by Caitlin Rose
Thanks to the Meatless Monday campaign, the benefits of a plant-based diet are getting more exposure than ever before! Meatless Monday is an initiative by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to encourage people to cut meat out of their diet one day a week. They chose Mondays because studies have found that resolutions made on the first day of the week are more likely to stick. Mondays give people a fresh start and a chance to make healthy changes to their routine.
At Down to Earth, we’re helping people start their week off right by offering 10% off select veggie meats in Chill and Frozen every Monday! Just look for the colorful Meatless Monday tag on all our sale items. We’re doing our part to encourage this movement, and we’re in good company. A long list of hospitals, schools, universities and restaurants in the United States and around the world have teamed up to promote the Meatless Monday campaign with vegetarian menu options and educational programs on the benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet.
The Meatless Monday campaign is gaining even more publicity from the celebrity chefs and straight-up celebrities who have embraced it. Oprah has announced that her studio will offer Meatless Monday options. Frequent Dr. Oz guest Chef Andy Bacigalupo recently suggested instituting Meatless Mondays in schools at a White House summit on child nutrition. World famous race-car driver/environmental activist Leilani Munter promotes Meatless Mondays on her website. Director James Cameron urged the audience at an Earth Day celebration to adopt Meatless Mondays. Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts has incorporated Meatlesss Mondays into her weekly routine, following a successful battle with cancer. The list of influential Meatless Monday advocates is long and growing.
The publicity from celebrity endorsements has helped the Meatless Monday movement go mainstream, but the real engine behind their appeal is their easy, fact-based approach to helping people take small but significant steps in the right direction.
Why go meatless? The Meatless Monday campaign urges people to give up meat one day a week for two simple reasons: it’s the most beneficial change you can make for your health and the health of the environment. The researchers behind Meatless Mondays cite studies indicating that reduced consumption of meat may limit cancer risk1, reduce heart disease2, fight diabetes3 and curb obesity.4 They stress that simply cutting meat out of your diet may not be enough. You need to replace it with healthy, whole, minimally processed plant-based foods like beans, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
The environmental benefits of reducing meat consumption are far ranging. Cutting out meat helps reduce your carbon footprint, minimize the use of fresh water – our world’s most precious and diminishing resource – and helps reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Raising animals for food is incredibly resource-intensive, wasteful and polluting. The Meatless Monday website explains that it can take anywhere from 1800 to 2500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. By comparison, it only takes 220 gallons of water to produce a pound of tofu.5 Additionally, it takes 40 calories of fossil fuel to produce a pound of beef, while it only take 2.2 calories of fossil fuel to produce a pound of plant-based soy protein.6
The goal of the Meatless Monday campaign is to convince a large number of people to make a small change. All together, those little efforts will make a big difference for the health of the planet, and the health of everyone who incorporates more whole, plant-based foods into their diet. At Down to Earth, we’re proud to support the Meatless Monday campaign by raising awareness, offering everyday deals on healthy plant-based food, and offering special Monday sales on select veggie meats. Whether you go meatless on Monday or every day, we hope you’ll join us in spreading the word!
- "Diet and Cancer Research." The Cancer Project. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, n.d. Web. 10 Feb 2012. .
- Mozaffarian D, Micha R, Wallace S (2010) Effects on Coronary Heart Disease of Increasing Polyunsaturated Fat in Place of Saturated Fat: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. PLoS Med 7(3): e1000252. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000252
- Aune, D., Ursin, G., & Veierod, M. (2009). Meat consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Diabetologia, 52(11), 2277-2287. doi: 10.1007/s00125-009-1481-x
- Newby, P., Tucker, K., & Wolk, A. (2005). Risk of overweight and obesity among semivegetarian, lactovegetarian, and vegan women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 81(6), 1267-1274. Retrieved from http://www.ajcn.org/content/81/6/1267.abstract
- Kreith, M. (1991). Water inputs in california food production. In Sacramento: Water Education Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.vl-irrigation.org/cms/fileadmin/content/irrig/general/kreith_...
- Pimental, D., & Pimental, M. (2003). Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 78(3), 660S-663S. Retrieved from http://www.ajcn.org/content/78/3/660S.abstract