A couple of years ago, I started engaging in Meatless Mondays. After reading the benefits not only to your health but to this beautiful world we live in, I decided that giving up meat on ONE day a week would be a simple step I could take to better my body and my planet.
Meatless Mondays turned out to be not only an extremely easy thing to engage in, but also added a bit of excitement in my kitchen. I now enjoy scouring my cookbook collection for meat-free recipes as well as whipping up my own creations.
Some of my meatless recipes have even been featured on MeatlessMonday.com. Not only that, but Huffington Post has featured some Suburban Spoon originals on /www.huffingtonpost.com/green.
I encourage you to engage in this movement. It's so easy, I won't even call it a challenge! There are plenty of resources on the web if you need any inspiration, and you can always check out my page - as I try to post meatless recipes as often as I can.
A sample of my Meatless Monday recipes:
Bella Burger - featured on Huffington Post Green!
Snow Pea Sesame Noodle Salad - featured on MeatlessMonday.com!
Stuffed Acorn Squash - featured on MeatlessMonday.com!
Grilled Eggplant with Pesto and Pasta
Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Gratin
Roasted Pumpkin Salad
Chik'n & Avocado Quesadillas
According to Wikipedia:
Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet. Reducing meat consumption by 15% (the equivalent of one day a week) lessens the risk of chronic preventable illness and has a strong impact on the environment.
Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns Inc. in association with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future. The program follows the nutrition guidelines developed by the USDA. Meatless Monday is part of the Healthy Monday initiative. Healthy Monday encourages Americans to make healthier decisions at the start of every week. Other Healthy Monday campaigns include: Paul McCartney's Meat Free Monday, Do The Monday 2000, Quit and Stay Quit Monday, Move it Monday, Monday Mile, and others.
On average Americans consume 8 ounces of meat per day, 45% more than the USDA recommends. Meat typically contains higher levels of saturated fat than plant based foods. Saturated fat intake has been linked to multiple preventable illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and various cancers.
A ten year longitudinal study has also linked rates of personal meat consumption to age of death. The results of this research suggest that the deaths of 1.5 million Americans over a ten year period can be attributed to excessive consumption of red and processed meats.
Chronic preventable illnesses—including those associated with excessive saturated fat intake—cause 70% of all deaths in the United States. In 2007 alone Americans spent 1.7 trillion dollars on health care related to preventable illnesses.
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization the meat industry generates nearly one fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. Geophysicists at the Bard Center and the University of Chicago estimate that curbing meat consumption by 20% (which could be achieved through Meatless Mondays) would lower greenhouse gas emissions as dramatically as every American switching to an ultra-efficient hybrid vehicle.
The U.N. also found that current meat production methods cause nearly half of all stream and river pollution. Meat also requires a great deal of fresh water to manufacture. The production of a pound of beef takes approximately 2,500 gallons of water, compared to a pound of soy, which requires only 220 gallons. By switching to soy on Mondays each individual could save about 890 gallons of water a week.
As of 2006, forty calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of U.S. feed lot beef (manufacture, transport and storage included). By comparison, a calorie of plant-based protein only requires 2.2 calories of fossil fuel. If the population of the United States went meatless every Monday for a year, 12 billion gallons of gasoline would be saved.
Meatless Monday focuses its initiative on Mondays for multiple reasons. Monday is typically the beginning of the work week, the day when individuals settle back into their weekly routine. Unhealthy habits that prevailed over the weekend can be forgotten and replaced by positive choices.
A weekly reminder to restart healthy habits also encourages success. A 2009 trial published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine provided individuals with weekly health prompts and encouragement. Approximately two thirds of participants responded with improvements in their overall health, eating habits and physical activity levels.
During World War I, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urged families to reduce consumption of key staples to help the war effort. Conserving food would support U.S. troops as well as feed populations in Europe where food production and distribution had been disrupted by war. To encourage voluntary rationing, the FDA created the slogan “Food Will Win the War” and coined the terms "Meatless Monday" and "Wheatless Wednesday” to remind Americans to reduce intake of these products.
Herbert Hoover was the head of the Food Administration as well as the American Relief Association during Woodrow Wilson's presidency, and played a key role implementing the campaign, which was one of Hoover’s many attempts to encourage volunteerism and sacrifice among Americans during the war. The FDA provided a wide variety of materials in addition to advertising, including recipe books and menus found in magazines, newspapers & government sponsored pamphlets.