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Meatless Monday – eating with care for the environment ‎

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Can the environment be helped by just a small change in the way one eats? The answer lies in the global movement #MeatlessMonday – more people to give up eating meat on Mondays.

The initiator to create the movement was Sidney Lerner, who has been fighting for health-related causes for many years. The movement, which is happening in partnership with one of the divisions of the famous Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, will mark its 20 years anniversary next year. Although the beginning was set in the USA, the trend is known in more than 40 countries and is slowly entering Bulgaria as well.

The idea is that when less meat is consumed, valuable water and land resources are conserved, and thus fighting climate change. Scientists have proven that meat production is responsible for nearly 60% of greenhouse gases produced by the food sector. Hardly anyone imagines that it takes enough water to fill 10 bathtubs to produce the meat for one hamburger.

Responsible and helpful

In addition to caring for the environment, as an added bonus, the trend has a positive effect on health, as eating plant-based meals leads to a reduction in the incidence of developing chronic diseases, heart problems or diabetes.

Why exactly on Monday is a question that those who hear about the idea for the first time immediately ask themselves. The reason lies in numerous studies proving that on the first day of the week, people are most ready to make a positive change. Participants in the global movement claim that they choose fruits, vegetables and healthier foods more often during the other days of the week as well.

The cities that take an active part in the initiative are Ghent in Belgium, called the “vegetarian capital of Europe”, Bedford in the state of New York, where many restaurants, businesses and even hospitals have followed the trend for meat-free Mondays, as well as Sao Paulo in Brazil. where over 8,000 schools are part of the movement.

In 2009, Paul McCartney from the group “Beatles” called on his fans to give up meat at least for a day. Other world-famous artists such as Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez have also made speeches on the topic of reducing meat consumption. In Bulgaria, Justine Toms joined the trend as early as 2015, giving employees at the ABC Design & Communication agency the opportunity to choose meat-free lunches on Mondays.

Personal example

If a person is ready to join the movement, but is still hesitant about how his family or colleagues will accept the idea, he can try to tell them other than during a time when they are eating together. It is important not to tell them that they must give up meat altogether or that they must necessarily reduce their consumption, as this can be perceived as judgmental. Rather, he should explain to them that meatless meals are a compliment to the diet, not an alternative to meat. Last but not least, he can tell them that the trend is gaining momentum and shows no signs of slowing down, on the contrary, the big food companies are competing to offer more meatless options and meatless recipes.

The choices each person makes every day affect us and the environment. Climate change and a growing population are prompting a number of experts to consider alternative sources of protein, such as algae proteins, plant proteins, cultured meats, insect proteins and cell proteins. It may take time to bring them to market, but what we can do right now is simply reduce our meat consumption – be it by one or several days a week. This small step towards a healthier diet is a big step in our responsible consumption as a society and as humanity.

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