Plant-based Fish is the New Vegan Trend

Lana Bandoim wrote . . . . . . . . .

Meat alternatives are growing in popularity as consumers demand more options. Now, plant-based fish is set to be the next vegan trend, and companies are responding with new products that mimic seafood.

Startups and large corporations are showing an interest in plant-based fish. Atlantic Natural Foods started offering TUNO, a fishless tuna alternative made from soy, yeast and sunflower extract, in 2018. Impossible Foods announced last year that it was working on plant-based fish, and Good Catch raised $32 million in financing this January for its plant-based seafood. Even Nestlé has revealed it wants to launch a vegan tuna salad.

Companies are reacting to what they are seeing in the seafood industry and the trend toward vegan alternatives. From concerns about the environment to fears about mercury, the fish industry has faced multiple challenges in recent years. The recent coronavirus outbreak has created additional pressures, including shortages of items in grocery stores. All of these factors have created a combination that is pushing consumers toward a dinner plate filled with plant-based fish instead of regular tuna.

“According to the United Nations, nearly 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are now fully exploited, overexploited or depleted, with fisheries subsidies playing an integral part. Keeping startling statistics such as this in mind, Good Catch believes that the only truly sustainable seafood is one that allows fish to remain in the ocean, undisturbed,” Good Catch shared in a press release.

Currently, this is a gap in the food industry that companies can fill since plant-based seafood only makes up $9.5 million (1%) of the total plant-based meat dollar sales. Businesses struggling to capture consumers’ attention and taste buds may want to pursue the alternative meat market because it has the potential to fuel growth long-term.

Consumers are asking for healthy alternatives, and plant-based products are at the top of their list. Plant-based fish are a safe, mercury-free alternative that still provides necessary protein. They also lessen the guilt that is associated with overfishing that comes with eating seafood.

“Plant-based seafood provides a host of environmental benefits, including alleviating pressures on rapidly depleting fisheries, providing relief to fragile ocean ecosystems, reducing the impact of fishing nets on the ocean plastic problem, and reducing production-related GHG emissions,” Caroline Bushnell from the Good Food Institute said in a press release.

Another advantage that consumers and companies need to consider is the ability to make plant-based fish shelf-stable. The coronavirus outbreak has shown a need for healthy, affordable, nonperishable items that households can stockpile. Plant-based fish is a vegan trend that will not disappear soon.

Source: Forbes

Plant-based Possible Burger


9 oz cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
5 oz cubed whole grain or gluten-free bread, torn into small pieces
2 cups raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup peeled and roughly chopped red beet 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup black beans
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 Tbsp water, plus more as needed
1 Tbsp gluten-free tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos
1 Tbsp rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
8 whole wheat or gluten-free burger buns, split and warmed, for serving (optional)
your favourite burger toppings and condiments for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
  2. On large rimmed baking sheet, toss mushrooms, bread, sunflower seeds, beet, and garlic with oil, salt, and pepper. Spread mixture into even layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until fragrant and mixture has browned. Cool to room temperature.
  3. In food processor fitted with metal blade, blend black beans until smooth.
  4. Add cooled mushroom mixture to beans and pulse to incorporate.
  5. Add mayonnaise, water, tamari, vinegar, and flaxseed, and alternate between pulsing and blending, stopping to scrape down sides and bottom of food processor a couple of times, until mixture can be pressed between your palms and sticks together like raw ground meat. If mixture is too crumbly, add up to 2 Tbsp additional water, 1 Tbsp at a time until it sticks together easily.
  6. Line clean, large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop out burgers into approximately 1/2 cup portions. Form into burger patties about 1/2-inch thick. Chill, uncovered, in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
  8. After 30 minutes of chilling, transfer burgers to oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until warmed through. Do not overbake, as they’re delicate and will crumble if left in the oven too long. Carefully slide burgers onto buns along with your favourite burger toppings and condiments, or enjoy a patty on top of a big green salad.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Alive magazine

UK’s First Vegan Cheezeburger Pizza Launched

One Planet Pizza, the UK’s first and much-loved vegan frozen pizza company, announces today it has partnered with plant-based brands Meatless Farm, the legendary Applewood® Vegan cheese, and Mooshies vegan burger bar, to release a limited-edition Meatless Farm Cheezeburger Pizza.

This limited edition products unites for the first time three influential plantbased brands – Meatless Farm being the fastest growing meat alternative in the category, Applewood Vegan which famously sold out within 24 hours of its launch last year, and plant-based London venue Mooshies for its famous burger sauce.

