New York City Hospitals Serving Vegan Meals By Default

New York City Hospitals Serving Vegan Food

Now by default, all 11 hospitals in New York City (NYC) will provide plant-based meals.

The action followed a partnership between the Mayor’s Office, New York City Health + Hospitals, and nonprofit organization The Better Food Foundation, which focuses on diet change. The charity wants to help healthcare institutions reduce food costs, lower carbon emissions, and improve patient outcomes.

Every year, the hospital serves three million lunch and dinner meals. The hospitals are providing plant-based dishes for each meal, however people who prefer animal options can still have them.

Around 60% of patients have chosen the vegan options, so the program appears to be off to a good start. Additionally, 95% of them claimed they were happy with their decision. Only 1% of the patients declared themselves vegetarians or vegans.

“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,” a spokesperson for The Better Food Foundation said.

“In culturally diverse NYC, centering inclusive food choices on the menu is even more important.”

People of color are “most likely” to be lactose intolerant, acquire diabetes, and have heart disease, the representative continued.  “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,” they added.

Is meat becoming less popular in New York?

Eric Adams was elected as New York City’s 110th mayor in January of this year. He stopped eating meat for health reasons and has called himself an “imperfect vegan” in the past.

Adams is a vocal proponent of plant-based eating as well. He alluded to the possibility of upending the food system in a February interview with the Guardian.

 “We feed 1.1 million New Yorkers every day at school, people in hospitals, correction facilities, senior centers… How about giving them all healthy food?” he said. 

Since he was elected mayor, the city has expanded Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Clinics to public hospitals, implemented “Plant-Powered Fridays” in schools, and added fresh produce to the first municipal emergency food system in the country.

“This transformative program is already changing lives, empowering patients to take control of their own health and further cementing New York City as a leader in preventive medicine,” Adams stated.

Vegan food in hospitals

Healthcare professionals are promoting more plant-based meals at hospitals outside of New York as well.

A group of doctors urged NHS Scotland in an open letter earlier this year to give patients more plant-based cuisine.

The comparison between serving meat and “distributing cigarettes in the pulmonary-care unit” was made in the letter.

“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,” it added.

Price of meat

Meat is a key contributor to a variety of serious human health issues in addition to killing billions of animals annually.

The World Health Organization has categorized processed pig meat as a group one carcinogen, including bacon, ham, and salami.

Heart disease risk is increased by eating red meat. Additionally, dairy consumption has been related to a higher risk of diseases including prostate cancer.

Source: “All New York City Hospitals Now Serve Vegan Food As Default” by Plant Based News

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