World’s First Vegan Hospital: Lebanon’s Hayek Centre Becomes First To Serve Only Plant-Based Food

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Hayek Hospital, a family-owned private centre in Beirut, has gone 100% vegan in a world’s first. The hospital will no longer serve its patients meat and dairy, and will instead replace its menu with a number of healthy plant-based dishes in alignment with existing scientific data evidencing the wide range of health benefits associated with a plant-forward diet. 

Hayek Hospital has become the world’s first hospital to serve only plant-based food, the private practice announced in the beginning of March this year. Located in the capital of Lebanon, the hospital has revamped its entire menu after a “transition phase” that saw more plant-powered meals being introduced to patients. 

The new 100% meat, dairy and egg-free menu now includes dishes such as vegan croissants, plant-based fajitas and burgers, as well as a number of veganised traditional Lebanese dishes like shish barak, labneh sandwiches and shawarma platters. During the transition phase, patients were given both vegan and non-vegan options, with clear explainers and facts detailing the benefits of a plant-based diet to educate and encourage more people to choose the animal-free dish. 

We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms.

Hayek Hospital

In a post about the decision to go green, Hayek Hospital wrote: “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.” 

“We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms,” it added, highlighting the growing calls that health professionals and experts have made in the wake of the coronavirus crisis about the role of animal agriculture as a leading cause of rising zoonotic diseases

Hayek Hospital went on to reference the recommendations made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to limit meat consumption, given the data linking the food to a higher risk of certain cancers. 

We then have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions.

Hayek Hospital

“There’s an elephant in the room that no one wants to see. When the World Health Organisation classifies processed meat as group 1A carcinogenic…[the] same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in a hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital.” 

“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 post said. 

The hospital’s decision to ditch meat and dairy altogether also comes as a landmark new large-scale population-level study in the U.K. was published this month, which found an association between meat consumption and nine non-cancerous illnesses – many of them not considered in previous research, including pneumonia, diverticular disease, colon polyps and diabetes. 

Researchers said that these latest findings add to the plethora of data linking high meat consumption with negative health outcomes while plant-forward diets tended to lower these risks, such as the U.S. National Cancer Institute study that found an “inverse association” between higher consumption of plant-based foods and heart disease mortality rates. The most prominent inverse associations were recorded in the replacement of eggs and red meat with plant proteins.


Lead image courtesy of Vivera.

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