To get the word out about their new organic tofu Sofritas, Chipotle is offering a tasty deal, nationwide. If you order their Sofritas today, January 26th, and save your receipt, you can return anytime between January 27th and February 28th, 2015, for a FREE burrito, order of tacos, salad or bowl of your choice.
It’s a risk-free way to try their new tofu option and enjoy a Meatless Monday. Chipotle is committed to serving the best sustainably raised food possible, with an eye to great taste and great nutrition. Their new Sofritas is no exception. They start with Hodo Soy, made from non-GMO, US-grown whole soybeans. It’s shredded, then braised with chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos, and a blend of aromatic spices. Chances are you won’t miss the meat in your burrito, taco, or salad once you taste the spicy Sofritas.
Like Meatless Monday, Chipotle is concerned with people’s health. They have a consumer-friendly nutrition calculator on their website that gives you nutritional measures and calorie counts for the meal you’re planning to order, and it’s detailed enough to show you the difference between adding guacamole or subtracting sour cream.
They also have high standards when it comes to their ingredients, always preferring organic vegetables and refusing to purchase any dairy that comes from cows treated with rBGH.
Another similarity with Meatless Monday is Chipotle’s concern for the health of the planet. To quote from their website, “Industrial ranching and factory farming produce tons of waste while depleting the soil of nutrients. These seem like bad things to us. We so work hard to source our ingredients in ways that protect this little planet of ours.” Since 1999 they’ve been supporting farmers who focus on responsible and sustainable practices.
If you’re seeing this after the 26th, you’ve unfortunately missed the promotion. But you may still want to try the Sofritas. It could make a delicious Meatless Monday lunch or dinner.
Despite freezing temperatures, a crowd of public health, environmental, and animal rights advocates rallied on the steps of New York’s City Hall this past Thursday to support the Meatless Monday Resolution being introduced by Council Members Helen Rosenthal and Corey Johnson, chair of the Health Committee. The resolution would bring awareness to efforts already underway in restaurants, schools, and cafeterias across the city to provide meat-free meals on Mondays, and it would call for a city-wide expansion of those efforts.
“I’m so excited to be introducing a resolution today calling on the City of New York to declare Mondays ‘Meatless Mondays,’ said Council Member Rosenthal. “Meatless Monday is a national and international campaign that encourages people to enjoy meat-free meals on Mondays to improve their personal health and the health of the planet.” She expressed her hope that the resolution would quickly pass through the City Council and arrive on the mayor’s desk surrounded by a variety of healthy veggie treats.
Approximately 40 schools in New York City already participate in Meatless Monday, including public, private and charter schools at all grade levels. New York City colleges and universities have also participated in Meatless Monday, including Barnard College, Brooklyn Law School, Columbia University, Fordham University, LaGuardia Community College and Manhattan College.
“It’s wonderful that New York City plans to join Los Angeles, Philadelphia and other major cities in the U.S. and 36 countries by introducing the Meatless Monday resolution,”
said Sid Lerner, found of the Meatless Monday Movement, and chairman of The Monday Campaigns. “What perfect timing to introduce Meatless Monday with the new year, when many people are thinking of improving their diets.”
Peggy Neu, President of The Monday Campaigns, also attended the rally and addressed the crowd. “It’s only fitting that the city where Meatless Monday was born should adopt such a resolution.” She noted the important role played by the academic partners – Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and Syracuse – and how their research continues to yield new insights into the power of Mondays to improve public health.
Many New York chefs and restaurateurs have promoted Meatless Monday over the years including Mario Batali, John Fraser (Dovetail and Narcissa), Marisa May (SD26), Jason Weiner (Almond), and Bill Telepan (Telepan.)
Chef Telepan was on hand and spoke about how Meatless Monday encourages more variety in people’s diets. “Through my career as a chef, and especially my work with Wellness in the Schools, I’ve seen the impact of how encouraging the consumption of real foods, stripped of processed ingredients, can help combat the epidemic of obesity and improve long-term health outcomes.”
Mia MacDonald, executive director of Brighter Green, a New York-based action tank, offered a global perspective on the perils of exporting a meat-heavy American diet to countries like China, India, and Brazil. “It is great to see New York, the most global of cities, joining the growing national and international movement for more sustainable, humane food systems and ways of eating.”
