A new chance to begin healthy behaviors arrives every seven days. Started during World War l, the US Food administration encouraged American families to conserve key staples to aid the war effort through “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays.” In 2003, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future brought back “Meatless Monday” as a public health awareness program. In 2009, that program expanded to include the environmental impact of reduced meat consumption. The organizers of The Mondays Campaigns believe cutting back on meat can improve personal health and the health of our planet. Research has linked forgoing meat to decreases in the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Aside from the opportunity for alliteration, why Monday? Studies suggest that behaviors initiated on a Monday are more likely to be followed throughout the week.
How can you get your family to eat a meatless meal? Here’s one almost everyone likes:
Homemade Pizza Dough (makes 6 individual pizzas)
1 Package active dry yeast
2 1/2 Cups Warm (not more than 110 degrees) water
1 Tablespoon Sugar
5 Cups Bread Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, combine water, yeast and sugar and let stand 5 minutes or so to bloom the yeast. Add flour, olive oil and salt and mix to combine (either with the dough hook attachment of the stand mixer or by hand.) Knead until dough is well-combined, soft and elastic – which could take up to 10 minutes. Cover with a clean, dampened kitchen towel and allow to rise an hour or more. Divide dough into 6 equal portions and roll to desired thickness.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees and place an oven rack high in the oven.
Sprinkle cornmeal on a cookie sheet or pizza pan and arrange one or more pizzas on top. Top with your favorite tomato sauce, cheese and vegetables. Cook pizzas 8 – 10 minutes.
For added interest and vitamins, top cooked pizza with arugula or spinach lightly dressed with balsamic or lemon and olive oil.
Dough may be stored in the refrigerator up to four days or in the freezer up to a month. Allow chilled or frozen dough to return to room temperature for easier handling.
For more information on Meatless Monday, visit: http://www.meatlessmonday.com