Taking on the Meatless Monday Challenge

By Susan Singleton

     There’s been a lot of talk lately about the effects of eating too much red meat and animal products. People are experimenting with vegetarianism; exploring the links between global warming, obesity and lifestyle diseases with our overproduction and overconsumption of meat. The movement is growing in popularity across the country. Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays in order to improve their health and the health of the planet. Committing to this campaign offers many health benefits including:

  • Reduced Heart Disease – Reducing saturated fats can help keep your cholesterol low and drastically reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Decreased Cancer Risk – Latest studies indicate that red meat consumption is associated with promoting cancer cell growth by creating an acidic environment in the body.
  • Diabetes Prevention – Diets low in processed meat can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Increased Longevity – Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality and specifically cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.
  • Better Nutrition – Replacing animal products high in saturated fat with beans, peas and protein rich nonanimal sources will tend to increase your intake of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium.

     There are financial benefits too. Incorporating a meat-free dish into your weekly menu is a great way to trim your weekly grocery spending. Also, chronic preventable diseases that meat products can help cause make up about 70 percent of U.S. health care spending, according to Food Matters!

     And don’t forget the environmental benefits of Meatless Mondays. It is estimated by Food Inc. that the meat industry generates about one-fifth of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. According to Mark Bittman, in his Food Matters cookbook, it takes between 1,800 and 2,500 gallons of water to support one pound of ground beef. Experts say it requires 2,000 percent more fossil fuel energy to produce animal protein than it does to produce the same amount of plant-based protein.

     The Meatless Monday concept is easily adaptable into a weekly menu and incredibly rewarding to blend this style of eating and thinking into your mealtime routine. Becoming less reliant on animal products and nutritionally worthless food is thought to elevate your health, mood, energy, weight and mindfulness.

     Try this recipe to get you started thinking about the possibilities that Meatless Mondays have in store. Why not give this recipe a whirl for a Father’s Day brunch or dinner.

Asparagus and Wild Rice Frittata
3/4 pound fresh asparagus spears or one 10-ounce package frozen cut asparagus
12 eggs
1 cup cooked black or brown rice
3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
2 tsp. yellow mustard
1/8 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small tomato, cut into wedges, or 1/4 cup chopped tomato

Cook fresh asparagus spears in a small amount of boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain. Reserve three spears for garnish; cut remaining asparagus into one-inch pieces. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl beat eggs until foamy. Beat in cottage cheese, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside. In a 10” nonstick skillet, cook mushrooms over medium heat until just tender. Add cooked rice. Stir in asparagus pieces. Pour egg mixture over mushrooms, rice and asparagus. Cook mixture over low heat about five minutes or until mixture bubbles slightly and begins to set around the edges. Place reserved asparagus pieces on top of the frittata mixture. Bake frittata, uncovered, in a 400-degree oven about 10 minutes or until set. Garnish each serving with tomato.
Makes six to eight servings.

*This recipe does contain animal products in the form of eggs, but obviously does not contain any meat.

Susan was trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Healthy Life Consulting. She is a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and can be reached at [email protected]

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