Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson go meat-free on Mondays to support Macca’s Organization

Just Jared made us aware of this story about the video above that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson posted. It’s their pledge to become a meat-free household on Monday nights. Meat Free Mondays is an idea that has been growing in popularity in the recent years but has been around much longer than that. The idea was popularized by noted vegetarian, Paul McCartney, whose Meat Free Mondays organization is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year. The idea is very simple, you pledge to not consume any meat one day every week. The day is arbitrary, Monday just made the neatest slogan. Paul and his daughters Mary and Stella have been vegetarians for decades. Linda McCartney was a big advocate for vegetarianism as well, even starting her own vegetarian frozen food line before her death. They became vegetarians out of concern for the animals. The campaign, and what Tom and Rita are pushing, also notes the environmental benefits that reducing our meat consumption would have:

Doing without meat is good for the planet and the animals we share it with, but it’s also good for…

Our health

Well, yeah, it’s nice to do with less meat – those who aren’t full-fledged vegans or vegetarians. No meat on Monday, its’ actually a very simple and easy thing to do. Let’s do it, honey.

The Meat Free Monday’s website has numbers about the environmental and health impact giving meat up one night a week would have. It’s a pretty compelling argument and, as Tom said, it’s not a really difficult goal to make. I am a big – and by big I mean wanted-to-name-my-son-after* – fan of Paul’s and have been since I was 10 years old. When Linda died, he asked us fans to honor her by going vegetarian. I tried, I made it a week. But I can do this. I can go meatless one day a week, especially after reading the statistics. Tuesday was Paul’s 77th birthday, which I assume has something to do with the timing of Tom and Rita’s posting. I’m willing to pledge this as a birthday blessing to both him and the organization. What do you say, join me?

Legit question – do I need to feed my dogs vegetarian fare that day, too?

*the reason we did not name our son after Paul had to do with his initials would be something kids would tease him about in the locker room. We named a cat after Paul instead… and gave the cat my last name




Photo credit: WENN photos and Twitter

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45 Responses to “Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson go meat-free on Mondays to support Macca’s Organization”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    I try to do this (I’ll go through phases of being more successful and then I get lazy about meal planning.) But when I’m thinking about it, its not really hard. The big thing for me to be aware of is things like “don’t use chicken broth” in the soup, or something. But honestly with the internet there are SO many recipes out there for vegetarian meals that when I am trying to do it, its really easy. I just need to be better about meal planning in general right now.

  2. OriginalLala says:

    I’m vegetarian so everyday is meatless Monday for me, but it’s honestly a great initiative – I have several friends and family members who started with one meat-free day and eventually made their way down to only eating meat once a month or so!
    I used to love meat, but then I watched videos from factory farms, slaughter houses and livestock auctions and could never eat meat again. Now i volunteer weekly at a farm sanctuary and I swear, it’s not hard to stop eating meat when you focus on the victims of the farming industry.

    • Gil says:

      I totally agree with you. The problem is not people eating meat but the big amounts that people is consuming everyday. I only eat meat two times a month and it’s because I feel better when I don’t eat meat. When I eat meat I feel bloated and heavy. I hope this Meatless Monday trend becomes more popular, it’s totally doable also good for the wallet since meat is kinda expensive

    • LoveBug says:

      Meatless Mondays is a small step, but it is better than nothing.
      The amount of land needed to raise animals, could be used instead to grow lentils and feed a lot more people for a lot less and with minimum negative impact on the environment.
      Too many are eating huge steaks way too often and it is not needed, bacon and eggs for every breakfast, most people don’t need that much protein.
      It is strange how meat and dairy has become part of every single meal.
      Vegetables, fruits and nuts are a very tiny portion of most peoples diets.
      We are destroying our health and the planet, because of greed and bottomless consumption of everything from coffee to dairy products.
      How about one cup of coffee instead of 4 a day?

      • ichsi says:

        I find it so frustrating that so often the cheaper lunch options are the ones with meat. Why?! I don’t have the time to prepare/facilities to transport cool and reheat lunches every day of the week, so I do eat out or get something from the store regularly. But it’s always 80% meat and some sad salads thrown in between. There are so many more options and they can be cheap too. I mean, I do eat meat too, I’ve noticed that I just function better and feel healthier with meat once or twice a week, but I do not want it with every meal!

  3. Eliza says:

    We usually do a meat free day. More of a lighter day. But I’m not convinced it’s good for the environment. Yes animals produce green house gases, but the amount of rainforest being chopped down to support avacado and soy farming due to the increased demand seems to mitigate this benefit. Especially if everyone went meat free everyday this demand would exponentially increase.

