It would be hard to miss the newsflash the other day that Kirin Holdings and Meiji University have done it once again. In another new technological breakthrough, they have produced some slightly shocking results. The same Japanese partnership that brought us Taste the TV – the first “lick-able” TV screen to accurately mimic food flavours in real time – have come up with something even better. They have created a ‘chopstick device’ that can boost the taste of salt in foods while you eat them. The chopsticks are essentially connected by a wire to a mini-computer that is worn on a wristband and creates electrical stimulation waveform that works its magic to make lower-sodium foods taste saltier when eaten. In fact, the device is able to supercharge the perceived saltiness of foods by 1.5 times without changing the actual salt content of each bite.
Although the thought of voluntarily putting a pair of electrically charged chopsticks attached to a lead into your mouth might sound like a badly thought out dare, the charge is said to be too weak to affect the human body. Yet it is just strong enough to affect the perception of taste. Which means that it could be a useful tool to help people eat a diet that is lower in salt and healthier without missing any salty flavour. This joint project is part of an overall aim of Kirin Holdings to support lifestyle disease prevention and addressing the very high salt consumption rates in Japan is a good place to start. Because the evidence is crystal clear. High salt consumption is a real killer.
For many people, the commencement of another New Year doesn’t just remind them that time is passing by far quicker than they thought and confirms the obvious, that they really are getting old. It also marks a time of the year when the masses devote themselves to having another go at making a big change all wrapped up in some fat resolutions. The majority of these resolutions always seem to relate to diet and exercise but it’s hardly surprising when they more than often resemble the same good intentions from the previous year. Nonetheless, every January the number of people who sign up to Dry January, Veganuary, start a new diet or weight-loss programme, join a gym or commit to running an extremely a long race seems to only grow.
Now be honest…How many times this summer have you looked outside at the utterly disappointing UK weather and complained about it? Is it in the double digits? Or the triple?? It is very telling that the topic I discuss most often these days with friends, family and random strangers while queuing is whether we are having a typical British summer or if this is ‘something else’. With the cold temperatures, fluctuating winds and unexpected outbursts of rain that make the weather forecasts about as reliable as a horoscope, the results of my straw poll weigh heavily in favour of the ‘something else’.
But many of us in the UK are relatively lucky to only be whinging about the lack of BBQ opportunities and getting rained on again during a run. It may have been easier in the past to ignore the ‘something else’ weather when it seemed to be happening somewhere else. But seriously, when the weather is producing catastrophic demonstrations of severe floods and wildfires in such sheer frequency in places that are increasingly more familiar, it is impossible to ignore the absolutely devastating effects that the climate crisis is having on communities. I have to hope that there aren’t many people left on this planet who still doubt that a fundamentally radical change to how the world is tackling the climate crisis is now essential. Although that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone agrees on the solution…Especially when it comes to food and diet.
With life comes risks and that is never so true as when it comes to running. Because being a runner means that you have to accept the risk that one day, you may injure yourself. But all runners know that the benefits of running far outweigh any risk of injury. Otherwise they’d never lace up. However, that does not mean that being injured is any easier. In fact, as someone who has been forced to take a break from running due to a badly injured knee I feel like a grizzly with a sore paw. Impossible to reason with while equally despondent and impatient by not recovering soon enough. Who wants to RICE all the time when they feel in every bone in their body (apart from their sore paw) that they really should be running? Not this grizzly!
As we reach the end of this year’s Food Waste Action Week I thought I would add my two pence on the importance of reducing our food waste. Even the basic statistics sound pretty shocking and it can be difficult to get your head around the scale of the problem. According to the sustainability charity WRAP, around one third of food produced worldwide is unnecessarily wasted when it is unsold, unused or thrown out by supermarkets, restaurants and the public. That is simply mind blowing, but it gets worse. The natural resources that go into growing the food together with the production and transportation of it for sale are also contributing to climate change. Food production is now responsible for close to 10% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, globally.
But as someone who cares about the planet and loves to cook I didn’t think I had a problem with food waste in my own home. After all, my family happily hoovered up any leftovers they could get their hands on. However, I also knew that I was far from perfect even if food waste was a particular bugbear of mine. Which is why in trying to cut down further on my own food waste I wanted to help others avoid it in Spoiler alert and shared some more tips for using up neglected and forgotten foods in Waste not, want more. Although I have to come clean…I made a glaring oversight when it came to reducing my food waste which I only discovered once all of my children had left home for university.