Vegan Pastrami, Ham and Kebab Style Slices Launched in U.K.

Tired of falafel and hummus in your sandwiches or just simply looking to add more variety to lunchtimes?

Why not shake up your sandwiches Squeaky Bean’s new vegan sandwich slices (£2.50), which have just landed in Waitrose stores today (April 1st).

Three exciting new products are arriving in stores today including Pastrami Style ‘beef flavour slices which are perfect for creating a ‘New Yorker’ rye bread sandwich.

If you miss the simple delights of a ham and cheese sarnie then why not try the new Ham Style slices which have all the flavours of pork, but are made with wheat gluten, vegetables and a sprinkling of herbs.

Perfect in a pitta, the new Chicken Kebab Style pieces are aromatically spiced and incredibly versatile.

The new products are all with made from wheat gluten to give them a realistic meaty texture, chickpea flour and vegetables, and are high in protein a good source of fibre.

Squeaky Bean is the first plant-based meat brand created by European chilled food supplier Winterbotham Darby, and they have big plans to “challenge the squeaky clean image of veganism” by offering some healthy competition to vegan ranges currently offered in supermarkets.

Sarah Augustine, Squeaky Bean Co-Creator, said: “For too long, vegan lunchtime options have been considered bland and boring or too time consuming to create. Squeaky Bean is your sidekick in the kitchen!

“Our aim is to make plant-based easy. Now you can have a lunchtime to look forward to by opting for our range of tasty, ready-to-eat sandwich slices.”

Speaking about the new addition to the store’s vegan range, Charlotte McCarthy, Vegan Buyer at Waitrose & Partners added: “Veganism and plant-based eating continues to grow, with over a third of people in the UK looking to reduce their meat intake.

“Our vegan range has doubled over the last few years and we are constantly looking for new and innovative flavours and products which offer fantastic tasting vegan alternatives for our customers.”

Source: Vegan Food & Living

Vegan Bourbon Jackfruit Chicken with Chow Mein


1/3 cup tamari
1/3 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon chili paste
1/8 teaspoon dried ground ginger
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 (14-ounce) cans of young jackfruit, drained
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon water
1/2 tablespoon tapioca starch

Chow Mein

8 ounces egg-free chow mein noodles
3 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon tapioca starch
1-1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup green cabbage, thinly shredded
1 small carrot, cut into matchstick pieces
2 scallions, sliced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large garlic clove, minced


  1. For the jackfruit, into a blender or food processor, add tamari, broth, sugar, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, chili, ginger, and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth and set aside.
  2. Over medium-high heat, warm a large sauté pan. Once hot, add oil, jackfruit, black pepper, and stir to combine. Allow to cook, without stirring, for 3 minutes until browned on one side. Stir and allow to brown on other side. Add in tamari mixture and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together water and starch until smooth. Stir starch mixture into jackfruit and cook for two minutes until sauce has thickened. Cover and keep on low until chow mein is finished, adding a splash of water if sauce becomes too thick.
  4. For the chow mien, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
  5. In a blender or food processor, add tamari, broth, sugar, and starch. Set aside.
  6. Over high heat, warm a large wok or high-walled sauté pan. Once hot, add oil, cabbage, carrot, scallions, and salt, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add in cooked noodles and tamari mixture and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until noodles and sauce are heated throughout. Serve with bourbon jackfruit.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Veg News

A Plant-based Diet Helps to Prevent and Manage Asthma

A plant-based diet can help prevent and manage asthma, while dairy products and high-fat foods raise the risk, according to a new review published in Nutrition Reviews.

Asthma is a common chronic condition in which the airways become narrow and inflamed–sometimes leading to difficulty with breathing, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

“Asthma is a condition that affects more than 25 million Americans, and unfortunately it can make people more vulnerable in the COVID-19 outbreak,” says study author Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, director of clinical research for the Physicians Committee. “This research offers hope that dietary changes could be helpful.”

Researchers with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine examined the evidence related to diet and asthma and found that certain foods–including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other high-fiber foods–can be beneficial, while others–such as dairy products and foods high in saturated fat–can be harmful.

The review authors highlight a study finding that when compared to a control group, asthma patients who consumed a plant-based diet for eight weeks experienced a greater reduction in use of asthma medication and less severe, less frequent symptoms. In another study, asthma patients adopted a plant-based diet for a year and saw improvements in vital capacity–a measure of the volume of air patients can expel–and other measures.

The authors suggest that a plant-based diet is beneficial because it has been shown to reduce systemic inflammation, which can exacerbate asthma. Plant-based diets are also high in fiber, which has been positively associated with improvements in lung function. The researchers also highlight the antioxidants and flavonoids found in plant foods, which may have a protective effect.

