6 Ways to Do Meatless Monday Right

By Rosie O’Regan

Meatless Monday is an international campaign that urges people to not eat meat on Mondays in order to improve their health and the health of the planet. While I am personally an avid carnivore, Meatless Monday provides a welcome respite from meat-heavy dinners, as well as the perfect opportunity to explore exciting new vegan and vegetarian recipes.

FoodtoEat Tip: Don’t think of these dishes as meat-substitutes–learn to love mushrooms, falafel, and roasted vegetables for their own delicious tastes!

Portobello Empanada from Nuchas

If you’ve ever been to Nuchas and tried their meat-filled empanadas, then you’ll love this vegetarian alternative to their meaty classics. Stuffed with portobello mushrooms, spinach, onions, mozzarella & fresh herbs and rolled in spinach dough, this mouth-watering snack is the perfect way to start your Meatless Monday.

Portobello Empanada from Nuchas

Falafel Platter from Toum

Meatless Monday first-timer? Allow me to introduce you to falafel, your new best friend. Toum is an expert at serving up this chickpea-filled delight. Try their falafel platter–five pieces of falafel, tabouleh salad, choice of rice or french fries, one dip and tahini sauce makes for a great meal any day of the week.

Falafel Platter from Toum

Portabello, Crimini, Porcini Mushroom Burger from The Squeeze 

Watch out meat lovers, it seems like vegetarians have hijacked our classic all-beef burger and made it their own with protein-packed mushrooms…and they did a really good job. The Squeeze combines portabello, crimini and porcini mushrooms to make an unbelievably delicious patty topped with creamy raw slaw and mustard seed aioli.

Portabello, Crimini, Porcini Mushroom Burger from The Squeeze

Tofu Edamame Falafel Taco from Kimchi Taco

Don’t think tofu, edamame, AND falafel go well together? Think again ’cause Kimchi Taco is at it again with their palate-bending taste combinations. Enjoy a tofu, edamame and chickpea taco flavored with signature Asian spices as well as kimchi-infused refried beans, cucumber kimchi, pickled daikon and pico de gallo. You’ll be begging for this meatless meal all day, every day.

Tofu Edamame Falafel Taco from Kimchi Taco

Veggie Pita from Uncle Gussy’s

Vegetables should be at the heart of any Meatless Monday platter. Uncle Gussy’s allows you to step up your vegetable game by combining lettuce, tomatoes, cooked onions, and feta cheese on a toasted pita to make a dish fit for any day of the week.

Veggie Pita from Uncle Gussy’s

Aloo Masala Kati Roll from Desi Food Truck

Desi Food Truck shows you how vegetarianism is done with this buttery flatbread is stuffed with potatoes, onions, and doused with coriander mint sauce, green herbs, and spices. One bite and you’ll be wishing that every day was Monday.

Aloo Masala Kati Roll from Desi Food Truck

Peace out meat-lovers, I’m going vegetarian full-time!

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

LA City Council Endorses Meatless Mondays

The Meatless Monday campaign has gained and lost popularity over the last few decades, originating as a way to support the troops during World War II, and reemerging in 2003 in a promotion by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Now the City Council of Los Angeles is working to integrate this meatless trend into the homes of more people.

The Los Angeles City Council has already come a long way in banning trans-fats and opposing fast-food restaurants. Now they are aiming to make city residents feel guilty about what they eat with a Meatless Monday resolution On Friday the resolution passed in a 14-0 vote officially urging residents to adopt a personal pledge to avoid meat on Monday’s. This resolution is a far cry away from New York City’s mandatory soda ban, and the police will not be legally enforcing this resolution, checking packed lunches and banning the purchase of meat. Ultimately the resolution should start a trend in the city to make residents healthier and reduce environmental waste.

Councilwoman Jan Perry was instrumental in passing this resolution, and also called a ban on new fast-food restaurant in South Los Angeles as a method to curb obesity. Perry said “we can reduce saturated fats and reduce the risk of heart disease by 19 percent. While this is a symbolic gesture, it is asking people to think about the food choices they make. Eating less meat can reverse some of our nation’s most common illnesses.”

Other councilmen have joined with Perry in supporting Meatless Mondays, including a councilman whose son was recently diagnosed with diabetes. The Food Policy Council initially developed this proposal, part of a larger agenda to encourage healthy foods in Los Angeles.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

USDA Goes Soft on Meat

The United States Department of Agriculture posted an online update on its website urging employees to participate in Meatless Mondays. However, after considerable pressure from the beef industry the USDA took down the post and stated that it had been released without proper clearance first.

