Food

The Impossible Burger and Earth's Future

An Impossible Burger has been ordered at the Salty Dog in Brooklyn, New York. The thick red patty is placed on the grill, and the heavenly smell of cooking meat fills the air. The burger is cooked to still slightly pink perfection, crispy and brown on the outside, and nestled into a bun with a crown of lettuce and tomato. A handful of golden fries are laid alongside, and the burger is taken out to the hungry guest. The patron bites into the juicy burger, enjoying the glorious sin that is perfectly cooked beef.

Except there is no beef in it.

The Impossible Burger is part of the artificial meat movement, a growing phenomenon where meat is consumed in every possible manner, without ever once slaughtering an animal to get it. Gone are the days where carnivores had to choose between their ideals about the environment, and their desire to sink their teeth into a fresh and juicy steak.

Faux meat, such as the Impossible Burger, uses the power of heme to make their burgers so realistic. Heme, which is found in animal blood and is responsible for much of the flavor we associate with meat, is also found in the roots of legumes. These foods have come a long way from the lackluster bean patties of yesterday, but they aren't the only option now for carnivores with a conscience.

Another option currently being worked on by scientists is lab grown meat. While lab grown meant has been around for over a decade, you haven't seen it in the supermarket yet because of its costs. The first burger patty grown without the need to slaughter a cow cost $323,000 to produce. The cost of it now? $11.

While it may be a few more years before these lab produced meats become widely available, the growing demand for meat that doesn't impact the environment has been heard loud and clear by investors all around the world.  The reason for this shift isn't about our emotional bond with livestock, although this has been the main reason people have stopped eating meat in the past. It is due to a far more urgent reality: Agriculture is currently responsible for 16% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Outside of the energy sector, agriculture has the largest impact on global warming.

While 16% might seem like a small amount, this is actually around 6 billion tons of GHGs flooding into our atmosphere every year. Most of those carbon emissions come from livestock, from ruminants in particular. As Earth's temperatures rise, the alarming state the world is in has put extensive pressure on countries around the world to do something about it, and fast. Island nations such as the Maldives and Nauru may completely disappear due to climate change, and some nations have already been forced to relocate due to rising sea waters.

Greenhouse gases aren't the only issues the intensive farming of animals is causing the planet. 80% of amazon forest clearing is so that farmers can raise cattle in the cleared areas. This magnifies the problem by removing carbon sequestering trees while at the same time adding methane producing cows. 

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The deforestation is responsible for yet another crisis the planet is facing, the mass extinction of animals. On any given day, 150-200 animal species go extinct. These include animals we are familiar with, such as the West African black rhinoceros, which was declared extinct in 2011. Others are animals we don't even know about yet, dying because of narrow ranges destroyed by habitat loss. While extinction is a normal part of nature, this is several times the normal rate of extinction, and much of it is attributed to agriculture.

These alarming statistics are pretty conclusive evidence against keeping livestock, but culture is a powerful thing. For the majority of first world citizens, the idea of losing their beloved burgers is a hard one to accept, and it is easier to turn a blind eye on global warming or point at other, easier things to fix, than to change your lifestyle to match your ideals.

While this may seem like a petty excuse, it is one that needs to be addressed if real change is going to take place. Ending meat consumption is hard, and big business doesn't make it any easier. We are constantly surrounded by advertisements tempting us to eat more and more, and meat as well as other animal products are heavily subsidized.

When a bunch of carrots costs more than a burger off the dollar menu, choosing the option that is better for the planet gets a whole lot harder. If the true price of meat, dairy, and other animal products were reflected in the prices, meat eaters themselves might well find the strength to stop the cycle themselves. For some, who may even want to make the switch to a healthier lifestyle such as veganism or even a Mediterranean diet, which is less environmentally destructive, it is impossible. They are simply priced out of the market.

Source:  Eater

Source: Eater

In the Fake America controlled by subsidies, milk sometimes costs less than $2 a gallon, and eggs can go for as little as $0.99. If the true prices were reflected on the store shelves instead of in our taxes, that gallon of milk could be as much as $6 a gallon, and so could the eggs.

