Where did this initiative come from and who else is doing it?
Meatless Monday (spearheaded by the Meatless Monday non-profit) is a global movement to improve personal and environmental health by cutting down on meat consumption and increasing consumption of plant-based foods. Meatless Monday is a science-based public health initiative associated with Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Meatless Monday is now implemented in foodservice operations over 40 countries. A heavily plant-based diet is a proven intervention against preventable disease, and it’s time for Brookdale to join the movement and become an advocate. We are taking this leap as a hospital by joining Meatless Mondays with an exclusively plant-based cafeteria every Monday beginning September 9th, 2019.
Please come and join us!
Our next phase will be patient focus, as I have the blessings of the Director of Cardiology Dr. Hal Chadow who I will be collaborating with in the not too distant future in creating a wellness type menu for his cardiac patients.
What are the health benefits to increasing plant-based meals to my daily routine?
Fruits and vegetables are components of the human diet essential to preventing disease. Consuming plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, and soy help add more fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and provide lower saturated fat in your diet. Increasing fruits and vegetables, to your meals will help decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and promotes normal bowel function among others. It even improves mood and sleep.
What are the ethical considerations involved in meat eating?
Environmentally speaking, meat production is an inefficient use of our scarce natural resources. Land, water, and other energy inputs are required just to make the plants that will then be fed to livestock. That livestock will then subsequently need to be raised on additional land and consume more water before it is old enough for slaughter. In the case of cows, they are a known methane producer, which is a significant greenhouse gas.
From the perspective of animal cruelty: Most of the meat Americans are eating is not being raised to the highest ethical standards. Grass-fed beef, free roaming chickens, and pastured pork are all very costly to produce and not well suited to most institutional settings for that reason. Some animal husbandry is ethically sound and restorative to the earth, but it’s far from the norm.
What about cost?
The efficiency of eating the plants themselves, rather than turning them into meat reduces the overall cost of food production. Plant-based meals are generally less costly and that will be reflected in what you find at the cash register when you purchase your meals in the cafeteria on Monday.
Are we trying to force everyone to become vegan?
No! Of course not. We hope that our meatless Monday spread will inspire you to include more plants on your plate and go lighter on the meat dishes creating a better balance.
Want to Make Your Meals Healthier and More Sustainable at Home? Here are some tips to getting you started:
1. Load up half of your plate with vegetables and legumes for lunch and dinner.
2. Prepare a meatless dish once a week.
3. Increase whole grains for breakfast by adding nuts and fruit to your oatmeal.
4. Try a different type of lettuce each week in your salad.
5. Add beans, peas, and tofu to a salad.
6. When you crave something sweet have a fruit salad with some almond butter drizzled over the top.