Category Archives: Food & Lifestyles

Vegetarian? I bet these stories sound familiar!

First of all I would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and creative 2013! As you may have noticed it has been a while, however I came across a (to me) very funny article on BBC News Magazine and wanted to share it with you. The article “20 of your tales of vegetarian woe” (BBC, 2013) is a collection of different experiences and stories of vegetarians travelling across the world! 

I have been vegetarian for quite a while (14 years or so) and have experienced the difficulties but also funny situations when ordering food abroad. Not every country is that familiar with vegetarians and I can imagine how hard is must be to understand such thing when eating meat is so obvious. I must say that, throughout the years of being a vegetarian, a lot has changed. I also noticed that, even when it seems like a restaurant does not have any vegetarian dishes on the menu, they are most of the time willing to prepare something without meat after all, especially for you. In fact, these have always been delicious meals that made my carnivore friends jealous! Yet, I have also experienced holidays with the unavoidable fried cheese (see photo below) and big salads, night after night. Still, I have always been very appreciative of whatever dish they prepared for me, as I think it is great that they have all been open to the needs of their customers and to try something new.

Fried Cheese

Retrieved from: Easteuropeanfood.about.com (2012)
vegetarianVSmeat

Retrieved from: Usahitman.com (2012)

Anyway, enough about me and my experiences of eating vegetarian abroad, the article I mentioned at the beginning of this blog is worth having a look at by clicking here.

Do you have any awkward, funny, difficult or very good experiences with ordering food as a vegetarian or with a specific diet across the globe? I am very curious to hearing about them!

Madelon

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A sustainable christmas meal

Christmas songs on the radio, shopping windows transformed into Christmas looks and you have already put the Christmas tree in your living room. Up next the dinner you have to prepare for your family and friends. How can you serve a meal, which is less harmful for the environment? The amounts of miles that a typical Christmas meal travels before it ends up on your plate can easily add up to 49,000 miles. However a green Christmas meal is possible!! Interested? Take a look at the tips below.

turkey-xmas460

1)   Buy local

Visit a farmers store, or a farmers market and collect your products there. These are more sustainable and probably only traveled for a couple of miles.

2)   Buy seasonal

A lot of products are not available in the winter, at least not from your own country. All of these products are imported from around the world. Imagine what carbon footprint they must have left behind, so not really environmental friendly right? Take a look at seasonal products. I am pretty sure you can make a fantastic meal with those products.

3)   Go organic

If you are against the intensive farming, then especially pay attention to this point. Food that has been produced organically less harmful pesticides have been used and this is of course a lot better for the environment. And a organic turkey did not have to suffer from the intensive farming.

4)   Go veggie

Are you still a bit sad about the turkey? Even though it comes from an organic farm. Then think about a vegetarian Christmas meal. With some good recipes and innovative thinking I bet you can surprise your entire family.

5)   Watch your waste

And last but not least watch your waste. And this does not start with the things you throw away, but already on your shopping list. Do you really need everything? Don’t you think you have way too much? Think critically and you will have to waste less food.

If we all took the above-mentioned points into consideration, even the smallest bits help. We can have another feeling as just fed up with all the food, but at least you have done something good for the environment this Christmas. Isn’t that what Christmas is about amongst other things, to take care of one another?

and as we would say in the Netherlands: EET SMAKELIJK!

Nicole

How to Launch a Milkshake

Dear Readers,

We are having our Creative Network Session 2.0 tomorrow and we’re currently pretty busy with the preparation to make sure it’s going to be as successful as possible! That’s why I won’t be writing a long, extensive post today… Apologies! But don’t be too sad cause I do want to share something really cool!

Two weeks ago I showed you ‘Dumb Ways to Die” which is in my opinion a fantastic example of creative marketing, but I have another video for you today. It is basically an interactive marketing campaign in the form of a modern treasure hunt. And guess what? It is all about a milkshake! Watch the video to find out what happens to cows in Norway:

Keep an eye on this blog if you want to know which ideas come out of the Creative Network Session!

A.S.

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Eating insects: The most sustainable and healthy option?!

Eating ecologically, eating sustainably, eating healthy… Sometimes you just don’t know what you’re  allowed to eat these days. I would like to discuss a combination of all three,  which The Guardian considers to be the food of the future: Insects.

During our fieldtrip to exhibition “De Etende Mens” in Eindhoven, The Netherlands we already got familiar with this matter as a part of the exhibition was devoted to future foods and insects. We were all a bit sceptical about the idea as we couldn’t imagine ourselves eating grasshoppers and maggots, but maybe we just need to get used it? I couldn’t help but thinking of Disney’s Lion King, when ‘Simba’ adapts to his new friends and forces himself to eat insects and after that actually quite likes them… Maybe we all need a Lion King-moment to get used to something new?

