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Animals Culture Food Trends Food Waste Health News Sustainability What's New

The Wagyu Beef of Lamb Is Here, and It’s Trying to Save the Environment

During the Edo Period in feudal Japan, “mottainai” was a way of life. The word, which roughly translates to “what a waste,” represents the idea that everything has a purpose, even things that didn’t immediately seem useful. For example, when the townspeople’s kimonos had turned drab, they were repurposed as futon pads, diapers, and dusters. Once these had become unusable, they were burned and the ashes were sold for various uses. This general focus on maximizing resources permeates throughout Japan to this day, and the phrase mottainai became a popular motif for a Kenyan environmental movement that reached the UN eventually.

The concept revolves around the commonly used three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. But what distinctifies it is an additional, fourth R — respect. Such respect is applied for the Earth, for animals, and for the role they play in our life.

“It’s one of the things I’ve always respected about Japanese culture, that they aren’t so wasteful and that they do value the resources that they have around them,” says Suzannah Moss-Wright, the owner of the Australia-based company Mottainai Lamb, which aims to change the course of the meat industry.

The company, which has been around for four years now, is producing sustainable meat. The first six months of their lambs’ lives are spent on a pasture, grazing on grass. While this is not particularly revolutionary, it’s the finishing weeks where the company makes their mark. Instead of using grain feed to plump up the lamb, as most farms do, Moss-Wright’s company finishes their lamb with a cocktail of unused vegetables. Their finishing feed consists of 80% recycled material from nearby farms: carrots too ugly to sell, carrot tops, carrot pomace, and olive oil sediment. 

And, while this does bring something new to the table, Moss-Wright points out, “One of the big challenges that we face, when we want to innovate, and we want to really disrupt this supply chain and the way food is conventionally produced in this sort of mass commercialized world, is you’ve got to have something that nobody else has.” 

After three years of research and development, they had it. The lamb they produced marbled.

Mottainai Lamb ribs (Photo: Reach Guinto, Foodbeast)

Marbling, a term used to describe the intramuscular fat in a cut of meat’s tendency to look like the white streaks running that run through marble rock, is a sign of quality. The more marbling, the better the meat. Japanese A5 Wagyu beef is famed for its marbling and is considered some of the best in the world. In order to get the A5 distinction, the beef must have an intramuscular fat percentage of above 43.8%. Most regular lamb has an intramuscular fat percentage of a mere 3-5%

Mottainai Lambs have 37%, according to Moss-Wright.

They found that the carrot and olive pomaces, once in the digestive rumen of the sheep, are considered by their body to be partially digested, so it moves through in a third of the time as it normally would. Because of this, the unsaturated fatty acids that cause marbling don’t break down and were absorbed as such.

The result is a prime cut of lamb. Fresh and light, the meat is significantly less gamey than most other lamb. The pungent odor that lamb tends to carry is nowhere to be found. It melts in the mouth, just like A5 Wagyu, very much warranting the $36/lb price point.

This dwarfs the regular pricing of lamb. 

“Great lamb is $12/lb,” chef Jason Quinn of Playground, in Santa Ana, CA, told me for reference. Playground is the only restaurant in California serving Mottainai Lamb.

Mottainai Lamb served as a tartare at Playground in Santa Ana, CA (Photo: Hunter Anderson, Foodbeast)

Not only is the quality to A5 standards, but so is the going rate. This presents a challenge that any growing sustainable meat operation will eventually face. How do you convince people to purchase a premium product that’s made sustainably, when they can get a cut from the feedlot for significantly cheaper?

The problem reflects a question that’s slowly becoming more apparent, one that shifts from lamb and turns toward meat in general: Can we, collectively, change our meat reliant diets? The problem isn’t eating meat, necessarily, it’s how often we eat it.

