Recipes With Seitan

barbeque (BBQ) seitan strips
saucy BBQ seitan strips

Barbeque seitan ribs may be one of the best ways to enjoy seitan. Seitan has a stringy, chewy texture that is often compared to that meat. Seitan is thus an ideal substitute for meat in a variety of dishes. The benefit is that seitan can be eaten guilt-free – as it is made exclusively from pure wheat gluten and therefore is not as resource intensive as animal-derived foods. If you want to make some seitan barbeque ribs, feel free to try out our version of it below, starting with the ingredients listed below.

The Ingredients:

1 cup vital wheat gluten

1 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoon garlic powder

½ cup soy sauce 

1 cup of herbal broth (herbs of your choosing; we used 1 part pesto, 1 parts basil, add water)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves of minced garlic

2 teaspoon salt-free seasoning

barbeque sauce of your choosing (we used Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce)

How To Make Seitan

First, we need to make our seitan strips! You’ll need to combine the vital wheat gluten flour, nutritional yeast, ground ginger, and garlic powder, then add them to a bowl of your choosing. Then start adding water to the bowl of ingredients and stir the combination. Very quickly, you’ll notice that the ingredients are taking on a thick, doughy form. At this point, you want to put your mixing tool away and use your hands to continue to mix the doughy clump. If necessary, add a little water at a time until your doughy form has a bread-like consistency. In a separate bowl, you’ll want to mix your soy sauce and homemade herbal broth.

Knead your seitan dough repeatedly for about 10 minutes. Although this will seem like forever, it’s important to iron out any inconsistencies in the dough. Take a 5-minute break and then knead your gluten seitan dough for 10 more minutes (last time, we promise). and then knead a few more times. Once you’re happy with the dough’s texture and consistency, you’ll separate the dough into 1-inch thick “cutlets”. Each morsel will expand once its cooked, so make sure to stretch them out at this point. To do this, you will gently tug at each cutlet from its ends, stretching it thin. You will want to stretch your seitan thin so that once it expands, it will not be too thick to chew. At this point, you can put your herbal broth and soy sauce mixture to a small pan, and let the mixture simmer over a low flame.

Make sure that your herbal broth is not preheated. You want the picture to be at least room temperature so that your gluten cutlets stay intact and firm. Place your cutlets into the herbal broth, partially cover the top of the pot, and cook on high heat. At this point, you can simply let your cutlets cook, flipping them at least once every 8 minutes or so. Your cutlets will begin to absorb the broth and harden. Now that you can add the tomato sauce to ensure that your cutlets take in more flavor. Once your seitan cutlets are finished cooking, you’ll notice that the center of the strips are firm, as are the ends. Your cutlets are now ready to be introduced to a barbeque sauce of your choosing, and perhaps served as “rib” sandwiches or with grilled vegetables!

Is Seitan Healthy?

Seitan is a vegan type of meat alternative that has a reputation for being a dense source of protein and other nutrients – such as omega-6 fatty acids, iron, phosphorus, and selenium. Since seitan is made from pure wheat-derived gluten, it is packed full of protein. Seitan contains no dairy, which means it is compatible with a low-cholesterol diet plan. Seitan also contains no soy, which means that it is ideal for vegans and vegetarians that have soy sensitivities.

Tell Us What You Think

This recipe was exciting to try out and took 3 tries to perfect! Of course, there is more than one way to do it and we encourage you to add your own original flavors to the meal. If you tried barbeque (BBQ) seitan “ribs” out our way, leave us a comment and tell us what you thought. If you happened to make your own version of this recipe, we would love to give your recipe a try, so please share!

Cowspiracy Facts

fish near water surface
fish near water’s surface

While fisheries generate food and profit, they could do much more harm than good for underwater ecosystems. The film Cowspiracy makes a convincing case for the deleterious effect of large-scale fishing operations on ocean environments, species variety, and abundance. Cowspiracy depicts modern fishing as a largely unsustainable industry that could lead to fishless oceans by 2048.

