On Valentine's Day, people celebrate all kinds of love. And chefs and foodies around the globe are showing how indulgence can often be both healthy for people and the planet. These innovators are making the case that flavorful, locally sourced plant-inspired dishes are perfect for special occasions — and also versatile for everyday mealtimes.
While not all their dishes are vegetarian or vegan, their recipes showcase diverse ingredients with powerful and traditional flavors. They bring vegetables front and center — and leave meat as a side dish, a condiment, or even off the plate.
"The sustainability reasons [to eat vegetable-centered] are evident because the production of non-plant based food is taking a clear toll on the environment," says plant-forward chef Hari Pulapaka.
Food Tank is highlighting 20 chefs proving plants are some of the most versatile ingredients for both everyday meals and special occasions.
1. Alice Waters
Waters is a chef, author, and food advocate, and the founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California. Waters is the author of 15 books, including New York Times bestsellers The Art of Simple Food I & II, and the memoir, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook. With the belief that chefs should pay attention to the wholesomeness of food — including how ingredients are sourced — Waters is credited with providing the foundation for the plant-forward movement. Waters' recipes and menus offer occasional lapses into indulgence perfect for Valentine's Day including sweet corn soup and winter squash tortellini.
2. Ana Sortun
Ana Sortun is the chef at Oleana in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where her menu focuses on Turkish and Middle Eastern classics distilled down to their traditional elements. She is also the owner of Sofra Bakery in Cambridge and Sarma Restaurant in Somerville, Mass. Many of the vegetables used at Sortun's restaurants are grown locally — on her husband's farm. Sortun is well-regarded for her mastery of Mediterranean spices — her 2006 cookbook, simply called "Spice," is a bestseller. In her recipes for imam bayildi (Turkish stuffed eggplant) and Syrian-style lentils with chard, she homes in the one or two warming spices that will elevate the star vegetable without overpowering its natural flavor.
3. Chloe Coscarelli
Vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli believes that vegetable-forward dishes can still be mouthwatering, rich, and playful. Now with four cookbooks and nearly a dozen television appearances, Coscarelli has become a prominent figure making the most of plants and their natural flavors. With recipes like chocolate layer cake, blueberry cinnamon french toast, and maple bacon benedict, home chefs can satisfy their sweet tooth and their savory cravings this holiday.
4. Christina Arokiasamy
Chef Christina Arokiasamy, who was raised in Malaysia and now lives in Washington State, served as the first Malaysian food ambassador to the United States. Her family members have been spice merchants for five generations, and her show on the Cooking Channel, The Malaysian Kitchen, focused on traditional Malaysian flavors. Arokiasamy's recipes for pineapple fried rice and goan coconut curry both highlight plant-based ingredients commonly found in Malaysia and blend sweet and savory elements.
5. Daisuke Nomura
Chef Nomura is internationally praised for plant-forward takes on creative Japanese style cuisine. Having earned two Michelin stars, Nomura's recipes are sure to impress any loved one with plant-forward innovation, including his spin on an American Valentine's classic: instead of a beef steak, Nomura's recipe suggests an onion steak as a new way to embrace the overlooked ingredient's flavor using new and modern styles of cooking.
6. Dan Barber
Dan Barber, Chef and Co-Owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barn and the author of The Third Plate, was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and has received multiple James Beard awards including Best Chef. In 2009 he was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world. Barber is hailed for his plant-forward initiatives including his Row 7 seed company that breeds seeds for better flavor. Barber's plant-forward celery root recipes open up new possibilities for the vegetable a rich broth, cozy tea, or even a hearty braised dish.
7. Deborah Madison
Chef, cooking teacher, and author of 14 widely-recognized cookbooks Deborah Madison specializes in seasonal vegetable recipes. Through these recipes, Madison — recognized as the originator of the plant-forward trend — hopes to highlight farmers market produce and heritage varieties of vegetables. Having cooked at restaurants like Greens in San Francisco, Madison has surprised many non-vegetarian and non-vegan diners with bold flavors and filling meals. Dive into Madison's cozy lentil soup with berbere or risotto with beets, which add depth and color to a normally luxurious dish.
8. Derek and Chad Sarno
Derek Sarno is Executive Chef and Director of Plant-Based Innovation at Tesco and co-founder of Wicked Healthy, a plant-forward blog founded with his brother Chad Sarno. The co-founders develop recipes that allow eaters to indulge with smokey, deep, and nearly guilt-causing flavors — all while maintaining a plant-forward diet and mission. Their recipes like roasted and herb-crusted butternut squash tenderloin and coconut tartlets with clementine sorbet and lavender syrup embrace the flavor of plants and their potential in classic Valentine's Day preparations.
9. Erik Oberholtzer
Erik Oberholtzer is a chef, social entrepreneur, and food activist whose restaurant chain Tender Greens makes it easier for anyone to enjoy seasonal, plant-forward home cooking at affordable prices. And as a board member for The Rodale Institute and a Food Forever Champion, Oberholtzer supports regeneratively grown and biodiverse crops in diets around the world. His recipes for gazpacho and poached salmon salad offer lighter takes on romantic meals.
10. Hari Pulapaka
Hari Pulapaka is the Executive Chef and Owner of the acclaimed Cress Restaurant in DeLand, Florida, and is a tenured professor at Stetson University. Pulapaka's self-described cuisine is "globally inspired" and "vegetarian focused" and is intended to showcase food that "nourishes the body and frees the soul." In his forthcoming book Sinfully Vegetarian, Pulapaka will feature plant-forward recipes that leave eaters feeling spoiled and craving for more. Inspired by Pulapaka's menus and recipes, eaters can indulge in savory vegetable bread pudding, beet-radish terrine with lentil-sesame hummus, or a Mediterranean and Middle East-inspired ricotta and spinach gnudi.
11. Jody Adams
Jody Adams, a James Beard Foundation award-winning chef, highlights local vegetables at her restaurants in Boston, where her menus feature housemade pastas, roasted beets, and spanakopita. Adams — who holds a degree in anthropology from Brown University — put it best when she said, "It's the beautiful, raw ingredients that determine what food tastes like — not how fancy the kitchen is." Try something new in the kitchen this Valentine's Day, like making your own pasta: Adams' comforting recipes for floppy tomato lasagna and potato gnocchi gratin with wild mushrooms guide you through the process.
12. Joe Yonan
Joe Yonan, the Washington Post's food and dining editor, thinks we should all eat more beans. In his new book, Cool Beans, Yonan shares 125 recipes that highlight the versatility of the wide world of protein-packed legumes. Many of the recipes, like fusilli with white beans, cherry tomatoes, and corn sauce or falafel fattoush, use ingredients you might already have canned in your pantry. Right in time for Valentine's Day, Yonan even serves dessert and drinks, with recipes like chocolate, red bean, and rose brownies and a salty margarita sour, topped with whipped chickpea aquafaba.
13. John Fraser
Eating vegetarian or vegan, according to chef John Fraser, "should feel more celebration than sacrifice." That's why he opened Nix, which is now New York City's only Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant. There, he serves dishes ranging from cauliflower tempura (here's the recipe) to kabocha squash dumplings, but his menu changes depending on what's seasonally available. Fraser shows that plant-forward dishes can be fun — he describes his potato fry bread recipe as "a zeppoli made love to a French fry and then got slathered in sour cream and vegetables."
14. José Andrés
José Andrés is often credited with bringing the tapas-style dining concept to America. The founder of 31 restaurants and World Central Kitchen, which provides meals to those affected by natural disasters, wants to bring vegetables forward in American diets. By making vegetables the center of dishes, and relegating meat to side dishes or condiments, Andrés hopes to give plants the recognition they deserve for their role in eaters' health and happiness. Andrés's recent cookbook Vegetables Unleashed includes cozy, luxurious recipes like potatoes cooked in compost, vegetable paella, and fennel bouillabaisse.
15. Makini Howell
Chef Makini Howell from Plum Bistro Seattle designs innovative dishes that reflect upon her experience being raised in a vegan family. With powerful flavors, Howell works hard to make plant-forward synonymous with delicious. Howell's recipes offer adventurous eaters an opportunity to integrate more spice into their Valentine's Day meal plans with a habanero yam soup and spicy peach tofu and tempeh with charred purple beans.
16. Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby
Chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby opened and operate a small restaurant group of vegan establishments in Philadelphia — including Vedge, V Street, and Wiz Kid — and Washington D.C.'s Fancy Radish. As James Beard-nominated chefs, Landau and Jacoby's passion for veganism injects love into their cooking; and similar plant lovers can feel inspired by their menus and recipes that explore rutabaga fondue, eggplant braciole, and even potato scallops.
17. Romy Gill
When chef Romy Gill was growing up in India, meat was reserved for celebrations and special occasions — and even when she did eat meat, it was a side dish at most. So every recipe in her recent debut cookbook, Zaika, is vegan. "I wanted to show that in India, plant-based cuisine is something people don't do just for the sake of it—it's a way of life," she said. Gill, who now lives in the U.K., cooks lighter fare with Indian flavors, like red cabbage and pomegranate salad and courgette (zucchini) sabzi, a childhood favorite.
