Eat Vegan, Go Healthy!

This article is written by Fifi Leong.

What is vegan diet?

A vegan (plant-based) diet is a blissful diet that provides many natural benefits ranging from slimming effects, anti-aging and cleansing properties to healing potentials – thanks to abundant amounts of phytonutrients loaded in these plants.

While the world generally accepts benefits of plant-based foods, there are still doubts on the nutritional completeness when embarking on a full vegan diet. For instance, many suspect the quality of plant proteins, compare the absorption of iron from plants to blood haemoglobin, and also question if there is sufficient strength to sustain a vegan diet.

With Thermomix®, you can enjoy wholesome home cooked vegan food without stress. This smart kitchen appliance has an online recipe platform called Cookidoo® that comes with more than 74,000 recipes, for easy cooking.

The protein dilemma?

Protein is an important macronutrient that every cell in the body needs. It helps repair and build our body’s tissues, promote muscle strength and functional for enzymes, hormones etc. These raw materials supply good quality proteins with easily digestible amino acids: 

• Millet

• Quinoa

• Buckwheat

• Amaranth seeds

• Legumes (soy, chickpea, black beans etc)

Perhaps, because we live in a culture that champions meat as a symbol of abundance, the humble millet, quinoa, buckwheat and many other seeds and legumes that contain high protein are often under acknowledged. These plant-based proteins, in fact, should be prioritised in our everyday diet; as they are more easily digested and absorbed (after they are soaked and sprouted), causing fewer digestive health issues.

Will Vegan diet cause anaemia?

Any imbalanced diet lacking of iron will cause anaemia. It is truly not a vegan issue. Vegans can never be anaemic, as there are plenty of iron sources around. However, when a vegan is picky about his/her food, there is a higher chance of anaemia, especially in a diet without whole grains, as whole grains (which are rich in Vitamin B) are as critical in blood building as iron. These fermented foods (nutritional yeast, yeast extract, miso, shoyu, vinegar, tempeh and mirin) are high in Vitamin B which will help reduce the chance of anaemia. A few plant foods naturally contain trace amounts of bioactive vitamin B12, including nori seaweed and shiitake mushrooms.

Include these in your daily meals:

• Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale)

• Blackstrap molasses

• Apple juice

• Grapes or raisins

• Prunes

• Strawberries

• Sweet potato

• Dates

For stronger bones – check your Calcium supply

Calcium plays crucial roles in your body. It’s well known for its ability to build and maintain your bones. Yet, this mineral is also important for muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation, nerve transmission, and blood clotting. Grab these as your important calcium source:

• Edamame beans

• Almond

• Brazil nuts

• Orange

• Black beans

• Chickpeas

• Kidney beans

The importance of DHA

DHA is an essential omega-3 fatty acid that’s important for normal brain development and function. It’s mainly found in fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel etc) and fish oil. In your body, DHA can also be made from the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which is found in high amounts in these plants.

• Flax (seeds or oil)

• Chia seeds

• Walnuts

• Seaweed (nori)

• Spirulina

• Chlorella

The Balanced  Vegan diet

Many who cut down on meat and increase the intake of vegetables easily fall into a trap of eating too much salad and fruits. While salad and fruits are critical for a slimmer body or a cleaner digestive tract, they do not provide sustainable energy. Most people focus so much on calorie counting, protein intake, carbohydrate control but hardly pay attention to the ratios of each plant part in a diet, which play pivotal roles in harmonising our body.

Referring to ancient Asian wisdom, in order to balance the Yin and Yang elements of a harmonising vegan diet, one is recommended to observe the following ratios of each food group (by cooked weight):

• 40% whole grains

• 30% vegetables (comprising of all 6 plant parts of roots, stem, leaf, flower, fruit and seed)

• 15% fruits

• 10% legumes

• 5% nuts and seeds

Recipe of Vegan Burger Patty

Vegan Burger Patty

250 g black beans, cooked

200 g chickpeas, cooked

50 g rolled oats

2 tsp tapioca starch

1 tbsp coconut oil, plus extra for grilling

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

½ tsp rock salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp bbq seasoning

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

  1. Place black beans, chickpeas, rolled oats and tapioca starch in mixing bowl, chop 10 sec/speed 7. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula.
  2. Add coconut oil, nutritional yeast, salt, black pepper, bbq seasoning, smoked paprika, garlic powder and onion powder, mix 10 sec/speed 7. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula.
  3. Mix 10 sec/speed 7 again. Divide mixture into 4 portions (approx. 150 g each). Using wet hands, form mixture into disc-shaped (approx. Ø 8 cm) and place in fridge for 1 hour.
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry bean burgers over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side until cooked. Serve hot in a bun of choice. 
  • Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast used as vegan cheese substitute. It is described as having a nutty, cheesy, and savory flavor.
  • Best to serve in brioche buns with vegan mayo, vegan cheese sauce and any vegetables of choice.

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