This small-scale example does not address the climate impacts of meat production. There are certainly better and worse waste to produce meat, but none of them are scalable enough to sustainably meet current demand.” says Jennifer Molidor, sustainability writer and Senior Food Campaigner for the Center of Biological Diversity, an Arizona-based environmentally focused nonprofit.

Places like McDonald’s wouldn’t be able to meet their demand, which is close to 75 hamburgers per second, if they were to try to do it sustainably. Massive, wasteful farms are the only way we can meet this demand. 

Factory farms are immense patches of land where animals are kept in captivity and fed fattening grain and hormones until they’re plump. They’re also where, uncoincidentally, 99% of American’s meat comes from, according to a study done by the Sentience Institute. 

The results of these farms are damning. It’s estimated that livestock production accounts for around 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, those producing animals that use a rumen to digest food, mainly cows and sheep, are even worse for the environment as these animals naturally excrete methane, one of the worst greenhouse gasses for our environment. While this may not be concerning on an animal by animal level, with the amount of these animals being produced, it certainly adds up. It’s estimated that, in western countries, each person needs to cut their intake of nearly every animal product by over 50% in order to prevent any further damage from occurring.

But most people don’t envision the ramifications of their shopping choices when they walk into the store and see pounds of ground meat on the shelf. They only see the finished product. A disconnect has formed. It’s slowly withering away with the introduction of plant-based beef, the rise of vegetarianism/veganism, and the increase in grazing farms, but it’s still very much there–  and Moss-Wright intends to change that.

“[The supply chain]’s not respecting animals, it’s not respecting farmers, it’s not respecting the environment, and we’ve got to turn that around,” she said. 

Seeing this, Moss-Wright decided that the company needed a fifth R, in addition to the aforementioned four R’s of mottainai, to properly describe their mission. Reduce, reuse, recycle, respect, and reconnect. 

To institute this, Mottainai Lamb takes a hands-on approach to their distribution and growth by personally visiting chefs that buy their product with their distributor, Trex. This pushes a platform of transparency between the consumer, the distributor, and the grower, with the intent to shift the culture towards this. 

Unopened racks of Mottainai Lamb ribs along with their authentication (Photo: Reach Guinto, Foodbeast)

“I believe that chefs are ready for that, they’re really looking for that connection now and consumers are wanting that connection,” stated Moss-Wright.

And she’s right, chefs like Jason Quinn are ready for the change, and they’re actively practicing it.

“I preach a lot that, in this restaurant, if you work here, you can’t just be a person that thinks that steak is special and peas are not. Every single ingredient that hits the plate has the ability to be special, to change someone’s mind, to be the highlight of the night. And if you’re ignoring vegetables because they’re on the side for meat dishes, then you’re just wasting a lot of time at this moment,” he declared. 

But, those working in restaurants such as Quinn’s aren’t the people that need convincing. That would be the general population. Information regarding the concerning nature of the meat industry is abundant. It’s still going to be hard to convince an entire population to kick a meat-reliant diet after generations of eating that way. As with most addictions, there’s a dissonance. 

People believe what they see, though. The hope is that if chefs, like Quinn, start serving less meat and more vegetables as their main courses, and pushing transparency in the sourcing of their ingredients, then people would grow used to this and come to expect it everywhere.

Quinn brings up revolutionary Australian restaurant Saint Peter, where Chef John Niland is able to use 90% of each fish that’s consumed. Quinn says Americans wouldn’t be ready for this, and points towards Australia’s older restaurants that were serving out-of-the-box dishes years ago, giving the same culture a curiosity it needs to make Niland’s creations, like a crispy barbot stomach sandwich, a hit.

By applying that logic, and the fifth R, to their mission, Mottainai Lambs hopes to help inspire the needed cultural shift. They’re aware that they can’t do it all at once. It’s a process to tear down such a large system, and inspire others to do the same.