Fishing As Depicted By Cowspiracy

Fish and other marine life are mostly hunted as food. However, some species are used for other commodities. Sharks, for example, are sometimes hunted for their skin which can be used in the making of leather. Other species like whales and manatees are regularly harmed or killed unintentionally by getting caught in fishing nets. The Cowspiracy Facts page cites a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) document which states that in the year 2017, between 51 – 167 billion farmed fish had been killed for food.

That same year an estimated 250 – 600 billion crustaceans were also farmed and killed for food. Even animals that are not eaten by humans are caught and killed inadvertently because of drift netting or trawling. Susan Hartland of the Conservation Society says that animal populations are being extracted from oceans more quickly than they can recover. Marine species are therefore collapsing under the immense pressures of modern hunting. The unintended catches, sharks, sea turtles, and dolphins are called bykill.

Keystone Species and Trophic Cascades

Apex predators often act as keystone species, meaning that they have disproportionately large effects in their natural environments. This makes the removal of sharks particularly concerning. As top predators, many sharks species exert top down influence in their respective food webs. The removal of sharks, and other keystone species increases trophic cascade risks. Trophic cascades are the ecological chain of events triggered by the removal or addition of top predators.

Agriculture, Fishing and Algae Blooms

“Livestock operations on land have created more than 500 nitrogen flooded dead zones around the world in our oceans…” According to Dr. Richard Oppenlander, an environmental researcher featured in the Cowspiracy film. Water pollution comes in the form of pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, plastics and other waste material. However, animal agriculture is the leading cause of ocean pollution – a fact which is stated explicitly in the Cowspiracy film.

Animal agriculture run-off upsets nutrient balances in aquatic ecosystems by introducing phosphorus, nitrogen, manure and potassium from chemical fertilizers. These excess nutrients can cause alae blooms, leading to uninhabitable zones for marine species. Blooms of algae drain sunlight and deplete oxygen levels – making the environment unsuitable for most other lifeforms in the ecosystem.

Bottom trawling contributes to inhabitable zones similarly. Bottom trawling, also referred to as “dragging” involves casting a fishing net to the sea floor. Trawling disturbs sediments along the sea floor which causes carbon to be released. Once carbon dioxide is released from sediments, it is then absorbed by ocean seawater. Elevated carbon levels allow water to trap in more heat and further facilitate algae and plant overgrowth.


COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference which took place this November 2021, in Glasgow. This conference was supposed to accelerate action towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (limiting global average temperature rise to well below 2℃ by the middle of the 21st century). According to the Paris Climate Agreement, participant nations are also encouraged to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5℃ relative to preindustrial levels by mid-century.

COP26 was to be the latest installment in this ongoing conversation between world leaders, corporations, and intergovernmental committees.

The Glasgow Pact

Toward the end of the 2 weeks United Nations Climate Change conference, a change was made to the wording of the Glasgow Pact. The phasing out of coal was changed to the phasing down of coal. The latter wording can be found in the Glasgow Pact document. Sources reveal that this change was first proposed by representatives from India, and garnered support from China. As coal combusts, several airborne pollutants are released, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, particulates, and ash. Coal burning is a prominent element of climate destabilization, as it contributes to global warming and increasingly acidic oceans. Though COP26 is the first climate agreement to explicitly mention coal, the tentative promise to phase down coal use this century is not assuring.

The Glasgow Pact “emphasizes the need to mobilize climate finance from all sources to reach the level needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, including significantly increasing support for developing country Parties, beyond USD 100 billion per year…”. As for the US$100 billion per year by 2020 pledge, first proposed in 2009, the Glasgow Pact “notes with deep regret that the goal” has not yet been met, but secures no further progress on this front. This is a failure to small island nations and countries with highly vulnerable economies that are already feeling the effects of climate change and are predicted to be disproportionately affected due to less resilient economies.

Protests outside of COP26 erupted before the final event officially concluded. Hundreds of civil society representatives were dissatisfied with the conclusions reached during the climate convention. Even more frustrations have been articulated online.