Friends of Meatless Monday shared their support from all over the world, including Paul, Mary, and Stella McCartney, founders of Meat Free Monday. “Great to hear that New York City officials are considering introducing Meatless Monday! It’s such an easy and enjoyable way to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our health. If the resolution passes, we look forward to seeing what delicious and creative meat free options chefs come up with on Mondays in this amazing city!”
Council Member Rosenthal was optimistic about the City Council passing the resolution and sees a bright future for Meatless Monday. “As goes New York City, so goes the nation!”
Watch a short video of Council Member Rosenthal speaking at the rally.
So does author Laurie David, who dedicated a full chapter of her book The Family Dinner to Meatless Monday. You’ll also find meatless entrees around the Batali family table on Mondays. Getting your whole family to join you for Meatless Monday is a wonderful thing, but sometimes kids aren’t eager to eat more vegetables or experiment with new foods. However, research shows that kids are more likely to eat what they have a hand in cooking. And there’s a Monday Campaigns initiative dedicated to get kids cooking.
The Kids Cook Monday encourages families to set aside the first night of every week for cooking and eating together as a family. The website is a great resource for family-friendly recipes and video demonstrations. The campaign also offers a free downloadable e-cookbook, The Family Dinner Date Cookbook. And each of The Kids Cook Monday’s recipes features a fun format that divides cooking tasks into those kids can do by themselves, those they can do together with an adult, and tasks adults should handle themselves.
When kids pitch in making meals, they’re proud of their accomplishment and excited to eat the food they’ve helped make. Cooking together also provides a natural time for discussing the impact that food choices have on our bodies and the environment. The more educated kids are about food the more open they’ll be to healthy, sustainable food choices.
On a very practical level cooking teaches kids counting, measuring and sequencing as well as fractions and fine motor skills. It’s also a great way to build kids’ self-esteem and teach responsibility. And kids will be learning an essential life skill that will come in handy even if they don’t go on to be a world famous celebrity chef.
But the best part is the time you’ll be spending together preparing the meals (be sure to get a few photos – you’ll cherish them later.) The run-up to dinner can be a time you’re working together and accomplishing something fun instead of that tense time when they’re restless and you’re feeling overwhelmed. The time you share chatting as you cook together becomes even more important as they reach adolescence and move into those tricky teenage years.
The family that cooks together, eats together.
And families eating together leads to positive things. Research from Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse suggests that kids who eat family dinners get better grades in school, develop communication skills, and are less likely to try drugs. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics found that kids who ate dinner with their family regularly were less likely to be obese.
Meatless Monday can improve your health and the health of the planet. Sharing it with your kids by cooking and eating together may also help improve the health of your family.
Visit TheKidsCookMonday.org and give it a try some Monday soon.
US News & World Report just released their 2015 diet rankings and no, the Cookie Diet did not win this year.
Nor did Paleo, Flat Belly, or South Beach. And the Biggest Loser wasn’t the big winner (it finished 9th overall.) The panel of diet and nutrition experts considered 35 programs and ranked them in 7 categories such as Best Heart-Healthy Diets, Best Weight-Loss Diets, and Easiest Diets to Follow. The winner in both Best Diet for Healthy eating and Best Overall Diet: The DASH diet.
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure.) Developed by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) it edged out the TLC Diet and the Mayo Clinic Diet. Studies show DASH can lower blood pressure, which if too high, can trigger heart disease, heart failure, and stroke. The diet also showed favorable results in areas like lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol and preventing diabetes.
Many of those benefits will be familiar to fans of Meatless Monday. And, no surprise, in addition to having you go easy on salt the DASH diet emphasizes plenty of grains, vegetables, and fruits. It also recommends less meat than the average American is accustomed to eating.
In fact, eating less meat is something winning diets in several categories had in common, from Best Heart-Healthy Diets to Best Diabetes Diets. Looking at the winners you also see a focus on eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising regularly.