18. Selassie Atadika
Midunu, the name of chef Selassie Atadika's restaurant in Accra, Ghana, means "let us eat" in the Ewe language. Midunu represents "nomadic" dining, meaning meals are served pop-up style at a new location each time. Atadika said she is reminded that plant-forward cooking is healthier for humans and the planet when she looks at the traditional foodways of nomadic African groups. Now, at Midunu, Atadika sources much of her produce and grain from local farmers living off the land. Recipes like her gari foto celebrate African ingredients like gari (made from dried cassava) and the spice prekese.
19. Stéphanie Audet
Before Stéphanie Audet became a restaurant chef, she was a vegetarian food consultant, creating plant-based recipes and menus for restaurants. These skills have come in handy in her kitchens: A restaurant she opened in Hawaii was devoted entirely to raw indigenous ingredients. When she became the executive chef at LOV, in Montreal, Canada, in 2016, she created an entirely vegan menu that featured creative but approachable recipes like coconut ceviche. Recently, she moved to Lisbon, Portugal, where she opened Senhor Uva. At the natural food and wine bar, her small plates focus on seasonal and local vegetables.
20. Tal Ronnen
The plant-based chef to the stars, Tal Ronnen earned his fame while cooking for Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Arianna Huffington, and for the first-ever vegan dinner at the United States Senate. Ronnen's cookbook Crossroads is based on recipes from his Los Angeles restaurant of the same name, which opened in 2013 to showcase high-end vegan dining with Mediterranean flavors. With an inventive recipe for artichoke "oysters" with tomato bearnaise and kelp caviar, Ronnen offers eaters a plant-forward alternative to the well-known seafood aphrodisiac this Valentine's Day.
Reposted with permission from Food Tank.
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Selecting nutritious snacks to enjoy throughout the day is a key component of any healthy diet — including vegetarian diets.
Unfortunately, many quick and convenient snack foods offer little in terms of nutrition apart from extra calories, sodium and added sugar.
Still, finding vegetarian snack options that are easy, portable and nutritious doesn't have to be a challenge.
Here are 17 quick and healthy vegetarian snack ideas.
1. Nut Butter with Fruit
Pairing your favorite fruit with nut butter makes for an easy, filling, and quick plant-based snack that you can enjoy anywhere.
Meanwhile, nut butters — like almond, peanut, or cashew butters — deliver a hearty dose of satisfying protein and healthy fats.
2. Cheese Sticks
Cheese sticks are a portable and convenient snack perfect to help curb cravings on the go.
Though the exact nutrient profile varies based on the brand and type of cheese, cheese sticks typically supply 5–7 grams of protein in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.
Protein is the most filling macronutrient, making cheese an excellent choice for a satisfying vegetarian snack (2).
This snack is also a good source of calcium, a key mineral that helps strengthen your bones and teeth (3).
3. Bell Peppers with Hummus
Bell peppers with hummus are a healthy, plant-based alternative to traditional chips and dip.
Bell peppers not only provide the same satisfying crunch as chips or crackers but are also lower in calories and contain more fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
Plus, dipping them in hummus can help boost your intake of protein and fiber while keeping your calorie intake low.
4. Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas are loaded with protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals like manganese and folate.
Best of all, roasted chickpeas are easy to make at home by tossing cooked chickpeas with olive oil and your choice of spices or seasonings prior to baking them at 400°F (200°C) for 20–30 minutes.
Cayenne pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg are all tasty options to help spice up your chickpeas.
Popcorn is a nutritious, low-calorie snack that is a great source of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.
It's also high in manganese — a mineral involved in digestion, immune function, energy production, and brain health (4).
Be sure to select air-popped popcorn rather than pre-packaged or microwave varieties, which are usually packed with extra calories, fat, and sodium.
For extra flavor, try seasoning your air-popped popcorn with paprika, onion powder, vegetarian Parmesan, or parsley.
Nuts — like almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pistachios — provide a wealth of important nutrients, including heart-healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, and calcium.
In addition to being incredibly nutrient-dense, research shows that adding nuts to your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain types of cancer like colorectal cancer (5).
However, keep in mind that nuts are high in calories, so enjoy them in moderation and stick to about 1 ounce (28 grams) at a time as part of a healthy diet.
7. Yogurt with Fruit
Rich in protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and potassium, yogurt is an excellent vegetarian snack option.
Combining yogurt with apples, berries, bananas, grapes, or your favorite type of fruit can also help bump up your intake of fiber, vitamin C, and disease-fighting antioxidants (6).
Look for plain, unsweetened varieties to minimize your intake of added sugars and use a little cinnamon, honey, or maple syrup to naturally enhance the flavor.
8. Kale Chips
Kale chips are an easy and delicious way to squeeze a serving of leafy greens into your daily diet.
Try making kale chips at home by tossing kale with olive oil and sea salt, then baking at 275°F (135°C) for 15–20 minutes until crisp. Watch them closely, as they can easily burn.
9. Cottage Cheese
Made from the curds of cow's milk — which are coagulated milk solids made by adding an acid to milk — cottage cheese is a high-protein dairy product rich in phosphorus, selenium, and vitamin B12.
It's also a great source of calcium, an essential nutrient that plays a central role in bone formation, muscle function, and hormone secretion (9).
Cottage cheese has a mild flavor that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with fruits like bananas, melon, berries, and pineapple.
Alternatively, you can pair cottage cheese with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper for a vegetarian-friendly savory snack.
10. Green Smoothies
Green smoothies can be a quick and convenient way to fit a few extra servings of veggies into your diet while ramping up your intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Though green smoothies are usually made with leafy greens like kale or spinach, other fruits, veggies, and ingredients can be added as well. For example, try carrots, celery, beets, berries, bananas, chia seeds, or flax meal.
11. Roasted Edamame
Edamame are soybeans that are harvested before they're fully ripe. They can be boiled, steamed, or roasted to create a tasty and nutritious on-the-go snack.
In fact, cooked edamame packs a whopping 8 grams of fiber and 18 grams of plant-based protein into a 1-cup (155-gram) serving and contains a good amount of magnesium, iron, and vitamin C.
Edamame is highly versatile and can be purchased in convenient, ready-to-eat packages or roasted at 400°F (200°C) for 30–40 minutes with vegetarian Parmesan, garlic, pepper, or paprika for a satisfying savory snack at home.
12. Trail Mix
Trail mix is a simple, vegetarian snack typically made with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
It's portable, delicious, healthy, and versatile, and you can tailor it to fit your personal preferences.
Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut, and whole grains like puffed rice or popcorn are a few examples of nutritious ingredients that you can use to craft and customize your perfect trail mix
13. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of many important nutrients, including protein and fiber.
They're also rich in magnesium, a micronutrient necessary for muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation, nerve function, and DNA synthesis (13).
You can easily roast pumpkin seeds at home by tossing them with olive oil, salt, and spices, then baking at 350°F (175°C) for 20–30 minutes or until golden brown.
Although it's often classified as a breakfast food, oatmeal can be enjoyed any time of day as a filling and nutritious snack.
Oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which is thought to promote weight loss and improve cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, and blood pressure (14).
Bump up the flavor of your oatmeal with toppings like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, berries, cinnamon, or nut butter.
15. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs can be a wholesome and nutritious vegetarian-friendly snack to help keep you feeling full between meals.
In addition to being a great source of protein, hard-boiled eggs are also high in selenium, vitamin A, and B vitamins.
16. Guacamole and Plantain Chips
Pairing plantain chips with guacamole is an easy way to ramp up your intake of healthy fats while satisfying your cravings for a salty snack.
The avocados in guacamole are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce triglyceride levels. They're also a great source of potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 (18).
Plus, plantain chips are easy to make at home and can be baked instead of fried for a healthier alternative to store-bought potato chips.
Simply toss thinly sliced plantains with olive oil and seasonings and bake at 400°F (200°C) for 15–20 minutes — or until plantains are browned and crispy.
17. Homemade Energy Balls
Energy balls are a simple snack option that you can make at home and customize with your choice of nutritious ingredients.
To get started, add ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Then roll into balls and place in the refrigerator to set for 10–15 minutes before enjoying.
The Bottom Line
Including a variety of healthy snacks in your diet can help keep you going between meals while squeezing in a few extra nutrients.
Fortunately, there are plenty of vegetarian snacks to choose from — all of which are nutritious, easy to prepare, and delicious.
To get started, simply pick a few of your favorites and enjoy as part of a healthy, well-rounded vegetarian diet.
All nutrition information for the foods listed in this article is from the USDA Foods Database.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
- 24 Healthy Vegan Snack Ideas - EcoWatch ›
- 13 Nearly Complete Protein Sources for Vegetarians and Vegans - EcoWatch ›
Throughout Texas, there are a number of solar power companies that can install solar panels on your roof to take advantage of the abundant sunlight. But which solar power provider should you choose? In this article, we'll provide a list of the best solar companies in the Lone Star State.
