We Found Someone to Try Meatless Monday. Poor Someone.

Categories: Veg

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See that green thing over there? You're supposed to eat it, apparently.
You may have heard of this whole Meatless Monday thing. It's a simple idea: to abstain from eating meat for just one day a week. It's not a radically new concept; the term was coined during WWI as a slogan (along with "Wheat-Free Wednesdays") to encourage voluntary rationing of staple foods, and it resurfaced in 2003 when real-life Mad Man Sid Lerner partnered with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and launched a major campaign to promote the cause.

Americans consume on average 8 ounces of meat a day, about twice the global average, and 45 percent more than the USDA recommended 5 1/2 ounces a day. Why are so we fixated on having a slab of protein that covers half our dinner plate? Perhaps some older generations remember a time when Meatless Monday wasn't a choice, when their parents just couldn't afford to put a roast beast on the table for every meal, and therefore perceive eating meat as a sign of success and prosperity.

Maybe it's the fact that, despite increasing popularity and awareness, we Americans still mostly view vegetarians and vegans as tree-hugging, tofu-eating pussies. The idea of a meatless meal still seems dauntingly boring and terribly unsatisfying to many of us. The
meat-heavy diet is certainly propagated by the media and major corporations; turn on your television and watch the practically pornographic commercials featuring extreme close-ups of picture-perfect McDonald's burgers and glistening Outback steaks.

Countless scientific studies have shown that consumption of red meat contributes to heart disease, hardening of the arteries and colon cancer. Besides that, our reliance on meat means that many of us aren't getting a balanced diet. A "meal" as presented in most advertisements consists of a hearty portion of meat and some starch.

A burger and fries; pancakes and bacon; steak and potatoes. It's all brown and beige. Where's the dark green, the vivid orange (and I'm not talking about American cheese), all the varied hues that indicate a variety of rich nutrients?

No doubt, eating a balanced diet can be challenging. The only rainbow I usually eat on an average day is found in the form of little crunchy marshmallows in my Lucky Charms. The USDA recommends that the average 2000 calorie diet should include four and a half cups of vegetables, yet a study released last year by the CDC reveals that only 1 in 4 American adults consumes vegetables three or more times a day. Only 23 percent of all meals consumed in this country include a vegetable at all. (Yes, lettuce and tomato on your burger count. No, French fries are not a vegetable.)

It's understandable; vegetables are kind of a pain in the ass. You can't just throw a bunch of spinach or a squash in your purse for a snack later. Vegetables require some thought; the first hurdle is getting to them before they die a slow, painful death in your refrigerator's crisper drawer. It pains me to think how many dollars worth of wilted heads of lettuce and rotten avocados I've had to throw away after forgetting about them or being too busy to cook for a few days.

Furthermore, in the wrong hands, they can be really awful. How many of us hold onto childhood traumas inflicted by overcooked and underseasoned Brussels sprouts or canned green beans? Meat is innately delicious and significantly more difficult for most people to fuck up. It tastes good even when combined with soy protein and caramel coloring and parked under a heat lamp for a while, fast-food style.

It's likely that you don't give a damn about your colon or your cholesterol. So next week we'll explore the other reasons for supporting Meatless Monday, including the sustainability and environmental impact of our mass meat consumption. We'll also talk about celebrity chefs and corporations that have hopped on the MM bandwagon, in case you're into that sort of thing, and going forward I'll put my consumption where my mouth is and maybe even eat some quinoa.


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22 comments
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Ai tan
Ai tan

it's not hard to eat meatless. and better for us.

Benjamin Marc Howell
Benjamin Marc Howell

Meatless Mondays is awesome in promoting a healthy vegan / vegetarian lifestyle. I suggest you not only take advantage of the growing awareness that Meatless Monday is providing a healthier day, but also take a moment or two next Monday and do a wee bit of research on the meat and dairy industries. You'll find it quite interesting how little compassion there is and note quickly the lack of human morale is presented.

Syl
Syl

I am thrilled to see more people attempting to change the way we think about food and what we are consuming – Consumers have the right to know where their food comes from and how animals are treated before they reach their plates. This is a good, short video to watch about this topic: MeatVideo.­com. Or visit ChooseVeg.­com for informatio­n on adopting a more compassion­ate diet.

Ari Nessel
Ari Nessel

Thanks for covering Mondays Mondays. Pant-based eating is the fastest growing trend in the food industry, with high profile people such Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Carrie Underwood, Alec Baldwin, Andre 3000 and more embracing it. Some do it for health reasons, some out of compassion, others for spiritual reasons, and many out of concern for the health of our planet. Whatever the reason (and there are hundreds!), it great to see Dallas breaking any stereotypes about being caught in the 20th century on the old standard american diet, and ready to embrace a possibly more enlightened approach to food. 

C-air-AAAAH
C-air-AAAAH

Hi Whitney,

You have my attention. Also, yes, thank you for writing about MM. Just like finding your voice as a writer, you will discover a palate and preference for meatless dishes. You will decide some veggies are better rather eat raw, cooked, steamed or swimming in sauce. Furthermore, canned veggies are not a good indicator of a vegetables true nature anyway because they are not fresh. I look forward to reading about the sustainability and environmental impact of mass meat consumption next week!

