National Vegetarian week – helping people with learning disabilities
Welcome to National Vegetarian Week, which starts today Monday 10 May – and runs to Sunday 16 May. This event takes place every year to encourage and educate people to focus, for just one week, on the benefits of being a vegetarian with delicious and healthy vegetarian meals. Uncover the vast array of new and exciting ways of preparing meals – just by using vegetables.
The Value of Choice
Over the last 18 months during lockdown, we have had so much more time at home, with many people taking to gardening and growing their own fruit and vegetables. With hotels, restaurants and food outlets remaining closed, we have had the opportunity to be more creative with our cooking, with home-grown produce too.
Here at Zetetick Housing, we want to ensure our tenants have every opportunity to access the best quality of life. Having a national vegetarian week has highlighted to us that by providing them with garden space to grow their own vegetables, and a safe environment to prepare them, our tenants benefit from the well-being of outside space, a sense of achievement from growing and producing foods, which in turn, provide great ingredients for nourishing meals.
There are so many benefits to be gained by actively engaging in a vegetarian diet. It has been proven that consuming meat, fish, and dairy may harm ourselves and our planet, while cooking solely with vegetables has a direct positive impact on our physical and mental well-being.
5 benefits of vegetarianism
- Overall improved health proven to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and hypertension, as well as reducing weight and chronic disease
- Live longer – slow the ageing process
- Economic sense
- Reduce Global Warming
- Compassion for Animals
People with learning disabilities should be able to access healthy eating messages and be encouraged to build their capacity to access mainstream health programs in their local community. Those with learning disabilities are more likely to be obese or have a bad diet according to NHS England.
Often people with learning disabilities who are vegetarian or vegan choose not to eat meat because of their love of animals, the concern for their welfare, and a dislike of them being killed for food. A number do not think other people with learning disabilities are aware that animals are killed for meat and do not have the information to make an informed choice about eating meat.
However to make healthier choices in diet, whether that is vegetarian or not, people with learning disabilities, especially during National Vegetarian week, need supportive staff and families who help them to cook and eat a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Of course, many of us worry about the healthiness and fat content of meat, and also about the diseases that animals may have which go into the meat. At Zetetick housing we are supportive of National Vegetarian Week because of this, and because of issues around sustainability. Some staff are vegetarian but many are not. We will support our tenants but it is their freedom to choose that is important.
The Charity – Zetetick Housing and supported living
There are many charities in the UK that offer support services aiming to improve the lives of those with physical and learning disabilities and mental health problems. Zetetick Housing is one of these, providing quality specialised housing for supported living to people with complex needs or learning disabilities.
Through Zetetick’s model of best practice supported living, adults with autism or similar disabilities can live in a home of their own that they love, with access to the support they need to live independently within their communities.