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Thunder Tea Rice: Singapore’s Most Peculiar Fast-Food

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Singapore is home to one of the oddest yet also healthiest fast foods in the world: Thunder Tea Rice. The name itself is confusing – is it tea or is it rice? The answer is both.

Similar to a grain bowl, which has become an exceedingly popular healthy luncheon food in recent years, Thunder Tea Rice has been around for thousands of years, said to have first been created in the Three Kingdoms period in China, which took place from 220 to 280 AD. During this time of great war, which started with the end of the Han dynasty and was followed by the Jin dynasty, this meal was fed to soldiers to keep them healthy and strengthen their immune systems.

Originally this green soup and rice dish is known as Hakka Lei Cha Fan, or Lei Cha for short, which actually translates to Grind Tea Rice. The ‘thundering’ version of this ancient dish was created in Singapore 18 years ago by Alvin Tan and Callie Lim, whom upon first tasting their concoction of a green tea-based herbal soup broth, reported experiencing a lightning-like shock on their tongues. This is where the ‘thunder’ in the dish’s name comes from.

The creators received much criticism for calling their dish thunder tea, as the literal translation of Hakka Lei Cha Fan is ‘Grind Tea Rice’, and not ‘thunder tea rice’. Today, however, Thunder Tea Rice has become a staple in any Singapore hawker centre, and a much-loved national dish.

Thunder tea rice is a dish made up of a green soup of mixed herbs served with a bowl of rice topped with a variety of healthy vegetables. ©Angela Jelita

Although Thunder Tea Rice is served at hawker centres and is considered a kind of local fast food, preparation of the soup itself is an arduous process. The green soup is made by grinding green tea with a concoction of herbs using a mortar and pestle, including basil, mint, mugwort, Chinese parsley, sesame, coriander, groundnut, saw-tooth and Siberian ginseng. This mixture of herbs is then blended with hot water, resulting in a potent, green-coloured soup, which is served beside a bowl of rice topped with a variety of healthy vegetables, resulting in a dish that is high in antioxidants, nutrition, and fibre.

With the recent worldwide pandemic, more and more people are becoming health conscious and turning to nutritious plant-based foods and herbs to strengthen their immune system. Although several Thunder Tea Rice outlets have closed due to recent economic challenges, Lei Cha has never been more popular.

I tried this dish for the first time recently from Traditional Haaka Rice, a food stall at a Hawker Center in Tanjong Pagar, Downtown Singapore. The scene itself was abuzz with office workers hungry for their lunch, donning masks due to Covid-19 government regulations. Like most of the other stalls, this one was unassuming, and I probably would have walked right past it if hadn’t come in search of this particular dish.

At this stall, the vegan version of this dish is called ‘7 Vegetable Thunder Tea Rice’. You can choose your rice, either white or brown, which is then topped with an assortment of vegetables and toppings, including chopped green beans, tofu, leafy greens, shredded leek, peanuts, and preserved radish. A second bowl was handed over to me with the green herbal tea soup. All this for less than S$5.

When I found a spot to sample this local dish, I poured the entire contents of the soup into the rice bowl. At the bottom of the soup bowl I could see the remnants of the ground herbs that make up this healthy broth. I have to admit, the dish wouldn’t win any aesthetic prizes, but the taste, I can assure you, is worthy of several rewards.

The soup itself tastes unusual, but is extremely tasty, with a slight but welcomed bitterness, similar to green tea. Combined with the brown rice and vegetables, you have a dish that –spoon-upon-spoon – tickled my taste buds and filled my gut with a wholesome happiness. It even gave me a little buzz from the caffeine in the green tea! I have since grown fond of Thunder Tea Rice and come back to enjoy this satisfying and nutrient-dense dish on a regular basis.

Traditional Haaka Rice 河婆客家擂茶

Blok 6 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, Stall 02-21, Singapore 081006

One Third of Fish Stocks are Overfished: Cultivated Meat Could Be the Answer

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The world's first cultured fish fillets were created in Hong Kong and cooked into battered burger fillets. ©Avant\Chester Ong

Hong Kong-based food tech startup Avant Meats has cultivated its first batch of “clean fish” in a step towards meeting growing global demand for meat and seafood in a sustainable and humane way.

According to Thomson Reuters Foundation, chef Eddy Leung was tasked with cooking the world’s first lab-grown fish fillets in his kitchen in southwestern Hong Kong. Leung cooked the fillets as breaded fish burgers with tartare sauce and said they tasted and smelled like normal fish, but with the consistency of crab cakes.

