Every day I feel that I am bombarded with articles telling me what I should eat, how much to exercise and a plethora of other lifestyle changes I must make to live a long and healthy existence. There is a bewildering and overwhelming amount of information and I can’t help but wonder to myself, ‘it can not be this complicated to make healthy choices’.
This is why I love the Meatless Monday movement. It’s brilliant in its simplicity, doesn’t ask much from you and the benefits to your health, the environment and your wallet are significant. This global movement has a simple message: once a week, cut the meat. That’s it. It’s a small change in the way you eat, just one day a week, and it packs big benefits.
Here are my top three reasons for people to give Meatless Mondays a try:
1. There are so many health benefits!
There are numerous studies that have proven eating more plant-based foods and less red meat can increase longevity. It also decreases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, lowers your cholesterol and can decrease blood pressure. This doesn’t mean that you have to become a strict vegetarian to reap these rewards, just cut back on meat once a week and the health benefits will still find you.
2. It will set you up for a successful week.
How you kick start your week can really set the tone for how you manage yourself. Starting off making positive, informed and healthy choices will set you on the right path to better decision making and less lethargy throughout the week.
3. Decrease your environmental footprint.
The statistics speak for themselves. Animal agriculture alone produces more greenhouse gases than the combined exhaust from all modes of transport. It is responsible for 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. With the rate that our planet is devouring meat, the emissions for agriculture are projected to increase by an excruciating 80% by 2050. We are already on track to exceed our global CO2 limit by 2030.
Replacing meat with plant based foods means less water and energy is required to produce your food and fewer greenhouse gases are expelled during production. It takes a whopping 1800 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef! Compare that to the 108 needed to produce the same amount of corn.
Raising livestock is so resource-intensive because of how much corn, soy, and other feed must be grown to feed the animal. The resource footprint of a cow or pig includes all of the water, land and energy required to grow the food that the animal eats, so it is significantly higher than the overall footprint of plants.
Now, cutting out meat alone won’t offer any substantial health benefits. What you replace the meat with is just as important. So make sure you choose healthy, vegetarian alternatives. Your health and the environment will thank you.
Small Steps, Big Impact.