I first heard about the idea of Meatless Mondays a few years ago when Arnold Schwarzenegger was interviewed about his diet. During the interview he surprisingly advocated passionately for people to adopt plant-based eating as much as possible but starting with one day a week. His admission that the years of macho steak eating were the result of ignorance left me feeling even more positive about my own move away from meat and dairy. If the man that defeated the Predator is plant- based, then shouldn’t we all be? The idea behind Meatless Mondays stems back to WW1 but was made more famous by US President Roosevelt, who during WW2 announced the initiative to save on food rations and combat food scarcity. In 2003 the idea was dusted off to solve the opposite problem – massive overconsumption resulting in a prevalence of preventable health issues and alarming damage to the natural world. The following infographic published by the United Nations highlights the issue more clearly than I could.
By avoiding meat for at least one day a week you will be having a positive impact on both your own health and the environment. A study carried out by Oxford University’s department of public health found that eating meat less than three times a week could prevent 31,000 deaths from heart disease, 9,000 deaths from cancer and 5,000 deaths from stroke, as well as save the NHS £1.2 billion in costs each year (1). This is because every additional 70g of red and processed meat intake per day is associated with a 15% higher risk of heart disease and a 30% higher of diabetes (2).
If this isn’t enough food for thought, there are great websites such as www.meatfreemondays.com that provide further resources and inspiration. While I would always advocate for the whole foods plant- based option, even just replacing meat with plant alternatives is a quick and easy step to lessen health risks as well as your impact on the environment.
UN Environment (3)
1 https://meatfreemondays.com/why-it-matters/ 2 https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2021-03-02-regular-meat-consumption-linked-wide-range-common-diseases
by Tom Robinson