A group of doctors and healthcare professionals is calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his fiancé Carrie Symonds and their son Wilfred to go vegan – in a move that would encourage the nation to opt for a healthy vegan diet. This has been proven to minimise the risk of certain diseases and the impact of underlying illnesses on Covid-19 – as well as being the only sustainable choice for the planet.
A petition has also been set up for members of the public to sign in support of Plant Based Health Online’s call for Boris Johnson to go vegan. It can be signed here.
The campaign is being spearheaded by Dr Laura Freeman and Dr Shireen Kassam, co-founders of Plant Based Health Online– the UK's first registered, online plant-based lifestyle medicine service – who want the PM to understand the importance of a healthy plant-based diet for human, public and planetary health, which would in turn provide cost-saving benefits to the NHS. This would also tie in with the government’s 10-point plan, which lays out measures to scale up the nation’s climate ambition, as well as a new obesity strategy to improve the overall health of the UK population.
A healthy vegan diet, alongside lifestyle medicine – which also includes a focus on exercise, stress management and restorative sleep – can prevent and help treat the majority of chronic conditions affecting people in the UK, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. It has also been proven to reduce carbon footprint and water usage, with the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation estimating that the animal agriculture industry generates nearly one fifth of human made greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, a plant-based diet is healthy at all stages of life, including for young children – meaning Wilfred could join his parents.
A record breaking 582,000 people signed up to the 2021 Veganuary campaign and, according to The Vegan Society, if the world turned vegan in 2021, around eight million human lives could be saved by 2050, while preventing climate change damages of £1.5 trillion. In addition, according to Google search trends, interest in veganism has increased seven-fold in the past five years.
Dr Shireen Kassam, co-founder of Plant Based Health Online, and a consultant haematologist, said: “It is a world leader's obligation to do everything in their power to maintain the policies they have set out. A whole food plant-based diet is key in tackling both health and environmental issues, so we’re calling on the Prime Minister and his fiancé Carrie Symonds – a passionate animal welfare activist and former vegetarian – to take action by setting an example to the nation. We believe that by adopting a healthy vegan diet for their family, Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds will connect with the problems at hand.
“Nutrition is becoming increasingly recognised as a significant factor in disease prevention and health development. Currently, the NHS spends £14 billion on diabetes treatment each year alone, with a poor diet estimated to be a bigger mortality risk than smoking. Meanwhile, a recent survey of over 5,000 adults by Public Health England found that 7 in 10 adults are motivated by Covid-19 to make healthier lifestyle changes. However, we know that most people find it difficult to navigate the choices presented to them and it can be hard to know where to start. Boris Johnson must lead the way in recognising the steps to improve long term public health, and we implore him to take the simple yet effective step of adopting a plant-based diet for the sake of the country.”
The team at PBHO is offering Boris and Carrie complimentary nutrition and lifestyle medicine consultations at their new online service. The fee will be donated to Made in Hackney, an eco-friendly community cookery school. They have been providing thousands of free healthy plant-based meals to those most in need during the pandemic.
To find out more information about a healthy plant-based diet, lifestyle medicine, and the services offered by Plant Based Health Online, please visit https://plantbasedhealthonline.com/
Plant Based Health Online is the UK’s first CQC registered online multidisciplinary lifestyle medicine service. This evidence-based approach to healthcare includes helping patients transition to a more sustainable whole food plant-based diet alongside physical activity, restorative sleep, alleviation of psychological stress and fostering social connections.
Founded by Dr Laura Freeman and Dr Shireen Kassam – certified lifestyle medicine doctors with extensive personal and professional experience in using lifestyle medicine to optimise health and well-being – the multidisciplinary approach offers access to doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, personal trainers and health coaches, and enables patients to access the right expertise and support to make lasting lifestyle changes.
A lifestyle medicine approach has the potential to prevent and treat the majority of chronic conditions affecting people in the UK, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers.