Not everyone is inclined to go vegetarian and even though we are currently eating mostly vegetarian, that may not be a long-term thing for us. Still, everyone can have at least one meatless day per week.
There is a major campaign afoot to promote Meatless Monday and I just signed up, but did you know that it actually started with Herbert Hoover during WWI? You can read more about the interesting history of Meatless Mondays here.
- REDUCE RISK OF HEART DISEASE. Beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds contain little to no saturated fats. Reducing your intake of saturated fats can help keep your cholesterol low and reduce your risk of heart disease.
- MAINTAIN HEALTHY WEIGHT. A plant-based diet is a great source of fiber, which is absent in animal products. Foods rich in fiber make you feel full with fewer calories, resulting in lower calorie intake and less overeating. On average, Americans get less than half the recommended daily quantity of fiber.
- IMPROVE OVERALL QUALITY OF DIET. Consuming dry beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.
- REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. 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 . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
- MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
- HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.
In addition, decreasing our intake of meat can save money, too. So what’s not to like?
If you are interested in this concept, go check out the Meatless Monday website. There is a lot of good information there, including recipes. If you decide to join, you can receive free weekly recipes via email. Check it out!