Meatless Mondays: Why It Matters and How I'm Hoping You'll Help

BlogHer Original Post

Starting on Monday, May 2, I'm excited to be bringing you a new recipe feature on BlogHer.com called Meatless Mondays. All through the week I'll be scouring food blogs in search of the best meatless main dish recipes I can find, and every Monday I'll be featuring one right here, including some of my own favorite meatless recipes once in a while. I'm hoping that when you see these delicious meatless dishes it will entice you to add more plant-based meals to your weekly menu if you're not already doing so. And no, I'm not a vegetarian, so why have I decided that encouraging people to participate in Meatless Mondays is so important?

What is Meatless Monday?
Meatless Monday is an international campaign focused on urging people to eat meatless meals on Mondays, both for good health and for the health of the planet. The idea started during World War I, as part of a campaign called Food Will Win the War, and returned during World War II, when wartime food rationing made meatless meals a necessity. Then in 2003 marketing professional Sid Lerner brought back the idea of Meatless Mondays and formed a partnership with the John Hopkins School of Public Health, designed people to eat meatless meals one day a week.

Since 2003, the idea of Meatless Monday has spread rapidly. Wikipedia's entry on Meatless Monday includes a long list of organizations who have come on board, and the campaign has been widely promoted by well known personalities, in the media, and by bloggers. Although it started in the U.S., Meatless Monday is now spreading around the world.

Why Eat Less Meat?
There are lots of good reasons for eating more meatless meals. Most meat is high in saturated fat, something that's widely recognized as a contributor to cardiovascular disease. Plant foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, and dried beans contain more nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber and less cholesterol than meat. Many types of meat are also relatively calorie dense compared to vegetables, grains, and beans, so eating less meat can help you manage your weight. Meat is expensive compared to plant foods, so eating less meat will help stretch the food budget. And possibly one of the most important reasons to eat less meat is the impact that raising animals for meat has on global warming. A U.N report released in 2010 even claims "eating less meat and dairy is necessary to avoid catastrophic effects of climate change, global hunger and energy shortages."

How Can You Participate?
Cuisines around the world use grains, beans, and vegetables in so many interesting ways that I already realize the hardest part of this project for me may be narrowing it down to one recipe a week to feature. But more recipe options is always a good thing, so if you're a blogger who posts recipes that would be good for Meatless Monday, please consider visiting every Monday and adding a link to your meatless recipe from that week. And no matter which of the reasons for eating less meat resonate with you personally, I hope you'll enjoy seeing the drool-worthy meatless recipes I'll be featuring every Monday and consider adding some of them to your own menus.

Sources and More Reading:

Kalyn Denny also blogs at Kalyn's Kitchen, where she specializes in low-glycemic recipes using fresh ingredients. Kalyn probably won't ever be a vegetarian, but she does love to make meatless dishes such as Baked Falafel Patties with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce.

Image by SweetOnVeg, used by permission under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

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