If you're looking for a new year's resolution you'll actually stick to in 2017, look no further. Joining the Meatless Monday movement is the perfect way to make a positive change without too much commitment. Perhaps you'll even use it as a stepping stone to adapting a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Not only is reducing your meat intake healthy for your body, but it's also excellent for the planet, the economy, and of course, the animals whose lives you're saving. Not to mention, eating meatless is delicious, even if you're not a fan of tofu. Let's explore a few of the reasons why cutting down on meat is a good call.

Your Health

lettuce, pepper, macaroni, cheese, basil, spaghetti, salad, vegetable, tomato, pasta
Judy Holtz

Reduce your risk of developing life-threatening illnesses next Monday night while indulging in a bowl of this heavenly meat-free arugula, brie and mushroom pasta. What do I mean, you ask? There is strong evidence linking meat consumption to some of the top killing diseases in the world, so you should make do without it for one day of the week (if not more).

Eliminating or reducing the amount of meat in your diet lowers your risk of colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other causes of premature death. There is no need for the artery-clogging cholesterol and cancer-causing carcinogens found in meat to be in your body, never mind the high content of saturated fat.

In fact, processed meat is classified as an IARC Group 1 carcinogen, putting it in the same category as tobacco *gasp*. Furthermore, 80% of all antibiotics consumed in the U.S. are used on animals, according to an article in Bloomberg. Due to this, when you are sick and taking antibiotics but have a stomach full of meat, your body will resist the antibiotic.

The Planet

That's right, folks, every fact stated in the above image is true. Don't believe me? This website confirms a lot of them. Many people underestimate how much of an energy intensive process it is to produce meat. According to an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “The food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, of which up to 80% are associated with livestock production."

Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are some of the most powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Animal agriculture produces all three of those gases through the burning of oil, gasoline, and other fossil fuels necessary to produce meat, as well as through animal excrement.

Animal excrement is one of the many ways in which the meat industry pollutes waterways. Additionally, because animal agriculture plays a large role in deforestation in order to create land to grow crops for farmed animals to eat, there aren’t enough forests to absorb these greenhouse gases. Friendly reminder: there is no Planet B, so take care of the only one we've got. 

The Economy

To say the least, the meat industry is an economic disaster. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, professors at the University of Oxford estimated that “if people continue to follow current trends of meat consumption, rather than shifting to a more balanced or plant-based diet, it could cost the U.S. between $197 billion and $289 billion each year—and the global economy up to $1.6 trillion—by 2050."

If this isn't proof that adjusting your diet is a good decision, I don't know what is. So you're probably wondering, where does all this money go? For starters, $37.2 billion dollars are spent annually by the United States on environmental costs of the meat industry.

Professors estimate that by the year 2050, the U.S. would save $18.1 billion annually if the country’s population lowered its meat consumption to follow diet recommendations. If that doesn't blow your mind, check out the study and look at the numbers for a world of vegetarians or vegans.

Next, U.S. health-care costs are sky-rocketing. Just how much, you ask? So much that if the citizens of the country adjusted their diet to recommended guidelines, the country would save $150.9 billion dollars in direct health care and $28.1 billion dollars in indirect health care annually by the year 2050. 

Treatment of diseases, costs relating to unpaid care, and lost work days are some of the factors calculated into these costs. How many times did your jaw drop while reading those stats?

The Animals

And lastly, the worst consequence of the meat industry is that 300 animals are murdered per second every. single. day. Everyone is talking about how #AllLivesMatter; Shouldn't that extend to animals, too? The planet will never be a peaceful place if the violence of animal agriculture continues.

Many people underestimate the cruelty of animal agriculture because meat producers claim they practice "humane slaughter." Phrases like that are just a way to sugarcoat the truth. The truth is that animals go into the factory farms alive and come out dead. 

Additionally, many people believe that eating animals raised on family owned farms and killed by their owners is much better than eating animals from factory farms. As much as one would like to think that this makes a difference, it doesn't. No matter how the animal is raised or what treatment it undergoes, a living being has to die to produce meat.

Moral of the story: you're better off without meat, at least for one day a week. Reducing your intake will trim your waistline, combat climate change, benefit the economy, and make the world a more peaceful place. If this information inspired you beyond just skipping it for a day, check out the smart girl's guide to going vegetarian. Also, check out these 5 ways to turn your favorite cuisine into a vegetarian meal.