The health benefits of a plant-based diet

In 2017, I switched to a vegetarian diet…I admit I tried full vegan but found the occasional eggs and real cheese to be hard to give up.  I’ll work my way towards 100% plant-based eventually…especially as I keep reading about the various health benefits of such a diet!  If you’re curious, check out this link at Forks Over Knives, it’s a great, brief summary of the health reasons for choosing a plant-based diet.  It’s really pretty crazy when so many ailments in our lives can be addressed with a simple change in diet…and yes, giving up meat really *is* simple!  Well except for eggs and cheese. 😉  But if those can at least be minimized, your health will still benefit!

Ice cream sandwiches don’t melt?

Gross reports on a discovery a local mom stumbled upon.  Walmart-brand ice cream sandwiches don’t melt, or rather, they look pretty much solid even after being left out overnight.  I bet you can guess why!  Yep, it’s not what most people think of as ice cream.  To reduce cost, they’ve substituted cord syrup, guar gum, and cellulose gum for the milk-based products we’d normally expect.  Yuck.

Read more here: Why don’t ice cream sandwiches melt anymore? – 7NEWS Denver

Beef: the most environmentally harmful animal product

PNAS-beef-animal-productsBad news for beef lovers.  Another study has shown that the most environmentally harmful animal in the American diet is beef.  Compared to pork, poultry, or eggs in a per-calorie comparison, beef  was worse in every measure – water, land, fertilizer.  It’s useful information for those who are considering cutting meat from their diet for environmental reasons…a huge first step would be to just minimize how much beef and dairy you consume.  There’s no way I’m cutting beef out of my diet entirely…I’m too much of a steak lover for that!  Including more poultry and pork looks like a good move though.

Read more at TreeHugger: Scientists identify the most environmentally harmful animal product in the American diet : TreeHugger.

Would you eat synthetic meat?

test_tube_burgerAs you probably heard already, researchers in Europe have managed to grow meat in laboratory conditions, starting out with cow stem cells.  They even went a step further and cooked and ate the meat, reporting ho-hum results – the lack of fat was an issue.  As my grandfather used to say, “The fat is where the flavor is.”  Indeed.  So flavor aside, it proved to be a pretty decent substitute, reportedly.  The potential here is huge…meat production is widely criticized as not only inhumane, but a significant contributor of greenhouse gas.  As the population grows, demand for food will grow with it, so this has the potential to greatly help offset that demand.

What I found really interesting though was a question on FastCompany – Would vegans and vegetarians eat synthetic meat?  It’s an interesting conundrum (YES!  I’ve been wanting to use that word in a post for a while now).  There’s also the aspect of food safety…with concerns like Mad Cow Disease, growth hormones, pink slime, etc, the idea of a tightly controlled lab environment for your food supply has its appeal.

Others are working on the synthetic meat problem too, and with backers such as Sergey Brin, Bill Gates, and Peter Thiel throwing their support at these projects, I think it’s only a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’, you’ll be ordering a test tube burger at McDonald’s within the next decade.

Study finds 84% of all fish have unsafe levels of mercury

fish-2961289136516LOiThis is one of those stories I find almost too scary to be true…yet I don’t see reason to doubt it.  A study by the Biodiversity Research Institute (link) found that 84% of fish have levels of mercury that are unsafe, posing a health risk to humans.  So on the one hand, we’re told to eat more fish, it’s good for you…yeah well except for the mercury part of it. 🙁  Relative to other countries, fish in the US tested better, with a bit more than 40% of samples above the recommend mercury levels.  Most other countries ranked higher, in the 90+% range.  Swordfish and tuna rank as the worst (highest mercury concentrations).

(via CBS News)