Why are some of the unhealthiest meals being served to the sickest people? A rejected PETA U.K. ad highlighted the hypocrisy of the U.K.’s National Health Service for allowing bacon, sausages, and other meats to be served to hospital patients when it’s been proved that eating animal flesh is more likely to lead to serious health conditions.
The same thing is happening in hospitals across the U.S., where meals laden with animal-derived saturated fats, salt, added sugars, and cholesterol are being served to patients in hospital beds and in cafeterias. In some American hospitals, you can find fast-food restaurants with no healthy vegan options on the menu—for example, a McDonald’s inside Tampa General Hospital and a Chick-fil-A in the Detroit Medical Center.
Vegan food is medicine. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that vegans have a lower risk of death from heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower body mass indexes, and lower rates of cancer, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. So it makes sense that hospitals should serve healthy vegan food if they want to help patients heal.
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Improving health isn’t the only reason patients should go vegan. The lives of animals used for food are cut short and they’re treated like objects in the meat, egg, and dairy industries. When you go vegan, you take a stand against these exploitative industries.
Forward-Thinking Institutions Are Turning the Tide
Some institutions are realizing the importance of feeding patients healthy meals. All 11 New York City hospitals serve vegan meals as the default option in order to encourage people to make healthier choices that also save animals.
Atlantic Health System in New Jersey, the University of Florida’s Shands Hospital, and National Jewish Health/Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver are just a few of the institutions nationwide that offer animal-free meals and encourage patients to ditch meat for their health. Santa Clara Valley Healthcare in California introduced a vegan food program, Universal Meals, which focuses on preventive medicine through food, and it’s even available in hospital cafeterias for employees and visitors.
The Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York helps patients who have been diagnosed with heart or blood vessel disease reduce their cholesterol and blood pressure, lose weight, improve their energy, and even reverse type 2 diabetes. The outpatient program, a whole-foods, plant-based nutrition plan, has had such success that the hospital introduced vegan meals for inpatients and plays the documentary Forks Over Knives in hospital rooms to teach patients about how animal-free eating can help them get and stay healthy.
Don’t gamble with your health—go vegan today, and urge hospitals to do so, too. By making the change, you’ll also be saving the lives of countless chickens, fish, pigs, cows, and other animals who don’t want to die to end up on your plate.