Meatless Mondays

Sarah

Have you heard of Meatless Mondays?  I have just learned of this effort and found the following history at the website www.meatlessmonday.com which I am quoting:

Meatless Monday is not a new idea. During World War I, the U.S. Food Administration urged families to reduce consumption of key staples to aid the war effort. “Food Will Win the War,” the government proclaimed, and “Meatless Monday” and “Wheatless Wednesday” were introduced to encourage Americans to do their part. The effect was overwhelming; more than 13 million families signed a pledge to observe the national meatless and wheatless conservation days.1

The campaign returned during World War II when President Franklin D. Roosevelt relaunched it to help that war’s efforts on the home front. In the immediate post-war years, President Harry S. Truman continued the campaign to help feed war-ravaged Europe.

Meatless Monday was revived in 2003 by former ad man turned health advocate Sid Lerner, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future. Reintroduced as a public health awareness campaign, Meatless Monday addresses the prevalence of preventable illnesses associated with excessive meat consumption. With the average American eating as much as 75 more pounds of meat each year than in generations past, our message of “one day a week, cut out meat” is a way for individuals to do something good for themselves and for the planet.

Meatless Monday is based in the US, but this movement is spreading all over the world.  While we know that cutting back on the consumption of meat has health benefits,  it also has tremendous benefits for the environment as well.   In his book In Defense of Food, journalist Michael Pollan coined the phrase “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” He has since cited Meatless Monday as a way to reach this goal. In April 2009 Pollan expressed the need for Americans to reduce meat consumption by saying: “even one meatless day a week—a Meatless Monday, which is what we do in our household—if everybody in America did that, that would be the equivalent of taking 20 million mid-size sedans off the road.”  Impressive.

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