So, did you know Meatless Monday was an actual thing? Despite having used the phrase and integrated it into many a week (and many an Instagram post), I didn’t know that there was an actual, official initiative created in 2003 by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future. It’s an international campaign that encourages people to go meat-free on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet. Turns out my reasons were right in line with their initiative!
I have to admit that my go-to weeknight meals usually consist of some sort of protein (fish, chicken and occasionally red meat) and copious amounts of veg. But every now and then I really feel the need to go vego for a main meal (if not for the entire day) and I routinely encourage my clients to do the same. Now many vegetarians might read this and say “yeah, we do it all the time” but for a full-blooded carnivore, it can be surprisingly difficult.
So what are the benefits of going meatless on a weekly basis? Well, firstly, when you do it right, you can actually double your daily intake of all those nutritious veggies! And secondly, it can really help lighten the load on your digestive system. It takes a great deal more energy for the body to digest concentrated animal proteins (especially red meat) and it too much can often leave you and your digestive system incredible sluggish. Think about the last time you went out for a big steak…did you feel heavy? Did you have a restless night’s sleep? Did you actually still feel full the morning after?
Reducing red meat consumption can also lower your risk for health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes and some forms of cancer. That’s a really good motivation for Meatless Monday right there. And you certainly can’t go past the environmental benefits of lowered green house gas emissions, but I’ll save that for another post.
If you’re looking to join the Meatless Monday movement but are stuck on what makes a balanced vegetarian meal–here are a couple of my favourites:
Sauteed garlic with shiitake, shimeji and king mushrooms over roast pumpkin. Topped with tamari toasted seeds and Meredith’s Goat Cheese. While this dish is grain-free and does provide you with plenty of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals, adding cooked quinoa or brown rice will boost it that little bit more!
Blanched green beans and broccoli topped with roasted pumpkin, pan-fried haloumi and hazelnuts, this little gem makes a complete meal. For the non-vegos in the house who aren’t on board with MM, add your fav protein–such as chicken or lamb fillets. Make choices that can be tailored to suit different peeps in the house without much additional effort–much easier than cooking entirely different meals for the same household!
Sauteed ginger, carrot, capsicum and green onion added to shredded raw cabbage and a bit of rocket (arugula) packs a big antioxidant punch with a bit of crunch. The haloumi (can you see a theme here) provides you with a bit of protein but can be substituted with raw nuts or even tempeh or tofu for additional protein.
What’s your favourite Meatless Monday dish?