Company Makes Realistic-looking Plant-based Steak from Fermented Mushroom Roots

Catherine Lamb wrote . . . . . . . . .

Today Boulder, CO-based startup Emergy Foods announced the release of its first alternative meat brand, Meati Foods.

Meati Foods will focus on making whole cuts of meat from fermented fungi, also known as mycelium. Unlike most plant-based meats, Meati Foods’ offerings are free of pea, wheat, and soy. According to Emergy Foods CEO Tyler Huggins, who I spoke with over the phone today, opting for mycelium allows Meati to mimic the look and mouthfeel of whole cuts of protein, such as steak and chicken breast, which is difficult to do with other proteins.

In addition to better being able to replicate the texture of meat, mycelium has some inherent nutritional benefits. “It has the same protein profile of meat, and the same quantity [of protein] as chicken or steak,” Huggins told me. It also comes with fiber, which traditional meat doesn’t have.

At first Meati Foods will sell to high-end restaurants in order to build their brand. Huggins said that their products will likely be priced on par with traditional meat at these spots. As they scale he expects they’ll be able to match wholesale meat prices for chicken and beef, They plan to move into retail soon, but are currently limited by production capacity.

Founded in 2016 by two PhD students, Emergy Foods announced back in July that it had closed a $4.8 million funding round and currently has a team of 10.

If you want to try Meati’s realistic-looking steaks, you might not have much longer to wait (provided you’re in the Colorado area). Meati is preparing for a beta launch at the end of 2019 and is expecting to launch in restaurants in early 2020.

Emergy Foods isn’t the first brand to leverage mycelium as a magical ingredient to mimic meat. Prime Roots uses ‘shroom roots to make a variety of animal product alternatives, from bacon to crab cakes to chicken breast. Though it chiefly sells in Europe, alt-meat giant Quorn uses fermented fungi as the base for its wide array of products. There’s also Atlast Foods, a spinoff of Ecovative, which makes mycelium-based scaffolding for use in a myriad of meat alternatives, both plant-based and cell-based.

Based off of their product offerings and target demographics, it looks like Prime Roots will be Meati Foods’ biggest competitor. When I asked Huggins how he’ll differentiate himself, he said that Meati uses a “unique strain of mycelium” which can really accurately imitate meat.

Both companies are looking to begin selling their products in early 2020, so soon we might be able to put both products to a taste test. But with demand for protein alternatives on the rise, there’s plenty of room for more than one player in the fungi-meat game to put down roots.

Source: The Spoon

Pumpkin Casserole with Fontina Cheese and Paprika

Ingredients

8 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 ounces shallots
1-1/4 pounds of pumpkin, or butternut squash
1-inch piece fresh ginger
2 tablespoons butter
1-3/4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
pinch of curry powder
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup light cream
1 cup milk
freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese or Gruyere cheese

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Chop the carrots, celery, and shallots into 1/4-inch cubes, then chop the pumpkin into 3/4-inch cubes. Peel and finely grate the ginger.
  3. Add the butter and oil to a wide saucepan and heat until foaming. Add the shallots and saute until translucent, then add the celery and carrots and saute. Add the pumpkin, season with salt and pepper then add the ginger, paprika, and curry powder and brown for 5 minutes.
  4. Push the ingredients to the side of the pan and put the ketchup in the center. Lightly brown the ketchup and then mix it with the other ingredients.
  5. Add the bay leaf and the stock. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
  6. Add the cream and the milk and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the bay leaf, season the pumpkin with nutmeg, and spread it evenly in the bottom of a casserole dish.
  8. Sprinkle the cheese over the pumpkin. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Cover the dish with aluminum foil if the cheese is browning too quickly.
  9. Serve straight from the casserole dish.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Vegetables

In Pictures: Home-cooked Meatless Squash Dishes

Spicy Spaghetti Squash Ramen

Pomegranate Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash and Apple Burgers

Golden Pepper and Parmesan Zucchini Pasta

Roasted Delicata Squash Boats

Maple Date Pumpkin Porridge

Being Physically Active Can Lower Older Adults’ Risk For Dying

For older adults, being physically active is an important part of overall good health. In fact, experts say that nine percent of all premature deaths are caused by not getting enough physical activity. Physical activity is known to reduce deaths from heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, and mental illness.

