Monday, January 11, 2010

Small Step, Big Benefits

Last Year, I learned about an organization via Twitter called, Meatfree Monday.  Paul McCartney started it and his family and friends have done a wonderful job promoting it.  As a follower of both Stella McCartney and Yoko Ono, the message was received regularly and gladly.

I then researched the movement and found the Amercian version, Meatless Monday.  Same message, but started by John Hopkins University.  (follow at @meatlessmonday)

The message from both organizations is simple: Give up meat one day every week. Improve your personal health, reduce your carbon footprint and help the planet.

Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

Health Benefits

  • REDUCE RISK OF HEART DISEASE. Beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds contain little to no saturated fats. Reducing your intake of saturated fats can help keep your cholesterol low and reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • MAINTAIN HEALTHY WEIGHT. A plant-based diet is a great source of fiber, which is absent in animal products. Foods rich in fiber make you feel full with fewer calories, resulting in lower calorie intake and less overeating. On average, Americans get less than half the recommended daily quantity of fiber.
  • IMPROVE OVERALL QUALITY OF DIET. Consuming dry beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.

Environmental Benefits

  • REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
  • MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef.Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
  • HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S.Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein.Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.
It's a small step with big benefits.  Do it for yourself in 2010.

One set of books that have helped me make these changes, is the Skinny Bitch series.  You'll have a great time, while addressing some big changes in your health and diet.

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