Go meatless on monday? Eat without meat? Are you serious? A friend of mine asked me this morning. Perhaps you have heard about the “MeatlessMonday” movement, perhaps not. Perhaps you’ve seen some very funny pictures of a cow, a chicken and a pig with slogans reading “Now we get monday off”, “March to a different drumstick, go meatless” or “Take a big FAT break, it’s monday”. Hilarious isn’t it? What you may find funny is actually a call to get people to give up meat one day a week. Have you began wondering why already? Why should you give up meat for a day? What’s the pay-off? Maybe you’re thinking that if you want to do something good for your health, you’ll make sure to eat fish once a week. Isn’t that enough? By the way telling an African to give off meat is like telling a seemstress to sow without a needle. Well here’s the problem with consuming a diet high in meat:
It may lead to illness
Limited but suggestive evidence shows that red meat increases the risk of esophagus, lung, pancreas, and endometrium cancer and that processed meat consumption increases the risk of esophagus, lung, stomach, and prostate cancer. Furthermore, red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in deaths due to cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Too much meat can cause death
In the United States for example, chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes cause 7 in 10 deaths, and account for 75% of the $2 trillion spent on medical care. The estimated health care costs related to obesity were $147 billion in 2008. Alarming figures right.
It can ruin the environment
The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that roughly one-fifth of the world’s man-made greenhouse gas emissions are produced by the meat industry. Did you know that beef produces twice the emissions of pork, four times as much as chicken, and 13 times as much as vegetable proteins like beans, lentils, and tofu? What’s even more eye opening is how much water lifestock consume: And what about water? Do you know how much water livestock consumes everyday?
– Approximately 1,850 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef.
– Approximately 39 gallons of water are needed to produce a pound of vegetables
Many people spend more by adding meat to their weekly menus. Because meat tends to be more expensive. This is partly because producing meat requires extra expenses like feed and transportation. The more meat we include in our weekly menus, the more we are at risk of preventable cardiovascular disease which makes us spend more on treatment and cure, shortens longevity and can lead to death.
The bottomline is:
A diet rich in meat is not good for you, your health and the environment!
Meatless Monday isn’t just about you and improving your eating habits or making you a healthier person. Certainly, that’s a goal, but there’s a bigger picture at work here and it’s one that’s close to Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles’s heart. Giving up meat one day a week is really good for the Earth, too. So here are some quick tips on how to go meatless once a week and maybe move to twice or thrice a week…o.k. o.k we won’t push it! 🙂
Tip 1: Look for meat from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals from farmers who raise their livestock humanely and sustainably.
Tip 2: Eat fruits and vegetables that are in season where you live, and eat local food that doesn’t have to be shipped to you from across the world but just from across town or right outside the city.
Tip 3: we choose locally sourced products for your personal consumtion.
We can all do a little something to help the world and ourselves. Maybe it’s just one day a week. Maybe you’ll like your new veggie dishes so much, you’ll decide to have your own Meatless Wednesdays and Fridays, too.
Aune D, Ursin G, Veierod MB. (2009) “Meat consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies.” Diabetologia 52:2277-2287
Sinha R, Cross AJ, Garubard BI, Leitzmann MF, Schatskin A. (2009) “Meat intake and mortality: a prospective study of over half a million people.” Arch Intern Med. 169(6):562-71
Mayo Clinic staff. “Meatless meals: the benefits of eating less meat.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/meatless-meals/my00752 Accessed 7/5/2012
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic diseases: the power to prevent, the call to control, at-a-glance 2009. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009.