Our Picks for the Best Texas Solar Companies
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Sunpro Solar
- Longhorn Solar, Inc.
- Solartime USA
- Kosmos Solar
- Sunshine Renewable Solutions
- Alba Energy
- Circle L Solar
- South Texas Solar Systems
- Good Faith Energy
How We Chose the Best Solar Energy Companies in Texas
There are a number of factors to keep in mind when comparing and contrasting different solar providers. These are some of the considerations we used to evaluate Texas solar energy companies.
Different solar companies may provide varying services. Always take the time to understand the full range of what's being offered in terms of solar panel consultation, design, installation, etc. Also consider add-ons, like EV charging stations, whenever applicable.
When meeting with a representative from one of Texas' solar power companies, we would always encourage you to ask what the installation process involves. What kind of customization can you expect? Will your solar provider use salaried installers, or outsourced contractors? These are all important questions to raise during the due diligence process.
Texas is a big place, and as you look for a good solar power provider, you want to ensure that their services are available where you live. If you live in Austin, it doesn't do you much good to have a solar company that's active only in Houston.
Pricing and Financing
Keep in mind that the initial cost of solar panel installation can be sizable. Some solar companies are certainly more affordable than others, and you can also ask about the flexible financing options that are available to you.
To guarantee that the renewable energy providers you select are reputable, and that they have both the integrity and the expertise needed, we would recommend assessing their status in the industry. The simplest way to do this is to check to see whether they are North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified or belong to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) or other industry groups.
Types of Panels
As you research different companies, it certainly doesn't hurt to get to know the specific products they offer. Inquire about their tech portfolio, and see if they are certified to install leading brands like Tesla or Panasonic.
Rebates and Tax Credits
There are a lot of opportunities to claim clean energy rebates or federal tax credits which can help with your initial solar purchase. Ask your solar provider for guidance navigating these different savings opportunities.
Going solar is a big investment, but a warranty can help you trust that your system will work for decades. A lot of solar providers provide warranties on their technology and workmanship for 25 years or more, but you'll definitely want to ask about this on the front end.
The 10 Best Solar Energy Companies in Texas
With these criteria in mind, consider our picks for the 10 best solar energy companies in TX.
SunPower is a solar energy company that makes it easy to make an informed and totally customized decision about your solar power setup. SunPower has an online design studio where you can learn more about the different options available for your home, and even a form where you can get a free online estimate. Set up a virtual consultation to speak directly with a qualified solar installer from the comfort of your own home. It's no wonder SunPower is a top solar installation company in Texas. They make the entire process easy and expedient.
Sunpro Solar is another solar power company with a solid reputation across the country. Their services are widely available to Texas homeowners, and they make the switch to solar effortless. We recommend them for their outstanding customer service, for the ease of their consultation and design process, and for their assistance to homeowners looking to claim tax credits and other incentives.
Looking for a solar contractor with true Texas roots? Longhorn Solar is an award-winning company that's frequently touted as one of the best solar providers in the state. Their services are available in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, and since 2009 they have helped more than 2,000 Texans make the switch to energy efficiency with solar. We recommend them for their technical expertise, proven track record, and solar product selection.
Solartime USA is another company based in Texas. In fact, this family-owned business is located in Richardson, which is just outside of Dallas. They have ample expertise with customized solar energy solutions in residential settings, and their portfolio of online reviews attests to their first-rate customer service. We love this company for the simplicity of their process, and for all the guidance they offer customers seeking to go solar.
Next on our list is Kosmos Solar, another Texas-based solar company. They're based in the northern part of the state, and highly recommended for homeowners in the area. They supply free estimates, high-quality products, custom solar designs, and award-winning personal service. Plus, their website has a lot of great information that may help guide you while you determine whether going solar is right for you.
Sunshine Renewable Solutions is based out of Houston, and they've developed a sterling reputation for dependable service and high-quality products. They have a lot of helpful financing options, and can show you how you can make the switch to solar in a really cost-effective way. We also like that they give free estimates, so there's certainly no harm in learning more about this great local company.
"Powered by the Texas sun." That's the official tagline of Alba Energy, a solar energy provider that's based out of Katy, TX. They have lots of great information about solar panel systems and solar solutions, including solar calculators to help you tabulate your potential energy savings. Additionally, we recommend Alba Energy because all of their work is done by a trusted, in-house team of solar professionals. They maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and they have rave reviews from satisfied customers.
Circle L Solar has a praiseworthy mission of helping homeowners slash their energy costs while participating in the green energy revolution. This is another company that provides a lot of great information, including energy savings calculators. Also note that, in addition to solar panels, Circle L Solar also showcases a number of other assets that can help you make your home more energy efficient, including windows, weatherization services, LED lighting, and more.
You can tell by the name that South Texas Solar Systems focuses its service area on the southernmost part of the Lone Star State. Their products include a wide range of commercial and residential solar panels, as well as "off the grid" panels for homeowners who want to detach from public utilities altogether. Since 2007, this company has been a trusted solar energy provider in San Antonio and beyond.
Good Faith Energy is a certified installer of Tesla solar technology for homeowners throughout Texas. This company is really committed to ecological stewardship, and they have amassed a lot of goodwill thanks to their friendly customer service and the depth of their solar expertise. In addition to Tesla solar panels, they can also install EV charging stations and storage batteries.
What are Your Solar Financing Options in Texas?
We've mentioned already that going solar requires a significant investment on the front-end. It's worth emphasizing that some of the best solar companies provide a range of financing options, allowing you to choose whether you buy your system outright, lease it, or pay for it in monthly installments.
Also keep in mind that there are a lot of rebates and state and federal tax credits available to help offset starting costs. Find a Texas solar provider who can walk you through some of the different options.
How Much Does a Solar Energy System Cost in Texas?
How much is it going to cost you to make that initial investment into solar power? It varies by customer and by home, but the median cost of solar paneling may be somewhere in the ballpark of $13,000. Note that, when you take into account federal tax incentives, this number can fall by several thousand dollars.
And of course, once you go solar, your monthly utility bills are going to shrink dramatically… so while solar systems won't pay for themselves in the first month or even the first year, they will ultimately prove more than cost-effective.
Finding the Right Solar Energy Companies in TX
Texas is a great place to pursue solar energy companies, thanks to all the natural sunlight, and there are plenty of companies out there to help you make the transition. Do your homework, compare a few options, and seek the solar provider that's right for you. We hope this guide is a helpful jumping-off point as you try to get as much information as possible about the best solar companies in Texas.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements, and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
Only 45 percent of Americans think climate change will be a serious threat in their lifetimes, but if the other 55 percent like real maple syrup on their pancakes, or Tabasco sauce on their shrimp, they might find it poses a serious threat to their taste buds.
Stories reported by New Hampshire Public Radio and The Guardian this week examined, respectively, how climate change is putting pressure on New Hampshire's maple syrup season and swallowing the marshes that protect Avery Island in Louisiana, where Tabasco sauce has been made for the past 150 years.
At an annual Climate and Pancakes breakfast hosted by New Hampshire environmental groups Tuesday, Mount Washington Observatory research director Eric Kelsey said that the sap-sugar content of the state's famous maple trees has decreased by 25 percent in the past half-century.
The reasons for the decrease in sweetness are likely stresses put on the trees by droughts, abnormal storms and the road salt that accompanies them, new pests, and acid rain, Kelsey said.
According to Kelsey, climate change is a "wild card" in terms of predicting whether those stresses will increase or decrease in the long term, but research published in the International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management last year found that, if carbon dioxide emissions remain high, U.S. maple habitat will decline, and it will take an extra 5 million taps to maintain current syrup production.
According to data from the University of Vermont's Proctor Maple Research Center published by MapleSource.com, sugaring season relies on cycles of freezing and thawing. These cycles are now starting earlier and lasting for a shorter time, decreasing the amount of tree sap produced, though so far technological innovations have compensated for the shorter season.
Arnold Coombs, whose family has been producing syrup in Vermont for seven generations, told MapleSource.com that he had noticed a change. "As a rule of thumb, we would never tap before town meeting day (first Tuesday in March), it was just too cold. But year after year it would warm up earlier. We're now tapping in mid-February so we don't miss any of the season," he said.
About 17,000 miles further south, another seventh generation condiment producer is also grappling with the impacts of climate change.
Tony Simmons is the seventh in a line of McIlhenny family members who have been making Tabasco on Avery Island since Edmund McIlhenny found a pepper plant growing by a chicken coup and founded the company in 1868.
But the marshes that surround and protect Avery Island, really a salt dome rising from the bayou, are being swallowed by sea-water at a rate of 30 feet a year.
In addition to sea level rise caused by climate change, the marshes are also disappearing due to canals dug by the oil and gas industries and the sinking of the land beneath them. If sea levels rise by just two feet in the area, which the U.S. Global Change Research Program shows is possible as early as 2050, the marshes will disappear.
Rising waters have thrown the Tabasco company into the unlikely role of wetlands conservationist.