In December, Singapore become the first government to approve cell-cultivated chicken, which led to the world’s first commercial sale of lab-grown meat, also known as “clean meat”. In a monumental move, U.S. start-up Eat Just was given the green light to sell its lab-grown chicken meat, in what the firm says is the world’s first regulatory approval for clean meat that does not come from slaughtered animals.

According to the The Good Food Institute (GFI), economic growth and rising incomes are expected to drive Asia’s appetite for traditional meat and seafood up nearly 80% by 2050. But the world does not have the resources to sustain such a growth without alternative options coming into play.

According to a 2019 report from global consultancy A.T. Kearney, cultured meats have the potential to disrupt the US$1 trillion conventional meat industry. The report predicted that cultured meats will make up 35% of global meat consumption within the next 20 years.

Cultured meat uses a fraction of the energy, land and water use, while producing far fewer greenhouse gases than normal meat production. According to a University of Oxford study in 2011, cultured meat could lower energy use in meat production by up to 45%, greenhouse gases more than 78%, land use 99% and water use up to 96%.

In a 2020 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, one third of the world’s fish stocks are overfished. Other studies predict the ocean will have more plastics than fish by 2050, with levels of microplastics, heavy metals and contaminants increasingly tainting seafood. Concerns about animal rights can also help drive a switch to lab-grown meat.

According to Carrie Chan, Avant’s co-founder and chief executive officer, cultivating fish in a lab can be done in a fraction of the time it takes to produce fish normally. “Most farmed fish take between a year to two years to grow, depending on the species, while wild fish take longer”, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. It took approximately two months to create the first 10 of Avant’s cultivated fish fillets.

So how did they create the cultivated fish fillets? Cells were extracted from a grouper fish into a bioreactor and fed glucose, minerals, amino acids, vitamins and proteins, similar to the process to make beer or yoghurt. The cells then grow into muscle tissue, without any organs or body parts.

This technology appeals to companies looking for stable prices and predictable volume to help them overcome volatility in food supplies. Governments can benefit, too, with the COVID-19 pandemic and trade conflicts showing the need to secure and localise food production. According to Avant co-founder and chief scientific officer Mario Chin, cell culture technologies can cultivate a variety of animal proteins almost anywhere.

Many people are sceptical about eating lab-grown meat because it is not natural and because many believe it is genetically modified food. It is critical to educate consumers on the safety of the process, with emphasis on the fact that cultured meat is not genetically modified. It’s important to educate on why alternative proteins are important, including what the benefits are for our health, for animal welfare, and for the planet.

As well as getting the right information to consumers, the success of cultivated meat and seafood will depend on getting the price right. Right now, lab-grown fish is not yet available commercially and is set to supply a niche market, where consumers are willing to pay a premium.

Studies show the idea of eating lab-grown meat has become more palatable to consumers in recent years, especially in Asia. A 2019 survey published in the academic journal Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems showed people in China and India were more open to consuming cultivated meat than consumers in America.

Does Plant-Based Pork Appeal to Muslims in Asia?

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Brands such as Omnipork from Hong Kong, Phuture Minced Pork from Malaysia, and Impossible Pork from the US are becoming more familiar in Asia’s food scene. But do these products, which use the word “pork” in their name, appeal to Muslims in the region?

Of Asia’s 4.14 billion-strong population, 27.5 percent, or 1.14 billion people, are of the Muslim faith. One of the rules of Islam is to abstain from eating pork, a food considered haram, an Arabic term which means forbidden. Other haram practices include the consumption of alcohol and gambling.

Indonesia is home to 225 million followers of the world’s second largest faith, making it the largest Muslim nation in the world. The majority of Indonesia’s Muslims are conservative, therefore any food with the name “pork” in it still holds negative connotations – regardless of whether it has been certified halal (permissible or lawful in Islam).

Indah Kusmini is a practicing, albeit liberal, Muslim living in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, a city which is considered to be more conservative. She believes having the word ‘pork’ in the name of the product will deter Muslims from trying the product. “I think most Muslims would avoid buying any plant-based meat with the word “pork” in it, even if it has a halal certification,” she tells me. “Hearing the word ‘pork’ in the name gives me doubt to buy it.”

According to Kusmini, the topic of plant-based pork is a sensitive one and must be approached with some delicacy. “This is due to deep-held philosophical and social stigma around the consumption of pork, which is strictly forbidden in our religion,” she explains.

