Meatless Monday: The Trend that Benefits Your Health and the Environment

We're going to show you a trend that's becoming fashionable to improve health and reduce the amount of polluting emissions. Will you join Meatless Monday?
Meatless Monday: The Trend that Benefits Your Health and the Environment
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 16 October, 2022

Meatless Monday is a current trend that, according to its followers, brings health and environmental benefits. However, it’s necessary to follow it correctly in order to get the maximum advantage from it, thus optimizing the nutritional content and preventing deficits.

The first thing that we must make clear is that meat is not a harmful food. On the contrary, it’s a foodstuff with high nutritional density that should be included in the diet on a regular basis.

It contains proteins of high biological value and essential minerals that ensure hormone production. For that reason, it should be part of your diet.

How to complement Monday without meat?

Although the consumption of meat is considered positive, abusing this type of product and not encouraging variety is not a positive thing. After all, there are other foods that can ensure a high intake of proteins of high biological value.

In this sense, we can highlight fish, eggs, and dairy products. All of them should be consumed regularly to avoid sarcopenia, as indicated by a study published in BioMed Research International.

In fact, replacing part of our meat intake in the diet with fish could have certain positive consequences. Marine products tend to have a higher-quality lipid profile. They are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, elements that have been shown to regulate internal inflammation levels. Thanks to this mechanism, chronic and complex pathologies, such as cardiovascular diseases, can be prevented.

It’s also important to mention that fish are a source of iodine. This mineral is important for the thyroid gland to function properly.

In fact, a deficiency of this mineral could lead to hypothyroidism, according to research published in the journal Pediatrics. In this case, it’s best to ensure optimal consumption of the mineral to avoid significant alterations in body composition.

Eating fish on Meatless Mondays.
Fish is a white meat that can replace red meat, with similar nutrient contributions.

Eating protein, without red meat

Not eating meat on Mondays doesn’t mean suffering from a protein deficit. If you eat fish, eggs and dairy products, your daily requirements will be covered.

Of course, the presence of protein vegetables in the meals should be emphasized. After all, these foods complement the macronutrient intake and provide a high amount of phytochemicals with antioxidant activity.

Reducing meat consumption to benefit the environment?

In recent years, there has been much speculation about the need to reduce meat intake to prevent the progression of climate change. The truth is that many experts are skeptical about this.

After all, the main problem of pollution is caused by overpopulation, not by meat consumption per se. And it’s impossible for human beings to feed everyone with current production mechanisms.

When we think about looking after the environment, there are many other more efficient options that can be implemented. We can opt for clean energies, reduce how much clothing or textiles we buy, and make responsible use of technology.

Nor should we think that the production of plant-based foods doesn’t generate polluting emissions. It’s not a panacea in this respect. Nor is there solid research that compares the difference in pollution between a livestock farm and a farm that feeds a population group.

Some potatoes.
Large-scale crops also have an impact on the environment. Just think of grain fields or the massive vegetable industry for supermarket chains.

You may also be interested in: How Much Meat Should You Eat Per Week?

Meatless Monday: a modern approach

Meatless Monday may have health benefits, but there’s a lot of extra hype about it. Increasing fish consumption would be positive, but not because meat is harmful to the body or because of environmental concerns. When it comes to planning a proper diet, it’s best to go for variety and balance.

When we talk about the environment, we have to look at several actions. Recycling, avoiding the overpurchase of technological and textile products, and making good use of energy are practical ways to make a difference.

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  • Martone AM, Marzetti E, Calvani R, et al. Exercise and Protein Intake: A Synergistic Approach against Sarcopenia. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:2672435. doi:10.1155/2017/2672435
  • Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man. Biochem Soc Trans. 2017;45(5):1105-1115. doi:10.1042/BST20160474
  • Ikomi C, Cole CR, Vale E, Golekoh M, Khoury JC, Jones NY. Hypothyroidism and Iodine Deficiency in Children on Chronic Parenteral Nutrition. Pediatrics. 2018;141(4):e20173046. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-3046

The contents of this publication are for informational purposes only. At no time can they serve to facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult with your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.