Meatless Mondays–Are You In?

A Meatless Monday poster used for community Meatless Monday promotions.

One of the best things about editing this blog is the chance to talk to all of you about things that are important. Today’s topic is a big one: adding one meatless meal a week to your menu rotation! We’re going to be featuring Meatless Monday recipes throughout the summer here on Country Life.

Meatless Mondays are catching on all over America.  How about you? Are you going meatless on Mondays? The program is a initiative of the Monday Campaigns, allied with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Even here, in the heart of Amish Country, where we think we produce the best beef anywhere (sorry, Texas, although we love y’all), Meatless Mondays are becoming common.

Why? If you eat meatless every Monday for a year, you can cut your consumption of meat-based proteins by 15%, which can in turn lead to better health. Those who regularly have one or two meatless days a week could even see a drop in weight as well as better readings for blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. For diabetics, a meatless day takes some planning, but may result in more stable blood sugars overall.

I’m willing to admit that I’ve lost 6 pounds in the two months I’ve been doing Meatless Mondays. That alone is enough to help me stick with the idea! (And cutting out meat on Monday is all I’ve changed, although a exercise plan is looming closer daily.)

Additionally, if you take the opportunity presented by Meatless Mondays to shop at your local farmer’s markets, farm stands, and local grocers, you’ll still be supporting local farmers—by selecting fresh local produce, including eggs, milk and cheese that you can use in your Meatless Monday meals. (Check with your local ag service or local news websites for a listing of farmer’s markets in your area.)

The average serving of meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards, or a 4-ounce hamburger—but how many of us stick to that portion size? With a Meatless Monday, you can get into the habit of presenting your family with fresh vegetables, fruit and dairy from local producers—and you can move money you might normally spend on a Monday meat dish to your produce budget, where it’ll go much farther! Consider freezing or preserving the extra produce  you pick up.

Who’s a fan of Meatless Mondays? Chef Michael Symon, for one, from nearby Cleveland, Ohio. There’s an interview with him on MeatlessMonday.com. Known for his meat-heavy menus, Symon notes that a balanced, healthy eating plan should include non-meat proteins, appropriately sized meat protein servings, dairy, fresh veggies and fruit. His wife, who’s a vegetarian, helped him balance his eating habits, and encouraged him to adopt the Meatless Monday plan.

Other names you know that are fans of Meatless Mondays: Mother Earth News, Bob’s Red Mill, Robin Roberts, Good Morning America, Christian Science Monitor, Padma Lakshmi, Food Channel Top Chef host and AARP.

Stay tuned for Meatless Monday recipes here, beginning Monday, June 11!

To find out more about Meatless Mondays:

http://www.meatlessmonday.com/about/

Karen Johnson

Editor, Country Life