Making Impossible Pork ©Impossible Foods

For younger Muslims living in big modern cities, the sentiment is different. Lisa Joesman lives in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, and works for an environmental NGO. She feels there is no moral dilemma so long as she can read the ingredients to ensure it actually is 100 percent from plants.

Omnipork, Phuture Minced Pork and Impossible Pork are not readily available in Jakarta, but if they were, Joesman admits she would try it. “I don’t feel there is any moral dilemma around eating a plant-based pork alternative,” she says. “I can just check the ingredients to make sure there’s no actual pork in it.”

Echoing this sentiment is Erika Anindita, a millennial who lives in Jakarta.” I would love to try it since it’s plant-based and has a halal certification,” she says. When asked if she would feel morally conflicted for consuming such products in any way, she answered, “I wouldn’t feel conflict because it is plant-based, so it doesn’t contain any actual substances from the pig.”

Anindita says there are social connotations attached to the consumptions of such foods. “I think people would be afraid of the discourse that may follow if they choose to consume foods with the word “pork” in it,” she adds.

Kusmini urges us to imagine this scenario: A Muslim person goes to the supermarket and puts a pack of plant-based pork in his or her shopping trolley. He or she then bumps into a friend, who sees the pork product in the trolley, but doesn’t understand that it’s not actually made from pigs.

“This could lead to all kinds of questions being raised about his faith, which could ostracize him from his community,” Kusmini says. “Until every single person in the country has been educated and fully understands the ingredients and reason behind plant-based pork products, this will continue to be in the back of our minds when thinking about the consumption of such products.”

And it’s not only in Indonesia that the view of using the word “pork” in plant-based products can lead to confusion. In neighbouring Singapore, 14 percent of a population of 5.7 million identify as Muslim (Statista, 2018). According to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), foods with the word “pork” in it may cause “confusion” since it is a clearly prohibited food item.

MUIS says it needs to be studied whether there are any negative social consequences of consuming such foods. Their current advice to Muslims in Singapore is to refrain from the consumption of plant-based pork items.

If brands wish to truly infiltrate the vast population in Muslim-majority countries with their plant-based pork alternatives, they may need to consider using a different name to avoid social shame and misunderstanding. Muslims such as Kusmini agree that this would make the products more appealing and accessible to people of her faith. “If it was named Omnimeat or Phuture Meat, I would have no hesitation to buy these products,” she shares.

 

World’s First Organic Plant-Based Infant Formula Debuts in Australia

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Highly anticipated organic and certified vegan infant formula company, Sprout, launches in Australia, filling a gap in the market for organic plant-based baby formula.

Sprout Organic Pty Ltd. (Sprout) infant formula and toddler drink is made from a base of rice starch and contains only organic plant-based ingredients, free from soy. Sprout plans to release its toddler and infant formula in the second quarter of 2021.

Sprout Organic’s range includes healthy plant-based kid’s snacks, toddler drinks and baby formula. ©Sprout Organic

In the meantime, Sprout’s first commercial product has been released, and is a range of healthy, whole foods kids snack bars, which launched on World Children’s Day (November 20, 2020).

Sprout develops and manufactures plant-based nutritional products for children, approved by leading paediatricians, dieticians, and food technology experts. The company’s vision is to provide children and their families with access to nourishing plant-based food products across the globe.

Sprout founder, Sel Berdie, is a former professional rugby league footballer for the Gold Coast Titans. In an announcement, he said the company had partnered with Global by Nature and Total Health, distributors in Western Australia (WA) and New South Wales (NSW), in the first of a series of domestic and international partnerships to establish as they grow their business. 

Sprout Organic founders Jen and Sel Birdie, with their two children. ©Sprout Organic

“We are very pleased to announce our distribution agreements with Global by Nature and Total Health. In these two distributors we have found partners that are incredibly passionate about our products. WA and NSW were identified as a key market for us, and we couldn’t be happier with the fit we’ve found in these two companies,” said Berdie. 

Global by Nature General manager, Ryan Mclintock believes Sprout is building a whole new form of inclusivity in the health foods sector. “We are always looking for innovative and delicious ways to surprise and excite our customers,” he said in the announcement. “Sprout’s healthy and tasty kids snack bars and genuine innovation in infant formula is exactly that.”

Is Asia Pacific the Next Haven for Plant-Based Business?

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Study predicts that demand for plant-based protein alternatives in Asia Pacific will increase by 200% in the next five years.

