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It’s Meatless Monday: Start Your Week on a “Lighter” Foot

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The holidays are approaching and it is a great time to take stock of our health and evaluate our eating habits— for the good of our bodies and the planet. The latter benefit is something we at SLCgreen feel passionately about.**

That’s why we’re excited to share the Meatless Monday phenomenon with you. The premise is simple: you don’t have to go fully vegan or vegetarian to make a difference. You can realize a significant health and environmental benefit just by skipping animal products one day a week!

We like to think of “Meatless Monday” as an addition, not a subtraction. Eating more whole grains, beans and lentils and vegetables on your meatless day tends to be less expensive and offers more health benefits than eating meat and dairy.

When we chose to participate in a meat-free day it is an easy way to transition to healthier eating habits one day at a time. There have been numerous studies that show that skipping meat one day a week can make a big impact on losing weight while reducing the chances of certain cancers, heart disease, and obesity.

Kids are leading the way!

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A Meatless Monday pilot program in 263 school districts across the country converted almost 400 million meals to meatless, saving 10.3 million animals and preventing over 595,000 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. To put it in perspective, this is equivalent to taking over 125,000 cars off the road for an entire year. Monroe Elementary School is leading the way for Utah by participating in this program!! 

Less meat means more water

We all care about Utah’s precious water resources: we turn off the faucet when we’re brushing our teeth and we have drastically cut down our shower time.

But there’s another way to save water– consider your diet. The water footprint concept was developed to raise awareness of the large quantity of water resources that are required to produce the food we consume. One pound of beef takes beef takes 1,500 gallons of water vs. 110 gallons of water for one pound of corn!

So, if you eat one-seventh less meat, then you use one-seventh less water!

With the wealth of available plant-based options available, it has never been easier to eat with the planet in mind.

Plant-based proteins tend to be less expensive and offer more health benefits than meat. Meat is expensive! The additional resources needed to raise an animal are factored into the final price, meaning you pay a lot more for the same nutrients you could get from plant-based sources.

However, this doesn’t mean that we all must immediately become vegetarians or vegans. In fact, we can make a simple and easy change to reduce our carbon footprint, save money, and be healthier by embracing a new tradition: Meatless Monday.

To browse recipes and learn more about the Meatless Monday movement, click here.

 

**SLCgreen created a presentation and curriculum called “Dining with Discretion” to explain the impact that reducing one’s consumption of animal products can have on the environment and climate. If you’re interested in using this material or are looking for a presenter on the food/climate nexus, contact us at slcgreen@slcgov.com

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