Meatless Mondays are catching on. Why should you go meatless at least one day a week?
Save the planet
The meat industry is responsible for almost 20 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, as estimated by the United Nations and reported by MeatlessMonday.com. The more people cut down on meat, the less greenhouse gas emissions. Less livestock also means less strain on fresh water and less use of fossil fuel. (Update: If a family of four skips meat and cheese for one day a week for a year, it has the same impact as taking their car off the road for five weeks .)
Improve your health
Most Americans eat more animal protein than is recommended. Too much meat consumption is associated with cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Many diseases that Americans seem to have started to think of as an inevitable part of aging are not as prevalent in parts of the world that don’t eat the “Western diet” high in animal protein and processed foods. I first became aware of this issue when I read The China Study. I wrote a mini-review here.
Change your mindset
If you do not already eat any vegetarian meals, you may find that taking the opportunity to eat them at least one day a week will cause you to rethink what makes a meal. For example, I always used to picture a hunk of meat, a starch, and a vegetable when I was putting dinner together, but now that I have been eating meatless on Mondays for a few months, I have begun to picture meals differently. When I do serve meat, it is often an accent to the meal, such as some ground turkey in a sauce or a bean-based chili, rather than the centerpiece.
Show some conviction
Why Monday? It doesn’t have to be Monday. Any other day would work just as well. On the other hand, by having to abstain on a certain day when you might be presented with a meat-eating situation, you have the opportunity to think about your commitment and follow your convictions. This could also help to …
Spread the word
Make the pledge, and let others know why you’re not eating meat. Show them how easy it is.
Today’s Meatless Monday Meal
- 2 sweet potatoes, sliced and roasted
- 2 onions, sliced and sauteed
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced and sauteed
- 1 cup black beans
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock (or water)
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
- 4 whole wheat tortillas
1. Slice and saute the onions. After about 10 minutes of cooking the onions, add the sliced red bell pepper and cook until tender. Add about half of the black beans. Add a little vegetable stock, and mash the black beans slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Mix the remaining half of black beans and the enchilada sauce. Heat through. Mix in the cilantro.
3. Layer the casserole as follows. Tortillas, half of the onion-black bean mixture, half of the sweet potato, half of the cheese, and half of the black bean-sauce mixture. Repeat.
4. Bake about 30 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Do you think it’s important to eat meatless at least once a week? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.