News | Published December 10, 2012

Meatless Mondays at Mount Nittany Health provides interest and options

What do hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, the city of Los Angeles, an Ironman triathlete and Wes Chicko have in common? They participate and advocate Meatless Mondays.

Wes Chicko is a training/quality assurance supervisor in the patient access department at Mount Nittany Medical Center and also someone who appreciates the growing variety of meatless options available at his place of employment. Chicko chooses to eat plant-strong and is interested in a plant-perfect or vegan diet.

Plant-strong refers to a diet that consists mostly of fruits and vegetables. A plant-perfect diet consists only of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. "I became interested in the health benefits of the (plant-perfect) vegan lifestyle after I read The China Study and also saw the film, Forks Over Knives," said Chicko. His living inspiration is Brendan Brazier.

Brendan Brazier is a former professional Ironman triathlete and two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion. He is now a successful performance nutrition consultant and the bestselling author of the Thrive book series. Brendan's diet is plant-perfect.

Thanks to Gary Glenn, CEC, director and executive chef, nutrition and culinary services, Chicko and others who dine at Mount Nittany Medical Center can find a wide variety of meatless options every Monday. Additionally, Glenn strives to have organic produce for all Medical Center meals.

The purpose of the Meatless Mondays program nationwide is to alert people to the benefits of having a plant-strong diet. Going meatless once a week may reduce the risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. According to the website it can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

The public is welcome to come and dine at the Nittany Grill on the first floor of the Medical Center or at the Café located on the ground floor. Upcoming Monday menu items for December include: grilled portabella mushroom burgers, roasted beet salad topped with goat cheese and toasted walnuts, and lentil and Swiss chard stew. "I like the challenge that Meatless Monday's provides for our staff," says Glenn.