No need to go vegan, Meat Free Monday provides an alternative

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

August Lawrence, Staff Writer

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August Lawrence

Reducing our meat and poultry intake not only improves physical health, but makes a significant difference in our environment as well. 

It is common belief that you must go completely meat and dairy-free to make a difference, but there are options. 

Eliminating meat from a diet is a difficult task, and some individuals can’t make the change for personal health or financial reasons. 

The Meat Free Monday movement offers an alternative. 

The movement is an international campaign that advocates healthy eating and raises awareness about the detrimental effects that animal agriculture has on the environment. 

Not to be confused with the American based Meatless Monday, started in 2003, Meat Free Monday is a U.K. based movement launched in 2006 by Sir Paul McCartney and his daughters, Stella and Mary.

“Try taking just one day of the week to not eat meat,” the former Beatle told Nat-Geo. “If someone were to give up meat one day a week for a year their carbon footprint is reduced to the equivalent to not driving a car for a month.”

By not eating meat at least one day a week the demand for products from factory farms takes a steep decline. 

Eating less meat conserves water as well as reduces carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. 

According to Forbes, Americans consumed a record 222 pounds of meat per person in 2018. It takes up to 2,000 gallons of water to produce just one pound of red meat. 

So far this year, 35.8 million cows were raised and slaughtered for our consumption.

48.2 billion animals in total have been slaughtered for our consumption this year and the number rises every second according to the 2019 U.S. animal kill clock.

Besides being good for the environment, cutting down on meat yields many health benefits. 

The American Heart Association found that decreasing meat intake can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by 20% as the vegan diet contains a higher amount of nutrients such as magnesium and iron while being significantly lower in cholesterol and saturated fat. 

Meat Free partners with celebrities like Orlando Bloom, Emma Stone and Bernie Sanders to spread awareness through their influence.

If you can’t go completely meat free, choosing organic options can be a more accessible way of supporting the movement.

We have a responsibility to make a difference for ourselves and future generations.

Cutting out meat for just one day a week can make that change.

 

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