Go ahead, we challenge you to name a successful movement that has happened on a Monday. Even Sam Adams and his boys waited until Thursday to dump tea in the harbor. That’s because Mondays are hard, whether you’re coming down from that Sunday (too much) Funday or a 10 hour Netflix binge, giving your all seems like a fruitless endeavor. So, when Meatless Monday, a grassroots trend turned nation-wide movement asks for your support, it can be difficult to say “yes” – especially when the only cure to your Monday blues involves indulging in something bacon-wrapped.
Meals without meat are no longer for your alternative friends whose food choices are “a lifestyle, not a diet”. They’re now the main course at many restaurants, including a growing number of national chains. Social media’s simultaneous influence and documentation of cultural trends has helped propelled this movement forward, along with a slew of eye-opening documentaries exposing factory farming practices and the troubling state of worldwide health. Consistently a weekly trending Twitter and Instagram #hashtag, Meatless Monday has become somewhat of a rolling holiday, where revelers celebrate by partaking in all things green and grain.
“It has evolved into a popular trend focused on moving vegetables from a side dish to center-plate.”
The Meatless Monday movement’s roots run deeper than you might expect, however. Initially, it was a government-sanctioned program aimed at rationing food in the U.S. during the first and second World Wars, even spawning a lesser known sister campaign known as “Wheatless Wednesdays.” The Meatless Monday campaign was then relaunched during the Genesis of the ever-growing health food trend in the late 90s, early 2000s, to reduce excess meat consumption. Since then, it has evolved into a popular trend focused on moving vegetables from a side dish to center-plate.
Meatless Mondays, besides being an Instagram-able fad, is a representation of the way our mindset about food and sustainability has shifted in recent years. There’s an increasing awareness of the benefits from putting plants on the plate more often than meat. The recent catapult to mainstream popularity of the vegetarian diet, whether it’s one day a week or a permanent choice, is driven by consumer concerns about their health as well as environmental impacts of eating high on the hog.
“Trendsetting Michelin-starred chefs are now participating with $500 a plate vegetarian entrées.”
No longer reserved for just activists and governmental groups, environmental and health concerns are now part of the mainstream consciousness. In turn, the motivation behind our food choices has shifted further from price to sustainability and health benefits. So much so, that even fast-food restaurants are now sourcing organic, free-range and non-GMO ingredients at a higher price point, to compete with the ever-growing sustainable food trends. On the opposite end of the spectrum, trendsetting Michelin-starred chefs like René Redzepi and Dan Barber are participating with $500 a plate vegetarian entrées.
No matter what veggies you choose to eat and what day you choose to do it, we encourage you to take part – because peace, love and kale has never been more in style.
Celebrate Meatless Monday with Home Chef vegetarian recipes!