When it comes to a healthy quantity of quality protein intake, vegetarians or vegans are often questioned about their choice of going meatless. A lot of people believe protein deficiency can lead to a number of unwanted diseases. And rightly so. An insufficient intake of protein may cause various health problems such as kwashiorkor, marasmus, impaired mental health, edema, organ failure, wasting and shrinkage of muscle tissues, and weakness of the immune system.
But does it mean that choosing a meat-free diet brings down your protein consumption? We don’t think so. On International Meatless Day, we bring to you a variety of good quality vegetarian proteins you can opt for instead of meat.
A single egg has a nutritional profile that makes for an excellent source of protein. With six grams of protein a pop, eggs are an ideal food to include in your diet if you are going meatless.
One cup of spinach has almost as much protein as a hard-boiled egg, and for half the calories. Maximise its nutrition by steaming spinach instead of eating it raw.
With 14 grams of proteins in just half a cup of cottage cheese, these make for a good source of protein as well as healthy fats for vegetarians. Easy to prepare and easily available, just marinate and roast a few slabs of cottage cheese if you want lean muscles.
This tropical fruit packs more than four grams per cup, along with nine grams of fiber and only 112 calories. Add guava to your salad or enjoy it solo as a snack to maintain a healthy protein intake.
One cup of pea contains eight times the protein of a cup of spinach. Loaded with vitamin C and fibres, peas can be incorporated into your diet easily. Just add in a handful of peas to your soup or rice, or steam it and enjoy it with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and paprika.
On International Meatless Day, if you want to indulge in a vegetarian fare and ditch meat, protein intake should not be a cause of worry anymore.
EVERYBODY is now probably aware that for some time, we have been living with strains of bacteria which are immune to many common antibiotics. This is not unexpected as it is one of the logical (and short-sighted) consequences of adding vast quantities of antibiotics into animal/poultry feeds. In fact, over 80% of the antibiotics produced worldwide are used in the food industry. Antibiotic resistance is simply a predictable outcome of the quest for profits in the meat and dairy industry.
So a recent study from Brazilian researchers was interesting as it attempted to analyse how certain bacteria acquire this resistance to antibiotics. Foodborne diseases have affected hundreds of thousands of people in Brazil in the last two decades, and many cases were linked to bacteria in the genus Salmonella. This is particularly intriguing as a friend in London had contracted salmonella poisoning around 20 years ago, and it was so severe he was hospitalised for six weeks. Fortunately, the antibiotics he was given eventually worked but it was sobering and traumatic to see him so ill for so long. Imagine what would have happened had it been a strain of salmonella immune to antibiotics.
Men were not made to hunt for meat but vegan diets are slow to gain acceptance. – AFP
More about salmonella
The Brazilian study investigated 90 serovars (sub-strains) of salmonella typhimurium (ST), a sub-species of salmonella enterica, which is the species of salmonella most involved in human food poisoning (normally resulting in gastroenteritis). Testing serovars of ST with common classes of antibiotics revealed that 72.2% were immune to sulphonamides, 48.9% were resistant to streptomycin, 30% are tetracycline resistant, 23.3% were unaffected by gentamicin, etc. In addition, a previous study had reported that 46 serovars of ST were also resistant to nalidixic acid (and also to flouroquinolones). It was grim reading, especially as it was also noted that streptomycin and tetracycline are still common additives in animal feeds.
Whole genome sequencing (WGS) was used to analyse how this resistance developed in the ST serovars – this is a non-trivial task as the ST genome contains 4.7 million base pairs. The results were interesting. The research detected different types of mutations in the gyrA, gyrB, parC and parE genes, and only one mutation point in one of these genes was observed. Resistant ST serovars also have additional activated genes, which may be one or more of the qnr, qepA, oqxAB and aac(6’)-Ib-cr genes. It appears that antibiotic resistance in ST serovars is conferred by single point mutations in certain genes in conjunction with the activation of other specific genes.
There are two other curious findings in this paper. One is the antibiotic/antimicrobial resistance of ST serovars have been declining since the 1990s. This may be due to the rise of a more aggressive salmonella enterica sub-species called salmonella enteritidis which caused a worldwide pandemic in the 1990s and has been prevalent ever since. Salmonella enteritidis is the very dangerous pathogen (disease-causing agent) associated with eating undercooked contaminated eggs.
The other odd finding is that resistance to certain antibiotics developed even without any exposure to such antibiotic compounds in the feed or anywhere else. It appears that mutations arising from other antibiotics may be sufficient to promote resistance to unrelated (but somewhat similar) categories of antimicrobials.
As salmonella usually breeds in the intestinal tracts of animals and poultry, I am safe from any possibility of contracting gastroenteritis, at least for a while. This is because I am in the middle of a vegan challenge with my daughter until the end of the month.
The author had to drive 40km to another town to find his vegan meal. – CHRIS CHAN
Being vegan here in France is not as easy as in Berlin where I was last month. I quickly grew tired of my own vegetable stews and curries and decided to get some different vegan meals at the small supermarket in the next village. When I could not find any chilled vegan foods after a search, I eventually asked an assistant about them. He looked incredulously at me as if I was mad before shaking his head sadly. “Désolé, nous n’avons pas de truc végétalien.” (Sorry, we do not have any vegan stuff).
