste with salt and pepper Stir in the butter, Parmesan, chives, and basil.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the risotto to a warmed serving dish, garnish with scallions, if liked, and serve at once.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Source: Risotto

In Pictures: Food of Vegelink Vegetarian Cuisine (素之樂) in Hong Kong

Modern Plant-based Cuisine

The Restaurant

Eating Your Veggies, Even in Space

Fresh food is so attractive to astronauts that they toasted with salad when they were able to cultivate a few lettuce heads on the International Space Station three years ago.

In 2021, beans are on the menu to be grown in space, planted in high-tech planters developed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

“Astronauts like gardening and everything that reminds them of life on earth. They enjoy tending and watering the vegetables, and getting them to germinate,” says Silje Wolff, a plant physiologist at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space (CIRiS), which is part of NTNU Social Research.

Wolff has just completed an experiment that involved growing lettuce for space. The lettuce was planted in artificial soil made from lava rock. The goal is for the plants to grow directly in water that is supplemented with plant nutrients.

“The dream of every astronaut is to be able to eat fresh food – like strawberries, cherry tomatoes or anything that’s really flavorful. Someday that will certainly be possible. We envision a greenhouse with several varieties of vegetables,” says Wolff.

The longest stays at the International Space Station have been six months. People travelling to Mars will need to be prepared to stay in space for at least a year.

The European Space Agency plans to build a lunar base in 2030 as a stopover on the way to Mars. NASA plans to fly directly to the planet with a target landing date of 2030.

“The way space travel works today, it’s almost impossible to take along all the resources you need. That’s why we have to develop a biological system so astronauts can produce their own food, and recycle all of the resources,” says Wolff.

Today’s astronauts eat only freeze-dried and vacuum-packed foods.

“Astronauts struggle with having little appetite. They often lose weight. Addressing the psychological aspect of eating something fresh is one of our goals. Vacuum-packed food doesn’t really remind you of food. Having something fresh that triggers the appetite and the right receptors in the brain is important,” Wolff says.

NTNU and CIRiS are collaborating with Italian and French researchers in their quest to cultivate plant-based food for long space journeys.

CIRiS tests the new equipment made by NTNU’s technical workshop – very sophisticated planters that regulate all the water, nutrients, gas and air the plants need. In space, all the water and food has to be recovered. This means that plant fertilization needs to be as precise as possible.

Wolff has conducted experiments in climate-regulated growth chambers in the Netherlands as one aspect of this research.

Of all the nutrients plants use, they use nitrogen the most. During her experiments, Wolff looked at different nutrient doses and how they affected the plants’ water uptake.

“We found that plants can, in a way, ‘smell’ the amount of nutrients available to them. When the nitrogen concentration is very low, the plant will absorb more water and thus more nitrogen until it reaches an optimal level. The plant has a mechanism that turns on when the nitrogen level is adequate. Then it adjusts both nitrogen and water absorption down,” says Wolff.

Everything that can be tested on Earth has now been carried out. The next step is to grow beans in space to observe the effect of no gravity on plants’ ability to transport water and absorb nutrients. Simulating the absence of gravity can’t be done on Earth.

The beans are placed in a centrifuge to sprout and grow in the space station. The centrifuge is rotated to create different amounts of gravity.

“The art of getting something to grow in space can be transferred to our planet,” Wolff said. “This is how we create a setup that produces both the microgravity conditions in the space station and the 1-g force that exists on Earth.”

That will allow her to compare how the different gravitational levels affect the plants in space. On Earth, gravity causes warm air to rise while cold air sinks. In the space station, air is more stationary, causing astronauts to always have a low-grade fever. Plants are also affected.

“Stationary air affects a layer on the underside of the leaf where the stoma pores are located. When gravity disappears, the boundary layer in the slit-shaped apertures thickens. This reduces evaporation and causes the leaf temperature to increase. Water vapour diffusion to the environment is an important part of plant regulation and can be compared with sweating to cool the body in humans and animals,” says Wolff.

Food production in cities offers an opportunity to produce more food in the most sustainable way. Cities don’t have much soil for cultivation, but a lot becomes possible if you can plant directly in water in indoor closed systems where all aspects of the climate are regulated.

“Recycling and precise fertilization are key to achieving more sustainable food production. By growing plants directly in water with dissolved nutrients, fertilization and irrigation are much easier to control,” says Wolff.

“The plants become less sensitive to nutritional deficiency because the roots are in direct contact with the nutrients. They’re always able to access new nutrients through the water, and can use absolutely all the nutrients available – unlike with soil that binds the nutrients and affects their availability to the roots. And the roots don’t rot when the water is mixed with a little oxygen,” she says.

Source: EurekAlert!

‘Meaningful’ Activities May Mean Healthier Old Age

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

Older adults who find meaning in their daily activities may remain in better health as they age, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that when middle-aged and older adults felt their days held meaningful activities, they tended to report better health and well-being four years later.

Not only were they less likely to develop physical health conditions or chronic pain than other folks, they were also more physically active and less likely to be depressed.

The results do not prove that cultivating meaningful activities will make a person healthier, said lead researcher Andrew Steptoe, a professor at University College London, in England.

“But,” he said, “we think there is a two-way relationship between our experiences and life seeming worthwhile. People who are socially engaged and healthy may rate their activities as more meaningful, while at the same time this sense of meaning may contribute to more engagement, better mental health, less loneliness and so on.”

The bottom line, added Steptoe, is that “it seems sensible to think about how to add worthwhile activities to our lives.”

And what, exactly, is the definition of “worthwhile”? That’s in the eye of the beholder, he said.

The participants in his study were simply asked to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, the extent to which they felt their daily activities were worthwhile.

“The things that bring meaning to people’s lives are hugely variable,” Steptoe said. “It does not have to be a big project. For some people, things like hiking in the countryside, singing in a local choir, or looking after grandchildren will provide a strong sense of living a worthwhile life.”

The findings were published online Jan. 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They’re based on about 7,300 adults, aged 50 to 90, in the United Kingdom.

The study participants answered surveys on their health and lifestyle, and underwent objective health tests that measured their cholesterol levels, walking speed and hand strength, among other things.

Overall, the more meaning people saw in their lives, the better their physical and mental health at the outset, and four years later. The odds of developing a new disease, depression, chronic pain or a disability dipped as “worthwhile” ratings rose, the researchers found.

Of course, people who are in good health, or have high incomes or more education, may be more likely to see their daily activities as worthwhile. But Steptoe said his team factored in those other key variables — and there was still a connection between viewing life as meaningful and having better health four years later.

Plus, he noted, people with high ratings on the “worthwhile” scale were more likely to make positive lifestyle changes over those four years — such as starting an exercise routine or eating more fruits and vegetables.

James Maddux is a senior scholar with the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Maddux said he was not surprised by the findings, since they support connections seen in other studies: The more meaning people see in their lives, the healthier they tend to be.

Why would that be? Personality enters the picture here, he believes.

People who “naturally see the good, even in little day-to-day things,” are likely to take steps that support their physical and mental well-being — from exercise to eating well to spending quality time with family and friends, Maddux said.

But even though personality has a large genetic component, that doesn’t mean people with a less-sunny disposition are doomed. If you are grumping on the couch, “the first step is to get off the couch,” he said.

Think about what things in life are truly important to you, Maddux suggested — whether it’s family, friends, a creative activity, volunteering or getting involved in a political issue. And then choose those things over Netflix marathons.

“Try to spend time, every day, doing something that reflects who you are,” Maddux said.

Source: HealthDay


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