In Pictures: Fall Home-cooked Meatless Dishes

Grilled Sweet Potato & Herb Salad

Pumpkin Soup with Millet

Broiled Persimmons with Greek Yogurt

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash

Vegan Butternut Squash

Candied Yams


Is Going Meatless Good for Your Health?

Gigi Choy wrote . . . . . . . . .

Anil Battinapati, 35, has been Hindu vegetarian for 32 years. The Hyderabad, India, resident might eat dosas with palli chutney for breakfast and rice with vegetable curry for lunch, and does so both because of his religion and because it is healthy. Since Battinapati does not eat meat, the R&D engineer said he ate dishes with many alternative sources of protein such as beans, nuts and eggs to ensure he had the right mix of nutrients.

In Malaysia, Eileen Lew is Buddhist and has tried to avoid eating meat since she was seven years old. She followed in the footsteps of her parents and became vegetarian not just for religious but also ethical and environmental reasons.

“I had been sent to a school which only provided vegetarian meals, so this is where I formed the habit. Our teacher educated us on the ways vegetarianism can help save the earth and also taught us the heart of compassion,” she said.

Lew, 20, who studies mass communication at UCSI University in Kuala Lumpur, occasionally eats meat when she dines out with friends because not all restaurants in Malaysia have vegetarian options.

“If I have a choice, I will eat vegetarian,” she said.

Hinduism and Buddhism have influenced vegetarianism in Asia for many years, and that influence has spread – there are now 1.1 billion Hindus and nearly 500 million Buddhists globally. More than 90 per cent of Hindus live in India, and half of the world’s Buddhist population lives in China, according to the Pew Research Centre.

While eating plant-based foods used to be a subculture in the rest of the world, it has now become more mainstream. Famous personalities have extolled the virtues of eating only plants, fueling a collective of social media photos and posts on how to be vegan, easy vegan recipes to cook and best vegan places to eat.

This means there is big hope for plant-based food as a new industry, but not all scientists and health specialists are inclined to support this trend.

“No meat in our diets? Impossible,” said Wong Ching, a registered Chinese medicine practitioner in Hong Kong. “Plant-based meat substitutes cannot replace real meat.”

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is based on balance, the idea of yin and yang.

Foods are classified with different energies – cold, cool, neutral, warm and hot – and can cause the body to either grow stronger or weaker, depending on whether balance and harmony are affected.

Wong said the body relied on the piwei – the spleen and stomach – to deliver nutrients to other organs, and likened a healthy piwei to a pot of boiling water.

In this analogy, the water represents yin energy while the fire is yang energy. The steam rising from the boiling water can be seen as the nutrients being delivered to other organs so they can function properly.

“If you eat too much food with cold or cooling yin energy, such as seafood and vegetables, your piwei will become too cold and won’t function normally. In other words, the fire heating your pot of water is too small,” Wong said.

Physical and psychological balance is also at the core of Ayurveda, a holistic system of traditional Indian medicine that dates back more than 5,000 years.

Ayurveda postulates that all matter, living and non-living, is composed of five elements. These elements are grouped together and represented in the form of three doshas, or biological energies – vata (ether and air), pitta (fire and water) and kapha (water and earth).

The doshas are further characterised by 10 pairs of opposite qualities, which Ayurvedic practitioners use to prescribe dietary regimens, lifestyle activities and therapeutic procedures that help restore imbalances.

“Every individual has a digestive fire called agni that needs to be strong and healthy to fully utilise the food one eats for growth, health and immunity along with regular and efficient elimination of wastes,” said Dr Sudha Raj of Syracuse University.

“A weak agni can result in toxic accumulation of ama, or wastes believed to be the primary cause of disease.”

Ancient Ayurvedic texts refer to the utility of animal products in helping to restore the body to a natural state of equilibrium, and treat diseases. However, eating too much meat can disturb the body’s balance and cause illness. Heavier foods, such as meat and eggs, can also impact mental alertness.

In contrast, Dr Leong Lai Peng of National University of Singapore said: “There is no evidence that a vegetarian or vegan would get sick more easily as long as he or she consumes a balanced and adequate diet.”

Dietitians and nutritionists stress the importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced diet by consuming a wide variety of foods in the right proportions.

She recommends vegetarians and vegans consume a variety of different sources of plant protein and suggests those who plan on adopting a plant-based diet adjust gradually.

“Meat is dense and it is easy to consume too much but in the case of vegetables, it is more difficult to eat too much because you will feel satiated before you had too much. Eating plant-based protein can help moderate the consumption of meat protein,” Leong said.

For those who cannot decide, one easy way out has been to be flexitarian.

Joyce C, 23, cut out red meat from her diet because of ethical, health and environmental reasons but said it was a struggle to become a full-time vegetarian in Hong Kong.

