By Rhys Zimmerman
What do you care about most? Your health? The environment? Money? The overall happiness in the world? Reducing your meat consumption is a way to fulfill all of these desires, and a great way to reduce your meat consumption is to participate in Meatless Mondays.
Meatless Monday is an idea that started during World War II as a way to save resources and has spread across the globe to mean so much more. Like the name suggests, every Monday you omit meat from your diet. Many benefits to reducing meat consumption on a personal and global level exist, and many modern role models such as Oprah Winfrey and Paul McCartney have advocated for Meatless Mondays.
The most obvious benefit is reducing the suffering of millions of animals. If every American refrained from eating meat on even one Monday, 1.4 billion animals would be saved from factory farming.
One less obvious benefit is for your wallet. Research by the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition reveals you can save at least $750 per year by switching to a plant-based diet. By those standards, you would save approximately $107 per year by participating in Meatless Mondays. You could choose to save that money or to spend it on splurge items you might otherwise have been unable to afford.
Another reason to participate in Meatless Monday is your health. By foregoing meat, you can significantly reduce your risk for diabetes and heart disease based on studies by the Centre de Recherche en Nutrition Humaine and the University of Oslo. Eliminating meat from your diet does not automatically guarantee overall health, but it is still a great way to bring more awareness into what you eat so that ultimately you’re healthier and happier. The study by the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition shows that a vegetarian diet includes 25 more servings of vegetables, 14 more servings of whole grains and eight more servings of fruit per week when compared to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended weekly meal plan with meat. Through Meatless Mondays, you can make a positive change to your eating habits without making a huge lifestyle change.
On a broader scale, the animal agriculture industry is the biggest contributor of greenhouse gases and one of the leading causes of environmental degradation. Today, 20 to 33 percent of all freshwater consumption in the world is due to animal agriculture, according to “Forks Over Knives,” and livestock takes up 45 percent of the total land on Earth according to Livestock Exchange. These are only a few of the problems associated with the animal agriculture industry. If everyone were to go meatless on Mondays, the impact would be seen almost immediately.
By making a small change once a week, you can make a huge positive impact on the world you live in. Next Monday, try going meatless or thinking twice before reaching for a hamburger.