Maintaining Sustaining

Ready to Give Meat-Free Monday A Try?

Whether you’re looking to transition to vegetarianism or veganism further down the line, reduce your groceries bill or adopt a lifestyle with a smaller carbon footprint, Meat-Free Mondays could be the way to go. Changing your eating habits for one day a week can have a positive impact on your health and well-being, the environment, and your spending.

What is Meat-Free Monday?

Meat-Free Mondays is an initiative encouraging people to follow a meat-free diet one day a week. Launched in 2009 by Sir Paul McCartney and his daughters Mary and Stella, the not-for-profit campaign aims to raise awareness of the environmental impact of eating meat and fish while educating people about climate change, natural resources, and healthy eating. Former Beatle Paul adopted a vegetarian diet in the 1970s when his late wife Linda stopped cooking meat and has been vocal about his reasons for following a vegetarian diet ever since. Animal lover Paul famously stated that ‘if slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be vegetarian’ and has also commented on the many benefits following a meat-free diet has for the planet.

What Difference Does One Day a Week Make?

As the Meat-Free Mondays website states, ‘one day a week can make a world of difference.’ A 2020 study by Oxford University found that even if fossil fuels were stopped being used immediately, it would be impossible to keep global heating at the lowest safe limit without moving towards a more plant-based diet. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates 14.5% of all global greenhouse gas emissions stem from livestock production. Small changes can go a long way when it comes to looking after our world!

The cost of living continues to increase, with many people choosing to make cutbacks on spending. Opting out of eating meat one day a week is an easy way of reducing your family’s food bill, especially if you usually buy more expensive organic or free-range meats for ethical reasons.

As we also monitor water usage, making changes such as turning off the faucet as we brush our teeth and switching out baths for showers, we should also spend time considering how much water is used to produce the food we eat. It can take a mind-blowing 2350 liters of water to produce a single 150g beef burger – enough water to fill thirty bathtubs or have a five-hour-long shower.

Vegetarian Meal Ideas

People who are used to eating meat daily often center their meals around meat or fish. It can take a shift in mindset to break longstanding habits, but many family favorites are already, or can easily be adapted to become, meat-free. Mac and Cheese? Vegetarian. Baked potato and beans? Vegetarian. Spaghetti bolognaises? With a simple swap, this staple meal can be made veggie.

But why limit yourself when there are so many wonderful recipes out there to explore? Meat-Free Mondays are an opportunity to expand your culinary repertoire and try something new – you might even find a new favorite flavor! Even if you’re short on time or lack confidence in the kitchen, there are many substitute meat products available as well as vegetarian and plant-based microwavable meals. These options are there to help make it easier to reduce your intake of meat and dairy.

If you are keen to try Meat-Free Mondays but think you’ll find it challenging, approach it as an opportunity to take on a new, positive initiative that will benefit you, the environment, and animals.

-Kate Beeden

Photo: Pexels.com

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