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Super Food Designed To Match Your Genome: Star Trek Reality
Let’s admit it, most of us are doing a somewhat subpar job of feeding ourselves and our dependants. We are running down the aisles of the supermarket in search of something that is relatively healthy, quick to prepare, and will not lead to too much resistance from your kids. With all the pressure that we face in our day to day lives, it is understandable that we opt for ordering in pizza or dropping by the fastfood joint down the street more than we ideally would like. Even for those self-proclaimed #foodies, occupied with preparing and photographing the most gorgeous looking new superfoods, this whole food thing can get pretty confusing. A food that is hailed as the healthier, more sustainable option one month, can easily be ostracised the next month, citing a wide range of shocking health concerns. It is just a matter of time before avocados, oat milk and acai fruit will be run over by the next big food hype. Unclear food standards A big part of the problem is that we are not sure on how to feed ourselves. Not really, anyway. How much easier would it be if we could just get an objective and decisive plan that outlines what we should and should not eat and drink? Sure, there are seemingly impartial guidelines, often sponsored by governments and health institutes. The thing is that those seem to change every so many years, including new food groups that are apparently indispensable to our health, and excluding previously commonly accepted foods as being undesirable. While some might instantly point at the lobbyists and big food corporations, and their inherent interest in getting ‘their’ foods whitelisted, no matter the cost, this is not a discussion that I would like to get into now. Instead, I’d like to focus on a potential solution that has been discussed more and more in recent years. Moving away from one-size-fits-all diets After all, some of the confusion does stem from the fact that we are all different. Some of us have food intolerances or allergies, while others have specific health concerns that require a certain diet. Sporters require different nutrients than the occupants of your local elderly home. As such, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to food. This makes it harder to draw a hard line separating ‘the bad’ from ‘the good’ and everything in-between. As such, the ideal solution that has been proposed is a rather futuristic and Star Trek-esque one. Its basic premise is that food can be specifically engineered to match your personal genome. Our personal diet will be customised to ensure that it best suits us. As such, it might include ingredients that would absolutely bloat your neighbour if he were to eat it; while simultaneously his diet will have you running for the loo several times per day. Personalised nutrition This whole idea of personalised nutrition can bring much needed clarity in this food world of hazy intolerances and limits. We are not meant to be eating the same thing - all of us require different nutrients in varying quantities. Research has shown that our innate biological response to certain food items can vary wildly. For instance, in a study performed by Israeli researchers in 2015, people were presented with a brand of sugary ice cream. Their glucose levels were carefully monitored - only to find that while some showed a definite blood glucose ‘spike’, it barely registered for others. A groundbreaking finding, that paved the way for personalised nutrition enthusiasts. Genetic testing Up to now, much nutritional research assumed that all human beings were the same and would therefore react to similar food groups in a similar fashion. However, much of how we ‘handle’ food is determined by our genetics, specific microbes in our gut, as well as some distinct variations in our organs’ internal physiology. This could mean that by performing genetic testing, you can come up with a personalised diet that best suits someone’s physiology as a whole.   Today, various companies and dozens of researchers around the world are rallying around this idea and performing exhaustive genetic DNA testing to figure out exactly which genes correlate with which innate food preferences. According to Jeffrey Blumberg, who serves as a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, DNA testing is not just the key to a better understanding of our bodies - it is also key to developing personalised nutrition: “ I’ll be able to tell you what kinds of fruits, what kinds of vegetables and what kinds of wholegrains you should be choosing, or exactly how often .” Cooking in the future And yes, some of you might already cry fowl at the thought of having to prepare individual meals for each member of your family - let alone go through the shopping process, equipped with an exhaustive list of do’s and don’ts for every member.   Thankfully, this is something that is worked on as well - for instance through engineered food products. Many scientists are hoping that by 2028, we will be able to ‘create’ our own superfoods. Chef robots are already being developed, who will have a nutritious, delicious meal waiting for you once you get home. He won’t mind having to tend to everyone’s individual wishes: his robotic arms are happy to cut, chop and stir away. Robots and 3D printers Besides this sous-chef robot, more kitchen innovations are coming up to make your life easier - including smart appliances and digital kitchen assistants. The shopping part will be significantly easier as well: what to think about smart fridges, capable of analysing and predicting? They will automatically place an order at your supermarket when you are out of eggs, and while it’s on it, order the ingredients for the dishes that your smart oven picked out for you tonight.   Or, perhaps there won’t even be supermarkets in 2028 - much like Star Trek’s replicators, 3D printers are slowly but steadily moving into the food space. 3D printers can be equipped with various ingredient capsules, that can be used to quite literally ‘print’ your lunch or dinner - using the exact nutrients and ingredients that suit your personal palette. Naturally enhanced foods Still clinging on to the idea of ‘natural’ foods? Well, then rest assured that those will certainly be able to live up to your personal genome as well. Through the engineering of food, certain food stuffs can be made to be more nutritious - like provitamin A-infused bananas -, or even healthier - like re-engineered junk food that uses only a fraction of the sugars and fats that are required today. All of this is achieved through genetics and bimolecular science, where DNA from one organism can be inserted into another - enriching the receiving organism with… well, quite literally any characteristic you would like it to have. Food purists will once again cry fowl at the idea: engineered food isn’t natural, they claim. Food is something that should not be experimented with. Those arguments are easy to counter, though, as nature has been performing this kind of engineering for centuries.   