Meatless Mondays: Saving Money, the Earth, and Your Waistline

June 2009

Earlier this spring Denverite Kelly Coffman-Lee caused an unintended news splash when she tried to order her "ILVTOFU" personalized license plate. While her passion for bean curd unfortunately doubled as a lewd road statement, her sentiment foreshadowed a project blossoming in popularity: Meatless Monday, a public awareness campaign promoting meatless meals once a week.

Meatless Monday hopes to cut back on our saturated fat intake by 15 percent by 2010, as well as lessen our impact on the Earth. (The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated the meat industry creates one-fifth of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.) Also, purchasing a package of tofu over a steak can save thousands of gallons of water.

While I appreciate how easy it is to help the Earth and my health, I also have to give this effort a nod for helping my pocketbook. I have recently increased my tofu intake, in part because it costs me just over a dollar to purchase and typically yields up to four dinners.

While the idea of a soggy white cube may not seem as appetizing as, say, a perfectly seasoned medium-rare steak fresh off the grill, stay with me. Meatless Mondays has recently revamped its website and now offers easy, searchable recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they show plenty of ways to spice up your soy substitution.

My choice for tonight? Jamaican Jerk Tofu, a recipe adds big flavor to firm tofu. I'm going to pair it with a salad from the garden--and feel good knowing that with every bite, I'm taking a small step to help myself, my finances, and the environment.