Portugal made vegan food a legal right

Are you a vegan? You’ll know that travelling can be tricky as not all restaurants and meals are vegan-ready. However, in Portugal, it is the law.

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The change in laws

Portugal is the first country in the world to make it illegal to not offer any vegan meals in a restaurant or eatery. This law came into effect in 2017 and for all public areas, schools, universities, hospitals, and prisons.

How did this law come into effect and what does it mean for vegetarians and vegans travelling in Portugal? The Portuguese Vegetarian Society created a petition and it received the mandatory 15,000 signatures to be considered by the government for action. The Portuguese Vegetarian Society guided the government’s decision-makers in this process – and the law was passed successfully. This plays a huge role in the potential to improve the health and nutrition of Portuguese. While placing vegetarianism front and center in this way, there have been healthy conversations around other subjects, too: animal welfare, animal care, health and fitness, health mandates for nutrition.

This means that diners will be able to choose the type of food they prefer from any menu in Portugal. There are dishes and meals that cater to certain religious groups and requirements – and now the same applies to vegans and vegetarians.

Global trend

Veganism and vegetarianism is a growing trend around the world, too. Portugal might be the first country to make it illegal to not provide vegan options, and it will be the catalyst for a worldwide drive to improved access to diversity in foods.

The International Impact

The USA’s New York City has already made changes to its school canteens by reducing their meat consumption by 50-percent. They also run a campaign called Meatless Mondays across all New York schools.

California has a similar program for its schools to be launched in the very near future.
Portugal’s vegan push has also inspired the French government. They have instituted a meat-free meal at least once a week for the next two years to assess the changes it will have on the health of its citizens, environment, and farming industries.

Benefits of Veganism

It is clear to scientists that a vegan-based diet is healthy. Vegan diets help people to lose weight more efficiently and safer, too. It is also a leading tool in lowering heart disease.

Why is that? The benefits of a vegan diet are that this type of food contains a higher number of nutrients. They offer more in the way of fiber, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and vitamins.

Vegan meals also help to lower blood sugar levels and help to improve kidney functions. Studies have shown that even for people with a higher insulin sensitivity that vegan meals can help to lower their blood sugar levels. This will help to lower the risk of people developing type 2 diabetes.

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