Vegan revolution | Daily News


Vegan revolution

The total number of vegans, vegetarians, and related categories was estimated to be about 8 per cent of the world population in 2018. The number of U.S. consumers identifying as vegan grew from 1 -6 percent between 2014 and 2017, a 600 percent increase, according to GlobalData. Over the next ten years, at least 1 in 10 people will become vegan.

Their main concern is the avoidance of animal-derived products such as meat, eggs and dairy products from their diet. With Veganism on the rise, Green Thumbs speaks to Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Department of Dravyaguna Vignana, Senior Lecturer, Dr. S.D. Hapuarachchi on how you can go Vegan in your home garden!

Dietary vegans refrain from consuming meat, eggs, dairy products, and any other animal-derived substances. An ethical vegan is someone who not only follows a vegan diet but opposes the use of animals for any purpose. Another term is ‘environmental veganism’, which refers to the avoidance of animal products on the premise that the industrial farming of animals is environmentally damaging and un-sustainable.

“My colleagues will concur with me when I state that Vegans have a lower body mass index which means better cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. As specialists in our field, it is common knowledge to us all, that you can get all the nutrients you need from a healthy balanced vegan diet which include fruits, vegetables, pulses, grains, nuts, and seeds. Several studies have reported that people who eat vegan tend to consume more fiber, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and E,” pointed out Hapuarachchi.

She added that the vegan diet is an eating plan that eliminates all animal products, including meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and honey. People decide to adopt veganism for different reasons, such as ethical concerns or religious principles.

“In previous Green Thumbs articles’ we focused on some of the following fruits and vegetables in great detail. You will find that growing these Fruits and Vegetables in your home garden is excellent for the Vegan Diet. Those who may not be able to grow some of these fruits and vegetables in their home garden due to various reasons can buy them at the supermarket. Vegetables such as asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, kale, onions, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes and zucchini are ideal for the Vegan Diet. Fruits such as apples, bananas, blueberries, grapes, grapefruit, lemons, limes, kiwis, oranges, peaches, pears, pomegranates and strawberries are ideal for the Vegan Diet,” explained Hapuarachchi.

However Hapuarachchi had a word of caution stating that one common concern is whether a vegan diet provides enough vitamin B12. B12 helps prevent nerve damage, and is found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy, but not in fruit or vegetables. It is recommended that adults consume 1.5 micrograms of the vitamin per day. A B12 deficiency can lead to neurological symptoms such as numbness, and it is irreversible if the deficiency is present for too long.

“When not properly planned, vegan diets can increase your risk of several nutritional deficiencies. Following a balanced diet and taking certain supplements can help ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs. According to the Ayurveda philosophy, Ahara (diet), viharana (life style) and aushadha (medicine) are customized in each individual/person depending on their prakruthi (temperament) or polygenic inheritance. Therefore, every type of food/life style/medicine is not common for everybody. Each person individually/ personally should plan his diet according to (Ahara (diet), viharana (life style) and aushadha (medicine). It is very specific to each person -Personalized/customized,” added Hapuarachchi.

Hapuarachchi explains that Vegan diets may be associated with an increased risk of several nutritional deficiencies. This is because meat, fish, and poultry are rich in several important nutrients that are mostly lacking in plant-based foods, including protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids. Animal products like eggs and dairy are also high in protein and micronutrients like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iodine, iron, and magnesium. Completely cutting these foods out of your diet can increase your risk of nutritional deficiencies.

“In particular, vegans may be at a higher risk of deficiency for vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iodine, iron, and protein. This can lead to an increased risk of issues like anemia, weakened bones, and impaired immunity. Including a variety of nutrient-rich ingredients and fortified foods in your diet is necessary to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs. Vitamin B12 and vitamin D can be found in fortified foods, such as plant-based milks, cereals, and nutritional yeast. Meanwhile, protein, zinc, and iron are found in legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds. Including moderate amounts of iodized salt in your diet can also help you meet your needs for iodine. It can be challenging to meet your nutritional needs while following a vegan diet. Taking multivitamin or other supplements can help fill in any nutritional gaps and provide key micronutrients that you may be missing. For best results, look for a multivitamin that contains vitamin B12, zinc, iron, vitamin D, and calcium,” explained Hapuarachchi.



Here is a sample one-week meal plan that features a few of the nutritious foods that can be enjoyed on a vegan diet.


* Breakfast: tempeh bacon with sautéed mushrooms, avocado, and wilted arugula

* Lunch: whole-grain pasta with lentil “meatballs” and a side salad

* Dinner: cauliflower and chickpea tacos with guacamole and pico de gallo

* Snacks: air-popped popcorn, kale chips, and trail mix


* Breakfast: coconut yogurt with berries, walnuts, and chia seeds

* Lunch: baked tofu with sautéed red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and herbed couscous

* Dinner: mushroom lentil loaf with garlic cauliflower and Italian green beans

* Snacks: bell peppers with guacamole, fruit leather, and seaweed crisps


* Breakfast: sweet potato toast topped with peanut butter and banana

* Lunch: tempeh taco salad with quinoa, avocados, tomatoes, onions, beans, and cilantro

* Dinner: oat risotto with Swiss chard, mushrooms, and butternut squash

* Snacks: mixed berries, vegan protein shake, and walnuts


* Breakfast: eggless quiche with silken tofu, broccoli, tomatoes, and spinach

* Lunch: chickpea and spinach curry with brown rice

* Dinner: Mediterranean lentil salad with cucumbers, olives, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, kale, and parsley

* Snacks: roasted edamame, sliced pear, and energy balls made from oats, chia seeds, nut butter, and dried fruit


* Breakfast: overnight oats with apple slices, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, and nut butter

* Lunch: black bean veggie burger with steamed broccoli and sweet potato wedges

* Dinner: mac and “cheese” with nutritional yeast and collard greens

* Snacks: pistachios, homemade granola, and coconut chia pudding


* Breakfast: breakfast skillet with tempeh, broccoli, kale, tomatoes, and zucchini

* Lunch: garlic-ginger tofu with stir-fried veggies and quinoa

* Dinner: bean salad with black-eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, bell peppers, and onions

* Snacks: roasted pumpkin seeds, frozen grapes, and celery with almond butter


* Breakfast: whole-grain toast with avocado and nutritional yeast alongside a vegan protein shake

* Lunch: lentil chili with grilled asparagus and baked potato

* Dinner: vegetable paella with brown rice, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, artichoke, and chickpeas

* Snacks: almonds, fruit salad, and carrots with hummus


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