Meatless Monday Goes Mainstream
While I realize that many Care2 members are vegetarian or even vegan, a great many are not. There are many reasons to give up meat, and for many people there is often more than one reason.
Many vegetarians have ethical problems eating meat, and that is their only reason. Another big reason people adopt a meat-free diet is for the health benefits derived from eating a plant based diet.
Still others adopt a vegetarian diet for its environmental benefits because it reduces energy consumption, and the amount of water and land necessary to raise animals.
Whatever the reasons, the choice to become vegetarian is a personal one and as hard as it is for many vegetarians to hear, there are many people who simply won’t give up meat.
But, for those carnivores who want to at least try to reduce their meat consumption, an initiative designed to help you do that has been gaining popularity: Meatless Monday.
It began in 2003, as a “a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. We provide the information and recipes you need to start each week with healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free alternatives. Our goal is to help you reduce your meat consumption by 15% in order to improve your personal health and the health of the planet.”
Over 20 schools of public health have endorsed the campaign including Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia and Harvard.
Like many modern food and gardening movements, Meatless Monday was inspired by efforts during both World War I and II to help support the troops and to save food and energy needed for the war effort.
When one of the largest food service companies in the United States decides to embrace Meatless Monday, you know that it is making an impact and growing in popularity. Last Week Sodexo Food Service Company announced that it would be expanding its Meatless Monday campaign to over 900 of its hospital clients. It had been piloting the campaign at hospitals, colleges, and schools nationwide. This means they are offering and even promoting a plant-based entrée to its menu each Monday.
This is big news since hospital food is ironically some of the unhealthiest food around. Most food service companies in health care facilities have been the slowest to respond to the calls for healthier eating, locally and organically grown produce.
Hospitals aren’t the only places that the company is expanding its campaign. It is available to government and corporate clients and by this fall, it will expand to all Sodexo cafeterias in colleges and schools, and it will pilot the Meatless Monday program for it’s senior living community clients.
Meatless Monday has become a global campaign and spread to countries including the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Israel.