With Oprah going vegan for a week and the popularity of Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food, you have probably heard the term “Meatless Monday”. Meatless Monday actually originated in World War I when the US government encouraged citizens to decrease their consumption of the food staples meat and wheat to aid in the war effort. They proclaimed “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays” and over 10 million families took the pledge. In 2003, the movement was recreated as a public health awareness program with the goal to help Americans cut back on their intake of saturated fat.
Our family has practiced Meatless Mondays off and on for the past year. Lately, we have been eating meatless at least one night a week if not two or three. At first, Jeff was a little leery of the whole idea. Could he really feel full without any meat on his plate? Would he be eating weird things like tofu and soy “chicken” patties? Well don’t worry. My main squeeze is well-fed and hasn’t been forced to eat any “weird” meat substitutes. In fact, we don’t cook with any meat substitutes at all because there really is no need. We cook things like vegetarian chili, veggie stir-fry and black bean sweet potato enchiladas.
Going meatless one night a week can be a big first step towards a healthier lifestyle. You can read about some of the benefits here. But remember, meatless doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Choose fresh ingredients, and try cooking at home. No time? Make a vegetarian crockpot meal. Fill up on veggies, beans and whole grains. Intimidated? For the first week, why not try a simple bean burrito with a side of sauteed veggies and fruit salad? It doesn’t have to be complicated.
So, are you up to the challenge? If your family never goes a night without meat, will you dare to go meatless on Mondays? If so, leave a comment below telling us that you are taking the pledge. You can also visit the Meatless Monday site and sign their pledge.
Recipe inspiration: I asked fellow food bloggers to send me their favorite meatless recipes to get you started. A few of these are from my recipe archives. Please share your favorite vegetarian recipes with us in the comment section!
Bird’s Nest for Dinner
Aunt Laurie’s Vegetarian Chili
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Chickpea Potato Curry
Spicy Refried Bean Soup
Lavash Pizza with a Salad of Greens, Gorgonzola and Toasted Almonds
Tomato and White Bean Soup
Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas (would be so good on Ezekiel tortillas)
Quick Tortellini Soup
Curried Lentil, Potato, Cauliflower & Spinach Soup