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Meatless Mondays! Join the movement!

porky_pig_meatless_mondays

 

By Danielle Lee

If you’re not familiar with the Meatless Mondays campaign yet, you can get the gist of it by the name alone.  It’s a movement to reduce the consumption of meat for at least one day of the week.  I am familiar with the campaign, but I had no idea how far back it went.  It was resurrected in 2003 as a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. However, it actually dates back to World War I when the U.S. Food Administration urged families to reduce consumption of key staples to aid the war effort. During this time meat was being rationed, along with other commodities like sugar and gasoline.

The movement is gaining more ground than you may be aware of. Research by the Food Marketing Institute discovered that Meatless Monday is now a mainstay in 18% of households. In addition, the campaign, which began in the U.S., has become international.  Just to name a few countries, Brazil, Canada, France, and Sweden are on board. In June 2009, Paul McCartney and his daughters helped kick it off in the U.K. with Support Meat-free Monday; Australia joined in December 2009.

The reason this is becoming a staple effort in our lives is the multiple benefits for you and your family.  It’s healthy, giving your body a break from digesting meat which takes a lot of energy. You may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity by subbing meat with some yummy veggies or beans.  It saves money on the grocery bill.  Meat is not especially cheap, and if you do buy meat, you definitely don’t want it to be the cheap stuff. It costs to eat grass-fed, hormone-free, and/or locally-raised meat; which we all do know is the best way to go.

Then there are environmental benefits to Meatless Mondays, as well.  One is reduction in our carbon footprints by decreasing the demand for it. 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.  Another environmental benefit is less water usage. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef, whereas vegetables and grains need about 8 times less than that. Finally, if your non-meat foods are local then you’re helping reduce fossil fuel dependence.

No need to fret if you are a meat-lover. The campaign is not requiring a complete lifestyle change. One day a week is all it asks for and why not when it has so many positive advantages for all of us?  We hope you jump on the bandwagon, and maybe add some additional adjectives to your Monday like merry, mighty and moral.

For more information on the meatless movement check out the official website below.
www.meatlessmonday.com

For some Meatless Monday recipes check out the links below.
www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/vegetarian_recipes_you_must_try
www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/vegetarian-fitness-foods

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