Today, Meatless Monday is a worldwide phenomenon, being practiced in 36 different countries. Historically, Meatless Monday has some strong roots. During World War I, the government created this idea of “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays” in order protect key food items, thinking it would help the US to win the war. Over 13 million families pledged to these two weekly meal changes. Meatless Mondays regained popularity during World War II when President Roosevelt reinstated the concept to help the war efforts at home. The modern version of Meatless Monday was revived in 2003 by Sid Lerner.
Sid Lerner wanted to use Meatless Monday to begin a public health campaign, focusing on the many health related problems caused by the overconsumption of meat. Today, Americans consume 70+ more pounds of meat each year than our ancestors. This is not only bad for our health, but also bad for the planet. Producing the meat that we eat every day requires our farmers to use incredible amounts of water in order to sustain all of the livestock. Beyond this, the production of the meat that we consume emits vastly larger amounts of greenhouse gasses in comparison to vegetables. Meat production is not possible without large amounts of fossil fuels. On average, it takes 25 calories of fuel to produce 1 calorie of meat versus 2.2 calories of fuel to produce 1 calorie of grains. By going meatless one day a week, studies have shown that you can reduce your risk of developing obesity and other life-threatening diseases, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease. This is a very easy lifestyle change that can actually help you and your family live longer, healthier and happier lives.
The simplicity of this campaign has allowed it to spread like wild fire throughout the world along with the many health benefits and the sustainable future it promotes. Meatless Monday truly shows how one person or one family can make a difference in our world. Think you can commit to one day a week where you focus on your health while protecting the planet at the same time? Join me by taking the Meatless Monday pledge here.