Guest Article by Michelle D’Arcy Jewell

Grow it Yourself

Now that the weather is getting much warmer, many people like to spend more time in the garden. Although growing flowering plants makes your garden look beautiful, you should always consider finding some space to grow some vegetables too. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t think you are good at gardening, as some crops more or less grow themselves. The easiest we find are potatoes, you can put them in a pot or the ground and they more of less grow themselves. Pea shoots are also really easy, all you need is a small container (we tend to use old margarine tubs) with a small amount of soil and plant your peas. You can grown them outdoors or on the windowsill. Simply water occasionally and you can eat some really nutritious food with the satisfaction of knowing you have grown it yourself.

If you don’t have a garden you might find that there is a community garden near you such as the one in Leegomery near the community centre (photo below right). It is a great way of meeting new people and helping to grow things together and also a good place to start a conversation about being kinder to nature and choosing a vegan way of life.

Tip: For gardening advice for your May garden head over to our latest guest article: May in the Homegrown Garden.

All you eat is grass

Vegans have a reputation for only eating leaves and grass. A lot of people might think that a salad is a really boring lunch only associating it with traditional lettuce, tomato and cucumber. However, a salad is a great way of eating lots of vitamins and can include loads of interesting ingredients ranging from fruit and vegetables to nuts, seeds, and beans. You can serve your salad with a great dip like this home made salsa.

Salsa Ingredients:

  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 4 spring onions
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh chilli (to taste)

Method:

Simply finely chop the pepper, tomatoes, garlic and spring onions and mix in a bowl. Add a small amount of salt and fresh chilli. I tend to use half a fresh chilli to this recipe but it depends on the strength and how spicy you like your salsa.

Vitamins and minerals

If you eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and good sources of protein such as soya, nuts, seeds and pulses, you shouldn’t have any difficulty getting all the vitamins you need. However, there are a few you might want to make sure that you have sources of because they can be harder to come by.

B12 – this is found is soil, and because soil tends to be lacking in nutrients because of farming methods it can be hard to get. Products such as soya milk can be supplemented with it, but if you don’t drink it then you can also find it in yeast extract and nutritional yeast.

Soya milk can provide a useful source of B12 as well as protein

Iron – people tend to associate iron with eating lots of read meat, but in fact you can get plenty of iron by eating lots of green leafy vegetables. You can also get it from beans and dried fruit.

Omega 3 – the best source of this is algae, which is where the fish get it from. Generally you have to have supplements to get it from this source, but it can also be found in seeds, walnuts and oils.

Calcium – It is a common misconception that without drinking dairy milk you will be lacking in calcium. However, if you are worried a lot of plant milks are supplemented with it, but if you have a good range of vegetables you will get plenty of calcium without having to supplement your diet.

Guest article by Michelle D’Arcy Jewell

Michelle D’Arcy Jewell runs the The Vegan Hub, a vegan shop in The Parade in Shrewsbury selling groceries and gifts. She also runs the Shropshire Veggies and Vegans group.

Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot