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8 Climate-Friendly Superfoods

Superfoods?are gaining popularity?and for good reason. They directly?support the immune system, reduce?inflammation, support mental health,?pack a nutritional punch,?and boost energy, stamina and longevity.

Here are eight?superfoods that are not only good for you, but also good for the planet:

1. Crickets

Crickets are loaded with protein. They also ?thrive in hotter climates and survive off decaying waste and very little water and space,??Mother Jones?reported.?For this reason, crickets and other insects have?been?hailed?as the ?next climate-friendly superfood.? They can be ground into baking flour or protein powder, and added?to cookies, brownies or?milkshakes.

While eating crickets?or any type of insect for that matter?hasn?t completely caught on in the U.S., it?s making progress. Last year, fast food chain?Wayback Burgers?put out?a fake press release as an?April Fool?s joke?about insect-filled milkshakes, but the idea was so popular that they?rolled out their?Oreo Mud Pie Cricket Protein Milkshake.

Related: Are Your Ready for Cricket Flour Cookies?

2. Pulses

They?re the dried seeds of lentils, beans and chickpeas?and they’re super healthy. They already make up 75 percent of the average diet in developing countries, but only 25 percent in developed ones, according to the UN.

That could all change, though. Pulses contain 20 to 25 percent protein by weight, approaching the protein levels of meat, which average?30 to 40 percent. They also require far less water than meat to produce.

3. Amaranth

?Amaranth is the new quinoa,? trend expert Daniel Levine told?The Huffington Post. It?s a grain-like seed that cooks quickly and can be added to salads, soups and stews. It?s a complete source of protein just like quinoa, and it is loaded with?fiber,?B vitamins and?several important minerals. Additionally, it?s been?shown?to reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

4. Kefir

Kefir?is the trendiest?fermented?food right now (sorry, kombucha and kimchi).?It?s high in nutrients and?probiotics, and is incredibly beneficial for digestion and?gut health.?Many people consider it to be a healthier and more powerful version of?yogurt.

To make it,??grains? (yeast and lactic acid bacteria cultures) are added to cow or goat milk. The concoction ferments over a 24-hour period and then the grains are removed from the liquid.

Related: 10 Vegan Sources of Probiotics


Sometimes written as tef or t?ef, this pseudo-grain (it?s technically a seed)?has a high nutritional profile and a taste similar?to that of amaranth or quinoa. This?ancient grain?has survived for centuries without much?hybridization or processing.?Like most other ancient grains, it?s high in fiber, calcium and iron.

Traditionally cultivated in?Ethiopia and Eritrea, teff can be grown in a variety of conditions.?Teff ?thrives in both waterlogged soils and during?droughts, making it a dependable staple wherever it?s grown. No matter what the weather, teff crops will likely survive, as they are also relatively free of plant diseases compared to other cereal crops,??Whole Grains Council?said.

?Teff can grow where many other crops won?t thrive, and in fact can be produced from sea level to as high as 3,000 meters of altitude, with maximum yield at about 1,800-2,100 meters high,? the council said. ?This versatility could explain why teff is now being cultivated in areas as diverse as dry and mountainous Idaho and the low and wet Netherlands.?

6. Moringa

It?s often called the ?the miracle tree? or the ?tree of life,? according to?TIME. It?s commonly found in?Asian and African countries, and almost every part of it?pods, leaves, seeds and roots?is edible. It?s a?good source?of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and iron. Not only does it pack a nutritional punch, it?s also a?fast-growing, drought-tolerant plant?that is a promising biofuel and medicinal source.

Related: Why Moringa is Known as ‘The Miracle Tree’

7. Kelp

Kelp grows super fast (up to two feet per day), and requires neither freshwater nor fertilizer. ?And rather than contributing to our carbon footprint, as many fertilizers and food sources do, seaweed cleanses the ocean of excess nitrogen and carbon dioxide,??Mother Jones?reported. One kelp?farmer on the Long Island Sound even?claims?he?s?restoring?the ocean while producing a sustainable food and fuel source.

8. Waste-Based Food

This isn?t as weird as it sounds. In order to reduce?food waste, restaurants are finding?creative ways?to use the edible?parts of plants and animals that are often thrown out. Last year, award-winning chef Dan Barber held a?two-week pop-up?at Blue Hill, his restaurant in New York City, where he cooked with spent grain, cocoa beans, pasta scraps and?vegetable?pulp.

Written by Cole Mellino. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.?

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Is Climate Change Making Chocolate Taste Better?
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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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8 Climate-Friendly Superfoods

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Climate change will do strange things to this hungry little microbe

Climate change will do strange things to this hungry little microbe

By on 1 Sep 2015commentsShare

For CO2-eating bacteria, climate change is kind of a sweet deal. It’s like someone sneaking into your kitchen every night and dumping a bunch of cookies on your counter — except, in this scenario, humanity is the one breaking and entering, your house is Earth, and those cookies are ruining everything.