An entire category is dedicated to Plant-Based diets. The winner: The Mediterranean Diet. It earned high marks in all areas of assessment from being nutritionally sound to helping you lose weight (though it wasn’t designed to be a weight loss diet.) It also allows for a glass or two of wine per week (plant-based people should still get to have some fun.) The next highest finishers in the Plant-Based category were the Flexitarian diet and the Ornish diet.
User-friendliness was one of the factors experts considered in their rankings. The easier a diet is to follow, the better the odds of sticking to it. On that score, Meatless Monday would rank at the top. You can’t get much more simple than, “One day a week just don’t eat meat.” And while Meatless Monday is a movement rather than a diet, it also confers many of the benefits of the more structured plans. That may be why it’s a winner for so many people worldwide.
A recent study from Mckinsey Global Institute (MGI) has revealed obesity now accounts for approximately 5 percent of all deaths worldwide. The global cost of the disease has risen to about $2 trillion. MGI also estimated that more than 2 billion people, about one-third of the world’s population, are now obese or overweight. This trend is only increasing as emerging economies grow.
“Obesity is a complex, systemic issue with no single or simple solution.” Write the authors of the study, “The global discord surrounding how to move forward underscores the need for integrated assessments of potential solutions. Lack of progress on these fronts is obstructing efforts to address rising rates of obesity.”
Despite the complexity of the issue, the study does encourage several strategies toward combating obesity. While education and personal responsibility are critical elements of any program aiming to reduce obesity, they are insufficient on their own—changing societal norms is key. Subsidized school meals, calorie and nutrition labeling, restrictions on advertising high-calorie food and drinks, and public health campaigns could all help make a difference.
Meatless Monday is one such public health initiative that could help. Reducing the meat in ones diet is an actionable way for an individual to combat obesity (and also related diseases such as diabetes.) Studies have demonstrated that people on plant-based, vegetarian diets tend to have a significantly lower body weight and body mass index. This may be in part because plant-based diets are rich in dietary fiber (which is not found in animal products) and fiber contributes to fullness, resulting in lower calorie intake and less overeating.
Plus Meatless Monday is something you can start right now. If the trend continues at the current rate, almost half of the adult population is expected to be overweight by 2030. A true solution will come from a holistic approach—involving individuals, governments, restaurants, employers, media organizations, educators, and healthcare providers. But as an individual, you can start Meatless Monday today and put up a fight.
“The holidays are over, and if your pants are feeling a little too tight,” said co-host Kelly Clinton of the ABC’s daytime food show, “pay attention. Today we’re starting the year off Lite, with delicious dishes that are low on calories, but high on flavor.” And without further ado, The Chew started the new year with a Meatless Monday.
Chew co-host Mario Batali, who’s been celebrating Meatless Monday for three years in his restaurants and with his family, shared a delicious meatless frittata with his fellow hosts. The Swiss chard and onion dish was just 217 calories per serving, proving once again that going meatless can help your waistline, your budget, and of course the planet.
The show’s special guest, Angie Martinez, came prepared with a Meatless Monday dish of her own. Known as “The Voice of New York, she is one of the most influential personalities in popular culture and multimedia, and she’s just released a hot new cookbook co-authored with acclaimed chef Angelo Sosa titled, Healthy Latin Eating: Our Favorite Family Recipes Remixed. Angie and Angelo start with traditional family recipes from their Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican backgrounds, then adapt them in innovative ways that blend the art of Latin cooking with healthy eating.
Assisted by Chew co-host chef Michael Symon, Angie made a dish based on a traditional Dominican favorite, the sancocho. Usually a meat-based stew, she substituted red kidney beans, combined them with bell peppers, platanos, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes, and served it over brown rice. The result was a delicious dish with plenty of protein that the Chew crew simply loved.
Angie wanted to cook up a real stick-to-your-ribs meal, meatless but still hearty and satisfying. “This isn’t one of those things where you think you’re going to eat a meatless meal and it’s too light,” said Angie. After a high blood pressure scare, she decided to change her diet, but still wanted to be able to enjoy the traditional flavors she remembers growing up. Recipes like this meatless sancocho are how she’s combining the comfort foods she loves with her new, healthier lifestyle.