I finally found some tasty vegan foods in a large supermarket in a town about 40km away. The labelling of vegan items in France is heavily influenced by the meat industry here – for example, it is not allowed to label food as burgers or sausages if they are made with non-meat products. But it seems they had forgotten to ban vegetarian “steaks” and “cordon bleu” dishes, which is what I got.
There are several reasons for my vegan challenge. One is curiosity, another is not adding on excessive weight now that the cold season has started – but the main reason is to confront my own denialism about meat production. Denialism is a mechanism used to alter how we think about things so that we can function better or, at least feel better. Sometimes we fool ourselves but very often, we are fooled by other people/things. You can read more on https://www.star2.com/food/2018/09/09/curious-cook-a-quiet-month-of-denialism/
Having access to thousands of research papers provides an in-depth insight into meat production, its consequences, health impacts and development over time. If you think about it, we should not be eating so much meat – not because meat is necessarily unhealthy, but because humans are physically not good predators. Lions are better adapted to be at the top of the food chain in the wild, not humans.
Our brains, again
However, our brains have allowed us to overcome our physical limitations, initially by crafting tools/weapons which enhanced our ability to hunt. Then around 13,000 years ago, humans began domesticating animals for food. In normal evolution, lions required hundreds of thousands of years to evolve their speed, claws and teeth, but human intelligence allowed us to short-cut our way to the top of the food chain and a practically limitless supply of meat.
The speed of change is staggering: the first chicken super-farm was devised in 1926 but before the end of the last century, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) and industrial meat farms were already supplying chicken, pork and beef to billions of people, without any consumer making any more effort than picking up a pack of meat and paying for it.
In France, you can’t label a food item a sausage unless it’s made of meat. — AFP
The only way to achieve such prodigious productivity in meat is to invent artificial solutions and ignore the existing natural order of things. This disregard for natural circumstances has profound consequences: deforestation, desertification, antimicrobial resistance, global warming, pollution, etc, and includes the creation of animal and bird hybrids which would be considered mutants in the wild. The world now also plants more food for meat production than for humans.
There are health consequences for humans too. The ubiquity of meat means that most humans have little regard for the sources of animal proteins, practically treating animals like insentient plant crops. Ignoring the disturbingly cruel realities of industrial meat production means that many people now unknowingly ingest meats contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals such as preservatives, flavourings, etc. Crop-treatment compounds are present in meat because animal feed need not meet human safety standards but these compounds can accumulate in animal flesh and offal, sometimes to problematic levels.
In summary, people generally do not know as much as they should about animal proteins, and our denialism conspires to keep us ignorant. There is also something wrong when humans can use their intelligence to satisfy our lust for meat but cannot apply the same intelligence to more important issues like our environment. The only difference appears to be the quest for profits, as discussed earlier about the rise of antibiotics-resistant bacteria.
The irony is humans need only tiny amounts of daily protein (animal or non-animal is immaterial): only 0.8 grams per kilo of body weight. So, a quarter-pounder burger fulfills the protein requirement for someone who weighs over 141 kilos. If people cannot wean themselves off meat, then limiting consumption to only the protein amount they actually need would be both healthy and responsible.
In time, the survival of humans will inevitably require overcoming, among other things, our genetic disposition for preferring meat, just as we overcame our genetic limitation of being lousy predators. And this probably starts with overcoming our denialism.
Curious Cook appears on the second and fourth Sunday of the month.
Winter is here and it is important to keep ourselves warm. While you could use layers of clothes to pack in heat, if you want to feel warm and toasty from inside, there are some foods you must include in your diet that can do the trick just right.
Here’s a list of what all you should eat during winters.
It is healthier than sugar as it contains a number of vitamins and minerals like phosphorous, iron, magnesium and potassium. Consuming jaggery in winters helps in generating enough heat in the body, keeping you warm inside.
If you are thinking of keeping yourself warm by brewing a cup of tea, add a few pieces of ginger to it. Ginger is thought to have thermogenic properties that can keep you warm, and some believe it may also boost metabolism and promote blood flow.
Sesame is a great food to eat if you want to keep warm during winters. Prepared into various delicacies like chikki, gajak, sticky balls during winters, it tastes delicious and keeps you toasty.
Rich in antioxidants, turmeric is seen as one of the best warming herbs as it’s known to tighten tissues and absorb excess moisture.
Due to its warming properties, they build quite a lot of heat in the body when consumed. Sarson ka Tel is also often used for massaging the feet during harsh winters to keep warm or used to cook food with during winters.
Look no further than your kitchen to help you keep warm during winters.
“It is time for the sleeping giant to wake up”, says Chef Amninder Sandhu, whose culinary trajectory took her to Netflix’s latest offering – The Final Table, a fast-paced, global cooking competition that saw twenty-four accomplished chefs from over the globe put their spin to iconic national dishes from around the world to impress the experts from that nation. Peppered with little mini features about the chefs and contestants, it was not difficult for the audience to estimate the level of competition and pressure that engulfed the show.
