What’s in a name? The moniker of the movement called Meatless Mondays pretty much sums up its mission: bail on meat products one day each week – it’s good for your health and good for the planet.
Believed to have started in 2003 at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, the campaign’s over a decade old, and growing exponentially. (Quickly learn more with Miriam’s post on its viral spread through Israel – link here).
Sir Paul McCartney launched a website offering recipes and educational materials (link here). A galaxy of stars threw their weight behind the cause: media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, and rap impresario Russell Simmons go for veggies on Mondays when Coldplay’s Chris Martin also “de-couples” from meat. Billionaire domestic goddess Martha Stewart even penned a cookbook simply titled Meatless!
Resistant to the growing mob of the meat-free? See if these eight reasons to jump aboard the veggie train help motivate you to sign up:
1. Shop more simply. Prioritizing produce and legumes will shorten your market visits and likely slash that grocery bill. Skip pricey multivitamins and get your supplements straight from natural sources – our bodies absorb nutrients better when they come directly from food.
2. Eat healthier. Some of the fattest folks I know are vegetarians – just because they swore off meat doesn’t mean they’ve eliminated processed, sugary, and fatty foods. To get maximum health bennies you’ll have to go two-pronged here: eliminate meat and junk food. Eliminating meat makes you re-evaluate plant-based options to satisfy your hunger. Avoid processed foods to to decrease obesity and stave off chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
3. Increase heart health. Vegetarians are 36% less likely than meat eaters to suffer from metabolic syndrome – excess belly fat and high blood triglycerides that increase your risk for heart problems. According to an ongoing study at California’s Loma Linda University, skipping meat even one day a week protects your ticker.
4. Sidestep cancer. Consuming more antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables result in lower cancer rates, and what’s not to love about increased fiber intake? If you also target organically grown produce you’ll cut your exposure to carcinogenic pesticides.
5. Chillax! A 2012 study in published in Nutrition Journal stated that people who switch from omnivore to vegetarian scored 39% lower for stress than meat eaters after just two weeks on their new diet. The mood boost is attributed to plant compounds that fight oxidative stress in your body. So eat more greens to fight the blues.
6. Improve your sex life. No secret that feeling less stressed (see 5 above), healthier (that would be 2 above), and having more cash to spend on fabulous dates (see 1) will all help your love life, but Green Prophet Sex-pert Tinamarie explains, “How we eat and where our food comes is intimately connected to taking better care of the planet and one another.
“After all, sexual well being thrives when our bodies are nourished the right way, and when our minds and hearts are receptive and invigorated by meaningful connections to one another.
7. Live longer. Studies link vegetarian diets and decreased caloric intake to longer life. It may be the result of vegetarians’ lower body mass index, which can protect against heart disease and high blood pressure. Going meat-free once (or twice!) a week also compliments rational diets such as the 5/2 fasting plan.
8. Save the world with your fork. Skipping meat once a week reduces your carbon footprint, greenhouse gas emissions, and saves millions of gallons of precious water.
Mentally, I’m ready to swear off meat full-time, but a recent trip from Jordan to Cyprus – where crispy pork bacon was available at every breakfast – threw a spotlight on my Achilles heel. Meatless Monday appeals to me – I’m thinking this gentle intro to vegetarianism will help me swear off meat for good.
If you also give it a try – would you leave us a comment describing your experience? You may devise some tips and tactics that will help others join the movement.