Meatless Monday is now served up at the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) cafeteria. This achievement—the labor of Meatless Monday Israel’s founder Miki Haimiovich and MK Rabbi Dov Lipman—was over a year in the making.
Now the 120 seats of the Knesset, whose influence passes all laws and elects the Israeli President and Prime Minister, will hear the Meatless Monday message, and they’ll have the opportunity to try some new meatless options. The Knesset has announced that in support of the Meatless Monday initiative, they will increase their vegetarian entrees on Meatless Monday. These new meatless cafeteria additions are the creation of Sodexo. As the largest food service provider in the world, Sodexo has already helped to usher in its fair share of Meatless Monday change.
The Meatless Monday Israel campaign has picked up a considerable number of supporters since its start in 2012. More than 300,000 individuals have adopted the program and so have dozens of organizations, companies, schools and restaurants. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife are likewise on board with Meatless Monday and made their support publicly known near the end of 2013.
Of the achievement, MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) said he was “proud that the Knesset participated in this project, related as it is to environmental quality, health and ethics. When it comes to reducing meat consumption, everybody wins: the planet, our health and animals. One meatless day may not sound like much, but together we can make significant change.”
Let’s lay our stuffing on the table—on Thanksgiving Day in most households, the turkey is king. And that’s perfectly fine. But don’t forget those unsung heroes—the yams, the string beans and carrots, the salads and casseroles.
What do vegetables bring to the party? Well a number of things:
Color—eating a variety of different colors helps to ensure you are getting the right nutrients.Also if you decide to stack your plate only with turkey, stuffing, rolls and gravy, your meal will be a light taupe. While light taupe is a fine color and very respectable in a pressed khaki pant, on the plate (by itself) it is a little boring. And your Thanksgiving does not have to be boring.
Flavor—according to a 2012 study, diners found the main course tasted better when served with vegetables. So you’ll actually be making the turkey taste better by including several sides of vegetables. And when it comes to flavor, what could be more exquisite than biting into a well-seasoned brussel sprout?
Texture—having a diversity of textures on your plate adds a new dimension to the meal. Think of the crispy breadcrumbs on the green bean casserole.
Respect—according to the aforementioned study, serving vegetables with a meal, increases the chances that diners will find the cook more thoughtful and attentive.
This Thanksgiving Day, serve your guests vegetables and you’ll not only be promoting their health and enhancing the meal, you also be encouraging them to think, “What a kind human being, you are”! Here are a few recipes to help you do it.
On November 13, Tony Cárdenas, Representative of California’s 29th Congressional District and fan of Meatless Monday, wrote an editorial piece for the Los Angeles Daily News asking all Californians to do their part to conserve water during the record drought. “We can’t create the rain, but we can take actions in our everyday lives to create a meaningful impact on reducing water usage.” One of those actions was to consider the water resources that go into producing different foods when planning meals.
Representative Cárdenas cited U.S. Department of the Interior statistics about the staggering amount of water resources needed to produce one pound of chicken (400 gallons) or a pound of beef (1,800 gallons.) He compared those amounts with figures from the Water Footprint Network of the water needed to produce a pound of tomatoes (26 gallons) or a loaf of wheat bread (220 gallons.)
“I am talking about making a conscious decision to compare the large amount of water it takes to produce that steak or pork chop you’re eating, with the likely smaller amount of water needed to produce delicious meatless options. In that spirit my staff and I have taken on the Meatless Monday Challenge. Taking off one day a week from eating meat is a small way to cut down our water use and consumption while reducing our water footprint.”
Representative Cárdenas also brought up how going meatless one day a week is good for the environment, helping to combat global warming. “With the drought and global warming creating such high stakes in our state, all Californians must do their part to examine their personal water usage and cut wherever possible.”
From suggestions like turning off the tap while brushing teeth to taking a day off from eating meat, he emphasized that these small steps can really add up. “We all have the tools to make a difference. Sometimes, they are disguised as forks and knives. Let’s put them to good use.”
The American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Exposition gathers in New Orleans this year. From November 15–19, health specialists from across the country convene to exchange knowledge and network to strengthen the profession of public health.
