Did you know that the decision to go meatless for a day or for a meal dates back to World War I? President Herbert Hoover began a campaign called Meatless Tuesdays in order to ration meat during war time. He believed food would win the war. The campaign was brought back during World War II for the same reason. Meat, and other consumer goods, were in shortage, causing a need for ration.
For many decades, this was all forgotten. But now, the idea of Meatless Monday has gone global, and for an entirely different reason. For Al Gore, it means decreasing your carbon footprint. The documentary Food, Inc. (available on Netflix and a must see) exposes how governmental agencies like the FDA and USDA control the nation's food supply and often put profit ahead of our health. We can buy chicken breasts the size of our heads, apples that never go bad. Have you ever stopped to think about why?
It is important to me to know where my food comes from, and what is in it. But I get it, organic food is expensive. And its hard to take the time to research. But cancer treatment from pesticides is more expensive. Diabetes is more expensive. And hopefully this post helps with your research!
A big reason I want to join in the Meatless Monday campaign is to help bring awareness to the inhumane conditions animals experience in factory farming (try watching Death on a Factory Farm--it'll break your heart). If you don't know what I'm talking about, go to Mercy for Animals website and watch some of their undercover investigations on pig farms, dairy farms, what animals go through so rich bitches can have a fur coat. Just a warning, the content is graphic. I'm a huge animal lover, and I think it is important to raise awareness for what they go through before they end up on our plates.
So what do we do?
Well first, know your labels.
-Animal Welfare Approved: this label is the highest standard for animal welfare and humane practices. Requires access to pasture roaming and beak trimming of poultry and tail docking of pigs and cattle is prohibited. Unfortunately, this label isn't seen nearly enough. Change that! Fill out those information cards at your grocery store requesting more products with this label. Or contact your grocery store directly.
-Certified Organic: means all animals must have access to outside (although that access is not defined)
-Certified Humane: access to outdoors is not required, however, a healthy, uncrowded inside environment must be provided.
-Global Animal Partnership: if you've been to a Whole Foods, their meat is graded using a step system. Details shown in the picture.
Just as there are good labels, there are shitty ones out there also. These labels mean absolutely nothing: All Natural, Cage Free (when used on meat packaging), No Added Hormones, Vegetarian Fed, USDA Grade.
Second, visit your local Farmer's Markets and buy organic whenever possible. Talk to the vendors. How do they treat their animals? Are they pasture raised? Where do there vegetables come from?
The Market: Open 7 days a week, 10am-6pm (8pm on Fridays)
The Shed: Fridays 10am-5pm, Saturdays 9am-5pm, Sundays 10am-5pm
Third, try out some of these delicious Meatless Monday recipes!
If an entire day sounds like too much right now, start with a meatless meal. Do it for the environment, do it for your health, do it for the animals. I dare you!
Until next time,