American Medical Association urges shift to plant-based hospital food

raw beef
CC BY 2.0 Michael Cannon

As Melissa wrote earlier today, some researchers posit that a wholesale switch from beef to beans could deliver on the US climate commitments with no other changes required. Of course, such a switch feels pretty far off in the land of the hamburger and hotdog, but there's more than just planetary health at stake (steak?):

Care2 reports that the American Medical Association has adopted a resolution calling on hospitals to offer plant-based foods to all patients, and to eliminate processed meats from their menus.

This feels like a significant step in promoting more plant-centric eating. And as someone who has slashed my cholesterol by shifting what I eat—and seen the surprise on my doctor's face at just how well it worked—I can only imagine the impact if hospitals around the country really started taking this seriously. Because the shift would happen in hospitals, too, there's an opportunity to shift mindsets in the medical profession, meaning more medical providers might start prescribing vegetables or other healthy dietary shifts.

Of course, culture and human nature being what it is, I doubt we're going to see an instantaneous shift to organic, raw food veganism at our hospitals. The backlash alone might set the movement back 50 years. But offering alternatives, promoting the benefits, and eliminating the most harmful processed meats would move things forward a long, long way. There are also opportunities to promote a "reducetarian" approach, with dishes like half-beef/half-mushroom burgers wooing the veggie-skeptic.

Remember when hospitals used to permit smoking? We might one day look back on what they served as food and find it equally absurd and outdated.

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