You probably know that diets with no meat products are generally healthier. But did you know that even one day of cutting out meat a week leads to extreme health benefits? Meatless Monday is a movement that encourages its followers to do exactly this: eat a meat-free diet one day a week.

Though the thought of skipping meat may appear daunting to a busy, student-budget driven undergrad, committing to Meatless Mondays can be so much easier and affordable than it appears. Not to mention, eating meat-free even one day a week has extreme benefits for both you and the environment.

Here’s a list of 7 reasons why you should be committing to Meatless Mondays every single week.

1. You’ll naturally start to eat healthier (and feel better)

When you begin to ditch meat one day a week, you’ll likely replace those meals with more veggie-dense, nutritious meals without even trying. Eating healthier will leave you feeling physically stronger and with more energy.

2. Reduce your risk of diseases and live longer

Not only will cutting out meat for one day each week significantly cut your risk of heart disease, obesity, and cancer, but you’ll also add about three years to your lifespan.

3. Save money

Meat is generally more expensive than plant-based proteins like legumes and grains, and vegetarian meals are generally cheaper than meat-based meals. Mo’ money = mo’ food = less problems.

4. Reduce your carbon footprint

Studies show that meat production is a substantial producer of greenhouse gases as compared to plant produce. Committing to Meatless Mondays means you directly have a hand in reducing these gases and unnecessary fossil fuel use, in turn, minimizing the harmful effects of global warming. 

5. Give your gut a break

Animal-based proteins found in meat are harder for our bodies to digest which can cause stomach pains after consumption. Many processed meats like bacon are filled with excess sodium which leads to stomach bloating. Following a Meatless Monday diet will give your stomach a break from stomach pain and bloating.

6. Save animals!

When you commit to Meatless Mondays, you directly save 28 land animals and 175 aquatic animals per year. There are so many cute baby cows, pigs, and even fish who are exploited every day and lose their lives simply for the sake of the meat eater. 

7. You can still eat most of your favorite foods 

Think about your top three favorite foods. Chances are, at least one of those foods doesn’t contain meat, making it a perfectly viable option on Meatless Monday. But even if you are really craving a hamburger or chicken stir fry, there are so many recipes online that have delicious meat-free options.