U.S. Company Unveils World’s First Real Honey Made Without Bees

MeliBio, Inc. the company using proprietary technology to make real honey without bees has unveiled its first product: world’s first real honey made without bees as a plant-based ingredient for B2B customers and foodservice.

More than 100 members of climate tech, food tech and investor communities in the San Francisco Bay Area had a chance to be among the first in the World to sample MeliBio’s honey made without bees at an event organized at Cell Valley Labs, an incubator and networking space in Berkeley, California.

After extensive R&D, MeliBio successfully scaled their method for making honey without bees on a manufacturing level, showing the ability to serve multiple clients in their needs for non-animal honey ingredients. The California-based company is currently taking orders from existing and new foodservice and B2B customers for deliveries starting from the end of 2021, and the beginning of 2022.

MeliBio, Inc. has developed a scientific approach to replace honeybees as a medium of honey production, and is providing solutions to several sustainability and supply chain issues of the broken honey industry valued at $9 billion in 2020. Recent studies show that the industry’s sole reliance on honeybees is making 20,000 wild and native bees crowded out from their habitats and vanishing at an accelerated rate. Additionally, the global honey supply chain faces difficulties in keeping up with demand with recent honey harvests being heavily affected by climate change causing low yields of honey and price volatility.

Darko Mandich, CEO and Co-Founder of MeliBio said: “MeliBio is founded with the mission to make food in a way to save our planet Earth by ending our use of bees in honey production, and thereby helping to restore bee biodiversity amongst native and wild bees worldwide. Scientific advancements have created a very exciting position where humans can finally make one of their favorite foods without the use of animals. Honey is an ingredient found in every product category, from food to beverage and personal care products for which MeliBio is now providing a plant-based option. By bringing delicious, nutritious and real honey made without bees to the market, we are shaping our present and future in a way that is better for bees and for humans.”

Source: Vegconomist

Chart: The Swiss Cheese Model of Respiratory Pandemic Defense

See large image . . . . . .

Source : The New York Times

Wake Up and Smell the Cell-Cultured Coffee!

Coffee cells have been successfully produced by scientists in Finland using cellular agriculture. The innovation, coming from the land that drinks the most coffee per capita in the world, could help make the future production of coffee considerably more sustainable.

Scientists at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland produced the coffee cells in a bioreactor utilizing cellular agriculture – the process in which cell cultures floating in bioreactors can be filled with nutrient medium and used to produce various animal- and plant-based products. The team claims that the first batches produced smell and taste like conventional coffee.

Increasing demand, coupled with sustainability challenges and ethical concerns, is rendering traditional coffee agriculture wholly unsustainable. Development and market entry of such cellular agriculture, however, currently hinges on regulatory approval. At present, Singapore is the only state with advanced legislature, while Qatar is also not far behind. In the US, the USDA has called on stakeholders in the cell-cultured field to present comments and information while labeling legislation is reviewed.

“At VTT, this project has been part of our overall endeavor to develop the biotechnological production of daily and familiar commodities that are conventionally produced by agriculture. For this, we use many different hosts, such as microbes, but also plant cells,” stated Research Team Leader, Dr. Heiko Rischer from VTT.

“In terms of smell and taste, our trained sensory panel and analytical examination found the profile of the brew to bear similarity to ordinary coffee. However, coffee making is an art and involves iterative optimization under the supervision of specialists with dedicated equipment. Our work marks the basis for such work,” added Rischer.

Source: Vegconmist

Need a Quick Stress-reliever? Try One of These Surprising Science-based Strategies

Jelena Kecmanovic wrote . . . . . . . . .

There is a saying in the Balkans, where I was born and raised, that loosely translates to: “There is nothing worse than finally seeing the light, only to be plunged again into darkness.” As a psychologist, I have observed my patients’ extraordinary levels of stress and anxiety start to ease, only to be replaced by anger, disappointment and despair as coronavirus cases have resurged and the promise of the pandemic’s end has become more elusive.

The widespread return to in-person school and the uneven return to offices this fall are further contributing to the sense of being pushed to the limit. This has led many of my patients to ask what they can do in the moment when they feel frazzled, overwhelmed, panicked or tunnel-visioned. Although tried-and-true self-help strategies, such as exercise, good sleep, socializing, mindfulness, positive reframing and self-compassion, are still the best prescription for lowering stress overall, sometimes a practical solution that can provide immediate relief is what’s needed.

Here are some outside-the-box but science-based strategies that can help us calm down quickly, so we can keep functioning and doing what needs to be done.

Spur your mammalian diving reflex

One of the most effective stress resets involves submerging your face in ice-cold water while holding your breath. This activates the diving reflex, which slows the heart rate and redirects blood away from the periphery of the body, toward the heart and other vital organs. These physiological changes have been shown to decrease anxiety.

If a bowl or a bucket with icy water is not at your disposal, you can press ice packs against your eyes, upper cheeks and temples while leaning over and holding your breath.

“Stay like this as long as you can tolerate it. We typically recommend 15 to 30 seconds, although I’ve observed the effect [take hold] much faster,” said Jenny Taitz, a clinical psychologist in Beverly Hills, Calif., and the author of “End Emotional Eating.”

