California Law Requires Hospitals and Prisons to Offer Vegan Meals
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Kat has been writing about veganism, environment, and sustainability for five years. Their interests include over-analyzing the various socioeconomic forms of oppression, how that overlaps with veganism, and how the media in all of its forms reflects the current culture.

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 1138, a landmark bill that requires California hospitals to offer at least one healthy vegan option to patients at every meal.

According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a nonprofit organization that promotes a vegan diet for optimal health, the bill passed in the California State Assembly on August 29 with a vote of 69-9. The major win follows the State Senate’s unanimous decision to pass the bill in June.

Not only does the bill require licensed health care facilities to provide plant-based meal options to patients, it also requires state prisons to do the same.

“When I go to lunch I can choose food that meets my health, ethical, or diet choices, but people in a hospital bed or prison often can’t,” said Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who authored SB 1138. “My bill makes sure that those who can’t prepare or buy their own meals have access to a plant-based meal.”

Skinner penned SB 1138 following a June 2017 resolution passed by the American Medical Association (AMA). Called “Healthy Food Options in Hospitals,” it asks that hospitals serve patients, staff, and visitors plant-based meals in order to improve health. The American College of Cardiology made similar recommendations in “Planting a Seed: Heart-Healthy Food Recommendations for Hospitals,” based on evidence that whole, plant-based foods can help prevent chronic heart issues.

“California is leading the nation by acting on the American Medical Association and the American College of Cardiology recommendations for plant-based meals,” said Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition education for PCRM. “Providing plant-based meals won’t just help patients and prisoners fight obesity, diabetes, and heart disease; it could save hospitals and prisons thousands of dollars a year.”

In New York City, vegan Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, along with Dr. Michelle McMacken and other healthcare experts have just launched a pilot program that emphasizes using plant-based food as a form of preventative medicine. The Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program will be evaluated after six months.

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