Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder

A few years ago I developed an intolerance to the caffeine in iced tea. I would become jittery and edgy after lunch. Finally, it occurred to me that I could no longer tolerate the iced tea I always drank. So I switched to green tea iced tea, when it was available and water or lemonade elsewhere.

There are many claims that Matcha has health benefits. Since we're not medical professionals, we don't feel qualified to rate the claims, but we feel it is certainly a better alternative than soda, and probably better than juices.

So when we were asked if we'd like to review Kiss Me Organics Matcha, Jane and I agreed. This is a culinary grade green tea powder.20141123_155958

A few months ago, we had been given a small package of matcha from a friend who'd returned from Japan. We made iced tea from that, but since we primarily drink water at home we hadn't yet purchased any additional matcha ourselves, even though we love green tea iced tea.

When the Kiss Me Matcha arrived, we made ourselves some iced tea straight away. Upon opening the package we noticed an intense green tea smell. The package we'd been given from Japan was did not give off as strong a scent. The Kiss Me Matcha also had a more velvety texture, whereas the Japanese product was drier and had a more powdery texture. Not comparing the two products side by side is probably not the most fair test, but we both felt the Kiss Me product had a better taste and texture.

Yesterday Jane tried a recipe for Green Tee Cookies. Yum! They're not overly sweet and have a really nice flavor and they'll be a staple in our house. I also threw a tablespoon of the Matcha into my morning smoothie. Honestly, I couldn't tell it was there. Since the matcha is supposed to be very good for you I'm happy to add it to my smoothies.

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In the meantime it's been warm here, so Jane tried a quick recipe for Green Tea Ice Cream with just two ingredients... frozen bananas and matcha green tea powder. While it tasted good, the consistency was not ice cream like, so she's not likely to make that recipe again. Tomorrow Jane is going to try Green Tea Ice Cream, with a coconut milk base. We're looking forward to it.

So where do we stand on Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder? In general, matcha is more pricey than regular green tea, and at $25 for 4 ounces, Kiss Me certainly isn't inexpensive, but isn't the most expensive matcha out there by far. We really liked this product and will be using it again. But Jane and I both agree that we will use it in recipes that feature the taste rather than as a regular addition to smoothies or the like where the taste gets lost. And of course, we'll be making plenty of matcha green tea iced tea.

If you're looking to purchase this product, you can find it on Amazon.com

Vegetarian Thanksgiving: A Squash Main Course

When Maria Marlowe, a New York resident, switched to a vegan diet eight years ago for health reasons, she tried to persuade her family to do the same.

“When someone converts to vegan eating they preach a lot, and I preached,” she said. “I was like the food police. I made people feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t effective.”

But this year, Ms. Marlowe’s family will celebrate its first all-vegan Thanksgiving. How did she persuade her meat-loving family to go vegan?

“I decided to show — not tell — how good vegan food actually tastes,” she said. “I lightened up a bit.”

This spring, Ms. Marlowe visited her sister in Miami and prepared most meals, offering her sister vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes based on foods purchased at the local farmers market. She also took her sister to vegan restaurants. When Ms. Marlowe left, her sister decided to keep eating a plant-based diet and has since lost 70 pounds. Impressed by the results, their father switched to vegan eating and lost 20 pounds.

At the Marlowe family Thanksgiving this year, no turkey will be served, and vegan dishes will be the main course, including this stuffed acorn squash recipe Ms. Marlowe calls “Three Sisters Squash.” (The sisters in the recipe are the Native American staples beans, corn and squash.)

“It has a little bit of everything,” she says. “It’s filling and satisfying, and the garlic melts into the crust of the squash, and it’s so amazing. It will be the star of our first official, completely vegan, Thanksgiving table.”

Three Sisters Squash: The sisters in this recipe are the native American staples beans, corn and squash, which together offer a delicious main course for vegan diners.

More reader-submitted recipes from Well’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving 2014:

Panzanella of Plenty: A reworking of a traditional Italian summer bread salad, adding fall produce so that it resembles a traditional American Thanksgiving stuffing.

