From Field to Fork – New Ways to Feed The World

If you think that foods comes from a supermarket, don’t bother to read on. If you are interested in why we need to – and how we can – change our ways to plant, grow, harvest, process, deliver and sell food, this post is for you. Click on the links to get additional information on the topics…

Co2 Increases Plant Sugar Content

Here is another sad fact of human induced climate change: the more CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere, the fatter we may become. These are the latest findings of crop science. Over the next decades, the sugar content of any kind of grain will dramatically increase, while healthy protein, mineral and vitamin content will decrease. Why? Carbon dioxide in the air fuels sugar production in plants (remember photosynthesis) and even whole or healthy grains will become less nutritious and more caloric over time.
The consequences: More CO2 in the atmosphere = more sugar in crops =  more calories in your average diet = higher obesity = more health problems = higher health care costs.
That’s one reason to cut greenhouse gases now and to implement the latest Paris Climate Change Treaty.

Looking for Affordable Fruits & Vegetables? Try In-Door Farming

As more people flock into cities and live in high rises, while farm land around cities decreases by the minute, housing developers, builders and tenants seek to put a field on the roof. What’s needed are green attitudes, a re-modeled home and weekend farmers with a green thumb.

Don’t Shy Away from Eating That Bug

One day, even you may bit into a roasted cricket. The protein-laden hoppers, especially their larvae, are increasingly used to create nutritious protein powder for supplements and food.  Yes, Cricket Farming is in.

Eat well, sleep well, eat better

Sleep is not just vital for mental fitness but also to keep a healthy waistline.

Getting enough sleep is the next frontier to a healthy lifestyle. In Germany alone, close to 50% of survey respondents complained about sleeping problems, while one out of seven takes sleeping pills at times. Consumption of sleeping pills increased five-fold over the past two decades. The worldwide trends are even more alarming.

Good sleep is as important as good food, drink and exercise. It influences creativity, performance, quality of life, and relationships. As Jürgen Zulley, Professor at the University of Regensburg puts it:” Too little sleep makes you fat, dumb and sick.”

Even worse: a recent study conducted by universities in Chicago and Brussels revealed that sleep deprivation alters brain chemicals in such way that the non-sleeper are unable to resist midnight snacking, which in turn leads to weigh gain, less sleep and more snacking, a vicious cycle.

It starts in middle school, continues at college and stretches across most of the adult working life: our modern day schedules are too full, consume content of too many media, engage online in too many social networking, and are stressed by ever increasing demands by employers, family and friends.

Due to stress, clutter and distractions we can’t fall asleep, wake up too often, and don’t sleep the hours we need. The result in many people: crankiness, sadness, overeating, depression, burn-out.

The solution does not require sleeping pills, drugs or alcohol: sleep awareness and mental training are an inexpensive, first start. Here are some interesting facts and factoids:

  • Sleep happens in four phases: a) falling asleep, light sleep, deep sleep, and dream sleep (also called REM or rapid eye movement sleep).
  • According to research of the University of Regensburg, the normal sleeper wakes up on average 28 times a night, most times immediately forgetting the incident.
  • What you think after waking up makes all the difference between good and bad sleep. Imagine some pleasant moments or simply tell yourself that you don’t have to get up and still have time for a good sleep. These auto-suggestive methods likely make you fall right back to deep or dream sleep.
  • Why do we and most other animal have to sleep? – a question that occupies the minds of researchers worldwide these days. What is known so far: sleep de-clutters the brain, reduces synaptic connections and strengthen those that are important, makes you able to learn and absorb more information. Thoughts, feelings and memories are re-ordered to make sense the next day.
  • Another vital role of sleep: to regulate the “metabolic brain” which influences the immune system and metabolism. Chronic sleeping disorder is one of the reasons for obesity, frequent sickness, and depression
  • Sleep builds memory and enables creativity (most associations and insights from what you learned during the days are made while you sleep). Thus you can adapt to changing environmental changes and impacts

In other words: sleep dopes your brain, builds consciousness and mental performance. That why we recommend to take sleep serious in 2012. Here are some essential preconditions:

  1. Your bedroom needs to be quiet and dark. If you have to choose: silence is better than fresh air from an open window;
  2. Set your thermostat so that you don’t freeze or sweat;
  3. Silence is better than open windows.
  4. Choose a mattress that is not too hard, just right for your weight;
  5. If your bed partner snores and disturbs your sleep, choose separate bedrooms over lack of sleep, anger and frustration;
  6. Don’t go to bed straight from working on your computer. Give it at least a 20 -minute intermission;
  7. If you can’t sleep, do something relaxing, like reading, ironing, putting stuff away;
  8. Overcome your fear of not being able to fall back to sleep, like any other fear can be overcome;
  9. Take sleeping pills like headache pills: only occasionally.

This blog summarizes an article in Der Spiegel (Issue 44/2011) and

The sixth taste: fat

Whole grains with lard schmalz“Wir essen, was schmeckt” (we eat is what tastes good), as determined by the nerve cells in the mouth (flavor) and the nose (aroma).

