Starch: The Basis Of A Healthy Plant-based (Vegan) Diet

Starchy foods have gotten a bum rap over the past decade, as people have begun to realise the risks which come with mass consumption of simple sugars. Complex carbs also got caught up in the fervour, though, leading many plant eaters to minimise their consumption of starch.

It is important to know how this nutrient plays an important role in a plant-based (vegan) diet. In this article, we’ll explain why having a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast , or a baked potato for dinner won’t sabotage your health.

Why is starch important for plant eaters? 

As good as some plant-based foods are, the lack of satiety (i.e. fullness) they provide can make it hard to adhere to a plant-based (vegan) diet. Thankfully, those which contain starch digest slower in the gut and can delaying the onset of hunger pangs. 

Another weakness of green, leafy vegetables: calories. While plants like spinach and broccoli are incredibly dense in nutrients, they lack the food energy needed to power you through the day. 

Example: a cup of spinach only contains 7 calories. If you solely base your diet around these vegetables, it shouldn’t be surprising why you feel hungry and faint all the time. 

By contrast, one large baked potato contains 163 calories. (It is almost 1 calorie per gram).  In addition potatoes contain dietary fibre, vitamins B3, B5 and B6,  vitamin C, potassium and manganese, and it provides the glucose your brain and body needs to function properly.

Which Plant-based (vegan)-friendly foods contain starch? 

Not all “starch-rich” foods are plant-based (vegan)-friendly – as such, you need to take care when picking foods for your plant-based diet. Whole wheat bread and pasta are foods which often trip up novice vegans – while rich in complex carbohydrates, they are usually made with butter, eggs, and milk.

When shopping for these rich sources of starch, ensure they are certified to be vegan. Ways have been devised over the years to prepare these grain-based goods without needing animal-based products, so be sure to do your homework before driving over to your local supermarket.

There are grains you can eat which don’t come with the risk of animal contamination: brown rice, steel cut oats, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, and barley fit this bill. Beans and lentils also contain copious amounts of starch, and also provide a decent dose of protein as well.

As vegetables go, there are plenty which deliver an abundance of calories. Potatoes, sweet-potatoes, pumpkins, squash, beets, and parsnips contain the energy you’ll need to succeed in your daily life, so be sure to include them on your shopping list.

Be wary of simple sugars 

While there is plenty of plant-based foods, which contain starch, there, are variants of this nutrient, which should be avoided at all costs. Technically, potato chips, candy, and soft drinks are plant-based (vegan)-friendly and all rich in carbohydrates, but they are the last thing you’d ever want to put in your body.

Excess consumption of simple sugars has been positively correlated with health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Minimise your intake of these foods, ensure the majority of your starch intake comes from complex carbs, and you’ll stay healthy well into the future.    In other words, starch in a man made packaging –  avoid, starch in mother-natures packaging enjoy.