“Challenges include affordability and adhering to social circumstances. Most cultural foods are animal protein-based. A lot of my friends feel obliged to eat the food provided on the table, otherwise they may be deemed rude or ungrateful,” the law student said.

She said the label “vegetarian” placed unnecessary stress on those who felt they were breaking the rules when they ate vegetable dishes that included meat products, such as Sichuan dry fried string beans with pork. “We should all just do our best to eat a balanced diet and limit meat-eating.”

Source: SCMP

Read also:

Vegan pork in Hong Kong, impossible burgers in Singapore: how investors grew fat on Asia’s fad for mock meat . . . . .

WeWork Bans Meat at Company Events and Company-paid Meals

Tyler Durden wrote . . . . . . . .

Meat-loving employees of co-working giant WeWork are going to have to stick to veggies and sushi after the company notified its global staff of 6,000 that they will no longer reimburse meals that include meat – and it won’t pay for any red meat, poultry or pork at WeWork events.

Co-founder Miguel McKelvy detailed the new policy in an email to employees this week, noting that the firm’s upcoming “Summer Camp” employee retreat would offer no meat options for attendees.

In his email, McKelvey advised employees that the meat-free move would affect the company’s travel and expense policy, as well as WeWork’s “Honesty Market,” a self-serve food and drink kiosk system present in some of its 400 co-working buildings. -Bloomberg

We’re sure there will be ample soy-based options to fuel WeWork employees’ need for protein, while it is unclear if fish will be an option since it’s not specifically mentioned in the memo.

The company says they’re introducing the new policy for environmental reasons. “New research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact,” said McKelvey in the memo, “even more than switching to a hybrid car.”

According to a 2013 study published by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences- livestock production (including meat, milk and eggs) contribute 40% of agricultural GDP, while a 2006 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization found that livestock is responsible for 18% of human-related greenhouse gases.

what’s clear is that American levels of meat consumption can’t be sustainably adopted by the rest of the world, even if livestock management becomes more efficient globally. -Time

That said, WeWork employees who require “medical or religious” allowances are discussing options with the company’s policy team. If they’re granted exemptions, however, we assume they will be met with disapproving looks from jealous co-workers as they sink their teeth into their meat of choice.

Source: Zero Hedge

Millennials Are Driving The Worldwide Shift Away From Meat

Black Beans Burgers

Millennials are shaking up industries everywhere. Just ask the meat industry, which is seeing its customers increasingly turn towards plant-based alternatives at a blistering pace. Chuck Jolley, president of the Meat Industry Hall of Fame, said plant-based meat substitutes are one of the six great challenges for agriculture in 2018.

You may not have noticed, but there has been a global shift away from meat in recent years. A full 70% of the world population reportedly is either reducing meat consumption or leaving meat off the table altogether. This is from a report at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company that works with 4,000 of the world’s largest companies.

Fiona Dyer, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: ‘The shift toward plant-based foods is being driven by millennials, who are most likely to consider the food source, animal welfare issues, and environmental impacts when making their purchasing decisions.’

While millennials are one of the key drivers of this global shift away from consuming animal products, the plant-based movement appears to be bigger than any one generation. Celebrities, athletes, and even entire companies including Google and countries such as China are backing the movement to eat more plants. To take a page from Mugatu in Zoolander, ‘Plants are so hot right now.’

Established meat-free companies are reaping the benefits from the rise of flexitarianism. In 2017 the growth of meat-free diets was attributed as the main reason for sales growth at UK-based food group, Quorn Foods. The company, which makes foods such as burgers and sausages out of mushrooms, reported a 19% rise in sales in the first half of 2017. Quorn is confident that the younger generation is fueling this trend and that it represents a secular shift towards a healthier and more sustainable relationship with food.

According to Cargill, ‘Consumers are making choices to protect the planet and ensure the humane treatment of animals. They want to know the story of where their protein comes from and want to feel good about what they eat. That includes nutrition, animal welfare, food safety and overall environmental footprint.’

This would help explain the 600% increase in people identifying as vegans in the U.S in the last three years (GlobalData). Even Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is asking its suppliers to offer more plant-based products.

As the data linking meat consumption to negative effects on the environment continues to pile up, lab-grown meat could make its way into the mass market to combat these concerns. It’s basically a cruelty-free option for those unwilling to give up meat entirely. A group of upstart tech teams (Memphis Meats, Mosa Meats, etc) are promising cruelty-free cultured meat will be available by 2022, though they’ll need to bring costs way down if they plan to put a serious dent in the global meat trade.

Health Concerns Are An Important Factor

When the World Health Organization connected processed meats, like bacon and ham, to cancer, it sent shock waves through the food world. It also gave mainstream health organizations even more ammunition to encourage healthier dietary guidelines. Kaiser Permanente, the largest healthcare organization in the U.S., and the American Institute for Cancer Research are now recommending a plant-centric diet to combat heart disease and other common killers.

