Meatless Monday most likely was not the first time alliteration has been used to promote social change. And it didn't have to be Monday. From personal experience, Meatless Saturday would be much more convenient. For my Catholic friends, Meatless Friday would have taken care of two tofurkeys with one stone. But Meatless Monday surely works best and it is one of the fastest growing social movements in the Country.
I think we need to distinguish between "social movement" and "political movement". I've said this before, but it bears repeating - No one is looking to take away your steak, on Mondays or otherwise. It can be anticipated that alarmists will characterize MM in political terms, suggesting this is an effort to outlaw meat. If that were the case, I would lose my wife's vote.
This is an awareness campaign. If you care about health, if you care about the environment, if you care about the ethical treatment of animals - this campaign recommends you take one day to consider your role in promoting an industry that may work against those interests.
The health benefits of eating less meat are apparent. You may be able to feel those benefits within a day (possibly a Monday?) of taking a break from meat-based protein. I will readily concede that there are studies indicating that meat is integral to a well-rounded diet. Those studies have been manipulated to promote meat-centered eating that no physician worth their white coat would support. Read Mark Bittman. Read Michael Polian. But most importantly think about what you're putting into your bodies. Think about what you're putting into the bodies of your children.
Livestock contributes 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions every year (great info through this link). The creation of meat calories is a wasteful process, sometimes reported to require 11 times as much fossil fuel to make one meat-based calorie as it would to make one plant-based calorie. This is an inefficient system from start to finish. We can reduce the unnecessary harms of livestock by eating local and paying more attention to whether the subject of our consumption is grass-fed or corn-fed, but again it comes back to one thing - thinking about what you're putting into your body.
There will be no pictures in this post, nor will I describe the conditions under which your supermarket livestock spent his or her short, hormone-fed life. I will say that these conditions have converted more meat-eaters to vegetarians than either of the two points above. As empathetic beings, we would prefer pain and suffering, on the whole, is diminished as much as possible and don't like the idea of being complicit in the same. If you're interested in learning more about how your meat is sourced, Google "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation". We should care about what we're putting into our bodies.
Meatless Monday is the time to think about what you're eating. If our budgets express our priorities, what priorities are we showing in our grocery bill? Is it a convenience of the wealthy to care about such things? Sure. But is the food market driven by those same consumers? Absolutely.
Tonight, we are celebrating that awareness. If you can, please come out for Meatless Monday at Pure Wine Cafe, starting at 7:00 pm. We'll enjoy all of the amazing food you can eat without meat and talk about food awareness. If you can't, think about starting this tradition with your family.
Have a great Monday doing what you love!