Grow vegan! | Daily News


Grow vegan!

These days many people are going vegan and switching to a plant-based diet— from athletes to celebrities to ordinary people. Today Green Thumbs speaks to the Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Department of Dravyaguna Vignana, Senior Lecturer, Dr. S.D. Hapuarachchi, on where the heart should be – your home garden.

Dr. S.D. Hapuarachchi

“People become vegan for many reasons. Plant-based diets are thought to generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions and use fewer natural resources. However, the environmental impact of any diet depends on multiple factors, including the way that foods are produced, packaged, and transported. Some also decide to follow a vegan diet for health reasons, as veganism is associated with a multitude of benefits, and may even help prevent certain chronic diseases .In particular, vegan diets have been shown to improve heart health, increase weight loss, and support blood sugar control . But many become Vegans out of compassion,” said Hapuarachchi.

Health benefits

There are so many health benefits of veganism, pointed out Hapuarachchi. Research demonstrates that a well-rounded vegan diet may improve several aspects of your health. According to one review, vegans have a 75 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure than omnivores, or those who eat both meat and plants. They also tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) and lower levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. High levels for these markers are all risk factors for heart disease. Vegan diets may also aid in weight management.

“One study in 18 women found that following a vegan diet for six months resulted in decreased calorie and fat intake, as well as faster short-term weight loss, compared to a low-calorie, omnivorous diet. Some research also suggests that veganism may be beneficial for blood sugar control and could help reduce your risk of diabetes. In fact, one study in nearly 61,000 people showed that vegans were 2.6 times less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than omnivores. A vegan diet may also reduce osteoarthritis symptoms, including joint pain and swelling and your risk of certain cancers, such as those of the breast and prostate,” added Hapuarachchi.

Balanced vegan diet

A balanced vegan diet should include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats. Hapuarachchi also added that a healthy vegan diet should contain a variety of whole grains, proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables. Foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, soy products, and nutritional yeast can all help boost your protein intake throughout the day. Meanwhile, avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil are nutritious, vegan-friendly choices for healthy fats.

Hapuarachchi, however, had a word of caution - many processed vegan products found at the store such as vegan meat substitutes are often loaded with sodium, fillers, additives, and other ingredients that may harm your health. Try to stick to mostly whole, unprocessed foods and steer clear of mock meats and other highly processed vegan ingredients and premade meals she stressed.

“For many people, adopting a vegan lifestyle might seem too much of a sacrifice. The products at the supermarket might seem too expensive. People think that the vegan diet might be a poor substitute for meat. What they do not realize is that you can create delicious mouthwatering recipes with Vegan products. You just need to meet the right people and you just need to look in the right places. There must be a lot of information on veganism and the kind of foods you can create on the internet. There are plenty of books at the bookstore. Also growing plants in your home garden means that without going to the supermarket you can get the plant- based ingredients in your home garden. This means that you can save money and you can maintain a home garden that will give you mental satisfaction.

The money you save can be used for other purposes. You can have a very healthy lifestyle without having to spend so much on food. The food you grow in your garden will be free of the chemicals normally used by farmers. You can use your time productively,” explained Hapuarachchi.

What to grow

Of course, you will need the right tools, but that should not be too much of a problem. When doing her research on the topic of growing foods in your home garden, Hapuarachchi came across some information on the internet that has to do with salads - One of the most popular options when growing fruit and vegetables is to grow the contents of a tasty salad. There’s nothing quite like popping out into the garden to pick some fresh lettuce leaves and grab some tasty tomatoes to add to the mix. Grow your own spring onions and radishes, peas, onions, garlic, and tomatoes.



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Sample vegan shopping list to help get you started

Fresh produce

* Vegetables: asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, kale, onions, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, etc.

* Fruits: apples, bananas, blueberries, grapes, grapefruit, lemons, limes, kiwis, oranges, peaches, pears, pomegranates, strawberries, etc.

Frozen produce

* Vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, corn, green beans, peas, vegetable medley, etc.

( Fruits: blackberries, blueberries, cherries, mangoes, pineapples, raspberries, strawberries.

Whole grains

* barley
* brown rice
* buckwheat
* bulgur
* farro
* oats
* quinoa
* sorghum
* teff

Breads and pastas

* brown rice pasta
* Whole-wheat pasta
* sprouted bread, such as Ezekiel bread
* brown rice wraps

Protein sources

* Nuts: almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, etc.

* Seeds: chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.

* Legumes: black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, etc.

* Soy products: tempeh, tofu, etc.

* Protein powders: pea protein powder, brown rice protein, hemp protein, etc.

Dairy alternatives

* Milk substitutes: almond, cashew, coconut, flax, oat, rice, and soy milks, etc.

* Yogurt substitutes: almond, cashew, coconut, flax, and soy yogurts, etc.

* Vegan cheese: vegan parmesan cheese, shredded and sliced varieties, etc.

Egg alternatives

* aquafaba
* arrowroot powder
* chia seeds
* cornstarch
* flax meal
* prepackaged vegan egg substitute
* silken tofu

Healthy fats

* avocados
* avocado oil
* coconut oil
* flax oil
* olive oil
* unsweetened coconut
* tahini

Snack foods

* edamame
* dark chocolate
* dried fruit
* fruit leather
* hummus
* nut butter
* pita chips
* popcorn
* roasted chickpeas
* seaweed crisps
* trail mix


* coconut sugar
* dates
* maple syrup
* molasses
* monk fruit
* stevia

Spices and condiments

* cayenne pepper
* chili powder
* cinnamon
* cumin
* garlic powder
* ground ginger
* nutritional yeast
* paprika
* pepper
* rosemary
* thyme
* turmeric

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