Evolution on steroids Genetic engineering is basically evolution on steroids, that uses interspecies breeding to come up with new and improved species. Without this process, we wouldn’t have our orange carrots (they were originally white), or our firm, sweet peaches (which used to be the size of cherries and very salty), or even our favourite summer snack of watermelons, that used to be small, round, hard and bitter. Nutritionally enhanced crops are all around us - and its benefits have been all too clear. Even more promising, now that genetics is moving into the area of DNA-editing, the genetic code of species can be cracked. A huge opportunity to alter the genetic codes of plants to better suit our personal genomes - and eventually improve our health tremendously.   Good food, happy people Good food makes everyone happy. This is why it is in your interest as well as mine to continue this groundbreaking research in ways of both understanding our own personal food genomes; as well as catering to it using enhanced, engineered food, specifically designed to fit you personally.   Still doubting whether this is the right way to go? Well, with almost 40 percent of all adults overweight or (morbidly) obese - a number that is growing steadily -, and obesity-related illnesses on the rise with no possible cure for this ‘obesity-epidemic’ in sight, it seems to me that we’ve got little to lose. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/food
Let’s admit it, most of us are doing a somewhat subpar job of feeding ourselves and our dependants. We are running down the aisles of the supermarket in search of something that is relatively healthy, quick to prepare, and will not lead to too much resistance from your kids. With all the pressure that we face in our day to day lives, it is understandable that we opt for ordering in pizza or dropping by the fastfood joint down the street more than we ideally would like. Even for those self-proclaimed #foodies, occupied with preparing and photographing the most gorgeous looking new superfoods, this whole food thing can get pretty confusing. A food that is hailed as the healthier, more sustainable option one month, can easily be ostracised the next month, citing a wide range of shocking health concerns. It is just a matter of time before avocados, oat milk and acai fruit will be run over by the next big food hype. Unclear food standards A big part of the problem is that we are not sure on how to feed ourselves. Not really, anyway. How much easier would it be if we could just get an objective and decisive plan that outlines what we should and should not eat and drink? Sure, there are seemingly impartial guidelines, often sponsored by governments and health institutes. The thing is that those seem to change every so many years, including new food groups that are apparently indispensable to our health, and excluding previously commonly accepted foods as being undesirable. While some might instantly point at the lobbyists and big food corporations, and their inherent interest in getting ‘their’ foods whitelisted, no matter the cost, this is not a discussion that I would like to get into now. Instead, I’d like to focus on a potential solution that has been discussed more and more in recent years. Moving away from one-size-fits-all diets After all, some of the confusion does stem from the fact that we are all different. Some of us have food intolerances or allergies, while others have specific health concerns that require a certain diet. Sporters require different nutrients than the occupants of your local elderly home. As such, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to food. This makes it harder to draw a hard line separating ‘the bad’ from ‘the good’ and everything in-between. As such, the ideal solution that has been proposed is a rather futuristic and Star Trek-esque one. Its basic premise is that food can be specifically engineered to match your personal genome. Our personal diet will be customised to ensure that it best suits us. As such, it might include ingredients that would absolutely bloat your neighbour if he were to eat it; while simultaneously his diet will have you running for the loo several times per day. Personalised nutrition This whole idea of personalised nutrition can bring much needed clarity in this food world of hazy intolerances and limits. We are not meant to be eating the same thing - all of us require different nutrients in varying quantities. Research has shown that our innate biological response to certain food items can vary wildly. For instance, in a study performed by Israeli researchers in 2015, people were presented with a brand of sugary ice cream. Their glucose levels were carefully monitored - only to find that while some showed a definite blood glucose ‘spike’, it barely registered for others. A groundbreaking finding, that paved the way for personalised nutrition enthusiasts. Genetic testing Up to now, much nutritional research assumed that all human beings were the same and would therefore react to similar food groups in a similar fashion. However, much of how we ‘handle’ food is determined by our genetics, specific microbes in our gut, as well as some distinct variations in our organs’ internal physiology. This could mean that by performing genetic testing, you can come up with a personalised diet that best suits someone’s physiology as a whole.   Today, various companies and dozens of researchers around the world are rallying around this idea and performing exhaustive genetic DNA testing to figure out exactly which genes correlate with which innate food preferences. According to Jeffrey Blumberg, who serves as a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, DNA testing is not just the key to a better understanding of our bodies - it is also key to developing personalised nutrition: “ I’ll be able to tell you what kinds of fruits, what kinds of vegetables and what kinds of wholegrains you should be choosing, or exactly how often .” Cooking in the future And yes, some of you might already cry fowl at the thought of having to prepare individual meals for each member of your family - let alone go through the shopping process, equipped with an exhaustive list of do’s and don’ts for every member.   Thankfully, this is something that is worked on as well - for instance through engineered food products. Many scientists are hoping that by 2028, we will be able to ‘create’ our own superfoods. Chef robots are already being developed, who will have a nutritious, delicious meal waiting for you once you get home. He won’t mind having to tend to everyone’s individual wishes: his robotic arms are happy to cut, chop and stir away. Robots and 3D printers Besides this sous-chef robot, more kitchen innovations are coming up to make your life easier - including smart appliances and digital kitchen assistants. The shopping part will be significantly easier as well: what to think about smart fridges, capable of analysing and predicting? They will automatically place an order at your supermarket when you are out of eggs, and while it’s on it, order the ingredients for the dishes that your smart oven picked out for you tonight.   Or, perhaps there won’t even be supermarkets in 2028 - much like Star Trek’s replicators, 3D printers are slowly but steadily moving into the food space. 