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Polish vegans call for changes in hospital meals

Polish vegans call for changes in hospital meals

Image source: © canva
Maja Kozłowska,
01.02.2024 14:30

Vegans have started an online petition to the Minister of Health, Izabela Leszczyna. They request that hospitals provide plant-based meal options for patients who cannot consume animal products due to dietary restrictions.

Improving the meals served in Polish hospitals has been a long-standing issue yet to be resolved. The last effort to address this issue was in September 2023 when Law and Justice announced the launch of the "Dobry posiłek" (Good Meal) program, which aimed to enhance the quality of meals served in institutions.

Many images of unappetising food served in hospital canteens are being shared online. There are concerns about the taste, portion sizes, and whether the meals are suitable for patients with specific dietary requirements, such as gluten-free or light options. While many public hospitals now offer a vegetarian option, there is little provision for patients following a vegan diet in Poland.

Vegan community urges Ministry of Health for improved dietary options

It's important to acknowledge that public facilities often fail to cater to the needs of individuals with non-standard diets, meaning diets that don't include meat. In some cases, even when vegetarian meals are available, they may not be of high quality. It's essential to emphasise that vegetarian or vegan cuisine is not complex or extravagant. It simply requires a willingness to offer something more delicious and nutritious than rice and frozen vegetables.

Now, vegans wrote a petition to Izabela Leszczyna, the current Health Minister of the Civic Coalition, regarding their dietary requirements.

Not all healthcare facilities offer access to vegan meals, which can harm patients' nutritional and overall health, particularly those with longer hospital stays. This issue is most prevalent in hospitals with their own kitchens and less common in those that use catering services

- wrote the petition's authors.

Why be vegan?

A vegan or vegetarian diet is better for the environment than a meat-based diet. Scientific research has shown that meat-based diets harm the planet up to twice as much. In addition to this, the inhumane treatment of animals is a significant concern. A plant-based diet can also have a positive impact on health. Consuming fewer saturated fats and more vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes can help reduce the risk of certain diseases, as a balanced diet can help maintain low cholesterol.

The provision of plant-based meals can be an effective solution in the fight against chronic diseases. It can also encourage hospitalised patients to adopt healthy eating habits and improve the sustainability of food systems. Therefore, we request the introduction of legislation to ensure that a vegan diet is available in all public hospitals in Poland

- emphasise the authors of the petition.

You can sign the petition addressed to the Minister of Health, Izabela Leszczyna, by visiting zostanwege.pl.

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