Appetizers

By Sandy Todd Webster
Jan 14, 2016

The newest darling in the “health water of the month” parade seems to be birch water. Long consumed for health reasons in Japan, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Korea, this derivative of birch tree sap is now oozing into the U.S. market. In those other parts of the world, the lightly sweet beverage has been thought to boost immunity, support joints and fight fatigue.

It’s not quite in the same vein as that must-try pop-up restaurant in town, but culinary experimentation in space is definitely edgy. Last August, astronauts aboard the International Space Station grew and ate the first vegetable cultivated in space—red romaine lettuce—as part of NASA’s Veg-01 experiment. “Future long-duration space missions will require crew members to grow their own food, so understanding how plants respond to microgravity is an important step toward that goal,” says a report on www.nasa.gov. Next up is Veg-03, an experiment that will
have space crews tending cabbage.

If you’ve been missing your beloved pint of Guinness because it’s not vegetarian-friendly, get ready to belly up to the bar. You’ll be pleased to know that the black stuff will soon be made with a process that eliminates the use of isinglass, a collagen reaped from fish bladders and commonly used to filter beer. You should be able to savor the veg-compliant Irish champagne sometime this year. Sláinte mhaith!

The climb of beef prices over the past
few years and the general trend toward organic meat purchasing have raised consumer interest in sampling bison. Though still more expensive than grass-fed organic beef ($13.82 per pound ground vs. $11.90 for ground beef on the Costco website at the time of this writing), bison is gaining favor among health-conscious people who value small-production, grass-fed animals and consider the meat’s health profile superior to
beef’s (bison has fewer calories and less fat and cholesterol).

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Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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