3D printers can be equipped with various ingredient capsules, that can be used to quite literally ‘print’ your lunch or dinner - using the exact nutrients and ingredients that suit your personal palette. Naturally enhanced foods Still clinging on to the idea of ‘natural’ foods? Well, then rest assured that those will certainly be able to live up to your personal genome as well. Through the engineering of food, certain food stuffs can be made to be more nutritious - like provitamin A-infused bananas -, or even healthier - like re-engineered junk food that uses only a fraction of the sugars and fats that are required today. All of this is achieved through genetics and bimolecular science, where DNA from one organism can be inserted into another - enriching the receiving organism with… well, quite literally any characteristic you would like it to have. Food purists will once again cry fowl at the idea: engineered food isn’t natural, they claim. Food is something that should not be experimented with. Those arguments are easy to counter, though, as nature has been performing this kind of engineering for centuries.   Evolution on steroids Genetic engineering is basically evolution on steroids, that uses interspecies breeding to come up with new and improved species. Without this process, we wouldn’t have our orange carrots (they were originally white), or our firm, sweet peaches (which used to be the size of cherries and very salty), or even our favourite summer snack of watermelons, that used to be small, round, hard and bitter. Nutritionally enhanced crops are all around us - and its benefits have been all too clear. Even more promising, now that genetics is moving into the area of DNA-editing, the genetic code of species can be cracked. A huge opportunity to alter the genetic codes of plants to better suit our personal genomes - and eventually improve our health tremendously.   Good food, happy people Good food makes everyone happy. This is why it is in your interest as well as mine to continue this groundbreaking research in ways of both understanding our own personal food genomes; as well as catering to it using enhanced, engineered food, specifically designed to fit you personally.   Still doubting whether this is the right way to go? Well, with almost 40 percent of all adults overweight or (morbidly) obese - a number that is growing steadily -, and obesity-related illnesses on the rise with no possible cure for this ‘obesity-epidemic’ in sight, it seems to me that we’ve got little to lose. https://www.whatsorb.com/category/food
Super Food Designed To Match Your Genome: Star Trek Reality
Super Food Designed To Match Your Genome: Star Trek Reality
Our Food System Under Threat By Decline In Biodiversity
According to an UN study, the future of our food system is in danger. That’s because the plants, animals and micro-organisms that are the bedrock of food production are in decline. If these critical species are lost, the report says, it "places the future of our food system under severe threat". Because of pollution, climate change and land-use changes, biodiversity is decreasing. How bad is this threat and what can we do about it? The UN report is the first such study of its kind, using date gathered in 91 countries by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It says. Biodiversity is the diversity of plants, animals and other organisms that provide us with food, fuel and fibre. It includes pollinators like bees, that provide essential services, and worms, mangroves, sea grasses and fungi which work to keep soils fertile and purify the air and water. Biodiversity in a  sustainable way Many of the species that support food and agriculture are under threat or declining. While species friendly policies are increasing, they are not growing quickly enough, scientists say. Around a thousand wild food species, mainly plants, fish and mammals are decreasing in abundance. "Biodiversity is critical for safeguarding global food security, underpinning healthy and nutritious diets, improving rural livelihoods, and enhancing the resilience of people and communities," said FAO's Director-General José Graziano da Silva. "We need to use biodiversity in a sustainable way, so that we can better respond to rising climate change challenges and produce food in a way that doesn't harm our environment." A smaller number of foodstuffs to feed a growing population According to the study, the world is relying on an ever smaller number of foodstuffs to feed a growing population that's expected to rise to around ten billion people by 2050. Of the 6,000 plant species cultivated for food, just nine account for 66% of total crop production. The world's livestock production is based on around 40 species with only a handful providing the vast majority of meat, milk and eggs. The scale of threat to food The lack of biodiversity can leave food production much more vulnerable to shocks, such as outbreaks of disease and pests. The new study highlights a number of examples where the loss of biodiversity is impacting people's lives and diets. The Gambia says that large losses of wild foods have forced communities to turn to industrially processed foods to supplement their diets. Several countries including Ireland, Norway, Poland and Switzerland report declines in bumblebees. In Oman, the loss of pollinator populations due to extreme heat associated with climate change has seen the decline of wild food, including figs and berries. There are several causes for biodiversity loss, such as pollution, population growth and urbanisation and climate change. Other significant drivers of biodiversity loss are overexploitation and overharvesting and changes in land and water use and management. How countries fix the decline The report highlights a number of what it terms "biodiversity friendly practices" that are on the rise. Some 80% of the countries reporting say that they follow one or more of these approaches. Some examples: in Argentina, some 560,000 home gardens and 12,000 school and community gardens have been created and are providing food for an estimated 2.8 million people. In California, farmers are now allowing their rice fields to be flooded after harvest instead of burning them, opening 111,000 hectares of surrogate wetlands and open space for 230 bird species. Farmers in Ghana are planting cassava plants on field margins which produce huge amounts of nectar, attracting bees and other species, leading to higher yields. While these are lauded, the problem according to the FAO is that these changes aren't happening quickly enough. "It is very positive to see that countries are adopting more and more practices that contribute to sustainable food production across the globe. However, sometimes increased adoption is coming from a very low starting point." What you can do As an consumer, you have an enormous power to drive change. Buy sustainably grown products from farmers markets, or boycott foods that are seen to be unsustainable. In the report, it came out strongly that the role of citizens are of an enormous importance. Cover photo by:   Hamish Secrett https://www.whatsorb.com/category/food
