You probably have heard about Meatless Mondays. But what are they and why have they become so popular? Meatless Monday is actually not a new campaign. Something similar started during World War I to help reduce the consumption of key staples to aid the war effort and then continued into World War II. It was revived in 2003 to address the prevalence of preventable illnesses associated with excessive meat consumption. Research shows that Monday is the perfect day to make small, positive changes as it is the start of a new week, and so began Meatless Mondays.
Going meatless once a week has many benefits, not just for health, even though that is a big part of it. It is good on your wallet as these meals focus mainly on vegetables, beans, and grains instead of meat, which tends to be more expensive due to issues like feed and transportation. Using meatless options can help minimize water usage as the water needs of livestock are much greater than those of vegetables and grains. Approximately 1850 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef versus 39 gallons of water to produce a single pound of vegetables. It can also help reduce greenhouse gasses and reduce fuel dependence associated with producing meat.
In addition to these benefits, going meatless can help reduce healthcare spending as it can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Going meatless helps encourage consumption of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron, and magnesium and evidence suggests that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can actually help you live longer!
So go ahead and make a pledge to go Meatless one day a week. If Monday doesn’t work, there are six other days to choose from. Visit the Meatless Monday website at http://www.meatlessmonday.com/ and try this meat-free option after making the pledge!
Red Zone Chili (Makes 4 servings)
• 2 cans crushed tomatoes (1 plain, 1 basil garlic flavor)
• 2 tbsp chili powder
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp oregano
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1/2 tsp creole seasoning
• 1 can white kidney beans
• 1 can red kidney beans
• 1 can black beans
• 1/2 regular-size can vegetable stock
• Rinse beans before adding to pot. Add all ingredients into a large soup pot and let simmer on medium for 30 minutes to let flavors meld.
• Serve with low-fat shredded cheese and sour cream on the top.
Nutrition Information: 261 calories, 2 g fat, 1481 mg sodium, 48 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber
*Tip: To help reduce the sodium in this recipe, look for low sodium tomatoes, beans, creole seasoning, and vegetable stock. *