'Meatless Mondays' by Chef Kyleigh Beach
It seems to me like there’s been a movement toward eating less meat in some way, shape, or form. It would be difficult for most of us to commit fully to a vegetarian (or vegan!) lifestyle, but taking even small steps in that direction can do wonders for our health, our wallet, and our environment. The New York Times’ food writer Mark Bittman has recently been in several food publications discussing his “Vegan Before 6” lifestyle. Bittman attributes his 30 pound weight loss and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels to abstaining from meat during the day.
Not only has this approach improved his own health, but the health of the planet in a small, but important way. The livestock industry is responsible for producing somewhere around 18% of greenhouse gases. Meat is also usually the most expensive part of the meal. High quality protein can be found in beans, whole grains, nuts, and soy products, and they all cost less than meat.
Interesting enough, today’s Meatless Mondays movement was inspired by Herbert Hoover’s Beefless Tuesdays during World War 1. Beefless (and usually pork- and lamb-less too) Tuesdays were not created for health or environmental reasons, but to encourage rationing so there was enough food to send to US Troops. It was a way everyone could do their part for the war effort. Restaurants across the country joined in as well.
Some restaurants today are embracing Meatless Mondays, including those owned by Mario Batali, a chef who at first glance may not seem to be pro-vegetarian. Of course there are all kinds of slim celebrities who probably don’t eat much of anything, on the bandwagon too. In my opinion this is a great bandwagon to jump on. I know my pants and my wallet would feel a difference if I ate less meat.