Chenoa Elizabeth
Chenoa Elizabeth

Thank so much about raising awareness about MeatlessMondays! Despite poking fun at vegans throughout the article, it’s nice to seethe benefits of a vegan/vegetarian diet being covered. Choosing a vegan orvegetarian diet is the best thing you can do for your own health, and theenvironment. I can’t think of a better way to prevent animal cruelty, or helpput an end to unethical practices within the food industry.  There are countless delicious veganmeal options available that smash the myth that eating a plant based diet is a frightening,tasteless sacrifice.  Being veganis an amazing lifestyle to satisfy your tummy and your conscious. Best wisheswith your future articles. I genuinely hope your blog sparks a lot enthusiasmfor Meatless Mondays. Happy eating! 

 

P.S. For the record, brussel sprouts rock! 

Marianne
Marianne

Thanks for covering the topic - veg diet is not only healthier as suggested by the American Dietetic Association, it can also save our planet. ChooseVeg.com has hundreds of recipes.After trying some of the recipes there you will never think vegan diet is boring. I have never eaten that well in my life before!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It requires some learning, but it's well worth that

N-J
N-J

Meatless Monday should be everyday 24/7! I feel taking one day off from meat will do your body a lot of good! Try it and see what works for you.

Jeff H
Jeff H

Awesome idea for a blog! Big D is becoming a great place to try a veg diet with places like Spiral Diner and Veggie Garden, plus the plethora of options for meat substitues at stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and even Kroger and the Fiesta by my house. I do have a small issue with the "poor someone" part of the title, but at least we know they're less likely to develop poor health or a poor conscience.

Nora
Nora

It's so great that you're doing a regular column on Meatless Mondays! I have to admit I was bummed by the mocking tone of your article, though. I've been vegan for 13 years and I eat delicious food seven days a week. I also recently moved to Dallas and have been impressed with how vegan-friendly it is. DallasVegan.com lists lots of restaurants with good options for Monday or any other day of the week!

I appreciate that you're not just going to talk about food -- the mistreatment of animals and the devastating environmental impact of factory farms make cutting out meat once a week the least we can do. Check out chooseveg.com for recipes and info on some of the reasons people go veg or reduce their meat consumption.

Thanks again!

Scott
Scott

Educate yourself on all the different types of diets and find someone who has gone to school for that, then bring us the real information about why we should not eat meat AT ALL. You will see that vegan and mostly raw fruits and vegetables are simple to prepare, and provide every nutrient ANYONE needs ( and yes I'm talking to you Mr. GottaHaveFleshToBuildMuscle).

You WILL feel better and help the planet all at once.

Kristie
Kristie

It's really exciting that DO will be writing regularly on Meatless Monday. Just 2 weeks ago I read that the Vegetarian Resource Group found in a recent survey that about 33% of Americans are regularly eating vegetarian meals (in addition to people who are already vegetarian). It's a sign of the times. I look forward to reading future DO Meatless Monday pieces.

Starre Vartan
Starre Vartan

An idea to add to your series - talk to people about how they feel - day to day- after going meatless (or even lower-meat, like maybe every other day) for a week or two. People who eat unhealthy diets often don't understand how GREAT they can feel if they eat more healthfully (green veggies really do give both energy and mood boosts - look it up - there's published studies on this from reputable orgs). Honestly, when I eat the SAD (standard american diet), when I'm travelling or something, I feel so, so awful....slow digestion, random nausea, burps and farts and general discomfort - stuff which many people take a plethora of medications for. Point being that instead of the emphasis on what you're missing (meat), maybe think about what you're gaining - which is feeling a lot better, and usually pretty quickly. There's all sorts of folks to vouch for this, from stay-at-home moms to truck drivers. 

therrick
therrick

I've had meatless days many times. Quite often by accident. During Lent it will be on Fridays a lot of times.

What's wrong with canned green beans? Lemon Pepper, a little butter. and 2 minutes in the microwave. Still a damn good, quick dish.

foodbitch
foodbitch

No canned green beans. Ever. That is final. Sorry.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

As much as I like Allen's facebook effforts, canned vegetables are hammered to pulp and full of salt.  Go frozen, lighten up on the butter, and try a real lemon every once in a while.

therrick
therrick

A serving of Del Monte has 14% of your daily sodium. Big whoop. I'm just pointing out something quick. If I'm gonna bother using real lemon in my green beans, then I'll buy fresh.

Seriously
Seriously

It's ok, therrick.  primi_timpano thinks he is an expert on everything.

therrick
therrick

1. I always get reduced salt/no variety of food, because I'm not real big on salt.2. I am none of the things listed there.3. No matter what I still stand behind my comment it is a good, quick dish.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

That's for a 1/2 cup serving (half of the smallest 8 oz can).  It also assumes a recommended daily sodium intake of almost 2500mg per day. The USDA recommendation is 1,500mg if you're age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.  The American Heart Association recommends 1500mg for everyone.  It's your heart and diet but salt is an insidious and dangerous food additive.

Give the no salt variety a try.

David Shirk
David Shirk

This blog is a great idea! With so many Americans trying Meatless Mondays nowadays, more and more people are finding out just how delicious vegetarian food can be.

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