Brussels Sprouts Sliders: A creative and fun way to enjoy a great fall and winter vegetable: crunchy “buns” of roasted brussels sprouts with a tasty middle of caramelized onions and tempeh that makes for “dreamy bites of pure umami goodness."

Black Rice, Beet and Kale Salad With Cider Flax Dressing: This delicious salad resulted from an effort to create a hearty vegetarian dish while at the same time offering a delicious gluten-free option.

Really Big Beets: A show-stopping main course for the vegans at your dinner table — and one that even meat-eaters will want to eat.

source: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/19/vegetarian-thanksgiving-a-squash-main-course/?_r=0

Free Vegan Cookbook: A Vegan Survival Guide for the Holidays

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There are many, MANY vegan cookbooks available. Here's a free vegan cookbook from Ed Begley and James Stone.

Within the electronic pages of A Vegan Survival Guide for the Holidays, you’ll find the following:

  • Festive and seasonal cocktail recipes.
  • Exclusive content from Holidazed.
  • Yummy starters, like my Roasted Beet Hummus.
  • A plethora of side dishes, such as my Bourbon Glazed Carrots.
  • Decadent desserts.
  • Infographics for easier cooking.
  • A charming foreword by my friend Ed Begley, Jr.

As a vegetarian of 25 years, I know just how challenging holiday meals can be. Actually, any community meal, really. Which is why we are here.

It’s one of the reasons I started the Cooking Stoned. I wanted to showcase that vegetarian cuisine could be interesting, gourmet, and mouthwatering. The same goes for veganism. But more often than not, vegan food blogs are so “political” that what makes good food good is actually overlooked. Be honest, we’ve all seen them. It’s granola-y, boring, and sad. Really sad. They make the DMV look like the happiest place on earth.

But we know vegan cuisine is anything but. At its core, it celebrates earth’s bounty and a harmony with nature, which is a beautiful thing. So there’s no excuse for those extra helpings of sadness.

Here's a link to download the book for free.

When you make a choice to eat a certain diet, or even to just adopt some guidelines about the foods you choose to eat, it can be a great decision for you, in terms of your health or your budget. But for your friends and relations, it can seem like a royal pain for them to make sure they're serving foods you can eat, and holiday gatherings and events that center around eating can take on a whole new twist.

I've been vegan for about 16 years now, and I've never regretted it once (OK, just that one time), because I've experienced some great health benefits since making that choice. It's not too terribly difficult to transition over to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, but it's not exactly easy either, especially if your idea of being a vegetarian means eating only carrot sticks or cheese pizza or PB&J sandwiches every day. After all, you don't want to show up to a holiday meal with your family and only eat the salad and appetizers, and you don't want to bring a dish that looks more like it belongs in the compost pile than the dinner table.

Thanks to a couple of veg-friendly guys, Ed Begley, Jr. (vegan for 22 years) and Jerry James Stone (vegetarian for 25 years), you don't have to be "that guy" at Thanksgiving, because they've put together a collection of 15 fabulous vegan recipes that aim to help you make gourmet vegan food that looks as good as it tastes, and they're giving it away for free.

The recipes in the Vegan Survival Guide for the Holidays run the gamut from appetizers to cocktails to side dishes to desserts, and includes cooking tips and more.

"After 22 years of being a vegan under my ‘canvas’ belt, I’m ready to share some of my survival skills with you. These recipes will help you navigate all those holiday tables covered with hams and turkeys." - Ed Begley, Jr.

Some of the recipes included in this e-cookbook are Roasted Brussels Sprouts Mac n Cheese, No-Bake Pumpkin Crème Brulee, Bourbon Braised Carrots, and Roasted Apple and Squash Soup, which can probably help turn a boring vegan Thanksgiving into a gourmet feast where nobody even remembers that everything is completely vegan.

