Cut your meat intake and add years to your life.
This is the message that Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista wants to impart to three million residents as he threw his support behind a city council resolution urging restaurant owners to adopt “Meatless Mondays” and help promote the consumption of vegetables and other healthy food at least once a week.
The council resolution calls for a “Luntiang Lunes (Green Monday),” QC’s version of a Meatless Monday, patterned after a similar advocacy in the United States, in a bid to improve the nutritional intake of city residents.
Meatless Monday is an idea pioneered by the US Food Administration during World War I.
Reintroduced as a public health awareness campaign in the US in 2003, Meatless Monday addresses the prevalence of preventable illnesses associated with excessive meat consumption.
Councilor Jessica Castelo Daza, author of the resolution, noted that there is a need to strengthen food security and minimize environmental problems attributed to livestock production.
If every QC resident would leave out meat for one day every week for one whole year, this would translate to a significant reduction in one’s carbon footprint and would help save precious resources like trees, water and fossil fuel, according to Daza.
“It is like taking 12,800 cars off the road or having 107 million trees planted and grown for 10 years,” she said.
The QC government started its Meatless Monday advocacy with the approval of Resolution SP-5596 in 2012, which enjoins all City Hall employees, public schools and all barangay (villages) to consume vegetables and other non-meat food every Monday.
Daza, a medical doctor by profession, said studies have shown that Filipinos are one of the world’s lowest per capita consumers of vegetables, with only 39 kilos per year.
Based on a report by the American Dietetic Association, reduced meat consumption decreases the risk of various health problems.
Thus, going meatless even for just one day per week may reduce one’s risk of chronic degenerative diseases and conditions, including obesity, hypertension, diabetes and some types of cancer.