Understanding the impact that meat consumption can have on sustainability, the environment, and public health, Mayor Bill Peduto has signed a Proclamation recognizing Nov 2, 2015 as Meatless Monday. The Proclamation urges everyone to choose healthful foods other than meat, at least one day a week. Restaurants, Universities, public schools, and workplaces are eager to answer rising consumer demand for healthier choices and Meatless Monday is a perfect solution.
Even though Meatless Monday has been catching on all over the country since 2003, most Pittsburghers have been unaware of the Meatless Monday movement. A small group of dedicated citizens has decided to change that. Natalie Ahwesh, Officer of Humane Action Pittsburgh, assembled a committee and together they have worked to bring more vegetarian and vegan options to mainstream restaurants, collegiate and elementary school cafeterias, and they have a long list of others that are ready to make the switch. “We want to make it as easy as possible for Pittsburghers to live compassionate healthful lives. It just seemed like the right time to introduce it city wide. We are so happy the Mayor was supportive.” Ahwesh said.
Leila Sleiman, Founder of Justice for Animals, shared that “Pittsburgh is a progressive city. Many people are ready to make changes to be healthier and more environmentally friendly. They just don’t know where to start.” Her theory was proven correct when thousands showed up for Pittsburgh’s first VegFest this past August. Another committee member, Christin Bummer, Founder of online blog Beans Not Bambi, pointed out, “The beauty of this movement is that it doesn’t require a massive lifestyle overhaul. If each person does just a little bit, the effect will be exponential.”
In fact, if the world reduced meat consumption by just 15% (by participating in Meatless Monday) it would have the same impact on greenhouse gas emissions as taking 240 million cars off the road each year. A large body of scientific research makes it clear that a reduction in animal products and an increase in plant based foods would have a positive impact on reducing obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and many diet related cancers. The World Health Organization just published a report highlighting the findings that red meat, especially processed red meat, has been shown to cause cancer.
To celebrate the Meatless Monday Proclamation and ignite the movement in Pittsburgh, Mexi Casa, a Tex-Mex Restaurant in Dormont, is offering a new Meatless Monday menu loaded with vegetarian and vegan options. The official launch party will begin at 6:30 pm November 9th. “Our restaurant already prioritizes fresh and healthy ingredients, so the Meatless Monday initiative was a natural match to support healthier and more sustainable food choices. It’s something that’s important for us all to get behind,” said Brian Billeter, Mexi Casa Co-Owner.
Author’s note: If you would like your Pittsburgh school or workplace to offer more healthful options in the cafeteria or dining hall, or if you think your favorite restaurants would be a good fit for Meatless Monday, please contact Meatless Monday Pittsburgh at MeatlessMondayPgh/at/gmail.com. We would be happy to help make it happen!