Los Angeles City Council Declares Mondays “Meatless”

For one day a week, citizens in the city of Los Angeles are encouraged to be 'veg heads.'

  • Share
  • Read Later
Getty Images

For one day a week, citizens in the city of Los Angeles are encouraged to be ‘veg heads.’

On Friday, the LA city council unanimously passed a resolution that declares every Monday a “Meatless Monday,” becoming the largest city to endorse the movement to curb meat consumption.

The resolution [PDF] is voluntary for citizens, and the councilmen say it was passed in “support of comprehensive sustainability efforts as well as to further encourage residents to eat a more varied plant-based diet to protect their health, protect animals and protect the  environment.” In the resolution, which was introduced by councilwoman Jan Perry and councilman Ed Reyes, the representatives discussed issues involving the environmental and health impacts of meat consumption, and cited the American Dietetic Association’s recognition that eating less meat can decrease risk of health problems including obesity, hypertension, diabetes and some cancers.

The Meatless Monday movement actually had its roots in a World War I effort to ration key staples during the war, and recently re-emerged in 2003 as part of a public health campaign to encourage healthier eating that was endorsed by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

(SPECIAL: The 31 Healthiest Foods To Eat Now)

The Los Angeles resolution also calls out the role that meat-heavy diets can play in obesity, writing:

More than half of the adult population is overweight or obese in Los Angeles County, according to the County’s Department of Health Services. Those who are obese are at increased risk of developing many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and many types of cancer; and statistics show that low-income areas in Los Angeles are at higher risk for preventable diseases linked to obesity, including heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer; and low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles have less access to healthy foods.

“Eating less meat can prevent and even reverse some of our nation’s most common illnesses,” Perry said in making the case for the meatless Mondays, NBC Los Angeles reports.  “We’ve become disconnected in some ways from the simple truth that our health is directly affected by the foods we eat.”

(LIST: Make Over Your Diet in One Week: 7 Days of Healthier Meals)

The resolution doesn’t make eating meat a crime, and it won’t be enforced by law, the LA Daily News reports. But officials hope it will spark a city-wide trend toward healthy eating and better care of the environment.

L.A. may be the largest city to pass a Meatless Monday resolution, but other cities like  Washington, D.C., San Francisco,  Raleigh–Durham, North Carolina have passed similar resolutions.

“We are of course really pleased and excited,” says Peggy Neu, president of Meatless Monday. “I think one of the things that’s so great about a city adopting the resolution is that the whole community can get behind it. When people from all sectors can join together to do it–like restaurants, hospitals, schools–it gives you a sense of community. People can go out to eat together, have a potluck, have a special meal as a family. If the whole community is around it, it can really be a great social ritual.”

(MORE: Does Meat Gross You Out? It May Be Genetic)

The hope is that cutting out meat on Mondays will help people to turn to other, healthier options, including fruits and vegetables. “There are a lot of health benefits to reducing meat consumption, but there are so many positive benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables,” says Neu. “I think that is one of the challenges for people. We find from our research that when people do Meatless Monday, they find different ways to cook vegetables. Hopefully this population that has such an issue with obesity can use this as an opportunity to experiment and try those healthy options.”

For restaurants, school programs and food services supporting Meatless Monday, check out the site here.

18 comments
NatalieRollan
NatalieRollan

Most of the current literature on the topic of meat consumption issues support the claims made in this article and by the “Meatless Monday” resolution. The resolution cites important facts and common knowledge that are well supported by studies chronicling the health and environmental issues associated with heavy meat consumption in the US. According to Sinha, Cross, Graubard, Leitzmann, & Schatzkin (2009), red and processed meat intakes are associated with high mortality rates due to cancer and cardiovascular disease. This speaks to the assumption that meat consumption leads to a higher risk of certain diseases and that lowering this consumption rate could reduce these risks and in turn reduce mortality rates around the US. In regards to obesity and meat consumption, one study found a positive correlation with meat consumption and body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, obesity, and central obesity. (Wang & Beydoun, 2009) This study shows us that a high-meat diet could be contributing to the obesity issue in the US and is very certainly detrimental to long-term healthy weight management. McMichael, Powles, Butler, & Uauy (2007) point out that globally, the agriculture industry, especially livestock production, accounts for about a fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions, heavily contributing to climate change and its adverse health consequences. To reduce this environmental issue, they suggest reducing the average worldwide level of animal product consumption as well as the intensity of emissions from livestock production and processes associated with it. These studies support arguments made by the city of Los Angeles for the propagation of Meatless Monday; however, meat consumption has still proven to contribute to a healthy American diet. Biesalski (2005) asserts that meat is an important source of protein as well as vital nutrients such as iron, selenium, vitamins A, B12, and folic acid. This study concluded that meat is an essential part of a mixed diet that is protein rich and low in carbohydrates; a low carb diet would contribute to better weight management and less risk of diabetes. The benefits of Meatless Monday are evident with many studies showing the consequences of diets high in meat on people and the environment. We must, however, still take into consideration the benefits moderate meat consumption offers to a balanced diet and the negative light this resolution may be shining on meat and meat-eaters.

