Plant-based Diet – Enhance Your Health Using Your Own Garden Vegetables

Translated by Nick R

I know that many people like to eat different animal-based products and, although they may be delicious, sometimes, in excess, they can harm their health. Clearly, the solution isn’t to completely cut out the consumption of these products all at once.

If you’re concerned, you can do so gradually or simply reduce their consumption and choose a diet with more vegetable or plant-based products, such as legumes.

For this reason, in this blog, I’d like to talk about the benefits of following a vegan diet, with your own garden vegetables, and all the preparations you can do. From cold to hot recipes and smoothies. I’m sure you’ll love them all.

Benefits of incorporating a plant-based diet into your menu

There may be many reasons why implementing a plant-based diet is a highly recommended alternative. One of them is taking care of your health as it consists of the intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and other natural foods.

By eating these, you’ll get more vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, proteins, minerals and necessary fats, as they are naturally nutritive. In addition, it’ll improve and reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and your digestive system will function properly.

It can also help you control your weight since when consuming meat and eggs in excess, you also receive very high levels of fat and calories. And if you’re lactose intolerant, your body will thank you for the dietary change. The vitamins and calcium offered by dairy products can be obtained from vegetable products.

Besides, by following this diet you’ll feel more energetic than ever. The reason is that these products are low in fat and high in fiber, which allows adequate oxygenation of muscles.   

There are even more benefits of opting for a vegetable-based diet that I know will catch your attention.

Plant-based diets prevent heart disease

This diet helps you prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and others. In addition, it lowers the risk of contracting some types of cancer, and reduces the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation of the body, and the intake of drugs for these diseases.

Plant-based diets are cheaper

Vegetable products are much cheaper than hamburgers, sodas, french fries and other processed foods. And a great advantage is that you can have free vegetable products just by planting them in your vegetable garden.

You simply have to keep the necessary maintenance of each one to grow the perfect crop. Plus, it also gives your garden an incredible view.

Plant-based diets have a greater environmental impact

You contribute to sustainability and environmental care as high water and energy resources are used to grow cereals for livestock feed. Nevertheless, it would be more profitable to cultivate these cereals for human consumption, as meat production is much lower than the amount of cereal harvested.

For example, 6,000 square meters of land (crops) can produce 170 kilos of meat or 16,800 kilos of vegetable food for human consumption.

In addition, livestock farming contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.

Gardening contributes to food security

By growing vegetables, you help to reduce food insecurity. You lower food demand and allow some people to buy them at lower prices, which they would not afford otherwise.

Besides, if they were in an urban garden where the inhabitants could access them, it would reduce starvation and promote health, security, and food sovereignty.

What crops can you have in your garden to consume in your plant-based diet?

As you already know, there are a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes and dry products that you can buy or, preferably, grow and harvest for your own consumption. Moreover, they can be grown in both warm and cold climates according to the region or zone in which you are. Likewise, care is provided taking into account the above.

For the plant-based diet, you can use all the vegetables you want, but I’ll name some of the most basic ones you can start with.

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Coriander
  • Chard
  • Mushrooms
  • Cabbage
  • Pumpkin
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherries
  • Apples
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapples
  • Grapes
  • Papayas
  • Aromatic plants
  • Seeds

These products have a variety of benefits going from culinary and medicinal purposes to natural pest repellent for other plants. Also, you are free to plant them in pots, directly in the ground, in vertical gardens to optimize space, or on wooden growing tables.

The beauty of planting any type of plant is that you will learn a lot about them, how they develop, how much they can grow, what kind of leaves, flowers, and fruits they give, among other aspects.

What’s even more important is that you’ll know, for sure, what you’re consuming and how the product has been handled. Sometimes, in the fields, plants get contaminated due to poor handling. This can affect your health and that’s what we aim to avoid.

To sow these plants, you can use seeds or cuttings. Normally, by cuttings there is more certainty that the plant will grow again. It can happen that seeds never germinate, although the probabilities are low.

Once the seeds have germinated or the cuttings have grown, the plants should be transplanted to their final location. Unlike other ornamental plants, edible plants don’t require constant transplanting, so you only need to worry about watering, light, pests, fertilizers (if required) and pruning.

This care varies slightly depending on the type of plant. So it’s advisable that you have a broad knowledge of the specimen you’re planting. In our blog, we offer all the information you need to know about the most common edible and ornamental plants.