"I wanted to create mouth-watering food that everyone would love. It’s food that celebrates the season with classic dishes. From appetizers, soups and salads to sides, desserts and event cocktails, I’ve got you covered." - Jerry James Stone

To get your copy of this free vegan e-cookbook, head over to Cooking Stoned.

source: treehugger.com

Native Foods Expansion

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Downstairs in the kitchen of the new Native Foods Cafe, Jackie Perez preps the meat and sauerkraut for a Reuben sandwich. It's 11:45 a.m., 30 minutes before the two-hour lunch rush will start, bringing in hundreds of hungry businessmen and women from around Dupont Circle.

Perez, the restaurant's national kitchen trainer, is surrounded by a dozen other employees who are topping cheeseburgers with bacon, tossing salads and plating sweet potato fries.

"It's amazing, you have to try it," Perez says of the Reuben, a best seller on the cafe's menu. The Native Foods version of the classic American bar sandwich is missing a key ingredient, though: in place of corned beef, slices of rye bread are piled with spiced seitan, a wheat-based protein made by combining gluten flour, spices and stock or water and then simmering the mixture to remove as much starch as possible. Native Foods goes one step further by adding beet juice to the mixture so the seitan, sliced deli-style, takes on the red coloring of the meat it mimics.

Everything on Native Foods Cafe's menu is vegan. The fast-casual chain is expanding across the country, capitalizing on Americans' growing enthusiasm to make more conscious choices about their food and converting meat lovers to what's been known as a hippie food movement by vegan-izing American classics such as the bacon cheeseburger and mac and cheese. The Washington store is the chain's 22nd and the first on the East Coast; it will soon be followed by another location in D.C.'s Penn Quarter.

Co-owner Andrea McGinty proudly points out that most people who stop in for a bite to eat aren't vegan, rather people looking for "a better way to eat." She prefers referring to the cafe's fare as plant-based, finding that it's less of a turn-off when explaining the concept to newbies.

"Native Foods serves fun comfort food that happens to be vegan," says McGinty, who is based in Chicago. McGinty and her business partner, Daniel Dolan, bought Native Foods from the company's founder in 2009. At the time there were just three restaurants, including the one in Palm Springs, Calif., where McGinty first discovered the cafe while on vacation 14 years ago.

"There was still a stigma on this word vegan," she says. "I thought, this could be so much fun to do. Every time I introduced it to anybody, they loved the food."

She took on the restaurant with hopes of expanding and a conviction that vegan food could become mainstream. Her timing may have put the business in prime position to succeed. She took the business outside California with a store in Chicago that opened in 2011; McGinty wants to have 200 stores in the next two years. Meanwhile, Americans are adopting all manner of specialty diets, nixing gluten, going vegetarian on weeknights, seeking alternative forms of protein besides meat, and trying unfamiliar vegetables like kale and grains such as farro.

A 2011 report by The Hartman Group found that 6% of Millennials identify as vegetarians, compared to 5% of Gen X and Boomers combined, and 12% say they often opt for vegetarian meals, vs. 10% of Gen X and 5% of Boomers who say the same.

Caroline Smith, 25, and Elizabeth Barnes, 22, are at Native Foods Cafe for the first time for lunch, but Smith says the two have been checking out the menu online for the past week. She is a vegetarian, while Barnes says she is "95% vegetarian."

They're both excited that Native Foods has such a large selection of veggie-heavy meals. The menu includes starters, salads, "earth bowls" usually made with a base of quinoa or brown rice, wraps and sandwiches, and desserts.

"Some places it's cucumbers on white bread with cheese or something and that's it," Barnes says of the vegetarian options she finds at other restaurants.

Native Foods serves dishes with vegan proteins including tofu, seitan and tempeh, which is made with soybeans and millet. The seitan and tempeh are made from scratch daily in Native Foods' kitchens. The cafe displays signs explaining each protein so customers understand what goes into the dishes.

There may be a learning curve, and new vocabulary, to veganism, but that hasn't affected the flow of customers into the restaurant. Since opening Sept. 30, Native Foods in D.C. has been averaging 600 customers a day, 50% more people than the average Native Foods nationally.

