Meatless Monday: Yay or Nay?
Meatless Mondays are on the rise as some are embracing a new diet and skipping out on meat for a day. The concept may seem absurd, but there are many positive possibilities that can come from a meat-free Monday.
Meatless Mondays are simply a way to introduce, to someone that may eat a lot of meat, different types of meals. Most meat-eaters are surprised to know that I really don’t eat many vegetables and I still love a good BLT. The bacon of course, is replaced with Morning Star Bacon Strips. Morning Star is a vegetarian company offering many substitutes for those wanting to eat less meat. Substitutes vary from bacon, chicken nuggets, burgers, chicken patties and more.
Meat is delicious. I’ll admit it. Why go for a veggie burger when I can have a good old fashioned cheeseburger? The thing is, a vegetarian version of your favorite meal isn’t going to taste the same, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It’s like having a brand new meal, and variety is always a plus.
While not important to everyone, knowing how and where meat is processed is often an important choice in a non-meat lifestyle. In an interview with Oprah, author, Michael Pollan said that, “If you make the choice to eat meat. you should know how it’s produced.” The process is often violent and inhumane. But let’s face it, many don’t care about where it comes from or how it gets to their plate.
The strongest argument for limiting meat consumption, is that it can be good for your body and general health to do so. Katharine Milton describes in her article, “A Hypothesis to Explain the Role of Meat-Eating in Human Evolution,”that animal proteins can provide all of the nutrients our bodies need. Milton also points out that protein is best balanced out in diet. According to Milton, humans can reach high levels of protein with small amounts of meat, but eating too much can be unhealthy. Taking meat out of the equation one day per week, could help avoid excessive protein levels.
Simply going one day a week without meat might allow people to realize that it isn’t that bad or difficult. The substitutes are often very good, sometimes even better and there are even more options. It allows meat-eaters to try something new, something they may even like while also benefitting all of us in the long run.
As a die-hard red meat eater who’s guilty of making numerous vegetarian jokes throughout my college career, I will say this: if you normally eat meat and are going to skip out on eating the flesh of animal on Meatless Monday, I will track you down and tempt you with crispy bacon.
While I may poke fun, I’m not actually against people who don’t eat meat. However I am against getting anti-meat propaganda shoved in my face by staunch vegetarians or vegans (I understand the people who do this are in the overwhelming minority) every so often.
But no matter what is said, there’s just no way I could ever give up eating meat.
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: Meat is god damn delicious. It’s literally the best tasting food on the planet (followed by cheese), and it can’t be replaced. Every single meat substitute I’ve tried can’t compare to the actual product, though I admit some of them weren’t bad. But nothing can replace the taste of a freshly grilled burger or a perfect Filet Mignon.
In 2012, NPR projected that the United States would eat over 55 billion pounds of meat (270.7 pounds per person a year). People don’t eat this much meat because it’s beneficial to their health or because it’s necessarily cheap, they eat it because it beats vegetables in terms of taste any day.
It’s important to note, though, that eating meat does have many benefits. Meat contains very high amounts of protein — good for replenishing the body, upping the immune system, and building bones and lean muscle mass. It also contains essential vitamins and mineral, such as Vitamin A and Iron.
While eating large quantities of meat may shorten one’s lifespan due to its high content of fats and cholesterol, the dangers can be combated with moderation and regular exercise. Too much of anything can be dangerous, and meat isn’t excluded. Furthermore, the dangers can be further reduced by choosing the right types of lean meat to eat.
Besides, being carnivores is a big part of our evolutionary history. Why should we starting changing now? We’re at the top of the food chain for a reason: because we chomped down on the competition before they chomped down on us. We’re the product of our carnivorous past and morality, in this case, is not an issue because eating pertains to our basic instinct: survival.
Oh, and did I mention meat is extremely tasty?