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences (DuPont) and global market research firm IPSOS, published a new research study that shows a significant increase in demand for plant-based meat alternatives in key APAC markets. In the study, DuPont predicts demand for plant-based meat in China and Thailand will increase by 200 percent over the next five years, driven by consumer values around health, taste and sustainability.

This trend is replicated more widely across the entire APAC region, with an expected 25 percent increase in the market size for plant-based meat alternatives – to $1.7 billion USD – over the next five years.

“We are about to see a dramatic increase in demand for plant-based alternatives to meat which food businesses need to start preparing right now,” says Michelle Lee, regional marketing leader, APAC, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.

The study also showed that 75 percent of APAC consumers are willing to pay a similar price to meat for plant-based alternatives. 78 percent believe that plant-based meat alternatives are here to stay, and that consumption of plant-based products will continue to grow in the future.

Asia Pacific is home to 4.3 billion people, making up 60 percent of the world’s population. According to Statista, Asia Pacific (APAC) has 9 percent of the world’s plant-based population (2016), with India (39 percent) and Taiwan (12 percent) leading the way with the highest percentage of vegans in the region.

In China, plant-based meats are increasingly on trend with celebrity endorsements and links to health and sustainability. Thai consumers are primarily looking for plant-based meat offerings that satisfy the optimum balance of taste, nutrition and convenience. Vietnam, however, is a region that requires more consumer education for stronger awareness on the benefits and availability of meat alternatives.

Asia Pacific is expected to witness the fastest growth at a CAGR of 12.1% from 2019 to 2025 on account of rising health consciousness among consumers. Moreover, increasing per capita income levels in developing countries including China, India, Thailand, Taiwan, and Bangladesh will contribute to market growth. Key manufacturers in the market have been focusing on expanding business in APAC due to high growth opportunities (Grand View Research).

These findings are encouraging for businesses looking to increase their plant-based meat offerings, with positive consumer demand, pricing and long-term gains forecast.

Did You Know? Fish Are Not Producers of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids, which means they are essential to health but cannot be naturally produced by the body. There are three different types of omega-3 fatty acids:

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) – critical in supporting healthy regulation of cellular inflammation

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) – essential for brain growth, health and function

A-Linolenic Acid (ALA) – essential for heart health

ALA is found in plant sources such as flaxseed, walnuts, tofu and kale.

EPA and DHA is produced by… wait for it… algae! Contrary to popular belief that EPA and DHA comes only from seafood, in particular fatty fish such as salmon or tuna, fish do not actually produce omega-3 fatty acids; they are merely the middlemen.

Fish get their omega-3s from the consumption of algae, micro-algae in particular, and plankton. They themselves also don’t have the capability of producing omega-3s naturally in their systems – just as we don’t!

Algae can be raised on a farm and yield sustainable DHA that is vegan, kosher and organic. This algae-derived DHA is called algae oil, and is added to food products to ensure that we get enough omega-3s in our diet in a sustainable and humane way.

2008 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association evaluated the effects of algal oil capsules and the oil from nutrient-packed salmon. The results found that algae oil DHA capsules and cooked salmon appear to be bioequivalent and provide the same nutritional benefits.

Instead of eating the middlemen and contributing to the overfishing of the world’s oceans, as well as avoiding the accidental consumption of micro-plastics found in the ocean, we can get our DHAs and EPAs from sustainable algae-based supplements readily-available on the market.

Happy days!

Temasek Invests in Cutting-Edge Tech Company to Bring New Varieties of Fruits and Vegetables to Market

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Today, only 10% of Americans eat the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables, according to the CDC. Driven by the belief that whole food should be healthy, delicious, and convenient, Pairwise brings together leaders in agriculture, technology, and consumer foods to harness the transformative potential of new genomics technologies to create innovative new products.

Pairwise is working to develop new varieties of crops, and to partner with food and agriculture companies who seek to put nutritious food on tables across North America. To address challenges with inconsistent flavour, seeds, shelf life, year-round availability, and snackability, Pairwise will use CRISPR technology to bring to the produce aisle new varieties of nutritious fruits and vegetables that consumers will love to eat, and will help to minimize waste. Pairwise believes the use of technology offers a transformative opportunity to open a new horizon for the $66 billion U.S. retail produce market, and is currently developing new types of leafy greens, berries, and cherries. Its first product is expected in 2022.