"I think people are attracted to this concept because the food tastes good," McGinty says, adding that at Native Foods people can still eat their favorite foods without the usual guilt or gluttony associated with fast food. "We want to change the way America eats, one restaurant at a time."

 

source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/10/13/native-foods-cafe-vegan-restaurant/16975663/

image courtesy: cnbc.com

Let Them Eat Vegan Wedding Cake

10373520_726109577451441_886351446670461233_nHer family wasn’t vegetarian – let alone vegan – but they never used butter, milk or eggs in their baking. “That’s just the way they baked,” said Kristi Touchette, 40.

She’s not sure why, but recalls a relative mentioning a connection to the Depression, when eggs and milk were in short supply so cake recipes were devised without them. Handed down through the generations, these recipes may show up in your family cookbook today, as they do in mine, with names such as Depression Cake, War Cake and Wacky Cake.

Touchette didn’t give much thought to the matter when she was growing up, but her family’s approach came in handy when she became a vegan and again six years ago when she decided to lean on her sculpture degree from the Maine College of Art to produce high-end, 100 percent vegan custom cakes.

And so Ahimsa (which means nonviolence in Sanskrit) Custom Cakes was born.

Today, Touchette has become the go-to baker for Maine vegans in need of wedding cakes or special occasion treats. At this time of year, she is in the thick of the fall wedding season.

But here’s the interesting thing: most of her customers aren’t vegan. “I have maybe 1 or 2 percent vegan customers,” said Touchette, who bakes from the certified kitchen in her Auburn home.

It may be that the bride and groom are trying to accommodate guests who are vegan or have allergies to, say eggs. Or the draw may be simply that her cakes – in unusual and appealing flavors like French Toast (vanilla bean cake with cinnamon-maple frosting) and Blueberry Pancake (vanilla bean cake baked with Maine blueberries with cinnamon-maple frosting) – are beautiful and delicious.

That’s what Kim and Allen Cornwall of Scarborough found. Before getting married last June, Kim discovered Touchette’s website, liked what she saw and booked a cake tasting, though neither she nor her now husband are vegan.

While Kim admits to “loving sweets,” Allen says he is “more of an ice cream and pie guy.” But the samples Touchette served during their tasting made him reconsider. He really liked the frosting; she liked that Touchette uses “real ingredients,” like vanilla beans and Maine wild blueberries. “Kim and I both looked at each other,” Allen said, “and we knew this was the one. This was the cake.”

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Avoiding eggs, butter and milk isn’t all it takes to produce a vegan cake. Touchette covers her cakes with edible vegan fondant, which is made with agar from seaweed rather than gelatin from animal bones. To make edible sugar flowers and other decorations, she reaches for unbleached, organic evaporated cane juice that isn’t ground using charred animal bones (a common processing technique for white sugar and one that is not considered vegan). Touchette also uses many organic ingredients.

Touchette designs traditional cakes and unexpected ones, according to her customers’ desires. Among the latter is a wedding cake shaped like a tree and one made to look like a stack of books. (In her free time, Touchette continues to sculpt, using steel, wood, fabric and other non-edible ingredients.)

The cakes start at $4 per serving, with the biggest, most complicated ones costing more than $1,000, comparable to similar, non-vegan custom wedding cakes.

10378251_741685719227160_6252886902412787384_nThese cakes take time and care, of course, and Touchette doesn’t like to overbook. She says the most wedding cakes she’ll bake in a season is 35. Because of this, brides and grooms do well to call her at least six months in advance. This year, some of those calls may come from friends of Kim Cornwall, who has passed Touchette’s name on “because she’s great.”

Another testimony of sorts took place at the Cornwalls’ wedding reception. The couple didn’t tell guests the cake was vegan, because, as Allen observed, people may have a “preconceived notion that a vegan cake may not taste good.”

