The weather may have been a bit wild and windy over the last day or so but there’s no need to despair just yet – there’s still a bit more warm weather heading our way. Which is great news if you’re a diehard fan of barbecuing and al fresco dining, but what if you’re vegan or have a vegan guest?
Looking for some lip smacking Barbeque? Try out some of the mock meat at Chaap ki Chhap, the newest eatery located at Bon Bon Lane, Ratan Nagar Corner, Mumbai. Mumbaikars are raving about the delicious assortment of items on the menu, which are all traditionally North Indian. You can choose from rolls, tikkis, burgers or even momos stuffed with soya chaap! You only have to visit their Facebook page to see the rave reviews and their growing fan following.
The joint is pure vegetarian and vegan-friendly, the owner, ex-hotelier Ameet Dawar, tells us to our tremendous delight that they are more than open to veganise the various items on the menu upon request. Up to ten or twelve dishes on the menu can be easily made vegan, he assures us. The menu is more soya-based than dairy yet they use cream in their sautéing, sauces and marinades so make sure you ask first! He heartily recommends the Special Japani ‘Fish’ for vegans.
Ameet adds, “I really recommend people to try out the dishes at least once, if they do not like it I am willing to not receive any payment for it, but that has never happened!”.
More than ever, people are saying bye-bye to dairy and looking for non-dairy alternatives to some of their favorite foods. Dairy-free milks have become a popular staple in coffee shops and grocery stores alike, but increasingly, dairy-free cheeses are also gaining momentum. Of course, dairy-free cheeses are nothing new, but let’s be honest, dairy-free cheese from 10 years ago were akin to eating shredded plastic and they wouldn’t melt even if a blowtorch were put to them.
The “leather” comes from the tropical fruit’s waste plant fibres and is both durable and biodegradable, making it a great alternative to animal leather.
It was first discovered by Spanish designer and Ananas Anam founder and CEO Carmen Hijosa during a business trip to the Philippines, where she was introduced to the barong talong, a traditional Filipino shirt woven together with fibres of pineapple leaves. After five years of research between the U.K. and Spain, Piñatex was born.
Along with being socially conscious, Piñatex actually comes at a low cost. According to LifeGate, the pineapple leather is “about 23 euros per square metre versus 25-38 euros for the leather,” and is already being looked into by big companies such as Puma and Camper.
Not only will the introduction of Piñatex (and vegan leather for that matter) provide more opportunities for farming communities with the harvesting of pineapples, but it’s also a big step for the outing of animal textiles in fashion. With a tropical fruit making waves in the leather industry, we could be in for a major change.
Steve Heeley, the CEO of the healthy fast-casual chain Veggie Grill, is betting that its burgers taste as good — or even better — than McDonald’s Big Macs. There’s one big difference between the two: the former is 100% vegan. Veggie Grill’s burgers are made of pea protein, while its “chicken” sandwich contains soy, pea, and wheat protein. “Today’s consumer is more mindful and aware that eating a diet made up primarily of veggies, fruits, grains and nuts is better for you,” Heeley — who, predictably, is a vegan — tells Business Insider. Launched in 2006, Veggie Grill serves fast-casual food that has fewer calories than traditional fast-food items. Its menu includes dishes like tempura green beans and “fish” tacos, with prices ranging from $3.50 to $11.50.
Not according to the dairy industry. Facing growing competition from dairy alternatives like almond, soy and coconut milk, the nation’s dairy farmers are fighting back, with an assist from Congress. Their goal: to stop companies from calling their plant-based products yogurt, milk or cheese. Dairy farmers say the practice misleads consumers into thinking that nondairy milk is nutritionally similar to cow’s milk.
A bipartisan group of 32 members of Congress is asking the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on companies that call plant-based beverages “milk.” They say F.D.A. regulations define milk as a “lacteal secretion” obtained by milking “one or more healthy cows.” Proposed legislation from Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, and Senator Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin, a state known for its cheese, suggests a slightly broader definition. Their bill would require the F.D.A. to target milk, yogurt and cheese products that do not contain milk from “hooved mammals.”
“The bottom line for us is that milk is defined by the F.D.A., and we’re saying to the F.D.A.: Enforce your definition,” Mr. Welch said.