A global reduction in meat consumption between 2016 and 2050 could save up to eight million lives per year and $31 trillion in reduced costs from health care and climate change. (National Academy of Sciences). That could put a serious dent in our entitlement spending (medicare/medicaid), while reducing the potentially massive costs related to damage caused by flooding, storms, and drought. Just take a look at the weather we had in ‘17 to give you an idea of how bad things have already gotten.

Not surprisingly, consumers are a lot more conscious of how much meat they eat, where it comes from and how often they choose to indulge .

Plant-Based Trend Likely To Continue in ‘18

According to a forecast report by restaurant consultancy group Baum + Whiteman in New York, ‘plant-based’ will be the food trend of 2018. The report also anticipates that plant-based foods will become the new organic. This is not all that surprising, as the current administration in Washington DC recently backed away from animal welfare reforms on organic products that had been in the works for years.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean bad news for the meat industry. If they pivot and diversify their protein offerings, millennials (and all consumers for that matter) will likely be more than happy to reward them with their hard earned cash.

Source: Forbes

Meatless Burger Made with Cantaloupe

Max Falkowitz wrote . . . . . . .

The best way I’ve found to describe chef Will Horowitz’s mystifying cantaloupe burger is by using a Star Wars analogy: Imagine you’re at the Mos Eisley cantina on Tatooine and the barkeep informs you that it’s binka burger night. You’re hungry and you like burgers, so you order one, even though you’ve never tasted binka or even know what it is. The burger is delicious. Voluptuously smoky, with the unmistakable mineral twang of dry-aging, it sends a river of juice down your chin each time you take a bite. It tugs at your teeth in the way you’d expect from animal muscle and feels like meat. And then you find out that the burger doesn’t contain any animal parts.

Horowitz’s cantaloupe burger — a special at his New York City restaurant Ducks Eatery — is similarly surprising. It looks like meat, tastes like meat, and feels like meat, but is actually just a regular cantaloupe — though to be fair, the cantaloupe has been halved, peeled, cured, fermented, smoked, slow-baked, dehydrated, and seared to order, in a two-day process that manages to transfigure the bulky fruit into a compact fillet the size and shape of a duck breast.

It’s not just a nifty menu item, either. It’s proof of concept for a diet from the future (or a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away). And it makes you wonder: What if, instead of relying on conventional or lab-cultivated sources of animal protein, we transformed the fruits and vegetables we already have into something just as good?

Transforming cantaloupe into a satisfying burger is not an easy process. For Horowitz, it begins with identifying the specific components of meat that register to us as meaty and then bringing out those qualities from the melon using natural means. He also manipulates the plant’s texture, condensing crunchy cell walls into something soft and dense, with the chewable quality of real animal muscle.

First the cantaloupe is peeled and seeded, then cured in salt and ash from his smoker for about a day-and-a-half. The salt kick-starts lacto-fermentation in the fruit, creating lactic acid — the same substance muscles exert when they’re overworked. “We’re using fermentation to replicate the way a muscle exercises and develops flavor,” Horowitz says. “That mouth-watering quality a steak has, a lot of it comes from the lactic acid in the meat.” The ash plays an important part, too: its alkalinity contributes a mineral quality to the fruit, a flavor reminiscent of grass-fed, dry-aged beef.

The salt also begins to expel water from the cantaloupe, while the ash binds with pectins to enhance the texture of the fruit’s “skin” and “muscle.” From there, the cantaloupes are hot-smoked for seven hours (“We use smoke to cheat a flavor that’s commonly associated with meat,” says Horowitz), then baked for three more to concentrate and create new flavors; they are then dehydrated to drive off additional moisture.

The result is a fillet with an actual skin, and though there’s no fat involved, it feels as juicy in the mouth as a steak would. It’s rich and smoky, like brisket with whispers of black pepper, pine, and a roasted pumpkin. It tastes nothing like cantaloupe.

And on a planet facing rising temperatures, swelling oceans, and shrinking supplies of fossil fuels, Horowitz’s frankenfood isn’t just a cool culinary trick. It’s a serious model for food that doesn’t suck in a future that likely will.

In case you had any doubt, the future of Earth is fucked. Global temperatures are skyrocketing, Antarctica is melting into the sea, and pollution kills more people than every disease, war, and terrorist attack put together.

As the catastrophe worsens, our diets will feel the pain, particularly in the US. where the average American eats 200 pounds of animal flesh a year — a whopping 1,500% more than the typical Nigerian. But it’s a global issue, especially considering world meat consumption is on the rise, especially in developing nations hardest hit by climate change.

