I’ve ‘resolved,’ if you will, to observe ‘Meatless Monday’ this year, although it won’t always be Monday night. This week, it was. Last week, we went meatless on Wednesday. However, it occurred to me (due in part to a somewhat heated discussion with my dear husband) that while I saw ‘Meatless Monday’ as a harmless and fun way to get us to eat more veggies and grains, other people might perceive the concept in a totally different way, or maybe not even understand it at all. The truth is, there are LOTS of reasons to participate in Meatless Monday. Whether only one reason resonates with you or all of them, it’s always a good idea to add more plants and grains to your diet!
First of all, be sure to visit the official ‘Meatless Monday’ website. They have loads of information, recipes, articles and even t-shirts. Below, I’ve summed-up the biggest reasons to go meatless at least once a week; for more information and exact figures and percentages, please be sure to read their ‘Why Meatless?’ page.
1. Be Healthier. Increasing fruits and vegetables and the ‘good’ fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats) helps reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Also, eating less red meat helps fight obesity and improve your longevity.
2. Stretch Your Grocery Budget. Meat is WAY more expensive than beans as a protein source! Use the money you save to splurge on extra veggies, a great bottle of wine or even a vacation!
3. Help The Planet. Commercial agriculture has taken its toll on the environment. Water and energy consumption are at their peaks, while industrial pollution contributes to climate issues. Help support smaller, local farms that practice organic farming, or at working toward going organic, when you buy meat.
4. Add Some Variety. Look at going meatless as an opportunity to make something other than spaghetti with marinara. Choose a protein source like eggs, tofu, quinoa or beans and build from there. Chilis, soups and stews are excellent options, as well as rice and grain ‘casseroles.’ Check out a vegetarian cookbook from the library and get cooking!
No matter what you believe, Meatless Monday is a great start to improving your health!
Holly R. Layer received a B. A. in Journalism from Penn State and served four years in the U. S. Air Force before deciding to go back to school to become a Registered Dietician. She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related. An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy. Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive! You can find her at www.thefrozenpineapple.com.