1. Why is there still meat on the menu?

A: Dining services will not take meat off the menu in the dining room because there are still people who want meat. We do not force you to go Meatless on Mondays, as we want you to make an active decision as a consumer to eat meat or not. We will never take meat off the menu on Mondays, or any day, until students demand an entirely meat-free day.

2. Do I need to worry about getting enough protein on Meatless Monday?

A: No. Protein deficiency is very rare, even in full-time vegetarians. Electing to eat a meat-free diet one day per week has been found to be both safe and beneficial for health in scientific studies. As long as you’re eating enough calories to maintain a healthy weight, and following Health Canada’s Food Guide, you’re almost certain to get enough protein.

3. Do I need to combine certain foods during meals to ensure protein quality?

A: No. Although most vegetarian protein sources provide only some of the essential amino acids, it isn’t necessary to combine foods to create “complete proteins.” If you follow Health Canada’s Food Guide, your body will have all the amino acids (and complete protein) it needs.

4. What about iron or B12?

A: Going meatless for one day a week is unlikely to create iron or B12 deficiencies. Iron is present in high quantities in many vegetables (dark greens, lentils, beans) and deficiency is rare, even among full-time vegetarians. People who never consume animal products of any kind (i.e. vegans) may need to supplement with B12. For more on nutritional considerations of a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, contact one of our dieticians Monique Lauzon (monique.lauzon@mcgill.ca) or Suzana Bubic (suzana.bubic@mcgill.ca).

5. Is a meatless diet automatically healthier?

A: No. Eliminating meat doesn’t automatically make your diet healthier. It’s still important to eat the right balance of healthy foods and to limit your intake of unhealthy foods.

6. Is a diet including fish, eggs, or dairy considered meatless?

A: Yes and no. All of these foods, on average, have greater environmental impacts than vegetables. While many fish are certainly healthy, the current fishing of many types of seafood has been deemed unsustainable. As well, eggs and dairy products both require more resources and are more polluting than a vegetable-based diet. To review some of the literature yourself, see our collection of Scientific research.

Granted, it can be difficult for some people to remove all animal-based foods from their diets. You can make the Meatless Monday pledge and continue to eat these foods, knowing you are still gaining many of the health and environmental benefits of excluding other meat. Take an extra step by choosing Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label or other sustainable seafood and reducing your consumption of other animal products.

7. Will going without meat cause me to lose weight?

A: Not necessarily. Depending on how they’re prepared, vegetarian protein sources like beans and legumes can be lower in fat and calories and people who eat less meat tend to have a lower body weight. However, meatless diets aren’t necessarily lower in calories. Follow Health Canada’s Food Guide to manage your calorie intake.

8. Should I avoid exercising if I’m not eating meat?

A: There’s no need to avoid exercise with Meatless Monday. A healthy meatless diet will provide more than enough energy, protein and other nutrients to fuel all of your usual activities— including your workouts.

9. What about eating out?

A: As more and more people are choosing meatless lifestyles, it’s getting easier to find meatless options on restaurant menus. Most restaurants now offer at least one vegetarian entrée. Indian, Asian, Lebanese, and Mexican restaurants usually have many meatless options. Montreal has many excellent and affordable restaurants catering to vegetarians. See Vegan Montreal for a great listing of omnivore and vegetarian restaurants also offering veg and vegan options.

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