You may have already heard about the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health initiative Meatless Monday. I know I’ve seen it floating around on Twitter but hadn’t really understood it was a campaign mounted by a prestigious health care institution to “reduce meat consumption by 15% to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”
According to their website, going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. Here’s a small sample of how.
- Beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds contain little to no saturated fats. Too much saturated fat — found in meat — can increase risk of heart disease.
- Plant foods are rich in fiber; meat isn’t (it actually doesn’t contain any). Research does suggest that fiber-rich eating fills you up without contributing too many calories.
- Plant foods also contribute protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium, important nutrition for good health.
- The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions…more than transportation!
- Livestock uses tremendous amounts of water. To produce a pound of beef, it takes 1800 to 2500 gallons of water vs. 220 gallons per pound of tofu.
- About 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef vs. 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce 1 calorie of plant-based protein.
And if all the data isn’t enough, check out these fabulous recipes from the site: Fettucine Florentine & Curry Hummus with Raisins. Plus, there’s much more where those came from. Yum!
Do you have a favorite meatless dish?
Photo by flame via stock.xchang