Meatless Mondays at Our Little House
When I posted the other day on Living Large’s Facebook page that it was Meatless Monday, one of our friends there asked what this movement is all about.
I’ve been doing it for so long, I had forgotten where I read about the movement. I looked it up and found out Meatless Mondays was an initiative actually started during World War I to help conserve resources for that war effort. You can read more about that here, as well as get some recipes:
I just know it’s a good idea for us for 4 main reasons:
- Animal welfare: If I had my way, we would be vegetarians everyday here at Our Little House. The reality is though, that Dale will not go vegetarian. He likes meat and as much as I hate to admit it, there are some meat products I not just like, but love. I know things would be different if we had to raise and kill what we ate and that’s the basis for my strong desire not to eat meat. I went to a limited vegetarian diet, only eating fish and chicken, for 9 months. The hassle of making two meals each night was driving me nuts. I settle for two vegetarian meals a week, and sometimes I sneak in some others! In the city, a major retailer sold products from Good Natured Family Farms, a co-op of small family Kansas and Missouri farmers that pledged to raise their animals naturally grazing and chemical and antibiotic free. Strangely enough, the closer we got to nature here, the harder it is to find places that sell free range, natural meat. This is even more of a reason for me to shy away from what we have to purchase here. The documentary Food Inc., if you’ve never seen it, will forever alter the way you look at the meat on your plate. The way factory farm animals live and die leads me to the next reason:
- Environmental impact: The environmental impact of raising so many animals for our eating pleasure is almost unfathomable. Everyone should read this article on how the planet would benefit if each household made a commitment to go meatless just one day of the week. One of the most startling statistics from this article: We could save greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France. Or, the author’s favorite: “According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.”
- Health benefits: Many studies have shown that a diet high in red meat puts us at risk for all sorts of ailments including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer. If that isn’t enough to make you shudder, consider the antibiotics and other chemicals that go into the animals that produce our meat. Unless you’re buying free-range, all natural meat, it is filled with all sorts of stuff that would make you squirm. If each household went meatless just one day a week, the U.S. could save 33 tons of antibiotics!
- Money Savings: Most of the time, I can save money by going meatless. For example, buying an organic, vegetarian can of refried beans, lettuce and cheese for tostadas is much more frugal than eating any meat dish I can think of, even when adding in the ingredients for making our homemade sauce, as well as cooking rice. This article says the average family could save $50 per month by going meatless just one night.
Here are some of the Meatless Monday ideas I use each week. Please feel free to share others. I have a hard time cooking on these nights, as Dale won’t eat most vegetables:
Lasagna with grilled portabella mushrooms (I even sneak in fresh spinach with this one. Great cool weather meal)
Cheese and onion enchiladas
Potato or some cheese soup
Navy bean soup
Pasta with mushrooms
Cheese stuffed shells
Fresh salads (summer)
Vegetable fried rice
Grilled portabella sandwiches with horseradish dressing
Stuffed potatoes (with guacamole, cheese and Ranch dressing)
*What’s your favorite meatless dish?