One Planet Pizza’s classic base is topped with a chia seed-infused tomato sauce, layered with Smoky Applewood Vegan Cheeze, topped with caramelised red onions, sliced gherkins and juicy chunks of Meatless Farm burger, then drizzled with Mooshies famous Burger Sauce.

OPP Co-founder Joe Hill, says: “We’re certain this is one of the most delicious and epic pizzas we have ever created here at OPP. We’ve always wanted to produce a cheezeburger pizza, and we think the combination of unique, plant-based toppings we’ve selected for the Meatless Farm Cheezeburger Pizza makes this the doughbased creation of every pizza lover’s dreams! It’s smoky, gooey and tastes just like a cheezeburger – without the animals. We’re so proud to have combined so many incredible plant-based brands on one base, and we can’t wait for you to try it!”

Morten Toft Bech, Founder of Meatless Farm, comments: “What better way to say reducing your meat consumption doesn’t mean compromising on taste than a Meatless Farm Cheezeburger Pizza? This tasty combo will make swapping to plant-based food, even if it’s once or twice a week, even easier. Whether you’re doing this for the benefit of the planet, personal health or animal welfare – it doesn’t mean shutting the door to delicious food. Especially when it comes delivered straight to your door!”

The Meatless Farm Cheezeburger Pizza will be available to purchase online from One Planet Pizza’s direct to customer delivery service – OPP Direct, as well as online from the Meatless Farm’s Farm Shop as a part of their Mega Meatless Combo, for a limited time only.

Source: Vegconomist

Intermittent fasting: Surprising update

Monique Tello wrote . . . . . . . . .

There’s a ton of incredibly promising intermittent fasting (IF) research done on fat rats. They lose weight, their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars improve… but they’re rats. Studies in humans, almost across the board, have shown that IF is safe and incredibly effective, but really no more effective than any other diet. In addition, many people find it difficult to fast.

But a growing body of research suggests that the timing of the fast is key, and can make IF a more realistic, sustainable, and effective approach for weight loss, as well as for diabetes prevention.

The backstory on intermittent fasting

IF as a weight loss approach has been around in various forms for ages, but was highly popularized in 2012 by BBC broadcast journalist Dr. Michael Mosley’s TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and book The Fast Diet, followed by journalist Kate Harrison’s book The 5:2 Diet based on her own experience, and subsequently by Dr. Jason Fung’s 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code. IF generated a steady positive buzz as anecdotes of its effectiveness proliferated.

As a lifestyle-leaning research doctor, I needed to understand the science. The Obesity Code seemed the most evidence-based summary resource, and I loved it. Fung successfully combines plenty of research, his clinical experience, and sensible nutrition advice, and also addresses the socioeconomic forces conspiring to make us fat. He is very clear that we should eat more fruits and veggies, fiber, healthy protein, and fats, and avoid sugar, refined grains, processed foods, and for God’s sake, stop snacking. Check, check, check, I agree. The only part that was still questionable in my mind was the intermittent fasting part.

Intermittent fasting can help weight loss

IF makes intuitive sense. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up as molecules in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains (think white flours and rice), are quickly broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells don’t use it all, we store it in our fat cells as, well, fat. But sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there.

Between meals, as long as we don’t snack, our insulin levels will go down and our fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down. The entire idea of IF is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off our fat.

Intermittent fasting can be hard… but maybe it doesn’t have to be

Initial human studies that compared fasting every other day to eating less every day showed that both worked about equally for weight loss, though people struggled with the fasting days. So, I had written off IF as no better or worse than simply eating less, only far more uncomfortable. My advice was to just stick with the sensible, plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet.

New research is suggesting that not all IF approaches are the same, and some are actually very reasonable, effective, and sustainable, especially when combined with a nutritious plant-based diet. So I’m prepared to take my lumps on this one (and even revise my prior post).

We have evolved to be in sync with the day/night cycle, i.e., a circadian rhythm. Our metabolism has adapted to daytime food, nighttime sleep. Nighttime eating is well associated with a higher risk of obesity, as well as diabetes.

Based on this, researchers from the University of Alabama conducted a study with a small group of obese men with prediabetes. They compared a form of intermittent fasting called “early time-restricted feeding,” where all meals were fit into an early eight-hour period of the day (7 am to 3 pm),or spread out over 12 hours (between 7 am and 7 pm). Both groups maintained their weight (did not gain or lose) but after five weeks, the eight-hours group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity, as well as significantly lower blood pressure. The best part? The eight-hours group also had significantly decreased appetite. They weren’t starving.

