What Is Meatless Monday?
Meatless Monday is a growing national and international movement to encourage people to eat a meat-free diet one day a week. The overall, big-picture goal of Meatless Monday is to reduce meat consumption by 15 percent. The Meatless Monday movement began at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2003, and has developed a significant following on college campuses, among celebrity chefs, governments, authors and bloggers.
The individual-level goals of Meatless Mondays are to help people lead healthier lives and to consider how what we eat contributes to the carbon footprint. There can be real health and environmental benefits to going meatless!
Of course, most people do not want to become full-fledged vegetarians, and trying to win people to a wholly meat-free lifestyle is not the point of Meatless Mondays. Not eating meat just one day out of seven, however, is very doable, and it can have a real impact on an individual's health and even on the world. It also is a healthy and mindful start to any week.
Benefits of Meatless Mondays
There are many benefits to adopting a Meatless Monday lifestyle.
Eating less meat has very real health benefits. Studies show that eating more fruits and vegetables lowers a person's risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is also a critical piece of any healthy diet and can help curb obesity. Reducing meat consumption and upping your veggies could even help peple live longer.
There are environmental benefits to cutting back on meat, too. It takes a lot of energy to raise meat — think of all the grain a farmer must grow to feed a cow or a pig or even a chicken that ends up on your plate. Consider, too, the water necessary to raise so much livestock. Then think of all the fuel required to transport that animal to a grocery store, and then on to your house. Meat has a pretty large carbon footprint relative to fruits and vegetables, and if enough people cut meat from their diets just one day of the week, it can have a very real, very positive environmental impact.
There are also personal benefits beyond the health benefits to undertaking a Meatless Monday lifestyle. The practice of cutting out meat from your diet requires a degree of determination and planning and dedication, and these are powerful and positive qualities to bring to bear on the beginning of each week. Living this way, being mindful, builds a healthy foundation for the other six days of the week, and a strong start makes it easy to continue good behavior.
Famous Supporters of Meatless Mondays
Meatless Mondays are catching on. Some famous chefs, like Mario Batali and Top Chef Master Marcus Samuelson as well as London's Hard Rock Cafe, offer Meatless Monday menu options in their restaurants.
Sir Paul McCartney helped launch Meatless Mondays in the U.K.
Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Moss, Yoko Ono, Simon Cowell and Al Gore all publicly support Meatless Mondays.
Nutrition and fitness experts like Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser, Michael Pollan and Michael Natkin are Meatless Monday practitioners, too.
Then there are the media which support Meatless Mondays: Self Magazine, WOmen's Health Magazine, Zagat Guides, Yum Sugar, to name a few.
Cape Town, San Francisco and Korea are some of the municipalities and states that are on board with Meatless Mondays.
Even Lance Armstrong's LiveStrong Foundation is a Meatless Monday supporter.