According to an UN study, the future of our food system is in danger. That’s because the plants, animals and micro-organisms that are the bedrock of food production are in decline. If these critical species are lost, the report says, it "places the future of our food system under severe threat". Because of pollution, climate change and land-use changes, biodiversity is decreasing. How bad is this threat and what can we do about it? The UN report is the first such study of its kind, using date gathered in 91 countries by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It says. Biodiversity is the diversity of plants, animals and other organisms that provide us with food, fuel and fibre. It includes pollinators like bees, that provide essential services, and worms, mangroves, sea grasses and fungi which work to keep soils fertile and purify the air and water. Biodiversity in a  sustainable way Many of the species that support food and agriculture are under threat or declining. While species friendly policies are increasing, they are not growing quickly enough, scientists say. Around a thousand wild food species, mainly plants, fish and mammals are decreasing in abundance. "Biodiversity is critical for safeguarding global food security, underpinning healthy and nutritious diets, improving rural livelihoods, and enhancing the resilience of people and communities," said FAO's Director-General José Graziano da Silva. "We need to use biodiversity in a sustainable way, so that we can better respond to rising climate change challenges and produce food in a way that doesn't harm our environment." A smaller number of foodstuffs to feed a growing population According to the study, the world is relying on an ever smaller number of foodstuffs to feed a growing population that's expected to rise to around ten billion people by 2050. Of the 6,000 plant species cultivated for food, just nine account for 66% of total crop production. The world's livestock production is based on around 40 species with only a handful providing the vast majority of meat, milk and eggs. The scale of threat to food The lack of biodiversity can leave food production much more vulnerable to shocks, such as outbreaks of disease and pests. The new study highlights a number of examples where the loss of biodiversity is impacting people's lives and diets. The Gambia says that large losses of wild foods have forced communities to turn to industrially processed foods to supplement their diets. Several countries including Ireland, Norway, Poland and Switzerland report declines in bumblebees. In Oman, the loss of pollinator populations due to extreme heat associated with climate change has seen the decline of wild food, including figs and berries. There are several causes for biodiversity loss, such as pollution, population growth and urbanisation and climate change. Other significant drivers of biodiversity loss are overexploitation and overharvesting and changes in land and water use and management. How countries fix the decline The report highlights a number of what it terms "biodiversity friendly practices" that are on the rise. Some 80% of the countries reporting say that they follow one or more of these approaches. Some examples: in Argentina, some 560,000 home gardens and 12,000 school and community gardens have been created and are providing food for an estimated 2.8 million people. In California, farmers are now allowing their rice fields to be flooded after harvest instead of burning them, opening 111,000 hectares of surrogate wetlands and open space for 230 bird species. Farmers in Ghana are planting cassava plants on field margins which produce huge amounts of nectar, attracting bees and other species, leading to higher yields. While these are lauded, the problem according to the FAO is that these changes aren't happening quickly enough. "It is very positive to see that countries are adopting more and more practices that contribute to sustainable food production across the globe. However, sometimes increased adoption is coming from a very low starting point." What you can do As an consumer, you have an enormous power to drive change. Buy sustainably grown products from farmers markets, or boycott foods that are seen to be unsustainable. In the report, it came out strongly that the role of citizens are of an enormous importance. Cover photo by:   Hamish Secrett https://www.whatsorb.com/category/food
Our Food System Under Threat By Decline In Biodiversity
Our Food System Under Threat By Decline In Biodiversity
Sustainable Food? How Environmental Friendly Is Your Diet?
Farmer-friendly coffee. Fair trade chocolate. Hand-raised chicken eggs. Gluten-free bread rolls. Organically produced soy beans. The  food hypes are popping up left, right, and center. All of them claim to be a fairer, more sustainable and, in most cases, healthier option. Where the past decades were all about producing as much food as possible at the same time, recent years have shown a tendency towards food options that are, mildly put, somewhat more laborious. What about this food that I'm eating? This does not even take the excessive pricing into account. An organically produced, pesticide-free cucumber for 3 euro. Or coffee made from Guatemalan coffee beans, whose farmers are given a fair price for their produce, but that will cost you 6 euro per cup (medium sized, mind you). All of this has split the Western world’s population in two camps. One of them is fiercely dedicated to only buying and eating ‘raw’ or ‘real’ food, and disapprovingly look on as their family members or friends - who belong to the other camp - exclaim that they still prefer to shop at the local hypermarket.   One of the reasons for these new foods not being commonly accepted, is the major confusion that they still often bring along. It appears that food items that are perfectly healthy the one month, turn out to be devil reincarnated the next. So, should we cook with olive oil or is coconut oil the healthier choice? What about quinoa, soy beans, avocado, matcha?   The variety in diets offered just serves to underline this confusion. Should you opt for a carb-free diet, that cuts bread, pasta, cereal, chips and all kind of baked goods from your life? Or is it better to avoid all dairy products, including milk? (A food group that up to recently was listed as one of the basic food groups.) Perhaps leaving out all and any sugars would be preferable. But the paleo-diet might have a certain appeal as well, that philosophises that we should go back to the food that our ancestral caveman ate - so a lot of animal-based protein and fruits and veggies. And while it is most certainly true that our lack of ‘real’ knowledge regarding the best diet (hint: it does not exist) is limited, we are certainly not helped by the food industry. They are trying their hardest to make the task of keeping track of your daily intake nearly impossible. Food labels that should be listing the exact nutritional value and ingredients are fudged or incomplete, and advertising slogans are used that turn out to be rather misleading. Is it real, organic and sustainable ? So, for instance, we might think that these free-range chicken eggs that we bought do their part in giving chickens a better life. But who does actually verify whether those kind of claims are true? Who verifies whether ‘authentic Italian olive oil’ is in fact from Italy? How can you check whether an organically produced soy bean has been sustainably farmed? The real problem here is the transparency of the food chain. As long as we are not able to trace back specific products ‘to their roots’, it will be next to impossible to determine whether certain high standing claims are true. And while these doubts exist and become increasingly more pressing, customers will - partially thinking with their wallet - refuse to hand over extra money for an, in their eyes, identical item. The real added value of authenticity and sustainability is not clear. Why this doubt hurts the environment It is a double-edged sword. While we continue to consume foods that are harming the environment, the food items that are truly sustainably grown are hindered by this perception. And yet there should be a massive movement towards these more sustainable choices: customers must stand up and demand to know what they are eating and how this was produced.   