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People worldwide are following a healthier diet and helping save the planet by committing to Meatless Monday. School systems and businesses across the U.S. have even joined in on the effort. Celebrities like Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, and more have raised their voices to support this concept along with animal protection organizations like the Humane Society and scientific institutions like the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
If you’re new to the idea or are aiming to be more eco-friendly, making Meatless Monday part of your weekly routine is one easy way to help the environment and lead a healthier lifestyle.
What Is Meatless Monday?
The Meatless Monday campaign’s call to action is simple: skip eating meat once a week – and in keeping with the global movement, do it every Monday. Sid Lerner launched “The Monday Campaigns” in 2003 in conjunction with the John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Today, people, businesses, schools, restaurants, and other organizations from over 40 countries are united in the movement to reduce meat consumption for the good of the planet and to improve human health.
How Is Eating Less Meat Better For Your Health?
Many scientific and medical institutions agree that cutting meat out of your diet once a week or more is good for your health. According to the Mayo Clinic, research shows that people who eat red and processed meat are at an increased risk of severe complications from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Reducing meat intake helps prevent this because a plant-based diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and fiber – all of which are healthier meat alternatives. Harvard Health reports that adopting a plant-based diet also helps prevent chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. With school lunch programs, restaurants, and grocers around the world offering more plant-based options, it’s easier than ever to find Meatless Monday options to serve at each meal.
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How Does Meatless Monday Help the Planet?
Along with improving your health, Meatless Monday also helps the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, current global atmospheric concentrations of harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are “unprecedented compared with the last 800,000 years.” Alarming amounts of greenhouse gas emissions contribute to global warming – which continues to wreak havoc on the planet, changing weather patterns, disrupting the global food supply, amplifying wildfires, and more.
Reducing meat consumption helps decrease greenhouse gas emissions. It also helps conserve critical resources like land, water, and energy. For example, producing a single beef hamburger (including bread, meat, lettuce, and tomato) uses 660 gallons of water. On top of that, every pound of beef produced requires 1,800 gallons of water. Given these large water requirements, it’s easy to see how taking meat off the menu at least one full day a week can help conserve one of Earth’s most vital natural resources. Consuming less meat will also help reduce deforestation, increase biodiversity, and decrease water pollution – all of which are impacted by livestock production and farming.
Doing Your Meatless Part Matters!
Some people might find it hard to suddenly stop eating meat for a whole day (or more) each week. Like all new routines, adopting the change slowly might make it easier. First, try to reduce the portion of meat you eat at a meal. Next, try skipping meat altogether for one meal. When you get more comfortable without meat on your plate, try skipping it at least three meals a week or more. And now more than ever, there are countless delicious recipes out there that are meat-free. Check out this website for a bunch of ideas!
Doing your part to support Meatless Monday will ultimately help you adopt a healthier diet and help save the planet for the next generation.