"The marsh stands between us and Vermilion Bay, and we don't want to be right on the bay," Simmons told The Guardian. "We have to be very aggressive about dealing with the land loss. We almost can't work fast enough."
The company has begun refilling canals, building weirs to stop sea water, and planting chord grasses. After Hurricane Rita flooded their production area in 2005, they built a 17 foot levee around their factory.
But if their efforts aren't enough to beat back the sea, the company could relocate, though it's not an option that appeals to Simmons.
"We don't think it will come to that, but we are working to do everything we can to make sure it won't happen to us," he told The Guardian. "I mean, we could make Tabasco somewhere else. But this is more than a business: this is our home."
World's Largest Chocolate Maker Pledges $1 Billion to Fight Climate Change https://t.co/QTDtTCJhUI @BusinessGreen @GreenCollarGuy— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1504741512.0
By Andrew Reinmann and Pamela Templer
Climate change often conjures up images of heat, drought and hurricanes. But according to the latest U.S. National Climate Assessment, released on Nov. 23, 2018, winters have warmed three times faster than summers in the Northeast in recent years. These changes are also producing significant effects.
Historically, more than 50 percent of the northern hemisphere has had snow cover in winter. Now warmer temperatures are reducing the depth and duration of winter snow cover. Many people assume that winter is a dormant time for organisms in cold climates, but decades of research now shows that winter climate conditions—particularly snowpack—are important regulators of the health of forest ecosystems and organisms that live in them.
In particular, our work over the last decade shows that declining snow cover may impair tree health and reduce forests' ability to filter air and water. Our latest study finds that continued winter warming could greatly reduce snow cover across the northeastern U.S., causing large declines in tree growth and forest carbon storage.
Changes in snowmelt-related streamflow timing for rivers, 1960-2014, show that snow is melting earlier in the year in the Northeast. USGCRP / NCA4
Snow as a Blanket
We study northern hardwood forests, which are dominated by sugar maple, yellow birch and American beech trees and span 85,000 square miles, from Minnesota and south-central Canada east to the Canadian Maritime Provinces and the northeastern U.S. These forests are famed for their vibrant fall colors. They generate revenue by drawing tourists, hikers, hunters and campers, and support timber and maple syrup industries. They also provide important ecological services, such as storing carbon and maintaining water and air quality.
When winter encroaches on this region, with temperatures often dipping well below freezing, every species needs insulation to cope. Tree roots and soil organisms like insects rely on deep snowpack for protection from cold—a literal blanket of snow. Even in sub-zero temperatures, if snow is sufficiently deep, soils can remain unfrozen.
Six decades of research from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire—one of the longest-running studies anywhere—shows that winter snowpack is declining. Research conducted by other scholars indicates that if this trend continues, it will increase the likelihood of soil freeze-thaw cycles, with harmful effects on forest health.
How Acid Rain Transformed A Forest Into A Laboratory youtu.be
Why Northern Forests Need Snow
For more than 10 years we have manipulated winter snowpack at Hubbard Brook to study the effects of projected climate change on northern hardwood forests. In early winter, we head outdoors after each snowfall to remove snow from our experimental plots. Then we analyze how losing this insulating layer affects trees and soil.
We have found that in plots where we remove snow, frost penetrates a foot or more down into the soil, while it rarely extends more than two inches deep in nearby reference plots with unaltered snowpack. And just as freeze-thaw cycles create potholes in city streets, soil freezing abrades and kills tree roots and damages those that survive.
This root damage triggers a cascade of ecological responses. Dead roots decompose and stimulate losses of carbon dioxide from the soil. Trees take up fewer nutrients from soil, accumulate the toxic element aluminum in their leaves and produce less branch growth. Nitrogen, a key nutrient, can wash out of soils. Soil insect communities become less abundant and diverse.
Research plot at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest with snowpack experimentally reduced Pam Templer, CC BY-ND
Declining Snowpack Affects Tree Growth
In our most recent paper, our climate and hydrological models show that the area of forests across the northeastern U.S. that receives insulating midwinter snowpack could decline by 95 percent by the year 2100. Today, 33,000 square miles of forests across northern New York and New England typically have snowpack for several months in winter. By the year 2100, this area could shrink to a patch smaller than 2,000 square miles—about one-fifth the size of Vermont.
This decline will undoubtedly harm the skiing and snowmobiling industries and expose Northeast roads to more freeze-thaw cycles. It also will significantly affect tree growth.
Historical and projected changes in spatial extent of insulating winter snowpack in the northeastern U.S. (left panels) and the distribution of sugar maple trees and forest area influenced by insulating winter snowpack (right panels)Reinmann et al., 2018, CC BY-ND
To assess the relationship between snowpack and tree growth, we used a specialized hollow drill bit called an increment borer to remove straw-sized wood cores from multiple sugar maple stems. Each of these trees experienced either natural winter snowpack or five consecutive years in which we removed early winter snowpack. When we sanded the cores and viewed them under a microscope, they revealed annual growth rings that we could use to understand how each tree responded to its environment.
Within just the first two years, our analyses showed a 40 percent decline in sugar maple growth from plots without snowpack. Growth rates remained depressed by 40 to 55 percent over the next three years. By contrast, there was no growth decline in the sugar maple trees in our reference plots where snow covered trees' roots in midwinter. These results are comparable to root mortality that other researchers observed in an earlier snow removal experiment at Hubbard Brook.
At Hubbard Brook, sugar maples can account for more than half of annual forest biomass accumulation. Consequently, changes in climate that reduce winter snowpack and increase soil freezing could reduce forest growth rates in the northern hardwood forest region by 20 percent just through their impacts on these trees. But we know that yellow birch also suffers root damage in response to soil freezing, so our estimate for changes in whole forest growth is likely to be low.
Removing a tree core with an increment borer Andrew Reinmann, CC BY-ND
Could warmer growing season temperatures compensate at least partially for this damage by stimulating rates of tree growth, as some research suggests? Very little work has been done to understand how forests in seasonally snow-covered regions will respond to interactive effects of climate change across seasons. To help fill this gap, we established the Climate Change Across Seasons Experiment at Hubbard Brook in 2013.
In this project we use buried heating cables to warm forest soils by 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) during the snow-free season from April through November. In winter we use a combination of warming with buried heating cables and snow shoveling to induce soil freeze-thaw cycles. Our results so far show that root damage and reduced tree growth caused by winter soil freeze-thaw cycles are not offset by soil warming during the growing season.
Our work shows how often-overlooked changes in winter climate can impact forest ecosystems. Losing snowpack can reduce forest growth, carbon sequestration and nutrient retention, which will have important implications for climate change and air and water quality all year-round.
40 Scientists: Protecting #Forests Is an Urgent Climate Issue #TuesdayThoughts #TuesdayMotivation https://t.co/lXppfDYQtW— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1539094222.0
Andrew Reinmann is an assistant professor at CUNY Graduate Center. Pamela Templer is a professor at Boston University.
Disclosure statement: Andrew Reinmann receives funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pamela Templer has received funding from the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Geological Survey. She is on the governing board of the Ecological Society of America.
Reposted with permission from our media associate The Conversation.
- California's Dwindling Snowpack: Another Year of Drought, Floods ... ›
- Western U.S. Is Most At-Risk for Early Snowpack Melt ›
Cashew milk is a popular nondairy beverage made from whole cashews and water.
It has a creamy, rich consistency and is loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and other beneficial plant compounds.
Available in unsweetened and sweetened varieties, cashew milk can replace cow's milk in most recipes.
It may boost immunity and improve heart, eye and skin health.
Here are 10 nutrition and health benefits of cashew milk.
Cashew milk contains healthy fats, protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Store-bought varieties may have different amounts of nutrients than homemade versions.
Here's a comparison of 1 cup (240 ml) of homemade cashew milk—made from water and 1 ounce (28 grams) of cashews—to 1 cup (240 ml) of unsweetened, commercial cashew milk (3).
*indicates a nutrient that has been added through fortification.
Commercial cashew milks are typically fortified with vitamins and minerals and have higher amounts of some nutrients, compared to homemade versions.However, they generally provide less fat and protein and don't include fiber.
In addition, store-bought varieties may contain oils, preservatives, and added sugars.
Homemade cashew milks don't need to be strained, which increases their fiber content.
They're also packed with magnesium—a vital mineral for many body processes, including nerve function, heart health, and blood pressure regulation (4).
All cashew milks are naturally lactose-free and can replace cow's milk for those who have trouble digesting dairy.
Homemade versions have less protein, calcium and potassium than cow's milk but more healthy unsaturated fats, iron and magnesium (5).
Cashew milk is loaded with nutrients, including unsaturated fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Homemade varieties are usually more nutritious, though store-bought types may be fortified with vitamin D and calcium.
2. May Boost Heart Health
Studies have linked cashew milk to a lower risk of heart disease.
Cashew milk also contains potassium and magnesium—two nutrients that may boost heart health and prevent heart disease.
