Physicians and other health care providers are rapidly realizing the importance of reducing the amount of meat we consume in our every day diets. “Meatless Mondays” is the term that’s been coined by the medical community to encourage everyone to cut out meat servings at least one day a week in order to boost maximum health and help alleviate worsening environmental issues.
Meatless Meals and the Benefits
A recent report from the renowned Mayo Clinic states that serving meatless meals at least once a week offers a multitude of health benefits. Plant-based meals that feature beans, grains and vegetables – rather than meat – provide your body with the nutrition it needs, minus the risk of developing heart disease and other chronic conditions that occur when you consume too much meat in your diet.
Meatless Mondays isn’t really a new idea. During World War I the Food and Drug Administration urged Americans to support the war effort by conserving food and especially reducing meat consumption. The term, “Meatless Monday,” was established during that era and an advertising campaign was launched that touted the benefits of reducing meat intake – including saving money and improving health.
That successful marketing campaign was re-introduced during World War II during a time that meat and other goods such as sugar and gasoline were being rationed. In 2003, the Meatless Mondays campaign was again put into effect as a health and wellness awareness program.
As Americans became more aware of environmental issues associated with eating meat, Meatless Mondays got a boost once more when the Center for a Livable Future (a division of the medical giant, Johns Hopkins), endorsed a movement that provided information on the effects that
Vegetarian hot dog consuming meat has on the climate.
the vegetarian hot dog is not clear but Worthington Foods Veja-Link meatless wieners claim to have been the world’s first vegetarian hot dogs in 1949.…
In recent years, Meatless Mondays has received an avalanche of high-profile supporters, including former Beatle, Paul McCartney McCartney launched a ‘go meatless’ campaign with his two daughters by beginning an official website encouraging people to eat less meat.
The forward-thinking city of San Francisco, California was the first to officially designate Mondays as ‘Vegetarian Day.’ Now, Meatless Mondays have caught on world-wide as a way to improve health, save money and make a positive impact on the environment.
What Meatless Mondays Can Do to Improve Your Health
A healthy lifestyle that includes proper diet and exercise is imperative to develop an active, well-balanced body and mindset. To achieve a healthy body, medical and scientific communities are recommending a change in our eating habits and the way we think about food.
rather than systemic change. Environmentalist Dave Riley states that being meatless and guiltless seems seductively simple while environmental destruction.…
Cutting some of the ‘fat’ in your diet by practicing Meatless Mondays can improve many aspects of your health and prevent many diseases including:
· Heart Disease – A diagnosis of high triglycerides means that your body is converting some of your calorie intake into a type of fat that’s found in fat cells and blood. If you also have high LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in your blood you may also be at risk of heart disease, strokes, several types of cancer and diabetes. To lower the heart disease risk associated with high triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, it’s important to improve your diet and include more fruits and vegetables. Meat contains saturated fat, a known culprit for heart disease, so one way to lower the risk naturally is to cut down on your meat intake. Meatless Mondays are a great way to begin.
· Obesity – Today, the effects of obesity are well known. It’s one of the major concerns in today’s society. Billions of dollars are spent each year because of the effects that obesity has within our health system, but it continues to grow as a plague that affects both adults and children.
It’s been scientifically proven that those who practice a mainly vegetarian diet have significantly lower instances of obesity and long-term weight gain. Improving your diet to combat obesity by reducing meat intake can dramatically improve your health and help you live a long and vital life.
· Cancer – The jury is out on officially declaring meat as a direct reason for many types of cancer, but researchers do claim that eating red meat definitely increases the risk for colorectal cancer. Many scientific medical studies point to red meat and processed meat as a likely cause of other cancers too.
For example, a study by Health-AARP that involved over a half million senior citizens indicated that those who ate mostly red or processed meat during a ten year time span (about four ounces of meat per day) were more apt to die of cancer than those seniors who ate less meat (about two ounces per day).
· Premature Death – Meat (especially pork, red and processed meat) has been linked with premature death by many medical and scientific professionals. In contrast, those who limit their meat intake and focus on a diet that includes mostly fruits and vegetables enjoy a marked increase of life span.
In recent years, findings have supported these claims, and Meatless Mondays have become a more viable option as people strive to lower risk of death-causing diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
How Meatless Mondays Can Help You Lose Weight
Trimming fat from your diet will likely trim inches off your waist. Going meatless at least a day a week can help produce dramatic weight loss results and make you a healthier person.
More people are practicing Meatless Mondays as part of a weight loss plan and to restore health and prevent chronic diseases. Planning meatless meals can be fun and adventurous and encourage you to try new foods and new ways of cooking.
Beans, lentils, nuts and seeds can provide the protein your body needs without the side effects associated with meats – fat, weight gain, high cholesterol and triglycerides. However, choosing to participate in “Meatless Mondays” doesn’t mean that you don’t have to count calories and watch your portion sizes.
If you continue to cook with high fat oils and add gobs of dairy products such as cheese and butter you won’t realize the full benefits of replacing the meat in your diet with healthy alternatives. So, be sure to use caution when you replace meat with other foods – and also in how you cook them.
The vast majority of plant-based foods are low in calories and rich in fiber and vitamins. By increasing these foods in your diet even once a week, you’ll decrease calorie consumption and will begin to naturally lose weight.
