FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 30, 2017
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Nonprofit Brings Change to the Table with National Restaurant Campaign
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According to the Center for Disease Control, chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems, and more than half of all American adults have at least one of these conditions. These chronic conditions have been shown to improve and even to be reversible by adoption of a whole, plant-based diet. With 6% of the U.S. population now identifying as vegan (up from 1% in 2014), and 30% leaving meat off their plates altogether and seeking out plant-based alternatives, the announcement today of the PlantPure Communities Restaurant Campaign is not surprising, nor is it surprising that over a dozen restaurants across the country have already signed up to participate.
The goal of the PlantPure Communities (PPC) Restaurant Campaign is for every restaurant across the nation and across the globe to offer on their menu at least one plant-based meal with no oil. The Campaign is part of PPC’s larger initiative to share the health and empowerment message contained in scientific nutrition research, much of which was led by T. Colin Campbell, PhD., as detailed in his book, The China Study. According to Dr. Campbell, “The scientific evidence is now clear and convincing – the standard American diet, which is low in whole plant-based foods and high in animal based foods, added fats and refined carbohydrates (sugar, refined flour) is the single largest contributor to America’s healthcare crisis. As more doctors are now prescribing no meat/no added fat dietary prescriptions for their heart disease and diabetic patients, the PlantPure Communities Restaurant Campaign is aligning with mainstream Americans who wish to adopt healthy eating while dining out.”
The Restaurant Campaign is supported by a virtual Toolkit on PPC’s website which offers resources for restaurant owners and managers, as well as local residents who are inspired by the Campaign to promote change in their neighborhoods by going restaurant-to-restaurant. Nelson Campbell, who is Dr. Campbell’s son, produced the PlantPure Nation film, and founded the nonprofit PlantPure Communities, said, “If we are going to transform the world around this health message, we need to work in a grassroots way, which is what this restaurant campaign is all about.” The Toolkit includes documents tailored to restaurant owners/managers, explaining the difference between vegan and vegetarian options, and tips on how to add healthy, delicious meals to their menu. It also includes a roadmap to help local residents approach restaurants, and strategies to get the word out about new healthy offerings – via HappyCow and other apps. Participation in the Campaign and access to the Toolkit are free.
Restaurants who achieve the meal standard are eligible to receive a Certificate of Participation from PlantPure Communities that they may display on the premises. John Salley, the four-time NBA Champion who flew in from LA to join PPC for the Press Conference said: “As more restaurants begin offering plant-based options with no oil, we will all have a greater chance of improving our health, the health of the planet, and the welfare of animals. I’m so glad to be part of this Campaign with PPC. Growing the access to healthy food is literally changing the game for athletes–with NBA players on the road all the time, increasing the healthy plant-based options means that players will be more likely to find healthy options to support their health and wellness goals!”
Pointing to the National Restaurant Association’s report that “70% of adults say the availability of healthy menu options would make them choose one restaurant over another,” PPC Executive Director Jody Kass, said: “there is strong and growing momentum — now is the right time to launch this national & global change campaign.” “The PlantPure Communities (PPC) Restaurant Campaign is an exciting project,” said, Robert Ostfeld, MD, MSc, and Director of Preventive Cardiology at Montefiore. “As a preventive cardiologist, I witness the profound health benefits of a plant-based diet on a daily basis. This innovative campaign increases dining options for those in the plant-based community, and will hopefully introduce thousands, if not millions, of people to delicious and healthy plant-based meals.”
Already, restaurants in California, New York, Florida and Virginia have made changes to their menu and are participating in the Campaign. To find out more, visit http://plantpurecommunities.org/restaurant-campaign/
WHO: PlantPure Communities (PPC)
WHAT: PPC Restaurant Campaign Launch – In-person Press Conference
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 30 from 2:45pm – 3:45pm EST
WHERE: P.S. Kitchen, 2nd floor, 246 W. 48th St, NYC
The PlantPure Communities Pod Network supports and empowers a grassroots movement of more than 45,000 people in over 460 independent groups (“Pods”) and people working to promote the benefits of a whole food, plant-based lifestyle by sharing nutrition information, offering support and leading project and policy initiatives. As the Restaurant Campaign ramps up in early 2018, the Pods are leading the way, working hand-in-hand with restaurant owners and managers in their neighborhoods to help them grow their business by understanding and capturing the pent-up demand for healthier meals.
In New York, Mitchell Castell, the Group Leader of the Long Island Pod, said “I was privileged to be part of the PlantPure Communities Restaurant Campaign Pilot. The Long Island Pod had several Pod meetings where the Campaign was discussed and it was well received. Many ideas were shared and some of us took the initiative to go out and seek restaurants to qualify for the Restaurant Certificate. With over 150 members in our Pod, we are always looking for places to eat that will accommodate our food choices. Some of us don’t go out too often or skip dining out altogether as we don’t want to always be asking the waiter if they can make this or that. The PPC Restaurant Campaign will help us to have more food choices so we can frequent more restaurants not only ourselves, but with family and friends as well.”