The 7th subtitle, “Implementation“, makes no explicit commitments

The “implementation” section of the Glasgow pact likewise makes no explicit commitments. Without the implementation of targets, meaningful action can not be achieved. That said, more promises are likewise insufficient answers to immediate to answer immediate concerns for relief and infrastructure investments. COP26 has largely failed small island nations and those with emerging economies in this regard.


home made seitan chunks in bowl

Seitan is a plant protein sourced that is low in calories, low in carbohydrates, low in fat, contains zero cholesterol, and is high in protein – as it is made from wheat gluten. Wheat gluten is a mixture of two main proteins with differing solubility: gliadins and glutenins protein fractions.

Beyond its relatively high protein content, seitan can be the dietary source for other nutrients, including iron, selenium, phosphorus, and calcium. Seitan is also low in carbohydrates and fats, which makes it ideal for people who are dieting for weight loss or weight management.

According to Kerith Duncanson, a senior research fellow at the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle, a portion of no bigger than the size of the palm of a person’s hand contains approximately 75 grams of protein. This means that seitan contains about three times as much protein as beef or lamb. Hunter adds that a portion no bigger than the size of the palm of a person’s hand contains 75 grams of protein.

In addition, plant proteins including seitan have not been associated with increased risks of heart disease. which is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC. Seitan and other plant proteins are therefore healthy alternative to animal meats.

Make It Yourself

Although it’s convenient to make seitan at home, many people prefer to buy it pre-made from stores and restaurants to save time. However, store-bought seitan can come with extra sodium, flavoring, preservatives, or oils. The best way to avoid subtracting from the nutritional quality of your seitan is to make it yourself. Making your seitan yourself not only safeguards you against undesirable additives, but it also allows you to better customize the meal to your liking.

To make seitan, one simply needs to knead wheat flour with water until sticky, stretchy strings develop. Once the dough is rinsed, its starch falls away, leaving the gluten protein core, which can then be shaped, seasoned and cooked. Plant-based eaters, vegans and vegetarians commonly use seitan as a substitute for animal meat foods because seitan has a stringy, chewy texture that resembles animal flesh.

People with gluten allergies or celiac disease should not ingest seitan. Celiac disease is an immune condition in which those who have it experience an increase in inflammation as a direct result of gluten consumption. For those who do not have celiac disease, gluten has no demonstrable adverse health effects associated with it.


wild tropical flowers

Rainforest ecosystems are inhabited by more plant and animal species than any other terrestrial ecosystem. As the planet’s oldest living environments, they host rich webs of biodiversity and interacting species which help sustain the ecosystems that embed them. Unfortunately, rainforests are presently threatened by deforestation, over-exploitation, and climate change.

The leading cause of rainforest destruction may be livestock and feed crops. Clearing forests to make way for land pastures and agriculture feed plots is done in Costa Rica, Honduras, and El Salvador to meet the demand for American beef. Cattle ranching is a low cost, low maintenance operation to run in the tropics. Cattle ranching generates profit for land owners, farmers and distributors.

Nonetheless, livestock feeding plots require sections of forests and other vegetation to be cleared first to make space for pastures and animal crops. Clearing vegetation can increases risks to various processes that rainforest vegetation help carry out, including enhanced water absorption into soils, sequestration of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, summoning rainfall, providing nutrients to plant-consuming species and serving as habitats for arboreal species. These are examples of ecosystem services provided to rainforest environments and the species within them. Services like these emerge from the biological, chemical and physical functions in rainforest environments.

The growth of human populations has driven our demand for food and textiles to rise, which has ramped up animal agriculture in tropical forests. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), agriculture approximately 15% of the Amazon forest has been removed due to agricultural practices since 1960s. Of the land being used by humans, 80% of it is dedicated to grazing areas for horses, cattle, sheep, or pigs. Put another way, cattle ranching for agriculture is the central use of land in the Amazon basin, which includes Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guyana, Surinam and French Guyana. These regions are subjected to slash and burn clearing before feeding pastures can be established. Therefore, cattle ranching is the leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon Basin. On top of that, animal agriculture contributes to methane emissions, ocean acidification and worsened air quality. refers to the plant and animal species of the Amazonian rainforests as its “wealth’. The site posits that up to 80% of developed nation’s diets are sourced from tropical rainforests. Our fruits, (avocados, coconuts, figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, pineapples, and tomatoes) vegetables (corn, potatoes and yams) spices, (cayenne, chocolate, cinnamon, ginger, sugar cane, turmeric) have their origins in tropical ecosystems.