Supermarkets and grocers must do their part in demanding accountability from their suppliers as well. The law of supply and demand will hold: once becomes known that a certain product is blatantly deceiving, and demand drops as a result of that, supply will automatically adjust accordingly. This can be the start of a beneficial vicious cycle, where food producers are forced to live up to the expectations of an increasingly more critical consumer to stay in business. Greenwashing vs sustainability The true cost of certain food items is hidden under a layer of so-called greenwashing . This is a marketing strategy that actively promotes a company and/or its products as being very sustainable and authentic, while it is in fact far from this. The rise of various labels on packagings is a great example of this: only very few of those claims, like ‘organically certified’ or ‘fair-trade’ are actually certified. The remainder is nothing other than marketing slogans. In order to find out the actual costs, including the burden put on society, it is of crucial importance that the food supply chains become more transparant. Only then can we hold the producers responsible and be able to trust in the authenticity of a certain food stuff. Not only healthier for our body - but healthier for the environment, too. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/food/general
Farmer-friendly coffee. Fair trade chocolate. Hand-raised chicken eggs. Gluten-free bread rolls. Organically produced soy beans. The  food hypes are popping up left, right, and center. All of them claim to be a fairer, more sustainable and, in most cases, healthier option. Where the past decades were all about producing as much food as possible at the same time, recent years have shown a tendency towards food options that are, mildly put, somewhat more laborious. What about this food that I'm eating? This does not even take the excessive pricing into account. An organically produced, pesticide-free cucumber for 3 euro. Or coffee made from Guatemalan coffee beans, whose farmers are given a fair price for their produce, but that will cost you 6 euro per cup (medium sized, mind you). All of this has split the Western world’s population in two camps. One of them is fiercely dedicated to only buying and eating ‘raw’ or ‘real’ food, and disapprovingly look on as their family members or friends - who belong to the other camp - exclaim that they still prefer to shop at the local hypermarket.   One of the reasons for these new foods not being commonly accepted, is the major confusion that they still often bring along. It appears that food items that are perfectly healthy the one month, turn out to be devil reincarnated the next. So, should we cook with olive oil or is coconut oil the healthier choice? What about quinoa, soy beans, avocado, matcha?   The variety in diets offered just serves to underline this confusion. Should you opt for a carb-free diet, that cuts bread, pasta, cereal, chips and all kind of baked goods from your life? Or is it better to avoid all dairy products, including milk? (A food group that up to recently was listed as one of the basic food groups.) Perhaps leaving out all and any sugars would be preferable. But the paleo-diet might have a certain appeal as well, that philosophises that we should go back to the food that our ancestral caveman ate - so a lot of animal-based protein and fruits and veggies. And while it is most certainly true that our lack of ‘real’ knowledge regarding the best diet (hint: it does not exist) is limited, we are certainly not helped by the food industry. They are trying their hardest to make the task of keeping track of your daily intake nearly impossible. Food labels that should be listing the exact nutritional value and ingredients are fudged or incomplete, and advertising slogans are used that turn out to be rather misleading. Is it real, organic and sustainable ? So, for instance, we might think that these free-range chicken eggs that we bought do their part in giving chickens a better life. But who does actually verify whether those kind of claims are true? Who verifies whether ‘authentic Italian olive oil’ is in fact from Italy? How can you check whether an organically produced soy bean has been sustainably farmed? The real problem here is the transparency of the food chain. As long as we are not able to trace back specific products ‘to their roots’, it will be next to impossible to determine whether certain high standing claims are true. And while these doubts exist and become increasingly more pressing, customers will - partially thinking with their wallet - refuse to hand over extra money for an, in their eyes, identical item. The real added value of authenticity and sustainability is not clear. Why this doubt hurts the environment It is a double-edged sword. While we continue to consume foods that are harming the environment, the food items that are truly sustainably grown are hindered by this perception. And yet there should be a massive movement towards these more sustainable choices: customers must stand up and demand to know what they are eating and how this was produced.   Supermarkets and grocers must do their part in demanding accountability from their suppliers as well. The law of supply and demand will hold: once becomes known that a certain product is blatantly deceiving, and demand drops as a result of that, supply will automatically adjust accordingly. This can be the start of a beneficial vicious cycle, where food producers are forced to live up to the expectations of an increasingly more critical consumer to stay in business. Greenwashing vs sustainability The true cost of certain food items is hidden under a layer of so-called greenwashing . This is a marketing strategy that actively promotes a company and/or its products as being very sustainable and authentic, while it is in fact far from this. The rise of various labels on packagings is a great example of this: only very few of those claims, like ‘organically certified’ or ‘fair-trade’ are actually certified. The remainder is nothing other than marketing slogans. In order to find out the actual costs, including the burden put on society, it is of crucial importance that the food supply chains become more transparant. Only then can we hold the producers responsible and be able to trust in the authenticity of a certain food stuff. Not only healthier for our body - but healthier for the environment, too. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/food/general
Sustainable Food? How Environmental Friendly Is Your Diet?
Sustainable Food? How Environmental Friendly Is Your Diet?