    • Becks1 says:

      So my understanding is that when people talk about the environmental benefits of going meatfree, they don’t mean that every person in the world should go full on vegetarian. Just if people scaled back on their meat intake, it would make a big difference. Also, if meat intake drops, and the demand for meat drops, then a lot of the land and resources that go towards raising animals for meat would be diverted to growing plants etc.

      I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate, but I’ve read that a few different places.

      • Eliza says:

        While the plains are good for corn and grains, they’re not great for soy. And most vegetarians use soy. Animal rights activists would want all animal slaughters halted. Environmentally yes lessened. But it will impact rainforest whose land is very fertile and can grow these soy crops easily. It would be naive to believe otherwise. Human population growth stability would be the best thing overall, we need too many (meat and meat-less) resources, and we take them regardless of impact. If we keep having more than 2 kids on average the need only grows, but telling people how to make a family is pretty shitty too. I’m definitely not the solution keeper. But I know we’re screwed.

      • Ashley says:

        Yes, scaling back in regards to eating meat and dairy is a great idea and very possible for many people. Does one have to have meat every single day, I really don’t think so? Is it a must to have cheese and eggs every single day?
        Would it be very difficult to cut the potions of meat and dairy to half of what used to be consumed a day? Start there, you can still have your chicken breast for dinner, but maybe triple the veggies and cut the breast in half.
        A great start, especially since so many people have weight problems today.

    • Gil says:

      The problem with the animals it’s not just the methane they produce, the amount of grains that is required to feed the animals it’s the problem. The level of deforestation because of that it’s really big. We deforest to raise the animals and to feed them. Meatless Monday sounds like an amazing idea. It’s totally doable.

      • Jane says:

        @ Gil – Of course, it’s doable, people like Eliza are just coming up with excuses.
        Nobody will die, because they didn’t have meat on Monday.
        I’m vegan for over 19 years and have several vegan friends, none of us eat soy and although I genuinely love avocados, I eat them sometimes, not every single day.
        Being vegan or vegetarian may not work for some people, but minimizing animal products is doable for many.
        One of my co-workers was just saying that, he now it’s meat only twice a week, wild fish for dinner once a week and organic chicken breast once a week for dinner, no more dairy and eggs for him.
        He is been doing it for 4 years and feels much better health wise.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        The methane, the grain, also the waste produced by the animals!

        Iowa’s water system is being poisoned by the many factory farms that have more animals than they can safely handle. Hogs in Iowa have increased 64% since 2002, and it’s had horrible effects on the water supply.

        Iowa creates more poop than any other state. Each square mile in Iowa produces the amount of waste of nearly 3,000 people (and the majority of Iowa is rural, so there is no where that amount of people in each square mile!) The many tons of animal waste drains into the water supply, which increases the nitrates in the water.

    • Bailie says:

      NONSENSE, I’ve been a vegan for over 29 years and never touched soy and never will.
      I’ve developed many simple, but healthy vegan dishes over the years.
      I actually have several friends asking for my black bean burgers, lentil loaves, stuffed red peppers and red lentil hummus for Christmas instead of Christmas presents.
      I don’t think that being vegan or vegetarian is for everybody, but most people could reduce their consumption of meat and dairy quit easily by at least 50% overtime and not overnight, if they are willing to look at the big picture of things not just me, me and more me.
      It’s a similar issue with plastic, on Amazon they have a brand name BIO BAG that has 100% compostable ziploc bags, DOG bags and compost bags.
      It doesn’t take much to make small changes for better that has a positive impact on all of us.

      • Sam says:

        Exactly, the biggest problem, is the me, me culture.
        Try to think past yourself.
        Eat a more varied diet, the includes a lot more veggies and pulses, some fruit and nuts and, if you eat an organic chicken breast once a week, no problem.
        If you love steak, have it once a month, instead of once a week.
        You don’t have to be 100% in or 100% out, but consider the choices you make, the impact they have not just on you, but the world around you.

  4. maya8 says:

    When we say meat-free does that mean meat only or animal products in general? Because the meat part is easy, i don’t really know anyone who eats meat every day. That seems excessive. Personally i eat maybe once or twice a week. But cheese, eggs, etc. yeah almost every day.

    • Jerusha says:

      A person who eats no meat but has eggs or milk products is an ovo-lacto vegetarian.

    • Becks1 says:

      I eat meat every day, usually twice a day (lunch and dinner). Sometimes I eat a chickpea salad or something for lunch so no meat, but my default is meat with most dinners. My dad eats meat at every single meal. I cant think of something he would eat that wouldn’t have meat.