In a review of 22 studies, people with the highest potassium intake had a 24% lower risk of stroke (7).
However, store-bought cashew milk tends to be lower in heart-healthy unsaturated fats, as well as potassium and magnesium, than homemade varieties.
Cashew milk contains heart-healthy unsaturated fats, potassium and magnesium—all of which may help prevent heart disease.
3. Good for Eye Health
These compounds may prevent cellular damage to your eyes caused by unstable molecules called free radicals (10).
One study found a significant association between low blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin and poor retinal health (11).
Eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye disease that causes vision loss.
Another study showed that people with the highest intake of lutein and zeaxanthin—and the highest predicted blood levels of these antioxidants—were 40% less likely to develop advanced AMD (12).
High blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin have also been linked to a 40% lower risk of age-related cataracts in older adults (13).
Since cashews are a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, adding cashew milk to your diet may help prevent eye issues.
Cashew milk contains antioxidants that may lower your risk of retinal damage, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts.
Not getting enough vitamin K can result in excessive bleeding.
Consuming foods rich in vitamin K, such as cashew milk, can help maintain sufficient levels of this protein.
However, an increased dietary vitamin K intake may decrease the effectiveness of blood-thinning medications (18).
If you're taking blood-thinning medications, consult your healthcare provider before making changes to your diet.
Cashew milk is rich in vitamin K, a nutrient vital to blood clotting. Thus, it may help you maintain adequate levels. If you're on blood-thinning medications, consult with your healthcare provider before increasing your intake of vitamin-K-rich foods.
Drinking cashew milk may help with blood sugar control—especially in people with diabetes.
Cashews contain compounds that may promote proper blood sugar control in your body.
One study found that a compound in cashews called anacardic acid stimulated the uptake of circulating blood sugar in rat muscle cells (19).
Research on a similar nut also containing anacardic acid found that extracts from the nut's milk significantly decreased blood sugar levels in rats with type 2 diabetes (20).
In addition, cashew milk is lactose-free and therefore has fewer carbs than dairy. Using it in place of cow's milk may help with blood sugar control in those with diabetes.
Still, more research is needed to better understand the benefits of cashew milk in managing diabetes.
Certain compounds in cashew milk may help with blood sugar control in people with diabetes, but more research is needed.
Cashews are loaded with copper (3).
Therefore, milk derived from these nuts—especially the homemade kind—is rich in this mineral as well.
Copper plays a large role in the creation of skin proteins and is important for optimal skin health (21).
Maintaining optimal levels of collagen in your body promotes skin health, while inadequate collagen can lead to skin aging.
Consuming cashew milk and other copper-rich foods may boost your body's natural production of collagen and keep your skin looking healthy and young.
Since cashew milk is high in copper, it may improve skin health by boosting collagen production in your body.
Test-tube studies suggest that compounds in cashew milk may prevent the development of certain cancer cells.
One test-tube study found that anacardic acid stopped the spread of human breast cancer cells (26).
Another showed that anacardic acid enhanced the activity of an anticancer drug against human skin cancer cells (27).
Consuming cashew milk can provide your body with anacardic acid that may help prevent the growth of cancer cells.
However, current research is limited to test-tube studies. More studies—especially in humans—are needed to better understand the potential anticancer properties of cashews.
Anacardic acid found in cashews has been shown to stop the spread of certain cancer cells and enhance the effects of anticancer medications in test-tube studies. Still, more research in this area is needed.
Cashews and milk derived from them are loaded with antioxidants and zinc (3).
This may help boost immunity.
Studies show that nuts may decrease the inflammatory response in your body and improve immunity, likely because they're an excellent source of antioxidants and other compounds that fight inflammation and disease (28, 29, 30).
In addition, your body uses zinc to create immune cells that help fight disease and infection. This mineral may also act as an antioxidant that can stop cell damage involved in inflammation and disease (31, 32).
One study associated low blood levels of zinc with increased levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) (33).
The zinc in cashew milk may help decrease inflammation in your body and improve immunity.
Cashew milk contains compounds like antioxidants and zinc that may fight inflammation and boost immunity.
9. May Improve Iron-Deficiency Anemia
When your body doesn't get enough iron, it can't produce adequate amounts of the protein hemoglobin that helps red blood cells carry oxygen. This results in anemia and leads to fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, cold hands or feet, and other symptoms (34).
Therefore, getting enough iron from your diet is important for preventing or improving symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia.
Since cashew milk is high in iron, it may help you maintain adequate levels. However, your body better absorbs this type of iron when consumed with a source of vitamin C (36).
To increase your absorption of iron from cashew milk, try blending it in a smoothie with fresh strawberries or oranges that contain vitamin C.
Cashew milk is loaded with iron and may prevent iron-deficiency anemia. To increase your absorption of iron from this nondairy milk, consume it with a source of vitamin C.
10. Easily Added to Your Diet
Cashew milk is a versatile and healthy addition to your diet.
Since it's free of lactose, it's suitable for those who avoid dairy.
It can be used in place of cow's milk in most recipes—including smoothies, baked goods and cold or hot cereals. You can also add it to sauces to make them creamier or even use it to make ice cream.
What's more, since cashew milk has a rich, creamy texture, it tastes delicious in coffee drinks, hot chocolate or tea.
Keep in mind that even though it can be substituted for cow's milk, cashew milk has a nuttier, sweeter taste.
If you're interested in adding cashew milk to your diet, you can purchase it at most stores or make your own. Look for unsweetened varieties that don't contain unnecessary ingredients.
You can add cashew milk to smoothies, coffee drinks, cereals, baked goods and many recipes. It's available at most stores or you can make it at home.
How to Make Cashew Milk
Making cashew milk is incredibly easy.
Plus, the homemade version is more concentrated and thus contains more nutrients than commercial varieties.
You can also control how much sugar and other ingredients you add.
To make cashew milk, soak 1 cup (130 grams) of cashews in very hot water for 15 minutes or in room temperature water for 1–2 hours or longer.
Drain and rinse the cashews, then add them to a blender with 3–4 cups (720–960 ml) of water. Blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until smooth and frothy.
You can add dates, honey or maple syrup to sweeten, if desired. Other popular additions include sea salt, cocoa powder, or vanilla extract.
Unlike most other plant-based milks, you don't have to strain cashew milk through a thin towel or cheesecloth.
You can keep your cashew milk in a glass jar or container in the fridge for up to three to four days. If it separates, simply shake before use.
Making cashew milk is incredibly easy. Blend 1 cup (130 grams) of soaked cashews, 3–4 cups (720–960 ml) of water, and a sweetener of choice until smooth.
The Bottom Line
Made from whole cashews and water, cashew milk is lactose-free and loaded with heart-healthy unsaturated fats, protein and several vitamins and minerals.
Drinking this type of milk may boost heart health, improve blood sugar control, promote eye health and more.
To add cashew milk to your diet, you can make your own or find commercially prepared products at most stores.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
By Rosalyn R. LaPier
Alaska has a "linguistic emergency," according to the Alaskan Gov. Bill Walker. A report warned earlier this year that all of the state's 20 Native American languages might cease to exist by the end of this century, if the state did not act.
American policies, particularly in the six decades between the 1870s and 1930s, suppressed Native American languages and culture. It was only after years of activism by indigenous leaders that the Native American Languages Act was passed in 1990, which allowed for the preservation and protection of indigenous languages. Nonetheless, many Native American languages have been on the verge of extinction for the past many years.
Languages carry deep cultural knowledge and insights. So, what does the loss of these languages mean in terms of our understanding of the world.
Embedded in indigenous languages, in particular, is knowledge about ecosystems, conservation methods, plant life, animal behavior and many other aspects of the natural world.
In Hawaiian traditions and belief systems, for example, the tree snails were connected to "the realm of the gods." Hawaiian royalty revered them, which protected them from over-harvesting.
The Bishop Museum in Honolulu holds a shell necklace, or lei, of Queen Lili'uokalani, the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii. It is made from tree snail shells, which signifies the high rank of female royalty. Wearing a shell was believed to provide "mana," or spiritual power and a way to understand ancestral knowledge.
Many of these snails are now extinct and those remaining are threatened with extinction. Scientists are working with Hawaiian language experts to learn about the belief systems that once helped protect them and their habitats.
A Tool for Doctors
Words in indigenous languages can have cultural meanings, that can be lost during translation. Understanding the subtle differences can often shift one's perspective about how indigenous people thought about the natural world.
For example, as an indigenous scholar of the environment, I led a team some years ago of language experts, elders and scholars from Montana and Alberta, Canada, to create a list of Blackfeet words, called a lexicon, of museum objects. The elders I worked with noted that the English word "herb," which was used to describe most plant specimens within museums, did not have the same meaning in Blackfeet.
In English, the word "herb" can have numerous meanings, including a seasoning for food. The closest English word to herb in Blackfeet is "aapíínima'tsis." The elders explained this word means "a tool that doctors use."
The hope is that the lexicon and audio files recorded in the Blackfeet language that our research helped create, might assist future scholars access the embedded meanings in languages.
