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Health Science

Study Suggests Eating Kimchi Could Help Protect Against Covid-19

As scientists have been scrambling for potential treatments and vaccines to combat against the COVID-19 pandemic, some have begun testing different unique foods that could play a role in disease prevention.

One food, kimchi, has shown in an early study to be a possible food that could help protect against COVID-19 when consumed.

The pre-printed study took a look at data of death rates from different countries and found that those that eat fermented vegetables, including fermented cabbage products, tended to have a lower death rate. The countries surveyed in this study were European ones, but authors noted that this could be similar for other countries with lots of fermented vegetables in their diets, which includes kimchi.

One could infer from these results that kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented cabbage products could help in protection against the disease as a result.

Scientifically, the theory behind this is that fermented vegetables like cabbages have high antioxidant activity, and can inhibit an entry point for coronavirus into the cells called the ACE-2 pathway. ACE-2 is a protein on the membranes of cells that some coronaviruses, including the one responsible for this outbreak, can enter the cell through.

Could eating more kimchi and other fermented cabbage products help prevent you from getting COVID-19? It’s possible, but this study was done to establish some possible hypotheses on how diets could affect the spread of the pandemic. That means that while the possibility is there, now is the time for massive epidemiological research to prove that it’s actually the case.

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Grocery Health Science

Walmart Requiring Face Masks To Enter Starting July 20th

Walmart has added on to the growing list of retailers implementing face mask requirements for customers to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in the United States.

Photo: ungvar // Shutterstock

Starting on July 20th, all Walmart customers will need to be wearing a face mask to gain entry into stores to shop. Walmart will be deploying trained “Health Ambassadors” to remind guests of the new requirements.

At Walmart’s Costco-like subsidiary, Sam’s Club, complimentary masks will be available for members, who can also purchase face masks inside of the store.

Walmart has cited the CDC in their decision to add this policy, saying that “face coverings help decrease the spread of COVID-19, and because the virus can be spread by people who don’t have symptoms and don’t know they are infected, it’s critically important for everyone to wear a face covering in public and social distance.”

The new policy was announced the same day that Starbucks’ own face mask requirements are scheduled to take effect. It also comes shortly after CDC Director Robert Redfield stated that if everyone wore face masks and practiced social distancing, COVID-19 could be controlled within 1-2 months.

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Drinks Health

NO MASKS, NO SERVICE: Starbucks’ New Rule For Customers Starts July 15th

Starbucks just updated its policies for how the coffee chain plans to continue to serve customers through the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest additions is that the company will introduce a face mask requirement for all customers entering their stores.

The new policy, which goes into effect July 15th, marks a significant change of language from how Starbucks previously approached face masks. Previous language asked customers who came into stores to wear them, but did not require them to have one to gain entry.

Baristas have, and will continue, to wear facial coverings while in stores.

During a time when face masks have been questionably politicized, Starbucks is taking an informed stance on safety recommendations to help limit the spread of COVID-19 while folks are picking up coffee, beverages, and breakfast.

These changes also come as some states have begun to reopen both indoor and outdoor dining, with safety precautions, for customers. However, as COVID-19 cases have resurged across the United States, several areas have re-closed indoor dining operations.

For those who still object to wearing face masks but still want Starbucks, delivery, curbside pickup, and drive-thru orders are alternative options to going inside. This is only available, however, “at select locations where a local government mandate is not in place,” according to the new policy.

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Health Packaged Food Science What's New

Hormel’s Newest Meat Products Are Designed For Those With Swallowing Disorders

For those with a form of dysphagia, or swallowing disorder, it can be very difficult to eat various forms of foods, especially meat. Hormel’s Health Labs has come up with a solution specifically for meat, developing a line of ready-to-go meats that are designed for those with forms of dysphagia.

Photo courtesy of Hormel Health Labs

To prepare meat for those with dysphagia, it has to be ground to a certain size and consistency for safety and comfort reasons. The meat products that Hormel Health Labs just developed were made in accordance with the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI). These meat products are suitable for IDDSI level 5 (“Minced and Moist,” about 4mm in size, the standard size of chewed food particles) and level 6 (“Soft and Bite-Sized,” about 15 mm in size, small enough to prevent asphyxiation should food accidentally get in someone’s airway).

Hormel’s products fit within these standards, but are also meant to be a quick and easy way to prepare tasty meals for those with swallowing disorders. Considering that most meals for those with dysphagia tend to be poor in “quality of life” standards, these could signify a marked improvement in enjoying food when it comes to meals.

You can purchase these in turkey, chicken, pork, and beef varieties. They are available in resealable packaging, and can be portioned out to cook in the microwave or on a stovetop. Buying these requires getting in contact with a sales rep for Hormel Health Labs, which can be done at the above link.

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Deals Health News Packaged Food Plant-Based What's New

Beyond Meat’s Burger Patty Priced The Lowest It’s Ever Been: $1.60

As meat prices soar, plant-based patty producer Beyond Meat is making an attempt to appeal to the masses.

The company will be releasing its Cookout Classic 10-pack, a value of their well-known plant-based burgers, which will be for sale in most Targets and Walmarts nationwide for $15.99.

“The new offering will be available through mid-August, or until supplies last, and is intended to narrow the price gap between plant-based meat and animal protein, making delicious, nutritious and sustainable plant-based meat more accessible to more people,” said the company in a statement via email. 

