In case you haven’t heard, rising cost of healthcare directly corresponds with the rise of obesity and other chronic illnesses in the United States. Studies have concluded that increased consumption of red meat and poultry may be a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic. Meatless Mondays originally began during World War I to encourage reduced consumption of key staples in an effort to aid the war. They were reintroduced during World War II and again in 2003, albeit this time as a public awareness program. By reducing our meat consumption just one day of the week, we can save our health and save on the cost of healthcare, too.
What can Meatless Mondays do for your health?
REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain.
LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with modest 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.
And to get you started…
Here is a recipe for a quick Gazpacho, which is perfect for summertime!
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (I use Hunt’s Petite Diced)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, basil or cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Process 1/2 cup of tomatoes, along with the water and oil, in a blender or food processor until pureed. Transfer to a medium bowl, along with remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Can be made several hours before serving.)