The Monday Campaigns, represented by Rachelle Reeder, MPH and Morgan Johnson, MPH will reveal two poster-presentations on the best practices of marketing public health and how to build a global community around a public health initiative.
Marketing and advertising have long been the exclusive bedfellows of consumerism, but Morgan and Rachelle aim to show the public health field how to leverage the tools of marketing and advertising to help effect widespread and sustainable change.
It’s appropriate that Tulane University, an early adopter of the Meatless Monday program, is hosting the conference. At the Meatless Monday booth attendees will find a wealth of information about the various Monday Campaigns initiatives. Also, it’s rumored that there will be a selfie-opportunity with a Meatless Monday pig in Mardi Gras regalia—this just might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
A new study suggests that despite strong scientific evidence indicating meat consumption is among the most important contributors to climate change, most non-governmental organizations (NGOs) did not consider addressing this issue as a core part of their mission.
After interviewing representatives from 34 environmental, food-focused, and animal protection NGOs in Sweden, Canada, and the US, Linnea Laestadius, PhD, and colleagues found that the scientific evidence related to meat consumption’s impact on climate change was not enough to prompt targeted meat reduction campaigns.
Most importantly, while the majority of participants saw this issue as part of their overarching missions and certainly important, they didn’t consider it central to their goals. Additionally, many perceived meat consumption as a concern related to individual behavior, and saw individual behavior change as strategically challenging for their organizations.
According to the research, other concerns include: the perceived ineffectiveness of campaigns targeting individual behaviors; alienating members of the public and agricultural partners; limited political and public interest in climate change altogether; existing engagement in other aspects of the issue; and limited resources.
“The study found a gap in the ownership of this issue, with food-focused and animal welfare groups placing responsibility for addressing climate change on environmental groups, and environmental groups reluctant to take resources away from addressing other areas related to climate change, such as energy policy,” said Roni Neff, PhD, co-author of the paper and director of the Food System Sustainability and Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. “There is little debate about the enormous carbon footprint of our meat consumption habits. NGO engagement could be critical in building the policy and social shifts we need.”
The authors suggest, “Understanding the barriers will help us better support and encourage the NGO or NGOs ready to take on this issue.”
The results are featured in the journal Global Environmental Change.
Meatless Monday will join the rest of the world on Friday November 14, in observing World Diabetes Day. The theme chosen for this year is, “Healthy Living and Diabetes” which aligns strongly with the Meatless Monday mission.
According to the World Health Organization, 347 million worldwide suffer from diabetes. In the United States in 2012, 29.1 million Americans were estimated to have diabetes. That’s 9.3% of the US population. Another troubling part is, 8.1 million of those 29.1 million people went undiagnosed.
This year World Diabetes Day will focus their messaging on the importance of starting the day with a healthy breakfast, because making healthy choices at the start of the day increases the likelihood that you’ll make other healthy choices throughout the day.
The Monday Campaigns follow a similar strategy—research shows that on Monday people are more open to healthy considerations and the research also shows that when people start the week in a positive way (whether it be by exercising or eating right) they are more likely to make healthy choices throughout the week.
As an initiative that promotes public health, Meatless Monday will observe World Diabetes Day by trying to raise awareness of the role diet and exercise can play in addressing this disease. In addition, we are offering a number of delicious Meatless Monday recipes that are diabetic friendly.
Boston (Oct. 30, 2014) — Students at Boston Public Schools are finding more prominent placement of meatless dishes in their cafeterias on Mondays making Boston yet another city whose schools have embraced the Meatless Monday movement.
Deputy Director of the Boston Public Schools’ Department of Food and Nutrition Services, Deborah Ventricelli, said: “Offering students nutritious meals as part of the Meatless Monday programs allows us to meet the diverse needs of the families in our district while getting the week off to a healthy start. Now, every Monday, our students know they can look forward to a high-quality meatless option in addition to the choices they already have.”
Students are now filling their trays with black bean burrito bowls, garden fresh salads topped with chickpeas, protein-packed chili, and other delicious and nutritious entrees. More than 57,000 students are enrolled at Boston Public Schools, which comprises 128 schools.
