On Monday, the National Institute of Health’s study “Meat Intake and Mortality: A Prospective Study of Over Half a Million People” was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and newspaper headlines across the country warned of the risk of eating red meat on a daily basis.
Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama planted a vegetable garden on the White House lawn with a group of school children and cheered "Let's hear it for vegetables! Yay! Let's hear it for fruits! Yeah!"
Over the weekend, a vegan entry took second place in Philadelphia’s Scrapple Fest.
Clearly eating plant-based foods has hit mainstream acceptance and is wending its way into the halls of governance.
Next stop: the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Not only do our schoolchildren need more fruits and vegetables included in their cafeteria lunches (and for some, breakfasts), they also need to have the option for a non-dairy milk, such as rice, soy or almond.
Currently, virtually all children participating in the NSLP are automatically served cow's milk, despite the fact that as many as eight million school children are lactose intolerant, and countless others avoid cow's milk for health, environmental and ethical reasons. A long-standing federal policy stipulates that schools will only be reimbursed for meals containing a serving of cow's milk. The effect of this stipulation is that in almost all schools participating in the NSLP, healthy, plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk—such as fortified soymilk, rice milk and almond milk—are unavailable to children.
On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will hold a hearing—Beyond Federal School Meal Programs: Reforming Nutrition for Kids in Schools Not surprisingly, a dairy industry representative is on the panel of speakers.
There is no time to waste – please contact your U.S. Senators right away and tell them what you’d like to see on your kid’s plate.