“You know, what we’ve done, in terms of risking everything, investing in R&D, and taking on a food supply chain and really trying to disrupt it and innovate it, it’s not easy to do. But, if I break the wind, then other people can ride my wake,” Moss-Wright points out. “It takes a lot of distance — what was it, 17 nautical miles to turn a ship around? —  so it’s not going to happen overnight. But we’ve got to stop turning this ship because we don’t have a second chance with this.”

Mottainai Lamb’s blueprint is by no means an end-all-be-all solution for sustainable meat production. It’s a needed step in the right direction in an industry that so badly needs to take that step. And, while yes, the meat is utterly prime, it’s the premise of others in the same area of business taking note, and following suit in addressing better sustainability options, that’s truly exciting. 

Categories
Fast Food

Burger King’s New Green Burger Is Aptly Called ‘The Nightmare King’

Halloween is less than two weeks away and Burger King is adding a little fuel to your spooky fast food nightmares.

Called the Nightmare King, their new burger combines a quarter-pound of beef with a crispy fried chicken filet, melted American cheese, thick-cut bacon, mayonnaise, and onions served between a glazed green sesame seed bun.

The green bun is a nice touch to keep in line with the haunting aesthetic, though some charcoal or squid ink mayonnaise would have really brought everything together. Still, fried chicken and beef on a burger without having to hack the menu? Sign me up.

Those curious to try this ghastly burger can find it at participating Burger King locations on Oct. 22 through Nov. 1. Wouldn’t mind pairing this with about 50 chicken nuggets as I rewatch Rosemary’s Baby this Halloween.

Categories
Film/Television Packaged Food

You Can Now Buy Nickelodeon’s Infamous Slime As A Condiment

Harkening back to my youth, I remember much of my childhood entertainment featured a lot of green slime. Particularly Nickelodeon’s infamous brightly-colored sludge. Not gonna lie, a part of me has always wondered what the green goo tasted like. My eight-year-old self would ask: How come those kids never licked the slime off their faces?

Well it seems like Walmart and Nickelodeon partnered up and recreated the iconic green slime for all to enjoy — in condiment form. While actually a ketchup, the emerald topping will look and feel like slime.

Not too long ago, former Double Dare host Marc Summers revealed that the original recipe for the televised slime consisted of vanilla pudding, apple sauce, green food coloring, and a bit of oatmeal.

Obviously, that doesn’t sound too appetizing to consume — well, actually that doesn’t sound half bad either.

Until they recreate the texturized original, the new slime ketchup is now available at Walmart locations nationwide. I may grab a bottle and see how it holds up on a hot dog, corn dog, some fries. Stay tuned.

Categories
Fast Food Sweets

For One Day, Krispy Kreme Is Bringing Back Their Emerald Doughnuts

St. Patrick’s Day is only a few days away and we’re trying to figure out where to spend our evening. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts made sure we had our St. Paddy’s morning locked down with a stunning green doughnut that’s certain to brighten up our social feeds.

The brand’s iconic Original Glazed Doughnut will undergo an emerald transformation on March 17, also known as St. Patrick’s Day. To get even deeper into the spirit of the Irish holiday, Krispy Kreme is changing the name of the popular menu item for the first time in history.

For just one day, the Original Glazed Doughnut will go by the O’riginal Glazed Doughnut. Get it?

If you’re trying to get your hands on one of these doughnuts, make sure to mark your calendars for this Friday.

You can find the colorful O’riginal Glazed Doughnuts at participating Krispy Kreme locations in the United States and Canada on March 17.

Also, we’d like to take a minute and remind everyone to have a safe St. Patrick’s Day.

Categories
Fast Food What's New

McDonald’s Secret-Menu Chocolate Shamrock Shake Officially Joins The Menu

Mcd-Shamrock-Shake-Line

Around this time every year, McDonald’s releases their iconic Shamrock Shake. The mint-flavored ice cream beverage boasts an emerald aesthetic and admittedly pretty smooth taste. This year, however, McDonald’s decided to drop four new drinks to coincide with the release of the green milkshake.

