Meatless Monday: Healthy Vegetarian Recipe Ideas
While we don’t promote one specific way of eating (there’s a wide range of “healthy eating” that works for any given person), there is one piece of nutrition advice that applies to many of us: we’d be better off to eat more veggies and fewer animal products.
Humans, as natural omnivores, are “built” to eat animal protein and other animal products (like eggs, for example). However, the way that our hunter gatherer ancestors consumed animal products was very different from the way we, as modern Americans, tend to consume them.
Though animal products (organic, sustainably and humanely raised, that is) can certainly be part of a healthy diet, your body isn’t really designed to eat them every meal, every day. The fact that meat is even accessible to us to eat that often is simply a product of our modern food systems. But “back in the day,” meat was more of an occasional treat—and thus, that’s how the human body developed to see it.
Since humans didn’t evolve to consume large amounts of meat as regularly as we’re able to now, excessive meat consumption is linked to negative health effects like cardiovascular disease, obesity and certain types of cancer. Too much meat isn’t good for us and throws us out of balance.
Modern meat consumption also has another downside: it’s achieved in a very different way today than it has been for most of human history. Most of us don’t hunt and kill our own meal, nor do we raise our own cows, pigs, chickens, etc. Most meat consumed in America comes from factory farms (otherwise known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations—CAFOs), which are inhumane, diseased and harmful to the environment, to put it lightly.
Here are a few facts about modern animal agriculture and meat consumption to be aware of:
It takes 1,700 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef (compare that to 39 gallons of water to produce a pound of vegetables).
Livestock is one of largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions globally.
Every minute, an area the size of seven football fields is cleared for animal agriculture (much of this is virgin rainforest).
Regular red meat and processed meat consumption increases risk of colorectal cancer, as well as other types of cancer.
American livestock is fed over 30 million pounds of antibiotics each year.
Meatless Monday is a movement to eliminate meat from your diet just one day each week. Doing this is good for your health, wallet and the environment—it helps replace some of the meat in your diet with veggies, saves a bit on the grocery bill, and reduces your carbon footprint.
(Of course, you could go one step further and remove meat from your diet more than one day a week—but one is a good number to start with and go from there.)
Even if you typically eat animal products, eating meatless just one day each week can be a positive shift for both your health and the environment.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of our favorite vegetarian and vegan recipe resources:
Vegetarian & vegan recipe resources
Lemon Kale Pizza
Vegan Sesame Crusted Avocado Salad
Creamy Spinach Penne with Watermelon
Jamaican Jerk Vegan Tacos
Sesame Soba Noodles
Cauliflower Banh Mi
Abundance Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing
Easy Bibimbap with Gochujang Sauce
Vegan BBQ Jackfruit Burrito
Vegan Golden Rice
Thai Quinoa Bowl
Buffalo Caesar Wrap
Skillet Tempeh Pasta
Need some weekly meal plan help?
Grab our free Healthy Meal Planning Workbook—a printable and fillable guide to planning simple healthy meals to make healthy eating a breeze.
It’s part of our Wellness Library of free healthy living guides & resources!
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Try Meatless Monday and eliminate meat from your diet one day a week with the recipes and resources above.
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