Don’t let “meat-free” scare you. Your food choices are endless!
Do you have to be careful to get enough protein on Meatless Monday?
No. Protein deficiency is very rare, even in full-time vegetarians and vegans. It isn’t necessary to combine foods to create “complete proteins.” Common recommendations are for .8 grams of protein for every kg of body weight. The average North American consumes much more than that. If you follow the Canada Food Guide recommendations, choosing from each food group, and eat enough calories to maintain a healthy weight, your body will have all the amino acids (and complete protein) it needs.
Can you eat fish on Meatless Monday?
No. Since muscle is the part of the fish we eat, fish is technically meat. The environmental effects of fishing and fish farming are as damaging as animal farming. Many studies have shown that fish stocks are in decline worldwide. Meatless Monday is a day to give the oceans a rest, too.
Can you eat cheese on Meatless Monday or are you advocating a vegan diet?
MeatlessMonday.ca is not advocating any diet, other than one meat-free day per week. Cheese, while not technically part of Meatless Monday, just like steak, comes from cows. Cheese, therefore, has the same environmental footprint and contributes equally to climate change. If you can eliminate cheese as well on Meatless Monday, you will be going further in reducing your own contribution to global warming.
Can you participate in Meatless Monday if you are pregnant?
Yes. According to the American Dietetic Association paper on vegetarian diets, “An evidence-based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes.” One meat-free day per week is entirely safe for pregnant women.
Can athletes participate in Meatless Monday?
Yes. Athletes may wish to eat foods higher in protein and calories on Meatless Mondays. Foods such as chili, burritos, tofu and nut mixes are good sources of protein that can keep you from feeling weighted down, yet maintain consistent energy throughout the day.
My doctor said I have low iron. Can I still participate in Meatless Monday?
Yes. Surveys of vegans have found that iron deficiency anemia is no more common among vegetarians than among the general population. That said, if you already have low iron stores, you may wish to choose plant foods that are high in iron. Non-heme iron, the type found in plant foods, is less easily absorbed than heme iron, found in meat, unless consumed in combination with foods high in Vitamin C. So, for example, consuming your broccoli, a food high in iron, together with peppers or tomatoes, foods high in Vitamin C, will result in the highest iron absorption.