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Meatless Monday

September 28, 2009

What’s for dinner at your house tonight? How about a meat–free dish? Just by reducing animal protein in your diet, you could lessen your risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes. Many people have found that reducing animal protein consumption can help with low energy and sugar cravings. You can also improve the health of our environment by preserving natural resources like water and fossil fuels.

Join a growing number of people all over the country in the Meatless Monday movement and pledge to eat meat-free once a week.  What will you eat in place of your meat entrée? Try incorporating more vegetables into your meal, which are high in fiber and will make you feel full and satisfied. Beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds are also a great meat alternative. They are high in protein, iron and magnesium and contain little to no saturated fat.

You’ll also reduce your carbon footprint by cutting back on meat just once a week. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the meat industry generates nearly 1/5 of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide. Our precious water resources are exhausted daily and the demand continues to grow. Approximately 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. This total far surpasses the amount of water needed for vegetables and grains.

People are confused about how to start making improvements to their health, let alone make sizable changes to the environment. Start with what you put on your dinner plate. Start today. You don’t have to become a vegetarian to make a difference. Michael Pollan recently stated on the Oprah show: “Even one meatless day a week — a meatless Monday, which is what we do in my household — if everybody in America did that, that would be the equivalent of taking 20 million mid-size sedans off the road.”

Need recipe ideas? Check out Meatless Monday’s recipe page or our website. Just think about the health message you’re starting today and how you can extend it for the rest of the week. Go meatless and the possibilities are endless!

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.