This conversation is sponsored by Silk. All rambling vegetarian opinions are my own.
Last month marked 3 years since I became a vegetarian. I have not had a single bite of cow, pig, bird, fish, or any other living (or once living) creature since August of 2012.
(Yes, I get enough protein. Yes, I’m still a strong athlete. )
Now, I’ve seen all of the jokes from “if you love animals so much, why do you eat their food?” to, my favorite “How do you know someone is a vegetarian? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” (Note: this also applies to runners and CrossFitters, but I digress.)
The truth is, I don’t walk around on a daily basis preaching plant based diets to anyone willing to listen. If someone asks, I’m more than happy to discuss my choices and the reasoning behind them. But otherwise, I figure people don’t want to hear about my choice to be a vegetarian any more than I want to hear about their choice to eat bacon for breakfast.
More often than not when people do ask me about my vegetarian lifestyle, they will express sincere interest in switching to a plant based diet, but fear that for whatever reason, they won’t be able to do it. It’s to these people that I recommend starting off with something like a “Meatless Monday”. Small steps often lead to big changes…and are far less intimidating than giving up that turkey cold turkey (heh). I suggest that these people try to consciously make an effort to go an entire day or two a week without consuming meat, mostly so they can see that meat free is entirely possible…and not a life sentenced to boring salads day after day.
My friends at Silk , makers of GMO free plant based milks (soy, almond, cashew) are currently also encouraging people to give Meatless Monday a try with their football themed “Sideline Meat” #MeatlessMondayNight challenge. And of course, I’m more than happy to talk (and talk, and talk) about it.
Now, if you are thinking, “what’s in it for me?” well…there are a number of reasons why it might be beneficial not only to our animal friends, but to your health AND the environment, to give this Meatless Monday thing a try.
1. Your Health: A plant-based diet has been shown to lower the risk for many chronic diseases, such as obesity, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, as well as cancer of the colon, breast, prostate, stomach, lung and esophagus. A plant-based diet can also ease symptoms of menopause and provide relief from several digestive ailments.
2. The Environment: COUNTLESS studies show that a meat based diet is simply not sustainable in our already rapidly declining environment. The production and sales of meat result in greatly increased greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use and energy use compared to the production and sales of plant based foods. For example, poducing one carton of Silk generates 47% fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs) than producing a carton of typical dairy milk, and uses 80% less water than producing one carton of typical dairy milk (source).
Just cutting out one meat day per week can make a difference. Check it out:
3. This Face:
OK, I know not all of you agree when it comes to the animal cruelty, and I find that is truly the hardest point to emphasize when people aren’t ready to hear it. Kind of like telling a smoker to quit smoking, because it’s bad for their health. They already know that, but THEY need to be ready to quit. So for now we will focus on points #1 & 2.
Needless to say, plant based eating can have a huge impact…even if not done full time. And in this day and age of the wonderful world wide web, there should be zero excuses of not knowing where to start with meatless meals…the resources are endless! My friends at Silk have set up a fantastic website full of meatless suggestions for even the pickiest of carnivores. Silk’s Sideline Meat page features recipes from dairy free spinach and artichoke dip to sweet potato avocado sliders, and everything in between. Plus, with easy access to plant based foods and substitutes, such as Silk milks, making delicious meat free meals your entire family will enjoy is that much easier.
(bonus: Silk is also hosting a GameDay room makeover giveaway on the same website!)
Have you ever attempted a meat free meal, day, or even month? If not, what are your biggest hesitations that are holding you back?
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.