Monday, August 3, 2009

Who Says Mondays Can't Be Fun?

This summer, I have been reading a lot of HuffingtonPost Green, a site I would highly recommend to all of you environmental advocates out there. It is my top way of finding out about policy, analysis, trends, and fun stories connected to the environment.

In honor of today (everyone's favorite day of the week, Monday), I wanted to write about Meatless Mondays, a nonprofit initiative of The Mondays Campaign, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which is encouraging people to give up meat (at least) one day a week. Their ultimate goal is to reduce meat consumption 15%, a goal that would benefit both the health of the public and of the planet.

The Meatless Monday's website outlines a number of the health benefits from jumping on the bandwagon with this movement.

Health Benefits:
  • Reduce Risk of Heart Disease: Plant-based foods have less saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Most Americans don't get enough fiber, and fiber comes from the bounty of the Earth!
  • Improve Overall Quality of Diet: The more (natural) colors, the healthful and vitamin-rich it will be.
Environmental Benefits:
  • Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the meat industry emits about 1/5 of total greenhouse gases, putting it ahead of the transportation sector.
  • Minimize Water Usage: From 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef (as opposed to 220 gallons per pound of tofu).
  • Help Reduce Fossil Fuel Dependence: About 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the US. Plant-based protein, on the other hand, takes only 2.2 calories.
Meatless Mondays is something I would love to see brought to Leo's in the fall. Granted, it is hard to eliminate the meat options, but you could make the vegetarian options more attractive by getting some intriguing recipes.

Lost on what to eat for protein without your meat? There are plenty of options (and not just tofu), don't you worry?
  • Tempeh: I like tempeh more than tofu becuase it has a more pleasant texture and a slightly nutty flavor; it's great for stir-frys.
  • Edamame: the soybean itself
  • Chickpeas: Do you love Middle Eastern food? Try falafel with some hummus.
  • Lentils: How about some Indian food? You could try a lentil curry.
  • Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt (Fage, Oikos) is delicious and very protein-dense.
  • Eggs: Have breakfast for dinner, and make an omelette!
  • Cheese: Make a pizza!
These are just some basic thoughts, but I'd suggest going to site above and searching for recipes. You might find something you like!

1 comment:

  1. I just read through this because I was looking at the Food column...I also love seitan, which is in the pasta aisle at Leo's. It's the most like meat in terms of texture and really tasty. Also, nuts and beans are good vegan sources of protein.