The release comes at a time when meat prices are the highest they’ve been since 1974, which the brand hopes will leave typical meat-eating consumers a bit more open to trying plant-based burgers. 

“This forward-looking pricing represents an important milestone along our journey to make Beyond Meat more accessible to all consumers,” said CEO Ethan Brown.

According to CNN, a secondary, less consumer centric reason is that the company has an excess amount of the patties, which were destined for restaurants pre-COVID, and hopes to get rid of the stock.

This plan is only a part of the company’s ever-expanding reach, as they’ve recently inked a deal with Yum Brand’s (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) Chinese storefronts and tested burgers in McDonald’s Canada. A direct-to-consumer website will be released this summer, as well. 

Hounded by restaurant shutdowns or not, Beyond Meat appears to be chugging along and trying to turn a negative situation into an opportunity for expansion. 

Whatever the reason the Cookout Classic pack exists, for consumers or for the brand, it does. And, it’ll soon be available at a store near most people. For fans of the product, any sign of the company’s (understandably) premium-priced burgers getting a price slash is a good signal of things to come . 

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Entrepreneurship Food Trends Health Sustainability

Salmon Skin Chips Are Here, Would You Try Them?

goodfish

Growing up, pork rinds were a popular snack. My mother, vehemently anti-pork, would never buy them, but on a rare occasion, I’d steal a munch from a relative or friend. Even now, I recall the salty crunch, and how quick they mysteriously evaporate in your mouth. Those are good memories, yet with age, I became more conscious of my diet and as a result, haven’t had a chicharron in years. With that said, pork skins are still wildly popular. 

In today’s “alternative world,” social media has spurred entrepreneurship which in turn has fueled innovation across industries. As health consciousness grows and alternative “everything’s” are popping up weekly, a pork rind alternative was inevitable. 

goodfish

New upstart snack brand Goodfish is that answer. It’s the aquatic alternative to pork rinds and is made with wild caught Alaskan Salmon from Bristol Bay. These fish skins are packed with clean protein, good omega fats and marine collagen. Goodfish aims to give you all the nutrients, with none of the sluggishness carbs cause. They come in four flavors; Sea Salt, Spicy BBQ, Chili Lime and the oddly curious Tart Cranberry. 

I don’t know about ya’ll, but these sound pretty fire to me. They have a lighter crisp but still deliver on the salty savoriness. I can’t call the tart cranberry though. Would you try these as a healthier alternative to pork rinds? Possibly a replacement?  

If you’re interested in doing a deep dive, you can find Goodfish at your local retailer here.

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Health News Restaurants

Amazon Studios Donates $1 Million to Jon & Vinny’s to Help Feed Those in Need

Photo Provided By: Omari Allen

As COVID’s curve on the world gradually flattens out, we’re seeing slow beginnings towards normalcy. Maybe a different normality than we’re accustomed to, but living life again nevertheless. It’s part of the human spirit; rather than simply conform, we’ve chosen to confront. This strength has manifested in a multitude of ways, from the courage of essential workers, to local farms helping to distribute food, even the spike in video chat apps is an indicator of how we come together in challenging times. 

Joining the fray, Amazon Studios has announced that it will be donating $1 Million to the award-winning Los Angeles-based restaurant group, Jon & Vinny’s. Existing well beyond their two brick & mortar locations in Brentwood & Fairfax, Jon & Vinny’s Joint Venture Restaurant Group also encompasses Caramelized Productions, their full-service catering company, as well as a slew of popular LA staples. Suffice to say, with Amazon Studios’ donation, Jon & Vinny’s is certainly capable of making a positive impact. 

Additionally, donations will be made to other local restaurants. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to work with local businesses in preparing and delivering meals to No Kid Hungry, Off Their Plate, the Los Angeles Mission and the Motion Picture & Television Fund. Through this social outreach, those in need will receive fresh meals prepared by talented chefs and contributing local restaurants will have financial support to continue serving the community. With over 10 farms and nearly 10 more businesses contributing to this initiative, everyone involved stands to feel real support during this time.  

jon & vinny's

“This unprecedented crisis has impacted all of us in immeasurable ways, and it’s more important than ever that we all do our part to give back at every level — and particularly to our own community,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “At Amazon Studios and Prime Video, we’re truly honored to be able to show our support to the community that has always supported us, and to team up with Jon and Vinny’s to provide food to those who so desperately need it along with a lifeline to local businesses.” 

To further reinforce its support, Amazon Studios has converted its “For Your Consideration” billboards into “For Your Community,” with each highlighting COVID-related non-profit organizations.  These billboards are now live across Los Angeles. To learn more about Amazon’s efforts to support communities and non-profits, click here.

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Health

Costco Now REQUIRES You To Wear A Mask Before Entering Their Warehouse

As more and more people flock to Costco to stock up  during this period of self isolation, the national warehouse club has been having to update their policies pretty frequently to ensure the safety of all its members and guests. The latest in these policies is a new requirement that everyone looking to enter their warehouse will be required to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Effective May 4, the company announced that all Costco members and guests will have to wear a mask or face covering that covers the mouth and nose at all times while inside their warehouses.

The only exceptions will be children under the age of two or individuals who can’t wear a face covering because of an existing medical condition.

Costco also stresses that this policy is definitely not a substitute for social distancing (which should always be practiced throughout this pandemic). Looks like if you’re planning to go to Costco next week, you better have a mask ready. Otherwise you’ll be waiting in that long line for nothing.