meatless mondays

I’m all for vegetarianism, as I am one myself. But every bit helps!!!

Meatless Mondays: The Veg Life Chose Me

Like I’ve said before, some easy environmentalism tips aren’t so easy where I am from.  When I was younger, I never really liked the taste of meat and would much rather eat potatoes!  I would unknowingly go days without meat and thought about or even attempted going vegetarian many times before.

One day, I was on YouTube for hours on end like I frequently was in my high school days!  I would always get lost and end up watching videos I wouldn’t have ever thought about watching.  I saw a video by Bonny Rebecca.  I can’t find the actual video that inspired me, but this is close.  In the following weeks, I watched vegan documentaries and videos back to back to back.  This included Forks Over Knives (1 hr 36 min), Cowspiracy (1 hr 30 min), Authentic Food Choices Ted Talk (19 min) Gary Yourofsky’s Best Speech Ever (49 min), 101 Reasons to Go Vegan (1 hr 9 min), and Food, Inc (1 hr 33 min) on YouTube or Netflix.  There are definitely more, but those are the ones I remember.  Some of them can be scary or gory so if that bothers me, either ask me or search for which ones will be better for you.

But after only one day of the vegan marathon I was on, I stopped eating animal products.  I, as expected, have messed up since then.  We aren’t perfect of course!  But I think I am making a big difference!  It’s important to make sure you aren’t letting the fear of slipping up stop you from making a big difference!

If I could go back, I probably wouldn’t have jumped in head first because it’s a lot easier to stick to a habit if you adapt to it at a normal rate!  I’ve found better plans that my friends and family have found more successful!

  1. Transitioning One Day at a Time:  This method would be being vegan (or vegetarian or whatever your goal may be) on one day a week until that is normal and then adding one more day a week and so on.  You may get to 7 very quickly and be vegan!  You also might do less forever, but you will still make a big difference!
  2. Transitioning One Meal at a Time:  My most recommended is being vegan at lunch first.  This way if you are craving something, you can have that food for dinner that night!  I also think breakfast can be hard for a lot of people!  Even if you stick with lunch forever, that’s awesome!
  3. Transitioning Through:  This is a method commonly recommended.  It includes eliminating certain foods at a time.  First may be red meat, then being pescatarian, then vegetarian, then vegetarian without dairy, and then vegan!  Like the other methods, each step you take is better than the first and if you stop, it’s still better than never starting!  This is my least favorite of the three, though, because you don’t necessarily figure out vegan meals you like until the very end.  At the same time, it works for people so if you like the idea, try it!

I really recommend everyone watches some of these videos and documentaries simply to be familiar with the issues.  I also think anyone can benefit from decreasing meat and increasing whole foods!  Let me know if y’all have any questions!

Meatless Mondays

Environment

You might be surprised by how much water it takes for the food to get to your plate.  The food we eat makes up about 80% of America’s total water footprint. This can be accounted for in virtual water.  Virtual water is the amount of water that is embedded in products needed for its production so this includes to water, clean, and transport for example.  Pound for pound, meat has a much higher water footprint than vegetables, grains or beans. For instance, a single pound of beef takes, on average, 1,847 gallons of water. It adds up with a range around the world of 7-305 pounds per person per year.  Assuming everyone eats equal amounts of meat each day, adding meatless Monday will bring that number down to 6-262 pounds per person per year (divide by 7 and then multiply by 6) and that’s a big difference!  Beyond water footprint, let’s talk about carbon footprint!  Beef produces 13 times the emissions of vegetable protein (beans, lentils, tofu, etc.)  Once again that’s a big difference!  This is very simplified and does not take into consideration all the pollution that comes from animal agriculture!

Health

Pant-based meals, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes and nuts, is rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. A National Cancer Institute study of 500,000 people found that those who ate the most red meat daily were 30 percent more likely to die of any cause during a 10-year period than were those who ate the least amount of red meat. Other processed meats also increased the risk plenty, but the people who ate the least meat were least likely to die in the 10-year period.

“But Protein???”

YouDon’tNeedMeatFor! Protein!

But in all seriousness, make sure you eat enough calories!  If you put the same amount of vegetables of vegetables as you would meat, that’s not going to work!  Most meat-free food is less calorie dense than meat so keep that in mind.  Don’t forget variety and you shouldn’t have problem with protein, iron, vitamins, or anything else you might be worried about!

Animals

This is the reason most people suspect when you say you’re eating less meat or going vegetarian.  After all, modern agriculture commonly keeps animals in overcrowded stalls, cages, crates, or sheds where they are often unable to turn around or take even a single step for their entire lives.  Deprived of care, exercise, sunlight, and grass, the animals suffer tremendously before even coming to the slaughterhouse.  It is important to remember that the animals are living, breathing, thinking, and feeling beings.  More than 25 billion animals are killed by the meat industry each year.

In modern factory farms, animals are routinely injected with hormones and stimulants to make them grow bigger and faster.  Some of these injections have been proven to cause cancer and other diseases.  Feedlots are crowded, filthy, stinking places with open sewers and choking air. The animals would not survive in the filthy and crowded conditions without the unnatural amount of antibiotics used.  At some farms, cattle are fed dead ground up cows.

What now?

Add some meatless meals to your diet! And you don’t have to do it on a Monday, but Meatless Wednesdays just doesn’t sound as good.  Do what works best for you! Let me know in the comments how your meatless day went or if you have any questions!