The Chew first celebrated Meatless Monday in 2013, sharing easy-to-make, delicious entrees with their viewers. Co-host Clinton Kelly enumerated some of the key benefits of going meatless once a week, including a 19% reduced risk of heart disease; a 21% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes; and an average family savings of $600 a year.
As Angie’s recipe proves, going meatless one day a week doesn’t have to feel like a huge sacrifice. Mario Batali sums up why he’s brought Meatless Monday into his home. “We do it because it’s fun, because it changes our diet up a little bit. I don’t look at it as necessarily getting rid of something. I look at it as just making a little bit more of a celebration about vegetables.”
The Oldways 4-Week Vegetarian & Vegan Diet Menu Plan is the result of a collaboration between Oldways, a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization, and Sharon Palmer, RD, author of two whole plant-focused books, and long-time friend of Meatless Monday.
The book is a how-to-guide to cutting the meat, and keeping the flavor and nutrients, while reimagining the food pyramid without meat. The Oldways 4-Week Vegetarian & Vegan Diet Menu Plan also provides a few tips like how to make fruit your new go-to dessert, how to avoid empty calories, and how to make variety your goal. “Try to paint your plant with the color or the rainbow…” the book suggests. Within the pages you’ll also find a grocery list of how to stock your pantry, fridge, and freezer in anticipation of healthy eating.
Then as the title suggests, Oldways and Sharon Palmer lay out a 4-week (3-meals-a-day, plus snack) plan—replete with healthy and delicious recipes—to help you cut out the meat. In Meatless Monday days, that’s 28 Mondays—it’s over half a year of eating to promote good health.
Here is taste of what’s in store Curried Red Quinoa and Peach Salad. Try it tonight.
The Oldways mission is to guide people toward good health through heritage, by encouraging people to seek out nutrient-rich whole foods instead of heavily processed foods, and to create a community out of sustainable, healthful eating. Sharon Palmer is a food and nutrition specialist and a registered dietitian with 16 years of health care experience. She writes on health, wellness, nutrition, cuisine, and environmental issues. Her books include The Plant-Powered Diet and Plant-Powered for Life.
Sure, the Super Bowl may air on a Sunday, but that’s no reason not to lighten up the typical game-day fare with a few meatless treats. Here are 10 of our favorite recipes from Meatless Monday’s friends and dedicated Bloggers on Board. Many are even great for cooking with kids! Pick your favorite and wow your party guests with just how delicious meatless snacks can be.
A new year is just a few days away. Along with being frustrated by accidentally writing “2014″ instead of “2015″, many of us will also be setting resolutions to commit to healthier habits. One resolution to consider is participating in Meatless Monday. Why?—it’s easy, there are tons of free and delicious Meatless Monday recipes and cookbooks, there is a large community of support, and participating in Meatless Monday offers some terrific benefits for your own personal health and for the health of the planet.
For your personal health—studies show that eating more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains helps to protect against cardiovascular disease. Evidence also suggests that consuming red meat and processed meat increases the likelihood of certain cancers. Whereas, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables decreases the likelihood of certain cancers. Research also suggests that consuming more fruits and vegetables and less processed meat reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and people on plant-based diets tend to have a significantly lower body weight and body mass index.
For the health of the plant—reducing one’s meat consumption means you’ll minimize water usage. Producing one pound of beef requires 1,850 gallons of water, whereas growing 1 pound of vegetables requires 39 gallons of water. Eating less meat also means, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint. Beef generates 30 kilograms of greenhouse gas per kilogram of food; whereas, carrots, potatoes, and rice generate .42, .45, and 1.3 kilograms, respectively, per kilogram of food.
If the world ate 15% less meat (roughly one day of abstaining,) it would be like taking 240 million cars off the road each year. In 2015, let’s make that happen. Happy New Years.
Working on other health goals? Healthy Monday tips from The Monday Campaigns offer a mix of ideas and inspiration on exercise, stress, and nutrition that can help motivate you to stay on track with your 2015 resolutions. Sign up here.
What’s the Meatless Monday team cooking up at home? These cookbook titles will give you a glimpse into their kitchens. You might just like to pick one up for yourself, or as last minute gift idea.