Did you know: 70 percent of the grain and cereals in the U.S. are produced to feed to farm animals? Or that it takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat, and five pounds of wild fish to produce one pound of farmed fish?1
So how do we kick the habit? A couple options are heritage breads and smaller-scale farming. Another choice is ramping down meat consumption — an option that has dramatic health benefits and lowers negative environmental impacts.
2,227 meatless meals
In 2013, we challenged students, faculty and staff to go vegetarian for a week. More than 100 of us signed on and took advantage of UChicago Dining’s increased variety of vegetarian options. This year, we asked participants to skip meat in any number of meals for the week — anywhere from one meal up to 15 (during the five weekdays of VegWeek). More than 220 people signed on, pledging an average of 10 meals for the week. In total, campus reduced its meat consumption by 2,227 meals during VegWeek 2014. We’re thrilled with the results — and surprised by the large number of students who came to our table and said they were already vegetarian. That’s walking the talk!
We want to raise our (vegetarian) glasses to all who participated in VegWeek —those who came to our screenings of Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives, those who participated in our Monday protein talk, and to all those who signed onto the pledge. Thanks, also, to the SAGE Local Food committee who helped to table, promote and plan the myriad logistics that helped make VegWeek a resounding success!
While VegWeek is a (very) special five days, we encourage you to participate in #MeatlessMonday and consider the vegetable every meal. Hooked on meat? Here are some tips on how to incorporate more vegetarian meals into your culinary repertoire. Hey — if these celebs can commit to it, you can too!