A new program, called the Food Forward culinary experience, is helping soldiers incorporate more vegan food into their diets in a bid to improve health.
Chef Wanda White visits more than 100 locations each year to educate people on the importance of healthy eating. Her most recent endeavour saw her partnering with animal rights non-profit the Humane Society of the United States and the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team (2ABCT) at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Chef White, along with the Food Service Specialists of 2ABCT, crafted entirely plant-based breakfasts and lunches for soldiers. Dishes like pancakes were on the menu, with the chefs swapping out chicken eggs for applesauce in the recipe. According to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS), that provides news about American military personnel, the vegan meals were “gobbled down” by soldiers.
Maintaining good health is especially important for those in the military, who are required to navigate harsh environments and challenging mental situations. And with a growing bank of evidence connecting plant-based foods with optimal health — and linking animal products to various diseases — individuals are increasingly turning to veganism to stay on top of their game. And it’s not just physical health that can benefit from plant nutrition; recent research uncovered the positive effect of a plant-based diet on mental wellbeing.
“My goal is to persuade more people into consuming lower cholesterol items, which will result in a higher performance in their daily activities,” said Chef White to DVIDS. Plant-based foods, by default, contain no cholesterol.
Chef White hopes to continue to motivate those in the military to eat more plant-based foods by focusing on the experience of eating it, not necessarily the nutritional value. “I plan to get more Soldiers eating healthier by leaving the recipes anonymous. Doing so allows the consumer to judge more effectively without knowing what’s actually in it,” she explained.
Veganism within the military is seeing growing popularity. In Finland, army canteens are serving soldiers plant-based Quorn meat in a bid to improve health and benefit the environment. And Israel’s army, the Israel Defense Force, has seen the number of vegans within its troops increase 20-fold in just three years – a 1900 percent growth.
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