The issue of obesity and nutrition-related illnesses continues to be a real concern in the United States. Malnutrition here is defined not only as not getting enough food, but also not getting nutritious food because there is literally no access to healthy options in a wide radius.
We at Savorique are very conscious of this fact, since our core mission is to carry less processed and more nutritious foods. This map from Slate Magazine illustrates the access problem very well in a graphical manner. It shows the ‘food deserts’, or places where there is no supermarket in range that would carry a decent choice of options. People living there have to rely on the local fast-food or grocery store for their daily meals.
Society sometimes blames a lack of willpower, or knowledge about healthy eating. And there are certainly local, cultural and family habits that are difficult to change. But at this point the media and the public sector has done a really good job at putting the issue to the forefront. We should now also look at the private sector, namely the big and small supermarkets, to expand to the areas where the variety of their offering would be very much welcome by the communities who need it.
Veganism excludes the use of animals for food in diet. Vegan eaters won’t consume animal products of any kind. Not even honey (as per the Vegan Society and the American Vegan Society’s position).
The reasons for such diet are mostly based on health and ethics. Indeed vegans defend animal rights by fighting against animal cruelty and exploitation perpetrated in factory farms and laboratories. As importantly, vegans root for a dairy free diet that is healthful and nutritious to protect against major diseases, and a vegan diet does that better than the regular diet of modern society.
Vegans roughly represent 1% of the population. That’s about 3 millions of Americans.
The term “vegan” was coined by the founder of the Vegan Society in 1944, and derived from “VEGetariAN” to emphasize on “the beginning and the end of vegetarian” lifestyle as we know it. Nicely done isn’t it?!
So what’s a vegan to do if she wants to indulge in one of the most amazing treat ever crafted by humans, chocolate? Indeed the common recipes for chocolate contain dairy ingredients like egg, butter, cream, or milk! Well, some ingenuous artisan chocolatiers replaced these animal-based ingredients with plant-based ones. Not only do these alternative ingredients have a sweeter natural taste, but they do not carry the “dairy” or “fatty” after-taste commonly found in cream or milk, and disliked by vegan advocates and many non-vegan eaters, like me. Yes, one can be non-vegan and dislike milk taste!
Cocoa is the main ingredient of the world’s most popular treat and provides a livelihood for millions of Africans and South Americans.
A collaboration between Mars Inc, USDA, IBM, NCGR, Clemson Indiana and Washington State Universities and HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has just helped sequencing the genome of the cacao tree (over 35,000 genes identified). This major advancement will enable more efficient research and speed up the breeding process and its quality, thereby expediting the release of superior cultivated varieties of cacao. USDA officials confirm it does not involve genetic engineering but rather significantly improves the old, laborious way of breeding trees. For example, we could now extract the DNA of a cocoa tree and find out if its genes make it disease resistant and then replicate them. In the future, we could also make naturally tastier chocolate by replicating the ideal fatty acid trait during breeding (one of the keys to cocoa flavor)…
The main aim of the cacao genome sequence is to produce superior crops in terms of yield and social benefits without involving genetically modified organisms (GMO). Farmers in West Africa, which represent some 70% of the world’s cocoa production, have at times lost half of their crop due to diseases or drought, having terrible economic and social consequences on local economies (Ghana, Ivory Coast) and impact on global cocoa price and supply. Now, less natural resources will be needed because yields will be higher and steadier and soil less depleted.
The latest eggs salmonella scare is another reminder that Big Food (the corporate behemoths) continues to face deep public health problems despite their financial means. Half a Billion eggs have already been recalled, and the number keeps growing.
This comes after spinach, tomatoes, beef, poultry, peanuts have been recalled. No food group is left untainted by an industry with little regulation or oversight. It’s big business as usual, profits before the health of consumers.
Savorique’s goal is to bring you new ideas, but also promote good foods and eating habits. The real killer in the US, Europe and worldwide are food-related, preventable diseases due to poor nutrition. Education starts with children, and we owe it to them to teach them the basics of food, and equip them with basic recipes that will, in the end, save their lives. Jamie Oliver went on TED to make a compelling case on why our children are less prepared than we were to stay healthy, and won a prestigious TED prize for his views and actions. See also this link.
