by Maxim Thuriere
Benefits of a Plant Based Diet and Exclusive Recipe by Vegan Chef Sherece Cowan
Since turning to a plant based diet several years ago, the most common question I tend to receive is “why?” followed by “but where do you get your protein from?” Today we will take a closer look at the many benefits of a plant based diet, along with a protein powered recipe by Vegan Chef, Sherece Cowan, who walks us through one of her many vegan dishes.
So.. why go plant based?
Health is wealth! I think we can all agree on that. For starters, a diet heavy in fruits, vegetables and grains has been proven to ward off many avoidable chronic illnesses. Diabetes, Hypertension and Heart Disease are all illnesses which are more likely to occur in diets heavy in saturated fats which are found in animal products, such as meats and dairy. A plant based diet can also increase vision value, skin clarity, and contribute to desired weight loss.
There are also several environmental benefits of switching to a plant based diet. Animal agriculture alone is the leading cause of water pollution from fertilizer and other toxic farm run off. Putting less of a demand on animal products can lower this runoff and the Carbon Footprint needed to raise livestock. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that livestock production is responsible for over 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Not to mention, one third of the world’s farmable land is used for animal agriculture, ie. food for livestock. This food for livestock, like all other plants, requires an enormous amount of water. So much so, the Water Footprint Network states it takes roughly 100 times more water to produce a pound of animal protein than grain protein.
What are the best sources of plant protein?
The difference between animal protein and plant protein are the types of amino acids present in each one. Amino acids are used in almost every metabolic process in your body so it is important to get enough from your diet each day. While animal proteins tend to contain a good balance of all the amino acids that we need, some plant proteins are low in certain amino acids. That’s why it is important to have a diverse diet containing different types of plant based proteins; veggies, beans, lentils, quinoa, greens, tofu, soy milk, and almond butter are all plant based foods rich in protein.
We had the opportunity to sit down with renowned eco cuisine chef Sherece Cowan of Sippin-Live (a Gourmet Vegan Food Service based in Kingston, Jamaica) as she walked us through a recipe of her Vegan Spicy Nori Roll (pictured below, photos by @nickiikane)
Spicy Nori Roll - photos by @nickiikane
Spicy Nori Roll - by Sherece Cowan of @sippinlive
Maki-Style Nori Rolls are super easy to assemble and are great with a variety of simple at home veggies. Here we have a Spicy Nori Roll stuffed with Sunflower Seed Pate and Seasonal Vegetables.
To make this dish I placed a Nori Sheet on a bamboo mat(sold at your local Asian supermarket).
Next.... to make sure everything is extra secure, I used a giant Romaine lettuce leaf as a bed for all ingredients. To replace the usual fish/shellfish, I added a sunflower seed pate (blend of soaked sunflower seeds, citrus, choice of herbs and kelp powder to give that additional seafood flavour. (TOTALLY OPTIONAL)
I then topped the pate with other veggies such as tri-colour bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, avocado and sprouts. Laslty, roll it up:)
This dish is Perfect with gluten-free Tamari or Nama Shoyu, Pickled Ginger, wasabi and Sippin' Live's Vegan Smoked Cream Cheese. This can also be great with Hummus and dont shy away from fruits!! Be creative and toss in mangoes, pineapples or your favorite fermented veggies!
Nori is super nutrient packed and perfect for vegans or those transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle.
-Rich in protein
-Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (lowering cholesterol) making it excellent for supporting cardiovascular health.
-Dietary Fibre, comprised of nearly 33% DV.
-High Vitamin C
-High in Iron - 100 grams contain 88% DV
-High Calcium content improving bone health.
This dish also provides us with Vitamin A, E and K, impressive levels of B Vitamins, potassium, phosphorus and Zinc.