As you may know, eating insects isn’t that strange in countries such as Thailand where fried spiders and centipedes are available on local markets and restaurants. A very sustainable and healthy  choice, since insects can be multiplied easily, only a minimum of space and resources are needed and has a very low carbon emission. Furthermore most insects contain 40 to 70% protein, which is much more than e.g. sweet corn with only 10%. So why are we not eating it then? One of the reasons might be that insects are not that common in e.g. Europe, since at least 24% of all eatable insects live in Asia, 38% in Africa and only 2% in Europe (Duurzaaminsecteneten, 2012).

I must admit that I don’t think that I will be eating insects in the near future and I’m not expecting you to do so (unless you’re from one of those countries where it’s part of daily life of course!), however maybe we should try to get used to the idea and not creep out when hearing about it or seeing it? Therefore, I included a few pictures of the exhibition ‘De Etende Mens’ and other pictures of eatable insects for you so you can see and decide for yourself what you think! I also included a few pictures of the insect scene from the Lion King, to remind you of that scene in case it didn’t ring a bell just yet!

 

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Sources pictures: Walt Disney & The Guardian (2012)

Click here for a list list of eatable insects.

Enjoy!

Madelon

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Social Innovation Sessions with Network Opportunity

In the course of this project we have created a sort of scheme on how to bring the two worlds of visual culture and food together and came up with the idea of a creative workshop and network session. The workshops will take place next week and we have still spots available for the sessions on Thursday. If you would like to participate or know someone that would like to come, just sent us an email to bridge.researchagency@gmail.com.

The content of these sessions will be in Dutch. Here you can find the flyer and the program:

programma-22-november

Tomorrows blog will focus on the content and set up of the workshops, but if you have any questions before hand don’t hesitate to contact us.

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What will you be eating in 2020?

Researchers at the Spanish research organisation Azti-Tecnalia seemed to have found the answer to that question! One of their researchers, Sonia Riescom, revealed to FoodManufacture.co.uk that “Detecting and analysing these trends means understanding the market – current and future, and anticipating future demand”. By doing so, the organisation says that the following eight top trends regarding food will dominate our lives in less than 8 years; 

  • Food telling, food with a message
  • Super sense, multi-sensory experience
  • Slowcal
  • Here & Now
  • Eater-tainment, food experience
  • Made Simple, keep it simple
  • My health, personalised health
  • Ego food, food expression

According to this research, the first 3 mentioned trends will be the leading trends and will affect the lives of European consumers the greatest.

The first trend “Food telling” reflects the consumer’s need for attractive, transparent and accessible information. Basically, by giving food a ‘story’ of its own it will provide food with a greater identity and authenticity.

The second trend “super sense multi-sensory experience” relates to the fact that consumers have a preference for products that will heighten their senses and create an original, intense, pleasurable and full experience.

The third trend “Slowcal” reflects the need of people to eat sustainable food; to be more aware towards the impact of food consumption on a social, personal, environmental and economic scale.

If you are curious about the five remaining trends please visit the following link for more information; http://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/NPD/Eight-top-food-trends-to-drive-consumers-by-2020?utm_source=copyright&utm_medium=OnSite&utm_campaign=copyright

In my opinion, a lot can happen in eight years so if these predictions will become reality; I am not too sure. But what do you think? Are you convinced? Or are you already on the path towards these predictions? Let us know!

Tessa.

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Farming 3.0

Have you ever wondered what a rooftop farm looks like? In our last post we had already discussed the trend of rooftop farming and the developments in that area. Today I would like to present you a little project that I thought was very interesting and inspiring to me, the Eagle Street Rooftop farm in New York City.

The farm is located on a factory roof next to the East River in Brooklyn with a nice view over the skyline of Manhatten and comprises 6.000 square feet, which is about 1.8 square kilomters. As part of it’s program during growing season organic produce can be bought at an on site farmers market and members of the organization deliver their produce by bike to participating restaurants. The  Eagle Street Rooftop Farm offers a volunteer program and apprenticeships and internships for students and everyone who is interested, futhermore they try to educate people about food with their farm classes.

Listen to Annie Novak, co-founder of the project talk about the Rooftop Farm and the importance of urban farming:

If you would like to get more insight, check out the website here.

This example got me thinking whether I know of any rooftop farms, but I couldn’t come up with any. Do you have cool examples of urban farming?

SH

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Where does your food come from?

Everybody knows that food is produced on farms and while driving through the countryside everybody has seen the vegetables on the land, but have you ever imagined that those are usually not the products you buy in the supermarket. That the products you buy often are imported from the other side of the world?

The products that you see above: Milk, sugar, asparagus, cucumber, apple and pepper have travelled for about 35.000km to end up in your shopping cart.

One reason for this is that the products from Peru, Argentina or other countries are simply cheaper than the ones produced in the Netherlands or Europe. But that is not the only reason. The Netherlands is a crowded country and simply is not big enough to produce food for the entire population. Therefore people are becoming quite inventive.