While you might have thought the Happy Meal was the surest route to bliss, it turns out not to be the case.
According to a recent study from the University of Queensland in Australia, eating more fruits and vegetables means you might just be happier.
The majority of studies examine happiness in socio-economic terms, whereas this study adds to the growing bank of support that diet influences one’s sense of well-being.
The author of the study, Redzo Mujcic, began measuring the dietary choices and well-being assessments of over 12,000 adult participants. Specifically the study asks three main questions:
Is there an empirical relationship between the consumption of fruit and vegetables and self-reported measures of mental and physical well-being?
Does the intake of fruit and vegetables have separate/independent effects on people’s well-being, and are these effects more profound in some health outcomes than others?
What is the optimal fruit and vegetable consumption bundle (amount and mix), and does this basket vary across the different measures of well-being?
In the words of the author, “I find evidence of a significant positive relationship between the consumption of fruit and vegetables and higher levels of subjective well-being.”
The findings reveal that in terms of happiness the usual recommendation of 5 a day (fruits and vegetables) falls short. The study recommends 4 – 5 portions of fruit and 4 – 5 portions of vegetables a day for happiness.
The study also points to a difference in genders: women might be able to achieve fruit-and-vegetable nirvana more easily than men. But this in no way contradicts the old adage “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
This Monday consider adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet—you might be adding happiness.
Dr. Robert Graham, Director of Integrative Health & Therapies at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, brought a fresh crop of medical residents to the Natural Gourmet Institute to teach them the fine art of cooking healthy, delicious—and meatless—meals.
It’s a form of preventative medicine that can only be administered in the kitchen.
Dr. Robert Graham wants to ignite the next generation of doctors to eat healthy and live healthy. And to help, Chef Instructor Elliott Prag—who is a regular contributor to Vegetarian Times—was there.
It’s part of a program called FareWellness, which is an initiative developed by Dr. Graham and Julie Graham, his wife. The program encourages not only healthy eating but also physical exercise and mental wellbeing through activities like yoga and meditation.
The hope is that through the FareWellness Program, not only will hospital doctors and staff reap the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle but they will also inspire their patients to taking steps toward bettering their own health through paying more attention to diet and exercise.
Since its start in 1977, NGI has been inspiring people to realize good health through delicious food. This partnership with Lenox Hill Hospital brings their expertise to the medical community by giving doctors the tools to bring healthful cooking to their patients.
“We are honored to continue our partnership with Dr. Graham and Lenox Hill Hospital,” says Anthony Fassio, CEO Natural Gourmet Institute. “With each class a new group of doctors is empowered to teach their patients about how a health-supportive diet can contribute to optimum health.”
Last week, thousands of registered dietitians convened in Atlanta for the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo held by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Meatless Monday’s resident RD Diana Rice was in attendance and reports that the topic of plant-based eating was trendier than ever.
The conference kicked off with an educational session on the role of plant protein in disease prevention by renowned diet and lifestyle researchers Dr. Frank Hu of Harvard and Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton of Penn State. Our good friend Sharon Palmer later moderated a session on the latest research on the value of vegetarian and vegan diets, where Dr. Joan Sabate of Loma Linda University and Virginia Messina, RD (author of Vegan for Her) were featured speakers.
Plant-based eating was also a hot topic on the Expo floor. Sharon Palmer conducted a free signing of her book Plant Powered for Life at the booth of our friends at Tomato Wellness and Meatless Monday supporter Marcus Samuelsson made an appearance at the Canadian Lentils exhibit.
Registered dietitians also snapped up samples of plant-based dishes such as vegetarian chili from JTM Foods and vegan breakfast sausage from our friends at Neat. “It is extremely encouraging for us to observe the tremendous response that our line of innovative, all natural vegetarian foods received from registered dietitians and other professionals in the food and nutrition industry,” said Phil Lapp, Neat’s co-founder and CEO.
And because you won’t meet a crowd of professionals more enthusiast about fruit and vegetable consumption, dietitians flocked to the conference’s selfie stations, where they could declare their love for plant foods to the world (or at least, to their Twitter followers).