The USDA posted that Meatless Monday’s were “One simple way to reduce your environmental impact.” The Meatless Monday campaign relies on information from the United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization stating that animal agriculture is a major source of carbon emissions and climate change that wastes resources. However the USDA received a wave of negative backlash from livestock producers and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association among others.

The chief concern among the NCBA is that the USDA does not support U.S. farmers and ranchers, and the president of the organization J.D. Alexander claims that Meatless Monday is nothing but an animal rights extremist campaign to ultimately end meat consumption.

“This is truly an awakening statement by USDA, which strongly indicates that USDA does not understand the efforts being made in rural America to produce food and fiber for a growing global population in a very sustainable way,” said Alexander. “USDA was created to provide a platform to promote and sustain rural America in order to feed the world. This move by USDA should be condemned by anyone who believes agriculture is fundamental to sustaining life on this planet.”

Alexander went on to dispute claims that health issues arise from the consumption of meat, and called out the USDA for specifically mentioning beef, when beef production has become more sustainable than ever before. The NCBA’s harsh response towards the USDA’s promotion of meatless Monday may be a little extreme; especially since the USDA just suggested people take one day out of seven to avoid meat. The USDA is also a government agency; under no circumstances should it back down when the meat industry begins to complain about them exposing some very real health risks. While no evidence is perfect, plenty of studies have shown the adverse health effects of consuming too much red meat. The meat industry may have become more sustainable, but beef is still a costly and resource depleting livestock, contributing to carbon emissions and requiring an excessive amount of land. It still takes more protein to feed an animal than the animal will ever yield, and raising cattle contributes to deforestation.

Despite all of the evidence against eating meat, only about 7% of Americans are vegetarians, a number that has stayed relatively the same for a decade. NCBA’s statement that the USDA should be condemned by anyone who believes agriculture is fundamental to sustaining life is a ridiculous statement. Agriculture is the basic source of food for our species, yet this does not mean that meat consumption must be. Plenty of farmers in rural America produce vegetables and other animal products in addition to meat. No one is debating that agriculture is not necessary, only the NCBA is implying that meat production is an essential aspect for agriculture, and thus opposing meat consumption simultaneously opposes agriculture in rural America. In the end it appears that the meat processors and factories that prepare our meat would be the most affected by Meatless Monday’s, and even then, it’s just one day a week.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

What are Meatless Mondays All About Anyway?

The idea behind Meatless Monday is something that may seem fairly recent, however is rooted back in American history from the World War II era when the federal government promoted it to aid US and allied efforts. The idea officially re-launched when the founder of Monday Campaigns sought to find new ways to devote Mondays to healthy behavior. The initiative began in 2003, aided by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, offering guides and alternatives for consumers to turn away from meat. Since then, the movement has gained significant support, with entire communities developing to share tips and recipes.
Hospitals, schools and restaurants have begun to promote meat-free alternatives as well, citing the health and environmental benefits of Meatless Mondays. Health has been found to be the primary reason people are interested in cutting back on meat, mostly to avoid the high levels of saturated fat. Saturated fat has been linked to cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Experts say meat consumption should be lowered by 15%, and rather than cutting down meat intake every day people can simply cut one day out of the week, and effectively improve their health.

Meatless Mondays also play a crucial part in addressing global hunger and obesity trends. Many countries in the developing world have recently become exposed to the Western diet with plenty of meat and fast food. In other parts of the world where hunger is a more serious issue, Meatless Mondays raise awareness about mass quantities of grain that feed livestock but could more efficiently be used to feed people.
Another huge aspect of Meatless Mondays lies in the environmental benefits of reducing meat consumption. Industrial meat production uses a massive quantity of resources, including grain, water and fossil fuels. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the source of their meat, and finding that the way farmers and ranchers raise livestock is often unsustainable and unhealthy.
The results from Meatless Monday have encouraged the campaigns’ founders to continue efforts and focus on more global growth. The campaign has reached about 50% awareness in the US, with 27% saying that Meatless Monday has caused them to cut back on their meat intake. With restaurants and big name chefs like Mario Batali joining the movement as well, it could only be a matter of time before many people start to see how easy it is to give up one day of meat.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com