Wine unplugged: The Age Of the Bordeaux Wine Snob Is Dead
The age of the Bordeaux drinking wine snob is dead, the wines du moment are unfiltered, untamed and a reflection of their terroir. Read on for an introduction to natural wine. If you are into wine, you’ve probably heard about ‘vins nature’ or ‘natural wine’, the unplugged version of wine as we know it. Whereas conventional wine may use up to 60 different additives (!) to improve the aroma, taste and drinkability, natural wines use none. It is wine made from grapes and only grapes. The revival of natural wine Some people consider natural wine as how wine was once meant to be. Before the industrial revolution all wines were natural wines. About 30 years ago French wine maker Marcel Lapierre took over the family domaine from his father in the Beaujolais and noticed a big difference in the traditional methods of winemaking within his family compared to what students were taught at the academy. Inspired by Jules Chauvet – a viticultural prophet who in the 1950’s, upon the rise of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, first spoke out for ‘natural wine’, harkening back to the traditional methods of the Beaujolais – Lapierre spearheaded the so-called ‘Gang of Four’, a group of four winemakers that called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: old vines in a healthy vineyard, not using synthetic herbicides or pesticides , harvesting late and by hand, rigorously sorting to keep only the healthiest grapes, adding none or minimal doses of sulphur dioxide, and no adding of sugars or acids at all. The methods Lapierre and his gang used were as revolutionary as they were traditional. What began with just this handful of French winemakers is now a global movement, having spread to Italy, Spain and, more recently, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States and even Japan – the latter being one of the biggest markets for natural wine. When local consumption of French natural wine peaked in 2000, Japan was reportedly consuming 75 percent of the total volume produced. If it weren’t for the Japanese demand many small French wineries would not have survived. In Tokyo’s trendiest neighbourhoods natural wine bars were mushrooming – followed by their hipster counterparts in Europe and the USA. Honest and unspoiled Driving forces behind the European success were avant-garde restaurant Noma in Copenhagen and former Hibiscus in London, whose sommeliers were amongst the first to give natural wines a leading role in their funky wine-and- food pairings. Elaborating on his choice not to include the grand lady of the wine world on their menu, Pontus Elofsson, Noma’s former wine director, said: ‘Bordeaux is probably the biggest chemical factory in Europe. They use lots of chemicals in the vineyards and in the cellars, and to do that is to move away from reflecting terroir in an honest, unspoiled way.’ Natural wine is now making waves with a new generation of, mostly young, drinkers who are not prejudiced and can’t be bothered with the big traditional names; they rather drink a pleasurable, unpretentious wine and that, opposed to any mass-produced bottle, has been produced in harmony with nature – chemical-free and with a flavour imparted by the natural environment in which it is produced, including soil, climate and topography. Wines in which the purity of the grape is preserved. No interventions This all may sound simple, yet is anything but. Wine is considered “natural” when it is produced with minimal intervention – nothing added, nothing removed. No chemicals or artificial fertilizers are used on the vines, the grapes are handpicked, there is no manipulation of flavour, no filtering and no colour agents used in the winemaking process. Natural wine extremists believe you should add absolutely nothing at all, yet more ‘liberal’ winemakers believe a tiny bit of sulphite is sometimes needed to make the wine more drinkable; this makes their wines, strictly speaking, not natural. Confusing, isn’t it? The stipulations needed to be certified as ‘organic’ say that no chemicals can be used to grow the grapes, but chemical and technological manipulations are allowed during the winemaking process. Biodynamic winemakers take it even a step further, incorporating lunar cycles, astrological influences and ideas about a vineyard as an ecosystem. The grapes are grown following the farming principles of Rudolf Steiner, after which the winemaker may still decide to manipulate the fermentation. Image by: Maja Petric This means that both organic and biodynamic wine can be produced naturally, but don’t have to be. A warning is in place here: today a lot of producers are using the organic or biodynamic stamp as a quality stamp, yet there are a lot of shitty organic and biodynamic wines. The label ‘ organic ’ for a supermarket wine in Europe simply means that a few pesticides have not been used, but the wine may still be (and is often) produced commercially and on a large scale. Passionate winemakers The absence of an official certification and rules for natural wines means that the makers need to rely on their gut feeling, knowledge of the land and years of dedication. Whoever wants to fully control the outcome, better choose a different job. In her book Natural Wine: an introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally Isabelle Legeron, former sommelier at Hibiscus, writes: ‘Natural wine is a continuum, like ripples on a pond. At the epicentre of these ripples, are growers who produce wines absolutely naturally – nothing added and nothing removed. As you move away from this centre, the additions and manipulations begin, making the wine less and less natural, the further out you go. Eventually, the ripples disappear entirely, blending into the waters of the rest of the pond. At this point the term ‘natural wine’ no longer applies. You have moved into the realm of the conventional.’ Let’s drink! Don’t let yourself be put off by the cloudiness of an unfiltered wine. According to insiders it’s these murky movements at the bottom that illustrate each bottle of natural wine is a living and breathing thing. Neither expect one of those full-bodied, fruity wines that carry the promise of a hangover. The absence of sulphites drastically diminishes your chances of a headache in the morning, and the taste is nothing like conventional wine. Most natural wines have an earthy flavour, are more yeasty than fruity and have a high acidity, which you may like or not. This earthiness pairs well with simple flavours and pure ingredients such as fish and grilled or fermented vegetables. Look for a local wine bar or restaurant serving natural wines and ask the sommelier to advise and surprise you. One thing is for sure: natural wines are as natural as it gets, and a tasty and earth-friendly choice for anyone who is up for something funky. Cover image by: Nacho Dominguez https://www.whatsorb.com/category/food
