Saving planet earth is not going to be easy!!
However, the harsh reality is that if we don’t change our habits, especially when it comes to what we eat, our planet is going to be utterly uninhabitable! This is no longer a debate.
All you have to do it watch the news! Climate change is real and we need massive change.
In a new report published by The Lancet, 37 scientists from 16 different countries unveiled the “planetary health diet”, a new type of eating plan that claims to save the earth and they have the evidence to prove it!
Now, I am sure this diet is going to come with a whole lot of naysayers, namely the meat, wheat, and dairy industries, who by the way are destroying the planet, but don’t think for a second we don’t play a role. We do, thanks our mindless consumption. I digress!
The 37 scientists come from a wide range of backgrounds like agriculture, political science, nutrition, and the environment.
The “planetary health diet” consists of 50 percent fruits and veggies and 50 percent a mix of plant protein, plant oils, and whole grains. If you love meat and sugar this diet is not for you. The report states that animal protein should be optional and consumed very minimally.
Photo: EAT-Lancet Commission
“Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50 percent,” the report reads.
After analyzing the global data of diet-related disease, like obesity and diabetes the researchers concluded that a more “flexitarian” diet could prevent about 11 million premature deaths annually. The study shows that unhealthy diets are now responsible for more death and disease worldwide than unsafe sex, alcohol, drug, and tobacco use combined.
The world population is expected to reach 10 billion people by 2050. Feeding this massive population with a healthy and sustainable diet would not be possible without drastically change eating habits, improving food production and decreasing food waste.
“We need a significant overhaul, changing the global food system on a scale not seen before in ways appropriate to each country’s circumstances,” adds the report. And, although this “is uncharted territory” for policymakers it is not impossible.
The scientists also discuss the way we produce and consume food and note that it’s imperative that we as a society start to think about the food system which are “main user of fresh water, a leading driver of biodiversity loss, land-use change and cause eutrophication or dead zones in lakes and coastal areas,” explains the EAT-Lancet Commission.
The meat and dairy industries are two of the largest causes of greenhouse gas emissions and if we cut back, there might be a chance to reduce carbon emissions that are harming the planet.
Fish, legumes, whole grains, fruits and veggies, and nuts all made list of go-to foods. Besides most animal protein, other optional foods include eggs and poultry. Red meat, starchy vegetables, dairy, and sugar are a no-go, or at the very least a significant reduction in consumption.
I chatted with my good friend and Holistic Nutritionist Julie Daniluk to see how you we can make this work for us and the planet.
What’s the best part of this diet?
The best part of this diet is the drastic reduction in red meat because it takes 10 times the resources to grow animal protein over vegan protein.
The diet focuses on eating more vegetables! This not only is great for your liver and brain with all the folate (vitamin B9) but also is wonderful for earth because broad leaf plants reduce CO2 in the air and work as air filters!
The diet focuses on fruit, which means we will grow more trees. Trees are the lungs of the earth and increase the amount of oxygen staying in circulation! So much fruit is wasted and new programs like “Not far from the tree” ensures 1/3 of a tree’s harvest goes to the owner, 1/3 to the picker and 1/3 to people in need!
What I would improve about this diet:
Cut out the added sugars entirely. Refined sugar is a leading cause of inflammation and Ill health! People will eat it anyway but no need to suggest it on the menu.
Double the amount of healthy fats. Growing healthy oils like olive and avocado can increase tree groves and reduce obesity and heart disease.
The amount of grains on the menu may strain the earth due to mono-crop farming and increased use of pesticides. Instead of grains, I think it would be good to mention that their are so many plants that can be foraged naturally. For example, the plant lamb quarters grows near corn fields. If we ate the crop instead of spaying it with glyphosate, we could increase the biodiversity of plant and animal species!
Let’s move toward this earth friendly diet with gusto by making even better choices for the planet and people!