Stephanie here, Dining Services Sustainability Coordinator. I wanted to do a more personal blog today about my Meatless Month Challenge. The idea of this challenge is see if we can reduce the amount of meat we serve by reducing the amount of meat students demand. We have challenged the whole campus community to go meatless once a day, one day a week (Meatless Monday!), or try vegetarian or vegan. If you didn't know about this until now, there is still time!
The reason we are calling it a challenge is to encourage people to alter their habits and eat more consciously. According to the USDA: "In 2000, Americans consumed an average 57 pounds more meat than they did annually in the 1950s, and a third fewer eggs." This change in habit, along with a variety of other factors, has contributed to an increase in cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Not only is decreasing your personal meat consumption good for your health, but it decreases your impact on our natural resources; the NY Times did a great piece on vegetarian carbon footprints. For those of you out there that are already vegetarian or vegan, I know you are convinced of the evidence; your challenge this month is to educate and influence your peers!
I am 2 days into a vegan diet (I have been a vegetarian for several years) and I have to tell you honestly; its hard, but worth it. I already feel a positive change in my body and mood. I am a personal lover of all things cheesy so even when I go to make myself a salad in Terrace Dining Hall, it is a bit tempting to add the cheddar. My advice to anyone going vegetarian or vegan for this month, or making any dietary change is do it for you, never feel guilty, and remember you make your own diet. If you feel that a vegetarian diet is right for you, but you crave an occasional chicken dish, there is no reason to feel like you're a cheater. Listen to your body honestly, before and after you eat.
That's all for now. Look out this week for different tips and fun facts about eating a heart healthy, and meat-free diet in the dining hall!
Please Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow and mention us on twitter (ICDining) or facebook us (Ithaca Dining Services) your Meatless Month Challenge experiences! Look forward to hearing from you!