I pledge to do my best to go meatless today and every Monday. For months I have been reading status updates on Facebook and Twitter with delicious recipes for Meatless Monday dishes. I finally decided to join in. It really isn’t a huge plunge for me; I’m already a borderline vegan (borderline because I do eat turkey raised without antibiotic use, organic eggs, fish and too many to count ice cream cones).
What is 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. The initiative is promoted by a non-profit comprised of Meatless Mondays Campaign and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Each year the average American eats 200 pounds of meat. That number is up 75 pounds per person from a century ago when The Department of Agriculture first began keeping records of our meat intake. That’s a lot of meat!
Personal benefits of not eating meat:
- Lower cholesterol
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce risk of cancer
- Improve overall diet
- Promotes a healthier, longer life
- Less expensive
Benefits for the planet-it’s green to eat green:
Reduces your carbon footprint
The UN estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate climate change.
Uses less water
An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Holy cow (sorry couldn’t resist)! More than half of all water used in the United States goes into livestock production. Meanwhile, livestock production is a major source of water pollution.
Reduces fuel dependence
According to Meatless Monday, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. (compared to 2.2 calories of fossil fuel for plant-based protein). Many of the animals aren’t raised locally meaning meat has to travel long distances to reach consumers.
Plain and simple-if the number of people eating meat decreases there will be less demand for animals that are kept in inhumane, prison-like settings before being slaughtered.
For many of us Monday represents the beginning of a new week. Routine kicks in again after the weekend and it’s the perfect time to start off on a healthy foot.
What to eat on Mondays
Fortunately, there are so many great sites with delicious recipes just for Meatless Monday.
Here are a few posts with Meatless Monday ideas to get started:
- 24 Vegetarian Recipes to Make Meatless Mondays Go Down Easier
- Meatless Monday Recipe Roundup
- Meatless Monday: Top Five Veggie March Madness Snacks
- Meatless Monday: Simple Vegan Alternatives to Dairy
- Meatless Monday: Fresh Spring Pasta With Asparagus
Now I have to see if my husband and kids are up for the pledge to go meat free on Mondays.
Want to give Meatless Monday a try with me? Are you already meatless on Mondays? Feel free to share your ideas and recipes with us newbies.
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[Top photo used under Creative Commons from Our Update/Flickr]
[Salad photo used under Creative Commons from Claire Bell/Flickr]