UPDATE: Kudos to Jamie Oliver who airs a national show to make home, healthy cooking fun for all. Watch Food Revolution on ABC.
This Christmas, which I spent back in France with our growing family, was filled with authentic gourmet food and an abundance of gifts, and was thought provoking…
But first, we, Stephan & Fred, at Savorique hope you all had a joyful Christmas with family and friends. Family gathering, great gourmet food and gift giving are strongly anchored into the Christmas spirit. So we trust you celebrated with your Dearests. We are also very thankfull for those who chose Savorique.com to shop for quality gourmet gifts.
Can we say the same about the toys we bought for our young folks, children, nieces, nefews this Christmas? I took the time to look at where the toys I bought online were made and the result is astounding: Princess outfit for my niece made in China, Bontempi kid’s guitar made in China, rocking horse for my nefew made in China, race car track made in China, fire truck made in China, and -ha!- wooden string puppet made in France. I’m in shock, are you? I admit it is the first time I buy everything online where hardly any information on manufacturing country was available. Had I known everything was from China, I would have bought a few quality wooden toys instead, even if my choice involved a smaller amount of rather pricey toys.
What do these toys have in common?
By purchasing US made products, we encourage local businesses and employment in Colorado, in Brooklyn, in Long Island… Whereas by purchasing large quantities of items made in China or India, we cannot expect local businesses and employment market to be healthy and we rather encourage child labor abroad, low quality standards (remember the toxic paint on Toy’ R’ Us toys made in China last year), unfair labor and trade practices (underpaid workers, under valued currency,…) and primitive human rights…
Such globalization has not improved our living standards in Western countries (America and Europe). On average, imported product quality is low (take toys, clothings, cheap electronics…) , unemployment is at its highest, for many it feels like purchasing power has reached the ceiling years ago, taxes follow an upward trend to allow overly sollicited government to subsidies and help our struggling local businesses (small businesses unable to compete with foreign competition, farmers,…). Globalization has not increased corporate markets shares, the shares won abroad were lost in domestic markets to the benefit of cheaper foreign toys, clothings, even cars (GM may be in China but is in a downward trend in its own domestic market). I favor quality over quantity so I don’t settle either on globalization-induced low pricing.
Buy things local (US made) if you want a sustainable local economy and long lasting quality products, and if you don’t want your sister, or your kid, your friend or your neighbor to tell you tomorrow they lost their job because their employer now wants to manufacture from China. It’s about time we made some thoughtful New Year’s resolutions. Thank you for buying local when shopping on Savorique.com.
Summer is gone, it is scientifically proven we get more depressed as days get shorter and darker. People living in Northern Scandinavia experience one of the highest rate of depression because of the lack of sun. We can fight it back by getting a good intake of stimulants-rich chocolate. We have put together a thorough selection of cookies, brownies, and shortbread that will help you cope with the colder days ahead.
Please do pay us a visit on Savorique, we won’t mind your curiosity.
We are drafting an interesting piece on the future of sugar but wanted to share with you this great documentary titled “The World According to Monsanto” in the meantime. It looks at the dangerous state of the corporation-dominated agricultural industry as well as the staggering weaknesses of the FDA.
This is a 10-clip video, whose first part is below. Please feel free to comment.
Sugar beet and sugar cane are the principal sources of the sugar we consume, apart from “corn syrup” which is used extensively in processed foods. Sugar beet alone makes up more than half of the entire North American sugar crop value and North America is one of the world’s largest producer of sugar and sugar products.
As of this year, all sugar beet crops throughout the United States and Canada are now grown ”GMO”,or genetically engineered, a move deemed necessary to compete with foreign suppliers and despite heavy government subsidies. It is a direction suggested and approved by the USDA.
That is the story of an entire industry. In the absence of general public knowledge and without much assurance as to long term health effects, a revolution has taken place that governs a basic staple of the everyman diet. No longer do we have a choice in the matter and we should be vigilant that the same type of attitude does not prevail when it comes to other basic foods…tomatoes? oranges? beef?
The subject of genetically modified food crops needs to be on front pages to get the public to become involved and behind a topic that should be of great concern to all of us.