Ever heard of Meat Free Monday? Well, if not, now you have. It began 10 years ago after a 2006 study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations found 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions was due to the global livestock industry. That’s more than the whole transport sector combined.
Besides being an environmentally friendly initiative, it is also a healthy initiative.
According to a Harvard University study, eating a diet high in red and processed meat has been found to increase the our risk of type 2 diabetes and being overweight and obese. Swapping saturated fat-rich foods such as meat and full-fat dairy with foods rich in polyunsaturated fat like vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, reduces one’s risk of heart disease by 19%.
According to the revisited healthy eating pyramid, we should be eating way less meat than we currently are. The new pyramid tackles this by ensuring we eat meat in moderation while the majority of our meals should consist of plant based foods.
Australians currently allocate 40% of their food expenditure on meat, eating approximately 120kg each year, that’s nine times the recommended weekly amount! The same research paper found Australians are not only eating more meat every year, we are opting for poor quality, processed meats. Instead, 70% of what we eat should be vegetables, legumes and grains. These are the most nutrient dense foods and should be our main source of carbohydrates and fibre in our diet.
A serve of meat constitutes 65-100g of cooked meat, which is the size and thickness of your palm. Since you will be cutting down on the amount of meat you eat each week, opt for good quality meat, such as from the butcher. Trust me, you will taste the difference.
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to join in on Meat-free Mondays, it’s for everyone. In fact, you would be surprised how tasty a meal can be just made from vegetables! Don’t be afraid to make the sacrifice, besides, animals have had no choice but to sacrifice their lives for ours. So on Mondays, sacrifice yourself for animals for a change!
Here are a few recipes to get you started:
– Hearty Chickpea, Pumpkin and Coconut Curry from Meat Free Mondays
– Lentil Bolognese from Kids Spot
– Spinach and Feta Pie from Kids Spot
– Vegetarian Lasagne from Taste.com