Pairwise has built a unique crop trait development platform, based on gene editing technology licensed from leading research organizations, including Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (Broad Institute). The company was founded by CEO Dr. Tom Adams and Chief Business Officer Dr. Haven Baker, with co-founders Dr. David Liu, of Harvard University, Dr. Feng Zhang, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Dr. J. Keith Joung, of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Pairwise announced the closing of its $90 million Series B funding round, signalling a new frontier in healthy, sustainable food innovation. Funding for the round was led by Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund (Pontifax AgTech), a pioneering growth capital investor in food and agriculture technology, and existing investor Deerfield Management Company (Deerfield), an investment firm dedicated to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy. Also joining the Series B round are new investor Temasek, an investment company headquartered in Singapore.

Pairwise uses cutting-edge tech to bring new varieties of black raspberries, red raspberries, and blackberries to market in the U.S. ©Pairwise

Temasek has a net portfolio value of S$306 billion (US$214b) as of 31 March 2020. The investment’s company’s ethos is to do well, do right and do good, with an investment philosophy anchored around four key themes: Transforming Economies; Growing Middle Income Populations; Deepening Comparative Advantages; and Emerging Champions. Actively seeking sustainable solutions to address present and future challenges, Temasek captures investment and other opportunities that help to bring about a more sustainable world.

“People see innovation all around them, except in the produce aisle. We will give consumers new options that make healthy eating easier and more exciting,” said Pairwise CEO Tom Adams in an announcement. “With this additional funding from industry-leading investors, Pairwise is taking a bold step toward achieving our mission of building a healthier world.”

“COVID-19 reinforces the importance of health and nutrition and Pairwise provides consumers with new options in their produce aisle. Our investment in Pairwise reflects our thematic focus on the convergence of biotechnology and agriculture and the use of CRISPR technology to improve health and nutrition in food and agriculture,” said Pontifax AgTech Co-Founder and Managing Partner Ben Belldegrun. “We believe that the combination of Pairwise’s gene editing platform, plant breeding expertise, and consumer food understanding creates a powerful engine that will be a game changer.”

In 2018, Pairwise announced $25 million in Series A funding, led by Deerfield and what is now Leaps by Bayer, to develop its gene editing platform and initial product portfolio. At the same time, the company also announced a $100 million collaboration with what is now Bayer Crop Science to advance gene editing tools in corn, soybeans, wheat, canola and cotton. This work continues, with advancements ahead of schedule in tools addressing broad challenges like productivity, diseases, weather needs, and other critical factors to long term, sustainable growth for these row crops.

 

How Our Food Choices Can Reverse Topsoil Erosion and Eliminate World Hunger

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Speaking at the recent PlantFit Summit, Ocean Robbins, CEO of the Food Revolution Network, author of 31-Day Food Revolution, and adjunct professor for Chapman University, shared how eating a plant-centered diet can help eliminate many of our agricultural problems and ensure there’s plenty of food to go around.

The grandson of the founder of one of the world’s largest ice-cream companies, Baskin-Robbins, Ocean’s story is an inspiring one. His father, John Robbins, was raised to take over the family empire, but instead made the decision in his 20s to walk away, moving to an island off the coast of Canada with his wife, where together they grew their own food, practiced meditation and yoga and raised their son, Ocean. John and Ocean have made it their life’s mission to educate people around the world on how our food choices can make a difference to our health and the planet’s health. 

“According to the United Nations, we only have 60 harvests left on Planet Earth, which is due to the erosion of our topsoil,” said Robbins at the summit. By the year 2050, we will have half the arable land on earth per capita than we had in 1950. “At the same time, we are fuelling climate change and chopping down our forests – which is all fuelled by an unsustainable agricultural system,” he says.

Ocean Robbins is CEO of the Food Revolution Network, author of 31-Day Food Revolution, and adjunct professor for Chapman University ©Ocean Robbins

It’s becoming more common knowledge now that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (meat, dairy, fertilizer, deforestation and soil disruption) are a bigger problem than emissions from power generation. 

“There’s waste every time you move up the food chain,” Robbins explains, stating that it takes 12 pounds of grain or soy to produce one pound of feedlot beef in the United States today. To raise livestock, forest is cleared to create grazing land. Then the land needs to be irrigated, and the animals need to be watered and fed every day. The end result is not just flesh, but also hoof and hide and bones and feathers. 

