“Where’s the beef?” Welcome to Meatless Monday. Meatless Monday is a movement encouraging people to improve their health and improve the health of the planet by lowering their meat consumption. My Meatless Monday adventure began last week (impressive, I know) and it went quite well. My family is on-board and we’ve been having a lot of fun concocting the meatless menu for this week (thank you Trader Joes). If you’re going meatless at least one day a week (even if you’re not) here are a few important things to think about when prepping your daily meals:
- ADD BEANS: If you are eating a vegetarian based diet, beans are an important addition. They are a great source of carbohydrates and protein. If you are using beans from a can be careful- many of the cans have BPA in the lining. Eden Organic canned beans are the only brand without BPA in the lining. They also have a line of BPA free tomato products packaged in glass jars.
- REDUCE YOUR BPA EXPOSURE: Say no to plastic for cooking and storing your food. A recent study shows that we can reduce our BPA exposure significantly by cooking fresh foods at home, avoiding canned foods, choosing glass and stainless steel food and beverage containers, and not microwaving in plastic.
- USE LOCAL INGREDIENTS: When buying your produce pay close attention to where it came from. Did your carrots travel far to reach you or were they grown locally? Think about joining a CSA. Joining a CSA allows people to reconnect with their food while eating seasonal, fresh, organic food that comes from a local farm.
- USE REUSABLE NAPKINS: Invest in a few reusable napkins to help the environment and save yourself a few pennies.
- GO GMO FREE: Genetically modified plants grown from seeds engineered in labs are in much of the food we eat. Most corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States have been genetically modified to resist pesticides or insects. Stick with organic if you can.
- BUY ORGANIC: Organically produced foods must be produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones and genetic engineering. Organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients or preservatives to maintain the integrity of the food.
- SAY NO TO BOTTLED WATER: It’s expensive, leaches toxic chemicals into our water and produces unnecessary waste that’s killing our wildlife and not decomposing in our overflowing landfills.
- SHARE WITH OTHERS: Think about organizing a Meatless Monday potluck party with other like-minded folks. This would be a simple way to share all your meatless recipes, ideas and suggestions with friends and family.
- TALK ABOUT WHY YOU ARE DOING IT: We have had some pretty interesting conversations over here about Meatless Monday. Everything from “what is meat?” to “can we still have ice cream?” I was pretty amazed when my 10 year old asked me (without any prompts) what we were having for Meatless Monday this week.
- TRY SOMETHING NEW: Step outside your comfort zone and use the excuse of Meatless Mondays to try something new-maybe tempeh, quinoa or edamame (a favorite over here). It could open up a new door leading to unlimited possibilities for meatless meals.
Most of all enjoy!
Do you already think about any of these when making a meal? Do you have any more ideas for the list?
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[Top photo used under Creative Commons from Cookbook Man 17/Flickr]
[Dinner party photo used under Creative Commons from David Sifrey/Flickr]