You’ve probably heard about Taco Tuesday, but what about Meatless Monday? The concept of Meatless Monday is simple—just don’t eat meat on Mondays! Meatless Monday is a campaign that was first introduced during World War I, reintroduced in 2003, and is still going strong decades later. The initiative is supported by millions of people, as well as multiple research studies. While many reduce or stop consuming meat for ethical reasons, there are also many environmental and health benefits that that come with reducing your consumption of meat.

Intensive, widescale livestock production is detrimental to the environment. In addition to producing more greenhouse gases than all of the vehicles in the world, the livestock industry demands around 30% of Earth’s land surface, and 41% of total agricultural water demand is used for livestock feed. According to the EPA, agricultural runoff is the leading cause of water quality impacts to rivers and streams in the US, a fact which is even more concerning when you also consider that more than half of the land in this country is dedicated to agriculture.

While our impact to some non-point runoff sources, such as urban storm water, might be more obvious, we may not realize how much potential agriculture facilities have to contribute to surface and ground water pollution. Fortunately, we can reduce this excessive demand for environmental resources by switching to plant-based diets. Lowering the amount of meat in our diets may also lead to many health benefits, including improved heart health, a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and better kidney function. There are many alternative sources of protein, including beans, nuts, soy, and various vegetables.

Fully moving to a plant-based lifestyle might be difficult for some, but this is why Meatless Monday is such a great initiative. Meatless Monday isn’t asking you to fully commit to a plant-based diet. All it asks is for you to simply dip your toes into a new kind of diet. By simply replacing one quarter-pounder of beef with a veggie burger, you will save 395 gallons of water!

If you are still having trouble taking the first step, note that studies have shown that the beginning of the week is a great time to develop healthy habits. In most scenarios, those who get things done early are more successful. Mondays can serve as a time to reset and as an opportunity for us to learn new habits. Start the week off with these Vegan Oatmeal Blender Pancakes for breakfast. And who knows…maybe after wading and exploring plant-based living, you’ll discover a love for the lifestyle and will dive in—head first.


The Benefits of Meatless Monday, Science Direct, Livestock, Environment and Deveopment Inititative, American Geophysical Union, EPA, John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Storm Water Hawaii