Food Equity: Making all feel welcome at the table
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.
Consider plant-based meal options at your next event or gathering - it's the most equitable menu out there!
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 (over 70% of the population), some religious beliefs exclude all pork products, and still more require that any meat ingested be halal 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 some 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 and/or sustainable quotient or your menu, while also cutting back on issues with allergies, and even saving money.
Some feel that if people require 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 religious 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 in the world, and often factory farmed. By making your veggie burger vegan instead of having some cheese or egg in the patty or bun, you offer a truly 'veg' option that all can enjoy.
Consider plant-based meal options at your next event or gathering, and make it truly inclusive - it's the most equitable menu out there!
|Ethnicity / Geographic Region||% with Lactose Intolerance|
1. East Asian
2. Indigenous (North America)
3. Central Asian
4. African American (North America)
5. African (Africa)
6. Indian (Southern India)
7. French (Southern France)
8. Ashkenazi Jew (North America)
9. Balkans Region
10. Latino/Hispanic (North America)
11. Indian (Northern India)
12. Anglo (North America)
13. Italian (Italy)
14. French (Northern France)
15. Finnish (Finland)
16. Austrian (Austria)
17. German (Germany)
18. British (U.K.)
What you can do:
- Remember that a good host doesn't leave it to the guest to mention allergies or restrictions - ask at the time of RSVP.
- Write to your employer, school or organization and ask that they consider plant-based options at their events.
- Contact restaurants ahead of time to ensure you are familiar with the animal-free options and ensure there is something for everyone.
- Label food (or ask that it be labelled) so that people do not need to ask or guess at ingredients. This saves time for guests and servers alike.
- Don't assume that people will speak up about their dietary restrictions, it's a complicated issue and a cause for isolation and even ridicule. By providing well labelled, plant-based options you do a great kindness to those who need it.