What is Meatless Monday?
Meatless Monday is a global movement with a simple message: once a week, cut the meat. Meatless Monday is part of the Healthy Monday campaign. The Healthy Monday campaign encourages Americans to make healthier decisions at the start of every week. The goal of the Meatless Monday initiative is to reduce meat consumption by 15% for our personal health and the health of the planet.
Meatless Monday is now active in 29 countries and growing because every nation can bring its unique culture, customs and cuisine to the table in meat free and vegetarian dishes.
Why should I participate in Meatless Monday?
Going meatless one day a week can reduce the risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. It will also help limit people’s carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.
Are you still not sold on Meatless Monday?
We all know that meat comes from animals; however, this means that meat contains cholesterol and saturated fat.
- Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance. This description might bother you, but your body does need cholesterol to function properly. Cholesterol is normally present in your blood, but it is also in the foods we eat, like meat. When your body produces too much or when cholesterol levels are too high, your risk of coronary heart disease increases. High cholesterol levels contribute to the development of atherosclerosis - which is plaque building up on the inside of your arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. This process starts as early as childhood or adolescence.
- Saturated Fat are solid fats at room temperature. Eating foods that contain saturated fats also raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of blood cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Be aware that many foods high in saturated fats are also high in cholesterol – which raises your blood cholesterol even higher.
- LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.
- REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
- FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain.
- LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.
- IMPROVE YOUR DIET. Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.
Looking Deeper into Environmental Benefits:
- REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide... far more than transportation. Annual worldwide demand for meat also continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
- MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef; while soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
- HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.
There are many vegetarian options on Saint Louis University's campus.
- In all of the retail units you can find meatless options, whether it is a Mexican dish with beans from Salsaritas to an entree with tofu in the Modern Asian Kitchen.
- TerraVe only serves vegetarian meals so you can always pop in there on a Monday to get satisfying meatless meals.
- Griesedieck dining hall has a vegetarian station full of meatless options. There are typically many vegetarian options at different stations in the dining halls so keep an eye out for those selections as well. Of course you can always create your own meatless meal at the salad bar.
If you have more questions about the Meatless Monday campaign or would like more information on eating meatless on Saint Louis University's campus, you can email me at email@example.com.