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Just Another Meatless Monday - Why You Should Go Vegan One Day a Week

Guacamole ingredients

Have you heard of Meatless Monday?

I grew up in the meat plus three part of the United States and this entire concept of skipping meat had me like no. Full stop. Just no. Not no way. Not no how.

Meat is the base of the meal!

As much as I love my veggies and carbs I’d be much happier just gnawing a piece of steak or consuming a chicken breast for lunch or dinner.

It took us quite a bit of time to make the switch because I wasn’t convinced that Meatless Monday was necessary.

If this sounds like you - keep reading.

There’s some convincing evidence in here!

What is Meatless Monday?

Bread and eggs in sandwich bag

Meatless Monday is a global movement that encourages families to reduce meat consumption for their own health and the health of the Planet.

This campaign began in 2003 by Sid Lerner and in association with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

This idea; however, was first introduced all the back during World War I as a way to help the war effort.

The message is simple. Skip meat once a week!

Today, millions of people in over 40 different countries support Meatless Monday!

Why Meatless Monday?

Custard and Blueberries

People are more willing to try healthier habits at the beginning of the week, according to research.

Monday is a great day to “reset” and get back on track after some weekend slip-ups, and studies indicate that people who get back on track early in the week are more able to sustain their success over time.

How Does Meatless Monday Help the Environment?

Climate Change

One World Poster

Meat, dairy, and egg production account for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Livestock processing emits more greenhouse gases than the entire global transportation market, which includes vehicles, trucks, aircraft, and trains.

Cattle in the beef and dairy industries account for the brunt of these gases. The pollutants generated by processing a quarter pound of beef are roughly the same as running a car seven miles or charging a mobile for six months.

Shifting to a plant-based diet will help to reduce the pollution generated by the meat industry. A plant-based burger, for example, has a carbon footprint that is twelve times lower than a beef burger.

Water

Water Drop

Meat production uses a lot of water, particularly beef, which has the highest water footprint of any food. Any animal-based food has a higher water footprint than certain plant-based diets with comparable nutritional qualities.

When all levels of development are included, one kilogram of beef needs about 40 times the amount of water as the same amount of vegetables. It takes 425 gallons of water to make a quarter-pound hamburger.

Growing feed crops, breeding cattle, and waste disposal account for the majority of water use. A shift to a more plant-based diet could cut agricultural water consumption by half.

Land Use

Open Field

Raising livestock for beef, dairy, and egg processing necessitates a large amount of soil, resulting in deforestation and the depletion of other carbon-sequestering natural lands.

Livestock production consumes 75% of all agricultural land on the planet, mainly for grazing beef and dairy cattle and growing feed crops.

Rain forests and other natural areas are also cleared for cattle grazing and feed crop production, increasing the carbon footprint of animal agriculture. The meat industry is the primary engine of land-use reform.

Any year, approximately 13 billion hectares (50 million square miles) of forest land is cleared for agricultural purposes. Changing to a more plant-based diet could decrease agricultural land use by 80 percent.

Biodiversity and Species Loss

Monarch Butterfly

Livestock production is the most significant human contributor to biodiversity extinction, accounting for more than 60% of the decline of species populations since 1970.

Agricultural practices induce eutrophication, a phenomenon in which rapid algal growth depletes the marine oxygen supply, resulting in “dead zones.”

Globally, eutrophication is the leading cause of habitat loss. The implementation of Meatless Monday would provide benefits for biodiversity and soil health.

Meatless Monday Recipes

Eating less meat while eating more healthy, plant-based foods can reduce the risk of preventable diseases, combat climate change and preserve land and water resources.

