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Food Network star Chef Mario Batali's meatless Monday drive

By April MacIntyre Jul 26, 2011, 4:20 GMT

Food Network star Chef Mario Batali's meatless Monday drive

Chef Batali recently joined forces with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), about the recent studies that promote going lighter on meat and animal product consumption in the diet

TV Celebrity Chef Mario Batali is a Food Network Star and a contributor to magazines like Bon Appetit.

Chef Batali recently joined forces with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), about the recent studies that promote going lighter on meat and animal product consumption in the diet

Batali writes: "In recent years I've been more aware of how much my food choices impact our planet. I was introduced to the Meatless Monday campaign and realized that eating a little less meat makes a big impact, both when it comes to losing weight and getting healthier, as well as relieving some of the tremendous burden on our environment."

According to EWG's Meat Eater's Guide to Climate Change + Health, Batali notes that if everyone in the USA skipped eating meat and cheese just one day a week for a year, it would be like pulling 7.6 million cars off the road.

"My restaurants were already very vegetable heavy, but I came to realize that vegetables did not have to be only a condiment or a side dish, and we've added more veg-centric entrée-type options. I wanted to make it easier for other people to cut back on meat, so we began promoting Meatless Monday and offering alternating veggie specials every week!" says Chef Batali

Batali says, "At the same time, people -- especially kids -- would be less likely to develop health problems such as obesity and heart disease."

Chef Batali is a big fan of EWG and the Meatless Monday movement in their work to get people to eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables. He sent us the link to the EWG's PLEDGE that you'll skip meat one day a week.

"This issue is particularly important to me because it so profoundly affects children. Studies have found that young kids are eating triple the currently recommended amount of protein, mostly from meat, yet few eat enough fruits and vegetables. If we don't take action now and teach our kids how to eat less meat, more and more of them could face serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and even some types of cancer as they get older," says Chef Batali. "You can help your family eat healthier by serving them a tasty meatless meal once a week. And if we all do it together -- cutting down on the chemical fertilizers, fuel, pesticides and toxic chemicals that harm the environment -- we'll make a huge difference!"

Chef Batali adds, "What I love about this campaign is that you don't have to be a vegetarian to eat healthier. That's not realistic for everyone, but you can make a lasting impact on your health and on our planet by making even small changes to your diet!"

Personalized healthcare provider SignatureMD blogs regularly about health issues affecting everyone and posted an article on July 25 titled "Food to think about," citing EWG's "cradle to grave" effects of a meat-filled diet.

They wrote: "Simple changes can effect a lifetime of vitality and keep your medical costs down. It makes perfect sense, and should be instilled in families with young children, learning eating patterns that stick with them for a lifetime.  Many obese people struggle with unlearning an early imprint of poor diet choices, and reasons for eating."

SignatureMD used two examples of women in their 70s - one a vegan, one a bodybuilder who does eat lean meat but strict portions - as "living proof" that the EWG is on to something big.

 

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