New Plant-based Pizzas Launched

Chloe Vegan Foods LLC has launched a full line of frozen plant-based pizzas.

Manufactured in an FDA- and USDA-approved facility, the non-GMO products are 100% free of the most pervasive allergens (milk, wheat, soy, egg, nuts and fish).

According to the company, a highlight of the line “is the quantum leap forward in the quality, flavor, texture and behavior of [its] patent-pending cauliflower-based cheese” in mozzarella and cheddar varieties, which also shreds and melts like dairy-based cheese, making the experience of eating a Chloe pizza far closer to that of eating a conventional pie.

The product line comes in Cheese, featuring a gluten-free crust; Italian Sausage, blending beans, beets, peppers, mushrooms and natural spices atop a vegetable-infused crust; Pepperoni, with mushrooms, oil and spices on a vegetable-infused crust; Margherita, containing olive oil, garlic, basil and diced tomatoes paired with a vegetable-infused crust; Mediterranean, crafted with diced red peppers, artichoke hearts, yellow onion and black olives on a vegetable-infused crust; and Pizza Crust Two-Pack, enabling consumers to build their own pizzas on a gluten- and allergen-free crust made with broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale and cauliflower.

All of the line’s items retail for a suggested $9.99 per approximately 10-ounce box.

Chloe will also offer branded shredded vegan cheese and meatless pepperoni and meatless sausage to help shoppers create their own pies.

The eponymous brand was founded by parents whose daughter, Chloe, has eosinophilic esophagitis, a condition that makes it dangerous, even deadly, to eat certain foods, so they sought to develop a line of products she could eat safely that would provide nutrition, and allow her to eat the same foods as her family.

Source: Progressive Grocer

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Tacos


2 Tbsp coconut oil
650 g butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2 cm chunks
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 400 g tin black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp agave nectar
2 baby gem lettuces, shredded, 1 lime, cut into wedges, and 8 small soft flour tortillas to serve


2 ripe avocados
150 g frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 small bunch mint, leaves roughly chopped
1 small bunch coriander, leaves roughly chopped
zest 1 lime
juice of half lime


  1. Heat oven to 200ºC/180ºC.
  2. Spoon the coconut oil into a large roasting tray and heat in the oven. Add the squash to the tray along with the cumin, smoked paprika, garlic and plenty of seasoning. Mix well and roast for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the black beans, drizzle over the agave, then toss everything together and roast for another 15 minute.
  4. To make the guacamole, mash the avocado, peas, lime zest and juice in a bowl, then stir through most of the herbs and some seasoning.
  5. Wrap the tortillas in foil and pop in the oven with the squash for the last 5 minutes, to heat through.
  6. To serve, spread a generous spoonful of guacamole over a tortilla, then top with lettuce, 1-2 tbsp of the black bean mix, a crumbling of vegan cheese, a sprinkling of herbs and a squeeze of lime.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Vegan Food and Living

What’s for Lunch?

Vegan set lunch at Lotus Vegan Cafe in Japan

The Menu

  • Veggie Tonkatsu (Pork Cutlet)
  • Steamed Vegetables
  • Fried Yam with Plum Sauce
  • Chinese-style Soybean Sasami
  • Carrot and Onion with Orange Marinade
  • Pickled Seaweeds
  • Red Kidney Beans with Tahini Dressing
  • Soup with Spring Vegetables and Barley
  • Cooked Sprouted Brown Rice

Trial Drug Can Significantly Block Early Stages of COVID-19 in Engineered Human Tissues

An international team led by University of British Columbia researcher Dr. Josef Penninger has found a trial drug that effectively blocks the cellular door SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect its hosts.

The findings, published in Cell, hold promise as a treatment capable of stopping early infection of the novel coronavirus that, as of April 12, has affected more than 1,848,000 people and claimed the lives of over 114,000 people worldwide.

The study provides new insights into key aspects of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and its interactions on a cellular level, as well as how the virus can infect blood vessels and kidneys.

“We are hopeful our results have implications for the development of a novel drug for the treatment of this unprecedented pandemic,” says Penninger, professor in UBC’s faculty of medicine, director of the Life Sciences Institute and the Canada 150 Research Chair in Functional Genetics at UBC.

“This work stems from an amazing collaboration among academic researchers and companies, including Dr. Ryan Conder’s gastrointestinal group at STEMCELL Technologies in Vancouver, Nuria Montserrat in Spain, Drs. Haibo Zhang and Art Slutsky from Toronto and especially Ali Mirazimi’s infectious biology team in Sweden, who have been working tirelessly day and night for weeks to better understand the pathology of this disease and to provide breakthrough therapeutic options.”

ACE2 — a protein on the surface of the cell membrane — is now at centre-stage in this outbreak as the key receptor for the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2. In earlier work, Penninger and colleagues at the University of Toronto and the Institute of Molecular Biology in Vienna first identified ACE2, and found that in living organisms, ACE2 is the key receptor for SARS, the viral respiratory illness recognized as a global threat in 2003. His laboratory also went on to link the protein to both cardiovascular disease and lung failure.

While the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread around the globe, the absence of a clinically proven antiviral therapy or a treatment specifically targeting the critical SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 on a molecular level has meant an empty arsenal for health care providers struggling to treat severe cases of COVID-19.

