Meatless Monday

Today I practiced my first Meatless Monday.  While I do care about the many health and environmental benefits of Meatless Monday, I decided to start it for kind of a weird reason.

As much as I want to better myself I still have a problem with follow through.  I tend to get discouraged and quit before I even really begin.  I have gotten so used to failing myself that I am sabotaging my own success.  Meatless Monday is something I feel is super simple yet still a goal I can say I accomplished.  Baby steps. 

Today was the first day that I intentionally avoided meat.  I am sure there have been days where I didn’t eat meat in the past.  I just wasn’t aware.  My only concern with Meatless Monday was protein.  I need a lot of protein in my diet so I brought the dreaded protein shakes back into my life.  This mornings shake was made with coffee, chocolate protein power, skim milk, and ice and it was surprisingly satisfying.  Throughout the day I snacked on fruit and possibly chocolate. When I got home from work and had dinner I was content and not even hungry but all of a sudden the idea popped into my head that I could steal a bite of that delicious leftover marinated steak from last night out of the fridge and no one would know.  What kind of logic is that?  It amazes me the strange place my mind goes sometimes.  Thankfully I talked myself off the ledge.  

Meatless Monday #1 a success. 

Why Meatless Monday?  It may not solve these problems but it certainly won’t hurt.

Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. 

 

Health Benefits 

  • LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer. 

  • REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19% 

  • FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. 

  • CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain. 

  • LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality. 

  • IMPROVE YOUR DIET. Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat. 

Environmental Benefits 

  • REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend. 

  • MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound. 

  • HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand. 

 

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