Farmer Turns Slaughterhouse Into Vegan Farm

America’s favorite sandwich is, without question, the classic burger. Despite every Mickey D regular’s praise of the tasty quarter pounder, few know what goes on behind the scenes. That isn’t, of course, the case for cattle farmers, and some opt to grow veggies after being in the know-how. Rancher Jay Wilde recently joined the vegan farming community when he couldn’t slaughter his cows.

“We did [our] best to look after them [the cattle], but you knew you were going to betray them. You really couldn’t look them in the eye.”

The 172-acre Derbyshire farm is a family heirloom. Committed vegetarian Wilde, as we all do, hopes his father would’ve been proud. Along with wife Katja, Wilde sent 70 of his cattle to a sanctuary in Norfolk. The remaining 12 are now family pets.

“What we were doing worked in the past, but it’s no longer fit for purpose really. It consumes too many resources, it’s morally indefensible if you think animals are anything more than meat.”

Vegans have applauded the dynamic duo, whose cattle still contribute to a flourishing ecosystem. Beef may make for a tasty meal, but to Wilde they’re just as loyal as any pup.

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Meat Alternatives Are Booming In Europe

Being vegan isn’t simply a fashion statement, but a lifestyle and occasional healthy pick. If you haven’t caught on to the trend, it’s taking over schools and even TGI Fridays. In light of the recent “legume boom” studies have shown an increase in meat substitutes by 451% in just four years.

“The most active region was the United Kingdom, with a share of 19 % of total new legume-inclusive product launches in Europe, followed by France (14%) and Germany (13%),”

Where quantity rose, diversity followed, with markets boasting over 27,000 new products. To be perfectly honest, I can hardly name a dozen vegetables — quite the bummer for a vegetarian such as myself. But why legumes, in particular?

Legumes are more filling than meat, better for your waist and the planet. Consuming legumes is associated with a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease, while being cheaper and requiring far less energy and water than meat.

Sure, vegetarianism is healthy, but it’s also environmentally responsible. If you can’t slash bacon from your daily menu, have a carrot. It won’t kill you.

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TGI Fridays Introduces Beyond Meat’s Vegan Burger

Whether we like it or not, experts seem to think dinner menus could use a lot less meat and a lot more creepy crawlies. With fly larvae on the rise as the world’s latest superfood, restaurants are now serving up insect burgers (with fries!). Though on board with the change, TGI Fridays is taking a more subtle approach to meat alternatives. Along with Beyond Meat, the popular restaurant chain is introducing a meatless patty called the Beyond Burger.

“We tested many concepts and The Beyond Burger was far and away the favorite plant-based burger among both our guests and chefs, making it the ideal addition to our popular Burger Bar,” [said] Stephanie Perdue, TGI Fridays Chief Marketing Officer.

Incredibly, the burgers boast the same amount of calories as a regular beef patty does. However, it comes without the burden of cholesterol and only half the saturated fat. Since its trial period, the burger has hit 465 branches of TGI Fridays.

“Our belief is that the best way to get people to eat less meat is by giving them what they love… without so many of the health, sustainability, and animal welfare downside of a traditional animal-based burger,”

Who knew plants could be so tasty?

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German School Ditches Bratwurst For Vegan Lunches

Schools around the world have played a role in the battle against depleting resources. The Panyaden International School in Thailand built a sports hall that gloats a zero-carbon footprint. Now, the German International School in India is shifting to strictly vegan lunches.

The school, now 100% vegan, makes its own mock meat, produces vegan cheese from cashews, and bakes its own bread. Care is taken to see that nutritional requirements are met, by substituting animal products with protein-rich food such as quinoa, lentils, seitan, beans and hemp seeds.

The shift was prompted when the school began rehabilitating injured and abandoned animals. Besides the guilt of consuming mutton meters away from one of the school’s goats, administration believed veganism was more ethical.

