Why Meatless Mondays?

Here in Edmonton, people may ask “why meatless Monday when we live in Alberta, the province known for its beef?”  But what many people do not realize is that Alberta is also one of the biggest producers and exporters of pulses, which are the edible seeds of legumes and include dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas.  Pulses are a source of plant-based protein, less expensive than meat, packed with nutrients, and have a low environmental impact.

Raising animals for food requires a lot of land, fossil fuel, water, and food.  If more people choose to eat less meat and increase their intake of plant-based proteins, it means less of a draw on these resources which can have a significant impact on the health of the environment.

Choosing plant-based proteins instead of animal proteins along with more whole grains and veggies will mean having a diet that is rich in fibre, vitamins and other nutrients. Even just one day a week can benefit both yourself and the environment.

For those who are taking the step further and trying a vegetarian or vegan eating pattern, there are many reasons but for most, there are 3 main ones: ethical  (animal welfare, treatment, and equality), environmental (talking more about the effects of animal agriculture on the planet and how to combat them), or for health reasons (intolerances, health conditions, or diseases).

It is important to take time to understand for yourself why you are choosing a specific eating pattern. The food we eat is so ingrained in our lives that it makes sense to take a step back and examine how our food is related to the other parts of our lives.

If you are interested in decreasing your meat consumption, stay tuned to this monthly series. We will provide you with practical tips, meatless meal ideas and recipes, research and more.

 

By Allison Easton, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and Brandon Gruber, Dietitian