by Christopher Arnett
Native Foods Cafe Tribe Member
A recent Yahoo News article listed some food trend prediction for 2011. One of them was actually a prediction for a trend that will grow readily over the next decade: vegetarianism! This isn’t just good news for vegetarians because more food options are likely to spring up to cash-in on the growing market, but good news for our bodies, animals, and the planet! The Meatless Monday movement has played a big part in helping spread the green word.
The precedent for Meatless Mondays actually began decades during the terms of Presidents Wilson, Truman, and Roosevelt, who encouraged voluntary meatless days during both World Wars to help conserve food for the war effort. In 2003 the movement was revitalized in the interest of American health. The ultimate goal of the current campaign is to reduce American meat consumption by 15%, and the movement is even endorsed by Oprah—wow!
Going meatless on Mondays (or any day, for that matter) will result in a number of benefits for your health, and the planet. Among the health benefits are lowered risk of cancer, reducing heart disease, reducing risk of diabetes, curbing obesity, and longer life. Benefits to good ole mother Earth include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing water usage, and helping to reduce fossil fuel dependence.
Here are some general dietary benchmarks offered by the USDA (isn’t government-endorsed vegetarianism a beautiful thing?):
- Eat 2-3 servings of lean protein (legumes, nuts, soy products, seitan)
- Eat 4-5 servings of vegetables and 2-3 servings of fresh fruits
- Eat 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy or calcium-enriched dairy alternatives (Native Cheese, anyone?)
- Choose whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa or popcorn, instead of refined grains like white bread, pasta, crackers and sugary cereals
- Limit added fats to 2-3 tablespoons
- Limit sweets, sweetened beverages, fried foods, salty snacks and foods made with hydrogenated oils
So start Meatless Mondays this week! And don’t stop there. Make Tuesday meatless, too. Or, for that matter, everyday of the week! Visiting your local Native Foods Café makes this a snap. Everything on the menu is meatless everyday. But if you are going to drop by and see us on one day of the week, make it Friday from 3-6 p.m. That’s our weekly Happy Hour, where all appetizers, soup, and chili are 50% off! And so is alcohol! Going meatless was never easier or tastier ;)
For more info on Meatless Mondays and including recipes and starter kits, visit: meatlessmonday.com