The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, unveiled this month, highlight the benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets. The new Guidelines go further than previous federal policies in acknowledging the power of plant-based diets for health.
The Dietary Guidelines—issued by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services every five years—are the blueprint for all federal nutrition programs, including school meals. The new Guidelines devote two full pages to vegetarian and vegan nutrition, and point out that these eating patterns provide nutritional advantages and reduce obesity, heart disease, and overall mortality. Vegetarian diets may include dairy products and eggs, while vegan diets avoid all animal products.
“People who avoid meat cut their risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers, and those who also avoid dairy products and eggs are healthiest of all,” says PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “It’s good to see that these diets are now part of federal policy.”
Read the full PCRM announcement here.
Reuters reports Malaysia is rapidly destroying forests for palm oil. Per the article:
Per Reuters: The Agriculture Department said on Friday it has deregulated a variety of corn genetically engineered to produce a common enzyme that speeds the breakdown of starch into sugar, a vital step in making ethanol.
Several groups, including the North American Millers' Association, the Center for Food Safety and Union of Concerned Scientists, said USDA failed to adequately consider the impact the genetically modified corn crop would have on human health, the environment, or the livelihood of farmers.
You can read the full article here.
Wine Road Barrel Tasting is happening the weekends of March 4 and 14 where you'll get the chance to sample wines in the barrel, buy "futures" and meet the winemakers.
I remember when working in Hungary, weekend wine barrel sampling was a real treat! I hope to see you in Sonoma!
What are your favorite wineries? Please share them here on this blog post or on Facebook.
Chef Jesse Cool
(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
Famous Chef Jesse Cool, Flea Street Cafe, gave a cooking demonstration during Yosemite's Chef's Holidays. Jesse has been a sustainable agriculture spokesperson since the early 1970's and is founder of numerous restaurants in Menlo Park and on the Stanford University Campus. At her home garden and kitchen, Jesse works with Stanford's Department of Education inspiring Masters of Elementary School Teachers on how to build a curriculum from the garden. Jesse prepared Beet Gnocchi and a Winter Greens Salad. Here is the Beet Gnocchi recipe courtesy of Jesse Cool.
Jesse Cool's Beet Gnocchi
- Red Beets - 3/4 pound, roasted, peeled
- Potato - 1 1/4 pounds roasted, peeled
- Parmesan/Asiago - 1/2 cup (Mary's note - you can use vegan cheeses)
- Chives - 3 tablespoons
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Black Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
- Egg - 2 (Mary's note - you can use ground flaxseed and water)
- Flour - 1 to 1 1/2 cups
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
2. Coat beets and potatoes with olive oil. Season them with salt and pepper and put on a baking sheet
3. Roast in oven for about 45 minutes to an hour or until very soft when pierced with the tip of a knife
4. Cool and slip off beet peels and put in a medium bowl
5. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out flesh and add to beets
6. Put them through a potato ricer or a food mill
7. Add the parmesan, chives, salt, and pepper
8. Mix gently
9. Add the egg and mix
10. Add 3/4 cup flour and blend well
11. Bring a pot of water to a simmer
12. To test if you have added enough flour, pinch a piece of the dough about the size of a quarter from the dough, roll in flour and drop into the pot. It should rise to the top. If it falls apart, add more flour to the batter
13. Divide the batter into four pieces
14. Generously flour a board and put one of the pieces on the board. Roll it into a thick "snake" about 1/2 inch think
15. Cut into 3/4" pieces
16. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use
17. Cook by dropping in small batches into lightly salted water
18. Gnocchi is done when it floats to the top
Like this Article? See Part 1 from Yosemite’s Chefs Holidays featuring Quince Restaurant Chef Michael Tusk.
Did you know that 86% of Americans said that they prefer to live in a space that is eco-friendly (source: Rent.com)?“
Cork flooring is the ultimate choice for style-savvy consumers because of its exquisite design possibilities, durability, reliability and eco-friendly features,” said Candice Olson, host of HGTV’s “Divine Design” and “Candice Tells All.”
Cork flooring can be used in living rooms, kitchens, family or entertainment rooms, bedrooms and basements. It’s 100 percent renewable, since harvesting the outer bark of the cork oak tree never results in a single tree being cut down. According to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), cork oak forests support one of the highest levels of biodiversity among forest habitats.