Saving Vanishing Languages
Many Native American communities in the United States are now working to save these cultural insights and revitalize their languages.
In Wisconsin, an Ojibwe language school called "Waadookodaading,"translated literally as "a place where people help each other," immerses its students in the environmental knowledge embedded in the language.
The Ojibwe believe that theirs is a language of action. And the best way for children to learn is by doing and observing the natural world. Each spring, for example, the students go into the woods to gather maple sap from trees, which is processed into maple syrup and sugar. These students learn about indigenous knowledge of plants, their habitats and uses.
Language loss can be considered as extreme as the extinction of a plant or an animal. Once a language is gone, the traditional knowledge it carries also gets erased from society.
Efforts are now underway worldwide to remind people of this reality. The United Nations has designated 2019 as the "International Year of Indigenous Languages" in order to raise awareness of indigenous languages as holders of "complex systems of knowledge" and encourage nation states to work toward their revitalization.
The loss of indigenous languages is not Alaska's concern alone. It affects all of us.
Reposted with permission from our media associate The Conversation.
Warmer temperatures and earlier harvests in the famous wine-making region are producing grapes with less acid, and acid is important for both the aging process and the freshness of the famous sparkling wine, Bloomberg News reported Monday.
"Harvest is two weeks earlier than it was 20 years ago," Champagne house A.R. Lenoble co-owner Antoine Malassagne told Bloomberg News.
2018's vintage will be the fifth to be harvested in August instead of September in the past 15 years and the region has been two degrees Celsius hotter than usual for the past six months, according to the Comité Champagne (CIVC) trade association.
But Malassange and his fellow winemakers aren't ready to surrender their bubbly to rising temperatures.
Champagne makers have long added reserve wines to enhance the taste of their vintages. Now Malassange is specifically designing reserves to add "freshness" by preserving them using natural cork.
Others are covering soil with straw to preserve microbes in the soil and blocking the second round of fermentation in the wine barrel in order to preserve acidity.
Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon of famous champagne label Louis Roederer is also working to make grapes more resilient to warmer temperatures and the diseases and pests that they help spread.
Lecaillon expressed optimism about the growers' ability to innovate in response to changing conditions.
"We invented bubbles to make up for unripe grapes. As farmers, our job, our life, our passion has been to adapt to climate change for hundreds of years. If the future heats up too much," he told Bloomberg News. "We'll just have to make Burgundy."
The region as a whole, though, takes the threat of climate change very seriously. In 2003, it became the first wine-growing region to calculate its carbon footprint and take steps to reduce it, according to the region's website.
The region's wine growers succeeded in reducing emissions by 15 percent per bottle shipped.
However, climate change isn't bad news for all sparkling wine makers. Across the channel in the UK, warming weather could make the country's chalky soils ideal for vineyards that produce sparkling whites.
British winemakers have planted a record one million vines in the past year, and French winemakers like Taittinger have planted vineyards on British soil, The Telegraph reported Aug. 2.
UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove even spoke with optimism this month of what warmer summers could do for the industry.
"One of opportunities of a changing climate is the chalky soil of parts of England, combined with the weather that we are having, means that English sparkling wine will have a bumper harvest," he said, according to The Telegraph.
We know which celebrities are making the kind choice to help turkeys by not eating them this Thanksgiving. So now, we're looking at what will be on their plates, with a rundown of some of our favorite celebrity-inspired vegan recipes, just in time for the holidays.
Warning: We strongly advise against reading the following on an empty stomach!
Portobello Wellington From Moby's Little Pine Restaurant
Searching for the perfect vegan main course to turn your guests off eating slaughtered turkeys for good? Look no further than this mouthwatering Portobello Wellington with red wine gravy. It's the brainchild of Laura Louise "Lou" Oates, the executive chef at Moby's popular Los Angeles–based vegan restaurant, Little Pine, "Wellingtons are a dish that I remember sharing during my childhood growing up in England," she told Vogue. "I have recreated it here showcasing some of my favorite fall vegetables to be enjoyed with lashings of red wine gravy and numerous sides."
Alicia Silverstone Loves This Pumpkin–Red Lentil Soup
Known for her own line of vegan cookbooks, actor and animal rights advocate Alicia Silverstone isn't shy about promoting other delicious vegan recipes. She recently shared this hearty, velvety soup by plant-based blogger Oh, Holy Basil just in time for the holidays. With its pumpkin base and a dash of nutmeg, it's a perfect starter for your Thanksgiving spread.
Chef Chloe's Tangy Pomegranate Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Luckily, Brussels sprouts are having a bit of a renaissance and showing up on menus everywhere. This recipe is from one of our favorite vegan celebrity chefs, Chloe Coscarelli, and it combines the tang of pomegranate juice with maple syrup, which adds a hint of sweetness to this healthy veggie dish.
Make The Most Of Fresh Fall Vegetables With Delicious Side Dishes | TODAY youtu.be
Sweet potatoes are one of those Thanksgiving staples that are very easy to make vegan—which is great because they're so healthy and delicious. Animal rights crusader Jane Velez-Mitchell recently shared this Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potato recipe from vegan chef Leslie Durso, which can make for a hearty main course or a tasty side dish.
Mayim Bialik's Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
In addition to being a longtime vegan and PETA campaign star and starring in a certain TV show called The Big Bang Theory, Mayim Bialik is also an accomplished cookbook author. We can't wait to try this delicious version of a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe with pumpkin to add some flare to a vegan Thanksgiving feast.
I may not be nuts about Thanksgiving (see last wk's vlog about that!) but am nuts for baking chocolate chip pumpkin… https://t.co/uV8fsa4meE— Mayim Bialik (@Mayim Bialik)1511203334.0
Every year in the U.S., roughly
85 million turkeys are slaughtered and eaten for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter alone. And that's just about a third of the 240 million turkeys who are raised for food all year round. Going vegan can help save animals' lives—365 days of the year.
By Brian Barth
Looking for a different idea for a summer getaway? Agritourism—a general term referring to the notion of visiting a farm for recreational or educational purposes—is a growing sector that gives anyone a chance to experience farm life, while also providing another revenue stream to said farmers—no WOOFing required (unless you want!).
Many regions have farms that also run (or partner with other organizations to run) restaurants, breweries or distilleries, B&Bs, workshops, and other interesting experiences, making these areas great choices for summer road trips. Here are three of our favorite picks.
1. Haywood County, North Carolina
This picturesque part of the Appalachians lies west of Asheville, on the way to Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Despite the rugged terrain—Haywood County has the highest average elevation (3600 feet) of any county east of the Rockies—more than 700 small farms are tucked into the hills, hollows and valleys.
Known For: Ramps, ginseng and moonshine
Local Flavor: The region has a long history of mountain crafts, from the illegal (bootlegging whiskey) to the artful (weaving and pottery). More recently, it's become a haven for urban expats and back-to-the-landers of every stripe.
Sights and Sounds: The Blueridge Parkway snakes through the high mountains on its way to Asheville—a great way to soak in the serenity of the Appalachians. Haywood County's small towns are a great place to soak in the local bluegrass scene.
Where to Eat: Frog Leap Public House in Waynesville sources a hearty portion of it menu—from the collards and ham hocks to the pickled ramp chevre and the pecan-crusted sunburst trout—through local purveyors.
What to Drink: The "flavored" moonshines of Elevated Mountain, a craft distiller of top-shelf whiskeys in Maggie Valley. The distillery is open for tastings and tours, where you learn a bit of local moonshine lore and hear about the farms the company sources from.
A Cool Farmstay to Consider: Pigeon Valley Farms, just west of Asheville, offers three rooms for rent plus a 200-square-foot "tiny house." It's more a permaculture homestead than a farm, with options to pitch in on garden and livestock chores.
2. Mendocino County, California
This coastal enclave in northern California has quietly transformed from a lumberjack-sort-of-place to a foodie destination for Bay Area hipsters.
Known For: Wine, weed, and wild mushrooms
Local Flavor: A quieter version of Napa with a bit of NorCal pot-grower vibe thrown in for good measure.
Sights and Sounds: The coastal hills of are carpeted in lush redwood forests, where many a wild fungi are found. The beaches are pristine, but the water is frigid—a surfer's paradise.
Where to Eat: At the MacCallum House, in the sleepy, but pricey hamlet of Mendocino, chef Alan Kantor serves up local cheeses, foraged berries, and the region's famous Dungeness crab and abalone. Kantor honors his purveyors on a food-shed map found in the restaurant foyer.
What to Drink: Summer Solstice Ale from Anderson Valley Brewery. This solar-powered brewery also offers an 18-hole disc golf course.
A Cool Farmstay to Consider: The Apple Farm, founded by Don and Sally Schmitt (the couple who created Napa's famed French Laundry restaurant in the seventies), offers three bungalows set in a 30-acre orchard. Guests have the option of cooking one garden-fresh meal each day with the family. Located in Anderson Valley, a Garden of Eden-sort-of-place tucked between the mountains, you'll be in the center of Mendocino's County's artisanal farm scene.
