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Plant-based meals for everyone! Berkeley-based Senator Nancy Skinner recently introduced SB 1138 in California State Legislature that would require licensed California health-care facilities and state prisons to make plant-based meal options available. The bill is sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and Social Compassion Legislation.

“Everyone in the state of California deserves the same access to nutritious food. By ensuring that our hospitals and our prisons provide a plant-based meal option, SB 1138 will help reduce chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease,” said California Senator Nancy Skinner.

Plant-based meals are not only environmentally friendly but they are also heart healthy. In a paper on vegan and vegetarian diets, co-authored by Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, vegan diets are “healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases,” such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity.

The American Medical Association passed the Healthy Food Options in Hospital’s resolution in June 2017 that urges U.S. hospitals to serve plant-based meals to improve the health of patients, staff, and visitors. “I’m glad to see California protecting the health of patients and prisoners by making plant-based options a priority,” said Susan Levin.

Not only are plant-based meals healthier for people, a switch away from diets heavy with meat and dairy is much-needed for the environment. Factory farming occupies around half of the world’s arable land and uses a majority of our freshwater resources. What’s more, industrialized animal agriculture is one of the major drivers of global climate change. With the world’s population projected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, we simply won’t be able to sustain more people eating a diet high in animal products.

Thanks to efforts by leaders such as Senator Nancy Skinner, we are seeing a shift away from our broken food system to one that is sustainable. Now as California leads the way, let’s get the rest of the U.S. on board!

To learn more about the environmental impact of our food choices and developments in the plant-based food space, check out the #EatForThePlanet book!

 

Image Source: RitaE/Pixabay

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