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 (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!