The review also finds that dairy consumption can raise the risk for asthma and worsen symptoms. One 2015 study found that children who consumed the most dairy had higher odds of developing asthma, compared with the children consuming the least. In another study, children with asthma were placed in either a control group, where they made no dietary changes, or in an experimental group where they eliminated dairy and eggs for eight weeks. After eliminating dairy, the experimental group experienced a 22% improvement in peak expiratory flow rate–a measure of how fast the children were able to exhale–while children in the control group experienced a 0.6% decrease.

High fat intake, consumption of saturated fat, and low fiber intake were also associated with airway inflammation and worsened lung function in asthma patients.

“This groundbreaking research shows that filling our plates with plant-based foods–and avoiding dairy products and other high-fat foods–can be a powerful tool for preventing and managing asthma,” says Dr. Kahleova.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges those with asthma to have a plan in place–including stocking up on supplies, taking asthma medication as needed, avoiding crowds, and practicing good hygiene.

Source: EurekAlert!

Mindfulness Helps Well-being at All Ages

People say life gets better with age. Now research suggests this may be because older people have the wisdom and time to use mindfulness as a means to improve wellbeing.

Healthy ageing researchers at Flinders University say certain characteristics of mindfulness seem more strongly evident in older people compared to younger people – and suggest ways for all ages to benefit.

“This suggests that mindfulness may naturally develop with time and life experience,” says behavioural scientist Associate Professor Tim Windsor, who co-authored a recent study based on an online community survey of 623 participants aged between 18 and 86 years.

“The significance of mindfulness for wellbeing may also increase as we get older, in particular the ability to focus on the present moment and to approach experiences in a non-judgmental way.

“These characteristics are helpful in adapting to age-related challenges and in generating positive emotions.”

Mindfulness refers to the natural human ability to be aware of one’s experiences and to pay attention to the present moment in a purposeful, receptive, and non-judgmental way. Using mindful techniques can be instrumental in reducing stress and promoting positive psychological outcomes.

From middle age to old age, the Flinders University survey highlights the tendency to focus on the present-moment and adopt a non-judgmental orientation may become especially important for wellbeing with advancing age.

In one of the first age-related studies of its kind, the researchers assessed participants’ mindful qualities such as present-moment attention, acceptance, non-attachment and examined the relationships of these qualities with wellbeing more generally.

“The ability to appreciate the temporary nature of personal experiences may be particularly important for the way people manage their day-to-day goals across the second half of life,” says study lead author Leeann Mahlo, who is investigating mindfulness in older adulthood as part of her PhD research.

“We found that positive relationships between aspects of mindfulness and wellbeing became stronger from middle age onwards,” she says.

“Our findings suggest that if mindfulness has particular benefits in later life, this could be translated into tailored training approaches to enhanced wellbeing in older populations.”

Mindfulness skills can help build wellbeing at any age, adds clinical psychology PhD candidate Ms Mahlo.

Tips to develop mindful techniques include:

  • Becoming aware of our thoughts and surroundings and paying attention to the present moment in an open and nonjudgmental way. This can prevent us from focusing on the past or worrying about the future in unhelpful ways.
  • Understanding that our thoughts, feelings and situations exist in the moment and will not last. This can help us to respond in flexible, more optimistic ways to challenging circumstances, including those that we are facing with concerns related to the COVID-19 disease.
  • Finding out more about mindfulness via app-based programs such as Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer, Smiling Mind, and Stop, Breathe & Think. These are available for use on computers or smartphones and offer flexible ways of learning and practising mindfulness – including for people now spending more time at home.

Source: Flinders University

More Evidence COVID-19 Survivors’ Blood Could Help Very Ill Patients

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

A small study out of China bolsters the notion that transfusing the antibody-enriched blood of people who’ve survived COVID-19 could help patients still fighting for their lives against the disease.

The study of five critically ill patients from near the initial epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic found that all five patients survived COVID-19 following the transfusion.

If the findings are replicated in larger trials, widespread use of the treatment “could help change the course of this pandemic,” wrote Drs. John Roback and Jeannette Guarner of Emory Medical Laboratories, affiliated with Emory University in Atlanta.

Roback and Guarner wrote an editorial accompanying the new Chinese study, which was published online March 27 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Despite the fact that tens of thousands of people have died from COVID-19 around the world, the vast majority — about 85% — of cases are actually asymptomatic or mild, similar to a cold or flu. But people who pass through COVID-19 relatively unharmed acquire a powerful immunological legacy: Antibodies in their blood that can recognize and attack the new coronavirus.

