To start off this year’s Eco Week, we are encouraging all students to try something called “Meatless Mondays.”
Now you might be wondering, what is Meatless Monday? Founded in 2003 by the non-profit organization “The Monday Campaigns,” its goal is to “reduce meat consumption by 15% for our personal health and the health of the planet.” The initiative has been employed in more than 40 countries, and we’re hoping that Romania will make the list sometime soon.
Why go meat free?
Besides all of the proven health benefits of eating less meat, there’s all sorts of environmental reasons why we should be scaling back:
- According to World Resources Institute, beef production “requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of edible protein” than vegetarian protein sources like peas, beans and lentils.
- National Geographic has reported that eating one less burger a week has the same environmental impact as taking your car off of the road for 320 miles.
- Additionally, not eating steak for a week is equivalent to not driving for 3 months.
- Studies by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations show that a completely vegetarian diet could actually reduce water consumption by up to 58% per person.
But what about protein?
Healthline reports that generally, people need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram, or 0.36 grams per pound. The site gives the estimates: 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man and 46 for the average sedentary woman. That’s basically one small steak, or several servings of protein-rich, plant-based foods throughout the day, like tofu (10-19 grams for 100g), lentils (18 grams per cup), or even quinoa (8–9 grams per cup).
Will AISB Ever Employ a Meatless Monday?
While it’s not likely that the cafeteria will go completely vegetarian every Monday, they are definitely adding more and more vegetarian options.
Stradale Cafeteria Manager Octavian Stoica says that this year, they’ve begun incorporating Pakistani and Indian vegetarian recipes to make the options more inclusive. He says that Ms. Saima Jafri, the After School Care Coordinator, has been teaching the staff some traditional Pakistani meals.
“People wanted quick, easy, healthy recipes,” says Jafri. “The foods we added were basmati rice with peas, chickpea stew, lentil soup, potato curry, and yogurt dips.” She says that teachers had been requesting these types of vegetarian dishes, and that there’s more to come in the near future.
Something that students might not know is that if they want a specific meal in the cafeteria, they can request it and it might be added to the menu. The way to do this is to either talk to Octavian or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the recipe and title of the meal.
Tell us: Do you think the cafeteria should start implementing Meatless Mondays? Comment below to start the conversation!