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The Great MeatOut! (and Free Cooking Class)

Updated: Mar 4

We all live out our beliefs in different ways. Some do it quietly through everyday actions. Others are loud, proud, and more publicly demonstrative in their actions and want to influence others. Food is a topic that can unite or polarize us, in our homes, communities, and the world at large.

If you're reading this, you might be interested in eating more plants for health, ethical, or spiritual reasons. Maybe you just love good food! 

Maybe you're quietly living your beliefs through the choices you make about what to eat and aren't doing it necessarily to take a stand. Or you might be a public advocate in your community or workplace promoting a plant-based or vegan lifestyle. Whether you intend to be an influencer or not, what you eat, spend your food dollars on, and share with others does create ripples...or even waves in the world.

When it comes to putting more plants our our plates, I believe that even though we have the freedom to choose, there are some really powerful reasons to consider doing more of it and some great organizations are working to raise awareness of these reasons. I wanted to shine a light on a campaign that takes place in March each year: The Great MeatOut. It's an annual reminder to think about the choices we make when it comes to what we put on our plates.

Since 1985, March 20th has been celebrated as the Great Meatout and over the years, has grown into a huge grassroots educational campaign dedicated to educating people about the reasons to remove or reduce meat consumption. MeatOut was started by Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), a national nonprofit organization advocating for animal rights, veganism, and sustainability.

The campaign, and others like it, raise awareness of the triple threat inherent in the consumption of meat and animal products, like eggs and dairy:

1) cruelty to animals who are born and raised for food,

2) the epidemic of chronic diseases related to meat consumption, and

3) the environmental devastation associated with intensive meat production and animal agriculture.

Here are just a few examples of how scientists and celebrities are getting on board with the benefits of plant-based eating. You don't have to look far to find many, many more.

  • American Cancer Society and American Heart Association have launched their own campaigns promoting the consumption of plant-based foods.

  • Johns Hopkins University launched a program promoting Meatless Mondays, a global movement that encourages people to reduce meat in their diet for their health and the health of the planet.

  • United Nations, World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club, and, to name a few, are organizations that have in recent years begun calling on consumers to reduce or eliminate meat and dairy consumption. They promote a shift to plant-based diets as one of the most important personal actions people can take to help the environment, climate, and wildlife.

  • Based on the model they developed together, scientists at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley reported that “Phasing out animal agriculture represents ‘our best and most immediate chance to reverse the trajectory of climate change”.

  • Not that celebrities should necessarily influence us, but many are publicly recognizing the benefits of a plant-based which does shine a light on the topic. Paul McCartney credits MeatOut for his own MeatFree Mondays campaign. The magazine VegNews recently did a celebrity round-up here.

If you’re reading this and you’re interested in advocating for compassion and better health for humans and the planet, here are a few things you can do:

There’s never been a better time to consider making more room on your plate for plants! The options for alternatives have never been greater and resources like websites, cookbooks, and cooking classes provide ideas, inspiration, and instruction. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is just one of the many resources that can help you learn more about a healthy, plant-based lifestyle.

In my little corner of the world, I live out what I believe by teaching and sharing the benefits of plant-based eating for those who want to learn more.

To support MeatOut this year and to demonstrate how you can live a meaty life on a plant-based diet, I’m teaching a 1-hour meat-free class: Meatless Meatloaf. The class is free but I invite you to make a donation which will go to an organization raising awareness in this area. Invite a friend to join or share this with someone who might want to join this free and compassionate cook-along!

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