New York – All 11 hospitals in New York City are now serving plant-based meals by default. What do New Zealand hospitals mostly dish up for meals and do NZ hospitals care?
The move came after diet change-focused non-profit The Better Food Foundation partnered with New York City Health and hospitals and the mayor’s office.
The foundation aims to aid healthcare organisations in improving health outcomes, cutting carbon emissions, and decreasing food costs.
The hospital serves millions of meals for lunch and dinner every year. While meat options will still be available to those who want them, the hospitals are offering plant-based dishes for every meal.
The initiative seems to have got off to a successful start, as around 60 percent of patients have chosen vegan dishes. What’s more, 95 percent of them said they were satisfied with their choice. Only one percent of the patients identified as vegetarian or vegan.
While NYC is beckoning in an exciting future, it’s also returning to its people’s roots. Plant-based eating has been an integral part of food cultures and religions throughout history, The Better Food Foundation says.
People of colour are most likely to be lactose intolerant and develop diabetes and heart disease. Access to healthy plant-based foods through public institutions like hospitals and schools isn’t just a health issue; it’s a social justice issue, it says.
In January of this year, Eric Adams became the 110th mayor of New York City. He gave up eating meat for health reasons and has previously described himself as an imperfect vegan.
Adams is an outspoken advocate for plant-based diets. The city feeds 1.1 million New Yorkers every day at school, people in hospitals, correction facilities and senior centres.
Since he became mayor, the city has brought in plant-powered Fridays in schools, introduced fresh produce into the nation’s only municipal emergency food system, and expanded plant-based lifestyle medicine clinics to public hospitals.
The plant food efforts are already changing lives, empowering patients to take control of their own health and further cementing New York City as a leader in preventive medicine.
Outside of New York, healthcare professionals are also campaigning for more plant-based meals in hospitals. Earlier this year, a group of doctors wrote an open letter to the national health service in Scotland urging them to serve patients more plant-based foods.
The letter compared serving meat to distributing cigarettes in the pulmonary-care unit. Switching to 100 percent vegan menus would help NHS Scotland improve patient recovery, reduce costs, prevent animal suffering, and meet its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions.
As well as resulting in the deaths of billions of animals a year, meat is also a leading cause of a number of major human health concerns. Processed pig meat such as bacon, ham and salami is classified as a group one carcinogen by the World Health Organisation.
Red meat is associated with a higher risk of heart disease. And dairy has been linked to an increased risk of illnesses like prostate cancer.
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