“We wanted to reduce the human impact on the environment and eating less meat is the simplest way,”

To prepare for the transition, teachers dedicated classes to informative documentaries. Staff treated parents to a vegan buffet, which was more “delicious and nutritious” than expected. With avocado toast becoming the next millennial craze, I can’t imagine getting teens to up their veggie intake to be too much of a stretch.

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Billionaires Are Sponsoring Lab-Grown Meat

Lab-grown seafood may be actively solving over-harvesting, but it lacks any noteworthy benefactors. On the flip side, billionaires like Bill Gates and Richard Branson are sponsoring lab-grown meat by Memphis Meats. So what’s the beef?

“Instead of using animals as pieces of technology to convert plants into proteins to make things that we like to eat, drink and wear, we can just use biology to make those things directly,” said… an early investor in Memphis Meats.

Developers envision facilities that are more reminiscent to breweries than slaughterhouses. Admittedly, the former is less unsettling. But how will Memphis Meats grow tasty steaks and chops without the direct use of an animal?

The company’s scientists identify cells that they want to scale up production on — selecting them based on the recommendations of experts. Those cells are cultivated with a blend of sugar, amino acids, fats and water, and within three to six weeks the meat is harvested.

Production is quick but still small-scale. However, with further development, the process could cut greenhouse emissions, save water, and create a more sustainable agriculture industry. From its patrons, Memphis Meats has raised a charming $22 million. I sure hope the filet mignon is worth it.

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Insect Burgers Are Hitting Swiss Supermarkets

Just a few months ago, Little-Food in Brussels placed crickets on their menu. Now, insect burgers are hitting Swiss supermarkets. It sounds adventurous, but not for the faint of heart.

The mealworm burger patties, which also contain rice, carrots and spices such as oregano and chili, will cost 8.95 francs ($9.24) for a pack of two… The bug balls will sell at the same price for a pack of 10, and both products hit shelves of select stores on Aug 21.

Mealworm patties and bug balls? Appetizing. While insect cuisines are common in Asia and Africa, they aren’t so popular in Europe. However, a number of chains have been working to include them in menus.

Coop has been working with Swiss startup Essento to prepare the meat substitutes for three years… Essento breeds mealworms in Belgium, but intends to produce in Switzerland going forward.

According to the source, when roasted, mealworms become nutty, which is perfect for heavy snackers. Although some could do without knowing they’re munching on beetle larvae. Salty!

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Refrigerator Camera Helps Monitor Food

The British food market is on a roll. Sainsbury recently manufactured a smart label that reminds home cooks when to use up an ingredient. However, the labels are only for ham packets. Kitchen company Smarter hopes its newest device will be a game-changer. FridgeCam is an affordable refrigerator camera that helps users monitor food in real time.

The Smarter FridgeCam takes food “selfies” which are sent to the user’s phone, allowing an instant reminder of what could be on the menu for their next meal. The app also monitors use-by dates, and issues automatic top-up reminders to buy more food products based on remaining quantities.

Why not use any camera? Well, for starters, I wouldn’t recommend shoving a point-and-shoot into your fridge. Plus, it costs less than $150, which is a steal compared to full-on smart refrigerators.

“The supermarkets tell us that the way we shop has fundamentally changed. People are shopping little and often and using different shops. The more we developed and trialled this technology, the more we found that it could not just help reduce food waste but it also encourages people to shop in a smarter and more efficient way,” [said Christian Lane, founder of Smarter]

The quirky gadget could help reduce the over-purchasing of food as well as encourage timely use. It may seem like a superfluous purchase, but at least you won’t be tossing perfectly good veggies.

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Going Vegetarian: What You Need To Know

I am everyone’s go-to person when they decide to stop eating meat. I became vegetarian some four years ago in my early twenties, to which people respond, then it must be easy. If I, a bacon lover for the first two decades of my life, can eliminate meat from my diet, then anyone can. This is partially true — while anyone can transition into vegetarianism, it isn’t easy.

For starters, have good reasons for wanting to go green. Becoming vegetarian can’t just be about “trying something new” or responding irrationally to the Earthlings documentary. Do you want to cut fat or increase your nutrient intake? Is helping the environment on your radar? List everything down and consider your motives carefully. Vegetarianism isn’t only diet-related — it’s a drastic change in lifestyle.

