Eric Adams becomes New York City’s first plant-based mayor

Author: Helen Greaves

Read Time:   |  4th November 2021

Eric Adams, New York City’s new plant-eating mayor, is an animal-lover and advocates plant-based diets for the health and wellbeing of constituents.

Former Brooklyn Borough President and plant-based diet advocate Eric Adams has won the position of New York City’s first vegan mayor.

Adams defeated his opponent, Republican Curtis Silwa, with a landslide 66% lead.

While they held debates on many topics in the lead up to the election, both candidates share a love of animals, supporting animal welfare initiatives like an increase of no-kill shelters, ending backyard breeding operations, and banning horse-drawn carriages.

Becoming New York City’s first plant-based mayor isn’t the only time Adams has been a trailblazer.

In 2014, he became the first person of colour to be elected as Brooklyn Borough President and is the second Black person to be elected New York mayor.

He also founded the organisation 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, which aimed to combat the issues of racial profiling and supported criminal justice reform.

Eric Adams’ plant-based initiatives

Eric Adams has been eating plant-based since 2016 after he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

He often speaks out about the health benefits of a meat-free diet.

“Throughout the campaign, I’ve spoken repeatedly about my health journey,” Adams said in a statement.

“After adopting a plant-based diet, I was able to reverse my type 2 diabetes, which changed not only the trajectory of my life, but also my career as a public servant.

“I am now committed to spreading that message and empowering New Yorkers in every zip code to lead a healthy lifestyle.”

Prior to becoming mayor, Adams has helped his constituents and fellow New Yorkers to gain control of their health through several initiatives, including a plant-based medicine program within Bellevue Hospital, the city’s largest medical system.

In May this year, he authorised a $10,000 discretionary grant to support plant-based nutrition education at the State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine.

The funds helped establish the Food as Medicine Initiative – a supplemental program to the existing nutrition curriculum, which teaches the healing power of plant-based foods to future medical professionals.

To help children gain access to plant-based foods, Adams also worked with former NYC mayor Bill de Blasio to implement Meatless Mondays at 15 schools in Brooklyn, a program the then-mayor expanded to all 1,700 NYC public schools in 2019.

Adams also spearheaded Resolution 238, which called upon the Department of Education to remove processed meat from public school menus citywide.

Outside of his political career, Adams is also a published author. In his most recent book, Healthy At Last, he details his plant-based transformation, speaks about the issue of diet-related chronic diseases as they affect communities of colour, and shares more than 50 plant-based recipes.

To further expand his message beyond NYC, Adams has also appeared in several documentaries that promote plant-based living, including the upcoming film They’re Trying to Kill Uswhich examines the intersections of diet, poverty, and systemic racism.

After becoming mayor

The new mayor celebrated his win in Marinello’s Gourmet Deli in Brooklyn where he ate the Plant-Based Mayor’s Wrap – a limited-edition vegan breakfast option made with JUST Egg and potato-based vegan queso.

In his new position, Adams will use his experience of overcoming serious illness with a plant-based diet to inform policy.

He said, “I don’t believe the government should tell you what you can have on your grill in your backyard on Saturday. What the government should do is not feed the crises,

“So we can’t have a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene fighting childhood obesity, diabetes, and asthma and a Department of Education preparing 960,000 meals a day that cause childhood obesity, diabetes, and asthma.

“So what you do with your dollar is up to you. But on taxpayers’ dollars, we should not be feeding a health-care crisis.”

Eric Adams’ other policies

It should be noted that Eric Adam’s focus on plant-based living is primarily health-driven. Although he does support some high-profile animal welfare issues, other policies of his are not necessarily aligned with vegan values.

A notable example of this is his rat extermination plan for New York City.

During a press conference in September traps were revealed in which rats were lured in with sunflower seeds and nuts before being knocked out with a “water-alcohol based solution” and drowned.

Adams then made the questionable decision to scoop out and display the captured rats to reporters during the conference in a move described by animal rights activists as “sadistic” and “barbaric”.

Learn how to improve your health on a vegan diet with our healthy eating guide

Image Credit: Getty Images / Michael M. Santiago / Staff

Written by

Helen Greaves

Helen has been vegan since 2018 and has a background in vegan food marketing and social media. She's mother to a mischief of rats, and loves to spend her spare time making vegan cakes and bakes.

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