Chef Amninder refers to the rich and diverse Indian cuisine when she talks about the sleeping giant. “We had to cook iconic dishes from different countries. But I was not prepared at all. There were things I was not familiar with. But, interestingly, many-a-times, I found a reference point within Indian cuisine. For instance, the tortillas I had to make in the Mexican round were quite similar to preparing Makke di Roti. Similarly, Spain’s traditional Paella is almost like Biryani”, she says. “Indian cuisine is elaborate, extensive and diverse. It is time for us to realise it and relish it”, adds Sandhu.
Sandhu, who works as an executive chef at Arth, a restaurant she runs in Mumbai, aims to revive traditional methods of cooking and bring back local ingredients on the table. Ensuring that every dish in her restaurant is prepared on wood or charcoal, Sandhu’s gas-free kitchen is a first-of-its-kind venture in India. “Traditional methods of cooking, like chullah, heavy-bottomed, copper lagans, earthen chattis or tandoors, lend unique flavours to the dishes”, she explains.
Born into a Sikh family in Jorhat, her foray into food has been an interesting one. “It was when I was seventeen and studying science in Mumbai that I realised that food was my calling. It may sound like it’s out of a movie because it feels like that in hindsight, but I was holding a test tube and sampling DNA when I looked out of the window and, all of a sudden, it dawned on me. I wanted to be a chef. So I dropped out, moved to Aurangabad to study Culinary Arts and later, landed my first job in Taj, Mumbai”, she recalls.
Everyone has a moment in their life that defines their future. It may be impulsive or the culmination of a series of pre-events that lead to it. Sandhu, whose defining moment occurred with a test tube in her hand, admits she always had signs that told her she should go for a career in food. “Back in hostel, we just had one hot plate where we could make scrambled eggs and maggi. Everyone can make these things. But my roommate always told me it tasted better when I prepared it.”.
“I come from a family where food is taken very seriously. I have grown up seeing my mom prepare elaborate meals for all of us. Whenever we went for picnics to Deomali in Arunachal Pradesh, my mama (uncle) would teach us how to catch fish. Whatever fish we managed to catch was then stuffed in a hollow bamboo and thrown in the open fire. Looking back, I relate a lot of events in my life to food,” she says.
Her enthusiasm carried her all the way through to be felicitated with the Best Lady Chef Award for 2015-2016 by The Ministry of Tourism, but her journey has not been one without difficulties. Cooking, even if as a trait is often associated with women, the same activity as a profession is dominated by men. “I have been told I could never make it big. I was made to feel worthless on numerous occasions. It was tough to get by. And it never got any easier”, Sandhu says. “If someone asks me to repeat the training I went through, I really wouldn’t be able to go through it again”.
But then, Sandhu believes if you have something to hold on to, no matter how many obstacles life throws at you, you can always find the strength to overcome it. “For me, it has been my love for food. I knew I couldn’t live without cooking. So might as well get in the kitchen.”
Many people might feel that people from smaller towns have to struggle harder than people from big cities to get noticed in the global space. But Sandhu, who comes from a small city in Assam, begs to differ. “Being from the North East is actually an advantage, it has helped me to understand food better and introduced me to very nice cuisines. As far as making it big is concerned, it is your drive that matters”, believes Sandhu.
For the finale, the contestants were asked to prepare a dish that defined them. Sandhu couldn’t make it to the finale but on being asked what she would have prepared, she came up with an answer without wasting a thought, “Bamboo smoked mutton with jasmine rice, wrapped in alpinia leaves.”
For a dish that is simple, traditional and full of flavour, maybe, that’s exactly what defines her.
If you are looking to savour interesting dishes this weekend, then we have news for you. The Asian Hawkers Market is back with its 6th Edition at Select CityWalk starting today.
A three-day festival, that will take place from November 23 to November 25, is a unique, one-of-a-kind al fresco food fest that promises to deliver the best of Chinese, Japanese, Burmese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisines, all in one place.
Their website reads, “Discover the best of exquisite Asian flavours and let your taste buds sing the songs of praise at Asian Hawkers Market presented by Veeba from 23rd-25th November 2018 at Select CITYWALK. With the most delectable food lined up, you wouldn’t want to miss it. So share your love for food with us and bring along your friends and family to witness ‘Asia in a bowl’ for three whole days!”
In one of the stalls, MasterChef Sadaf Hussain is all set to make some delectable noodles and in other stalls, restaurants like Pa Pa Ya, Select CityWalk, Kiara – Soul Kitchen, Plum by Bent Chair Delhi, Pra Pra Prank, Karan Burman, Coffeeza, Burma Burma, Mamagoto and Youmee will plate out some of their best offerings, giving you an opportunity to sample some of the finest Asian cuisines.
This food festival, apart from pleasing the palate, also has some great gigs lined up. The travelling music band, Nowhere Station and DJ Milaan are all set to bring music back to the streets with their gigs, among others.
The timings of the festival are from 12 pm to 11 pm.