There are currently no drugs or vaccines to help fight COVID-19. However, early in the pandemic, doctors understood that blood donations from survivors might help protect or treat other people, according to some infectious disease experts.

The notion is far from new. In the first half of the 20th century, doctors used “convalescent serum” in an effort to treat people during outbreaks of viral infections like measles, mumps and influenza — including during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

The principle is fairly simple: When a pathogen invades the body, the immune system produces antibodies that latch onto the enemy, marking it for destruction. After recovery, those antibodies remain circulating in a person’s blood, for anywhere from months to years.

In theory, transferring some of those antibodies to other people with the same virus could help their bodies fight it off. Or, given to healthy people — like the health care workers on the front lines — the antibodies might offer some temporary protection from infection.

A long history in medicine

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — with no vaccine or antiviral drug coming soon — antibodies from recovering patients could provide a “stopgap” measure, according to Drs. Arturo Casadevall and Liise-anne Pirofski. It’s an approach called “convalescent serum.”

Casadevall, of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, and Pirofski, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, laid out their case in the March 16 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

For one, the authors pointed out, convalescent serum is not a thing of the past. It has been tried in limited numbers of patients during more-recent viral crises, including the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic, the 2009 “swine flu” epidemic, and the 2012 outbreak of MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).

Reports on those attempts indicate the antibody treatment generally reduced the severity of patients’ illnesses and improved survival.

“In addition to public health containment and mitigation protocols, this may be our only near-term option for treating and preventing COVID-19,” Casadevall said in a statement from Johns Hopkins. “And it is something we can start putting into place in the next few weeks and months.”

The new Chinese study offers more evidence that convalescent serum works.

The research was led by Dr. Yingxia Liu, of a hospital affiliated with the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, near the city of Wuhan, where the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Liu’s team focused on the plight of five extremely ill patients who required mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit to breathe. They had also received antiviral medications and other drugs.

Desperate to save them, physicians transfused the donated blood of COVID-19 survivors into the very sick patients. Within just three days, fever began to subside in four of the five patients, there was a reversal in their progression to organ failure, viral loads fells, and by 12 days after the transfusion, four of the patients had recovered from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which so often proves fatal to patients.

As of the end of March, three of the patients have been discharged from the hospital, the Chinese authors said, and the other two are now in stable condition.

First U.S. patients being treated

Use of convalescent serum “is a good idea. It’s something that’s been used before, and we know how to do it,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, who heads the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn.

That’s not to say doctors can just start doing it. “You still have to go through the FDA,” Poland said, referring to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Now, Houston Methodist hospital in Texas announced that it has “received FDA approval Saturday to become the first academic medical center in the nation to transfuse donated plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient into a critically ill patient.”

The transfusion occurred Saturday evening, the hospital said in a news release.

The treatment is also being planned for use by doctors elsewhere. In New York City earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that recruitment will soon begin for plasma donations from COVID-19 survivors, and initially would focus on the New York City suburb of New Rochelle, N.Y., which has been hit hard by the outbreak.

Also, New York hospital system Mount Sinai, in collaboration with the state’s Blood Center and Department of Health, said trials in the technique could begin as early as the beginning of April.

Doctors’ experience with the general approach is not limited to viral pandemics, Poland pointed out. They routinely use injections of immune globulin — purified antibody preparations taken from donated human blood — to treat certain medical conditions.

In addition, modern blood-banking techniques, which screen for infectious agents, should ensure any such tactic against COVID-19 would be as safe as a standard blood transfusion, Poland said.

Maintaining safety

Standard protocols will be needed, including logistic matters like coordination among local doctors, blood banks and hospitals, according to Casadevall.

“We’ll have to put protocols in place to make sure that the use of this sera [blood] is safe,” Casadevall said. But, he added, “we’re not talking about research and development — this is something that physicians, blood banks, and hospitals already know how to do and can do today.”

Dr. Bruce Y. Lee is a professor of health policy management at City University of New York. He said the convalescent serum idea is “certainly worth exploring.”

“We’re in a situation where the toolbox is pretty empty,” Lee said.

Both he and Poland pointed to some key unknowns, including: How long do antibodies against this novel virus last? What amount of antibody would be necessary to help treat the infection or offer some protection?

What is clear is that any protection would be temporary. “This would not replace a vaccine,” Lee stressed. Vaccines, he noted, work by training the immune system to launch its own response to an invader, which involves more than antibodies.

And what about people who’ve recovered from COVID-19? Are they immune to it, at least for a while? There have been reports from China and Japan of patients being declared infection-free then testing positive again.

However, Poland said those cases probably reflect an issue with the testing. “I don’t think they represent re-infections,” he said. “That would be highly unusual.”

Source: HealthDay

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