Have you heard of the Meatless Monday Movement? It’s a global movement dedicated to cutting out meat just one day a week for the overall well-being of our bodies and our planet.
According to the organization’s website, “Meatless Monday’s simple message to ‘skip meat once a week’ works because it provides a regular cue to take action on Monday, which research shows is the day people are most open to making positive changes. Starting each week practicing Meatless Monday can lead people to eat more fruits, vegetables and plant-based meals throughout the rest of the week.”
Curious how and why this movement is so beneficial? We reached out to three experts (a nutritionist, fitness expert, and sustainable lifestyle coach) for their advice on why you should hop on the Meatless Monday bandwagon.
Here’s what they said:
The environmental benefit, according to a nutritionist:
More people following a plant-based diet could reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere. The amount of gases released by producing just two pounds of beef is more than what is released by driving a car for three hours.
That said, I would opt for whole foods over highly processed meat substitutes. Imitation animal-based foods, like packaged veggie burgers, are heavily processed in order to achieve the taste and texture similar to their counterparts. This leads them to be high in sodium and fat. Consumers who have chronic health conditions such as high cholesterol and hypertension should be wary of consuming a large amount of these processed imitation burgers.
Also, plant-based burger alternatives do not typically contain B12, as manufacturers are primarily focused on producing a product that is similar in taste and texture rather than nutrients. This is an essential vitamin that is only naturally occurring in animal products and is vital to many body processes.
The question then has to be asked: is the processed nature of these plant-based alternatives better or worse for your health than eating the animal-based version?
That’s why the Meatless Monday Movement is so great. Reducing your meat intake without cutting out naturally-occuring B12 completely can be a really great compromise for your health and the earth.
Lisa Richards, Nutritionist, The Candida Diet
The health benefit, according to a fitness expert:
Not eating meat on Mondays can reduce heart disease and stroke, lower cancer risk, prevent obesity, prevent diabetes, save money, and reduce your carbon footprint. Vegetables and fruits help your body fight cardiovascular diseases. If you are not eating meat, make sure to eat a well-balanced meal. Excluding meat on Mondays will encourage you to increase your food intake on vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.
Dan Barcelon, Owner & Editor-in-Chief, Non-Athlete Fitness
The COVID-19 benefit, according to a sustainable lifestyle coach:
Participating in campaigns like Meatless Monday or reducing your consumption of meat in general may protect against severe COVID-19.
A study published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, followed healthcare workers with high frequency of exposure to patients with COVID-19 in six different countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the US) and found:
Participants who followed plant-based diets had 73% lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 compared with those who did not follow plant-based diets.
Participants who followed either plant-based diets or pescatarian diets had 59% lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 compared with those who did not follow these diets.
Compared with participants who followed plant-based diets, participants who followed low carbohydrate, high protein diets had >3-fold higher odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19.
Compared with those who followed plant-based diets or pescatarian diets, those who followed low carbohydrate, high protein diets had non-significant greater odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19.
The researchers found no association between self-reported diets and odds of COVID-19-like illness or duration of COVID-19 symptoms. The researchers allude to studies that may explain these differences. For instance, supplementation of certain nutrients, like vitamins A, C, D and E decreased the risk of respiratory infections (i.e., the common cold) and decreased the duration of illness potentially due to the nutrients’ role in immune support.
Epidemiological studies have linked fruit and vegetable consumption with a decreased risk of upper respiratory tract infection, and other studies suggests that diets high in refined sugars, processed foods, and red and processed meats (i.e., the standard Western diet) may be pro-inflammatory and have negative health impacts. Opting for a plant based diet and joining campaigns like Meatless Monday may confer protection against severe COVID-19.
Erin Meyer, Sustainable Lifestyle Coach, A Sustainable Life
Cutting out meat just once a week is a tiny, tiny step you can take to improve your health (and the earth’s) in a big way. Supplement your meatless day (and everyday) with your favorite KOR immunity shots. Want to try them all? Our Remix Box is a great way to pick and choose your new favorites.
Reminder: all of our immunity shots come in 100% recycled bottles, so you can feel good about what you’re doing for The Earth and your body.
Join the movement for a better Earth and better you with KOR!