Along with this year’s return of the Shamrock Shake, comprised of vanilla soft-serve with green mint syrup, McDonald’s has added the following:

The Chocolate Shamrock Shake, which boasts a layer of chocolate shake on the bottom half, with a top half comprised of Shamrock Shake. The drink, originally a secret menu item, has officially become a part of the seasonal shake menu.

A Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappe that’s blended with Shamrock Shake syrup and finished with whipped topping, green syrup drizzle, and green sugar crystals.

In the hot beverage end of the menu are the new Shamrock Hot Chocolate and the Shamrock Mocha which feature hot chocolate and mocha beverages combined with the Shamrock Shake syrup.

You can bet your pot of gold we’ll be giving these new Shamrock drinks a fair shake. Bad puns aside, they do look pretty delicious.

Image: McDonald’s

Categories
Packaged Food

Twinkies Adds Ghostbuster-themed Flavor To Hype Upcoming Film

Key-Lime-Ghostbusters-Twinkies

The new Ghostbusters movie is a little more than a month away and promotions are starting to kick into gear for the franchises’ reboot. Hostess, best known for their iconic Twinkies, teamed up with Sony Entertainment to release these rad looking Key Lime Slime Twinkies.

Almost identical to a regular Twinkies, the new flavor boasts a bright green, lime-flavored creme filling.

You can find the limited-edition Ghostbuster Twinkies available at grocery stores nationwide. You’ll probably want to hurry, though. Whether or not the movie does well, these spooky-scary Twinkies look pretty damn cool.

Ghostbusters hits US theaters July 15.

Photo: BusinessWire

Categories
Features Hit-Or-Miss

15 Acceptable Medical Marijuana Symptoms You Can Use To Get Your License

For the past six or seven years, getting your medical marijuana recommendation in California has been ridiculously easy. More often than not, you’ll find some sort of advertisement to a “doctor’s” office, likely in some sort of industrial office building with a sign that reads “Dr. Green Medical – 2nd floor, suite 246.”

Once you get in, chances are some absentminded pothead is working the front desk, at which point you wonder what the odds are that homeboy is paid in nugs. He has you fill out a bunch of standard information about health history and whatnot, all while other people are shuffling in and out of the doctor’s office like a line of cars making a u-turn.

After waiting for a short time, you finally make it inside.

“Have a seat.”

“Oh, thank you.”

“So what sort of issues are you dealing with? Do you suffer from insomnia, glaucoma or pain?”

“Um…yes?”

“Dope, dope. Here you go!”

And just like that, you’ve got yourself a medical marijuana recommendation. No waiting weeks for it to come in the mail, no approval requirement from any higher ups, none of that nonsense. I mean, I told my “doctor” that I suffer from anorexia, and I probably eat enough junk food every day to shut down a 7-Eleven by 3pm.

So, with all this in mind, I decided to find out what the acceptable reasons are for getting a medical marijuana license in the Golden State. A lot of them were reasonable or understandable; even more of them were just, for lack of a better term, complete fuckery. So with that…

*Warning: these are solely MY opinions on these diseases/disorders and were intended only to be rapid fire reactions to seemingly absurd reasoning in order to most accurately mimic my in-person conversational reactions. This was not intended to mock anyone suffering from these conditions, but rather to poke fun at the lengths these doctors will go to in order to convince you to get your license. 

15 Ridiculous Excuses To Get A License

1. Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania is a disorder in which the person suffering has an irresistible urge to pull out their hair. Sounds pretty terrible, right? Smoking marijuana would, theoretically, calm the victim down, hopefully enough to get them to relax. People who suffer from trichotillomania normally have large patches of hair missing from their head, so unless you look like Phil from Last Man On Earth, I’d suggest straying away from this excuse.