“We’d specifically planned on having cake leftovers,” Kim said, noting that for the reception for 110, they ordered a four-layer cake (each layer a different flavor and served separately) for 130 people. “But there was no cake left,” Kim said, still astonished all these months later. “A lot of people went back for seconds.”

And thirds. And fourths.

“We only got a little bite when we cut the cake,” Allen said.

This may be why Kim added, “I can’t wait for something else to come up so we can have her do another cake.”

Avery Yale Kamila is a freelance food writer who lives in Portland. She can be contacted at:

avery.kamila@gmail.com

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila

 

source: http://www.pressherald.com/2014/10/08/vegetarian-kitchen-sculptors-vegan-cakes-in-demand-for-weddings/

all images, courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/ahimsacustomcakes

The Secret of These New Veggie Burgers: Plant Blood

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Patrick Brown, a 60-year-old Stanford University professor turned first-time entrepreneur, says he has found the secret to replicating the taste of red meat: plant “blood.”

On a recent afternoon in his company’s expansive laboratory, Mr. Brown poured a deep-red liquid into a plastic cup. The thin concoction looks like blood, has the same distinct metallic taste, and is derived from the molecule found in hemoglobin that makes blood red and steak taste like steak.

But this bioengineered blood comes from plants and is the crown jewel of Mr. Brown’s three-year-old company, Impossible Foods, which has so far created a hamburger that looks, feels, tastes and cooks almost like the real thing.

“Livestock is an antiquated technology,” said Mr. Brown, a biochemistry scientist known for his genetic research.

Impossible Foods is part of a wave of well-funded startups seeking to replicate meats, eggs, cheese and other animal-based foods with plant matter. Their aim is not only to upend the trillion-dollar animal farming industry but to also create a more sustainable source of food amid mounting environmental pressures.

Several of these companies, including Impossible Foods, have attracted the financing of Microsoft Corp. Beyond Meat, of El Segundo, Calif., sells soy “chicken” strips and beef crumbles made with pea protein and plans to add a burger to its menu. San Francisco-based Hampton Creek Inc., which is in the process of raising $50 million, people familiar with the matter have said, specializes in mayonnaise, eggs and cookie products made from similar ingredients. And New York company Modern Meadow Inc. collected $10 million this summer to make meat, and leather, from stem cells.

Impossible Foods, which revealed its company publicly for the first time to The Wall Street Journal, is one of the top-funded with about $75 million in venture capital from Khosla Ventures, Google Ventures, Mr. Li’s Horizons Ventures and Mr. Gates.

A large bulk of that money has gone into Mr. Brown’s manufacturing facility in Redwood City, Calif., a sort-of Willy Wonka lab for fake meat where white-coated lab technicians dump large vats of fresh spinach leaves and other plant matter into a giant blender that breaks down the greens into plant proteins.

Elsewhere, machines rapidly cook raw ground meat and send blasts of smells to scientists, who carefully log the characteristics and strength of each smell. And all across the lab, several tests are happening concurrently, some dedicated to improving the flavor, texture and smells, and others designed to improve the cost efficiency of its processes.

Mr. Brown is more mad scientist than cliché Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

With a thick head of gray hair and a hefty academic resume, which includes a medical degree and two decades as a Stanford University professor, he doesn’t fit the stereotype of the precocious, 20-something founder.

Mr. Brown says he stumbled on the idea for Impossible Foods about three years ago, when he realized while on sabbatical that his background in science could have an impact on the massive animal agriculture industry, which has been criticized for its large carbon footprint.

“The system that we use today to produce meat and cheese is completely unsustainable,” he said. “It has terribly destructive environmental consequences.”

Meat and dairy industry groups have said they are committed to improving sustainability and have taken measures already that reduce their use of resources and their environmental impact, such as developing techniques to reuse waste and biogas.

But to change an industry, he couldn’t just create a better version of meat alternatives found in grocery stores today. Instead, he wanted to understand the fundamental, molecular reasons why meat tastes like meat, and create a product that is on par or better.

