Medical Moment: What are Meatless Mondays?

Laura Cattell, PA-C

Medical Moment: What are Meatless Mondays?


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Answer by Laura Cattell

Meatless Monday is a movement which began in 2003, launched in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It has been embraced by communities around the world.  

Laura Cattell, PA-C

Laura Cattell, PA-C

But Why?

Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

Live longer

Multiple studies have shown an increase in overall mortality in persons eating a diet high in red meat. The “Health Professionals Follow up Study” and the “Nurses’ Health Study” conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health concluded after following participants for 28 years that those who ate the most red meat (2 servings a day) had a 30% higher risk of dying than those that ate the least.

Documented increased causes of death include: cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. (Analysis of all data shows specifically an increased risk in colorectal cancer, some data suggests increased risk in pancreatic, prostate and esophageal cancers as well).

Red meat is high in saturated fat and therefore can raise LDL (BAD) cholesterol levels thus increasing plague in your arteries which can lead to heart disease and stroke.

Environmental benefits

It takes large amounts of fossil fuels and water to grow the food that feed the livestock. It takes 7-8 lbs of feed to produce a pound of beef!  Not to mention the methane gas which is considered a greenhouse gas that all cows produce.

What can you do:

  • Eat lots of vegetables (but limit starchy ones such as potatoes and corn).
  • Eat 1-2 servings of citrus fruits a day. (not juice or canned)
  • Eat whole grains, legumes, beans and some nuts. (Avoid white processed flour products)

If you are eating meat, eat white meat (chicken) and fish rather than red meat and avoid processed meats like bacon, ham, salami and hot dogs. Remember a serving of meat is only 3 ozs that isn’t much! And less than 2 servings a day is recommended!

Consider going meatless on Mondays

It’s a great way to make a small change. If you start and then your family joins, then friends, then friends of friends. Think of the possibilities!

Check out the website, perhaps Telluride could be the next community to join the movement!

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