The increasing trend of meat consumption in Iran and the Middle East is alarming the region’s nutrition and food activists. If consumption keeps accelerating, it could have serious health and environmental impacts on the Iranian population.
Enter Tehran-based Omega Research Team (ORT), which has taken the bold step ofintroducing Meatless Monday to the country. ORT wants to cut down on Iran’s current meat consumption, which is reported to be around 79 lbs per capita, a 60% increase since 2005.
Founded in 2009, ORT is a research-based organization with ties to professors and experts, universities, institutions and societies related to nutrition and food science. ORT collaborates with international and national governmental and private sector agencies. It conducts nutritional studies, holds scientific workshops and aims to improve the understanding of nutrition within the context of functional foods.
ORT’s President Shayan Mohammad Moradi said,
“Meatless Monday is an opportunity for Iranians to join a global movement in a friendly and scientific atmosphere. The benefits for individuals, societies and countries which take part in this movement are promising. The Middle East is facing sharp increases in meat consumption that have the potential to significantly harm our health and the environment. We urge Iranians and our other Middle East neighbors to join the Meatless Monday community for a healthier world.”
To engage Iranians and Middle Easterners, ORT launched its own Meatless Monday webpage. It offers information about the campaign, recipes and nutritional FAQs. ORT is also using social media to get its message out about its support of the ever-growing Meatless Monday movement.
Indeed, Meatless Monday has spread across the globe — to more than 25 countries and is enjoying robust support from the various nations’ media, restaurants, hospitals and key influencers.
There are many reasons the movement is crossing boundaries and transcending cultures. One is certainly economic; meat is expensive when compared to the affordability of growing, buying and preparing vegetables. There are environmental issues, like reducinggreenhouse emissions associated with large-scale agricultural farming and the benefit of conserving natural resources like water, grain and fossil fuel. But the primary reason Meatless Monday exports so easily is because the entire movement, since launching a decade ago and spreading across America and the world, remains focused on a single message: this Monday, begin your week by making better choices and eating healthier plant-based foods.
Learn more about the global Meatless Monday Movement.