By now, most of us are familiar with the Meatless Monday campaign, a nearly ten-year-old initiative aimed at raising awareness about the link between preventable illness and the overconsumption of meat.
Over the past decade, extensive research has supported the campaign’s efforts, both from an ecological and a health perspective. Given this mounting scientific evidence, you would imagine that the USDA, who publishes the national dietary guidelines, would be in support of the initiative – and it would appear, they were. That is, until an unofficial endorsement for Meatless Mondays was published in the agency’s “Greening Headquarters Update”, triggering a media firestorm from livestock producers and even one member of Congress. The Agriculture Department quickly retracted the statement, according to a New York Times report.
At Integrative Nutrition, we stand firm behind the concept of bio-individuality, and by no means believe that we should all become staunch vegetarians or vegans. But the research is clear: even for omnivores, meat should be eaten in moderation.
Moreover, the fact that Big Agriculture should take offense to the suggestion that meat should not be eaten one day a week is somewhat puzzling. Consider this comparison: prior to the recent switch to MyPlate, “fats, oils and sweets” were listed as ingredients to use “sparingly” on the USDA Food Pyramid. Yet, olive oil producers (whose product is arguably healthier) did not attack the government agency.
What are your thoughts about the USDA’s reaction?