The NHS and Veganism15th January 2020
As we head into the new year, and a new decade, this means New Year’s Resolutions and fresh starts. A recent trend, with a long history, which has risen in popularity more and more is Veganuary. In Veganuary people are encouraged to start to substitute their favourite animal-based foods, such as meat, dairy and eggs, with a plant-based diet, and plant-based substitutes for the month of January, with many sticking to a plant-based diet for the rest of the year, and beyond.
A lot of well-known places have started to follow this trend with Greggs introducing the new ‘Steak Bake’ alongside the vegan ‘Sausage Roll’. In most recent news it was revealed that the Golden Globe Awards offered a Plant-Based Menu for their star-studded Winners and Nominees. Similarly, the Unsung Hero Awards have also kept ‘on trend’ by offering a mostly vegan menu at our Awards at the Hilton in 2019 and are doing so again this year.
As far as the NHS is concerned, dietary advice on how to maintain a healthy vegan diet, such as eating five portions of fruit every day and being mindful when choosing dairy alternatives, such as soy or oat milk, has already been publicly mentioned. Research carried out from the University of London, the University of Northampton, and East Sussex NHS Trust has also shown some evidence that a vegan diet could help people better manage Type 2 Diabetes, improve Mental Health and lower weight. However, this was done with only 433 participants, which is a small sample size, as well as the NHS previously stating that as long as what you eat is balanced and you’re still getting the required nutrients, there is nothing that would significantly suggest that a vegan diet is better than an animal-based diet.
Despite this, however, there has still been a growing interest in the NHS getting on-board in serving vegan options in Hospitals. According to a recent article from healthbusinessuk, the latest version of the Eatwell Guide has encouraged an increased consumption of plant-based foods. By making healthy vegan options available to staff, visitors and patients, this aims to help boost intakes of fruit and vegetables more regularly and limit their intake of saturated fat, which could raise patient’s bad cholesterol levels.
Similarly, in light of this new Vegan ‘movement’ over recent years, the Lancashire Telegraph reported that hospitals in East Lancashire launched an “extensive vegan menu” as part of a campaign by The Vegan Society to cater to the growing number of vegans by offering more vegan options in the public sector. It is reported that the menu included quinoa with stir-fried vegetables and vegetable bean burgers.
NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group has also shown their support for Veganuary with a recent Facebook post encouraging people to support the campaign:
It’s clear that the NHS have been making a conscious effort in the recent years alongside the raise in popularity of veganism to accommodate for this demand. As our Awards recognises Unsung Heroes in the Estates and Ancillary departments, it’s so important to recognise these efforts by Hospital Catering staff, as well as all those involved in creating an inclusive patient experience for vegan patients and staff.
If Veganuary is something that has interested you, you can find information and advice in the links below:
The Vegan Society
Are you thinking of bringing a friend, partner or colleague to the awards? We are now doing ‘Buy One Get One Free’ tickets so you can get two tickets for the price of one! Click here to get yours now.
Lily Harrison, Social Media Intern at Unsung Hero Awards