Sheri Van Dijk, a psychotherapist in Newmarket, Ontario, and the author of “Calming the Emotional Storm,” warns that people with low blood pressure, heart problems or eating disorders should get clearance from their doctor before attempting this strategy.

We share the diving reflex with other air-breathing vertebrates. Think of activating your diving reflex as a way of channeling your inner dolphin.

Distract yourself with strong sensations or mental games

When we are very stressed or anxious, our attention narrows and only focuses on the negatives. If you are having a hard time objectively looking at a situation and making decisions, or if you feel mentally stuck or paralyzed, a quick distraction can allow you to reset.

Although repeatedly avoiding your negative feelings and escaping through Netflix, video games or alcohol can lead to more distress in the long run, occasionally distracting yourself by using strong sensory input or engaging in mental games can offer a respite from acute stress.

“This gives you a chance to take a psychological break, widen the lens to see the big picture and gain courage for the next step,” said Kelly Koerner, clinical psychologist, chief executive of Jaspr Health and author of “Doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Practical Guide.”

Chew on a hot pepper, listen to loud music, hold ice cubes in your hands or smell a pungent cheese to briefly shift your attention away from stress. Alternatively, you can “make an alphabetical list of car models, flowers, colors, or create a mental top 10 list of your favorite movies, novels or places,” Taitz said.

“One of my favorite tips is to suck on a lemon, or imagine doing it. You’ll start to salivate, engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, which leads to relaxation,” Van Dijk said.

Look at fractal shapes in nature or art

Nature has long been associated with relaxation, but research over the past few decades has shown that art and computer images that mimic certain natural patterns can have a similar effect. Fractals, shapes that repeat on finer and finer scales, are often found in nature. (Consider chambered nautilus shells, snowflakes, cones, tree branches or leaf veins.) They seem particularly pleasing to the human eye, and looking at them has been found to reduce physical signs of acute stress.

Branka Spehar, a psychology professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia, and her collaborators found that Jackson Pollock’s iconic paintings are also fractals. “This helps explain the immense popularity of these and similar art and architecture over the years. Humans prefer lines that are neither straight nor smooth, with [a] moderate level of complexity,” she said.

Our affinity for fractals probably came through evolution, because there are no perfect shapes or straight lines in the natural world. “Everything you see in nature has some imperfection,” Spehar said. “And a dose of imperfection is calming, like in Japanese wabi-sabi,” the aesthetic and worldview that emphasizes the acceptance of imperfection and impermanence.

Whenever possible, spend time in nature to reduce stress. Short of that, mimic natural effects by looking at perfectly imperfect fractals. As singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen put it: “There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Speak to yourself in the third person

In the middle of an emotional storm, we often become fused with the catastrophizing, critical or hopeless voice in our head. Everything appears bad, now and in the future. The more we try to think our way out of it, the more we get mired in the quicksand of negativity.

To stop the spiral, change how you talk to yourself. “When you use third-person pronouns and your name to refer to yourself, you zoom out and get some distance from the current situation,” said Ethan Kross, a professor of psychology as well as management and organizations at the University of Michigan and the author of “Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It.” “Your perspective shifts from being overwhelmed to seeing the problem as a challenge, from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can.’ ”

Studies by Kross and others show that talking to yourself in the third person takes the edge off stress and defuses it, often quite quickly. Even if it seems silly or contrived, try advising or coaching yourself the way you would talk to someone you care about the next time you get stressed. Doing so silently will work, but you might want to experiment with saying the words aloud if your environment allows for it. Emulating how children talk to themselves in the third person can ensure that you do not slip into self-criticism.

Chew gum

The earliest study examining the calming effect of chewing gum, published in the journal Science in 1939, reported beneficial effects on muscle tension associated with stress. More recently, research has found that chewing gum can reduce anxiety, stress and cortisol while increasing alertness.

Even though a review of studies linking gum-chewing and lowered stress showed inconsistent effects, you have nothing to lose by engaging in this easy and even fun activity.

Act the opposite of the way you feel

Each emotion is associated with certain bodily postures, facial expressions and behavioral urges. For example, when you get angry, you probably tend to have an erect posture, frown and speak loudly or yell. If you find yourself getting angry when stressed, try intentionally changing your posture to a nonaggressive one, relaxing your expression into a smile and speaking very softly. Research suggests that this technique, called “opposite action,” reduces the intensity of the original emotion.

A recent review showed that even just changing your facial expression can change how you feel. For example, participants in a 2012 study reported more positive affect and had lower heart rates during stress recovery after they smiled. The effect was stronger for those who displayed a “Duchenne smile,” one that involves the eyes in addition to the mouth.

“Information about your facial expression travels to your brain via cranial nerves connected to your facial muscles,” said Eric Finzi, a dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at George Washington University and the author of “The Face of Emotion: How Botox Affects Our Moods and Relationships.” “This happens without conscious awareness. For example, when you see a snake, your face shows a fearful expression in 40 milliseconds, before you become consciously aware of your fear.”

So, when your negative emotions seem overwhelming, try smiling for some immediate relief.