      • Ashley says:

        @ Becks1…I used to think like you do, but after trying to improve my skin by stopping all dairy and eggs and eating wild fish only once a week, I realized how many things I didn’t used to eat much as a meat eater.
        Now, as a vegan for over 14 years, my skin has never been better, my energy has never been higher and I have never eaten a more varied and interesting diet.
        It used to be meat and something…basically boring.

    • Esmom says:

      That’s a good question, it doesn’t seem to be entirely clear. I tend to think it’s just meat. Baby steps. I’ve been a vegetarian for 15-16 years and I started by just giving up meat. Fish followed, then eventually eggs and now I’m almost dairy-free, too. It was kinda just a natural evolution and I’m guessing it works that way for a lot of people.

    • Eliza says:

      We usually do fridays. It’s mostly meat free completely. But when i drank coffee, i used a splash of milk. Toast with pb or “butter” for bfast, salad and/or soup for lunch, and pasta or beans/rice or falafel for dinner.

      I couldn’t eat dairy or soy for basically all of 2018 for health reasons, so all our products are free of those due to my shopping consistency.

  5. Bunny says:

    We are meat-free five days a week, and pescatarian the other two days as much as possible. If we eat meat on the other two days, though, we don’t beat ourselves up.

    Members of our family have some (medical) dietary requirements (not preferences, requirements) that make full-on veganism virtually impossible, so we’re happy (as a family) with our compromise. Our registered dietician signed off on our 5/2 plan, so “yay!”

    Going nearly meatless has been so much easier than expected – the only hesitation I had was dairy, and it hasn’t been bad at all.

    There are some surprisingly good vegan cheeses out there, and oat milk is the best. Vegan butter is awesome. Eggs are easy to replace.

    Learning to properly cook tofu is a must. Freezing, thawing and then squeezing the water out is key to texture and taste.

    Go for it if you’re inclined. You won’t be sorry.

    • Esmom says:

      Agreed. I just had my yearly physical and my doctor, who I didn’t realize was vegan until she told me this last appointment, said she’s come to realize that a vegetarian (ideally vegan) diet is a major factor in sustaining good health for the long haul.

    • Audrey says:

      So true!! I tend to like the cashew based vegan cheeses over the oil based (like Daiya). After being vegan for a year or so, I had some “real” cheese, and I couldn’t believe how fatty and heavy it tasted!

  6. paranormalgirl says:

    We basically eat at least one meatless meal per week and in my household, that means completely vegetable based, no dairy or eggs. Sweets are never a issue because my “go to” cake recipe is vegan chocolate cake that is outrageous, no matter what sweetener (cane sugar, maple sugar, swerve, palm sugar, etc) I use.

  7. Tara says:

    I’m sorry but it’s not enough. I’m not even vegan or vegetarian but I eat plant based food 5 days a week

    • NYCTYPE says:

      @ Tara :
      It’s a good start…my best friend was a very heavy meat & dairy eater.
      Years ago she started with no meat & dairy Mondays, after a month she ate meat and dairy only 3 times a week ( Monday, Wednesday and Friday ), a month later only twice a week and after another month once a week.
      Now she is happily vegan for over 16 years, healthy, strong, with a clear mind and amazing skin and hair.
      Most importantly, she doesn’t feel like a hypocritical animal lover that eats them!
      Being vegan or vegetarian is not for every person, but even a bit goes a long way.

  8. Esmom says:

    That’s so cute about naming your cat Paul, Hecate. I was at a July 4th fireworks show a few years ago and we chatted with a family whose kids were named John, Paul and George. The mom was pregnant…since I never saw them again I sometimes still wonder if they ended up with a Ringo!

  9. Bunchita says:

    I’m surprised people eat so much meat! I’m by no means vegetarian, but still have several meals without meat every week: pasta, soup, salads, omelettes. This not out of principle, but because I like changing things up.

    • Barcelona says:

      My grandma believes that the only people who should be able to eat meat and dairy are the once that raise the animal and kill it themselves.
      Not people that are buying meat in neatly wrapped plastic in the local supermarket.

  10. Audrey says:

    I went vegan two years ago (7/07/17) and it was the best thing for my health and beauty! I’ve always had large, oily pores, but once I cut out dairy, my skin became completely balanced and my pores are noticeably smaller now. And, I used to have bad lower back pain (went to chiropractors, physical therapy, etc. with no luck) and a couple of months after quitting meat, my pain was gone!! I have a feeling it had to do with inflammation caused by antibiotics and hormones given to livestock.