“We want the hard-core beef lovers, the guy who’s basically saying, ‘You know, I’m literally on the opposite pole from a vegetarian, in no conceivable universe would I accept any substitute for meat,’” he said.

Tricking carnivores isn’t easy.

Impossible Foods first had to deconstruct the hundreds of basic flavors and smells of cooked ground meat including compounds that alone taste like sulfur and saw dust.

One of the most important findings was the role that heme plays in meat flavor. That molecule unlocks flavors when it is exposed to sugars and amino acids, giving cooked meat its distinct taste.

The company also had to figure out how to solve texture by identifying the right compounds from plants to recreate animal tissue. So far, it has functional versions of fat, connective tissue and muscle made from plant compounds.

The result is a dark red patty that looks and feels like raw ground beef and transforms as it cooks. During a demonstration with the Journal, the patty gradually browned and caramelized on the grill, releasing oil from fats and producing the smell of cooked meat. In the mouth, the patty pulls apart the way burger meat does. The taste isn’t perfect, though—arguably several rungs below a gourmet burger, and more akin to a turkey patty.

Yet there are still many hurdles separating Impossible Foods’ burger and the wide-scale disruption of the animal farming industry.

This small patty, which is currently made in small batches, costs about $20 to produce. Although the burger doesn’t require grazing cows, it still involves harvesting five plant species in large quantities. Mr. Brown says he aims to create cheaper manufacturing processes and the cost of raw materials will fall as scale increases. Impossible Foods, which has already started testing the burger in undercover food trucks, is expected to begin selling to stores as early as the end of next year. By then, Mr. Brown hopes to be on pace to produce 1,000 tons a year.

But even as the taste and cost of the burger improves, Impossible has a giant marketing challenge ahead to woo meat lovers. Even vegetarians, wary of overly processed food, may be suspicious of all the ingredients even if Mr. Brown says they are all natural.

“I don’t get the fake meat movement,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, who is skeptical that such foods will win mainstream adoption or are better for people. “One of my food rules is ‘never eat anything artificial.’”

—Jason Dean contributed to this article.

Write to Evelyn M. Rusli at evelyn.rusli@wsj.com

 

source: http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-secret-of-these-new-veggie-burgers-plant-blood-1412725267

Sorry Portland, PETA Names NYC Most Vegan Friendly City

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has declared New York the nation’s most vegan-friendly city.

To mark the occasion, PETA presented City Council members with a Manhattan skyline replica carved from vegetables, complete with a Chrysler Building made of radishes. “New York has really gone for the green,” Dan Mathews, Senior Vice President of PETA, 1010 WINS. “They’re really focusing on vegan gourmet items and making them at a pretty cheap cost, no longer just at upscale eateries, and I think that’s the big difference.”

Several City Council members attended Wednesday’s event and one suggested that the council adopt “Meatless Mondays” at City Hall to highlight healthy eating. “New York boasts more than 140 vegetarian restaurants, countless veggie-friendly establishments, and the first vegetarian public school,” stated City Council member Corey Johnson.

“The trend in green cuisine is healthful, draws food tourists, and employs thousands.” Actor Alan Cumming, star of Broadway’s “Cabaret” and CBS’ “The Good Wife,” was also on hand for the City Hall presentation. Cumming started eating vegan two years for his health and out of concern for animals. He praised the city’s commitment to vegan restaurants.

The vegetable skyline was sculpted by food artist James Parker.

 

source: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/09/17/peta-names-nyc-nations-most-vegan-friendly-city/

How To Be Vegan by Elizabeth Castoria

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Jane and I just had the opportunity to read How To Be Vegan by Elizabeth Castoria.  This is a great book for people considering a vegan lifestyle. It touches on what to eat, what to wear, things to consider when furnishing your home, and travel. But perhaps, my favorite chapter is the section on manners. Ms. Castoria promotes the idea that it "makes more sense to encourage people in what they are doing to make the world better than to hound them for what they are not doing," a philosophy we can soundly endorse.

