If you are interested in becoming vegetarian or vegan, but are unsure where to start, try implementing Meatless Mondays into your weekly menus. Meatless Mondays is a public health campaign by The Monday Campaigns and Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. The idea behind the campaign is to provide a resource for the general public on cutting back meat consumption, making healthier lifestyle choices, and helping out the environment.
According to meatlessmondays the benefits of cutting out meat from your diet one day a week include living longer, reducing heart disease, and fighting diabetes. Environmental benefits include using less water and decreasing your carbon footprint. The website provides recipes, health and green articles, and links to other inspiring people taking part in the campaign. In addition they offer e-kits for download, with information, hints, and posters, so you can inspire others in your life to follow their own Meatless Mondays.
If you’re interested in participating here are a few tips:
1. You don’t have to make it meatless Mondays. If you don’t like Mondays, choose Tofu Tuesdays, or Fruity Fridays. The point is to choose one day a week where you go meatless the entire day.
2. If you’ve never cooked meatless meals beyond pasta, get yourself some vegetarian cook books or just browse online recipes. Cooking without meat is not hard, but if you feeling uninspired experiment with exotic and decadent recipes to make the transition more fun.
3. Tell your friends and family about your new meatless resolution. Some of them might not understand your choice, but chances are if you ask for their support they will give it to you. Telling other people your plans will help keep you accountable. After all you don’t want to tell your family you won’t be eating hot dogs come Monday and not follow through.
4. Try different proteins. Some people will never like the taste or texture of tofu. If you are a tofu-hater look for alternatives rather than forcing yourself to eat it because you think all vegetarians do. Lentils, black beans, garbanzo beans, tempeh, and veggie burgers are all substitutes for meat (and tofu) that will keep you full and taste good.
5. Get the whole household involved. Make Meatless Monday’s fun by involving your significant other, kids, or even your roommate. Kids are notoriously picky eaters when it comes to vegetables, but they will eat every last bite of a salad they’ve helped make. Whether they are choosing the vegetables or chopping them up (older kids) everyone will enjoy helping out with dinner.
Meatless Mondays are a great way to be eco-conscious and follow a healthy diet without changing your entire lifestyle at once. You might enjoy your meatless day so much that you make the switch to being a full-fledged vegetarian or vegan soon after. Even if you don’t, and you continue eating meat throughout the rest of your week, you will still be helping the environment and your health at the same time.