A medical center in West Palm Beach, Florida, has become the first medical facility in the state to offer patients plant-based menu options. The Good Samaritan Medical Center hopes to become a national leader and inspire other medical establishments to follow their lead by introducing a plant-based menu.

“We respect the dietary needs of our community and we are delighted to be offering a menu option to cater to our vegan and vegetarian patients,” Tara McCoy, chief executive officer of the center, said to WPTV. “Plant-based diets can increase levels of short-chain fatty acids in the gut, and research suggests that may lower the risk of heart disease, inflammatory diseases and Type 2 diabetes.”

One of the doctors working at the center is confident that the decision to introduce more vegan options will have a ripple effect in both Florida and medical centers across the country.

Florida Medical Center Becomes First in the State to Introduce a Plant-Based Menu

I was on rounds one day and a patient of mine had been admitted to the hospital with a heart attack – and he had a stent,” Dr. David Dodson said. “I happened to be rounding at noontime and they were serving him a cheeseburger! And I said, ‘wait a minute, something is wrong here,’’ he added. “I think eventually all hospitals will be doing this but somebody has to start it and I think Good Sam is the leader.”

Dr. Michael Greger is another example of a doctor who is keen for patients to see the benefits of a plant-based diet. He has even boldly claimed that converting to a plant-based way of life is just as good for you as giving up cigarettes. Greger is not alone in his beliefs either. The researcher and author, T. Colin Campbell has said that the link between nutrition and cancer “is not new, just ignored for a very long time, it is well past time that we go back to the basics in understanding this disease, both its causation and its treatment.”

“The consumer becomes the victim,” Campbell has also poignantly written, noting that “this confusion exists both among those who advocate for and those who oppose the promised health benefits of the whole food, plant-based diet.”