First Pistachio Milk in the United States

Nicole Axworthy wrote . . . . . . . . .

Pistachio milk brand Táche recently launched in the United States. The brand was created by father-daughter duo Roxana and Morteza Saidi to meet consumer demand for more socially impactful and sustainable non-dairy milk options. While the alternative nut-milk industry already includes several different varieties, pistachio milk hasn’t hit the market due to the difficulty in the supply chain. After years in the making, the founders have developed a nimble supply chain and sources its pistachios sustainably from Europe and MENA (collective region of Middle East and North Africa), two regions with a long legacy of high-quality pistachios.

“Growing up, I was surrounded by pistachios as they were the go-to snack in our household and quickly became one of my favorite nuts. Years later on a family vacation in Europe, I had a full-circle moment when I was craving an almond milk latte,” Roxana Saidi told VegNews. “I realized that the snack I’ve loved all my life was not only flavorful and healthy but could also be turned into milk. The lightbulb went off and immediately upon returning to NYC, making different versions of pistachio milk in my apartment kitchen. Being born in a family of entrepreneurs, I recognized the opportunity for a new healthy yet decadent and flavorful plant-based milk that I’m glad the vegan community can enjoy.”

Táche is available in Original and Unsweetened varieties directly from the brand’s website with shipping nationwide as well as throughout New York in 40 cafés, coffee shops, and independent grocers. Táche donates a portion of its profits to non-profit organization The Lower Eastside Girls Club of NYC to support girls’ education and provide them with the mentorship, tools, and support to become healthy, successful women.

Source: Veg News


Vegan Spam To Launch Across Europe Following Success In Asia

Liam Gilliver wrote . . . . . . . . .

Vegan spam from plant-based startup Omnifoods is set to launch across Europe next year.

The veggie luncheon meat debuted in Hong Kong back in May. It has helped the company’s retail grocery sales spike by a staggering 120 percent in the last year.

Founder David Yeung said: “Everyone is constantly asking about the retail packs since its debut. They crave for this healthier option to create different tempting treats at home.

“Obviously, COVID-19 creates tons of uncertainty on many things. But, our entry into various countries in Europe will start to happen next year.

“We’ve just soft-launched OmniPork in Japan…. As for OmniPork Luncheon in certain countries in Europe, most likely starting in the U.K and Germany, that will happen in 2021.”

McDonald’s Hong Kong partnered with Omnifoods to launch a meat-free menu in more than 280 outlets.

The vegan spam is available in a number of veggie dishes across the region, including a toastie, ciabatta, breakfast platter, and more. They are not suitable for vegans as they contain ingredients such as cheese and egg.

Yeung said: “We’re extremely excited to have OmniPork Luncheon available in this leading restaurant chain.

“With its extensive restaurant outlets in Hong Kong and Macau, we hope more customers can indulge without guilt and embrace a green lifestyle anywhere and anytime.”

Source: Plant Based News

People Should Know That COVID Vaccine Might Spur Transient Sickness: CDC Experts

Ernie Mundell wrote . . . . . . . . .

At least three new COVID-19 vaccine candidates are already in the pipeline, with a roll-out expected early in the new year. But on Monday, experts attending a meeting of an advisory committee to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stressed that Americans who get a shot shouldn’t be surprised if they feel under the weather for a few days afterwards.

“These are immune responses, so if you feel something after vaccination, you should expect to feel that. And when you do, it’s normal that you have some arm soreness or some fatigue or some body aches or even some fever,” Patricia Stinchfield of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, told the meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. She represents the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and said providers must be ready to explain this to people who line up to get any COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccines work to fight disease by producing an immune response within the body. And sometimes that means flu-like symptoms, such as aches, headache and fever.

Already, some volunteers in trials of candidate vaccines from drug companies Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca have reported flu-like symptoms after immunization. And experts worry that those reports might keep people away from vaccination, or from required second doses.

The CDC’s Dr. Sara Oliver told the committee during the five-hour-long meeting that, depending on the survey, anywhere between 40% and 80% of Americans say they’d be willing to get vaccinated.

Dr. Paul Hunter, of the city of Milwaukee health department and a voting member of the committee, said the testimonials of the first batches of people who get a COVID-19 vaccine could be crucial to wider acceptance.

“The people who highly value getting the vaccine soon and fast, early, are going to be really helpful to everyone else. And I think we really are going to need to honor them, because they are going to let us know how it feels,” he told the committee. “And I think these people are likely to be health care workers who are likely to be up for that kind of task.”