The age of the Bordeaux drinking wine snob is dead, the wines du moment are unfiltered, untamed and a reflection of their terroir. Read on for an introduction to natural wine. If you are into wine, you’ve probably heard about ‘vins nature’ or ‘natural wine’, the unplugged version of wine as we know it. Whereas conventional wine may use up to 60 different additives (!) to improve the aroma, taste and drinkability, natural wines use none. It is wine made from grapes and only grapes. The revival of natural wine Some people consider natural wine as how wine was once meant to be. Before the industrial revolution all wines were natural wines. About 30 years ago French wine maker Marcel Lapierre took over the family domaine from his father in the Beaujolais and noticed a big difference in the traditional methods of winemaking within his family compared to what students were taught at the academy. Inspired by Jules Chauvet – a viticultural prophet who in the 1950’s, upon the rise of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, first spoke out for ‘natural wine’, harkening back to the traditional methods of the Beaujolais – Lapierre spearheaded the so-called ‘Gang of Four’, a group of four winemakers that called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: old vines in a healthy vineyard, not using synthetic herbicides or pesticides , harvesting late and by hand, rigorously sorting to keep only the healthiest grapes, adding none or minimal doses of sulphur dioxide, and no adding of sugars or acids at all. The methods Lapierre and his gang used were as revolutionary as they were traditional. What began with just this handful of French winemakers is now a global movement, having spread to Italy, Spain and, more recently, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States and even Japan – the latter being one of the biggest markets for natural wine. When local consumption of French natural wine peaked in 2000, Japan was reportedly consuming 75 percent of the total volume produced. If it weren’t for the Japanese demand many small French wineries would not have survived. In Tokyo’s trendiest neighbourhoods natural wine bars were mushrooming – followed by their hipster counterparts in Europe and the USA. Honest and unspoiled Driving forces behind the European success were avant-garde restaurant Noma in Copenhagen and former Hibiscus in London, whose sommeliers were amongst the first to give natural wines a leading role in their funky wine-and- food pairings. Elaborating on his choice not to include the grand lady of the wine world on their menu, Pontus Elofsson, Noma’s former wine director, said: ‘Bordeaux is probably the biggest chemical factory in Europe. They use lots of chemicals in the vineyards and in the cellars, and to do that is to move away from reflecting terroir in an honest, unspoiled way.’ Natural wine is now making waves with a new generation of, mostly young, drinkers who are not prejudiced and can’t be bothered with the big traditional names; they rather drink a pleasurable, unpretentious wine and that, opposed to any mass-produced bottle, has been produced in harmony with nature – chemical-free and with a flavour imparted by the natural environment in which it is produced, including soil, climate and topography. Wines in which the purity of the grape is preserved. No interventions This all may sound simple, yet is anything but. Wine is considered “natural” when it is produced with minimal intervention – nothing added, nothing removed. No chemicals or artificial fertilizers are used on the vines, the grapes are handpicked, there is no manipulation of flavour, no filtering and no colour agents used in the winemaking process. Natural wine extremists believe you should add absolutely nothing at all, yet more ‘liberal’ winemakers believe a tiny bit of sulphite is sometimes needed to make the wine more drinkable; this makes their wines, strictly speaking, not natural. Confusing, isn’t it? The stipulations needed to be certified as ‘organic’ say that no chemicals can be used to grow the grapes, but chemical and technological manipulations are allowed during the winemaking process. Biodynamic winemakers take it even a step further, incorporating lunar cycles, astrological influences and ideas about a vineyard as an ecosystem. The grapes are grown following the farming principles of Rudolf Steiner, after which the winemaker may still decide to manipulate the fermentation. Image by: Maja Petric This means that both organic and biodynamic wine can be produced naturally, but don’t have to be. A warning is in place here: today a lot of producers are using the organic or biodynamic stamp as a quality stamp, yet there are a lot of shitty organic and biodynamic wines. The label ‘ organic ’ for a supermarket wine in Europe simply means that a few pesticides have not been used, but the wine may still be (and is often) produced commercially and on a large scale. Passionate winemakers The absence of an official certification and rules for natural wines means that the makers need to rely on their gut feeling, knowledge of the land and years of dedication. Whoever wants to fully control the outcome, better choose a different job. In her book Natural Wine: an introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally Isabelle Legeron, former sommelier at Hibiscus, writes: ‘Natural wine is a continuum, like ripples on a pond. At the epicentre of these ripples, are growers who produce wines absolutely naturally – nothing added and nothing removed. As you move away from this centre, the additions and manipulations begin, making the wine less and less natural, the further out you go. Eventually, the ripples disappear entirely, blending into the waters of the rest of the pond. At this point the term ‘natural wine’ no longer applies. You have moved into the realm of the conventional.’ Let’s drink! Don’t let yourself be put off by the cloudiness of an unfiltered wine. According to insiders it’s these murky movements at the bottom that illustrate each bottle of natural wine is a living and breathing thing. Neither expect one of those full-bodied, fruity wines that carry the promise of a hangover. The absence of sulphites drastically diminishes your chances of a headache in the morning, and the taste is nothing like conventional wine. Most natural wines have an earthy flavour, are more yeasty than fruity and have a high acidity, which you may like or not. This earthiness pairs well with simple flavours and pure ingredients such as fish and grilled or fermented vegetables. Look for a local wine bar or restaurant serving natural wines and ask the sommelier to advise and surprise you. One thing is for sure: natural wines are as natural as it gets, and a tasty and earth-friendly choice for anyone who is up for something funky. Cover image by: Nacho Dominguez https://www.whatsorb.com/category/food
Wine unplugged: The Age Of the Bordeaux Wine Snob Is Dead
Wine unplugged: The Age Of the Bordeaux Wine Snob Is Dead
Give Vegan Cheese A Try With These 100% Dairy-Free Recipes
