Meatless Mondays – Pros and Cons

Recently, the Meatless Monday movement has been gaining more and more followers. There are many benefits for families, roughly divided to 2 categories – personal health and environmental health.

Meats are a great source of protein, and many people are concerned that they won’t be getting enough if they miss a day. However, most Americans consume much more protein than their body requires. In fact, the average intake is  8 ounces of meat per day, 45% more than the USDA recommends. Alternative sources include eggs, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Here’s a list of reasons to try a meatless-day-a-week:

  • Better heart health.
  • Reduced chances of various types of cancer.
  • Consumption of alternatives increase intake of healthy fiber and nutrients from plant-based foods.
  • Save the environment – it takes 20 times the energy to produce one calorie of meat protein compared to one calorie of vegetable protein.
  • Expose yourself to tasty dishes from parts of the world where meat isn’t a must-eat-3-times-a-day.
  • Save money.

An here’s the list of cons:

‘Nuff said. If you’re considering meatless days but don’t have any idea what to prepare for your family, there are plenty of resources both online and offline. One of the best cookbooks is Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, that covers categories and dishes from all over the globe. Online, just google your favorite dish adding the word “vegetarian”, and you’ll quickly learn how to prepare most anything. For example, a meatless version of Ragù sauce in the video above.

Bon apetit and have a great week.

Get Fooducated

  • Avashnea

    There are NO health benefits to a meatless Monday. Meat is perfectly healthy and MUCH healthier than any plant protein source. Every one of the your ‘health benefits’ is false and has never been true except in vegetarian’s dreams.

  • Monica

    Too much of everything is a bad thing. Too much meat is bad, and so is eating too much fiber. I eat chicken, eggs, fish, or red meat once a day and i don’t see how that would be considered too much. If i replace this meal with more plant food I’m gonna have some serious bloating and diarrhea.

  • Chef Shigellini

    Oooohh…”the lentils are soooo hearty” and farty.

    I dislike being told how to eat by an anorexic.

  • Timothy Lake

    I was a vegetarian for decades, but I now eat locally grown chicken, fish and lamb. I watch the amount I eat (4 oz. or less/day). We don’t observe meatless Monday but I am 100% behind anything that makes you more mindful of what you are eating. Meat, per se, is not bad for you, but large amounts come with large amounts of saturated fat, which aren’t good for you. Pay attention to your body and eat from every food group. Cut back on meat and other saturated fat, eat more fish and chicken, add fresh fruits and vegetables and cut down on processed and refined calories (sugar, white flour etc). You will feel full and satisfied with fewer calories and more energy. You don’t have to be some “health nut” to be healthy, but you need to be open to change. It is easy to criticize and harder to be open to new ideas. “Mindful Monday” may be more important than “Meatless Monday.”

  • kevin

    This post is a bit misleading. The RDA for protein is the minimum amount you are required to consume in order to avoid losing lean muscle mass (essentially, wasting away). So, the statement that Americans eat way more protein than they need is not completely accurate. Yes, we eat more than we need to in order to avoid wasting away, but eating more than RDA may well have health benefits on muscle mass and strength, bone health, and cardiovascular function.

  • Monica

    UPDATE: I just went to the doctor because i ‘m dealing with amenorrhea and i couldn’t understand why. He explained to me that i was wasting away thanks to my low protein, low fat diet. Just like Kevin said in his comment. Now i have another reason to skip meatless Monday.

  • Sloth

    Geez, there’s a lot of offended fatty Americans commenting this.

    There is health benefits to meatless Monday! To say that it’s unhealthy to not eat meat one day a week is absurd. Think of people in different cultures from you, such as in India. They do eat meat, but are centered around more plant-based foods. They seem pretty healthy to me. Healthier than a lot of people in America and the UK (where I live) that is for sure.

    Plus – if people were to give up eating animals for a ONE day(!) a week there would not be such demand for cattle/etc. Wouldn’t that eventually make the need for processed chicken/etc less?
    See this article for more info: http://www.fooducate.com/blog/2009/08/03/guess-whats-in-the-picture-foodlike-substance/

    Noone is still denying that there is climate change (hopefully) so this should be an acceptable cause; It will reduce your carbon footprint. see here: http://bellinghammeatfreemonday.com/environmental/

    Countries and institutions are also recognizing the need to promote pure vegetarianism (veganism). The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) will be cutting meat (and dairy) from the menus of hospitals across the UK in an effort to cut costs and carbon. Its one part of the NHS hospitals strategy to reduce carbon emissions throughout the hospital system.

    Following Paul McCartney’s Meat Free Monday mission in the UK, Israeli restaurants are also participating in going veggie for at least one day a week.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/5621148/Paul-McCartneys-Meat-Free-Monday-mission.html
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3736884,00.html

    http://www.veganmeat.com/
    http://meatfreepetition.com/

  • Corey

    According to Jim Gaffigan:

    He notices that vegetarians, for not eating meat, sure seem to be obsessed with it since so many of them eat food that isn’t meat but is shaped like meat.
    The vegetarian: “I’ll have a veggie burger with fake bacon…” “I don’t like meat, I just like to call meat late at night and hang up. Let’s drive by meat’s house. Does meat ever ask about me?”

    You never see that the other way around… “Yes I’ll have the steak and can you make it taste like tofu?”

  • Chef Derek

    This article is a crock! Meatless Mondays…..does absolutely nothing. The less beef “you” eat, the more chicken and fish consumption goes up. And, comparing the environmental impact from cattle farming to plant based farming is highly skeptical at best. When you consider the amount of fertilizer, usage of diesel on equipment, damage to the soil if not following strict procedures….I could keep going. This vegan agenda is getting way out of hand and to have no cons listed is just ignorant.

  • Chef Derek

    @Sloth
    Thats because they are socialists and elitists who have been brainwashed and infiltrated by the 1% of nutbags that actually believe all of that bs you are spewing. I say why don’t you veganatzi’s actually go spend some time on a farm, get to actually produce something besides blogs, and make something of yourselves. THEN, leave us normal folk alone. I like animals, I like to raise them, harvest (yes, kill) them, clean and butcher them and then consume them. I even make a living at it! Not only am I an executive chef of 25 years, but I also farm and hunt! All the while these vegan nuts want to kill off all farm and pen raised animals so as not to have them inbreed with wild animals and contaminate the species. Do some real investigating and look to the real agenda of the vegan movement, like HSUS and their disgusting adds on tv stealing money from people who think they are actuallygiving money to shelters to help animals. You people make me sick!

  • Chef Derek

    @Timothy Lake
    You are a very wise person. Well put!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363490129 Barrett Reznick

    “Save the environment – it takes 20 times the energy to produce one
    calorie of meat protein compared to one calorie of vegetable protein.”… Wow I didn’t realize that grass cost the environment so much lol. I think this stat gets too blown out of proportion. It should say “Save the environment – it takes 20 times the energy to produce one
    calorie of CONVENTIONAL GRAIN/SOY RAISED meat protein compared to one calorie of vegetable protein.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363490129 Barrett Reznick

    I will agree that doing this once a week is beneficial, especially as autophagy is concerned.