Gratitude Gourmet also had the opportunity to ask Candice some questions regarding Cork, and the interview is below.
Q. Do you have advice on how cork floors can be designed into a contemporary and elegant environment?
The versatility of cork flooring allows it to work any space. Whether it’s traditional, contemporary or modern, cork flooring can complement any design. What you have to work with within your space can easily influence the direction of your purchase. Luckily, cork flooring comes in such a vast variety of design and styles. For the Décor(k) project, I designed a contemporary yet elegant living room using dark dramatic tones that helped to set off the sleek lines and graceful curves of this media focused space. The rich color and unique horizontal figuring of the plank cork flooring continues up onto the wall bringing warmth and comfort to cool contemporary.
Q. Are there other green design trends you particularly like?
Firstly, moving towards green design saves the consumer money, and in this economy is very important. The federal Energy Star tax credit for 2011 is 30 percent of the cost of the appliance purchase. That’s a huge saving for any household. Secondly, antique furniture reduces landfills, carbon emissions while helping preserve our heritage for future generations.
Q. Do you have Kitchen and Dining Trends you'd like to recommend?
For me, the kitchen and dining room trends are leaning towards green design. Given that these areas are where people congregate the most in the home, it’s important for homeowners to use sustainable materials. Cork is a natural, reusable and recyclable material that is not only durable and resilient but insulating, warm underfoot, hypo-allergenic and comfortable.
Q. Could you provide Gratitude Gourmet readers urls to your latest shows/products?
For great design ideas, I would check out www.realcorkfloors.com. The website offers great tips, design inspiration and insight into cork flooring and its harvest. It is the ultimate resource to help you to create your dream home.
Promote Your Restaurant or Food and Wine Happy Hour on Gratitude Gourmet. Contact us for Advertising Opportunities or email us at gratgourmet (at) gmail (dot) com
I've been a great fan of Earth Balance (non-dairy) buttery spreads for a few years now.
Earth Balance also has nut butters and soymilk, and has announced the Non-GMO Project Verification of Earth Balance® Nut Butters, including Earth Balance® Peanut Butter and Almond Butter products. Earth Balance® Nut Butters are the first nut butters on the market to be labeled Non-GMO Project Verified.
"It is wonderful to announce another Earth Balance Non-GMO Project Verified product to the market," said Megan Westgate, Executive Director, Non-GMO Project. "It is the mission of the Non-GMO Project to give consumers an informed choice about the products they purchase, and provide a third party seal of approval to products that meet our rigorous standard for avoidance of genetically modified ingredients. We are happy to have Earth Balance as a partner in this important endeavor."
Earth Balance® Nut Butters are Non-GMO Project Verified and made with the highest quality peanuts and almonds on the market. Available in Peanut Butter and Almond Butter varieties, Earth Balance® Nut Butters are made with a special blend of expeller pressed oils that prevent separation, are fortified with flax seeds for added ALA Omega 3 content, and are sweetened with a touch of natural agave syrup, a low glycemic sweetener. All Earth Balance® Nut Butters are vegan, free of lactose, cholesterol, dairy, gluten, and no other nut butters offer the unique combination of taste and benefits.
Win an Earth Balance Product Coupon by being a Gratitude Gourmet Facebook Fan.
3 Gratitude Gourmet Facebook Fans will win a Product Coupon.
Credit: Isabella's Cookie Company
I'm very hard to please when it comes to cookies, and Isabella's Cookie Company has impressed me. If you like chocolate, you must try their delicious, soft vegan chocolate cookies with loads of chocolate chips called V-Coco. They really are delicious!
The also have other cookies called: V-Chip, V-Nutter, V-Oat, and they're sold at various California and Arizona locations, and online. Note: since they don't use preservatives, you must eat them as fresh as possible. Try them, you will like them!
From Nielsen-Massey Vanillas A Century of Flavor
2 eggs, lightly beaten (Mary's editorial note: mix ground flaxseed w/water instead of eggs)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup plain yogurt (soy)
1 cup cooled brewed black coffee
2 tsps Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Pure Coffee Extract
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Beat the eggs, canola oil, yogurt, coffee, vanilla extract, coffee extract and chocolate extract in a mixing bowl using an electric mixer on low speed. Add the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes; the batter will be thin. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake tests done. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter. Serve with Nielsen-Massey's Cherries Jubilee Sauce.
