Moroccan Chicken Couscous


8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 2-1/2 pounds)
3 carrots, cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained
1 (1S.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2 zucchini (about 1 pound), halved crosswise and quartered lengthwise
Couscous, for serving


  1. In a Dutch oven (or other 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid), combine the chicken, carrots, onions, tomatoes, chickpeas, stock, 3/4 cup water, the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon.
  2. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini, and cook until the chicken is cooked through, yet still tender, about 15 minutes more.
  4. Divide the couscous evenly among 4 bowls.
  5. Spoon the chicken, vegetables, and broth on top. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Great Food Fast

Beef Steak 3D-printed in Space

Johnthan Smith wrote . . . . . . . . .

Hungry astronauts rejoice! Aleph Farms, a company that grows beef steak from animal cells, has grown the first steaks aboard the International Space Station.

The Israeli biotech’s experiment is the first proof that meat can be grown in outer space. Aleph Farms created the meat using a 3D bioprinter developed by the Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions. The experiment has now opened the door to a future where astronauts can grow their own meat on space exploration missions.

“Space is one of the most hostile and remote environments possible without resources available,” Didier Toubia, the CEO of Aleph Farms, told me. “We are showing that we can produce food without the reliance on local land and water resources.”

Aleph Farms is one of several biotechs aiming to change the way we produce meat. The company is developing a method to grow cow muscle cells into full steaks, requiring a fraction of the water, nutrients, and animal suffering that rearing cattle normally requires.

In addition to providing food in space, the technology could help to cut food waste back on Earth. Right now, food needs to be delivered to consumers using complicated transport networks, and much of the food perishes in the process.

“We are proving that cultivated meat can be produced anytime, anywhere, in any condition,” Toubia said. “We can potentially provide a powerful solution to produce the food closer to the population needing it, at the exact time it is needed.”

Aleph Farms is developing this technology with an €11M Series A round raised earlier this year. The company offered a select audience a taste of lab-grown steaks last year, and aims to release the product to a limited range of customers in up to four years.

While other biotechs such as Mosa Meat or Meatable are also working to produce lab-grown meat, Aleph Farms is the only one developing full steaks, rather than ground beef.

“The process of making a patty or a sausage from cells cultured outside of the animal’s body is challenging enough. Imagine how challenging it is to produce a whole-muscle steak,” Toubia told me.

Before it can become mainstream, lab-grown meat needs to overcome major challenges. For example, the cost of producing lab-grown meat needs to be low enough to compete with traditional producers. This requires scaling the technology up to an industrial scale, which can take time.

A range of other companies are also working to produce human food using cells. The Finnish biotech Solar Foods is working with the European Space Agency to produce a protein-rich powder from just water, light, and microbes, while the Scottish 3F BIO is developing fungi that turn plant sugars into protein, which could be an additive to lab-grown meat products if they reach the market.

Source: Labiotech

Why We Crave Junk Food After a Sleepless Night

When you’re sleep deprived, you tend to reach for doughnuts, fries and pizza. A new Northwestern Medicine study has figured out why you crave more calorie-dense, high-fat foods after a sleepless night — and how to help thwart those unhealthy choices.

Blame it on your nose — or olfactory system — which is affected in two ways by sleep deprivation, according to the study. First, it goes into hyperdrive, sharpening the food odors for the brain so it can better differentiate between food and non-food odors.

But then there is a breakdown in the communication with other brain areas that receive food signals. And with that, decisions about what to eat change.

“When you’re sleep deprived, these brain areas may not be getting enough information, and you’re overcompensating by choosing food with a richer energy signal,” said senior author Thorsten Kahnt, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“But it may also be that these other areas fail to keep tabs on the sharpened signals in the olfactory cortex. That could also lead to choosing doughnuts and potato chips,” Kahnt added.

The paper was published in eLife.

Past research shows sleep deprivation increases certain endocannabinoids, which are naturally produced by the body and are important for feeding behavior and how the brain responds to odors, including food smells.

“We put all this together and asked if changes in food intake after sleep deprivation are related to how the brain responds to food odors, and whether this is due to changes in endocannabinoids,” Kahnt said. “What makes our brain respond differently that makes us eat differently?”

He and colleagues investigated that question in a two-part experiment with 29 men and women, ages 18 to 40. Study participants were divided into two groups. One got a normal night’s sleep, then four weeks later, were only allowed to sleep for four hours. The experience was reversed for the second group. The day after each night (good sleep and deprived sleep), scientists served participants a controlled menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but then also offered them a buffet of snacks. Scientists measured how much and what they ate.

“We found participants changed their food choices,” Kahnt said. “After being sleep deprived, they ate food with higher energy density (more calories per gram) like doughnuts, chocolate chip cookies and potato chips.”

Researchers also measured the participants’ blood levels of two endocannabinoid compounds — 2AG and 2OG. One of the compounds, 2-OG, was elevated after the night of sleep deprivation and this increase was related to changes in food selection.

In addition, scientists put subjects in an fMRI scanner before the buffet. They then presented them with a number of different food odors and non-food control odors while they observed the piriform cortex, the first cortical brain region that receives input from the nose.

They observed that activity in the piriform cortex differed more between food and non-food odors when subjects were sleep deprived.

The piriform cortex normally sends information to another brain area, the insular cortex. The insula receives signals that are important for food intake, like smell and taste, and how much food is in the stomach.

But the insula of a sleep-deprived subject showed reduced connectivity (a measure of communication between two brain regions) with the piriform cortex. And the degree of this reduction was related to the increase in 2-OG and how much subjects changed their food choices when sleep deprived.

“When the piriform cortex does not properly communicate with the insula, then people start eating more energy-dense food,” Thorsten said.

The solution? Other than getting more sleep, it may help to pay closer attention to how our nose sways our food choices.

“Our findings suggest that sleep deprivation makes our brain more susceptible to enticing food smells, so maybe it might be worth taking a detour to avoid your local doughnut shop next time you catch a 6 a.m. flight,” Kahnt said.

Source: Science Daily

Have Heart Disease? Exercise Will Help at Any Age

If you are older and you have heart disease, you might think you should take it easy. But new research suggests the opposite is true.

Exercise is especially beneficial for patients who have a physical impairment, the study authors found.

“Aging is associated with several factors such as increased inflammation or oxidative stress that predispose people to cardiovascular diseases. As a result, elderly patients are usually less fit than their younger counterparts, and deconditioning is accelerated once cardiovascular disease is established,” said lead investigator Gaelle Deley. She is with Faculty of Sports Sciences at the University of Burgundy Franche-Comte in Dijon, France.

For the study, the researchers analyzed the results of 733 patients who underwent 25 sessions of a cardiac rehabilitation program from January 2015 to September 2017.

The group was divided into three subgroups by age: under 65, between 65 and 80, and 80 and older.

“We found a few weeks of exercise training not only significantly improved exercise capacity but also decreased anxiety and depression. Patients with the greatest physical impairments at baseline benefited the most from exercise,” Deley said.

The report was published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

“Another interesting result was that patients younger than 65 who were very anxious before rehabilitation benefited the most from exercise training,” Deley said in a journal news release.

“A similar result was found for depressed patients older than 65,” she added. “These improvements will surely have a great positive impact on patients’ independence and quality of life, and might help both clinicians and patients to realize how beneficial exercise rehabilitation can be.”

Source: HealthDay

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