3. Prince Edward County, Ontario
Located midway between Toronto and Montreal, and about two hours from the border crossing near Watertown, New York, this Lake Ontario peninsula has long been known for its miles of white sand beaches. But more recently, The County, as locals call it, has become a major agritourism destination, with scores of wineries, artisanal creameries, and festivals.
Known For: Hops, berry farms, u-pick orchards, and maple syrup
Local Flavor: Vogue has billed Prince Edward County as the "Hudson Valley of Canada." This is where Toronto/Montreal food scene parties on the weekend.
Sights and Sounds: Sandbanks Provincial Park boasts enormous dunes and crystal-clear water. The beach gets crowded on summer weekends, so get your suntan during the week and tour the countryside on the fin de semaine.
Where to Eat: The Drake Devonshire, in the hamlet of Wellington, is the sole rural iteration of a famed Toronto food and lodging empire. The menu is chock-full of fare from the nearby hills and estuaries.
What to Drink: The Prince Edward County VQA is a recently designated appellation—this is no Napa or Bordeaux—so keep your expectations modest. That said, the 2009 Ti-Rouge from Redtail, an 11-acre organic solar-powered winery near Consecon, is a fun, fruity place to start.
A Cool Farmstay to Consider: The Fronterra Farm Brewery offers one of the more unique lodging options in the area: "log-framed canvas prospector tents," featuring an ensuite bathroom and outdoor kitchen. Their "organic heirloom permaculture gardens" produce not only food for your stay, but the hops and barley for the beer brewed on-site.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
These simple vegan breakfast recipes are going to revolutionize your morning routine. They each have just seven main ingredients, so you can whip together a veritable vegan feast that will keep you sated until lunch.
From meatless bacon to quick chia pancakes, the recipes are healthful, packed with plant-based ingredients and free of items associated with animal suffering and the horrors of the meat, dairy and egg industries.
If you're new to making vegan meals, these simple recipes are a great way to start:
You're only seven ingredients away from devouring these waffles.
Toast is the perfect breakfast item, but not by itself. This recipe features a special combination of avocados, cherry tomatoes and garbanzo beans to help make it a filling meal.
This delicious mix of oats, cinnamon, chia seeds, almond milk and vanilla extract will having you saying, "Oh my oats."
Nothing is more comforting than potatoes first thing in the morning. This hash is packed with breakfast "sausage," black beans and baby spinach.
This super-simple, soy-free breakfast sandwich includes a delicious white bean mash.
You'll definitely agree that these quick, fluffy pancakes are worth setting your alarm back just a touch.
This one's so simple, so quick and hearty enough to keep you full until lunch.
Here are not just one, but five choices for easy power smoothies.
With salt and pepper, baking soda and garlic powder probably already in your kitchen, we figured that we could justify saying that this has "seven main ingredients" and squeeze it on the list. Adorn this delicious chickpea-flour pancake with goodies like salsa, avocado, hummus or cashew cream.
Want your breakfast to taste like ice cream? We thought so. Simply blend frozen banana, mango and frozen raspberries with almond milk and açaí powder, which comes from Brazil's antioxidant-rich super-fruit.
You're going to want to make this as soon as you see how easy it is.
Chocolate and quinoa? You'd better believe it.
Nut butter, banana, almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla extract round out the sumptuous flavors of this vegan French toast.
14. Tempeh Bacon
Interested in going vegan but haven't yet made the switch? Our free vegan starter kit can help you.
By Ryan Raman
Food intolerances and sensitivities are extremely common. In fact, it's estimated that between 2–20 percent of people worldwide may suffer from a food intolerance (1).
Elimination diets are the gold standard for identifying food intolerances, sensitivities and allergies through diet.
They remove certain foods known to cause uncomfortable symptoms and reintroduce them at a later time while testing for symptoms.
Allergists and registered dietitians have been using elimination diets for decades to help people rule out foods that are not tolerated well.
What Is an Elimination Diet?
An elimination diet involves removing foods from your diet that you suspect your body can't tolerate well. The foods are later reintroduced, one at a time, while you look for symptoms that show a reaction.
In that way, an elimination diet may alleviate symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and nausea.
Once you have successfully identified a food your body can't tolerate well, you can remove it from your diet to prevent any uncomfortable symptoms in the future.
There are many types of elimination diets, which all involve eating or removing certain types of foods.
However, if you have a known or suspected food allergy, then you should only try an elimination diet under the supervision of a medical professional. Reintroducing a food allergen may trigger a dangerous condition called anaphylaxis (4, 5).
If you suspect you have a food allergy, check with your doctor before starting an elimination diet. Symptoms of an allergy include rashes, hives, swelling and difficulty breathing (6).
Summary: An elimination diet is a short-term diet that helps identify foods your body can't tolerate well and removes them from your diet.
How Does It Work?
An elimination diet is divided into two phases: elimination and reintroduction.
The Elimination Phase
The elimination phase involves removing foods you suspect trigger your symptoms for a short period of time, typically 2–3 weeks.
Eliminate foods that you think your body can't tolerate, as well as foods that are notorious for causing uncomfortable symptoms.
Some of these foods include nuts, corn, soy, dairy, citrus fruits, nightshade vegetables, wheat, foods containing gluten, pork, eggs and seafood (7).
During this phase, you can determine if your symptoms are due to foods or something else. If your symptoms still remain after removing the foods for 2–3 weeks, it is best to notify your doctor.
The Reintroduction Phase
The next phase is the reintroduction phase, in which you slowly bring eliminated foods back into your diet.
Each food group should be introduced individually, over 2–3 days, while looking for symptoms. Some symptoms to watch for include:
- Rashes and skin changes
- Joint pain
- Headaches or migraines
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in breathing
- Stomach pain or cramps
- Changes in bowel habits
If you experience no symptoms during the period where you reintroduce a food group, you can assume that it is fine to eat and move on to the next food group.
However, if you experience negative symptoms like those mentioned above, then you have successfully identified a trigger food and should remove it from your diet.
The entire process, including elimination, takes roughly 5–6 weeks.
If you plan to eliminate many food groups, seek advice from your doctor or a dietitian. Eliminating too many food groups may cause a nutritional deficiency.
Summary: An elimination diet works by removing foods you think cause discomfort. It then reintroduces them individually to check for symptoms.
What Can't You Eat on an Elimination Diet?
The best elimination diets are the most restricting.
The more foods you remove during the elimination phase, the more likely it is that you will discover which foods trigger uncomfortable symptoms.
Foods that are commonly removed during the elimination phase include:
- Citrus fruits: Avoid citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits.
- Nightshade vegetables: Avoid nightshades, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, white potatoes, cayenne pepper and paprika.
- Nuts and seeds: Eliminate all nuts and seeds.
- Legumes: Eliminate all legumes, such as beans, lentils, peas and soy-based products.
- Starchy foods: Avoid wheat, barley, corn, spelt, rye, oats and bread. Also avoid any other gluten-containing foods.
- Meat and fish: Avoid processed meats, cold cuts, beef, chicken, pork, eggs and shellfish.
- Dairy products: Eliminate all dairy, including milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream.
- Fats: Avoid butter, margarine, hydrogenated oils, mayonnaise and spreads.
- Beverages: Avoid alcohol, coffee, black tea, soda and other sources of caffeine.
- Spices and condiments: Avoid sauces, relish and mustard.
- Sugar and sweets: Avoid sugar (white and brown), honey, maple syrup, corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, desserts and chocolate.
If you suspect that other foods not on this list make you feel uncomfortable, it is highly recommended to remove them as well.
Summary: A good elimination diet is very restricting, which helps you identify as many trigger foods as possible.
What Can You Eat on an Elimination Diet?
Although an elimination diet is very restricting, there is still enough variety to make healthy and delicious meals.
Some foods you can eat include:
- Fruits: Most fruits, excluding citrus fruits.
- Vegetables: Most vegetables, excluding nightshades.
- Grains: Including rice and buckwheat.
- Meat and fish: Including turkey, lamb, wild game and cold-water fish like salmon.
- Dairy substitutes: Including coconut milk and unsweetened rice milk.
- Fats: Including cold-pressed olive oil, flaxseed oil and coconut oil.
- Beverages: Water and herbal teas.
- Spices, condiments and others: Including black pepper, fresh herbs and spices (excluding cayenne pepper and paprika) and apple cider vinegar.
To stay motivated during this restrictive phase, try designing new recipes and experimenting with herbs and spices to add delicious flavor to your dishes.
Summary: Although elimination diets are restricting, there are still plenty of food options to make healthy and delicious meals.
Other Types of Elimination Diets
Besides the traditional elimination diet described above, there are several other types of elimination diets.
Here are a few different types of elimination diets:
- Low-FODMAPs diet: Removes FODMAPs, which are short-chain carbohydrates that some people can't digest.
- Few foods elimination diet: Involves eating a combination of foods that you don't eat regularly. One example is the lamb and pears diet, which is popular in the US, where lamb and pears are not commonly eaten.
