What is meat free Monday all about and why did I decide to introduce it into my families diet? I won’t sit here and say I know all the facts as I need educating on it all as much as the next person. But I do care and I try to make more conscious decisions if I can justify them. Eating less meat is one of them.
For me it started as the health benefits that consuming less meat can have on our long term health. I will go into this in more detail in a bit. But I felt like I needed to have more reasoning behind it than just health so I begun to look at all the other benefits.
I remember sitting at the table one night encouraging the girls to eat their meat free dinner ready to fire away with all the facts only to be blown away by Niamh’s response with all that I was about to tell her. Turns out they actually had been learning about it at school.
So suddenly mummy’s crazy idea was justified and therefore #meatfreemonday was here to stay. Although of course it doesn’t need to be a Monday its a campaign that has been going for years to get us all eating less meat but its also an easy day to remember when meal planning. We actually probably have more meat free days now but my Monday meal is usually a little more adventurous than the Jacket potato and beans we will have midweek.
So what are the other reasons for going meat free? I will give you a few from my own findings…..
For the Environment
As population figures grow, the planet’s resources are struggling to keep up with demand. Almost one-third of the earth’s land is used for raising livestock and, as requirements increase, habitats are being destroyed in order to grow crops for animal consumption. Eating less meat can help to slow deforestation and it will help with world hunger.
If the average household was to lower their meat consumption it would cut more emissions than if you were to halve the use of your car.
Unfortunately livestock release greenhouse gases (methane and nitrous oxide) which is causing great damage to the environment. The corn to feed them is grown on land that could have been used for production of food for people.
For supermarkets to meet demands at competitive prices animals are kept in massive barns, grown quickly with very little space and never being free to go outside.
I read that caged bird houses often have up to 200,000 per house while a free range house will hold 33,000. Still a massive amount and holds more than the recommended square footage for every chicken too. Organic bird houses contain 2,000 and are encouraged to go outside.
This fact alone has me questioning my own choices of choosing “free range” when they are actually not free at all.
Large commercial farms can sell and produce cheaper meat and produce than small farms can. Putting small family run businesses at risk of closure.
For your health
A study conducted by the world health organisation (WHO) discovered links between eating large amounts of processed or red meat and developing bowel cancer. Red meat is a good source of protein, zinc and iron, but lowering the amount we consume will significantly reduce this risk.
Eating less meat can lower the chances of developing heart disease, cancer and strokes saving the NHS billions and the number of premature deaths every year.
Diets too high in meat, particularly red meat, can lead to obesity.
For your pocket
Meat is expensive. Spend less on meat and more on beans and pulses and vegetables. The equivalent amount of protein consumed from beans and pulses rather than meat is significantly cheaper.
Spend less on meat and you have more money for vegetables or to go for organic foods and use smaller local businesses.
The future for us
I am still very much on my own learning adventure. I know there is so much more I could do to change. Everything in this blog is from multiple articles I have read but there is so much more information out there that could really make you think and see all the benefits that one simple change could effect your lives.