While the idea is not new, there is a movement afoot aimed at changing the way we eat one day a week and Mobile Cuisine Magazine is jumping into it with both feet. Starting today we are introducing a new direction for our food truck industry coverage on Mondays.
To do our part in supporting Meatless Monday we believe that sharing information, recipes, and news about vegetarianism and leading a more conscious life overall is beneficial for everyone, vegetarian and omnivore alike.
Sid Lerner, 79, an advertising specialist who worked on one of the most successful US advertising campaigns, the “Squeeze the Charmin” campaign is the man who has revived the Meatless Monday campaign after its being dormant since the World War II era. Learner faces the same challenge selling the concept of Meatless Monday as he did with toilet paper. He has to turn the mundane idea of “moderation” into something irresistible.
He’s started his own nonprofit which blends social media and Madison Avenue technique to spread the word. Lerner raises money from foundations and collaborates with health experts. To help make their message exciting, he’s trying to bring top chefs into the fold. Wolfgang Puck and Mario Batali have both endorsed the concept, offering some Meatless Monday options.
The last thing the organizers wanted for Meatless Monday was it to become a campaign of food elitists in major urban areas. So, through a partnership with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, they reached out to institutional dining faculties; from hospitals to school cafeterias. This will be the second year that some 80,000 Baltimore school kids will dine meat-free in their cafeterias on Mondays. And it’s moved beyond Baltimore.
“The movement is just spreading like wildfire,” says Karen Campbell, who directs wellness programs at Northern Kentucky University. She’s helped bring Meatless Monday to her school and several restaurants in her town.
Like any good ad man, Sid Lerner takes time to measure his success. He used a public opinion survey to find out that about 20 percent of those surveyed had heard about the concept of Meatless Monday.
It should not surprise anyone, but the meat industry does not believe this is any kind of trend.
“I’m not so sure that it’s taking off among the general population,” says Janet Riley, vice president of the meat and poultry trade group American Meat Institute.
“It seems if you’re concerned about people’s health, you’d want to have a Vegetable Tuesday or Whole Grains Wednesday. But now, we’re telling people to give up meat, and that’s unfortunate,” says Riley. She says she suspects that this movement is being pushed by people who care more about animal rights than human nutrition.
We can assure Ms. Riley that Mobile Cuisine Magazine is joining this movement to better human nutrition and better the world we live in. We do not wish to appear to dissuade our readers from eating meat all of the time, just regulate it one day a week.
Lerner says he can’t see how his one day a week campaign is a threat. He does still eat meat, after all. So far, he says he’s really surprised by how many people are paying attention. But then again, he never expected to sell so much Charmin, either.
The Meatless Monday campaign is backed by public health advocates, chefs and suburban moms who want to tackle the problems of cholesterol and heart disease. One risk factor for these chronic conditions is consuming too much saturated fat; the type of fat found in meat.
THE BENEFITS OF MEATLESS MONDAY
FOR YOUR HEALTH
- REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Beans, peas, nuts and seeds contain little to no saturated fats. Reducing saturated fats can help keep your cholesterol low, and cut risk of cardiovascular disease.
- LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables can reduce cancer risk. Red meat consumption is associated with colon cancer.
- FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that plant-based diets– particularly those low in processed meat – can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A plant-based diet is a great source of fiber (absent in animal products). This makes you feel full with fewer calories, ie. lower calorie intake and less overeating.
- LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.
- IMPROVE YOUR DIET: Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.
FOR YOUR WALLET
- CUT WEEKLY BUDGET: Food prices continue to rise. Current increases are especially sharp in packaged items and meat, which require extra expenses like feed and transportation. Forgoing meat once a week is a great way to cut the weekly budget.
- CURB HEALTHCARE SPENDING: Treatment of chronic preventable diseases accounts for 70% of total U.S. healthcare spending. By reducing our risk for these conditions, we can curtail healthcare spending nationwide.
FOR OUR PLANET
- REDUCE CARBON FOOTPRINT: The UN estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate climate change.
- MINIMIZE WATER USAGE: The water needs of livestock are huge, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef.
- REDUCE FUEL DEPENDENCE: On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. (compared to 2.2 calories of fossil fuel for plant-based protein).
Mobile Cuisine Magazine looks forward to sharing Meatless Monday with our readers!