Thursday, February 4, 2010
Meatless Monday Movement
I get a lot of questions as to why I decided to go down the vegetarian/vegan path. I can recall in my mid-teens wondering where the food I ate came from? Neither of my parents had explained any of this to me and in my idealist mind, I wasn't sure what bologna, ham, salami, beef, and everything else that was in my refrigerator truly originated.
So, when I came to find out the ugly truth about animals being slaughtered, I decided that was the beginning of the end. I immediately stopped consuming pork and beef (which I had never been a fan of to begin with), then during my 20's started phasing out chicken, turkey and lastly in my now 30's have developed an allergy to fish and shellfish, so they have phased out for 3 years now.
This was no easy task coming from a Hispanic background where meat dominates the food plate and I would get into arguments with my father who wanted to shove the meats down my throat because at the time I was only 15 and I needed to get proper nutrition.
To this day, my parents do not understand the impact the consumption of meat has on our bodies, but also the global economic, social and environmental consequences which are much greater than anyone can assess.
I stumbled upon the "Meatless Monday" initiative today and decided I would take this opportunity to share and educate about the impact of giving up meat, one day a week.
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.
Read about these benefits below. But keep in mind that just going meatless is not enough. That’s why we give you the information you need to add healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free alternatives to your diet each week.
1. REDUCE RISK OF HEART DISEASE. Beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds contain little to no saturated fats. Reducing your intake of saturated fats can help keep your cholesterol low and reduce your risk of heart disease.
2. MAINTAIN HEALTHY WEIGHT. A plant-based diet is a great source of fiber, which is absent in animal products. On average, Americans get less than half the recommended daily quantity of fiber.
3. IMPROVE OVERALL QUALITY OF DIET. Consuming dry beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.
4. REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
5. MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated
1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
6. HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.
Click to learn more about the Meatless Monday Movement