This book is also a great reference for people who are not vegan, but have vegans in their lives. It provides enough of an overview in an easy to read and understand format, that the reader will gain an understanding of what vegan means in all its iterations. It illustrates that being vegan isn't something difficult and bizarre, but rather a compassionate way of life. The book also contains 50 recipes, a sampling of things to make from breakfast to dessert.

We've been vegan for over 7 years now, so we really didn't learn anything new reading this book, but this was a good refresher. We especially enjoyed the travel section. Ms. Castoria recommends Shojin, our favorite vegan restaurant, as one of the restaurants you should visit when in Los Angeles. We heartily concur!

 

 

 

fresh from the garden

Vegan Cheese: Biohackers Are Growing Real Cheese In A Lab, No Cow Needed

If you're a vegan, cheese options are limited. There are high-quality vegan cheeses out there, but they just don't taste the same, and they're mostly soft-- it's difficult to make any sort of hard vegan cheese, like gouda or cheddar. A team of Bay Area biohackers is trying to create a new option: real vegan cheese. That is, cheese derived from baker's yeast that has been modified to produce real milk proteins. It's the same as cow cheese, but made without the cow. Think of it as the cheese equivalent of lab-grown meat.

The journey towards vegan cheese began a few years ago, when synthetic biologist Marc Juul started thinking about the genetic engineering possibilities. Now, Juul and a group of people from two Bay Area biohacker spaces, Counter Culture Labs and BioCurious, are trying to create a finished product in time for the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition--a global synthetic biology competition--in October. So far, they've raised over $16,000 on Indiegogo to do it.

The vegan cheese team does have a number of vegan and vegetarian members, as well as others passionate about the challenge and the prospect of having cheese that doesn't require the mistreatment of cows. "We're blessed in the Bay Area. There are lots of great cheeses produced north of San Francisco--small scale, organic, free-range, small cheese manufacturers. But that doesn’t hold for most cheese currently being made," says Patrik D'haeseleer, a computational biologist on the team.

In order to get baker's yeast to produce milk proteins, the team scoured animal genomes to come up with milk-protein genetic sequences. Those sequences are then inserted into yeast, where they can produce milk protein. Once the protein is purified, it needs to be mixed with a vegan milk-fat replacement, sugar (not lactose, so that the cheese will be edible by the lactose intolerant among us), and water to create vegan milk. Then the normal cheese-making process can commence. The team wants to start with a cheddar or gouda to satisfy vegan cravings for hard cheese.

"There are lots of naturally occurring cheese proteins that have naturally occurring [positive] health effects. We can pick and choose variants we want to use," says D'haeseleer. He stresses that the end product is GMO free. While the yeast is genetically modified, the purified proteins secreted by the yeast are not. Rennet used in traditional cheese is produced in a similar manner, using GMO E.coli bacteria.

Research is still in the early stages. By October, the team hopes to have four of the casein (milk) proteins produced and verified, along with the enzyme that attaches phosphate groups to these proteins. Ideally, the team would also like to demonstrate that it can coagulate the ingredients into cheese.

"At that point, we might have a small amount of what we might call cheese, on the order of grams or milligrams. Then we can start talking about how to scale it up," says D'haeseleer. "When it gets into the art and science of cheesemaking, we would probably collaborate with a real cheesemaker at that point. That's a whole different skillset."

In theory, they can make vegan cheese from any mammal's DNA--including humans and other mammals. If the team reaches its stretch goal of $20,000, it plans to create Narwhal cheese, working with researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz on genetic sequencing and analysis.

All of the research is going up on a public wiki, but some of the team members may reportedly be interested in pursuing this full-time eventually. "10 years ago, this kind of science wouldn’t have been possible," says D'haeseleer. "For synthetic biology, it's gotten to the point where a team of biohackers like us can accomplish this."

source: fastcoexist.com

1200 calorie meal from a vegan weightlifter

A 1200 calorie meal with only 3 grams of fat and 50 grams of protein. He is a professional athlete. He suggests that most people only need 100 grams of protein per day. Check out this video.