In the mean time, those who care about the environment and truly want to save the planet are surrounded by difficult choices every day. It's thanks to incredibly realistic faux meats like The Impossible Burger, and lab grown meats that don't require the intensive farming cheap meat does, that other options are now on the table.

We need to make a shift in our diets in order for the next generation to have a future at all. That much is clear. Doing so requires a social shift that may seem impossible, but with the help of scientists and other researchers all around the world, that change is becoming easier every day. 

Click here to find where to try the Impossible Burger.

The Mediterranean Diet Explained

If you've ever looked into healthy eating styles, you've probably heard about the Mediterranean diet. This diet is considered one of the healthiest lifestyle changes out there according to most dietitians and doctors, and there are a variety of books and articles on the subject.

The problem is that there is simply so much information out there, it can be difficult to define what the Mediterranean diet is. Fortunately, understanding the Mediterranean diet, and even switching to it, is relatively easy.

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What the Mediterranean Diet consists of

Rather than completely excluding you from any one nutrition source, except possibly processed foods, the Mediterranean diet embraces most food groups. Eating the Mediterranean diet doesn't mean cutting out carbs or saying no to meat. It is instead, choosing to eat mostly fruits and vegetables, supported by whole grains, lean meats, and the occasional glass of wine.

Because the Mediterranean diet consists of the food eaten by the native people of 23 different countries, there's a great deal of variety in what is considered acceptable. The focus is on fresh, wholesome, foods over highly processed ones.

So what foods specifically can you expect? Here are a couple of great options found commonly in almost all Mediterranean countries.

Salads

All Mediterranean countries serve salads, and plenty of them. Dieters who never want to see another lettuce leaf again may feel disappointed at first, until they see the dazzling toppings often included on these leafy treats. Mediterranean salads often feature a delicious blend of fruits, nuts, dressings, and other toppings to make that arugula and kale go down easily.

Fish and other Seafoods

When we think of the Mediterranean, we think of the sea, tropical beaches, and palm trees. It should come as no surprise then to learn that the Mediterranean diet consists of lots of seafood. Fish contain omega 3 fatty acids which are often neglected in the American diet, and can boost your cognitive function as well as your mood. Adding seafood of any kind is a great way to make your meals healthier.

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Flat breads

Mediterranean diets include a type of bread called pita, a bread that has gained attention through the health world because of its excellent flavor and wholesome nutrition. This flat bread is used with a host of different dips, running from hummus to olive oil, and so much more. Flat bread is a major component of this diet, and it should definitely be included in yours if you plan to switch.

How to adopt the Mediterranean Diet

If you want to lose weight, lower your risk of heart disease, and embrace a healthy lifestyle that doesn't limit you to a single food group, the Mediterranean Diet is the right choice for you. To get started, all you need to do is to incorporate more of these foods into your diet. Choose a variety of colors on your plate, including vegetables in every color and fruits as well. Enjoy lean meats, sea food, and snack away on your pita bread and dips. The Mediterranean diet even allows for some alcohol—wine in particular, in moderation.

Long term studies have followed the Mediterranean diet, and have found it to be an extremely healthy way to live. 

Watch: How to Make a Quick and Delicious Green Smoothie

Have heard about the health benefits of juicing and fresh smoothies, but don't know where to start? Have you tried a bottle from your local grocery store, and want to recreate those recipes at home for half of the cost?

In this video, Drea Beauty walks us through her green smoothie recipe that is packed with fiber from spinach, protein from bananas, and other essential nutrients from the rest of the ingredients- all while tasting great. We even tried it!

(Scroll below for the full recipe)

Green Spinach Smoothie Recipe

- 3 to 5 cups of Spinach (freeze for a thicker smoothie)

- 1/2 Banana

- 1 cup of Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

- 1-2 scoops of Orgain Organic Chocolate Fudge Protein Powder

- Powdered Peanut Butter to taste

- Ground Cinnamon to taste

It's Never Too Early to Start Eating Healthy

"I’m in my mid-twenties, and I’m untouchable." Or… that’s what some of us tend to think.

