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Pi Pizza First in MO with Meatless Monday

University City's Pi Pizzeria is the first Missouri restaurant to start Meatless Mondays, the international campaign for veggie-only dishes once a week.

 is the first restaurant in the state of Missouri to adopt Meatless Mondays, an international campaign to cut meat consumption once a week.

The concept may sound unusual, especially since pepperoni has long been America’s documented favorite pizza topping, but going meatless on Mondays has a long history in the U.S.

During World War I, Herbert Hoover, then head of the U.S. Food Administration, campaigned for families to limit consumption of scarce items—including meat—so there’d be enough for the troops.

A Saturday Evening Post article in 1929 reported on the movement: “Americans began to look seriously into the question of what and how much they were eating. Lots of people discovered for the first time that they could eat less and feel no worse—frequently for the better.”

The campaign returned during World War II when Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Missouri native Harry S Truman rationed meat, but Americans haven’t seen much of Meatless Monday until 2003. Sid Lerner, an advertising professional who helped develop the “Squeeze the Charmin” campaign for Charmin toilet paper, revived the idea almost eight years ago as a public health campaign.

“Using President Roosevelt and the rationing of meat during World War II as inspiration, we dusted it off, using alliteration as our guide,” Lerner said in a 2010 interview with Good Magazine. “Monday is the day where we pick ourselves up after a weekend of indulgence and head for the gym. It's all about incremental changes, cutting back a little here, a little there.”

But why go meatless? Health, for you and the planet, advocates say. Red and processed meats are associated with colon cancerheart diseasetype 2 diabetes and obesity. Switching to a plant-based diet also reduces a meal’s carbon footprintminimizes water usage and reduces fossil fuel dependence.

If you haven’t heard of Meatless Mondays, don’t worry. The idea “hasn’t quite picked up in St. Louis yet,” according to Sauce Magazine, a local culinary magazine that runs a Meatless Monday column.

“Meatless Mondays is a movement that’s building across the country, one built not around a hatred of meat or a stance against the way animals are treated but rather a love for vegetables—and the health benefits that come along with them,” writes Sauce Magazine in each column.

So are you willing to skip the pepperoni, ground beef and sausage pizzas at Pi University City once a week? Do you hope more restaurants adopt Meatless Mondays? We want to know. Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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