Dieticians, celebrities, doctors, universities, magazines, employers, and restauranteurs are embracing Meatless Monday. This non-profit initiative is a practical tool to promote healthful eating patterns. Eating vegetarian or vegan, even occasionally, can improve your personal health and longevity and also reduces your environmental impact; the wide-ranging benefits of adopting this habit actually help us all. Cantoro is on board, with tons of meal options and information for our community.
Monday represents almost 15% of the week, and the Meatless Monday campaign was born of a 2010 Healthy People Report’s goal to reduce dietary saturated fat (most of which is from animal products) by 15%. Substituting Fruits, vegetables, and grains (sprinkled with cheese!) for processed meat has been shown to protect against heart disease and stroke, fight diabetes, limit cancer risk, curb obesity, and just promote better health. Many Americans eat almost twice the Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein, in the form of meat. The Meatless Monday message helps people ease into the concept of decreasing this intake, making it easy to incorporate alternative proteins like beans, lentils, and cheeses just one day each week.
Aside from individual health effects, the global benefits to reducing our meat intake are impressive. The concept of trophic levels in ecology is that you can feed 100 people on the grains and water that it takes to produce enough meat for 10 people, so it’s just a smaller footprint on our shared resources. Meat production is also responsible for significantly more greenhouse gas emissions and fuel-usage than vegetable farming, and the Environmental Working Group estimates that if everyone in the United States ate vegetarian for just one day per week, it would be like taking 7.6 million cars off the road!
In the past two years, the Meatless Monday trend has been taking off, primarily due to grassroots support and the win-win appeal of the idea to anyone interested in improving their health. A nationwide survey found that those familiar with the campaign were likely to incorporate it into their weekly routine, to eat more fruits, veggies, grains, and to add a sprinkle of cheese in their diets. This is a fun way to experiment with cooking and ordering meatless recipes. Get into it, already! Check out our cheese department for hearty options like burrata and gruyere, and check this blog for recipes like this mushroom calzone and this artichoke & lemon pasta. You can adjust the heat of the peppers you use in this jalapeño pesto recipe to suit your table, of course, but a good pesto will be a key player in your vegetarian repertoire. Good cooking!