Preparations based on plants for your diet

Now that you know the benefits of having a vegetable-based diet, I want to help you with a couple of recipes. I can tell that, more than once, you’ve heard about this kind of diet, the benefits and some other details.

However, rarely do they show you recipes that you can prepare with these products. So here I’ll tell you about tasty and healthy recipes, both hot and cold, to finish with smoothies and shakes.

Cold recipes based on plants

Cucumber salad

This recipe can be enjoyed by 2 people, ideal for those hot summer days as it’ll refresh you. The ingredients you need are:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of edulcorant of your choice (this is a sweetener that replaces sugar)
  • 10 oz grape tomato cut in half (this is a small tomato, similar to a cherry tomato, but in the shape of a grape)
  • 3 finely chopped sliced cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill (dill is an aromatic herb)
  • ½ sliced Vidalia onion (this is a type of onion with a milder flavor, in some places it’s considered a sweet onion)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

The preparation is pretty simple. In a small bowl or container whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and edulcorant. Then in a large bowl mix the onion, cucumbers, dill, tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Once the mixture is ready, pour the vinegar over it, oil and sweetener dressing. Stir until all the vegetables are covered in dressing and let it stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

After this time, you can serve your cucumber salad.

Kale Salad

This is a delicious recipe for 2 people. The ingredients you need are:

  • 2 diced avocados
  • 1 bunch of chopped kale
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

The preparation of this recipe is quick. First, you must put the chopped kale in a large bowl. Then in a smaller one, add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and mix well.

Once you have the dressing ready, pour it over the cabbage, and with your clean hands rub the kale until it’s soaked in the dressing; this is done to soften the cabbage fibers. Then add the avocado and sunflower seeds, mix well and serve.

Warm recipes based on plants

Bean soup

This is a recipe for 4 people and all will get a lot of fiber. The ingredients you need are:

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chopped celery stalk
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 15 oz black beans (canned and drained)
  • 15 oz white beans (canned and drained)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage

The preparation goes as follows. In a large pot, stir-fry the onion, garlic, celery and thyme in the olive oil at medium heat for 10 minutes. After this time, add the black beans and cumin and let it cook for 1 minute.

Then pour in the white beans and sage until it boils a little. Let it slowly simmer for 30 minutes and serve.

Carrot soup

This is a quick recipe for 4 people. The ingredients you need are:

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 pounds chopped carrots

The preparation goes as follows. In a large pot, cook the onion with the oil at medium heat for 5 minutes. Then add the curry powder and cook it for 1 minute. After this time, you can add the carrots and stir them well to mix with the onion and curry.

Then add the broth and let it simmer for 20 minutes without covering it, don’t let it boil. After it’s cooked, pour the mixture into the blender and blend it until it feels homogeneous.

Put it back in the pot after blending. You can dilute it with some water if it’s too thick. Finally, serve the soup.

Herbal Smoothies

Good morning juice

This is a smoothie that you can drink as a substitute for your morning coffee. it’ll keep you active and, as you drink it more times in the day, it reduces the urge to eat unhealthy products between meals. You can drink 1 liter or more.

Ingredients:

  • 1 green or red apple
  • ½ cucumber
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 5 parsley or cilantro sprigs
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 small piece of ginger root (it can be the size of your thumbnail)

Preparation:

Wash the vegetables thoroughly and let them drain a little, then you can dry them with kitchen paper. If you wish, you can peel the apple and cucumber; otherwise, it’s not necessary.

Dice them in pieces so that they don’t get stuck in the blender. Then add the ingredients little by little and some water until you get the juice. Serve and consume immediately.

Beet smoothie

This smoothie will help you due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Moreover, beet stimulates the gallbladder and liver function while helping to cleanse these organs.  

Ingredients:

  • 8 beet leaves with stem
  • 1 bunch of black grapes
  • 1 mango
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 splash of lemon juice

Preparation:

Wash the beet leaves and stem, dry them and then chop them. Wash the grapes as well and remove the bunch, then peel the mango and cut it into small pieces. Wash the avocado, cut it in half, and without peeling it, cut it into pieces and remove the core.   

Finally, add everything to the blender and add the lemon juice and 500 ml of water. Blend until it becomes foamy, serve and consume.

We've reached the end of this blog, although you can continue preparing delicious recipes with all the vegetables and fruits growing in your garden. Encourage yourself to have a healthier diet, your body will thank you, and you'll love the results. Share with your family and friends all these amazing vegetable recipes. I'm sure they'll like them as they help them improve their health. See you next time.
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