Without these contributions, the diets of developed nations would be severely restricted. Equally as important, rainforests like the Amazon help abate flooding by storing tremendous amounts of rainwater in its plants and soils. However, the continued functionality of tropical rainforests depends on how sustainably we use the land. Harvesting from rainforests at rates faster than they are able to naturally replenish themselves may contribute to permanent changes of the ecological structures within rainforests.

The Ocean Twilight Zone

DNA double helix molecule strands
DNA double helix

The twilight zone is a layer of water depth that is penetrated by significantly less light than what can be found closer to the water’s surface. For this reason, the twilight zone is cold and quite dark, making it unsuitable for most photosynthetic plant species. Twilight zones can be found around the world and are not unique to any specific body of water. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the twilight zone can be found at a depth of about 200 meters to 1000 meters (650 to 3,300 feet) beneath the water’s surface. This layer range is below the water’s photic layer- the sunlit area, and just above the midnight range.

While some species spend their lives in undisturbed depth range known as the twilight zone, many animals move in and out of it. Species of fish, squid and plankton likely swim in darkness to find food or to keep away from predators. These traveling organisms can potentially carry environmental DNA signatures with them.

A new study by researchers, Elizabeth Andruszkiewicz Allan, Michelle H. DiBenedetto, Andone C. Lavery, Annette F. Govindarajan , and Weifeng G. Zhang simulates the physical conditions that cause environmental DNA samples to move through the twilight zones.

Their conclusion: environmental conditions like currents, wind, and mixing do not significantly impact the vertical distribution of DNA samples. To be precise, their computer generated model demonstrates that eDNA samples didn’t move beyond a 20 meter range of where it was released into the environment. If this model reflects the actual conditions of marine ecosystems in twilight zones, perhaps changes eDNA concentrations can be used to determine which fish species are present at a sea depth or how long species spend at varying depths. This has groundbreaking implications for tracking marine species travel patterns and migration more generally in aquatic ecosystems.

Vast populations of unexploited fish and unexplored habitats can be found in twilight zones, also known as disphotic zones or mesopelagic zones, which make these aquatic regions extraordinarily interesting to marine researchers. Environmental DNA may prove useful for learning about organisms that live down in ocean twilight zones and how these species travel. Also, using environmental DNA for sampling can protect the ecological processes and species that inhabit these middle ocean zones.

In Conclusion

There is still much to learn about the carbon sequestration potential, ecological processes and biological diversity profiles of middle ocean twilight zones. Ecosystems must be protected during sampling missions and disturbed as little as possible. Sampling techniques like trawling, bait camera trapping and other forms capture carry ethical concerns which could hamper further research efforts.

Twilight zones likely provide ecological services to the network of species that migrate in and out of them, and more permanent inhabitants. In order to preserve full ecological function and avoid disturbing species, researchers will have to prioritize more minimally invasive sampling techniques. Sampling approaches that are minimally invasive to species and ecosystems are more likely to win over public approval.

Why Are Whales Important

whale tail protruding from ocean's surface

A new study published in Nature sheds light on the roles whales play in marine ecosystems. Baleen whales are the largest carnivorous marine mammals, so naturally, they feed on tremendous amounts of krill, zooplankton, and other prey. Krill is turned over in the stomachs of whales (Mysticeti). Once krill have been digested, their iron contents are released back out into ocean ecosystems, where it floats toward the water’s surface due to water pressure. Iron-rich excrement yields nutrients for phytoplankton, which are microscopic plants that use photosynthesis to make energy.

Phytoplankton are then consumed by other creatures in the environment, including krill! Krill feed on the phytoplankton that grow using the nutrients from recycled metabolized – recycled – krill. In other words, baleen whales populations perpetuate nutrient cycling. At one level, krill are consumed by whales. Subsequently, whale waste supplements phytoplankton growth, which helps sustains krill populations.

