So you’re hearing the words ‘Meatless Monday’ come up regularly and are wondering where this idea came from. Allow us to explain.
Meatless Monday is an international campaign designed to urge people not to consume meat on Monday’s to better their health and the health of the planet. The initiative was founded in 2003 by Sid Lerner of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future. The campaign follows the nutritional guidelines developed by the USDA.
Meatless Monday is a Healthy Monday initiative. It was developed in accordance with the growing body of research that links healthy thinking and behaviour to the week.
The secret to health behavior change is to establish healthy habits that can be sustained over time.
The purpose of going meatless once a week
- Good for your health – When it comes to your health, going meatless once a week may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, limit cancer risk, help fight diabetes, curb obesity, promote longevity and enhance the nutritional quality of your diet.
- Good for your wallet – Going meatless will help curb healthcare spending by reducing medical bills for preventable conditions. Meatless meals are often less expensive that vegetable-based dishes containing beans and grains.
- Good for the environment – Reduces water usage, greenhouse gases and fuel dependence.
To further explore these benefits, read more at Why Meatless Monday’s.
The science behind Monday
According to research by the John Hopkins School of Public Health, Monday is the day when people are most “open to buy” health. Other Monday campaigns that have been launched based on this same research. These include Quit and Stay Quit Monday, Move it Monday and The Monday Mile.
Monday signifies the beginning of the week, which influences our mood and health outcomes. Negative health occurences, such as heart attacks and strokes, happen more frequently on Mondays as people shift back to a structured weekly routine. A study conducted in 2006 further explores this. Although 27% of people report that they experience the most stress on Mondays, 58% of people see Monday in a positive light, as a golden opportunity for a “fresh start” and a day to “get my act together.”
Healthy contemplations and actions
Healthy contemplations and actions surge on Monday. Analysis of health-related Google searches between 2004 and 2012 revealed a consistent pattern of spikes in health contemplations at the start of the week. This pattern was also seen in tobacco-related searches in 6 different languages (see link –here-). Diets, exercise programs, quitting smoking and scheduling doctor’s appointments are more likely to be addressed on Monday than any other day (see Social Science Research Network study).
Starting small and building on this over time can encourage people to sustain healthy behaviour. 82% of people claim that taking small steps rather than a huge leap makes it easier to accomplish their health goals (According to FGI Research (2014). Online panel of 1,000 respondents).
Social context for change
Monday offers a social context for change, as people unite and return to the structured routine of work and school. 40% of people claim it’s easier to accomplish their health goals if they are joined by family, friends and co-workers (According to FGI Research (2014). Online panel of 1,000 respondents).
Healthy behaviors on Monday encourages people to sustain healthy behavior throughout the week. Dieters that use Monday as a “reset” day to get back on track after indulging over the weekend, average greater long term success. Research has uncovered that people who do this are more likely to maintain progress over time.
You can learn more about the movement and find recipe ideas –here-. We recommend the Crispy Quinoa Vegetable Burgers that are wonderfully satisfying. Quinoa and beans deliver both flavour and protein. Or you can try our Healing Raw Green Soup crafted by one of our very own. It’s simple and quick to prepare. For even more vegetarian recipe ideas, visit EatingWell.
Peggy Neu at TEDxManhattan fleshes out the simple idea of Meatless Monday as part of a global healthy food movement.