Being a vegetarian for almost 20 years, I both care about animal welfare and feel a plant-based diet works best for my health. From the start I have cut out all meat and fish products, and since a couple of years I'm also trying to limit the dairy I consume on a daily base by replacing them by plant-based alternatives such as coconut yoghurt and almond- and oat milk. However, until very recently some of my most beloved foods remained untouched. I love my Gouda sandwich, prefer a French cheese board over a bowl of crisps or popcorn and – not unimportant – eating cheese makes my life as a vegetarian living and eating in Spain much easier. Yet my recent discovery of the fact that the production of cheese accounts for some of the highest emissions of greenhouse gases  ­– more than fresh fish, because for making cheese you need livestock – has put my mind to think. Should I cut down on my cheese intake or at least try some vegan alternatives? As it turns out the options for the latter are plentiful. Below are a few vegan cheese recipes that I’ve tried and tasted, and I recommend them to anyone who would like to give vegan cheese a try.  Creamy almond cheese This cheese is great as a replacement for white cheese in a salad or as a topping for pasta. The flavour and texture are different than normal cheese, but tasty. What you need 160 g unroasted almonds, soaked overnight and drained 160 ml water 2.5 tbs of lemon juice 0.5 clove of garlic 3 tbs of olive oil 1.25 tsp of salt How to make it Put all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until you have a smooth mixture. If it is too thick and not blending add more water. Remove the mixture from the blender and put into a small sieve lined with fine cheesecloth. Place the sieve over a pan to catch the draining water and refrigerate overnight, which will allow the flavours to merge. The next morning you carefully remove the cheesecloth. Put the drained cheese onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 180˚C for 30-40 minutes for a crumbly yet creamy cheese, or at 165˚C for 25-30 minutes for a spreadable cheese. Let the vegan cheese cool down and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Image by: Tetiana Bykovets, Unsplash Vegan cheese with nutritional yeast Because of its richness in B-complex vitamins and its strong flavour that can be described as cheesy, nutty or creamy, nutritional yeast is a popular ingredient in vegan cheeses. Basically it is a deactivated yeast which is sold in the form of a yellow powder or as flakes, which can be used as a key ingredient in cheese substitutes ( personally I like it most as an alternative to parmesan). You can find nutritional yeast in most natural food shops. What you need 4 tbsp nutritional yeast 75 ml water 200 ml coconut- or almond milk 1.5 tsp paprika powder 1.5 tsp salt 0.5 tsp black pepper 0.25 tsp kurkuma 1 pack of agar agar (a plant based alternative for gelatin) How to make it Put the spices, milk and nutritional yeast in a little pan. When it starts boiling, you add the agar agar and let it simmer for a while. Stir to prevent it from burning. The mixture will get thicker and look like melted cheese. If it is too thick, add a bit of water (max. 75 ml) a let it softly simmer for at least 4 minutes. Take the mixture off the fire and pour it into a baking dish or bowl. Put it away in the fridge for 45 minutes. Turn the solidified cheese upside down and put it on a plate. This vegan cheese is delicious on a pizza or pasta, or in a toasted sandwich. Refrigerated the cheese will last 1 to 1.5 week ­– that is, if you don’t finish it before. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/food/recipy
Being a vegetarian for almost 20 years, I both care about animal welfare and feel a plant-based diet works best for my health. From the start I have cut out all meat and fish products, and since a couple of years I'm also trying to limit the dairy I consume on a daily base by replacing them by plant-based alternatives such as coconut yoghurt and almond- and oat milk. However, until very recently some of my most beloved foods remained untouched. I love my Gouda sandwich, prefer a French cheese board over a bowl of crisps or popcorn and – not unimportant – eating cheese makes my life as a vegetarian living and eating in Spain much easier. Yet my recent discovery of the fact that the production of cheese accounts for some of the highest emissions of greenhouse gases  ­– more than fresh fish, because for making cheese you need livestock – has put my mind to think. Should I cut down on my cheese intake or at least try some vegan alternatives? As it turns out the options for the latter are plentiful. Below are a few vegan cheese recipes that I’ve tried and tasted, and I recommend them to anyone who would like to give vegan cheese a try.  Creamy almond cheese This cheese is great as a replacement for white cheese in a salad or as a topping for pasta. The flavour and texture are different than normal cheese, but tasty. What you need 160 g unroasted almonds, soaked overnight and drained 160 ml water 2.5 tbs of lemon juice 0.5 clove of garlic 3 tbs of olive oil 1.25 tsp of salt How to make it Put all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until you have a smooth mixture. If it is too thick and not blending add more water. Remove the mixture from the blender and put into a small sieve lined with fine cheesecloth. Place the sieve over a pan to catch the draining water and refrigerate overnight, which will allow the flavours to merge. The next morning you carefully remove the cheesecloth. Put the drained cheese onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake at 180˚C for 30-40 minutes for a crumbly yet creamy cheese, or at 165˚C for 25-30 minutes for a spreadable cheese. Let the vegan cheese cool down and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Image by: Tetiana Bykovets, Unsplash Vegan cheese with nutritional yeast Because of its richness in B-complex vitamins and its strong flavour that can be described as cheesy, nutty or creamy, nutritional yeast is a popular ingredient in vegan cheeses. Basically it is a deactivated yeast which is sold in the form of a yellow powder or as flakes, which can be used as a key ingredient in cheese substitutes ( personally I like it most as an alternative to parmesan). You can find nutritional yeast in most natural food shops. What you need 4 tbsp nutritional yeast 75 ml water 200 ml coconut- or almond milk 1.5 tsp paprika powder 1.5 tsp salt 0.5 tsp black pepper 0.25 tsp kurkuma 1 pack of agar agar (a plant based alternative for gelatin) How to make it Put the spices, milk and nutritional yeast in a little pan. When it starts boiling, you add the agar agar and let it simmer for a while. Stir to prevent it from burning. The mixture will get thicker and look like melted cheese. If it is too thick, add a bit of water (max. 75 ml) a let it softly simmer for at least 4 minutes. Take the mixture off the fire and pour it into a baking dish or bowl. Put it away in the fridge for 45 minutes. Turn the solidified cheese upside down and put it on a plate. This vegan cheese is delicious on a pizza or pasta, or in a toasted sandwich. Refrigerated the cheese will last 1 to 1.5 week ­– that is, if you don’t finish it before. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/food/recipy
Give Vegan Cheese A Try With These 100% Dairy-Free Recipes
Give Vegan Cheese A Try With These 100% Dairy-Free Recipes
Food

If there is one subject where is spoken over as long as humanity exists it is: food. Food is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. Historically, humans secured food through two methods: hunting and gathering and agriculture. Today, the majority of the food energy required by the ever increasing population of the world is supplied by the food industry.

Because of the last, people started to address issues such as sustainability, biological diversity, climate change, nutritional economics, population growth, water supply, and access to food. Many people today go in the direction of vegetarian, vegan or diets with less meat  because of the environmental impact of meat production and the often miserable circumstances industrial farmed animals live in.

If there was an urge to come up with sustainable food varieties, healthy diets and responsible environmental produced food and share these topics globally it’s now! WhatsOrb Global Sustainability X-change Platform is for you, storytellers and influencers to write about food, your wishes, diets, healthy recipes and expectations for the future at home and globally. 

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