Meat Free Monday: A Taste Of The Veg Life

    Meat Free Monday: A Taste Of The Veg Life

    Meat Free Monday, sometimes referred to as Meatless Monday, is a growing trend that started in 2003. This movement aims to improve every person’s health by reducing their meat intake, even if just for one day out of the week. Although plant-based diets are seen as mere trends to some, they certainly are not simply a passing fad. In fact, abstinence from meat is practiced in many cultures and religions. Learn more about the benefits of Meat Free Monday and how to start.

    Why Meat Free Monday Matters

    Meat Free Monday

    If you love eating steaks, bacon, and cheeseburgers, the thought of cutting these out of your diet for good may seem impossible. However, health experts and animal welfare advocates both agree that most of our diets consist of too much animal meat. Despite being rich in protein, high meat (especially red meat) consumption leads to an increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

    While stopping cold turkey is difficult to do, Meat Free Monday is a step in the right direction. Going meatless is something both vegans and vegetarians commit to on a regular basis, so it definitely isn’t impossible.

    Some of the key benefits of going meatless, even just once a week, include:

    • Better for your budget
    • Improves fiber intake
    • Boosts your vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidant levels
    • Low in cholesterol and saturated fats
    • More environmentally friendly

    Meat Free Monday Meal Tips

    Start with Familiar Dishes

    If you are just starting out and are unfamiliar with zero-meat dishes, it may be hard to decide what to eat. Veg-friendly recipes online often look aesthetically pleasing but often include foreign or exotic ingredients. Depending on your location, it may be difficult or expensive to purchase. Instead of splurging on kale or acai berries, stick to local ingredients. Fortunately, there are plenty of fruits, vegetables, and grains available in the Philippines.

    Watch Out for Processed Food

    Nowadays, there are a number of soy-based and meat-free products available in grocery stores. However, don’t trade health for convenience. Despite being made with little to no animal products, meatless burger patties, sausages, and the like are often made with additives. Check the nutrition label for the calories, fat, carbs, and sodium content. Avoid foods that contain high sodium, preservatives, dyes, and allergens.

    Make It a Group Effort

    Meat Free Monday does not have to be a solo journey. Like when trying a new diet or exercise program, it is hard to stay on track without support. Additionally, cooking up the same meal for everyone in the household is easier than preparing two different sets. It also offers an opportunity to get children involved in the kitchen, as fruits and vegetables are safer to handle than raw meat.

    Get Inspired

    Discover and follow content from Meat Free Monday advocates and vegan influencers. These people can give you motivation and inspiration to get started and keep going. Much of their content includes recipes, life stories, and promoting new meatless products and veg-friendly restaurants.

    Additional Reminders

    Lastly, it is important to remember that you set the rules for your own Meat Free Monday. Despite the name, you don’t really need to do it every Monday. You can pick any day of the week or even opt to go meatless more than once a week. If you have to skip a week or two, that is also no problem. Overall, what counts is reducing your meat consumption, even if it doesn’t seem like a lot.

    Graduate from Meat Free Monday to Full-time Vegan or Vegetarian

    After successfully completing several Meat Free Mondays, you may decide to continue your meatless journey. Know that there is no “right” way to transition into a plant-based diet. Some people are able to stop eating meat and never turn back, while others need to gradually ease into a new lifestyle.

    Before jumping into a vegan or vegetarian diet, be sure to do your due research. Reach out to experts and online communities for tips and advice for beginners. Additionally, it is important to note that plant-based diets can cause certain nutrient deficiencies. Animal protein contains more amino acids and iron than plant-derived proteins.

    To prevent conditions such as iron and vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, you may need to take dietary supplements. Inform your doctor of your new diet plan so they can determine if it is right for you.

    Key Takeaways

    In summary, whether your motivation is to be healthier or to decrease your carbon footprint, Meat Free Monday allows you to do both. Cutting out meat once a week will not lead to protein deficiency. However, if you plan on going meatless multiple times a week or become a vegan or vegetarian long-term, then talk to your doctor to check your current health status.

    Learn more about Special Diets here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources

    About Meatless Monday https://www.mondaycampaigns.org/meatless-monday/about Accessed August 7, 2021

    Health Risks Associated with Meat Consumption: A Review of Epidemiological Studies https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26780279/ Accessed August 7, 2021

    Protein https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/ Accessed August 7, 2021

    The Role of the Anabolic Properties of Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Sources in Supporting Muscle Mass Maintenance: A Critical Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723444/ Accessed August 7, 2021

    Start the week off right with Meatless Monday https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/start-week-right-meatless-monday Accessed August 7, 2021

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    Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated Feb 13Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen