I hope you choose to join me!"
What is Meatless Monday?
As a vegetarian, I understand how it can seem like a daunting change to give up meat completely. Promoting the idea to give up meat just one day a week is more approachable to those who wouldn’t consider a fully vegetarian diet and is less constraining, which encourages more long-term participation. Think of it as an invitation to try different dishes, rather than a restriction to your diet.. This change in approach results in more widespread success for lowering meat consumption.
I joined Meatless Monday to promote healthier and more sustainable choices by supporting others’ goals for going meat-free one day a week. The benefits will improve our community’s health, decrease our environmental impact, and spare animals from factory farms. It’s my goal that our community understands the great impact we can have by making one small change, one day a week.
Watch The Humane Society’s video starring actress Kate Mara from “The Martian” for an idea of why they support Meatless Monday.
The Three R’s:
“Reducing” or “Replacing” consumption of animal products. “Refining” what we eat by choosing to purchase products from sources that follow animal welfare standards.
This isn’t the first time lowering meat consumption was encouraged nationwide. Meatless Monday was actually started by the U.S. government during World Wars I and II to save resources. The Monday Campaigns then revived it in 2003 along with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Their unified goal was to reduce meat consumption by 15 percent for our personal health and health of the planet. Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Paul McCartney are participating. K-12 schools, universities, hospitals, and restaurants across the country are making changes in their menus to reflect their participation.
- Meatless Monday raises awareness about the animal welfare, environmental, and public health impacts of industrial meat production.
- According to Environmental Defense Fund, “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains…the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.”
- Public figures, celebrities and athletes—including President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, JayZ, Russell Simmons, Russell Brand, Carl Lewis, Tony Gonzalez, and more—have touted the advantages of eating less meat.
“There is no question that largely vegetarian diets are as healthy as you can get. The evidence is so strong and overwhelming and produced over such a long period of time that it’s no longer debatable.” —Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., New York University’s nutrition department
Don’t like reading so much? Here’s another quick video giving you the gist of it. Enjoy!
The WHO, WHAT, HOW, WHY, and WHERE on Meatless Mondays….yeah.
Why Meatless Monday?
For our Health
Diets rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts are consistently linked to lower obesity rates, blood cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says this type of diet is appropriate for all stages of life, including childhood and adolescence and for athletes, and notes the benefits of eating more plant-based meals including a lower risk of death from heart disease (our leading cause of death in the U.S.), lower overall cancer rates, lower rates of type 2 diabetes, and a lower body mass index.
“The American Heart Association recognizes the role of plant-based foods in a healthy dietary pattern . Use Meatless Mondays as another opportunity to eat a well-balanced diet.” — Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association
Meat is often heavy in cholesterol and saturated fats, unlike most meatless foods. Compare the protein content of a 52g hotdog at approximately 5g of protein and 52 grams of black beans (4 tbsp) at approximately 11g of protein, and you’ll see that plant-based products usually have the same—or even more—protein than animal-based foods and little or no saturated fat and cholesterol. Saturated fat and cholesterol are associated with preventable chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Choosing meatless meals once a week can reduce saturated fat intake and lower the risk of these serious health issues.
For the Planet
Animal agriculture has been implicated by the United Nations as one of the top contributors to global environmental problems, due to its vast use of water, land, and fossil fuels and high carbon dioxide and methane emissions. Prominent environmental organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and more advocate for reduced meat consumption. According to Environmental Defense Fund, “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains…the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.”
“If Americans reduced meat consumption by just 20 percent, it would be as though we all switched from a sedan to a hybrid.” —The Sierra Club
The majority of the meat, milk, and eggs produced in the U.S. come from animals intensively confined in factory farms, their lives bearing no resemblance to the way most of us envision farm life. By increasing and highlighting meat-free options even just one day a week, you can spare animals from factory farms.
For most Americans the week begins on Monday. On Monday we move from the freedom of the weekend back to the structure of work or school. We set our intentions for the next six days. We plan ahead and evaluate progress.
From an early age we internalize this rhythm. And studies suggest we are more likely to maintain behaviors begun on Monday throughout the week. That makes Monday the perfect day to make a change for your health and the health of our planet.
Monday is the call to action built in to every calendar each week. And if this Monday passes you by, next week is another chance to go meatless!
Take the Meatless Monday Pledge
“I will help spare animals from factory farms and slaughter, reduce my impact on the environment, and improve my health by taking a holiday from meat and enjoying delicious vegetarian foods every Monday.”