US: Campaign aims to improve eating habits

Born out of an idea resurrected from a World War II rationing campaign, the Meatless Monday initiative aims to improve the health of Americans one Monday at a time. By encouraging people to try a vegetarian diet one day out of the week, the hope is that that will lead to a healthier world.

“Our goal is to use Monday as a day to get people to start a healthy diet, exercise more or engage in other healthy activities,” said Cherry Dumaual of the Monday Campaigns, a non-profit organization under which the Meatless Monday initiative operates. The organization was started by Sid Lerner in 2003 when he was working with John Hopkins on ways to reduce the amount of cholesterol and saturated fats in people's diets. Lerner recalled rationing measures during World War II which limited the amount of meat consumed on the homefront, and he thought the idea could be re-purposed for a more contemporary goal: improve people's health through diet.

“The idea is that if you cut down your meat consumption one day out of the week, you can reduce the saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet by 15 percent,” said Dumaual. “And we make it easy to do it by providing vegetarian recipes, posting articles, and providing other information on how easy it is to begin leading a healthier life.” She added that encouraging Americans to forgo meat for one day out of the week could open them up to eating more fruits and vegetables, especially in ways that might be more appetizing than what they're used to.

“I would say that we get people to eat more produce,” said Dumaual. “We get people to focus more on a diet based on fruit and vegetables.” They've partnered with many prominent figures and organizations to encourage diets that are lower in cholesterol and saturated fat, and with produce naturally playing a significant role in such a diet, Dumaual said they're always looking for new partners in the produce industry to further their goal of a healthier world.

“Anything that can continue to grow the movement and get people healthier,” she said, “we're open to that.”

For more information:
Cherry Dumaual
The Monday Campaigns
+1 212 991 1056

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