While the nose is able to pick up thousands of aromas, the mouth only feels sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory (umami) – so we thought.

New research suggests there’s a sixth taste profile: oleogustus. In other words, we can taste fat, or more specifically, tryglycerides.

While the fat taste is described as “unpleasant,” (Perdue University researcher Richard Mattes), it’s distinct from the other five taste profiles. But together, in various combinations, they can truly make your mouth water.

In addition, fat creates a distinct mouth feel of creaminess, so desired in sauces, cakes and desserts.

Who says fat is bad?


More about this topic:

Salt and Sugar: enjoy, but watch this combination

“Good” vs. “Bad” Foods?


07-RauschFor a limited time, as long as inventory lasts:

Single Source Origin Chocolate from
Faßbender & Rausch, Berlin’s most famous chocolatier

 
On The Taste of Germany.com

2015 Trend: Novel Foods to Save Future Generations

GreenhouseIndustrial farms, biotech firms and global mega food corporations emerged over the past decades to provide safe, reliable and low cost foods for 7.2 billion global consumers. With efficient operations and large budgets for research and development of new products, “Big Ag/Big Food” has undoubtedly helped to mitigate hunger and increase nutrition around the globe. But large-scale industrial agriculture and food production has also been part of the global environmental and health problems, contributing to climate change, soil erosion and over-consumption. Entrepreneurs in various countries, some supported by Silicon Valley high tech investors, have come up with intriguing new ideas to feed a growing global population with environmentally and socially sustainable methods  – or no animals at all.

  1. New protein sources: This is the new frontier: generating protein without raising and slaughtering cattle, hogs, sheep or chicken. What sources of protein are more abundant and do not emit methane into the atmosphere?  How about insects and jelly fishes, of course.
    • New start ups like Exo, Six Foods, and Bitty Foods ave already launched snacks with protein powder derived from crickets. If consumers in the North Western hemisphere can overcome their gag reflexes, a big new market beckons to be explored.
    • Climate change also has a huge impact in the oceans: warmer weather and surface water temperatures prevent oxygenBoy with jelly fish to get into the deeper waters, especially in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, which causes the death of many fishes we love to eat. Those species that survive with less oxygen: octopus and jelly fish.  Jelly fishes are actually highly nutritious, providing first rate protein and collagen. Several companies have invested large resources to use jelly fishes for nutritional supplements and increasingly in food.
  2. Laboratory Meats. Ever had a 3-D printed steak? Bioprinting is the latest fad to create meat without violating animal welfare. A new venture Modern Meadows, financed by Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel, is betting on acceptance on meaty dishes, served on the Star Trek or on the Jupiter mission in 2001 Space Odyssee.
  3. Nanotechnology: Many scientists agree: the use of advanced nanotechnology could make food production and packaging safer and prevent cross-contamination and the transmission of food-borne illnesses. It’s just that consumers are still wary of the unknown side effects, if there are any, to manipulate micro-molecules that are 100,000 times smaller than a human hair. Nano-particles or compounds can have different physical and  chemical properties than larger version of the same  compounds, which allows them to function in different manners guided by quantum mechanics. Sounds too much like science fiction? Certainly to some consumers. A backlash in recent years have prevented food companies to use nano-technology in production processes and packaging, but with new labeling laws in the EU, consumers may feel safer using food products containing nano-particles, as long as their features and benefits are well explained.
  4. Efforts to eliminate food and packaging waste: Every restaurant, retail store and consumer in the developed, wealthy world is guilty of wasting food. Whether it’s taste, transportation, storage, expiration dates or a lack of smart inventory management – more than a third of all food produced on the globe is wasted. That provides a huge strain on lesser developed countries where hunger is still a norm for many families. In addition, plastic waste from packaging pollutes oceans and landfills. Reducing food and packaging waste through technology, communication and “attitude adjustment” will be a major trend in the next 10 years.

Moderate alcohol consumption benefits your health

Two-wine-glasses-full

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that drinking too much alcohol is dangerous to your health, to the health of others and to society as a whole. For some people, even very few drinks of beer, wine or spirits per week can be harmful. And we wholeheartedly recommend to all of our readers, young and old, to drink and eat responsibly and with a conscious mind.

That said, we also want to point out the solid scientific evidence, that moderate alcohol consumption is actually beneficial to the health of most people.

Moderate means about 1 to 2 drinks for women and 3 to 4 drinks for men. A drink is defined as 12 – 14 g alcohol, which corresponds to about 1 to 2 glasses of white or red wine, 1 to 2 bottles of beer or one glass of hard liquor.

According to the Mayo Clinic, moderate consumption of alcohol in any form reduces the risk of developing heart disease, of dying of a heart attack or stroke, developing gallstones or diabetes

And, not surprisingly, a review of numerous scientific studies, as reported in Science Direct indicates that light and moderate alcohol consumption reduces stress, increases overall affective expression, happiness, euphoria, conviviality and pleasant and carefree feelings, decreases depression, and improves certain types of cognitive performance, such as problem-solving and short-term memory. Moreover, alcohol in low and moderate doses has been effective in the treatment of geropsychiatric problems.