According to Jeanne Schumacher – Starch Queens and Group Leader of the Westchester Pod: “PPC is on a roll! So glad they are helping to get restaurants on board as it is so important to offer healthy choices! The Westchester Pod, with over 1,100 members, is all over this! We just had Eda’s Garden open in Yorktown Heights, NY, which is almost 100% plant based and we are expecting many restaurants in our community to earn their Restaurant Campaign participation certificate. So exciting! Keep up the great job!”
Natasha Spearman-Isip, the Pod leader in Staten Island who has had great success with several Staten Island restaurants, said, “I’m thrilled to take part in the Restaurant Campaign to assist others in my community determined to maintain a healthy, compassionate diet. It’s good for the community and good for business. The best outcome for both parties! It is so nice to be able to order without going through a list of requirements for a healthy meal. I look forward to more restaurants taking this initiative to please a growing customer base.” Speaking as the Pod leader, Natasha said, “Staten Island Sprouts is so happy to be given the opportunity to showcase this community spot for its commitment to community and health.”
Massimo Felici, Executive Chef and Owner of Vinum in Staten Island, which received the first PlantPure Communities Restaurant Certificate, stated “More and more patrons are looking for healthy options. Happy I can be of service.”
According to the owners of the Everything Goes Book Cafe, in Staten Island, which has also earned the Certificate, “We are very happy to be able to offer some truly healthy food choices to people eating out in our neighborhood. We have always had a few vegan items on our menu (that did not have any added oil), but 2 years ago we expanded our menu to include more choices, such as our ITIJI Bowl, which is built around warm brown rice and chopped raw veggies and a tahini lemon dressing. Simple! We are also happy about this initiative!”
“The PlantPure Communities Restaurant Campaign has been a solid initiative with plentiful resources that has helped our group gain momentum in reaching out to local restaurants. Our goal is to create greater access to healthy, WFPB menu items for locals and tourists when dining out in the Vail Valley,” said Katie Costa, Group Leader of the 26 member Vail Valley Plant Based Living Pod, in Edwards, CO.
“This campaign will offer restaurants a greater population of health-conscious eaters. Many of us really want to eat out more,” said Sharme Ridley, aka Atlanta Creole of the Plant-based, Whole food Living Pod in Fayetteville, GA.
“We were pleased to assist in updating the Restaurant Campaign Toolkit and we were fortunate to bring all 6 of Leland Neal’s Taco Rico Tex Mex restaurants on board,” said Chef Estela WindWalker and Jeff ‘VeganMan’ Tucker, Group Leaders of the 5,000 member EarthSave Pod in South Florida
“We have over 620 members in our two groups alone who wish to dine at restaurants which support their health promoting lifestyle. We are delighted to encourage and reward (with this certificate and our patronage) restaurants offering vegan menu items (no animal products) which are not cooked with oil,” said Amy Tasetano, Group Leader of the SW Florida Healthy Eating Pods in Venice and Port Charlotte, Fl.
“More and more Americans are making healthy eating a habit, but they can get sidetracked when dining out. Having a plant-based, oil-free option on the menu will make it much easier for health-conscious people to maintain their momentum every day,” said Victoria Moran, Main Street Vegan author and radio host.
As a member of the PlantPure Communities Advocacy Council, and a founding member of the 550+ member Powered by Plants Pod, in Providence RI, I am delighted to see PPC reach this important milestone today. This grassroots/Pod-led effort to create change in local restaurants is what, ultimately, will result in real change,” said Kimberly Anderson.
Darlene Yanakos, member of the PPC Advocacy Council said, “The PPC Restaurant Campaign is an important milestone in PPC’s grassroots advocacy. It will give advocates, servers and restaurant owners the tools to make whole food, plant based healthy choices a reality for everyone.”
Kyle Ash, Director of Government Affairs at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, said “It is such an honor to serve on the Advocacy Council for PlantPure Communities. I’m excited to see this innovative network of advocates focused on increasing plant-based options in restaurants across the country.”
According to Jim Courage, who serves on the PPC Board of Directors, “PlantPure Communities is so excited to launch our national Restaurant Campaign. Thanks to PS Kitchen here in NY for leading the way demonstrating all the health benefits of a whole food, plant based low oil diet. We look forward to thousands of restaurants ensuring healthy meals are on their menu!”
Jenny Miller, Executive Director of the Center for Nutrition Studies (CNS) said, “PPC’s Restaurant Campaign has the potential to have a huge impact on the American dining landscape. Since it is grounded in Dr. Campbell’s nutritional research, it will truly help people struggling with food-borne illness, and ultimately save lives.”