By consuming less meat (red and processed) and replacing those with more plant-based foods you can:

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease and overall heart health
  • Decrease your risk of getting type 2 diabetes
  • Promote kidney health

Try one of these Meatless Monday Recipes and help your heart (and the environment)

Meatless Monday Sheet Pan Dinner

Vegetables in Bowl

I’m a fan of quick and easy dinners - bonus if I can just throw everything into the oven!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 medium-large)
  • 1 pound red potatoes (about 2 medium)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lemon
  • Rice or quinoa (or another whole grain or seasoned lentils)
  • (optional) Dollop of sour cream, Greek yogurt, Sour Cream, or hummus

Instructions:

  1. Adjust the oven racks for roasting 2 trays. Preheat the oven to 450F
  2. Chop the broccoli. Cut the onion into thick slices. Dice the potatoes and Red Peppers Place all the vegetables in a large bowl.
  3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then add them to the bowl.
  4. Mix in the olive oil, garlic powder, Old Bay, Italian seasoning, and kosher salt until coated.
  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mats. Spread the vegetables evenly onto each sheet.
  6. Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes (do not stir!).
  7. Remove the pans from the oven, rotate them, and roast another 10 minutes (for 30 minutes total) until tender and lightly browned.
  8. Cut the lemon into wedges, and spritz the veggies with fresh lemon juice to taste.
  9. Transfer to a serving bowl or dish and serve immediately with rice or quinoa.
  10. Top with Sour Cream or Hummus.

Meatless Monday Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

Pan on the Stove

Enchiladas? Yes, please! I don’t think a day goes by where I would say no to such an ooey-gooey cheesy meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes (3 cups diced)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 8 ounces canned diced green chilies (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups salsa verde (or homemade tomatillo salsa)
  • 8 ounces Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 8-inch whole-wheat flour tortillas
  • Sour cream

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes. Place them in a pot and cover with water; add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, around 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Finely dice 1 red onion.
  4. Drain and rinse the black beans.
  5. Chop 1/4 cup cilantro.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the cooked sweet potato, black beans, red onion, green chilies, 1/2 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Mix to combine.
  7. Warm the tortillas in a pan for a few seconds per side, so that they are flexible.
  8. In a large baking dish, spread 1 cup of the salsa verde. Fill each tortilla with a heaping ½ cup scoop of the filling, add 1/4 cup cheese, and roll it up. Place each enchilada seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.
  9. When all enchiladas are in the dish, top with the remaining salsa verde and the remaining cheese.
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  11. Serve garnished with sour cream and chopped cilantro.

Meatless Monday Pumpkin Dal - Instant Pot

Vegetables on wooden cutting board

I didn’t always like lentils aka dal. Like at all.

I turned up my nose and flat out said no. These days; however, I forking love it. This recipe combines one of my favorite flavors- Pumpkin!

Bonus that every single picky eater in my house eats this Meatless Monday dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (or sage leaves)
  • 1 serrano pepper slit in half but still, intact 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1-15 ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 Roma tomatoes diced
  • ½ onion sliced
  • 1tsp cumin powder
  • 1tsp coriander powder
  • 1tsp garlic paste
  • 1tsp ginger paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice adjust to taste
  • Cayenne or red chili powder to taste

Instructions:

  1. Press the saute button, add oil and allow it to heat up
  2. Add the onions and cook until they are golden brown
  3. Add in the serrano pepper, garlic and ginger paste and fry for a minute
  4. Add the tomatoes, stir, and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated
  5. Add all of the spices and fry until the mustard seeds begin to pop
  6. Add the balance of the ingredients to the pot Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook on high for 5 minutes on high
  7. Naturally release the pressure

    Conclusion - Just Another Meatless Monday

    Clear Sustainable Food Storage

    The longer I was in the cloth community, the more I became interested and concerned with my families carbon footprint.

    Going vegan or vegetarian wasn’t an option, but Meatless Monday was something that I could live with and I have learned to love all things lentil!

    Now that you’ve been convinced to add some more lentils to your life - you’ll need a way to store those bulk legumes!

    In my pantry I have a mix of mason jars and Planet Wise Leak-Proof Bags.

    Click HERE to grab some Planet Wise Leak-Proof Bags today!

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