“Our new study provides very much needed direct evidence that a drug — called APN01 (human recombinant soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 – hrsACE2) — soon to be tested in clinical trials by the European biotech company Apeiron Biologics, is useful as an antiviral therapy for COVID-19,” says Dr. Art Slutsky, a scientist at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science of St. Michael’s Hospital and professor at the University of Toronto who is a collaborator on the study.

In cell cultures analyzed in the current study, hrsACE2 inhibited the coronavirus load by a factor of 1,000-5,000. In engineered replicas of human blood vessel and kidneys — organoids grown from human stem cells — the researchers demonstrated that the virus can directly infect and duplicate itself in these tissues. This provides important information on the development of the disease and the fact that severe cases of COVID-19 present with multi-organ failure and evidence of cardiovascular damage. Clinical grade hrsACE2 also reduced the SARS-CoV-2 infection in these engineered human tissues.

“Using organoids allows us to test in a very agile way treatments that are already being used for other diseases, or that are close to being validated. In these moments in which time is short, human organoids save the time that we would spend to test a new drug in the human setting,” says Núria Montserrat, ICREA professor at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia in Spain.

“The virus causing COVID-19 is a close sibling to the first SARS virus,” adds Penninger. “Our previous work has helped to rapidly identify ACE2 as the entry gate for SARS-CoV-2, which explains a lot about the disease. Now we know that a soluble form of ACE2 that catches the virus away, could be indeed a very rational therapy that specifically targets the gate the virus must take to infect us. There is hope for this horrible pandemic.”

Source: The University of British Columbia

Clinical Trial: Folks with Knee Arthritis Get More Out of Physical Therapy than a Cortisone Shot

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

People with osteoarthritis of the knee had less pain and disability after one year of physical therapy than others who received as many as three injections during that same period, according to study results.

“We found that the steroid injection did not have any advantages over physical therapy,” said lead researcher Gail Deyle, a physical therapist and professor at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Deyle hopes these findings will spark a change in the way knee arthritis is treated.

Only about 10% of patients with knee arthritis are offered physical therapy prior to requiring a total knee replacement, Deyle said. By comparison, studies have shown as many as half will receive a steroid injection.

This occurs even though steroid injections carry greater risks, including accelerated aging of the joints, greater cartilage loss, possible infection, and even potentially increasing the risk of bone fractures, he said.

“If providers are open-minded, I think this will change their practice,” Deyle said. “If I were a patient, I would not be tempted to have a steroid injection. I don’t want that risk.”

For this clinical trial, 156 patients, with an average age of 56, were randomly assigned to undergo either physical therapy or receive up to three cortisone shots in a year.

“The physical therapy strategy used in this study consisted of manual physical therapy with reinforcing exercise, including ongoing guidance to help patients find appropriate types and amounts of physical activity,” Deyle said. The hands-on manual treatment helped people perform reinforcing exercises with little or no pain, which enabled them to do daily activities and home exercises with less pain.

The physical therapy involved here was arguably better than what average folks receive, noted Dr. Etan Sugarman, an orthopedic surgeon with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“What they’re talking about here in terms of physical therapy is something very specific, which is guided supervised physical therapy by a certified, qualified physical therapist who is doing person-to-person specific manual therapy in conjunction with their treatment,” said Sugarman, who wasn’t part of the study.

Researchers checked in regularly with the patients over the course of the year to see how they were benefiting from treatment.

The difference in results became apparent as early as the first round of treatment, Deyle said.

“Most patients who got a steroid injection had to go home and rest for 72 hours and were given options like icing their knee or pain medications to recover from it,” Deyle said. “Most patients left their initial physical therapy visit feeling quite good.”

By the end of the year, patients in the physical therapy group reported much better outcomes than those in the steroid injection group, Deyle said.

“Patients receiving physical therapy had overall less pain and stiffness and performed better on functional tests,” he said.

All patients who needed to proceed to surgery during the year — one arthroscopic surgery and three total knee replacements — belonged to the injection group, even though patients in the physical therapy group had more severe arthritis at enrollment, Deyle noted.

Total health care costs for both groups over the one-year period were equivalent, Deyle added.

The study was published April 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

While these results show the potential benefits of physical therapy, Sugarman noted that many or most patients don’t have access to physical therapy at all, let alone intensive therapy conducted by a qualified expert.

“It calls to issue one of the major problems we have in the public health care system, which is for many people, their insurance may not approve all that many physical therapy sessions,” Sugarman said. “Their access to a good certified physical therapist may be significantly limited.”

He noted that many times patients come to him describing physical therapy sessions where they worked out in a corner, unsupervised, then had electrical stimulations slapped on for a bit.

“I say that’s great — that wasn’t physical therapy,” Sugarman said.

People with knee arthritis often proceed to a total knee replacement, but Sugarman said that decision is very individual.

Total knee replacement should be performed in a “patient with a diagnosis for arthritis stating they have failed nonsurgical treatment and are unhappy with their quality of life, and that first part is just as important as the second part,” Sugarman said.

The amount of pain a person is in should drive the decision more than what their X-rays say, Sugarman asserted.

Source: HealthDay

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