Another vaccine candidate

Americans were greeted with a possible advance against coronavirus as Thanksgiving week began: A third vaccine candidate shows good results in shielding recipients against the virus.

Meanwhile, U.S. coronavirus cases continued to explode: More than 179,000 new cases were recorded on Monday, with more than 12.4 million Americans now known to be infected.

Hopes for the roll-out of another effective vaccine brightened on Monday, however. Drug giant AstraZeneca announcing that late-stage clinical trials of its coronavirus shot showed it to be 70.4% effective, The New York Times reported.

The trials were conducted in the United Kingdom and Brazil in collaboration with the University of Oxford. The AstraZeneca vaccine becomes the third shot to show good effectiveness, following on the heels of promising data on vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. Both of the latter two shots had effectiveness around 95%.

The AstraZeneca results were based on the results of two dosing regimens for the vaccine: One regimen showed an effectiveness of 62%, the company said, while the other showed a 90% effectiveness.

The regimen showing a 90% effectiveness involved a first dose given at half strength and a second dose given at standard strength. No severe cases of COVID-19 emerged among any recipients, and there was a reduction in asymptomatic infections, suggesting that the vaccine was reducing transmission of the virus, AstraZeneca said.

Worsening spread

In the meantime, the new coronavirus is spreading across America with unprecedented speed, the White House Coronavirus Task Force said in its first briefing in four months on Thursday.

“This is more cases, more rapidly, than what we had seen before,” Dr. Deborah Birx said during the briefing. “You can see the increase in test positivity to around 10%.” That’s the number of people tested who get a positive diagnosis.

Birx pointed to a map of the country that is covered in red, highlighting the number of daily hospitalizations, which now regularly tops 70,000, CNN reported. Birx said she has been crisscrossing the country as she tries to encourage state and local leaders to take measures to stop the spread of the virus.

Still, task force members spoke out against the idea of nationwide lockdowns or schools, even as New York City returned to remote learning this week, CNN reported.

“We do know what to do and we are asking every American to do those things today,” Birx stressed. That starts with wearing masks, but also staying apart and limiting gatherings, she said.

The virus spreads even when people do not show symptoms, Birx noted. “It is because of this asymptomatic spread that we are asking people to wear a mask indoors,” she said. “Decreasing those friend-and-family gatherings where people come together and unknowingly spread the virus,” will also help slow the spread, she added.

Earlier Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving. More than 187,000 cases were announced nationwide on Thursday, another single-day record, and daily tallies have been rising in 47 states, according to The New York Times.

In California, officials reported more than 13,000 new cases, a single-day record, prompting the state to announce a 10 p.m. curfew for all but essential workers, the Times reported.

Even if the current seven-day national average of about 166,000 daily cases plateaued until the end of the year, nearly 7 million more people would still contract COVID-19, the Times said.

Though talk of two highly effective vaccines came this week, they will not be widely available until spring of 2021.

“We are in for a rough period through the end of February,” Dr. Jessica Justman, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, told the Times. “It looks hard to find a way to break it.”

A global scourge

By Tuesday, the U.S. coronavirus case count passed 12.4 million while the death toll neared 258,000, according to a Times tally. According to the same tally, the top five states in coronavirus cases as of Tuesday were: Texas with nearly 1.2 million; California with just over 1.1 million; Florida with over 944,000; Illinois with nearly 666,000; and New York with almost 607,000.

Curbing the spread of the coronavirus in the rest of the world remains challenging.

Many European countries are tightening restrictions, the Associated Press reported. France has entered a nationwide lockdown, and Germany and Austria have started partial lockdowns as government officials across the continent scramble to slow a sharp rise in infections that threatens to overwhelm their health care systems.

England has followed suit, while Italy, Greece and Kosovo also announced new measures, the AP reported.

Things are no better in India, where the coronavirus case count has passed 9 million on Tuesday, a Johns Hopkins University tally showed. More than 134,000 coronavirus patients have died in India, according to the Hopkins tally, but when measured as a proportion of the population, the country has had far fewer deaths than many others. Doctors say this reflects India’s younger and leaner population. Still, the country’s public health system is severely strained, and some sick patients cannot find hospital beds, the Times said. Only the United States has more coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, Brazil passed 6 million cases and had nearly 170,000 deaths as of Tuesday, the Hopkins tally showed.

Worldwide, the number of reported infections topped 59 million on Tuesday, with nearly 1.4 million deaths recorded, according to the Hopkins tally.