But if you’re a marine microbe just chillin’ in the tropics and subtropics, munching on CO2, and watching the rest of the world go up in flames, there’s no downside, right? Wrong! Researchers at USC and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute tested how Trichodesmium (nickname: Tricho), a cyanobacteria that consumes CO2 and pumps out crucial nitrogen for the rest of the marine food web, would behave under the high-CO2 conditions projected for 2100, and they found that poor lil Tricho faces death-by-gluttony.

In a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, the researchers report that at first, things won’t look so bad for Tricho. With more CO2, the bacteria grow faster and produce 50 percent more nitrogen. So not only are the bacteria getting stronger, they’re also making more food for other marine organisms that eat nitrogen. But then things go sour, because of course there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or in this case, cookie). So here’s the bad news from USC News:

The problem is that these amped-up bacteria can’t turn it off even when they are placed in conditions with less carbon dioxide. Further, the adaptation can’t be reversed over time — something not seen before by evolutionary biologists, and worrisome to marine biologists, according to David Hutchins, lead author of the study.

“Losing the ability to regulate your growth rate is not a healthy thing,” said Hutchins, professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “The last thing you want is to be stuck with these high growth rates when there aren’t enough nutrients to go around. It’s a losing strategy in the struggle to survive.”

Let’s put this in terms of cookies, because I’m hungry. You can’t really have cookies without milk, right? (That’s not actually a question.) So if someone’s stocking your kitchen with extra cookies but not extra milk, and you start pigging out on cookies, you’ll eventually run out of milk. When that happens, you’ll probably be bummed out but will continue to stuff your face.

Unfortunately for Tricho, the milk in this metaphor is phosphorous and iron — crucial nutrients that are in limited supply — so when Tricho runs out of “milk,” it’ll die. Here’s more from USC News:

With no way to regulate its growth, the turbo-boosted Tricho could burn through all of its available nutrients too quickly and abruptly die off, which would be catastrophic for all other life forms in the ocean that need the nitrogen it would have produced to survive.

Even after the researchers put the bacteria back in a CO2-low environment, its enhanced appetite didn’t subside. They basically developed an irreversible evolutionary adaptation which, according to USC News, Hutchins described as “unprecedented.”

Tricho has been studied for ages. Nobody expected that it could do something so bizarre,” he said. “The evolutionary biologists are interested in it just to study this as a basic evolutionary principle.”

The team is now studying the DNA of Tricho to try to find out how and why the irreversible evolution occurs. Earlier this year, research led by [Eric Webb of USC Dornsife] found that the organism’s DNA inexplicably contains elements that are usually only seen in higher life forms.

“… the organism’s DNA inexplicably contains elements that are usually only seen in higher life forms.” Twenty bucks says Tricho’s an alien. Hell, let’s make it $20 million. It’ll probably be dead before we get a chance to figure it out. (Unless, of course, part of its plan for invasion involves eating up all the phosphorous and iron, then entering a death-like dormant phase until the rest of the marine ecosystem spirals into chaos, and we find ourselves on the brink of extinction …)

Until then, I’ll just be eating cookies and milk.


Climate change will irreversibly force key ocean bacteria into overdrive

, USC News.


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Climate change will do strange things to this hungry little microbe

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The Future of Food Has Robot Arms and Smells Like Bacon

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>
Cooki, a robotic cooking machine prototype, on display at the Parisoma “Future of Food” meet-up Maddie Oatman

In the not-so-distant future, a robot named Cooki will make you dinner. Cooki will follow a recipe drawn from a database of millions of crowd-sourced ideas accessed through a subscription service similar to iTunes. Then, it will stir together pre-chopped ingredients with a robotic arm. Instead of the $15 required to buy and deliver take-out food, Cooki’s meal will cost you $4 to $5.

At least, that’s how the future will look if Timothy Chen has anything to do with it.

Chen is the CEO of Sereneti Kitchen, the company producing an automated robot that can supposedly cook “restaurant-quality” meals at your kitchen counter and clean up after itself. Chen was one of around a dozen entrepreneurs pitching their victual innovations at a tech event called the “Future of Food,” hosted by the San Francisco co-working space Parisoma on Wednesday. A line snaked around the block at the entrance of the building at 7 p.m. when I arrived. Inside, designers, data-geeks, food marketers, and underground supper club hosts mingled over beers or the papaya-colored smoothie samples from the Pantry vending machine. I overheard the phrases “superfood” and “drought-friendly” more than once over the course of the evening.