Vertical gardens, roof gardens, community farming? Have you heard about these terms before? These are all new ways of farming and using spaces such as the roofs and sides of a building. You can even start farming on your own balcony.

Next to that instead of a playground in the neighborhood, you see more and more community gardens where the neighborhood grows its own vegetables.

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All of this is becoming more of a trend. People are more aware of biological food, the impact it has on the environment to import these products.

So just a tip! Grow some tomatoes on your balcony and contribute to the scarcity of food! Not convinced yet? It will also save you money!

Nicole

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The Food Recovery Network

The past weeks I have been busy looking into inspiring projects and best practices for our project. During my search online I came across a project initiated by students that I found very inspiring. The dedication of the students and volunteers involved is heartwarming and therefore I decided to present it in todays post.

Basically the Food Recovery Network (FRN) is a project initiated by students of the University of Maryland in the United States. It is their mission to prevent food waste by collecting leftover food from college cafeterias and events and providing it to churches, homeless shelters and people in need. The initiative is completely run and initiated by volunteer students investing a vast amount of time in changing the world a little bit by creating social innovation. In my oppinion by supporting homeless people and other food banks and offering this service for free the students at the FRN have tackled one major problem in the food sector. By doing our research in the field it became obvious quite fast that food waste is a major issue. Several different projects have been launched all over the world, but I find this particular initiative very inspiring because it is lead by students that believe in something, have social courage and want to help changing things, a trait that is unfortunately rarely found in todays world.

Initiated by students at the University of Maryland in very short time the project has spread out all over the United States and been picked up by students at different colleges following one major aim, preventing food waste and feeding everyone in need. The fact that this project spread fast and the focus on sustainability shows that there is a critical need and primarly also interest by other people which helped the Food Recovery Network to gain attention during the past year. On their website the students invite off campus businesses to participate by explaining them the benefits of donating food leftovers and offering help for pickup and delivery of the food.

Here are two videos about the Food Recovery Network which are definitely worth checking out and you should also visit their website http://www.foodrecoverynetwork.org/

7 min coverage

Promotional Video


I hope you’ll be as inspired as I was. Enjoy! SH

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Taking care of your body!

Eating healthy is a trendy topic and has been for the last decade. But what is the right way to do it? Eating healthier if often connected with losing weight, a common misconception. Nevertheless, nutritionists come up with one diet, program or product after another that suggest you to eat less, to not eat carbon hydrates or sugar anymore, eat more proteins or just chew on a carrot and a bit of lettuce. But is this really the key for eating healthier? I don’t think so! Therefore, I did a little research into what is and will give you some insight into some alternative lifestyles concerning ‘eating healthy’ today.

A lifestyle that has been developing for the past few years is mindful-eating. This is a method based on the principle of mindfulness where you learn how to deal with your eating habits differently. It is not about what you eat, it is about how and why you eat. You do this by bringing more attention to your food; from flavours, to colours, to feelings of satisfaction and being full. By doing this, you break through patters and routines such as finishing your plate while you actually already have had enough. One can practice this at home or join one of the many available workshops throughout the country. True believers of this principle claim that you learn how to make better choices, eat less and enjoy food more! For more information, check out the website of the ‘Center for mindful eating’: http://www.tcme.org/

Another lifestyle that caught my attention is not yet defined by a name but more by the principle of ‘cooking without packs, bags and cans’. This principle all evolves around going back to basics; cooking without using packs, bags or cans to make a meal, soup or sauce. This ‘returning to the roots’ cooking has evolved from the fact that easy-help packages, bags and cans for cooking often contain too much salt, sugar, colour agents or other nutrients that are not healthy. Back in the day, when people were cooking without these fancy products, problems such as obesity and overconsumption of salt hardly existed. But since cooking has become a difficult and time consuming activity in our modern day society several individuals and organisations are tying to change this attitude for the health of our society. As an example, check out the website of Karin Luiten, the author of the book ‘Koken  met Karin: zonder pakjes en zakjes’, for more information and recipes: http://www.kokenmetkarin.nl/home/index.html (unfortunately only in Dutch).

And for the real cook fanatics, who are interested in learning more about a different way of healthy cooking, get ready for a cressperience. The innovative Dutch company ‘Koppert Cress BV’has changed the way of cooking for many professional and amateur chefs around the world, as they use cresses and micro-vegetables to create amazing flavours.
Cresses and micro-vegetables are sprouts that are rich of vitamins A, C and minerals such as calcium and iron. Due to this company, many have begun to understand the value of these small plants and flowers as they contain the same nutritional values as normal vegetables. Recipes, articles and places for workshops can be found on the following website: http://koppertcress.com/

Are you convinced or inspired by any of these lifestyles? Let us know!

Tessa.

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