Some people like to joke that Twitter is a bunch of people tweeting about what they ate for lunch that day. Today, that was almost true—but it was more about what people weren’t eating.
I’m participating in the Meatless Mondays in May campaign, which challenges people to reserve the beginning of their work week for a vegetarian diet. The idea is that people will become more conscious of their health and the health of the planet by eating plant-based meals at the beginning of the week, and hopefully incorporate more fruits and veggies into the rest of the week’s meals. The Meatless Monday initiative, in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, aims to increase environmental, social and personal awareness about the effects of a meat-heavy diet.
The meat industry is responsible for almost 20 percent of manmade greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. By cutting meat from your diet (and expenses!) just one day a week, you can have just as big an effect as you would if you switched to a hybrid—without chunking down the Gs for a shiny, new, green Prius.
Meatless Monday, however, is no new “hippie,” “green” thing. It’s been an official movement, in this given capacity, since 2003—way before “green” became the cool, hip trend. The true beginning of Meatless Monday, though, stems from the World War I era, when the U.S. government urged families to adopt “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays” to aid the war effort. “Food Will Win the War,” the government proclaimed, and Americans found it easier both on their bodies and on their pocketbooks to adopt this simple lifestyle change. Now, Meatless Monday is more about saving our bodies and our planet from preventable diseases and destruction.
While I don’t see myself turning vegetarian anytime beyond Mondays, I like the challenge of participating in this campaign. I haven’t been too successful in making great, healthy, meatless choices for dinner today (beer and fries are meatless—yet probably not the best choice for dinner), but at least I can fall back on my loaded veggie sandwich lunch choice. I have four more Mondays to get it perfected. Maybe I’ll be better next week.
Now, I have to go tweet what I’m having for dessert.
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