Happy New Year! This year I will be supporting Meatless Monday. This campaign is a non-profit public health initiative in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and seeks to educate the public about the benefits of reducing meat consumption. Just one meatless day a week cuts one’s saturated fat intake by an impressive 15%, reducing your risk of chronic, preventable illness, as well as the costs associated with treatment.
The occasional meatless meal can help to reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. The UN estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate climate changes. Also, the water needs for livestock are huge. It is estimated that it takes 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. Then there’s the fossil fuel needed to create beef as compared to plant based protein. On average it takes 54 calories of fossil fuel to generate 1 calorie of beef, and only 2-3 calories of fossil fuel to make 1 calorie of corn, wheat, or soybeans.
Concerned about getting enough protein on Meatless Monday? No need, the latest USDA statistics show that men in the U.S. consume as much as 190% of their recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein, while women eat as much as 160%. The majority of protein in Americans diet is derived from meat and other animal sources. A quick reminder: 2-3 ounces of protein per meal will more than provide a person’s daily protein needs (RDA: women 40-50g = 1.4-1.8 oz., men 50-60g = 1.8-2.1oz.) Here’s a short list of protein content for meatless protein (to see the full list visit the USDA National Nutrient Database)
1 cup cooked oatmeal 6.08g
1 cup Kellogg’s Special K 6.98g
1 cup 2% Cottage Cheese 31g
1 oz. almonds (24 nuts) 6.03g
1 cup rice (white/brown) 5.00g
So why Mondays? Simply, Monday is the beginning of the week, which makes it a good time to set your nutritional goals for the week. With a Meatless Monday, you have a scheduled, recurring reminder to start your week off on a nutritious note. But don’t fret if Monday passes you by, you could always “go meatless one day a week”!
Going meatless one day a week does not automatically make your diet healthier. Remember to balance your food choices, choose more healthy options and keep your calorie intake in check.
Meatless Mondays offer an easy, effective reminder to start the week with a focus on health and nutrition. Will you join me? To get you started I have some “meatless” recipes on my website and I am starting a Facebook Meatless Monday group, please join and let me know how you are doing and share any recipes you enjoyed.