Meatless Monday started as a World War I campaign to help ration and allocate key staples. Starting as “Meatless Tuesday," the campaign was done due to food production and distribution disruption brought about by the war. Today, the main thrust of going meatless has nothing to do with rationing but with the health of the general public. Vegetables and fruits have been seen as the food-of-choice for anyone who wants to stay healthy.
However, this is not always true depending on how the fruit and vegetable are cooked or processed. For example, doing Meatless Monday but choosing to eat french fries from a fast-food chain isn’t exactly the path to peak health. If you choose to do a meatless day, choose to go all the way. You can do that by knowing what goes into your food by being picky about how it is cooked or what oil is used to cook with it. Take note that oil that has been reused is definitely unhealthy and possibly carcinogenic. This means you can cross out fruits and vegetables that are fried in reused oil.
- Soy. The most common alternative to going meatless is by using soy products, particularly tofu. However, did you know that most Soy products are made with genetically modified (GMO) soybeans? GMO soybeans are not good for the body because of the way it is manipulated. Generally, our bodies are not designed to consume food that has been altered. If you must have soy-based products as an alternative to meat, make sure you find organic sources of soy.
- Greens. Did you know that spinach and broccoli actually have 5 grams of protein per serving? If you are after protein-packed meat substitutes, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are worth looking at.
- Mushrooms. Packed with protein and flavor, mushrooms are another go-to meat alternative. It also helps that the texture is quite nice and the natural umami flavor of mushrooms is comparable to meat.
Are there other ways to eat well without avoiding meat? Yes, of course! The best way to be truly healthy is to be in control of what you eat and what goes into your food. Consider these steps:
- Start with the oil you use. Choose a cooking oil that is not heavily processed using chemicals and hexanes. Contrary to popular belief, Canola oil is not the way to go because almost all commercially available Canola oil is processed using chemicals to extract the oil. A good alternative is culinary coconut oil that is not bleached, deodorized, or refined.
- Choose food that is indigenous to your country of residence. Not only does this lessen carbon footprint but it also ensures that you consume food that is grown in the ideal conditions of your location. It's also recommended to adjust nutrition according to the current season of your country of residence seeing that it can help boost immunity, and prevent dehydration and diseases.