Vegetarian and vegan diets are becoming more and more popular every year, but it can be tough to completely give up meat. Fortunately, you can experience many of the benefits of a plant-based diet by cutting out meat just one day per week. The Meatless Monday campaign encourages people to eat only vegetarian or vegan foods on Mondays. Here are the benefits in participating in Meatless Monday.
Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can help prevent cardiovascular disease and boost your heart health. The fiber in plant foods reduces inflammation, which is linked to heart attack and stroke. Replacing meat with plant based foods once a week is great for your heart health.
Reducing your meat consumption can also lower your risk of cancer. Research shows that consuming red meat and processed meat can increase your risk of colorectal cancer and put you at risk for lung, esophageal, and pancreatic cancer. Replacing red or processed meat with plant based foods will reduce the risk of a wide variety of diseases.
Meatless Monday can lower your risk of catching a food borne illness. A majority of food borne illnesses are related to animal products, especially meat. Eating plant-based foods one day per week will reduce your risk of ingesting contaminated meat.
Taking a break from meat for one day can be great for your digestive system. Your body uses a lot of resources and energy to break down animal proteins, while plant based foods are much easier to digest. If you experience nausea and bloating, Meatless Monday could help you give your digestive system the break it needs.
Many people report that following a vegetarian or vegan diet helps them lose weight. Fruits and veggies are lower in calories than meat products, so you can eat a larger volume of them. The high fiber content in plant foods also helps you fill up faster and stay full for longer, reducing your total caloric consumption. If you participate in Meatless Monday for several weeks or months, you might start to notice some weight loss.
A Chance for Variety
If your meals predominately revolve around meat, vegetarian options will give you a chance to experiment with new foods and recipes. There are a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes to choose from. Meatless meals let you explore new recipes and styles of food. Try using different spices or sauces to shake things up, this will prevent you from getting bored with your weekly meals and provide the nutrients that your body needs.
Better for Your Wallet
Meatless Monday are great for your weekly grocery budget. While “fake meat” products or fancy health foods may be more expensive than meat, eating vegetarian or vegan meals can be extremely cheap if you select the right types of foods. Focus on cheap and healthy foods like beans, bananas, vegetables, potatoes and grains. The cost of preparing a meal centered around plant based foods will be much lower than the cost of preparing chicken, fish, pork, or red meat.
Meatless Monday, can also cut back on your healthcare spending. Eating more plant-based foods lowers your risk of a variety of diseases, which could lower your health insurance costs or the amount of money you spend at the doctor.
The environmental benefits of Meatless Monday are some of the most important reasons to consider participating. Reducing meat consumption is one of the best ways to lessen your carbon footprint and contribute to environmental sustainability.
Livestock need hundreds or thousands of gallons of water, but vegetables and grains need much less. For example, one pound of beef takes over 1,800 gallons of water to produce while one pound of vegetables only requires about 40 gallons of water. Not eating meat for one day per week will help lower the amount of water usage.
Meat production creates more methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide than vegetables. For example, beef produces about 30 kilograms of greenhouse gases per kilogram of food while carrots and potatoes produce less than 0.5 kilograms of greenhouse gases per kilogram. You’ll help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases by eating less meat.
If you’re worried about fossil fuel dependence, Meatless Monday is a great way to help cut back. Grains take less fossil fuel to produce than meat, therefore switching to a diet of whole grains, fruits, and veggies for one day per week will make a big impact on how much fossil fuel you produce.
Furthermore, vegetarianism and veganism can help combat food shortage. When more people eat grains and plant foods instead of meat, it helps provide more people with food.
Not eating meat for one day a week might not seem like it can make a difference, but it does. Participating in Meatless Monday will improve your health, budget, and the environment. It is also a good opportunity to try out new foods and add more variety to your diet.