Take the meat out of Mondays | AspenTimes.com

Take the meat out of Mondays

Dear Editor:

Living in Aspen is the best! I love our community’s deep connection to the environment and the high value we place on personal health and well-being.

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.

If everyone in America gave up meat for one day every year it would be the equivalent of taking 20 million midsize cars off the road for one year, saving 12 billion gallons of gasoline annually. As of 2006, 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of U.S. feed lot beef (including manufacturing, transportation and storage). The United Nations report on global warming states that meat production produces more greenhouse gasses than all forms of transportation combined and pollutes 50 percent of our rivers and streams.

Along with reducing your carbon footprint, giving up meat for just one day per week will have a positive effect on your health. On average Americans eat 8 ounces of meat per day, 45 percent more than what the USDA recommends. Decreasing meat consumption can help decrease saturated fat and cholesterol intake, which are major contributors to heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer. Chronic preventable illnesses, including those associated with excessive saturated fat intake, cause 70 percent of all deaths in the United States. In 2007 alone Americans spent $1.7 trillion on health care related to preventable illnesses.

The third reason to consider going meatless on Mondays is to reduce animal suffering. Ninety-nine percent of the animals Americans eat every day have lived a short, miserable existence on a “factory farm.” They suffer in cramped, filthy conditions and have little or no exposure to the outdoors their entire lives.

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You can find out more, including some great meatless recipes, by going to http://www.meatlessmonday.com. Perhaps some of our local restaurants would be willing to highlight some creatively prepared meatless specials every Monday?

So for the health of the planet, and to improve your own health, take the pledge and make Mondays meatless.

Dawn Shepard

Aspen

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