Serves 12 to 16
Nielsen-Massey's Cherries Jubilee Sauce
2 (21-ounce) cans sweet cherries in heavy syrup
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
Combine the cherries, brandy, brown sugar, chocolate extract and vanilla extract in a large sauté pan. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Serve over Vanilla-Mocha Café Cake.
Makes about 5 cups
Valentine cooks can't go wrong with a delicious homemade meal, a rose decorated table, dim candlelight and romantic music.
"It's sort of like reverse thinking," says Dr. Gerry Leisman, director of the F.R. Carrick Institute at Leeds University in England, to reporters. "If you can wreak havoc on yourself with lifestyle choices, for example, it causes expression of latent genetic manifestations in the negative, then the reverse should hold true."
Added Dr. Leisman, "Biology is not entirely our destiny, so while there are things that give us risk factors, there's a lot of 'wiggle' in this."
Researchers have proven that regular meditative practice can actually change genetic responses in the body. Dr. Herbert Benson, president of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, as well as an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, led a team of scientists in carrying out an experiment on gene response to stress, published in a recent issue of PLoS One.
Dr. Benson and his colleagues studied three different groups of subjects and their gene responses.
The team looked at 19 long-term practitioners of some type of meditation, a control group of 19 subjects who had never meditated, and 20 subjects who were given an 8-week training session of relaxation response.
The researchers found more than 2,200 different gene responses from the long-term meditators and the control group. There were also differences between the two groups in how cells responded to inflammation, programmed cell death, free radicals, cellular metabolism, and oxidative stress.
In the group that had received the 8-week relaxation training, the subjects shared 433 of the gene responses with the long-term practitioners that neither group had in common with the subjects who did not meditate.
"For hundreds of years Western medicine has looked at mind and body as totally separate entities, to the point where saying something 'is all in your head' implied that it was imaginary," said Dr. Benson to reporters. "Now we've found how changing the activity of the mind can alter the way basic genetic instructions are implemented."
Benson and his team have been studying the mind/body connection for decades, and the most recent study is significant because it is the first one in which gene reactions were mapped in the bodies of healthy individuals, not just those already negatively affected by gene changes.
In addition, the research will help scientists study how individuals can consciously affect their own gene responses to stress conditions, possibly changing them through meditation to avoid harmful effects.
Says Dr. Benson, "Now we need to see if similar changes occur in patients who use the relaxation response to help treat stress-related disorders, and those studies are underway now."
One main reason I started Gratitude Gourmet was to share scientific information on meat production and carbon emissions. Regular media wasn't talking about it, so I decided to do it.
Here's a new NY Times article called : 'Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler' that shares new information on the subject, and an excerpt is here:
"To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days."
The full article is here.
A day to celebrate love in the world is a day to sponsor a Farm Sanctuary shelter animal! Adopt in your name or give a gift sponsorship to someone special in your life. Right now, many rescued farm animals living at our sanctuaries are in need of tender loving care.
A farm animal sponsorship is a thoughtful, cute, fun, compassionate, original, and all-around wonderful way to share some love this Valentine’s Day! It’s the perfect way to help animals and show you care – whether it’s for your sweetheart, your mom, dad, sister, brother, a special friend, or for yourself.
Sponsors receive an adoption certificate with a color photograph of their adopted friend, an adoption card, an invitation to schedule a VIP tour to meet their adopted friend, and other benefits depending on the animal chosen for adoption. See a list of our sponsorship packages here.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day by sponsoring one of the special animals OR make a one-time holiday gift for the sanctuary animals.
Last month a leaked EPA memo uncovered proof that the U.S. government approved a pesticide the EPA refers to as "toxic to honeybees." Beekeepers and scientists around the world are pointing to Bayer's clothianidin as a leading factor in colony collapse, and four European countries have already banned it. (read more on Grist). Now Food Democracy Now is urging people to tell the EPA to ban the sale and use of clothianidin until proper tests can be conducted.