- Rare foods elimination diet: Similar to a few foods diet, but you can only eat foods that you rarely ever eat, as they are less likely to trigger your symptoms. Common foods on a rare food diet include yams, buckwheat and starfruit.
- Fasting elimination diet: Involves strictly drinking water for up to five days, then reintroducing food groups. This type of diet should only be done with permission from your doctor, as it can be dangerous to your health.
- Other elimination diets: These include lactose-free, sugar-free, gluten-free and wheat-free diets, among others.
Summary: There are many different types of elimination diets, including the low-FODMAPs diet, the few foods diet, the rare foods diet, fasting and more.
Benefits of an Elimination Diet
Elimination diets help you discover which foods cause uncomfortable symptoms so you can remove them from your diet.
However, an elimination diet has many other benefits, including:
1. It May Reduce Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common gut disorder that affects between 10–15 percent of people worldwide (8).
Many people find that an elimination diet improves IBS symptoms like bloating, stomach cramps and gas.
In one study, 150 people with IBS followed either an elimination diet that excluded trigger foods or a fake elimination diet that excluded the same number of foods but not ones linked with uncomfortable symptoms.
People who followed the actual elimination diet reduced their symptoms by 10 percent and those who best stuck to the diet reduced symptoms by up to 26 percent (9).
2. It May Help People With Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) is a chronic condition where allergies trigger inflammation of the esophagus, the tube that delivers food from mouth to stomach.
People with EE have difficulty swallowing foods that are dry and dense, increasing their risk of choking.
In one study of 146 patients with EE, more than 75 percent of all patients experienced significantly fewer symptoms and less inflammation through an elimination diet (12).
3. It May Reduce Symptoms of ADHD
ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is a behavioral disorder that affects 3–5 percent of all children and adults.
One analysis looked at 20 studies that restricted certain foods to improve ADHD symptoms. Researchers found that elimination diets helped reduce ADHD symptoms among children who were sensitive to foods (15).
However, children should not follow an elimination diet unless supervised by a medical professional.
Elimination diets restrict many essential nutrients that are important for growing children, and long-term restriction could stunt their growth.
4. It May Improve Skin Conditions Like Eczema
Eczema is a group of skin conditions that appear as red, itchy, cracked and inflamed skin.
There are many different causes of eczema, but many people find that eating certain foods can worsen their symptoms.
In one study of 15 participants with eczema, 14 found that an elimination diet reduced their symptoms and helped identify their trigger foods (18).
5. It May Reduce Chronic Migraines
Roughly 2–3 million people in the US alone suffer from chronic migraines (19).
The causes of migraines are still unclear, but studies have shown that inflammation could be a trigger (20).
In one study, 28 women and two men with frequent migraines followed an elimination diet for six weeks, which helped reduce the number of headache attacks during that time from nine to six (22).
Summary: An elimination diet may benefit people with IBS, ADHD, migraines, eosinophilic esophagitis and skin conditions like eczema.
Risks of an Elimination Diet
Although elimination diets are a great way to discover which foods cause you problems, they also come with a few risks.
For starters, elimination diets should only be followed for a short period of time, or between four and eight weeks.
Following an elimination diet for longer is not recommended, as it could cause nutrient deficiencies as a result of eliminating certain food groups.
Additionally, children and people with known or suspected allergies should only do an elimination diet under the supervision of a doctor.
Because elimination diets are restricting, taking away certain food groups for even a short period of time could stunt a child's growth (23).
Children are also more prone to severe reactions, like anaphylaxis, when reintroducing a food group. This is because their bodies can become extra sensitive to foods after avoiding them (24).
Summary: Elimination diets can reduce the intake of important nutrients if followed for too long. Children and people with known or suspected allergies should not follow an elimination diet unless supervised by their doctor.
The Bottom Line
Elimination diets can help you determine which foods your body can't tolerate well.
If you're experiencing symptoms that you think may be related to your diet, then an elimination diet could help you discover which foods are causing them.
However, elimination diets are not for everyone. Children should not try an elimination diet unless supervised by a doctor or dietitian.
Likewise, people with known or suspected allergies should only try an elimination diet the under the supervision of a doctor.
Finally, it's important to note that elimination diets should only be done short-term, as long-term restrictions may cause nutritional deficiencies.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
By Kayla McDonell
Added sugar is probably the single worst ingredient in the modern diet.
It has been associated with many serious diseases, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
What's more, most people consume way too much sugar and often have no idea.
Fortunately, there are many ways to sweeten foods without adding sugar. This article explores eight healthy alternatives you can use instead.
Why Sugar is Bad for You
For starters, there is simply nothing good about sugar. It contains no protein, essential fats, vitamins or minerals. There really is no need for it in the diet.
In fact, there is a long list of reasons why you should avoid it.
Simply put, people who consume the most sugar are far more likely to become overweight or obese than those who consume the least.
What's more, sugar is addictive. It causes dopamine to be released in the reward center of the brain, which is the same response activated by addictive drugs. This leads to cravings and can drive overeating (8).
In short, sugar is incredibly unhealthy and should be avoided at all costs. Instead, consider the following eight alternatives.
Stevia is a natural sweetener that's extracted from the leaves of a South American shrub known scientifically as Stevia rebaudiana.
It contains zero calories and has no known links to weight gain.
Not only is Stevia considered safe, it's also linked to some health benefits.
It's worth noting that the two different sweet compounds extracted from the stevia plant—Stevioside and Rebaudioside A—have slightly different tastes.
Typically available in powder or liquid form, products labeled "stevia" may contain either or both of these compounds in varying amounts.
That's why some varieties taste better than others and it may take some experimenting to find the right one for you.
All things considered, if you need to sweeten something, Stevia is probably the healthiest choice.
Summary: Stevia is 100 percent natural, contains zero calories and has no known adverse health effects. It has been shown to lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol with a sweetness similar to sugar. It's extracted from corn or birch wood and found in many fruits and vegetables.
Xylitol contains 2.4 calories per gram, which is 40 percent fewer calories than sugar.
Also, it does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels (16).
Most of the harmful effects associated with regular sugar are due to its high fructose content. However, xylitol contains zero fructose and thus has none of the harmful effects associated with sugar.
On the contrary, xylitol is associated with multiple health benefits.
Xylitol is generally well tolerated, but eating too much of it can cause digestive side effects like gas, bloating and diarrhea.
It's also important to note that xylitol is highly toxic to dogs. If you own a dog, you may want to keep xylitol out of reach or avoid having it in the house altogether.
Summary: Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that contains 40 percent fewer calories than sugar. Eating it may offer dental benefits and protect against osteoporosis.
Like xylitol, erythritol is a sugar alcohol, but it contains even fewer calories.
At only 0.24 calories per gram, erythritol contains 6 percent of the calories of regular sugar.
It also tastes almost exactly like sugar, making it an easy switch.
Your body does not have the enzymes to break down erythritol, so most of it is absorbed directly into your bloodstream and excreted in your urine unchanged (25).
Therefore, it does not seem to have the harmful effects that regular sugar does.
Moreover, erythritol does not raise blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol or triglyceride levels (26).
Human studies show no side effects of erythritol when consumed daily at one gram per pound (.45 kg) of body weight, though higher doses may lead to minor digestive issues in some people.
Summary: Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that tastes almost exactly like sugar, but it contains only 6 percent of the calories. It is an excellent sugar alternative, especially for people who are overweight or have diabetes.
4. Yacon Syrup
Yacon syrup is extracted from the yacón plant, which is native to South America and known scientifically as Smallanthus sonchifolius.
It tastes sweet, is dark in color and has a thick consistency similar to molasses.
It has recently gained popularity as a weight loss supplement after being featured on The Dr. Oz Show, a TV show hosted by a famous American doctor.
While one small study found that yacon syrup caused significant weight loss in overweight women, more research is needed to validate this claim (30).
Yacon syrup contains 40–50 percent fructooligosaccharides, which are a special type of sugar molecule that the human body cannot digest.
Because these sugar molecules are not digested, yacon syrup contains one-third of the calories of regular sugar or about 1.3 calories per gram.
They also feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, which are incredibly important for your overall health.
Yacon syrup is generally considered safe, but eating large amounts of it may lead to excess gas, diarrhea or general digestive discomfort.
Another downside to yacon syrup is that you cannot cook or bake with it, as high temperatures break down the structure of the fructooligosaccharides (38).
Instead, you can use yacon syrup to sweeten your coffee or tea, add it to salad dressings or stir it into oatmeal.
Summary: Yacon syrup contains one-third of the calories of regular sugar. It is also very high in fructooligosaccharides, which feed the good bacteria in the gut and may help with weight loss.
5–8. "Less Bad" Sugars
There are several natural sweeteners that health-conscious people often use in place of sugar. These include coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup and molasses.
While these natural sweeteners may contain a few more nutrients than regular sugar, your body still metabolizes them the same way.
That being said, the natural sweeteners listed below are slightly "less bad" than regular sugar. Nonetheless, they are still forms of sugar.