With a nod to Hippocrates😉
Does your doctor’s practice give cookery classes?
What kind of crazy question is this, no doubt you’ll be thinking. But in California where, it’s true, anything can happen and often does, one health center is doing just that. And the cuisine they’re teaching is vegan.
Last week, Danish politicians going vegan for the health of the planet. This week, doctors and nurses promoting vegan for the health of their patients. Because more and more, “research is showing it [a plant-based diet] reduces inflammation and risks of chronic disease and cancer, and helps manage many chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.”
And as they’re not believers in the ‘Do as I tell you, not as I do’ maxim, the medics at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fresno “are helping their patients adopt a whole foods plant-based diet by making the switch along with them.”
No need for them to dive from their familiar omni diet straight into the vegan deep end though. Dietician Judy Meadows’ 21-day plan allows the novices to dip a toe in the water by starting with one plant-based meal a day, and building up from there.
And the in-the-workplace tastings and cookery classes demonstrate how making delicious wholefood plant-based meals really is a piece of (vegan) cake.
Where does jackfruit come into it? The world’s biggest fruit (this guy comes in two sizes – huge and huger) makes a satisfying, protein-rich, low-fat, low-calorie, natural and fabulously tasty meat-substitute. Jackfruit is the star of the Kaiser cooking classes – as it is of many a vegan recipe – and is proving very popular with the Fresno whitecoats.
Alongside the practical (the cookery sessions), Kaiser teaches the theory, in the form of a nutrition class, “Food for Health”.
The proof of the plant-based pudding can already be seen in Kaiser’s fitter, healthier workforce. After staff remove meat and dairy from their diets, Meadows says, “we’re seeing stress reduction, we’re seeing weight loss, we’re seeing fewer sick days, healthier families at home.” Not to mention lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
“First couple of days were a little challenging, but after that, I really embraced it,” Nurse Tammy Barigian, now 14 lbs lighter. “And I found new recipes.”
Did I mention the trove of yummy meat- and dairy-free recipes on Kaiser’s website?
Fresno doctors and nurses are fast transforming into the epitome of plant-fuelled vitality. What better way to show their patients the path to optimum health and wellbeing than by ditching the prescription pad in favour of the shopping list.
As for me, I’ve yet to make the acquaintance of a jackfruit. Definitely one for the bucket list.
Scaling this up several notches:
“The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington has estimated that over half a million deaths worldwide in 2015 were linked to diets high in processed and red meat, which the W.H.O. now classifies as carcinogenic and ‘probably carcinogenic,’ respectively.”¹
Recently, 200 experts in global health, medicine, biology, policy, and climate research signed an open letter urging the World Health Organization (WHO), an international organization concerned with public health, to address factory farming.
Soon, the WHO will meet in Geneva to select a new director general. The 200 experts are urging the candidates for the new director general to do just one simple thing: recognize and address factory farming as a public health challenge.
The letter (which you can read in full here) also includes a series of policy recommendations, such as:
- Ban the use of growth-promoting antibiotics in animal farming and provide incentives to meat producers to dispose of antibiotics and animal waste in ways that prevent environmental contamination.
- Stop subsidizing factory farming.
- Adopt nutrition standards and implement education campaigns that warn of the health risks of meat consumption.
- Finance research into plant-based alternatives to meat.²
For the animals, for the planet, for your own health – Try Vegan
PS A plant-based diet keeps your wallet healthier too! Click here to find out more
Jackfruit may tempt you towards a plant-based diet – abc30 News