Biohackers Engineer Yeast to Produce Casein for “Real Vegan Cheese”

A team of biohackers in Oakland at the infamous Counter Culture Labs are using their science skills to make real vegan cheese. According to their Indiegogo page:

Real Vegan Cheese is a not a cheese substitute! It all begins with regular old baker’s yeast. Through synthetic biology, we engineer our yeast to become milk-protein factories, churning out real milk proteins (known as caseins). These milk proteins are then combined with water, vegan sugar and oil to make a kind of milk which is ultimately converted into Real Vegan Cheese using the age-old cheese-making process.

“Is it really vegan? Yes. Our genes are made from scratch to work in yeast, and though they are inspired by mammals, none of the genes, organisms or growth mediums we use have ever been part of an animal.”

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For more info and to donate to their research, click here:

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or visit their Indiegogo Page: http://igg.me/at/vegancheese/x

 

Champion Heavyweight Boxer Goes Vegan for Comeback

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He’s got an English accent. He’s buff. And now, he’s vegan too. David Haye “The Hayemaker” recently told The Independent that he’s planning to make a big comeback after some serious injuries, an out-of-control alter-ego, and major surgery. “I’ve only got myself to blame.” He said. “To be as injury-prone as much as me isn’t bad luck. It’s the way I’ve trained in the past.”

Regarding his decision to go vegan, he said:

“I watched a TV documentary about how animals are farmed, killed and prepared for us to eat,” he explains, shaking his head. “I saw all those cows and pigs and realised I couldn’t be a part of it any more. It was horrible. I did some research to make sure I could still obtain enough protein to fight and, once satisfied that I could, I stopped. I’ll never go back.”

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The Discerning Brute contributor and nutritional expert Matt Ruscigno, RD weighs in on Haye’s new regimen and its chances to rebuild a heavyweight champ:

“All plant based foods have some protein, especially beans and grains – and as long as Haye is eating enough calories to fuel his workouts, he will get more than enough protein. Plant-foods like beans are full of calories to provide all the energy he needs, as well as all the amino acids he needs to continue building muscle in order to create and maintain a heavyweight physique. The additional benefit of the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables will aid in his recoveries. Experts know from extensive research that vegetarian and vegans live longer, and many nutrition experts are exploring the idea that the same principles that make us live longer may also help someone like Haye recover more quickly from injuries.”

Vivienne Westwood “Moral Outrage” SS15

Vivienne Westwood’s SS15 show in Milan was all about being bold. Bold patterns and colors inspired by the pixelated graphics of 1970s arcade games – and a bold message: moral outrage at factory farming of animals. Partner Andreas Kronthaler says on their website, “Vivienne & I are both vegetarians but we are urging people who do eat meat to always find out where it is coming from and to avoid meat from animal factories.”

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And backstage in an interview with Dazed, he also stated “It’s not just about pig farming but any animal farming. What’s going on out there is a disgrace. I’m a vegetarian and I don’t tell people not to eat meat but cutting down is not bad. One day a week makes a big difference, environmentally and even health-wise. The way we keep animals is awful,” Andreas Kronthaler said backstage. “For me as an activist, this is what an activist should look like – someone who cares about what’s going on out there.”

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Peter Dinklage & Billy Bob Thorton on Being Veg

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Two Hollywood heavyweights recently spoke out about their choice to not eat animals. Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones is featured in a new campaign for PETA. His video is below. Billy Bob Thronton was featured on Ecorazzi talking about shooting the new Fargo in Calgary. “A lot of people would say, ‘What do you do in Calgary?’” said Thornton. “But it’s a cosmopolitan city, it’s really a great town. I’m a vegan and there were health food stores everywhere – bowling alleys, pool halls, regular people. It reminds me a little of a city in Texas, just like being in Dallas or Houston.”

 

Wool Steps Up Greenwashing Campaign

The wool industry has put a lot of money – and a royal patron – behind new efforts to convince people that wool is sustainable.  But let’s get one thing out of the way, right away, ok? Telling people wool is green by building a PR campaign around burying it and celebrating its biodegradability is like telling people that beef is green by burying it and celebrating its biodegradability.

Let’s put on our greewashing goggles and take a closer look at this. The glaring problem is that it’s not the sheep’s hair per se that’s the environmental and ethical disaster. Instead, it’s the inextricable raising-of-the-livestock part. But take those goggles off and just shhhh because the wool industry doesn’t want to talk about that.

A campaign like this is so dangerous because it perpetuates a few myths that are sacred to the bottom-lines of the sheep and other livestock industries. Here are the top three myths:

MYTH #1: IT’S JUST HAIR.
Sheep don’t just spring-up from the ether with a thick coat of wool to shear off. They must be bred. Raised. Reared. Fed. Watered. Grazed or confined. Modified. Tracked. Measured. Processed. Shipped. Slaughtered.  The amount of resources it takes to produce livestock isn’t something to brush off. In fact, livestock are the single greatest cause of the worst environmental problems. Worse than the transportation sector. With around 1 billion sheep worldwide, consider the mind-boggling impacts on land, water, air and energy. The United Nation FAO certainly does.

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MYTH #2: WOOL IS NATURAL AND BETTER THAN SYNTHETICS.
Don’t bet the farm on it. The thing about synthetics is that they are always becoming more efficient, more refined, and more scalable. For example, the company that makes lycra has developed a method of using fermented vegetation to produce one of the main ingredients. Researches in Japan have developed a bio-based polyester made from waste molasses. We have only scratched the surface of the potential of bioplastics.  Scalability is the issue when it comes to mass-production of textiles. Any time animals are put into a production model and scaled-up to meet massive demands, it is practically a law of business that corners are cut. The mantra of maximum profit at minimal cost has dire ramifications on both people and animals. The veterinary, social and psychological needs of animals continue to both humble us and evade inclusion in our business models that prefer to cast them a “units of production”. In addition, a lot of sheep are put in “sheep dip“, a bath of toxic chemicals (organophosphate pesticides (OPs)) to prevent infestations – and people are getting sick from it.

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MYTH #2: THE WOOL INDUSTRY IS NOT A BUCOLIC FANTASY
Picture a wide open space. Lush and green. A few sheep speckle the landscape beyond a farmhouse – mother sheep with lambs, a few sheep lazing in the grass. A concerned shepherd watches on. Images like these are used all the time to represent the wool industry. But like all animal agriculture, modern techniques and increasing demands have changed our naive ideas about where wool comes from and also about how sheep “retire“. Instead picture this: sheep farms that are millions of acres large in China India and Australia. Mulesing, where strips of flesh are cut away from the behind of sheep without anesthesia. Castration. Live export on huge ships (see image below) with no food or water or veterinary care to the Middle East once the sheep is “spent”. Upon arrival they have their throats slit while still conscious (according to Halal and/or Kosher law). And the most depraved practice? Astrakhan (also know as Karakul) where either the fetus is cut out of the mother, or young infant sheep are skinned for one of the most desired luxury textiles in the world.

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