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Meatless Mondays endorsed by L.A. city council

Nadine Bells
Shine On
November 13, 2012

On Friday, October 24, the Los Angeles city council voted in favour of endorsing "Meatless Mondays."

It's not a ban, a tax, or a mandatory initiative. It is, rather, a leadership-endorsed resolution "to make residents healthier and reduce the impact on the environment," CBS News reports.

"While this is a symbolic gesture, it is asking people to think about the food choices they make," says councillor Jan Perry, who co-wrote the resolution. "Eating less meat can reverse some of our nation's most common illnesses."

"We've become disconnected in some ways from the simple truth that our health is directly affected by the foods we eat," she adds.

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According to the Meatless Monday campaign manifesto, "Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel."

But the government-approved Meatless Mondays is not without critics.

Karin Klein of the Los Angeles Times wonders if cutting meat will actually make Californians healthier, or just encourage other poor food choices.

"Yes, this is just a suggestion. But you have to wonder where the council members get the idea that their particular view of diet, nutrition and the environment is the one to put forth as official if voluntary policy. Is it more healthful for the city to chow down on plates of white-flour pasta? Most dietitians would tell us no," she writes, adding that Sodaless Saturdays make more sense from a healthy-living perspective.

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Carla Hall, also with the Los Angeles Times, disagrees.

"[At] a time when advocates of healthful eating are trying to show all of us, no matter our income levels, how to find and prepare more vegetables and legumes in our diets, and when voters in California and elsewhere have demonstrated that they are concerned about conditions in which food animals are raised, there's nothing wrong with the city's politicians urging us, for health and animal welfare reasons,  to put our veggies where our mouths are. For at least one day of the week," she writes.

Los Angeles is now the largest jurisdiction in the United States to adopt the idea of going meat-free once a week. Mondays are Veg Day in San Francisco and Meat-Free in Washington, DC. Raleigh, North Carolina is also onboard with Meatless Mondays. Some American school districts have also adopted meat-free menus on the first school day of the week.

While no Canadian cities have signed Meatless Monday resolutions, a Meatless Monday Canada team is helping turn one day a week of vegetarianism into a global movement.

Would you — or do you already — participate in Meatless Mondays?

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