Timothy Chen unwraps a plastic tray of ingredients to feed into Cooki during a demonstration

The concept behind the cooking robot comes from Chen’s 18-year-old twin sisters, Haidee and Helen, who wondered why their mom had to spend so many hours making fresh food every day. “Shouldn’t cooking be as easy as pushing a button?” their IndieGogo campaign page implores. Aside from making cooking more efficient, Sereneti’s social mission includes a desire to cut down on food waste and promote access to healthy ingredients.

Though Cooki only really does one-pot cooking, Sereneti imagines its machine making 60 percent of the world’s types of food—from pastas to salads to curries. Chen hopes to retail Cooki for around $500, or $200 if customers subscribe to a recipe and ingredients delivery service. (You could also prepare and input your own ingredients into the robot).

Midway through the “Future of Food” event, I wander over to Sereneti’s table to catch Cooki in action. Dressed in an argyle sweater and sporting rectangular glasses, Chen’s a quick-talking guy with a background in robotics. “This is the Keurig for food,” he explains, referring to the individualized coffee pod machines that I’ve covered in the past. He pulls out clear plastic trays full of raw bacon, lamb, cherries, and pine nuts that have been prepared and preserved with the help of food scientists. Once loaded up with the goods, the machine extracts one of the trays, tips it into a pot heated underneath by coils, and begins to stir. Soon, the smell of bacon oozes out from under the machine’s glossy white hood.

Chen has pretty big dreams for Cooki: As he sees it, it will not only save parents time, it could also make them money. By crowd-sourcing recipes and charging people one-time-use fees, “every time someone uses your recipe—you get paid,” Chen explains. “It’s the ultimate in multi-level marketing,” he says to me—”and it’s not even a Ponzi scheme!”

Okay. While Cooki’s frying, I decide to check out some of the other booths. A man with watery blue eyes and a thick French accent passes out crackers smudged with bone-white brie made from almond milk. Unlike some of the tasteless, pasty vegan cheeses I’ve sampled in the past, Kite Hill’s cheese draws from the traditional cheesemaking process: Cultures and enzymes are added to the milk to create an actual curd. Kite Hill claims to be the only company treating almond milk this way. The result is impressive—if I didn’t know any better, I would think it was a sheep’s milk cheese. Kite Hill’s cheesemaker, Jean Prevot, who hails from France, spent 15 years in the dairy industry before turning to almond milk “for the challenge of it.”

Soft ripened almond brie from Kite Hill

At the table across the way, two chipper, unblinking blonde women dish up crackers made with flour from ground-up crickets. Their San Francisco-based company, Bitty Foods, produces the cookies as well as a cricket-based baking flour “that’s high in protein, drought-resistant, and lower in greenhouse-gas emissions,” as cofounder Megan Miller tells one taster. I overhear two men discussing their cookies in between bites. “There’s a little aftertaste,” one says. “It’s subtle—if I wasn’t thinking about it, I wouldn’t have picked up on it.”

Leslie Ziegler and Megan Miller serve cricket-flour cookies from their company Bitty

Over to the Kuli Kuli Foods table, where women in acid-green aprons peddle samples of bars made of moringa, a leafy plant that Time recently deemed the new kale. Kuli Kuli is the first US company marketing moringa. Its founder, Lisa Curtis, first learned about the plant while in Peace Corps in Niger in 2010. Feeling malnourished on the local diet, she was urged to try the nutrient-dense moringa plant, which is high in calcium, protein, amino acids, and vitamin C. The plant grows super fast and thrives in hot, dry climates. Curtis realized that locals weren’t marketing the superfood because they had no international market, so she set out to create one in the US by importing the plant in powder form. Aside from fueling her own fruit and nut bar company, she tells me that local juice joints around San Francisco are picking it up for use in smoothies. (Side note: Fidel Castro is a huge moringa fan.)

Moringa bar samples from Kuli Kuli

I want to love moringa. If the current California drought is any predictor, we’re going to need plants that survive harsher conditions and provide such an impressive array of nutrients. But this one tastes rather grassy, and goes down like a shot of wheatgrass, which is to say, abruptly. So power to Kuli Kuli, but here’s hoping its moringa recipes continue to evolve.

I make it back to Chen’s table just in time for the tasting of Cooki’s “sauteéd lamb and macerated cherries” dish. Cooki had certainly cooked through the lamb, softened the cherries, and roasted the pine nuts. I don’t eat meat, so I had to rely on other people’s tastebuds to know how the dish turned out. “It’s pretty good,” one woman, Barb, told me, and shrugged. “I do wonder how it will cook vegetables,” another taster said. Neither of them were aware that the dish included bacon grease. To which, I had to ask—doesn’t everything taste pretty good when coated in bacon grease?

Lamb, cherries, and pine nuts (and bacon) made by Cooki

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The Future of Food Has Robot Arms and Smells Like Bacon

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Are You Ready for Cricket Flour Cookies?

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Are You Ready for Cricket Flour Cookies?

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