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Climate Change Will Affect The Taste And Price Of Our Favorite Beers

As climate change continues to have profound effects on the weather around us, will what we eat and drink be affected as well?

One researcher from North Carolina State (NC State) University is arguing that in the case of beer, both the taste and the cost may be significantly affected.

Imagery from Dave Weatherall, Josh Olalde, and Jason Blackeye // Unsplash

In a guest post for the NC State News, associate professor of molecular and structural biochemistry Colleen Doherty discussed how the changing climate and extreme weather patterns we’re witnessing will affect the flavor compounds we find in beer.

When it comes to cost, a 2018 report from Nature has already shown that rising temperatures and drought frequency may increase the price of barley and hops, the two key agricultural ingredients in beer production.

Doherty argues that climate change today is also leading to alterations in daily and seasonal weather patterns that can effect various properties of both barley and hops.

One of the major reasons, according to Doherty, is that environmental changes will affect the terroir of hops. Similar to what you would find in wine, long-term temperature changes will alter a hop’s life cycle and influence to produce differing amounts of defensive compounds, including those that produce aromas in beer, that will change its flavor composition when added to the beverage.

Likewise, that effect on terroir can also change the ratio of protein and starch in the barley used to brew beer. This will change the quality of the extracted malt at the core of the brewing process, meaning that sweetness, carbohydrate count, protein content, and more could be affected too.

It is unclear exactly how the taste of different beers will change over time, there’s just scientific evidence that they will change. Doherty is researching that as part of her work at NC State, and as time goes on, we’ll be able to taste the difference too.

Imagery from Josh Olalde // Unsplash

Professor Doherty does note that not all changes in the taste or quality of beer in the future will be due to climate change; in fact, beer itself has been changing as processes and technology around it have changed over thousands of years.

However, climate change can and will cause changes out of our control that alter beer’s flavor and may increase its cost as well.

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Could These Spoons Made of Grains Be the Utensil of the Future?

compost spoons

It seems like every week the environmental apocalypse draws closer. New tweets and studies pop up everyday spelling out our doom in great detail. One of these states that by 2050 the population will balloon to 10 billion and the amount of plastic in the ocean will outnumber the fish, which means that, basically, we need to almost entirely stop using plastic — especially that of the single-use variety. One of the largest contributors to single-use plastics are utensils, which TwentyFifty are here to help eradicate with their biodegradable utensils. 

The utensils, which have the texture and look of an abnormally thick graham cracker, are made with a combination of wheat flour, soy flour, corn flour, and water. This simple mixture, somehow, results in utensils just as strong and durable as their plastic counterparts, according to the package. However, these spoons and forks can be planted in the soil, where they’ll be composted in around 10 days.

This is genuinely great. But, I remained skeptical of their usability. So, I took the package of spoons we had laying around the Foodbeast office, and put them to the test the only way I knew how: with a nutritious bowl of cereal.

For reference, my bowl of choice was Life — because it’s the only cereal we had in the office that wasn’t something like Maple Bacon Honey Bunches of Oats — steeped in almond milk from Starbucks, because my passion for utensil integrity is big enough to spend $3 on a small cup of almond milk.

The spoon held up well under the wet conditions. At no point did it feel like it had grown soggy, which was my main concern with a spoon made entirely of grains. I even let it marinate in the cereal milk for an hour, and it didn’t lose an ounce of strength. Functionally, it works like any spoon. I do wish it was a bit deeper, so I could fit more liquid in one bite. But, hey, sustainability beggars can’t be choosers.

Naturally, my next question was, “Well, can I eat the spoon too?” TwentyFifty’s website claims they’re “nearly edible,” and I’m here to tell you that this does, in fact, mean nearly edible. I almost broke my tooth trying to bite into a dry spoon, so I can’t say I’d recommend counting on these as a nice post-meal snack anytime soon.

The next problem to tackle is cost and availability. Right now, the utensils are largely only cheap once they’re in bulk. A package of 24 spoons will run you around $17 and are only available online at twentyfiftyfork.com. This makes it a hard bargain to drive when your local Walmart sells bulk plastic spoons for the same price. It makes sense that the biodegradable spoons are more expensive to use, but economics are economics when it gets down to it for your average supermarket consumer.

All in all, though, I was thoroughly impressed by these utensils. And so were many others, seeing as the invention won a Nexty Award. Once the brand gets their price point down and distribution up, TwentyFifty could (and hopefully) be the spoon of the future.