Eating the plants directly, rather than growing them to feed livestock, is so much more efficient for human beings and the planet. “If theoretically the entire human race went plant-based tomorrow, we would free up an area of land equal to all of the United States, China, India, the European Union and Australia combined!” says Robbins. 

The importance of topsoil

The earth has many different layers, and topsoil is the top material that we grow our food in. A healthy agricultural system uses plants to absorb carbon dioxide and then captures that carbon in the soil, which builds up over time. Healthy topsoil absorbs water like a sponge: when it rains heavily, instead of a flood, the water is absorbed by the soil. The plants can send their roots deep down, becoming more resistant to drought and not requiring as much water to survive. Healthy topsoil has more nutrients in it, which creates more nutritious food.

Modern-day agricultural practices is leading to erosion of topsoil at an alarming rate. ©Wikipedia Commons

“But what’s happening today is land is being poisoned with pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, and all kinds of toxins,” explains Robbins, which is leading to the extermination of bugs and worms, whose job is actually to aerate the soil and regenerate it. 

“We’re pumping chemical fertilizers onto our land instead of adding manure, compost and seaweed and the other things that would help it to replenish,” he says. As a result, every time it rains, topsoil is being eroded. “Some of our biggest rivers are brown because they’re full of topsoil that’s washing away from our farmlands, which is happening continuously.”

According to Robbins, if you go from three feet of topsoil to one foot of topsoil, you can still grow food, although not quite as well. We would also be more prone to droughts and floods, as the plants won’t be able to send roots down as deep. Robbins warns that if we deplete our topsoil entirely, however, we won’t have anything left to grow crops in. 

“And we are getting perilously close to that, not just in the United States, but in nations around the world because modern industrialized farming practices are depleting the soil rapidly,” he warns. Another important issue is the depletion of aquifers, which is stored up water from centuries and even millions of years in some cases. 

The importance of our food choices

But the good news is we can turn this around by eating lower on the food chain. 

The same food choices that are healthier for our bodies, a whole foods plant-centered diet, are also better for our ability to feed all of humanity. Our choices also have the ability to stop deforestation and replenish and restore our topsoil and water supplies. When we invest with our food choices in a more sustainable future, we help to ease the burden and stress and contribute to a world where there’s enough for everybody.

By eating this way, Robbins says that we will also contribute to being more fit and vibrant. “You can also say no to heart disease, cancer, type two diabetes, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune disorders, excessive inflammation and brain fog – and all the other problems that are so common today,” he says.

Making a difference 

So, what can we do as individuals to contribute in our own communities? Robbins says it’s as easy as opting for or providing healthier foods. 

“If you have a restaurant, then you can serve healthier food. If you have a store, you can serve healthier food. If you work in a store or restaurant, you can encourage management to offer healthier options. If you’re in a company, you can encourage the company to serve food to employees that’s healthier. If you’re in a school system, you can contribute to healthier school meals. If you’re a parent, you can contribute to healthier school meals by lobbying and finding out who’s making the decisions in your school food systems,” he urges.

Robbins also suggests getting a farmer’s market going in your community, contributing to community supported agriculture programs where you buy direct from local farmers. You can also support community gardens and can buy from people who are growing their food the right way, using organic regenerative practices. 

Robbins challenges us all to find a way to be part of the solution. Maybe it literally means buying the organic tofu next time. “I want you to know that every step you take matters and helps shift the food economy in a healthier direction.” 

And step by step, we can change the world.

Reconnecting with Our Innate Intuition

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Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without conscious reasoning. The fact is, we all have it, but many of us have lost touch.

Every day, we are bombarded with thousands of thoughts, coupled with our addiction to gadgets, our minds are clouded with constant internal chatter, making it difficult to tune into our intuitive selves. The food we eat also has a direct affect on whether we notice our intuitive prompts.

So how do we reconnect with this divine part of ourselves?

Danielle Van de Velde is a spiritual teacher and healer with extensive knowledge on energetic principles. She teaches reiki, meditation, shamanic practices, and intuitive healing. She shares her expert insight on intuition, including how we can harness and welcome this ability back into our lives.

A Woke Man: Luke Tan

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Strength athlete, ‘vegucator’ and coach – co-founder of the Plant Fit Summit – Luke Tan, has been living a plant-based lifestyle for nearly a decade. Previously a heavy meat-eater, this Singapore local now eats a whole foods plant-based diet high in carbohydrates and proteins, which has cured his digestive and joint problems.

I speak with Luke about his lifestyle, his health, and how he’s living with his eyes and heart wide open.