MikeRobinson
MikeRobinson

This is nonsense. People are fat because they are lazy and eat too much. You know what would reduce these illnesses? Eating less. Eating healthier. Working out. We've known this for years. Look at all the health benefits of JUST being at a healthy weight.

GaryGraham
GaryGraham

Well it's no wonder that California has the laughable reputation that it has... what a joke.... I am sooooo glad that I do not lve in that nut house.  You know what folks, if you want to eat a vegetarian diet - do so, but please have the common curtosey to NOT try to foist your lifestyle on the rest of us.

Get a life of your own and stop meddling in everyone elses....

DanielJoyce
DanielJoyce

Your right we are not carnivores, we're omnivores, you know like bears!

proteinlover
proteinlover

As a diabetic my doctor recomends a diet of healthy protien (meat) and healthy fat.  Following that diet for the past four years, I have resolved all issues with diabeties and high blood presure.  Wouldn't a better choice be a carb free monday?  It seems to be that massive carbohydrate and sugar diets are far more to blame when it comes to obesity than heathly protien.  Why not focus on the real culprit. 

Desslok
Desslok

And in honor of this stupid rule, I shall have a double cheeseburger with bacon every Monday. Perhaps I'll put some lettuce on there too. You know just to show my support and all.

DanielJoyce
DanielJoyce

Tell you what, how about I agree to have a vegtable with my meat once a week? Being an omnivore I guess I could go that far as long as it doesent become a habit. Let me see Hmmmm, animals, (Include humans in that) that have eyes in the side of their heads have them there so they can better see predaters as they creep up on them to eat them, (cows antelope etc.) Creatures that have eyes in the front of their heads have them there so they can better focus on what they're sneaking up on to eat! Dont have eyes on the side of my head so I guess nature made me a predator/ canrivore, (That means for those who didnt know a MEAT EATER) Think I'll go for a prime rib tonight, or maybe some baby back ribs, hmmmm, hambuger sounds good.....

peard33
peard33

not all of the councilmembers in Los Angeles are men

DennisKnicely
DennisKnicely

This Meatless Monday declaration is a great day for both LA area and the rest of the World to reflect on.   When the Media Capitol of the World gets behind a cause like this, rest of the World listens.  After researching and utilizing the vegan diet for over 41 years, I seldom need MD assistance for anything, feel great, excellent health, and there are few if any side effects from eating this diet correctly.  The vegan diet is basically the best way for the entire World to go, even recommended by the United Nations and other great organizations, so we have enough food to keep people from starving.

BULLOMETER
BULLOMETER

Big Brother again !!

Liberals just can't wait to tell everyone how to live their lives.

Look at Bloomberg in NY..........nuts

JayaMarinaBhumitra
JayaMarinaBhumitra

Compassion Over Killing (COK.net) worked closely with the LA City Council to develop this initiative, and we are thrilled that the council members, particularly Councilwoman Jan Perry and Councilman Ed Reyes who co-sponsored the resolution, recognized the tremendous benefits of choosing vegetarian foods, even once a week, for health, the environment, and animals. The Council's leadership is exemplary, and we hope to see many more cities follow suit. More details here: http://www.cok.net/feat/meatlessmondays/

NatalieRollan
NatalieRollan

Biesalski, H. K. (2005). Meat as a component of a healthy diet–are there any risks or benefits if meat is avoided in the diet?. Meat Science, 70(3), 509-524.

McMichael, A. J., Powles, J. W., Butler, C. D., & Uauy, R. (2007). Food, livestock production, energy, climate change, and health. The Lancet, 370(9594), 1253-1263.

Sinha, R., Cross, A. J., Graubard, B. I., Leitzmann, M. F., Schatzkin, A. (2009). Meat intake and mortality: A prospective study of over half a million people. Arch Intern Med., 169(6), 562-571.

Wang, Y., & Beydoun, M. A. (2009). Meat consumption is associated with obesity and central obesity among US adults. International Journal of Obesity, 33(6), 621-628.

UnverifiedDave
UnverifiedDave

@DanielJoyce If you're going to go the physiological argument, make a comparison of a human's teeth to other animals.

PS: if you think our "canine" teeth make us carnivores, you are wrong and my dog is laughing at you.

Extra Credit: do the same exercise with a comparison of intestines.

charles551
charles551

@Higg's_Bosom 

I guess monday starts with a m and meat starts with a m, but if you prefer to go without meat on friday I assume its ok.

supamonkey77
supamonkey77

@BULLOMETER Really buddy?  The 5 year old brain tantrum? And its completely different from what Bloomberg is asking people of NY to do, although I agree with him.