But critics say consumers know exactly what they are buying when they choose almond or soy milk instead of dairy milk. “There’s no cow on any of these containers of almond milk or soy milk,” said Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, a trade group representing 70 companies. “No one is trying to fool consumers. All they’re trying to do is create a better alternative for people who are looking for that option.”
And what about other nondairy products with dairy names? Will milk of magnesia, cocoa butter, cream of wheat and peanut butter have to change their names as well?
In recent years, dairy milk alternatives made from almonds, soy, cashews and coconuts have exploded in popularity. Many people consider them more nutritious than cow’s milk. Some people buy them because they have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. Others choose them for environmental reasons or because they want a vegan diet. And some just like the taste.
Miyoko Schinner, chief executive and founder of Miyoko’s Kitchen makes nut-based cheeses and butters in Fairfax, Calif.CreditJason Henry for The New York Times
Cow’s milk was once one of America’s most iconic beverages. But Americans are drinking less of it. Americans drink 37 percent less milk today than they did in 1970, according to the Department of Agriculture. Dairy milk sales tumbled to $12 billion last year, down 20 percent from $15 billion in 2011. Part of the reason is that people switched to other beverages, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, bottled water and soy and almond milk. Mintel, a market research firm, found that negative health perceptions were driving the decline in sales of cow’s milk.
Plant-based milks, with brand names like Almond Breeze and Silk, are sold in the dairy aisle and still represent a fraction of the beverage market, but they are growing in popularity. According to Nielsen, sales of plant-based milks have surged to $1.4 billion from $900 million in 2012.
Much of the growth in plant-based milk has come from the rising popularity of almond milk. Last year, Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, announced that it would begin offering almond milk to lighten its espresso drinks, to meet customer demand. The chain said it was one of the most-requested customer suggestions of all time.
Experts say sales of almond milk are surging for a number of reasons. The dairy industry has come under fire over concerns about animal welfare and the environmental impact of livestock, which contributes to air and water pollution. Almond production has an environmental impact as well: Most of the world’s almonds come from drought-stricken California, where farmers have been accused of diverting dwindling groundwater reserves to their almond orchards, and producing just 16 almonds requires an estimated 15.3 gallons of water. But ultimately the environmental impact of producing cow’s milk in areas where almonds are grown would be far worse, said David Zetland, an assistant professor of economics at Leiden University College in the Netherlands and the author of “Living With Water Scarcity.”
Many consumers also consider almond milk a healthier alternative to cow’s milk. The dairy industry says that’s not true. They point out that milk has nine essential nutrients that are necessary for good health, like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and potassium. The industry has also created ads claiming that milk has up to eight times as much protein as almond milk and fewer ingredients and additives. Some brands of soy and almond milk do contain large amounts of added sugar. But they also come in unsweetened varieties with zero sugar, and some are fortified with calcium, B12 and other nutrients.
There is also debate over the nutritional merits of cow’s milk. In 2013, for example, two of the country’s top nutrition experts, Walter Willett and David Ludwig, both at Harvard, published an editorial in JAMA Pediatrics arguing that healthy adults who get plenty of vegetables, nuts and protein in their diets may not get any extra benefit from cow’s milk. They also raised concerns about exposure to hormones in milk and high levels of added sugar in the chocolate milk served in many schools.
As the dairy industry continues to press its case, producers of nondairy milks are fighting back. The Plant Based Foods Association sent letters to the F.D.A. stating that plant-based milks were properly labeled with their “common or usual” names. A petition from the Good Food Institute opposing the dairy labeling legislation has garnered more than 41,000 signatures.
“Don’t they have better things to do than to care about what a product is called?” asked Miyoko Schinner, the chief executive of Miyoko’s Kitchen, which sells popular nut-based cheeses and butters at almost 2,000 stores nationwide. “The only reason they would care is because they’re protecting their special interests.”
Marsha Cohen, an expert on food and drug law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, said that the dairy industry faces an uphill battle. She said the government’s definitions for milk and other foods — known as “standards of identity” — are intended primarily to protect consumers from financial harm, such as being duped into buying cheap or imitation foods masquerading as more expensive ones. She noted that the F.D.A. recently allowed the company Hampton Creek to call its vegan mayonnaise substitute “Just Mayo,” even though the F.D.A.’s legal definition of mayonnaise states that the condiment must contain eggs.
