NEW YORK --How and what we eat probably affects our health more than just about anything else. One small nonprofit group is making a huge impact on helping people make a small change to lead them to healthier habits
With the help of one of some of the most prestigious hospitals in the country, Meatless Monday is a campaign that is taking hold on tables and dining areas locally and around the globe."We need to cut down on cholesterol. We're just eating too much meat. On average 21 meals a week has meat," said Sid Lerner the founder of Meatless Monday. "Meatless Monday is just a simple memorable idea that enables people to take an action to make a big difference," said Peggy Neu. Neu and Lerner run the non-profit group that's getting the message out. "Just one day a week try to eat no meat, and Mondays are a good time to start a new habit," said Neu. The idea started when Lerner was on a panel at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Lenox Hill Hospital and a dozen other hospitals in our area now offer an option of Meatless Mondays in their cafeterias. The public schools in Baltimore now offer Meatless Mondays to their students. The food service giant Sodexo, who serves 10 million people, has also joined the campaign. Neu says the campaign is all about moderation and choice. "In all of the places that offer a Meatless Monday, there are other choices so it really is up to the individual and what they want to do," she said. The website offers help and recipes to individuals and groups that want to incorporate a Meatless Monday. The site is also linked to 150 bloggers who offer more recipes and tips. The campaign is not just for institutions. Critically acclaimed Chef John Fraser has also brought Meatless Monday to his Upper West Side restaurant, Dovetail. "There is still meat on the menu, but a bigger choice of plant based foods'" said Fraser. "It's been great. We basically book out every Monday night. It's like an event and it's very interesting to me to see a different demographic than you would on a Tuesday or Saturday," said Fraser. The campaign, which aims to take small steps like cutting out meat just one day a week, can make a big health difference.