    And, when it comes to cheese…if you don’t eat it for a couple of weeks, you lose your craving for it.

  11. Dee Kay says:

    I am here just to say that I am HUGE Paul McCartney fan and love anything that supports his causes!!! Yay for more ppl doing #MeatFreeMondays!!!!!!

  12. Michelle says:

    It doesn’t hurt to go meat free for a while. There are loads more delicious recipes for vegetarians & vegans than ever. As a huge animal lover, i’ve been a vegan since my teens & have felt so much healthier physically & mentally.

    • Jane says:

      I started with meatless and dairy free Mondays over 19 years ago when I was 10 years old and I’ve been completely vegan since age 11.
      It’s easy, if you are doing good things for yourself and also others, including our planet and the animals.

  13. London says:

    I think that Meatless Mondays is one the easiest things many people can do.
    Certainly easier than buying a TESLA to exchange the gas gasling car many of us drive or putting solar panels on the roof.
    Nobody gets hurt, if they eat less meat and more veggies!

  14. Ashby says:

    It’s about being more considerate. I don’t think most people would suffer, if they would at least decrease their meat and dairy consumption by 1/4 and we would all benefit from it.
    Maybe start by eating eating meat and dairy every second day and not every day and replace it with hummus, nuts, veggies and fruit.

  15. IB says:

    I do the reverse –meat once per week! Or whenever I can tell my body needs more compact/efficient proteins, generally when I am in an intense workout kick. I love meat substitutes.

  16. Jordana says:

    Just wanted to comment on the dog food question that was asked….I don’t have a dog and I am not an animal doctor. However, dogs are scavengers, and will eat almost anything. Anecdotally, my bootcamp instructor has an elderly dog with health issues. She was advised to put him on a vegan diet, and his health issues (kidney function, weight, diabetes) have resolved themselves. Thats what she said, and she is not veg.

    • ME says:

      I’ve been to India numerous times where the majority of people are vegetarian. There are stray dogs in my family’s village that search around for food. Most people give the stray dogs roti (whole wheat bread) and the dogs love it…it’s all they eat. No meat at all and they are fine from what I can tell.

  17. swedish chef says:

    Great to start with small changes and become more aware. It feels less like a punishment. It’s hard to change tastes and habits especially as an adult. When vegetarians/vegans list off their diets, for me it sounds really unappealing but I want to try to be better. It’s also a put-off when people on veg. diets get holier than thou; spouting about how great their diets are and meat eaters aren’t doing enough. Instead of shaming people, try genuinely encouraging people instead, it makes a world of difference.

    • Ladybug says:

      @ swedish chef, your comment really surprised me, because several comments are saying that you don’t need to be vegan or vegetarian, if it’s not for you, but maybe just try to eat less meat and dairy and replace it with more veggies, bean, lentils, nuts and fruits.
      It is unappealing to you most likely, because you haven’t had a chance to test some really tasty vegan recipes.
      I make baked sweet potatoes with hint of sea salt and cinnamon ( sort like a chip, but not really ) that I had to start making for my friends to take home, because they loved it so much when I served it in our house during movie night.
      I think that most change can only start with an open mind, because I’m sure you had a non vegan meal that wasn’t great, so I’m sure you will also have a vegan meal at times that won’t be delicious.
      Nothing is perfect, but being so closed to trying new things is not a good start.
      I think meatless Mondays is a great beginning and maybe after a couple of months it could be eating meat and dairy only every second day of the week and smaller portions.

  18. LaraK says:

    I’ve done the only eat meat for one meal a day thing, and that made a difference too. It’s just shocking how much stuff has meat byproducts in it. It encouraged me to cook more from scratch so that was good too.

  19. Duch says:

    I’m in! Thanks for the challenge. I just saw Paul McCartney last Friday at his concert in the Ballpark at Arlington (Texas). He was awesome, and had INCREDIBLE energy – played 3 hours straight, no breaks. He’s obviously in great health, probably due in part to being vegetarian.

    Thanks! Would not have done this if not for you and Macca. :)


  20. RedWeatherTiger says:

    I’ve been vegetarian for 30 years and raised 3 kids vegetarian from birth. One of them is now a vegan. It’s a great idea to try for meat-free days and will have an impact. (I do not eat soy OR avocados, though every month or two I get a vanilla soy latte from Starbucks because I prefer it to milk. I then get real whipped cream on top).

    Dogs and cats should NOT go meat-free. They are carnivores. Humans are omnivores, and protein from plant sources is plentiful and healthy for us.