Summary of “‘Flexitarian’ diets key to feeding people in a warming world”

If the world wants to limit climate change, water scarcity and pollution, then we all need to embrace “Flexitarian” diets, say scientists.
Without action, the impacts of the food system could increase by up to 90%. Fast on the heels of the landmark report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change comes this new study on how food production and consumption impact major threats to the planet.
The authors say that the food system has a number of significant environmental impacts including being a major driver of climate change, depleting freshwater and pollution through excessive use of nitrogen and phosphorous.
“We can eat a range of healthy diets but what they all have in common, according to the latest scientific evidence, is that they are all relatively plant based,” said lead author Dr Marco Springmann from the University of Oxford.
“You can go from a diet that has small amounts of animal products, some might call it a Mediterranean based diet, we call it a flexitarian diet, over to a pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan diet – we tried to stay with the most conservative one of these which in our view is the flexitarian one, but even this has only one serving of red meat per week.”
If the world moved to this type of diet, the study found that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture would be reduced by more than half.
“Tackling food loss and waste will require measures across the entire food chain, from storage, and transport, over food packaging and labelling to changes in legislation and business behaviour that promote zero-waste supply chains,” said Fabrice de Clerck, director of science at EAT who funded the study.
“Feeding a world population of 10 billion people is possible – yet only if we change the way we eat, and the way we produce food,” said Johan Rockström, director designate of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who is one of the authors of the study.

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Summary of “Food for thought: the smart way to better brain health”

In the long term, this affects every one of us, because food affects not just our moods and thoughts but also the way we age.
The good news is that we have learned so much about what every one of us can do to optimise our brain health day to day.
These effects are particularly evident by looking at brain scans of people on different diets.
In terms of the food that helps, there is no single miracle food or supplement that will keep us young, healthy and bright-eyed with a perfect memory.
The brain is so sensitive to dehydration that even a minimal loss of water can cause symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, confusion and brain shrinkage.
Purified water, fizzy water – all these beverages were stripped of the precious nutrients and natural electrolytes the brain needs to stay hydrated and work efficiently.
The brain needs more than something wet; it needs the essential nutrients that real water carries with it.
Pour over the mixed salad. Lisa Mosconi is the author of Brain Food: How to Eat Smart and Sharpen Your Mind, published by Penguin Life at £14.99.

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Summary of “Huge reduction in meat-eating ‘essential’ to avoid climate breakdown”

Huge reductions in meat-eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of the food system’s impact on the environment.
“Feeding a world population of 10 billion is possible, but only if we change the way we eat and the way we produce food,” said Prof Johan Rockström at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who was part of the research team.
“Greening the food sector or eating up our planet: this is what is on the menu today.”
“But dietary and technological change [on farms] are the two essential things, and hopefully they can be complemented by reduction in food loss and waste.” About a third of food produced today never reaches the table.
The researchers found a global shift to a “Flexitarian” diet was needed to keep climate change even under 2C, let alone 1.5C. This flexitarian diet means the average world citizen needs to eat 75% less beef, 90% less pork and half the number of eggs, while tripling consumption of beans and pulses and quadrupling nuts and seeds.
The millions of people in poor nations who are undernourished need to eat a little more meat and dairy.
Reducing meat consumption might be achieved by a mix of education, taxes, subsidies for plant-based foods and changes to school and workplace menus, the scientists said.
A global change is needed, he said: “I think we can do it, but we really need much more proactive governments to provide the right framework. People can make a personal difference by changing their diet, but also by knocking on the doors of their politicians and saying we need better environmental regulations – that is also very important. Do not let politicians off the hook.”

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Summary of “The Eternal Life of the Instant Noodle”

Doritos, instant noodles – the processed food favourites he used to rely on in prison.
He’s the one who declared something that US prisoners have known for ages – in the past few years, instant noodles have come to replace cigarettes as the most traded item in US prisons.
“If you’re in prison and you want or need more food than you can get from the chow line, then you have to buy it yourself. The costs of nutrition have shifted to the prisoners themselves. Instant noodles are a go-to because they’re cheap.”
Now she’s out, she writes about prison life, including why instant noodles are so valuable on the inside.
Coss Marte says things can get violent when instant noodle debts aren’t repaid.
“There are all types of hustling inside the system. People juggle. Juggle means you get, like, a 200% mark-up. If you give someone two ramen noodle soups, you get four [more] ramen noodle soups back within a week.”
In the instant noodle museum in Yokohama, there’s a cardboard cut-out of him.
As long as there are people living in dormitories, or shopping in convenience stores, or concocting meals in prisons – the instant noodle will live on.

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Summary of “How to use seawater to grow food”

Simply upping how much food we’re producing – without changing how it’s done – will make emissions and water usage worse.
As climate change and water shortages get more severe, the more difficult it will be to produce food with the same methods we use today.
“You can’t see climate change as an isolated challenge; it is connected to water and food production,” says Joakim Hauge, president of the Sahara Forest Project Foundation, the organisation behind the Wadi Araba project.
“Water is really the shortage. If you cannot depend on the rain, but have a reliable water supply with this desalinated water, then if you have adequate funding, and master the techniques you can go produce food and even become an exporter of food.”
No-one doubts there will be a number of challenges ahead. But even now, the team has already started tackling the difficulties of just how you use desalinated water to grow crops in the inhospitable desert.
The wall is covered with a sort of ‘blanket’ that draws the water down; when the wind blows through, the water evaporates, cooling the air.
“I just want to let it grow – they’re legumes, they fix nitrogen into the soil. Further on, we dig them in and incorporate them into the sand. They’ll decompose and improve the soil and the water holding capacity and add a bit of nutrients.”
Even if the team is mastering how to grow crops in a desert, there’s one stumbling block they haven’t yet overcome: how to carry the seawater 15km from the Red Sea to the site.