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#foodbeast Animals Culture Health News Plant-Based Sustainability

Eddie Huang Goes Vegan Amidst Amazon Rainforest Crisis

Photo: May S. Young on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Incase you’re living under a rock or somewhere off the grid like Tibet, you’ve probably heard that the Amazon rainforest has been on fire for over three weeks. In a time where climate change is a hot button issue, this news should alarm you.  The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, covering over 5.5 million square kilometers and producing more than 20% of all oxygen. To give you an idea of how significant 20% is, the Amazon is referred to as our planet’s lungs.  Suffice to say, it plays a major role in the fight against climate change.

There have been a reported 72,843 fires in the rainforest this year, the highest rate since Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) began tracking them in 2013. What’s really crazy about all of this is the fact that news outlets only began reporting on the fire this past Wednesday. Word of the fire set the internet ablaze as news spread throughout social media, with news outlets receiving heavy scrutiny for the three-week coverage delay.  

Photo: Unknown on Pxhere, CC0 1.0

Thankfully, information on how you can help is now reaching the masses. In addition to speaking out, one celebrity is taking it a step further in an effort to show solidarity. Announcing that he is going vegan in response to the environmental crisis, writer, host, chef and restaurateur Eddie Huang had this to say:

“After watching videos of the Amazon on fire this week, I’ve decided that this corned beef I ate at Junior’s last week will be the last piece of beef I ever eat,” he wrote on Instagram. 

As a famed restaurateur and former host of Vice’s HBO show “Huang’s World,” Huang is no stranger to eating meat. He continued, “[I love food] but I don’t love what food tv and more importantly what food has become in our culture: a drug.”

With a newfound beef with beef, he explained further, “I’m going to go vegan because it takes 20 times less land to feed a vegan than a meat eater and over 90% of the land cleared in the amazon rainforest since 1970 is used for grazing livestock, but if all of us just stopped eating BEEF it would solve huge problems.”

View this post on Instagram

After watching videos of the Amazon on fire this week, Ive decided that this corned beef I ate at Junior’s last week will be the last piece of beef I ever eat. I love beef, I love ox tails, I love Peter Luger’s, I loved growing up in a steak house cutting NY Strip on xanax. It was soothing but beef is fucking us. Actually, we are fucking ourselves on multiple levels and we need to make changes. Im going to go vegan because it takes 20 times less land to feed a vegan than a meat eater and over 90% of the land cleared in the amazon rainforest since 1970 is used for grazing livestock, but if all of us just stopped eating BEEF it would solve huge problems. Eat fish, eat chicken, eat pork until the next crisis but if all u can do now is quit beef, please do it. I know a lot of ass backwards people think vegetarianism or veganism is some uppity white girl thing to do but its not. There have been Asian Buddhist Vegetarians for thousands of years, Ital Rasta, Hindu as well, this is not some new age thing to laugh at. We are getting back to roots, healing the Earth, and ourselves. Ive eaten my last bite of meat. I wish I had planned this better and ate my mom’s ox tail soup but fuck it. There really isnt time to waste. Some things have to start today. I started to get these feelings shooting the last season of Huang’s World and fasted for 5 days because my producer David’s mom said I looked sick. She was right. The 5 days not eating fundamentally changed me and I shot the second half of the season while intermittent fasting. Ive made a lot of food videos because I love food but more than anything because food was fertile ground for exploring difference, but I dont love what food tv and more importantly what food has become in our culture: a drug. I had a really rough 2018- early 2019, got high and just ate myself to sleep watching Harry Potter a lot lol but Im getting back on my shit. Take a moment, think about it, and reexamine your relationship with food because it’ll make the Earth and ourselves very very sick if we keep abusing it.

A post shared by Eddie Huang (@mreddiehuang) on

Whether or not he sticks to his guns and truly switches to vegan, the stance alone is a powerful one. Oftentimes it takes celebrities speaking out to inspire action on a large scale and Huang’s actions are certainly commendable. You definitely don’t need to go vegan in order to help, but everyone should feel inspired to do something. It can be as simple as sharing a post. Let’s hope climate awareness continues to grow as the world comes together to save the Amazon. 

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Culture Science

Chocolate Could Go Extinct By 2050, These Scientists Are Trying To Prevent It

Photo: So Delicious

Because of global warming, scientists are pretty sure we will be witnessing chocolate extinction sometimes in the next three decades. But some researchers are trying to save cacao plants by then.

Climate change, no matter how disputed in certain narrow but very loud circles, is very much a reality and if we don’t do something about it now, it will affect us in many ways in the years to come. Sure, chocolate is definitely not the most horrific thing we might have to deal with. But it is something we might lose soon, as well as coffee and other daily delights. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are warning that cacao plants might disappear in the next 30 years. And along with them, we will face a chocolate extinction.

How do we solve chocolate extinction?

Luckily, people are quite motivated to do something about it. And as a sometimes-grumpy face, I want to point out that this is just curing a symptom of the disease, not climate change itself. But there’s also a future in it for chocolate, so I’m kind of for it.