By comparing the prey consumption more than 300 tracked whales in this new study to per-capita consumption estimates from the early 20th century, researchers were able to reason that southern krill populations has to be considerably higher than they are today. Whales were found to eat up to three times more krill and other prey than previous assessments have supposed.

Research Method and Design

Researchers used metabolic models to estimate whale feeding volumes. Whale tagging and acoustic acoustic measurements were used to calculate whale prey densities in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern Oceans. Their results suggest that previous assessments greatly underestimated baleen whale prey consumption. Further, researchers reason that larger whale populations would add to the “productivity” of marine ecosystems by perpetuating iron recycling. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Researchers were able to determine how much whales eat by tagging individual whales by attaching electronic devices on their backs. These electronic devices carry cameras, microphones and of course, GPS locators. These electronic tags, in conjunction with acoustic measurements of prey biomass, informed researchers on whale eating cycles and intake volume. Of course, prey intake varies between different species of whale.

The Krill Paradox

The famous krill paradox refers to the mystery in marine ecosystems regarding the removal of large predators, like whales. When whales are hunted, and their populations consequently decrease, so do the population sizes of krill. This perplexes researchers because they intuitively expect krill populations to grow wildly in the absence of whales which eats thousands of tons of krill daily. Instead, the opposite is true: as whales are removed from the ecological system, krill populations shrink. The new study illuminates exactly why this phenomenon occurs. Krill depend on whales to produce nutrients for the microscopic plants that they eat. Declines in whale species members leads to fewer iron being sent toward the water’s surface in the form of whale excrement. Which ultimately contributes to less plentiful meals available for krill populations.

In Conclusion

The conclusions of this study may have potential for marine ecosystem restoration efforts. Species like whales are evidently essential for the continued functionality of marine ecosystems, and should therefore be protected.

Ecosystem Services

managed garden ecosystem

Ecosystems are natural capital, the biotic and abiotic benefits that people obtain from their environment, animals, plants, soils, and micro-bacteria.

Micro-bacteria in marine ecosystems, for example, produces breathable oxygen. Plants and soils help regulate climate by capturing carbon dioxide in the air and storing it underground. Wetlands reduce flooding risks in coastal territories. Medicines are extracted from plants like sage, ginger, turmeric, and aloe vera. Animals are hunted for food.

The 2006 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) outlined four distinct categories of ecosystem services to help map the different kinds of benefits provided to human populations. The categories can help us identify what advantages are gained by people and suggest the value of the service. Though it can be difficult to put a price on nature’s contributions, estimates are somewhat determined by the service’s utility, either for humanity, other species, or the ecosystem itself. Categorizing ecosystem services can inform policy and be implemented in conservation research.

Four Types of Ecosystem Services

There are four main types of ecosystem services: provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural. Each one of these classifications describes unique outputs made possible by ecological systems. A single ecosystem may produce multiple types of services at once.

Provisioning Services

Provisioning ecosystem services are the substantive, or material benefits from an ecosystem. This type of service includes raw materials like wood, fresh water, metals, and medicinal herbs. Foods too are provisioning services that are grown on farms, synthesized from natural ingredients, or extracted from animals.

Regulating Services

Regulating ecosystem services are sometimes called managing services. These services govern the cycles within an ecosystem. Regulating services play essential roles in managing the water cycle, the carbon cycle, soil quality, crop pollination, and water purification. Regulating services are those that moderate climate and the intensity and frequency of weather events.

Supporting Services

The natural processes within ecosystems are part of the ecosystem’s own continued survival and maturity. As ecosystems mature, they can grow more complex, support greater profiles of species richness and allow novel interactions between organisms to develop. Supporting services refer to an ecosystem’s capacity to keep itself functioning over time.

Cultural Services

Cultural services are the nonmaterial contributions that we derive from the natural world. Around the world, people rely on nature for their sense of cultural identity, including art, architecture, and recreation.