2. Anaphylactic Shock

Wait, what? I’m confused. So you’re telling me that, while someone is swelling up like a water balloon on a hose, they should pack a bowl and take a good rip or two? I don’t know about you, but I tend to focus less on getting baked when death comes a-knockin’. If I’m ever going into anaphylactic shock and somebody hands me a bong, I’m breaking it over their head. Go get me a friggin’ EpiPen, you idiot!

3. Writer’s Cramp

A writer’s cramp is a pain or stiffness you feel in your hand that stems from writing too much. I have a few issues with this bologna: firstly, why writer’s cramps? It just seems so randomly specific. Why not just say you’re smoking for pain rather than isolating the injury to a small and VERY manageable part of your body? It just seems counterproductive; secondly, who still writes that much anyways? It’s 2016, the majority of people are typing now because, well, writing too much gives you writer’s cramps.

4. Mania

That’s it, I shit you not. I honestly could not make this stuff up. In order to receive a medical marijuana license, all you need to do is suffer from “mania.” To put that in perspective, some other synonyms for mania are madness, insanity, lunacy, psychosis and hysteria. I guess I can understand how smoking the right amount and the right strain could make this a feasible reason. That being said, paranoia is a very common side effect from smoking weed. The last thing we need as a society is paranoid psychopaths running around. Mania sounds more like a job for Valium and Xanax.

5. Agoraphobia

Anyone that smokes weed and has been to a concert or some sort of music festival has more than likely smoked a joint or a blunt while there. Hell, I was recently at Coachella and I was chiefing blunts, joints, wax pens, spliffs…you name it, I blazed it. This “reason” for getting a license doesn’t make total sense to me because if you are nervous about having a panic attack in a wide open place, would you really be smoking in a wide open place? This goes hand in hand with #4 mostly because of the paranoia aspect. It just seems counterproductive to me to be smoking if you’re suffering from something that causes you to easily freak out.

6. Amblyopic Dyslexia

This is just rough all around. Not only do amblyopic dyslexics suffer from dyslexia (difficulty interpreting reading and written words that has no bearing on actual intelligence), but they also suffer from a lazy eye, or “amblyopia.” Talk about a double whammy, geez. Still, I fail to understand how difficulty reading because of a wonky eye will be improved or eased significantly enough by getting high. While reading can be fun when baked, watching something is a lot more entertaining, especially since you don’t catch yourself reading the same paragraph 47 times because you’re seriously struggling to actually comprehend what you’re reading.

7. Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s covers a very wide variety of symptoms, which is interesting in and of itself that it is considered a problem that can be solved through marijuana use. I’m mainly focusing on the one aspect of it that I don’t think weed will help: social interactions. Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m high, I’m much less likely to pick up on proper nonverbal social cues people make like “you’re talking too much” and “put your dick away Sean, we’re in church.” Random thoughts and short-term forgetfulness are two common side effects of blazing that shit up, hence why I fail to see how this helps people suffering from Asperger’s. That being said, I’d be very curious to hear from someone with Asperger’s how weed affects them and if it is, in fact, helpful.

8. Chronic Fatigue

This literally sounds like it could mean, “the state one is left in after smoking a huge bowl of some OG shit straight to their dome.” Let’s ignore the fact that the word “chronic” is conveniently placed in the title for just a moment. According to this doctor’s office, BEING TIRED IS A GOOD ENOUGH EXCUSE TO SMOKE WEED AND BECOME TIRED. Yes, I understand that Indica is most associated with eating and sleeping and Sativa is associated with energy and stimulation. But let’s be real here…if you smoke enough weed, you are going to end up sleepy and/or hungry anyways. Battling fatigue with fatigue seems silly, but maybe it’s just me.

9. Diarrhea

LOL wut?

I’m assuming this is in reference to people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but even so…how does being high help with that? Perhaps it’s something about THC in your body reducing the amount of pain and gas, and limiting your need to deal with the runs, but I doubt it. I guess being high on grass helps you forget about your ass!

