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Go meatless on Mondays

Dear Editor:

Recently, a group of us got together at The Aspen Club for our monthly Healthy Readers Book Club meeting. We had just read The China Study, an interesting book which examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products and illnesses such as cancers of the breast, prostate, and large bowel, diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, among others. Our discussion led us to a national initiative called Meatless Mondays.

Meatless Mondays is an international program, a nonprofit initiative associated with the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The initiative promotes plant-based eating one day per week to reduce meat consumption by 15 percent, and in so doing, also improve personal health, and the health of the planet.

Going Meatless for Your Health

• Limit cancer risk. Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.

• Reduce heart disease. Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19 percent.

• Fight diabetes. Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

• Curb obesity. People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indexes. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain.

Go Meatless for the Environment

• If everyone in America gave up meat for one day every year it would be the equivalent of taking 20 million mid-size cars off the road for one year, saving 12 billion gallons of gasoline annually.

• Minimize water usage. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.

• Help reduce fossil fuel dependence. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant.

• The United Nations report on Global Warming states that meat production produces more greenhouse gasses than all forms of transportation combined.

We have decided to take on this initiative at The Aspen Club by promoting recipes, hosting lectures and maybe even some cooking classes. We look forward to supporting this initiative and we hope you will join us! Go meatless on Mondays!

Join our next book club meeting at noon on May 10 The Aspen Club as we discuss “Mindfulness.” Hope to see you there!

Dawn Shepard, Dr. Riggs Klika and Janet Ferrara

Aspen


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