MANILA — Caritas Manila is now teaching the public program a plant-based nutrition scheme that would lessen meat consumption.
The Hapag-asa Integrated Nutrition Program aims to educate families in urban poor communities in Metro Manila especially mothers and women about dietary programs and nutritional continuity and improve the health condition of malnourished children. Its goal is to help families help their communities be free from malnutrition.
“Caritas Manila is shifting to plant-based nutrition for our (Hapag-asa) nutrition program. I guess we don’t need to worry with chicken flu anymore,” said Fr. Anton Pascual, Caritas Manila executive director in a text message sent to reporters on Wednesday.
He noted the three benefits of plant based diet, optimum health (spirit, mind and body); help poor farmers and fishermen (poorest sectors) earn more through high value crops and urban farming for informal settlers; and change climate change since animal agri contribute 40 percent of greenhouse gases.
“The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. We die of old age, not sickness,” Pascual added.
But, the Catholic priest noted that they thought of shifting to plant-based nutrition even before the avian influenza outbreak in Pampanga.
“(Genesis) 1, 29-30, I give you plants and seed bearing fruits for food. Plant based nutrition is lifestyle change, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and grains,” he said.
The Caritas Manila head added, “In other words, for optimum health and wholeness don’t eat anything with a FACE!!!”
Earlier this week, some 200,000 chickens in San Luis, Pampanga had been infected by the H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus.