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5 Good reasons to go meat free on a Monday

5 Good reasons to go meat free on a Monday

Meat Free Monday was originally set up by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney in 2009, aimed to reduce the carbon footprint of the meat industry and improve your health. 

Not only is going meat free better for your body, your environment and your wallet, it’s now easier than ever to do - even veganism is well catered for in most cities. Gone are the days where eating out as a veggie meant you're condemned to an insipid butternut squash risotto or soft stuffed pepper. 

Now I'm not saying we should all swap our steaks for salad, but I am encouraging the meat-consuming masses to be a bit more mindful when it comes to meal time and start to foster healthier habits for your body and environment. Too often do we revert to the 'meat and two veg' staple when we're pushed for time or too hungry to think and often there are more delicious and nutritious alternatives. 

A small change to your lifestyle can make a very big difference, here are five very good reasons to go meat free on a Monday:

1.      Be kind to the environment

The effects of farming on the environment are often over looked. Animal agriculture is responsible for at least 14.5% of all manmade global greenhouse gas emissions and, combined with the dairy industry at 4%, animal agriculture for human consumption accounts for nearly 1/5 of all greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s more than trains, planes, cars – the entire automotive industry put together!

A widespread adoption in vegetarianism could help to cut food related emissions by 63%, a research paper led by Oxford Martin school said.

‘Adhering to health guidelines on meat consumption could cut global food-related emissions by nearly a third by 2050, the study found, while widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet would bring down emissions by 63%.’ (2016, The Guardian)

One day a week is a small sacrifice but potential massive gains…

Spiced aubergine and coconut curry. 

A Jamie Oliver special... 

Check out the recipe here. 

2.      Give your body a break

Be kind to your body, constantly digesting meat can take its toll on your digestive system, especially your colon. Your body needs a break from digesting meat, particular red meat like beef steak or processed meats that are high in saturated fats.

Studies show that going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.

In 2012 Havard Health published a report that clearly shows substantial benefit in eliminating or reducing consumption of red meat and substituting healthier proteins. You can read the full study from Harvard Health here.

Celeriac puree and quails egg.jpg

Celeriac puree and quails eggs. 

From King of the Mediterranean vegetable melay, Yottam Ottolenghi. 

Check out the recipe here. 

3.      Look after the pennies

It doesn’t take a generous to work out that eating less meat means your wallet will look a lot healthier. It turns out that cutting down on your animal protein can shrink your yearly food spend as well as your waistline. Vegetarians on average save around £750 per year more than those reaching for meat.

Hearty meat alternatives like beans and pulses are a mere fraction of the cost and can contribute to a more balanced diet with higher intakes of fibre, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium. Not to mention lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.

Green shakshuka with yogurt.

The perfect brunch dish from delicious magazine. 

Check out the recipe here. 

4.      Make more of your meat

Meat is a wonderful thing and should be treated as such. Going meat free once a week should help you to appreciate it more the rest of the week. Why not ditch the plastic wrapped protein in favour of a trip to the butcher and make every meaty meal a delight?

We too often reach into the meat fridge in a supermarket because it’s the default but do we really know the quality or where it’s coming from. As consumers, we have the power to demand more from our supermarkets, support the British farming industry by opting for local produce, ethically reared meats and organic diary.

Try something fancy from Luke Mangan...

Honey and oregano haloumi with fig, golden beetroot, dandelion and walnuts.  

Check out the recipe here. 

5.      Get creative in the kitchen

I know I’m guilty of this – the midweek mind blank. Sometime you get in, it’s all just been too much and the thought of dreaming up an exotic, well balanced feast is beyond you. So, instead, you reach for the meat and two veg and russell up something while you mind is elsewhere – or worse, just grab the takeaway menu.

Being mindful about what you’re putting into your body is key to making meet free days enjoyable. 

Leek rissotto with chestnuts. 

A winter warmer from the River Cottage. 

Check out the recipe here. 

Monday is only day a week, but it’s a start. Once you get into the swing of it, perhaps think about the rest of the week and the way you approach eating meat – if it’s not fresh, fabulous and ethically sourced - why eat it?

To find out more about going Meat Free on a Monday, click here.

Nicoise salad with Tuna steak and soft boiled eggs

Nicoise salad with Tuna steak and soft boiled eggs

Crayfish and mango summer salad

Crayfish and mango summer salad