Monday, March 7, 2011

Meatless Monday: A History Lesson

My boyfriend and I have been trying to find ways to lower our calorie intact during the week. Aside from trying to eat healthy we wanted to do something that took minimal effort but had a big impact.

What we came up with was Meatless Mondays! 

Now this is not a new idea. I didn't make it up. I'm not that clever.

During World War I, Meatless Monday began as a volunteer campaign. The U.S. Food Administration, under president Woodrow Wilson, urged families to refrain from eating meat on Mondays (as well as wheat on Wednesdays) to aid in the war effort. To encourage busy families even further, Herbert Hoover, head of the Food Administration, created booklets, recipes, and menus printed in magazines and newspaper to get the word out to the masses.

The impact of this movement was overwhelming. Over “10 million families, 7,000 hotels and nearly 425,000 food dealers pledged to observe national meatless days.” The amount of food saved was staggering. In one week alone, New York City hotels save some 116 tons of meat. This was the beginning of food reflection. According to an 1929 Evening Post article, “Americans began to look seriously into the question of what and how much they were eating.”

The movement was such a success that campaign returned during FDR and Truman’s presidency to assist in feeding those starving in Europe during World War II.

Jumping to present day, in 2003, Meatless Mondays returned in full force as a public awareness program associated with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future. The goal of the campaign was to reduce the risk of preventable disease by cutting back on saturated fat as well show the impact meat had on climate change.

Even famous people are on board! In 2009, Paul McCartney and his daughters Stella and Mary launched their own crusade for Meat-free Mondays. Chef Mario Batali and former Vice President Al Gore speak out for meatless Mondays and its impact on the environment. 

Countries such as Australia, The Netherlands, Israel, Canada and the US have supported this idea and implemented them in their own ways. San Francisco became the first city to officially declare Mondays as “meat free” appropriately dubbing it “Vegetarian Day.” Always so clever San Francisco! Tehe And the Baltimore School District became the first meatless Monday cafeterias in the country.

Over the years many magazines and newspapers such as Woman’s Day, Washington Post, AARP Magazine, etc have included Meatless recipes to encourage healthy eating habits. 

Now many blogs have adopted meatless Mondays as well. My favorite is Ezra Pound Cake. The website includes great meatless recipes, as well as beautiful photos and entertaining writing.

I want to encourage everyone (as well as myself) to try Meatless Mondays!
It’s good for ya and the environment!

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