Do research, and I mean a lot of it. Find out what foods can replace the protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins you get from meat. Weigh the financial aspect of having to purchase different ingredients. Understand how the shift will affect you physically and even mentally. And on that note, consult a doctor. If you are anemic or suffer from low levels of blood sugar, perhaps going vegetarian isn’t the most practical choice for you.

Once you are comfortable with your decision and accept the fact that you bidding trips to Burger King adieu, figure out how you want to transition. If you are not a fan of the cold turkey method, consider taking it slow. Gradually wean yourself off meat. Quick jumps could shock your body.

With every diet comes a brand-new pantry. For a segue this major, find good recipes in advance. While the cookbook route is a great path to take, online sources are just as useful. Bookmark easy-to-cook meals that you can familiarize yourself with. Of course, do a lot of planning. While vegetarians aren’t aliens, not every restaurant will have a good variety of meat-free courses. Having a vast selection at home is the safest way to go.

If you can’t seem to let go of the wonderful taste of meat, buy substitutes. Trust me, there are alternatives to almost anything, but they don’t always come cheap. Scour your local supermarket — you’re likely to find a hidden gem. While substitutes may taste exactly like meat, they may not always provide the same amount of nutrients, so stock up on healthy replacements. 

Being mostly herbivorous doesn’t always equate to being healthy. While there are junk foods made with vegetarian ingredients, they can also be detrimental to your body. If you are a heavy snacker, limit your junk food intake. Vegetables might get boring but there are many different ways to spice things up with different preparations.

Most of all, remember to exercise and find time to relax. If your diet is making you feel deprived and triggering mood swings, you’ll hardly last a week. Get good energy circulating by going on an occasional jog and engaging in your favorite activities. And if it makes you feel any better, know that a lot of cows and pigs are grateful.

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Lab-Grown Seafood May Solve Over-Harvesting

The food industry has furiously been working towards a solution to combatting limited resources. Restaurants are attempting to save reefs by replanting oyster shells. Researchers are finding ways to grow protein by using energy sources. Now, Finless Foods is turning to lab-grown seafood, hoping to solve over-harvesting.

Finless Foods is beginning by replicating the cells of Bluefin Tuna because it is overfished… and can’t be reproduced in captivity.

“We’re growing a small sample of fish meat out from a real fish in a large bioreactor, in massive scale, in clean, sterile breweries that won’t engage in all sorts of harmful practices like run-off, won’t have high levels of antibiotics or hormones,”

31% of fish worldwide are being over-harvested. Additionally, urbanization, agriculture, general fishing, and other actions are causing the rapid decrease in fish populations.

“We are taking fish from the world’s ocean on an unsustainable pace. Globally speaking, it is one of the biggest environmental threats that this world faces.”

Other groups are also processing their own synthetic meats. It may seem a long way before cell-cultured foods hit the market, but some businesses are already aiming to get products out by 2018. If artificial salmon tastes as good as I hear it does, then there’s nothing fishy here.

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Farm Grows Food Exclusively For Soup Kitchens

With a rise in pay-what-you-can restaurants, the food industry is doing what it can do give back to the needy. Some places rely on apps to direct excess food to banks. Others, such as this New York farmer, grow food on farms exclusively for donation to soup kitchens.

The 40-acre farm donates all of its organic produce – and eggs and meat from grass-fed animals – to food pantries and banks throughout the state.

The farm, which is also praised for its smart architecture, hopes to ensure food security.

Out of the 40 acres, 25 are used for animal pasture, and two are dedicated to vegetable production. The farm is currently in its fifth season and estimates they’ve been able to donate over 36,000 healthy, organic meals – emphasizing quality of food as much as quantity.

The farm has donated more than 10 tons of meat across the state, an impressive and heartwarming feat. Perhaps what the world needs is not more food but more industries willing to share produce with communities that need it most.

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