Studies have shown that men and women of various ages and physical health found that those who ate meat on a regular basis might gain up to five pounds over a five year time period – even though the caloric intake remained the same. You can do the math yourself to figure out what kind of a weight gain you’d have over a lifetime by eating less meat.
Meatless Mondays are a great way to add more nutrition to your diet and lose weight. Be sure to pay attention to the ingredients in meatless products that might trigger food allergies. Also, speak to your health care provider or a dietitian if you have any questions about going ‘meatless.’
Less Meat in Your Diet Means More Money in Your Pocket
Now you know that reducing meat consumption can help you lose weight and reduce the risk of chronic health problems and diseases. But, Meatless Mondays can save you money as well.
The astronomical cost of raising the meat we eat is passed on to you, the consumer, in supermarkets and restaurants. Beans, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains are much less expensive and can save you some serious dollars by pulling meat off the list.
You’ll even spend less in restaurants when you choose from the ‘heart healthy” or vegetarian menus. Many restaurants all across the country are joining the Meatless Mondays bandwagon and offering more meatless entrees. One restaurant even provides a multi-course meatless tasting menu every Monday and the owner claims that it’s perked up his (usually) slow Monday clientele.
It’s true that some organic and gourmet fruits, vegetables and nuts are decidedly more expensive than a good deal on a $1 cheeseburger at your favorite fast food restaurant, but for vegetarian staples such as beans, lentils, eggs, dairy, rice and corn, there’s no doubt that you’ll save money on your grocery bill.
Vegetarian, Diet—Moyan Brenn (Flickr.com)
Some supermarkets offer staples such as beans and nuts in bulk, saving you money and letting you purchase only what you need – so there’s less waste. Another option for Meatless Mondays is ‘meatless meat.’
Veggie burgers, chicken substitutes and other products are readily available in almost every supermarket and most health food stores. They’re made from soy and seasoned so that many would swear they’re eating real meat.
These veggie substitutes are cholesterol-free and there’s no fat – so, there’s no waste. The Eastern world has known about the benefits of tofu (soy) for centuries and countries such as China and Japan use it in many exotic dishes and stir fries. It tastes good and is good for you.
Meat on your grocery list means more money at the supermarket. Going meatless at least once a week not only saves money – but more than that – it will decrease cholesterol and saturated fat and make you healthier. That’s what Meatless Mondays are all about.
Reduce Meat Intake and Lessen Your Environmental Footprint
One of the modern-day reasons that Meatless Mondays has become so popular is concern about the environmental footprint we leave. Our environmental footprints are directly measured by the amount of demand we make on Earth’s ecological system.
To calculate the impact of environmental footprints, scientists figure how much land and sea resources are needed to supply us with the food we consume. A recent report indicated that the Earth’s population now uses resources 1.4 times faster than the Earth can reproduce them.
Most of us are concerned about our planet’s future and want to do what we can to reduce the carbon footprint. We now know that going meatless at least one day per week can drastically reduce the impact we leave on the planet.
Raising animals for consumption is a highly expensive pursuit, and that’s passed on to you at the supermarket. And, besides environmental concerns, there are concerns about the way these animals are treated on so-called ‘factory farms.’
Diseases happen at epidemic levels in these fast-production farms, and contamination of the meat also becomes a concern. Clearly, there’s something wrong with the way we raise meat for human consumption.
Another way that going meatless can help the environment is the minimization of water for livestock – much higher than that of grains and vegetables. Between 1,500 and 3,000 gallons of water must be used to produce one pound of beef.
In contrast, the soy that goes into vegetarian meals only needs 220 gallons of water per pound. Water is one of the top concerns of our world today. The droughts in America and elsewhere in the world have left some people starving for food. Going meatless at least one day a week is a good way to lessen the impact of having less water.
Here are some other ways that taking part in Meatless Mondays can help the environment:
· Reduce Fossil Fuel Dependence – An exorbitant amount of fuel is used in the production of meat compared to that in plant-based protein. When you reduce your meat consumption, you’ll help conserve energy.
· Livestock emissions – The FAO reports that livestock is “responsible for approximately 18% of greenhouse gas emissions.” One report states that raising livestock for food puts out more greenhouse gases than the total of all the cars and trucks in the entire world.
· Topsoil and rainforest destruction – Agricultural grazing land takes up about thirty percent of the earth’s surface. We’re ruining natural habitats for animals and plants by clearing land to use for raising livestock.
· Water Pollution — Pollution of our precious water supplies by animal waste and fertilizers and pesticides used to produce feed crops is a top concern to environmentalists.
By consciously choosing to pursue the advantages of a vegetarian diet – even if it’s just one day a week – you can dramatically reduce the amount of oil, land and water that’s now used because of animal consumption.
As the world’s population continues to grow, we must find new and innovative ways to sustain the Earth’s resources. More people means an increase in food requirements – and, as it stands now, our appetite for meat continues to grow. Reducing your meat consumption can slow down the impact.
Meatless Mondays is just one way you can reduce your environmental footprint on the Earth. But, keep in mind that you’ll also reap the benefits of better health, saving money and losing weight. Try Meatless Mondays for yourself and your family and you’ll feel better about yourself and what you’re accomplishing.