Something’s gotta give. Meat is by far the most resource-intensive food we produce, and is responsible for 12% of the carbon emissions that cause global warming. At some point, whether it’s through rising prices, supply shortages, political intervention, or climate activism, we’ll have to eat less meat. So, what will we eat instead?

Many are banking on lab-grown meat — that is, animal muscle tissue cultured without a living animal — and several companies are racing to be the first to market. That includes Mosa Meat, a European startup; Memphis Meats and Finless Foods in the Bay Area; and SuperMeat in Israel. Each has the same goal: ethically sound, edible animal tissue at a lower environmental impact than conventional methods.

While we might see these products on store shelves within five years, the underlying technology raises some questions. Will it ever become sustainable? Won’t it carry the same nutritional problems of a meat-heavy diet? And will it just substitute one pound of flesh for another when we’d all do better eating less of both?

Other enterprises, such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, are developing a new generation of plant-based meat substitutes, ditching tofu and seitan for high-tech amalgamations of pea proteins, and even creating burgers that “bleed” beet juice. But these approaches also face problems: A major part of the environmental and nutritional problems of our food system is the rise of monocultures that accompany industrially centralized, meat- and dairy-heavy diets. Say these products become massive successes, and we replace expanses of the cropland allocated to the soy used in cattle feed to grow peas for next-gen veggie burgers. That’d be a start — a big, important start — but can we rely on meat replacements to cure us of meat’s ills? Not entirely.

Horowitz isn’t looking to make a meat substitute. “I really admire with they’re doing,” he says of Impossible Foods and its kin. “I see [their burgers] as more of a gateway drug for people, to lure them into preparing whole vegetables the way we’ve prepared meats for thousands of years. The foods I’m making should be their own thing, not try to [completely] mimic meat.”

He doesn’t expect the cantaloupe burger (or the cantaloupe nuggets that he’s still A/B testing) to become big sellers. “The point is to shift the outlook on what we can eat,” he explains. “Let’s make something new with these foods and make it as accessible to people as possible. I’d love to be able to go to the grocery store and see beef steaks and salmon steaks and watermelon steaks right next to each other.”

The idea of using low-impact plants to replicate the satisfaction of costly meat is far from new. Indonesians have been cooking unripe jackfruit as a savory, meaty ingredient forever, such as in gudeg, a curry of young jackfruit that looks a lot like shredded pork and is frequently treated as such. When McDonald’s India wanted to cater to its vegetarian clientele, it skipped veggie burgers for the classic aloo tikki, a spiced potato croquette that’s pretty magical on a bun. And breadfruit, long a staple of Caribbean and Pacific Islander diets, takes well to many of the same cooking methods as meat. It’s so nutritious and easy to grow that a cadre of scientists and evangelists even consider it a potential cure for global hunger.

Even for Horowitz, the cantaloupes are just one of many veggie-based experiments he has curing and smoking away in his kitchens. (He is also the owner of the lauded pastrami shop Harry & Ida’s.) The chef is turning old carrots, too fat and ugly to serve, into snappy-skinned hot dogs, and recently cured a batch of watermelon radish into a kind of charcuterie. Soon, he and his partners will launch a line of chewy, umami-laden jerky made of kelp for the retail market.

The mindset of embracing fruits and vegetables is becoming increasingly popular among cooks and technologists developing the next generation of plant-based food: reliant neither on grilled portobello steaks and their ilk as sad imitations of better ingredients, nor soy-heavy substitutes like tofurkey. In Finland, that’s meant a product made of nutrient-dense oats and beans as a ground meat alternative. In Petaluma, California, people are lining up to taste The Drawing Board’s “lox” made from shaved, cured carrots. And Whole Foods stores in Los Angeles now sell Ahimi, a tomato product that replicates the taste and texture of endangered bluefin tuna with surprising success.

Horowitz’s cantaloupe burgers are a herculean task for any restaurant to take on. But scale production up to industrial proportions and it starts making more sense. Consider an urban rooftop planted with row after row of cantaloupes growing in a water-recycling hydroponic garden. When the fruits are ripe, robots pick them and send them down a few floors to a processing center where the cantaloupes get cured, smoked, cooked, and packaged for local businesses. One such business is located on the ground floor and it’s a burger joint, of course, where cantaloupe burgers get served in compostable corn-fiber baskets to passers-by.

This may sound like science fiction, but the technology’s all here today. And it’s a more appetizing future than one reliant on in-vitro animal protein, or, say, nutrition blocks made from ground-up bugs.

“We still don’t know what our staple crops of the future will be,” Horowitz says. In the meantime, our best plan is to diversify our nutritional holdings. Even if cantaloupe meat doesn’t become the killer app that saves the planet, it points toward a critical way of thinking: using the best of what we have to make new kinds of nutrition, rather than reinventing the foods that are already killing us.

Source: Thrillist

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