Along with benefits to our health and the environment, a plant-based meal also facilitates community building, as people from all cultures and beliefs can enjoy a plant-based meal. In a world that grows more diverse by the day, it's important to be sensitive to the beliefs and dietary considerations of others if we are to make all feel welcome.
Sharing a meal is one of the most common ways to celebrate, to welcome, to include. But for some, a shared meal results in tension or doing without.
Many races are genetically more sensitive to dairy products, some religious beliefs exclude all pork products, and still more require that any meat ingested be halaal or kosher. And of course there are a growing number of compassionate people who simply do not want to eat the products of factory farming.
One excellent way to feed everyone, but cut back on complications and expense, is to simply serve dishes that do not include any animal products. There are so many colourful and tasty options available, and they are just as easy to prepare as the standard alternatives. This may also up the 'healthy quotient' or your menu, while also cutting back on issues with allergies.
Some feel that if people need a special meal, they need only to ask and an option will be provided. This method can create isolation, as many people do not want to draw attention to their cultural or religiouos beliefs at every meal, but would rather just be able to take part in the same feast as everyone else, to be part of the group - not singled out. Even when the intention is kind.
And why stop at a vegetarian option when you can offer a completely animal-free meal that contains none of the issues related to eggs and dairy - two of the most common allergens and often factory farmed.
Consider plant-based meal options at your next event or gathering - it's the most equitable menu out there!