The Vegetarian and Vegan Essentials to Know for #meatlessmonday

The Vegetarian and Vegan Essentials to Know for #meatlessmonday

Not everyone wants to go vegetarian or vegan full-time. The meat cravings can be harsh. But going meatless one day a week can be a great way to improve your health and the planet!

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Ready to start your week off meatless? Join the growing Meatless Monday Movement and become vegan or vegetarian for a day. Your first two questions might be “Why?” and “Are you crazy?” and both would be fair, but bear with us. We were skeptical of this #meatlessmonday trend as well, but it’s actually really easy and pretty fun. 

A bit of essential history

It’s time to get caught up on the Meatless Monday Movement. If you've been living in a world of meat and don't have any friends or relatives who are vegetarians, you might not know much about this day. To get you caught up, here are some facts about Meatless Monday and why it got started. 

  • Meatless Monday started back in 2003 by Sid Lerner and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Sid Lerner started it because he realized Americans eat over 270 pounds of meat per person per year
  • The movement is now active in 44 countries and is growing every year
  • About 20% of Americans have heard about Meatless Monday

This habit of eating less meat does not seem to be stopping as people consider the many benefits of going meatless on a Monday.

Essential reasons for going vegetarian or vegan

Essential reasons for going vegetarian or vegan

It’s easy to say no to trying this out. We did when we first started hearing about it. But the more we looked into, the more Meatless Monday seemed to make sense. And the more we tried it, the more we realized that going meatless for one day was not as bad as it sounded. Becoming vegetarian for one day a week has its benefits.

Reason 1: Your Health

Going meatless, even if just for one day can help your health over the long term.

  • Reduces your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and obesity
  • Each serving of fruits or vegetables can lower your risk of coronary heart disease by 4% and your risk of stroke by 5%
  • Lowers the amount of cholesterol, saturated fat, carcinogens, and antibiotics in your diet
  • Live a longer, healthier life

Reason 2: The Environment

Not only will going meatless help your health but it will also improve the health of the planet. 

  • Reduces the amount of greenhouse gases—80% of food production greenhouse gases are from livestock
  • Lowers water usage—the water needs for livestock are much greater than for other food products and it takes almost 2,000 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef, but only 39 gallons for a pound of vegetables
  • Reduce fuel usage—it takes about 25 kilocalories of fossil fuels to make 1 kilocalorie of meat protein, while it takes about 2 kilocalories of fossil fuels to make 1 kilocalorie of grain protein

Reason 3: The Animals

If you're an animal lover it can be difficult to think about what happens to animals before they end up on your plate. It doesn't take much of a search to find horror videos about the 300 animals that are killed every second of every day. We won’t go into it all here. 

Cute baby sheep

Reason 4: Money

Eating more meat can cost us and the government a lot of money.

  • If people continue to eat meat at the current rate, it could cost the US more than $200 billion a year by 2050
  • If people ate less meat, the US could save about $180 billion a year in healthcare costs
  • People can save money by going meatless because meat is more expensive than vegetables

Essential Meatless Monday Recipes

Still not convinced? Just take a look at some of these tasty-looking dishes and try to resist Meatless Monday. Being vegetarian never looked so good.

  • Jerk-Style Cauliflower Steaks

Meatless Monday Recipes Cauliflower

Image: Meat Free Monday

  • Pea and Avocado Penne

Meatless Monday Recipes Penne

Image: Meatless Monday

  • Chickpea Tacos

Meatless Monday Recipes Chickpeas

Image: Meatless Monday

For more recipes like these, head over to Meat Free Mondays or Meatless Monday! They have enough recipes to last you many many Meatless Mondays. And maybe a Meatless Tuesday or Wednesday now and then too.

Hopefully, all this talk of vegan food and taking away the meat for a day won’t give you nightmares. Before you start sleeping with your bacon so no one takes it away, just give Meatless Monday a try. You never know. Your stomach and your health might thank you.