This is a guest post written by Kristeena Patsche
Dear Meatless Mondays: What Happened to Food Choices?
The new trend in K-12 schools, colleges, and some restaurants have been Meatless Mondays, or removing meat from your diet one day a week and serving meat-free, vegetarian recipes.
The University of Minnesota, a school most of us know for their reputable College of Agriculture, has jumped on board and joined the long list of campuses that serve Meatless Mondays. There’s only one problem – where’d their food choices go?
According to the Meatless Monday website, joining the movement showcases the importance of consuming fruits and vegetables. But why do this at the expense of meat?
Not surprisingly, I am a meat-eater. When you grow up on a pig farm, bacon or pork patties make the menu more than not. But my views and food decisions should not dictate those who don’t feel the same.
Let’s reverse the situation – what if there was a petition to get rid of the salad bar and require students to ONLY eat meat once a week. We can all agree this would not fly. There’s a reason we have food choices, meat-eaters should be given the same courtesy as vegetarians and vegans when it comes to choosing food, even on Mondays.
Meatless Monday = Spreading Misinformation
When I first heard the term “Meatless Monday,” my initial thought was, “What is wrong with meat? If they are doing away with meat, what is the reason?”
When these questions are asked by students or consumers not from a farming background, this is how misinformation gets spread. Whether they google or search social media, it is hard to know what answer they will get – assuming it may not be the truth.
The Humane Society of the United States, a very anti-agriculture organization, released a statement in support of Meatless Mondays.
“Choosing meat-free options just one day a week helps spare animals from factory farms, helps our environment, and improves our health,” said Kristie Middleton, food policy manager at The Humane Society of the United States.
These statements are what we are up against, and what is out there for those looking for answers to read. It is our job to be spread the positive stories of agriculture, the benefits of having food choices and ultimately, being thankful for the plentiful supply thanks to our farmers. With that, I leave you with this food for thought.
“So what is the future for Meatless Mondays? It’s very simple. If this campaign really aims to expose people to a wider range of vegetables and plant-based food choices, let’s simply christen it “More Veg Mondays.” … Rather than demonizing individual foods, let’s celebrate the fabulous variety of choices that are available to us and that allows us the opportunity to eat a balanced diet every single day. – Jude Capper, Bovidiva
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Neil Rhonemus says
Very well said
Oh I agree with what you say. When I was growing up Catholic we did not eat meat on Friday but that was intended to teach us to make sacrifices for our faith development. No intention was to discourage eating mean. I don’t know where vegetarians get their protein. Yes I know where, but fanaticism is always out of place.
Eric Wessels says
The Humane Society’s comments are accurate, or could be if less meat was consumed. We can argue back and forth about confinements and the negative impacts, but if less meat was consumed it is reasonable to assume less produced and therefore fewer confinements. Fewer confinements would help the environment. That’s a simple straight up truth from the production of feed for the animals to the handling of the waste that feed produces. And eating more fruits and vegetables is a positive thing, especially if it is someone who eats too few. I like meat. And I don’t really care about the animals. But Confinements benefit the pork industry to the detriment of almost everyone else. Pork is cheap. Some people will get more protean because of it. They’d be better off with a black bean burger
Wanda Patsche says
Thanks for being respectful but I just can’t agree with your statements. It’s not anyone’s right to dictate whether someone should or shouldn’t eat meat on a particular day. Food choice.
Eric Wessels says
I didn’t say anyone had the right to dictate who eats what. I just think the HSUS comments are accurate. There are no meatless Monday regulations. It is a campaign to improve peoples health. Like a “no smoking Monday.” There is no reason not to be respectful. You run a business in a sector of the economy it is hard to be profitable in. I don’t like the industry trend because I see the damage it is doing to my state w/o any checks. Our water quality and environmental quality are deteriorating every year. We have positive pockets, but they are buried under the weight of the irresponsible industries. And not just ag, but construction as well. Developers do everything to squeeze that short term dollar out of a project with no regard to the long term cost because of their shortsidedness. Good actors don’t need to be regulated. Bad actors do. You, my friend, are outnumbered.
Trent Loos says
Eric thanks for comments give me some of the actually facts on CAFO’s danger. I would to share but I can’t find real proof.
Shannon Mesneak says
Hello all I am a vegan and still believe in people having choices. However, wherever I go there very few choices of food. If we want things to be fair then every restaurant should have vegan options. Yes you can order a salad yet most salads come with meat. My reasons for being vegan is three fold, I do think factory farming can be improved so as to give animals a more normal life, the damage it is causing the planet and red meat is carcinogenic. I grew up on a beef farm and we raised all our beef on grass and when time to butcher they where killed in the field and never even knew what was happening. I understand that with demand for meat this kind of farming may not be possible. So with that said what that means to me is we should not be eating that much meat then. We should only eat what can be humanly raise and will not continue to damage our health and planet. I encourage everyone to look at both sides! Support farmers who raise meat humanly and with care for our planet. I also believe if you eat meat then you should see where it comes from and what that animal goes through in order for you to eat. It is most the respectful thing to do. I think we can work together. I want to end saying I don’t bad mouth anyone who eats meat and believe in personal choices but wished people would make their choices having all of the knowledge instead turning a blind eye.
Build Up Dietitians (@BuildUpRDNs) says
Thanks for this and here’s a .fun fact… World War I actually saw the initiation of “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays” to preserve food for the troops. Funny how the former has been resurrected but the latter has not. As a dietitian I try and promote “Less Meat – More Vegetable Mondays” rather than “Meatless” and this is still better than the “plant-based” level of activism I am starting to see linking “plant-based” to sustainability.