Organization: Caitlin is a Program Officer at John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.  

When you think of Meatless Monday, what’s one word that comes to mind?: Family

Tell us about something going on in your country or city addressing meat reduction

At the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, we are in the midst of a project that will utilize modeling to understand the complexity of factors that influence meat consumption. We want to understand not only what factors influence the frequency of meat consumption, but how they interact with each other from a systems perspective. The model will allow us to test “what-if” scenarios to better understand the impacts of potential reduction interventions and policies on public health and the environment.

If you could give one piece of advice or an easy step people could take to reduce their meat consumption, what would it be?

I think rather than focusing on the fact that you are reducing or taking away meat from your plates, we should see Meatless Monday as an opportunity to add to our palate. Every Monday we have the excuse to experiment in the kitchen and try something new! A quick google search will provide many, many ideas and inspiration for vegetarian meals. Include your family in the meal choice and preparation and have fun in the kitchen!

What is something you want people to know?: 

Using maps, we can better understand why certain outcomes exist, or don’t exist, by examining the social and environmental contexts of a location, including the distribution of people and resources. Maps can help us to visualize data beyond looking at numbers in a spreadsheet. We can use maps to promote where efforts are happening, like Meatless Monday, and to later analyze where programs and policies worked best and potential reasons why.

What’s your favorite plant-based dish?

I love Mexican cuisine and am always experimenting with different types of spicy taco fillings. One of my family’s favorites are sweet potato tacos. We dice sweet potatoes and cover them in taco seasonings such as cumin, garlic, and chili powder and roast them in the oven. While they are roasting, we mix up some guacamole and pico de gallo. We take corn tortillas and add the sweet potato filling, add some cheese, guacamole and pico de gallo for a yummy vegetarian taco!

What’s the takeaway message?:

Focus on what you get to ADD – yummy plant-based meals – to your diet rather than what you are reducing.

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