Like Batman and Robin, hats and scarves, or Guac and Chips, some things are better in pairs. Just like the words “Monday” and “healthy.” That’s one reason why Meatless Monday has grown from an idea to an international movement; for individuals and institutions, Meatless Monday is an easy program in which to participate while offering a range of healthy benefits.
The Orange County Register recently wrote about the success of Meatless Monday on the campus of University of California, Irvine, and the many reasons Meatless Monday works. One reason the program has taken off is because it’s so easy to launch and sustain; when an organization like a college campus “goes meatless,” no major changes to their existing menu are required. According to UCI’s Sustainability Newsletter, Meatless Monday simply “highlights our many meatless options every Monday (though we still have our meat options available) to encourage people to go meatless just one day a week for both their health and the health of the planet.” Organizations don’t even need an art department; a range of posters, promotional items and ideas can be found here.
Meatless Monday is also healthy in that it confirms an institution’s commitment to a much larger sustainability effort. Many times, Meatless Monday will either complement, or run alongside, other efforts a school or company may be involved in. For example, UCI regularly earns recognition as one of the Sierra Club’s Top Ten Coolest Schools. The reasons cited include the school’s conservation efforts, LEED-certified new construction, and, yes, its commitment to movements like Meatless Monday.
Meatless Monday is healthy for the local economy, as well. When institutions stock up on extra veggies, did you ever think where they come from? By sourcing more produce, chances are that produce is coming from local farms, and this is certainly the case at UCI. Offering food from “a variety of local producers in all dining locations across campus… these local foods are sourced within 250 miles of the campus, ensuring that UCI reduces transportation emissions and provides fresh, healthy food.”
But the real reason Meatless Monday is healthy is because it falls on a Monday. The reason a “Meatless Wednesday” or “Meatless Saturday” wouldn’t be as successful is because humans, thanks to the cycle of the week, are more open to receiving health-related messages and making small, positive changes on Monday more than any other day of the week. “There’s a whole body of evidence around Monday being a great day to promote health,” says Morgan Johnson, Program Development and Research Director at The Monday Campaigns. “From health-related Google searches to gym check-ins and calls to quit smoking hotlines, people are more interested and engaged in healthy behavior on Mondays.”
So for your health, the health of the planet, and for a lot of other reasons, today the perfect day to make a healthy fresh start.