Why You Should Do Meatless Mondays

The beginning of spring semester is the perfect time to approach new challenges and stay true to your New Year’s resolutions. With no more game days on Saturdays, ND students are left with much more free time in their schedules. A smart way to use this new time is by trying to improve your health: sleep more, work out more, eat better, start going to church, etc. Whatever your New Year’s resolutions are, here is an easy one to add to your new and improved lifestyle: Meatless Monday!

Meatless Monday is actually a global movement that was founded in 2003 by Sid Lerner from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future. It is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, and its goal is to reduce meat consumption by 15%. By skipping meat every Monday, you can help improve your own personal health and the health of our planet! The Meatless Monday movement is now active in over 40 countries with over 20 languages. It's a global movement because of its international appeal. 

Image by familyeducation

 

Believe it or not, Meatless Monday actually has a history that is over 100 years old. During WWI, the U.S. Food Administration encouraged families to decrease staple food consumption in order to aid the war effort. They advocated for “Meatless Monday” and “Wheatless Wednesday.” During this period, more than 13 million families signed a pledge to do it! Again, during WWII, President FDR relaunched the movement as an effort for war aid. Afterward, President Harry S. Truman continued the movement in order to help feed Europe. The Meatless Monday movement was then revived in 2003 by Sid Lerner at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School. On average, Americans now eat almost 75 more pounds of meat each year than previous generations. By advocating for Meatless Monday, individuals, hospitals, schools, worksites and restaurants help spread the movement across the globe to combat increased meat consumption and benefit our personal health and the health of our planet. 

But why Mondays, and why meatless? Research suggests that people are most likely to try new, healthy behaviors at the start of the week. By focusing on Mondays, one person can skip out on meat 52 times a year and decrease their own meat consumption by almost 15%! Going meatless is so important because it helps improve personal health and the health of the planet. By going meatless, we can reduce our carbon footprint and help conserve precious environmental resources. 

Incorporating the Meatless Monday movement is genuinely beneficial for your personal health. Meatless Monday helps to reduce consumption of red and processed meats and substitute them with plant-based foods such as vegetables, beans, soy and nuts. This has many health benefits including: 

  • Improved heart health and reduced risk for heart disease

  • Decreased risk of type II diabetes

  • Helping maintain a healthy weight 

  • Promoting kidney health 

  • Consumption of alternative and healthier source of protein such as beans, nuts, soy, and other vegetables

Image by Harvard Health Publishing.

 

Meatless Monday is also a great way to help combat global climate change and improve the health of our planet! Reducing meat consumption helps reduce the production of greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. Going meatless also lessens demands for environmental resources such as land, water and energy. Additional benefits related to sustainability are explained by the fact that: 

  • Livestock production creates more greenhouse gases than all cars, trucks, planes and trains combined across the world

  • Livestock production uses 75% of earth’s agricultural land

  • Producing one ¼-pound beef burger uses 425 gallons of water (10 bathtubs)

  • Producing one ¼-pound beef burger uses enough energy to power an iPhone for 6 months 

  • Skipping one serving of beef every Monday for a year saves the emissions equivalent to driving 348 miles in a car 

Image by @MeatlessMonday

 

Overall, implementing Meatless Mondays is a really easy way to change your lifestyle and help the environment. By sacrificing meat once a week, you are personally impacting your own personal health and the health of the planet. Being sustainable has never been so easy!