A team of researchers looked more carefully at the relationship between death and physical exercise among older adults in Brazil (where the number of older adults grew 40 percent between 2002 and 2012). Their study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

They drew on information from the “COMO VAI?” (Consórcio de Mestrado Orientado para a Valorização da Atenção ao Idoso) study. During the study, from January to August 2014, researchers conducted home interviews with 1,451 adults older than 60. Of these, 971 participants were given wrist monitors to measure their physical activity. Researchers also asked participants about their smoking habits and how they would rate their health.

Additionally, researchers learned about the chronic health conditions participants said they had, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure, high cholesterol, depression, stroke, and cancer. The researchers then rated participants’ ability to perform their normal daily activities, including bathing, dressing, getting from bed to chair, going to the bathroom, and feeding.

Not surprisingly, the researchers learned that people who had the lowest levels of physical activity had higher rates of death compared to people who had higher levels of activity.

The researchers concluded that their main findings suggest that low levels of physical activity are associated with higher risks of death, no matter what a person’s level of health was. Overall, physical activity was important for avoiding early death in older men and women.

Source: Health in Aging

Study: Possible Correlation Between Sleep and Overall Good Health

As if you didn’t already have enough to worry about to keep you up at night, a new study indicates that poor sleep can negatively affect your gut microbiome, which can, in turn, lead to additional health issues.

Great.

That’s at the heart – or gut – of the study just published in PLoS ONE that involved several researchers from Nova Southeastern University (NSU.) They wanted to see just how much of a connection there is between what is going on in our insides and how that may impact the quality of sleep we experience.

“Given the strong gut-brain bidirectional communication they likely influence each other,” said Jaime Tartar, Ph.D., a professor and research director in NSU’s College of Psychology who was part of the research team. “Based on previous reports, we think that poor sleep probably exerts a strong negative effect on gut health/microbiome diversity.”

What you may be asking yourself right now is: “what in the world is a gut microbiome?” Simply put – it’s all the microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi) and their genetic material found in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. And yes, we all have these in our GI tract, but not all at the same levels (diversity.) As it turns out, it’s this diversity that could be the key.

For this study, subjects wore what Tartar called an “Apple Watch on steroids” to bed, which monitored all sorts of vitals. This way the researchers could determine just how well a night’s sleep the subjects got, and then they tested the subjects’ gut microbiome. What they found was those who slept well had a more diverse – or “better” – gut microbiome.

Tartar said that gut microbiome diversity, or lack thereof, is associated with other health issues, such as Parkinson’s disease and autoimmune diseases, as well as psychological health (anxiety and depression.) The more diverse someone’s gut microbiome is, the likelihood is they will have better overall health.

“We know that sleep is pretty much the ‘Swiss Army Knife of health,” Tartar said. “Getting a good night’s sleep can lead to improved health, and a lack of sleep can have detrimental effects. We’ve all seen the reports that show not getting proper sleep can lead to short term (stress, psychosocial issues) and long-term (cardiovascular disease, cancer) health problems. We know that the deepest stages of sleep is when the brain ‘takes out the trash’ since the brain and gut communicate with each other. Quality sleep impacts so many other facets of human health.”

Tartar’s area of research focuses on the mechanisms and consequences of acute and chronic stress in humans and the impact of normal sleep and sleep deprivation on emotion processing and physiological functioning.

So what determines someone’s gut microbiome? According to Robert Smith, Ph.D., an associate professor and research scientist at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, who is also a member of the research team, there are a couple of factors that come into play.

One is genetics – some people are predisposed at a genetic level to have a more diverse gut microbiome than their friends and neighbors. Another factor is drugs – certain medications, including antibiotics, can have an impact on the diversity of your gut microbiome. He also said that your diet plays a factor as well.

Smith said that their team, which included colleagues from Middle Tennessee State University, examined the association between sleep, the immune system and measures of cognition and emotion. He said understanding how these parts of human physiology work may lead to a better understanding of the “two-way communication” between the person and their gut microbiome, and could lead to novel sleep intervention strategies.

“The preliminary results are promising, but there’s still more to learn,” Smith said. “But eventually people may be able to take steps to manipulate their gut microbiome in order to help them get a good night’s sleep.”

Source: Nova Southeastern University


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