If you’ve ever stayed in a hospital or visited someone in one around mealtime, you might have wondered if the lukewarm processed food was really going to aid in recovery. At Beirut’s Hayek Hospital, the personnel have given the issue serious thought and decided to become the world’s first vegan hospital.

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The switch didn’t happen overnight. For a while, Hayek has given patients a choice between plant- or animal-based meals, along with helpful information about the nutritional benefits of the first versus risks of the latter. But starting March 1, the staff decided to do what’s best for patients — and animals. The hospital announced the change with an Instagram post. “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk, and eggs … the very food[s] that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.”

Related: From raising cows to growing veggies: ranchers go vegan

Hayek is a private, family-owned hospital. Staff members have watched with concern as the World Health Organization classified meat as a carcinogen akin to tobacco. “So, serving meat in a hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital,” the hospital said in a statement. Furthermore, staff pointed out that “three out of four emerging infectious diseases come from animals.”

Beirut has a fairly high vegan awareness, with at least six vegan restaurants, according to the Vegan Maps website. Lebanese cuisine has quite a few vegan staples, including pita, hummus, falafel and fava beans. A good meal like this could make a hospital stay easier to endure, and possibly make the road back to health quicker.

“When adopting a plant based exclusive diet has been scientifically proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions,” the hospital posted.

Via VegNews, PlantBased News

Lead image via iStock