10. Post Concussion Syndrome

The most notable side effect from getting high is loss of memory. Interestingly enough, the most notable side effect from suffering a concussion is, you guessed it, loss of memory. It strikes me as odd that the solution to the problem is the same problem, similarly to smoking weed because you get tired often. I promise you I checked several times to make sure my sources weren’t originally Onion articles. THIS SHIT IS REAL.

My Top 5 Favorite Excuses

1. Color Blindness

Let me just reiterate that I am in no way mocking the people that suffer from any of these diseases, syndromes or conditions. With that, I am struggling to stop laughing at the absurdity of this. There is currently no cure for color blindness, which is most commonly caused through genetics. So I guess my question is…what on earth is getting high going to do for your color blindness!?

2. Alcoholism

I legitimately don’t understand how this is acceptable. The worst part is that the office’s list of reasons not only listed alcoholism as a good reason to get a marijuana license, but alcohol abuse as well. The difference, I’ve recently learned, is that one person feels as though they need alcohol to survive (alcoholism) while the other can stop drinking, but chooses not to (alcohol abuse). The biggest thing both conditions have in common is that NEITHER SHOULD BE SMOKING AS WELL. If you have a problem like this, I like to think that the last thing you need is to be smoking weed.

3. Obesity

Obesity in America is a serious issue, and unfortunately it leads to heart disease in thousands of Americans yearly, perhaps millions. Obese people tend to be a bit lazier than your average person, as do people who smoke weed, or at least those are the typically associative connotations. Combining the two just seems like a bad idea. Furthermore, as a smoker myself, I eat WAAAAY too much junk food when I get baked. Wouldn’t that be the last thing you should eat if you were obese? It seems like enabling to me. And frnakly, the fact that obesity and anorexia are reasons to get your license makes zero sense to me.

4. Cocaine Dependency

Are you serious? Is this real life or am I dreaming that I’m writing this article right now? The fact that alcohol dependence is already on the list is a farce, but cocaine!? One particularly dangerous thing cocaine does is quicken your heartbeat to an ungodly and certainly unhealthy speed, often leading to users who do too much to suffer from heart attacks. Unbeknownst to many, marijuana also raises your heart rate. Combining the two sounds like a pretty reckless move to me.

1. A Cough

Yes, you read that correctly. If you suffer from a particularly nasty cough, one solution is…can you guess? That’s right, a couple of lungfuls of weed. BECAUSE NOTHING SOOTHES A VIOLENT COUGH LIKE A MORE VIOLENT COUGH. Not only does this make zero sense at all, it’s borderline upsetting. I’m upset that this doctor’s office has this listed on their site, but I am more upset that I’m the first one to have anything to say about it and put it these clowns on blast.

I’m beginning to think that you can just walk in and use words to get your license. Just say some words, any words, and you’ll get it.

 

 

Photos: Giphy, MLive 

Categories
News Packaged Food

Church Youth Group Finds A Snake’s Head In A Can Of Green Beans

Someone at that church must be doing something really immoral because I honestly don’t think there’s a more ominous sign of impending doom and the rapture than the severed head of Satan’s #1 ride-or-die animal minion.

According to a report by KSL TV, the church women’s youth group was putting on a banquet for the elderly folks of their community when the can with Kaa’s head showed up. Youth group leader Troy Walker was the one who found the head in the can, although she was unsure of the foreign material at first.

“It looked pretty much like a burnt bean. And then as I got closer to lift it off the spoon, I saw eyes.… That’s when I just dropped it and screamed,” says Walker. Of course she dropped it and screamed, anyone with a rational fear of finding dead animals in your non-animal food would have reacted that way.

Western Family, the company that canned the beans, has already recalled the entire batch in order to find the source of the issue and fix it before it causes any more damage to the company, both in image and profitability.

Let’s just hope they got all the cans back before somebody ends up finding Nagini’s ass.

 

 

Photo Credit: Whisper, KSL TV, Consumerist