What is up with the USDA? Call me crazy, but doesn’t USDA stand for United States Department of Agriculture? Does the USDA only recommend a daily meat diet? What silliness . . . first some thoughtful editor/writer posted a recommendation to consider joining in the Meatless Monday campaign and reduce meat consumption ONE DAY a week in their ‘Greening Headquarters Update’ internal newsletter. Then, someone at the USDA freaked out and they retracted it. Let the media firestorm begin!
I was scheduled to be on a TV morning show called Ebru Today Monday morning the week of the meatless media poo-storm (ironic it was a Monday, never thought of that). I picked my topic a couple of weeks prior and planned to talk about the importance of understanding how our food impacts the environment. Of course I included Meatless Monday as a great idea and the organization as a wonderful resource. This was pure serendipity. Unfortunately, I had been up all night the night before the interview having fun with a young confused bat who got into our bedroom. Needless to say, I was NOT on my ‘A’ game, but I got a few points across.
Here are some great reasons to consider at least cutting back on your meat intake if not going all the way to being a vegetarian or vegan!
The environmental impact of meat and meat production
- Smithsonian Institute estimates that 7 football fields worth of land/forest is bulldozed every MINUTE to make room for livestock. This reduces the CO2 cleaning effect of the forest and trees, while adding the burden on resources like soil and water. It also creates additional CO2!
- Over 260 million acres of forest have been cleared to grow grain for livestock – in the US alone!
- The UN (United Nations) Food & Agriculture Organization calculates that at least 20% of the green house gases caused by humans is caused by livestock and meat production – that’s MORE than transportation!
- It takes 1800 – 2500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef v. 220 gallons to produce a pound of tofu
For your health [from MeatlessMonday.com]
- LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.
- REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
- FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain.
- LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.
- IMPROVE YOUR DIET. Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.