“One day a week, can make a world of difference”. – Meat Free Mondays.
Meat is an integral part of culture in many countries. Meat is centred around heritage and identity, and is a meal staple in hundreds of countries. Between 2016-2017, Australians ate on average 26kgs of beef per person, and that’s only the third most popular meat after chicken and seafood!
With the vegetarian diet becoming more common every day, the merit of eating less meat is a hot topic. Individuals and families are investigating ways to reduce their meat intake through initiatives, like Meat Free Mondays. Meat Free Mondays is an international awareness campaign, encouraging us to avoid eating meat on Mondays, and become aware of the environmental and health benefits of reducing our meat intake.
There’s no doubt meat has benefits for the human body. Meat is high in protein, health-promoting amino acids, and other vitamins like iron, zinc, and magnesium. Although some would argue that we shouldn’t eat any meat at all, Meat Free Mondays emanates from the realisation that our current average meat intake is too high for our bodies to stay healthy, the planet to flourish, and animals to be respected and happy.
The benefits of cutting back your meat intake, extends to the environment, yourself, and animals.
Farming livestock, has a drastic impact on our planet. Greenhouse gases are produced in amounts that exceed automobile emissions. This contributes to climate change, and is growing in severity as the demand for meat increases. To graze these animals, forests are cleared, and pastures are also needed to grow food for the livestock, resulting in 80% of tropical deforestation stemming from agriculture.
Participating in Meat Free Monday demonstrates you care for the planet, and support sustainable farming practices which our environment can handle.
Several studies conclude that people who eat a plant-based diet are less likely to development heart disease, diabetes, cancer, strokes, and other serious health problems. There is continuous controversy around the truth of all meat studies, and as humans are so diverse in their genetic makeup and culture, developing a study to conclude the positives and negatives of meat would be impossible! The impact of meat changes depending on who you talk to.
Instead, there is something to say around the ‘balance’ mentality, where overdosing in any type of food group would be unhealthy. Meat Free Mondays encourages the reduction of meat in your diet, avoiding overdosing, and especially appeals to those who eat meat every day and at every meal.
Due to our huge meat demand and growing population, meat is produced at rates which do not allow for the animals we eat, to have quality of life. Chickens are squished into factories with thousands of others, going against their natural instinct of pecking orders and society. They usually have no windows, and their lack in social structure results in frustrated attacks on each other, and often death before their planned departure. Pigs are also kept in pens that restrict all movement, damage their joints and muscles, and mean they are usually covered in their own excrement.
If everyone participated in Meat Free Monday, then the demand for meat would dramatically decrease! This would reduce the pressure on farmers to produce meat at such a fast rate, meaning historic methods of farming could be more freely practiced. This involves free range animals and a slower production pace.
Top 5 sites to find your Meat Free Monday meal inspiration:
Meat Free Mondays are a great way to begin the meat conversation. It may sound daunting at first, but reducing your meat intake, regardless of who you talk to, is beneficial for the environment, ourselves, and animals.
Have you tried Meat Free Mondays? Post a comment below and tell us how you went!