The candy company Mars has teamed up with the University of California to save future cacao crops. This solution refers to using CRISPR technology to modify the DNA of cacao plants and help them survive the rising temperatures where farms are located (especially in West Africa, where most of the crops are).

According to NOAA’s report, this generation of crops won’t be affected by climate change, but the next generation will. So, scientists have plenty of time to figure it out or at least buy some time before the situation gets out of hand. And I hope they do. A future would be much sadder without some nice chocolate, chocolate cake or hot chocolate. Chocolate in all shapes, sizes, and desserts.

Chocolate Extinction: A Reality By 2050?
All types of chocolate are in trouble if scientists don’t figure out a way to help cacao plants thrive.

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Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

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Barack Obama And Guy Fieri Are Saving American Food [The Katchup Podcast]

What does it mean for something — or someone – to be basic, honestly? We throw the term around when it comes to things like Starbucks, avocados, and many other food items, but do we have a complete understanding of what it means?

That’s what we dive into on this week’s episode of Foodbeast’s podcast, The Katchup. After a deep discussion on ancient bacteria waking up and making people sick, climate change, food systems, and an important speech given by Barack Obama on the future of food, Editor-In-Chief Elie Ayrouth brought up some of his experiences at a Guy Fieri restaurant in Cancun to myself and Managing Editor Reach Guinto. That led to me making the comment that “Guy Fieri is basic,” triggering some passionate debate and discussion into Guy Fieri, Barack Obama, and the entire notion of what it means to be basic. Video producer Michael Priestley also jumped into the discussion with some good points about the entire thing.

Eventually, we do come to a conclusion as to what it means to be basic and whether someone like Guy Fieri, Barack Obama, or even Gordon Ramsay can be classified as basic. You’ll have to listen to our podcast to get the answer to that question.

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Celebrity Grub News Science Technology

Barack Obama Just Gave 2017’s Most Important Speech On The Future Of Food

“Now is the time for us to act.”

The 2050 benchmark of us losing the capacity to produce food the way we currently do is growing closer and closer. And while it’s hard to enact policies to change the future of food, former United States President Barack Obama just delivered a powerful message on how we can all shape the future of food, and what that future needs to look like.

At the Seeds and Chips Conference in Milan, Italy, President Obama emphasized a dire need to begin acting to create a better future for food, declaring that “now is the time for us to act.”

His 90-minute speech and discussion with former White House food policy advisor Sam Kass highlighted the need to associate climate change with our food systems, since its impact is already beginning to be felt around the world.

For all the challenges that we face, this is the one that will define the contours of this century, more dramatically perhaps than any other. No nation […] will be immune from the impacts of climate change.”

Obama also looks to technology and more traditional agricultural practices combining with science and entrepreneurship to shape the future of food in big ways. To him, the future of food is this:

“The path to a sustainable food future will require unleashing the creative power of our best scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs, backed by public investment and private investment to deploy new innovations and climate-smart agriculture. Better seeds, better storage. Crops that grow with less water. Crops that grow in harsher climates. Mobile technologies that put more agriculture data […] into the hands of farmers so they know what to plant and where to plant, how to plant and how it will sell.”

That future ensures that we can produce the food needed to feed the billions on this planet along with those to come without trashing our environment beyond repair.

Along with that innovation, Obama called for the creation of a “food culture that introduces a demand for more healthier, more sustainable food,” since healthier food can lead to healthier lives and reductions in healthcare costs — a major issue of concern for the United States right now. 

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Health News

This is What Your Meals Would Look Like If Bees Went Extinct [INFOGRAPHIC]

beesinfo

Photo: Fairmont

Bees are one of the most important — and conversely, most hated — creatures on the planet. Infamous for their sting, but famous for how they pollinate basically everything and allow tons of food to be grown. While bees are a vital part of our food system, we’ve been busy killing tons of them off with bee traps, pesticides, and climate change.

This has led to bees being added to the list of U.S. endangered species this past year for the first time. Clearly this is a great cause for concern about it, climate change, the environment, and how it will affect the global supply of food for years to come. While the EPA won’t be able to help for the time being, Fairmont Hotels is doing its part to spread the word on how important bees are to our culture.

The team at Fairmont created a beautiful and powerful infographic that displays what our food would look like if bees went extinct and were unable to pollinate. Tons of fruits and produce would be lost, and the picture of our meals turns into a truly sad state.

Take a look and experiment with the infographic for yourselves to learn a ton more. Hopefully, you learn a great deal about bees and their importance to how we love to eat our food. Even Foodbeasts can appreciate the necessity of many of these foods.

Let’s hope that we can all come together and prevent bees from going extinct — and our meals from becoming dismal.