The Association des professionnels de la santé pour l’alimentation végétale (APSAV), a Quebec-based association of health professionals, hopes to become the French-language go-to source for plant-based nutrition.
Interview with Marjolaine Mercier, PDt, a nutritionist-dietician and co-founder of the APSAV.
What is the APSAV?
The APSAV was founded in 2017 by a group of nine nutritionists. Our mission is to raise awareness about and promote a plant-based diet.
For us, a plant-based diet is a healthy, balanced diet consisting mainly of plants, such as vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds, and minimally processed foods. Without being dogmatic, the APSAV encourages people to incorporate more plants into their daily diet and limit processed food.
What are the benefits of a plant-based diet?
Scientific studies now clearly show that a plant-based diet is good for our health and that of the planet. Eating more foods of plant origin helps prevent chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, and reduces the risk of certain types of cancers. What’s more, eating fewer foods of animal origin, particularly meat, has a direct impact on the environment.
What do you think of Canada’s new Food Guide?
The ideal plate featured in Canada’s new Food Guide reflects the latest scientific data on nutrition. The recommendation is to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, and include vegetable proteins, such as legumes, nuts or seeds, as often as possible.
Although Canada’s new Food Guide recommends eating fewer foods of animal origin, such as meat and dairy products, it doesn’t recommend eliminating them from our diet.
Are Canadians interested in plant-based food?
Canadians are certainly enthusiastic about adopting a more plant-based diet. Dalhousie University found that 17% of consumers want to eat less meat or no meat at all. Just over 10% say they are flexitarians (occasionally eat meat) and 7% say they are vegetarians or vegans. What’s more, the numbers are rising. Canadians—both men and women—are making these choices in an effort to improve their health and protect the environment.
How are you promoting a plant-based diet?
Our goal is to become the French-language go-to source for plant-based nutrition. So, we have created a website where we post free information based on scientific evidence. The APSAV also participates in various events to connect with the general public. We talk to omnivores wanting to eat more plant-based food, as well as vegetarians and vegans eating only plant-based food who want to make sure they have a balanced diet.
Who are the APSAV members?
The APSAV has nearly 400 members, including about 150 health professionals. Most are veg-curious and seeking reliable information. There is very little reliable information in French, which is why we founded the APSAV. We welcome all French-speaking members from around the world.
To join the APSAV, please complete the membership form.
Photo credit: Maxime Juneau – APMJ