Daily Choices

Meatless Mondays

Go vegetarian once a week for a big impact!

What we eat can have a huge impact on the environment. The meat industry can have all kinds of bad impacts on the environment, from deforestation, to air and water pollution, to greenhouse gas emissions.

So what’s the solution? Meatless Monday! Every Monday, opt for a vegetarian option over the normal chicken or beef. There are endless possibilities, and it’s an easy—and delicious—step to reduce your carbon footprint. Meatless Monday is also a great opportunity to educate yourself a little more about your food, how it’s processed, and the impacts it has on the environment around it.

If you’re already doing Meatless Monday, or want to go one step further, there are plenty of ways to keep up the good work! Try expanding from one day a week to two or three. See if you can go vegetarian for a whole week! You can also try out a Meatless and Milkless Monday, eating totally vegan for the whole day. And don’t forget that the more the merrier—get friends, family, and coworkers involved in the fun!

 

Veggie Burger by Copa41, flickr

 

While DEP does not offer any financial incentives, there are plenty of health and financial benefits to Meatless Monday. According to Time, vegetarians save an average of $750 more than people who eat meat.

 

Is it healthy to eat less meat?

Yes! Reducing your meat intake is very good for your health. Time and time again articles come out promoting the health benefits of reducing intake meat, and red meat in particular. Eating less meat, and especially eating a plant-based diet reduces the risks of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and colon and rectum cancers (with strong evidence showing it may reduce the risks of other types of cancers as well). A vegetable and grain-rich diet is a good way to get more of your daily recommended vitamins and minerals, as well as lower your fat intake.

 

How will I get my protein?

A common misconception and argument is that eating less or no meat means you won’t get enough protein or iron. Happily, this misconception is easily proven false, as there are loads of ways to diversify your protein and iron sources. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends sourcing protein from varied food groups. Great sources of meatless protein include low-fat dairy products, egg whites, nuts and seeds, legumes, beans, and soy products. Additionally, there are a number of ways to make a “complete protein” (aka the combination of amino acids that we need). Previously it was though that we could only get complete proteins from meat and eggs, but we now know that there are a ton of plants and grains that offer us the amino acids we need!

What about other nutrients?

The key to any healthy diet is balance and variety. It’s very easy to get nutrients through foods other than meat with a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and dairy products. For vegans who don’t eat dairy products, there are additional fortified foods and vitamins that can supplement certain lost nutrients.

 

 

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