How Meatless Mondays Can Improve Your Life

By: Anna Krolikowski

For many, the words “Meatless Monday” dredge up unwanted memories of badly prepared tofu or some kind of unsatisfying salad. Most American meals seem to revolve around some kind of meat; chicken, pork, beef. Meatless Monday consequently has a stigma of consisting of incomplete or tasteless meals. However, if one takes the time to truly look into vegetarian and even vegan meal options, it becomes obvious that Meatless Monday can be filled with truly delicious and satisfying foods.

Why go meatless? One of the biggest reasons to try and avoid meat at least one day out of the week is because of the impact of meat production on the environment. It takes 1,850 gallons of water to produce a pound of ground beef. Comparatively, it takes 39 gallons of water to produce a pound of vegetables. Studies also show that subbing veggies for meat reduces greenhouse gas and fuel emissions. Livestock is also the top polluters of rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water, and are one of the many ways antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals are entering the environment.

If the environment isn’t enough reason to go meatless for a day, consider personal health instead. The practice of eating meat with every meal certainly isn’t a common one outside of the United States. In fact, Americans consume nearly four times the global average amount of meat. This huge consumption of meat may contribute to health problems like heart disease and obesity. By subbing veggies, whole grains, and nuts for meat once a week, you are adding more fiber and healthy nutrients to your diet.

So how can you go meatless, or even vegan, for a day? Southwestern’s Commons already provides an abundance of vegan and vegetarian options, especially on Mondays. If you’re looking to go vegetarian for a day on your own, though, the options are endless. For breakfast, consider replacing your bacon and eggs with granola, fruit, and some dairy free milk, like soy milk. For lunch, try a salad with sunflower seeds and chickpeas paired with a bagel slathered in peanut butter. For dinner, try a black bean burrito with lettuce and avocado. If you want to go all out, you can even make yourself a vegan dessert like black bean brownies or lemon bars.

Going permanently vegan or vegetarian can seem like a terrifying lifestyle choice. Luckily, even just going meatless one day out of the week makes a huge difference both for your personal health and for the environment. It’s not only a way to improve yourself, but also to challenge yourself and your own creativity while also making the world a better place.