Source: HealthDay

Teens’ Ultra-processed Diet Puts Their Hearts at Risk

Michael Merschel wrote . . . . . . . . .

If you think the teenagers in your life have been eating a lot of unhealthy food – you’re probably right.

U.S. adolescents get about two-thirds of their calories from ultra-processed food, and the more they eat, the worse they score on important measures of heart health, a new study says.

Nutritionists started using the term “ultra-processed food” about a decade ago. The study used a diet classification system called NOVA that sums it up as “snacks, drinks, ready meals and many other products created mostly or entirely from substances extracted from foods or derived from food constituents with little if any intact food.”

Experts say not all processed foods are unhealthy. Some can still have nutritional value.

The ultra-processed food category includes chips, cookies, candy, soft drinks and ready-to-heat products such as pizza, instant soup, hot dogs and chicken nuggets. In short – a list of wrappers you might find on the floor of a teenager’s room.

“Ultra-processed foods are typically high in sugar, sodium (and) trans and saturated fats, are energy-dense and are low in fiber and micronutrients,” said lead researcher Dr. Zefeng Zhang, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. A high-sodium diet is associated with high blood pressure. Eating trans fats and saturated fats has been associated with increased risk for heart disease.

Zhang led research reported last year showing that U.S. adults get more than half of their daily total calories from ultra-processed foods, with a corresponding decrease in heart health. The new work focused on adolescents.

Researchers looked at 5,565 people ages 12 to 19 taking part in a large national survey. Their diet was compared with how they fared on a list of heart-health categories known as the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7. It includes measures of weight, high blood pressure, diabetes and more.

The results showed adolescents eat even more ultra-processed food than adults: nearly 66% of their calories came from such foods, compared to about 55% for adults.

The adolescents’ choices correlated with worse heart health. For every 5% increase in the number of calories they got from ultra-processed food each day, their score on a 12-point scale of heart health declined by 0.13 points.

Put another way, Zhang said, “higher consumption of ultra-processed foods might increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the long-term among adolescents.”

The research, presented this month at the AHA’s virtual Scientific Sessions conference, is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Dr. Amanda Marma Perak, an assistant professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said the findings were striking – adolescents consumed 42% to 88% of their calories from ultra-processed food.

“That leaves very little room for all of the healthy foods that provide nutrients teenagers really need – vegetables and beans, fruits, whole grains, unprocessed meats and fish, and plain low-fat milk and yogurt,” said Perak, who was not involved in the study.

Part of the problem, Zhang said, is that it’s easy for anyone to overeat foods that are engineered to be tasty. “People may eat more of these foods, even when they are no longer hungry. In addition, since ultra-processed foods often lack fiber, these foods may not make people feel as full as less-processed foods would.”

Perak, who is also a pediatric preventive cardiologist at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, had simple advice for adolescents: “Eat real food” – things that look as close to the way they did in nature as possible.

Healthy alternatives can still be convenient as well as delicious. For example, she said, instead of a packaged granola bar, a teen could choose unsalted nuts and a piece of whole fruit as a snack. “That’s just as easy to grab and eat on the go, but much more filling and nutritious.”

Parents can help by involving kids early in preparing meals and snacks. “Help them learn how to use real foods to make simple meals that you can eat together as a family, and make sure you as parents are eating real food and modeling that for your kids,” Perak said.

Keep healthy foods on hand for teens to easily grab, she said, and “if the family’s going to have dessert, then make it yourselves from real food ingredients.”

But responsibility for the problem shouldn’t fall just on teens and their parents, Perak said.

“We as a society need to do better with making the healthy choice the easy choice, the affordable and accessible choice no matter what neighborhood you live in,” she said. “And we need to do better protecting our vulnerable kids from the heavy marketing of ultra-processed food.”

Source: American Heart Association



5 oz dried chickpeas
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
l/2 tsp baking powder
salt and ground black pepper
olive oil
pitta bread, salad and soya yogurt, to serve


  1. Put the chickpeas in a bowl with plenty of cold water. Leave to soak overnight.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and cover with water in a pan. Bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour until soft. Drain.
  3. Place in a food processor with the onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander and baking powder. Add salt and pepper to taste. Process until the mixture forms a firm paste.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  5. Divide the mixture into walnut-size pieces, roll into balls in your hands and then flatten them slightly. Roll the balls in a little olive oil, place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
  6. Serve the falafel immediately, accompanied by some warmed pitta bread, a green salad and a helping of soya yogurt.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Vegan Cooking

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