Do you do ‘Meatless Monday’ in your house?
We do. Just don’t tell my husband. He hasn’t caught on just yet. (I’m totally serious).
You’ve probably heard the term, but do you know about the movement behind it? I recently wandered over to Meatless Monday (yes, there is a website) to read about this healthy trend that has been steadily gathering steam, and I must say, I’m quite impressed. They’ve got recipes. They’ve got facts. They’ve even got a pledge you can take to go meatless on Mondays. Pretty cool stuff.
Even cooler? The health and environmental benefits that occur from giving up meat only ONE DAY PER WEEK.
- LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.
- REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
- FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain.
- LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.
- IMPROVE YOUR DIET. Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.
- REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
- MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
- HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.
Courtesy of meatlessmonday.com
I think what I love so much about this campaign is that going meatless one day per week is a very simple change. And not only is it great for your health, it’s also fabulous for your budget. Meat is expensive!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a total carnivore. But lately I’ve been rethinking my meat consumption. I’m taking quality into account over quantity. I’d rather have a small portion of a really perfect steak over a ginormous piece of meat that is only okay.
I’m also trying to think of meat as a side dish rather than the main event. Sometimes it’s tough – I come from a family where meat is the centerpiece of the meal. Now I’m loading up on a bunch of vegetables and use meat as a flavoring. Diced chicken on a salad. Kebabs with a few pieces of pork and a bunch of pineapple and peppers.
Are you thinking of going meatless on Monday? If you think it’s going to be hard, have no fear. There are SO MANY fabulous recipes out there that contain no meat – we even have several over at Shrinking Kitchen! And if you’re not feeling super creative, you can always do breakfast for dinner. A big omelet full of vegetables – who could complain about that? You’ll never miss the meat!
So, do you do Meatless Monday? Thinking about it? Or heck, no!? Let us know in the comments!