The debate over what can and can’t be called milk already has played out in courts, with judges so far siding with the plant-based milk industry. In 2013, Judge Samuel Conti of Federal District Court in San Francisco, dismissed a proposed class-action lawsuit that claimed that almond, coconut and soy milk were mislabeled because they do not come from cows. Judge Conti said the claim “stretches the bounds of credulity,” and that it was “simply implausible that a reasonable consumer would mistake a product like soy milk or almond milk with dairy milk from a cow.” He said the lawsuit was reminiscent of an earlier case in which a woman claimed she was misled by Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries cereal because she thought it contained real fruit (that case was thrown out).
In another lawsuit in 2015, another Federal District Court judge in California, Vince Chhabria, rejected a similar claim that consumers could be misled into thinking that soy milk and cow’s milk were nutritionally equivalent.
“A reasonable consumer,” he wrote, “would not assume that two distinct products have the same nutritional content; if the consumer cared about the nutritional content, she would consult the label.”
One place the dairy industry has always found support is in Washington. The industry has spent millions of dollars lobbying the federal government, which strongly encourages Americans to drink plenty of milk. The government’s dietary guidelines recommend that Americans consume up to three cups of low-fat milk or dairy products each day, saying it contains many essential nutrients such as protein, calcium, vitamin D and potassium.
Senator Baldwin of Wisconsin said that one of the reasons she introduced the Dairy Pride Act was that her dairy-farmer constituents wrote to her with their concerns. Among those was Janet Clark, a third-generation dairy farmer who runs Vision Aire Farms about 80 miles north of Milwaukee. Ms. Clark said that she and her family have struggled as milk prices have slumped and the costs of operating their farm have risen. She says that plant-based products are unfairly profiting from the name and reputation of cow’s milk.
“We set a high standard for the milk we produce,” she said. “Milk has already been defined as coming from a dairy animal. We just want that to be enforced in the marketing in supermarkets — that what is being called milk comes from a dairy animal.”
FOE gave kids a lunch menu designed to eliminate foods it says are “unsustainable for our planet.” The new menu features far less meat and more plant-based food. Any meat or cheese the school did use came from “pastured, organic dairy cows.” The student’s lunch menu went from beef hot dogs and pepperoni pizza to vegan stir fry tofu and vegan tostadas. The new FOE-approved menu served meat and cheese-less frequently and reduced the portion sizes.
More people than you may have thought are on plant-based and animal-free diets: PETA reports that 2.5 percent of U.S. residents are vegans, while another 5 percent are vegetarians. Celebrities are no strangers to these dietary changes; big names like Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and now Al Gore are all on board with veganism. Just how nutritious is this plant-based diet, though? Experts note it can be one of the healthiest ways to eat, as you’ll limit calories and harmful fats while still consuming vitamins and minerals. It’s also good for the environment; it uses fewer resources, and doesn’t support industrial livestock farms, which often face criticism for their treatment of animals and environmental waste.
V-Eats Modern Vegan, a meatless restaurant, is shaking up a time-honored Texas tradition with its menu of meatless roasts and meat-substitute sliders. But meat lovers in Dallas aren’t too pleased with a food critic’s surprisingly positive review of the restaurant’s vegan brisket. On Tuesday, the Dallas Observer’s food editor Beth Rankin visited the restaurant during its soft opening to try out the meatless brisket—a smoky, seitan-based loaf that’s served several ways at V-Eats. Rankin says she was skeptical at first but describes the chewy “brisket” as “smoky and moist” and ultimately admits that while it won’t “fool a pitmaster, but it is something I’d order again.”
But after Rankin posted her review, which also includes a review of a fried breadfruit meant to replace chicken, many meat-lovers rallied against the mere idea of creating a brisket out of anything other than beef.
True meat lovers may never venture into tofu territory but if you’re willing it to give it a go, V-Eats Modern Vegan at Trinity Groves is now open to public.
ET might have liked Reese’s Pieces, but apparently the real key to fostering an alien human connection is vegan food. MUNCHIES spoke with Laura Magdalene Eisenhower, a medical astrologist, global alchemist, cosmic mythologist, the the great-granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, about what it’ll take for humans to make contact with sky people. With the CIA releasing previously guarded alien info at this year’s CONTACT in the Desert UFO conference in Joshua Tree, California, I really hope that we’ll be sharing a plate of tempeh wings with space invaders soon.