Make yourself yawn

Research led by Andrew C. Gallup, associate professor of psychology at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, suggests that yawning has a brain-cooling function in vertebrates, including humans. “Brain temperature rises during times of stress and anxiety,” Gallup said. “And yawning naturally occurs before and during stressful situations, promoting relaxation and better cognitive functioning. It has nothing to do with boredom.”

Although there is no experimental evidence that cooling the brain by inducing yawning — by, for example, watching videos of people yawning — results in stress reduction, Gallup believes the effect is likely and would be consistent with the existing findings. For now, yawn away. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll trigger yawns in others and reduce their stress, too.

Source : The Washington Post

Do Bones Add Flavour to Meat?

J. Kenji López-Alt wrote . . . . . . . . .

You hear it all the time. Grill that steak with the bone in. Buy a bone-in roast. Chefs and cookbook authors alike all say it, claiming that the bones will add flavor to your meat. I was skeptical (as I often am), so a few years ago I ran a series of tests to determine whether there was anything to the flavor claims, as well as whether or not there might be other non-flavor-related advantages to cooking with bone-in meat. We’ll get to the results in a moment, but first, let’s talk about what bones are made of and where that potential flavor may be coming from.

Bones come with three things: the actual hard calcified bone matter itself, the marrow within (which can be of red or grey varieties, the latter being the tasty fatty stuff you get at fancy restaurants and steakhouses these days), and the bits of connective tissue and fat that cling to its surface.

The bone matter itself (think: Halloween skeleton) is largely flavorless stuff that takes a long time to dissolve in water or fat, and thus doesnt contribute much to your meat, flavor-wise. The marrow is locked deep within the bones and can’t be extracted efficiently unless the bones are cracked or sawed in half. Since you aren’t serving cracked bones in a roast or a big steak, this shouldn’t be much of a contributor either.*

Have you ever tried making a stock with whole, uncracked beef bones with no connective tissue? It doesn’t work. You get a few dissolved minerals but not much aroma. To get flavor and body, you have to break the bones down and make sure that they host some connective tissue on their surfaces.

Finally, there’s the connective tissue and surface fat. Here’s where we might be able to make a case. Everybody knows that the tastiest bites of a prime rib are the sinewy, fatty bits you gnaw off with your teeth from the bone, right? So some of this great flavor surely must be making its way into the meat, right?

How Does Your Water Flow?

Well not so fast. Despite the fun mental image, a piece of meat is not a sponge. Liquid does not flow freely in and out or within it. Don’t believe me? Try this test. Dry the surface of a steak thoroughly with paper towels, then squeeze that steak as hard as you can. Go ahead, squeeze. Have your buddy the gorilla lend you a hand if he’s free. Try and squeeze some liquid out of there. That steak you’re holding is around 70 percent water. Surely you can get a few drops out of it? No?

Unless you’ve got superhuman strength, you won’t see much liquid coming out, and that’s because the liquid inside a steak is securely compartmentalized. It’s for this reason that most marinades are largely ineffective at delivering much more than a surface treatment to meats. Even marinating overnight will only get you a couple millimeters of penetration. What chance do any flavorful compounds from the bone have in entering your meat during the mere hours it spends in the oven?

Ah, you might say. But doesn’t that change when you start cooking? Surely water and flavor flows around more easily then?

It does! Moisture does start moving once you begin cooking meat and its muscle fibers start contracting. But it doesn’t float freely; it doesn’t ebb and flow. In fact, it only moves in one direction: out. There’s nothing that would cause juices from an exterior portion of the meat (the bones) to move towards the center.

Now all of this theoretical talk is fine for us to theorize, but we’re people of action, are we not? We demand empirical evidence!

I’ve got some of that!

The Test

To test this, I cooked four identical roasts. The first was cooked with the bone on. For the second, I removed the bone, but tied it back against the meat while cooking. For the third, I removed the bone, and tied it back to the meat with an intervening piece of impermeable heavy-duty aluminum foil. The fourth was cooked completely without the bone.

Tasted side-by-side, the first three were completely indistinguishable from each other. The fourth, on the other hand, was a little tougher in the region where the bone used to be.

What does this indicate? Well, first off, it means the flavor exchange theory is completely bunk—the completely intact piece of meat tasted exactly the same as the one with the intervening aluminum foil. But it also means that the bone does serve at least one important function: it insulates the meat, slowing its cooking, and providing less surface area to lose moisture.

Bone on its own is actually a superior conductor of heat than meat. However, bone is not solid—it has a honeycomb structure that includes many air spaces. Just like air spaces in home insulation guard against temperature fluctuations, so too does the bone protect the meat closest to it. This is where the expression “tender at the bone” comes from (meat near the bone is less cooked, thus more tender), and why it’s important to insert your thermometer away from the bone when testing temperature; Testing close to bone will give you an artificially low reading.

And of course, the other advantage to cooking with the bone on is that it gives you all that wonderful gristle and fat to chew on.

Bottom line: The best way to cook your beef is to detach the bone and tie it back on. You get the same cooking quality of a completely intact roast with the added advantage that once it’s cooked, carving is as simple as cutting the string, removing the bones, and slicing.

Source: Serious Eat