Whilst it is Thursday today - I really wanted to cover this topic this week, and well, Monday got away on me!
What is Meat Free Monday? Well aside from being a charitable endeavour set up by Paul McCartney (yep, the Beatle) and his family, is a drive to have people tweak their diet slightly to give massive cumulative benefit to themselves and the planet. The idea is once per week (Monday) you create a meal that is 100% meat free. It isn't to say you can't have meat, it's a way for you to make a small change that has little effect on your lifestyle.
This can be a challenge for some, but the idea provides awesome results!
Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the food animal sector is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”. It estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organisations have estimated it could be as much as 51 per cent. By switching out one meal per week to a no-meat meal, you make a small change that cumulatively could make a huge impact on that 14.5%!
Reduce Your Meat Consumption & Increase Your Health
By reducing your meat consumption it allows you reduce your risk of cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund found diets "higher in red/processed meats..." to be linked to a greater risk of colorectal cancer, and it encouraged dietary patterns low in red and/or processed meats, and higher in vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and lean meats/seafood.
Meat is significant part of the average grocery bill, and by reducing this and replacing your protein option with something a lot cheaper (lentils, vegetables or fermented soy) you will save money on your shopping bill! A quick look at Coles gives the following prices per kilo for meat versus vegetable proteins (I even gave the meat a head start by choosing the organic options!):
Organic Red Kidney Beans - $3.25/kilo
Organic Lentils - $4/kilo
Tempeh - $15.40/kg
Beef (cheapest cut) - $16/kilo
Chicken (cheapest cut) - $8/kilo
Lamb (cheapest cut) - $18/kilo
It becomes clearer that you can save money on your food bill by replacing just one meal.
Alleviate World Hunger
Many of the grains fed to food animals are diverted from the human food supply chain, raising prices for these foods in countries where these foods are common in their diets. Grain fed cattle are commonly fed corn, sorghum and barley - and from 12 kilograms of grain comes 1 kilogram of meat! By reducing the consumption per capita of meat we unlock that food source for others, if we were to cease meat consumption completely there would be enough grain to feed the 800 million people who are malnourished or underfed!!!
So - are you keen to make the change to a Meat Free Monday (or any other day!)? There are plentiful recipe options to help you with this, you can of course join me at The Kitchen School to learn how to prepare a meal that is meat free but so damn tasty your family won't even notice!