This op-ed debunks the myth that Meatless Mondays provide the nutritional edge and lighter environmental footprint.
It has come to my attention that Meatless Monday is being portrayed as a benefit to both your health and the environment. Unfortunately, that is incorrect.
VIV magazine claims that if you cut meat out of your diet one day per week, you can lose weight and become healthier overnight. I wish that was true. It would be nice to find a solution that easy for all of us who have struggled with weight issues.
Personally, I have lost 50 lbs. in just more than 18 months by eating red meat every day. Zinc, iron and protein are all found in red meat and often are key ingredients missing from our diets. Don’t forget that red meat also contains essential amino acids and vitamin A. The list goes on.
Did you know that, while 3 oz. of lean beef has 180 calories, in order to get the same amount of protein you must eat 7 tbsp. of peanut butter, which has more than 600 calories? I challenge you, instead of Meatless Monday, make it Meatful Monday but pick healthier, lean cuts. I bet you will see a healthy you in the near future.
Yes, the environment and global warming has us all concerned, but following Meatless Monday is not the way to rectify this alarming situation.
According to Jude Capper of the Washington State University Department of Animal Sciences, “The Environmental Working Group (EWG) claims that national carbon emissions would be reduced by 4.5% if everyone in the U.S. chose a vegetarian diet. This is an impressive achievement, given that the Environmental Protection Agency cites livestock production (including poultry and horses) as accounting for only 3.1% of total U.S. emissions.”
Let’s do the math based on the EPA numbers. The EWG report focuses on the impact of red meat and dairy, so if we remove poultry and horses from the EPA’s 3.1% figure, we get a total red meat and dairy impact of 3.05%. Divide that by seven, and the impact of one meatless day per week is equal to 0.44% of the U.S. carbon footprint – and that’s assuming that the U.S. population of 311 million people all adopt this lifestyle change.