Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. The campaign was founded in 2003 by former ad man turned health advocate Sid Lerner. Experts at Johns Hopkins wanted to call attention to the Surgeon General’s recommendation to cut back on saturated fat, much of which comes from animal products. Looking back to his childhood, Lerner recalled a WWII rationing effort called Meatless Monday. By cutting meat just one day a week, individuals could reduce their saturated fat intake by 15%, meeting the USDA dietary guidelines. Monday is also the start of the week, making it the natural day to engage in new, healthy behaviors.
Since it was launched in 2003, Meatless Monday has become a global movement with schools, worksites, restaurants and communities participating in 19 countries. The campaign has also been endorsed by many famous faces, including celebrity chef Mario Batali, food activist Michael Pollan and media mogul Oprah Winfrey. In 2005 Lerner expanded upon Meatless Monday’s growing popularity to create Healthy Monday and The Monday Campaigns, Inc.; a larger initiative that uses the start of the week to encourage healthy behaviors.