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Summary of “Rice, gnocchi, steak, wings: how cauliflower took over your plate”

Then came the cauli grains – riced cauliflower, cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower gnocchi – and eventually cauli memes.
To the people who track these things, both chefs and trend forecasters, the rise of cauliflower is a perfect illustration of how food trends evolve.
Suzy Badaracco, president of the trend forecasting company Culinary Tides, says she first started noticing cauliflower showing up around 2008, which means we are entering our second decade of cauliflower.
You don’t even have to like cauliflower to like cauliflower.
There is room for near-infinite variations: A BLT cupcake is still a cupcake, and General Tso’s cauliflower is still cauliflower.
The “Ascension of cauliflower” may have begun with cauliflower as an alternative to meat, but it really took off when cauliflower came for the grains.
You can get cauliflower crust at California Pizza Kitchen now, and Korean-fried cauliflower at the Cheesecake Factory, but you cannot yet stride into any pizza joint or any wings place and reasonably demand the cauliflower version.
“Now, we’re up to harvesting over 35 acres of cauliflower a week.” If you are curious about exactly how much cauliflower that is, he will tell you: more than 100,000 heads every day.

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Summary of “The future of food: what we’ll eat in 2028”

The foods we eat are always evolving and new tastes are being created.
In 2028 food will be engineered to be more nutritious.
In 2028 food will be different from anything you have tasted before.
New flavours arrive unpredictably as food manufacturers create new products.
The emerging field of ‘neurogastronomy’ brings together our latest understanding of neurology and food science and will be a big player in our 2028 dining.
A short-term solution is to re-engineer calorific ‘junk’ food to have less fat, sugar, salt and fewer calories, while still giving the same satisfaction.
Food technologists have managed to coat inert mineral particles with sugar, increasing the surface area that contacts the tongue, so that less sugar can be used to provide the same sweetness.
With the promise of cutting waste by repurposing ‘ugly’ food and offcuts for food capsules, Natural Machines has the potential to drastically reduce packaging and transport costs.

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Summary of “Ditch the almond milk: why everything you know about sustainable eating is probably wrong”

“But what people don’t know is the environmental damage almond plantations are doing in California, and the water cost. It takes a bonkers 1,611 US gallons to produce 1 litre of almond milk,” says the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Pete Hemingway.
According to Crystal Market Research, the US reusable water bottle market will be worth $9.62bn by 2023, up $3bn in a decade.
Phone, purse/wallet, water bottle – make it part of your daily routine.
In reality, says Friends of the Earth’s Emma Priestland, weirdly designed or coloured bottles are likely to be sifted out at recycling sites and will end up in landfill: “Robinson’s Fruit Shoot bottles are made of easily recycled Pet, but because is solid purple, it’s difficult to recycle. If separated, opaque colours can be recycled by chemical recycling, but that increases the cost, effort and energy required,” she says.
The European Pet Bottle Platform, which advises the bottling industry on design, recommends the use of clear Pet if possible.
One Water is no ordinary bottled water: the company is carbon neutral and its profits fund clean-water projects in the developing world.
As for the plastic waste, there is a robust market in recycled Pet bottles.
An earlier version quoted Pete Hemingway as saying to make 1 litre of almond milk, it takes 1,611 litres of water.

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Summary of “The Amazonization of Whole Foods, one year in – TechCrunch”

At the time, Amazon said the goal was to make “High-quality, natural and organic food affordable for everyone.” Bananas, avocados and even tilapia was going to be cheaper than before.
A bunch of other Amazon offerings involving delivery options were also mentioned, including the getting of Whole Food groceries through a then new Amazon Fresh grocery delivery program and Whole Foods private label products would be made available through Prime Now and Prime Pantry.
Further, Amazon lockers would be showing up at select stores to make pick ups and returns easier for Amazon customers.
Walking into my local Whole Foods, the Amazon branding is everywhere from the deep orange lockers off to the side, the large, green Amazon Fresh coolers greeting me at the entrance to the parking lot and rows of bags ready for pickup and delivery via Amazon workers.
You want to do one better, just download the Amazon app to your smartphone, use the code given and then purchase with Apple pay using your Amazon Prime credit card for maximum benefits.
I’ve also enjoyed using the integrated partnership to order Whole Foods items straight from my Amazon Fresh account.
With Amazon, I can order from various stores, including Whole Foods through my Amazon Fresh account all in one order and then choose a time for delivery.
There’s still some bumps with that process – you can’t order every item available in Whole Foods, just what Fresh offers that week through the Amazon platform.

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Summary of “The Fast Food Worth Making at Home”

I have three children and, like all other American kids, they harbor a deep and abiding love of fast food.
I could spend all day preparing a lovely dinner of braised short ribs, scalloped potatoes, and six different kinds of perfectly roasted vegetable, and yet these kids would gladly dump all that food in the toilet if I gave them the option of heading to a Five Guys instead. Fast food is their ideal.
You walk up to a counter, plunk down a few dollars, and are rewarded instantly with fattiest, saltiest, sweetest possible food imaginable.
The idea is that I can make “Fast food” healthier for my kids if I make it myself, since I’m in charge of the ingredients and the preparation.
How do you make one? Blend together some vanilla ice cream, milk, green food coloring, one single drop of peppermint extract and literally no more than that unless you want to feel like you just drank a cup of Flouride.
The reason fast food shakes are so good is because those places have industrial strength blenders that can turn a live horse into lumpless gravy in six seconds flat.
Should you make it? Yes, because pizza is an unassailable family meal AND it’s one of the foods that kids genuinely love to help prepare.
I loved making homemade pizza with my mom when I was a kid, and my kids do likewise with me.

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