You don't have to commit to going full Lisa Simpson-vegetarian to reap the benefits of the lifestyle.
The popular Meatless Mondays campaign, backed by Paul McCartney, asks you devote just one day to remaining meat-free. There are even benefits to a couple meatless meals a week if you feel like going without for an entire day is just too much.The goal is to add more plants to your diet (so avoid those meat substitutes which usually contain more chemicals than vegetables).
You'll Live Longer.
People who eat a vegetarian diet have a 12 percent reduced death rate, according to a study of over 70,000 people reported in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal. I know, you're thinking, "What is a reduced death rate? You can't reduce the chance that you're going to die…" This is just scientist's way of saying that who eat vegetable-based diets are less likely to die from major diseases.
You'll Have a Healthier Heart.
Your risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease is 32 percent lower if you have a vegetarian diet, compared to those who eat meat and fish, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers say that those who eat more vegetables have better lipid profiles, probably because they eat more polyunsaturated fats and fewer saturated fats.
You'll Help Heal the Planet.
Even the USDA's Energy Use In The U.S. Food System report says that if a large number of people chose to eat less meat that would translate into substantially less energy used in the production of meat—and that means we'd use less coal, oil, and diesel, and therefore send less dangerous CO2 into the air. Not to mention, if we shrink the demand for meat, then there will be fewer cows in fields sending methane gas into the air.
It's Easy, Delicious—and You'll Lose Weight!
The best news is that going meat-free doesn't mean you have to start growing your on veggies and subsist on a diet of tofu and teff (though all those things are totally rad). Fact is, you can find delicious, satisfying meat-free options in the grocery store—mouthwatering meals that are rich in protein and fiber. What's more, you can lose weight! Follow this meal plan once a week, and you'll dodge enough calories to lose more than 1 pound a month!
MEATLESS MONDAY MEAL PLAN
BREAKFAST: Yogurt & 'Granola'
1 container Siggi's Icelandic Style Yogurt, Blueberry
½ cup Fiber One Cereal
Total: 170 calories, 1 g fat, 11 g sugar, 16 g protein, 14 g fiber
SNACK : Nutrition Bar
KIND Fruit & Nut Bar, Nut Delight All Natural
Total: 210 calories, 16 g fat, 5 g sugar, 6 g protein, 3 g fiber
LUNCH : Pizza & Salad
1/3 Kashi Margherita Thin Crust Pizza
2 cups (or as much as you want!) Romaine Lettuce
1/2 Tbs Annie's Naturals Dressing Balsamic Vinaigrette
Total: 301 calories, 11.6 g fat, 14.6 g protein, 5 g fiber, 644 mg sodium
SNACK: Apple & Peanut Butter
1 small apple
1 Tbs Maranatha Organic Peanut Butter, No Salt Added
Total: 173 calories, 8.2 g fat, 3.9 g protein, 4.6 g fiber
DINNER: Burrito Bowl
Helen's Kitchen Burrito Bowls Fiesta Black Bean Bowl
Total: 240 calories, 8 g fat, 12 g protein, 8 g fiber
Vitalicious VitaBrownie Deep & Velvety Chocolate
Total: 100 calories, 2 g fat, 4 g protein, 10 g sugar, 10 g fiber