Monday, September 29, 2014

The Big Bucks of Meatless Monday

On a budget?
Aren't we all in college...

You may be intrigued to hear that Meatless Monday's can save money. And it's not just your grocery bill that will slim down from meatless meals. Your health bill as well as our country's environmental bill will see a decrease too.

Lory Hayon, a medical nutritionist, conducted research to calculate exactly how much one can save from going meatless. His experiment concluded that the average 4 person family could spend $30 less per week (aka $1,500 per year) by making three meals a week meatless. This translates to a single individual saving $30 a month by participating in Meatless Monday!

This information is incredibly useful as we begin moving off campus, or after graduation when we begin to cook meals for ourselves. However, many of us on campus still have a meal plan and do very little cooking on our own. Not to worry - you can too still see a decrease in your dollars spent.

There is a very strong correlation between increased consumption of meat (especially processed meat) and health complications. If your diet consists of excessive amounts of meat, you can benefit from decreased health costs if you reduce your meat consumption. Your health is attributed to a balanced diet. As we've been taught since elementary school by our friend the food pyramid, and now it's cousin the 'My Plate' diagram, eating a varied assortment of foods is best for your well being. This ties in directly with the vision of Meatless Monday. If you're a meat eater, you can still enjoy the benefits of this food. However, reducing your consumption will prove to have vast advantages.

On the other side of things, cutting back on meat production can save billions of dollars in terms of fighting climate change. Our agricultural system, especially meat production, is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gases. Researchers on the economics of vegetarianism have found that “it is significantly more expensive to produce a pound of meat (or milk) than a pound of commodity crops.” In fact, they found that “obtaining a gram of protein from the cheapest meat product (broilers) is 3.26 times more costly than obtaining a gram of protein from the most expensive plant-based product (peanuts)."

However, I can't stress the power of balance enough. Producing meat is actually a vital part of our ecosystem and economy. Livestock can survive and grow on land that is unusable for plant production. Some fruits and vegetables require very high quality land and soil to be grown, whereas livestock can live on fairly unproductive land. Not to mention the amount of jobs that this industry sustains.

It's easy to see the benefits of going meatless one day a week. In terms of the dollar bill, decreased grocery bills, health costs, and environmental costs are all advantages to Meatless Monday. And this is all from just one day without meat! I hope you will challenge yourself to go Meatless on Monday, and share the benefits you see from the change.
 Happy Meatless Monday,
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