Just changing the timing of meals, by eating earlier in the day and extending the overnight fast, significantly benefited metabolism even in people who didn’t lose a single pound.

Why might changing timing help?

But why does simply changing the timing of our meals to allow for fasting make a difference in our body? An in-depth review of the science of IF recently published in New England Journal of Medicine sheds some light. Fasting is evolutionarily embedded within our physiology, triggering several essential cellular functions. Flipping the switch from a fed to fasting state does more than help us burn calories and lose weight. The researchers combed through dozens of animal and human studies to explain how simple fasting improves metabolism, lowering blood sugar; lessens inflammation, which improves a range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma; and even helps clear out toxins and damaged cells, which lowers risk for cancer and enhances brain function. The article is deep, but worth a read!

So, is intermittent fasting as good as it sounds?

I was very curious about this, so I asked the opinion of metabolic expert Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. Here is what she told me. “There is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is effective,” she confirmed, though generally she recommends that people “use an eating approach that works for them and is sustainable to them.”

So, here’s the deal. There is some good scientific evidence suggesting that circadian rhythm fasting, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be a particularly effective approach to weight loss, especially for people at risk for diabetes. (However, people with advanced diabetes or who are on medications for diabetes, people with a history of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, and pregnant or breastfeeding women should not attempt intermittent fasting unless under the close supervision of a physician who can monitor them.)

4 ways to use this information for better health

  • Avoid sugars and refined grains. Instead, eat fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats (a sensible, plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet).
  • Let your body burn fat between meals. Don’t snack. Be active throughout your day. Build muscle tone.
  • Consider a simple form of intermittent fasting. Limit the hours of the day when you eat, and for best effect, make it earlier in the day (between 7 am to 3 pm, or even 10 am to 6 pm, but definitely not in the evening before bed).
  • Avoid snacking or eating at nighttime, all the time.

Source: Harvard Health Publishing

Wearable Brain Scanner Technology Expanded for Whole Head Imaging

Scientists from the University of Nottingham developed an initial prototype of a new generation of brain scanner in 2018 which is a lightweight device that can be worn on the head like a hat, and can scan the brain even whilst a patient moves. Their latest research has now expanded this to a fully functional 49 channel device that can be used to scan the whole brain and track electrophysiological processes that are implicated in a number of mental health problems. Their findings have been published in Neuroimage.

Professor Matt Brookes from the University of Nottingham has led the development of this wearable scanner, he said: “Understanding mental illness remains one of the greatest challenges facing 21st century science. From childhood illnesses such as Autism, to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, human brain health affects millions of people throughout the lifespan. In many cases, even highly detailed brain images showing what the brain looks like fail to tell us about underlying pathology, and consequently there is an urgent need for new technologies to measure what the brain actually does in health and disease.”

Brain cells operate and communicate by producing electrical currents. These currents generate tiny magnetic fields that can be detected outside the head. Researchers use MEG to map brain function by measuring these magnetic fields. This allows for a millisecond-by-millisecond picture of which parts of the brain are engaged when we undertake different tasks, such as speaking or moving.

Unlike the large cumbersome scanners where patients must remain very still, the wearable scanner allows the patient to move freely. The early prototype of this system in 2018 had just 13 sensors and could only scan limited sections of the brain. Further developments in 2019 enabled the first measurements in children.

The team worked with Added Scientific in Nottingham to develop a novel type of 3D printed helmet, which is key to the function of the 49 channel device. The higher channel count means that the system can be used to scan the whole brain. It can show the brain areas controlling hand movement and vision pinpointed with millimetre accuracy.

Ryan Hill lead author on this study said: “Although there is exciting potential, OPM-MEG is a nascent technology with significant development still required. Whilst multi-channel systems are available, most demonstrations still employ small numbers of sensors sited over specific brain regions and the introduction of a whole-head array is an important step forward in moving this technology towards effective commercial application.”

This new whole head scanner unlocks a hots of new possibilities, like scanning children (who find it hard to keep still) or scanning epileptic patients during seizures to understand the abnormal brain activity that generates those seizures.

Professor Brookes continues: “Our group in Nottingham, alongside partners at UCL, are now driving this research forward, not only to develop a new understanding of brain function, but also to commercialise the equipment that we have developed. Components of the scanner have already been sold, via industrial partners, to brain imaging laboratories across the world. It is thought that not only will the new scanner be significantly better than anything that currently exists, but also that it will be significantly cheaper.”

Source: University of Nottingham

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