Recently, I had a doctor’s appointment. I like to think I’m pretty healthy. I track what I eat and keep under a calorie amount, I work out four times a week, and I live a pretty positive lifestyle. So, imagine my surprise when I learn that my blood pressure has jumped up in the past few years.

Eat less salt, lose some weight, and add more vegetables into your diet.

That’s what I was told. I hardly feel like I’m old enough to be considered an adult, and here I am worrying about blood pressure. It really woke me up. Eating healthy isn’t just important for the elder demographics. It’s important for me, and it’s important for you.

There are a million and one reasons why it’s important that humans of all ages eat healthy. Food pyramids aren’t a joke, and neither were Michelle Obama’s initiatives to get America healthy. But despite the clear reasons for why we should, and the innumerable resources for how we should, many of us still opt not to eat healthy.

Eating healthy isn’t convenient. I know this. But your heart doesn’t care what’s convenient, and it’s time we all took a page out of the ol’ science book. If you throw convenience out the window and focus on the benefits of what spending a little time in the kitchen with a grocery bag full of healthy whole foods, I think you’ll start to agree with your heart.

Source:  Flickr

Source: Flickr

Other than… well… health, what are the benefits of having a healthy diet? Here are a few benefits to healthy eating that you might find endearing if you’re anything like me:

You’ll be more productive.

The cheap gas at the pump is tempting, but we all know that the higher-octane fuel is higher performance and better for the car, right? Think of food the same way. Though fruits and vegetables often aren’t expensive, we put them aside in favor of more tasty and fun foods like fruit snacks and chocolate chip cookies. However, when we put the “high octane” foods into our bodies, they run more efficiently. Easy in, easy out. Studies show that an unhealthy diet can cause you to lose up to 66% of your productivity. Ouch.

You’ll spend less money.

The idea that eating healthy is an expensive endeavor is a myth. Produce is some of the cheapest food you can get at the grocery store, and it’s the perfect fuel for our bodies. Sure, most healthy diets also include meat, which is the most expensive, but meat is ideally consumed in moderation. Get your protein needs from plant sources like legumes, beans, and soy, and stock up on produce and healthy grains, and then add in some meat (or vitamin b12 supplements if you’re vegan/vegetarian), and you can eat three square meals a day on a budget. Plus, your life insurance will cost less. So that’s… a benefit. I guess. Does anybody have life insurance in their 20s? Hm.

You’ll feel better.

It’s almost like our food helps regulate our hormones. Crazy, right? Sarcasm aside, eating right keeps your mood regulated and helps you stay more upbeat. This is because when we eat right, we keep our blood sugar down and our vitamins and minerals up. This lessens our risk of depression and increases our feelings of well-being, our focus, and keeps our stress levels down by keeping the stress hormone cortisol at bay. Phew.

Though healthy eating does help with mood, it is not a substitute for antidepressants. Please consult with your doctor about your medication before ever stopping it yourself.

Okay. We’ve scratched the surface of why we all should eat healthy and have a well-rounded diet. There are tons of other reasons why healthy eating is vital to our lives, not the least of which is… our lives. Healthy diets keep us alive longer and make our lives better along the way. So, make those changes in your life and adopt healthier habits around your eating. Some changes you might want to consider include:

  • Limiting sweets and processed foods to take up only 20% of your diet (at most).

  • Adding more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

  • Eating a variety of colors of produce. Color corresponds to different vitamins and minerals, so a variety will make sure you cover your bases.

  • Drinking lots of water instead of other drinks.

  • Knowing how many calories you should be eating a day and be mindful not to exceed that number.

The effort to make the changes will pay off exponentially. Now, go treat yourself to some lettuce and go wild!

6 Simple Recipes That are Easy to Make and Taste Great

Now that February is here, are you still trying to eat healthy into the New Year? 

Whether it's berry smoothie bowls, sweet potato fries, grilled vegetable skewers, baked ratatouille, tomato pesto salmon, or shrimp asparagus stir fry - this step by step walkthrough video made by Tasty breaks down how easy it can be to keep up with your healthy eating goals!

Because a lot of healthy recipes can be made out of whole ingredients, it doesn't have to take a long time or be difficult to prepare a meal that tastes great and is great for you!

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