The effects of climate change are abundantly evident in the world we live in. Scientists have warned that we only have 12 years to limit what will otherwise be irreversible damage to our planet. It can be overwhelming to think about what we as individuals can do to combat this crisis, but scientists predict that the biggest action we can take is to eat for health and the planet, starting with what we put on our plates.
Eat for health & the planet
It is predicted that 10 billion people will inhabit the earth by 2050. However our current meat-centric diet is unfit to continue feeding the planet and industrial farming is destroying the environment.
The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet and Health has created a diet that is sustainable for our projected population growth. By switching to a mentality that allows us to eat for health and the planet we would not only save 11 million people per year from deaths relating to an unhealthy food intake, but will help us avoid complete climate destruction.
In a nutshell, what’s ultimately healthy for people is also healthy for our planet. Thus, they have dubbed it the Planetary Health Diet, and it essentially requires a drastic drop in meat intake and eating a hell of a lot more plants.
Eat for health by focusing on reduction
Based on the sheer demand and consumption of meat products that have assisted our planet getting to the stage it is at today (aka in crisis), it will take quite a lifestyle overhaul for some. Whilst a lot of us are in awe of the great restraint and discipline of our vegan friends, a restricted diet mindset isn’t the safest way of getting there.
Instead, adopting an eat for health mentality that focuses on reduction, just like you do with single-use plastics, will help you make small changes every day and choosing plant-based foods an easier option in the long-run.
What should make up your plate
Under this diet, at least half of your plate should be made up of fruits or vegetables, and one third dedicated to wholegrains.
It begins with easy swaps — like cow’s milk for plant milks such as soy, oat or rice milk; swapping chicken for tofu or butter for coconut oil.
You might like to start going plant-based for one or two nights a week, then increase to three or four, or perhaps first start removing one thing then and gradually swapping other foods out. It sounds difficult, but it’s really about implementing small changes that add up over time.
Where to start
Before you go and fill your fridge with tofu, it’s important to do some research on diet alternatives. While most people have strong opinions on the which diet is best, it’s worth looking into the benefits of a plant-based diet for both personal and planetary health.
A few online resources worth checking out include Plant Based Life, who helps people improve their quality of life and offer direction on following a plant based lifestyle that includes nutrition, mindfulness and exercise; and Elsa’s Wholesome Life who follows a plant-based, whole food diet and shares healthy food recipes to inspire everyone to add more plants to their diet.
One of our favourites is Plant Proof, which offers a wealth of information on the plant-based diet. On the Plant Proof blog, you will find an ongoing evolution of work addressing different topics ranging from nutrition to sustainability which are relevant to people with different health and performance goals. At its core, each post aims to summarise complex and sometimes confusing nutritional information in a simple way.
It’s time to be mindful of the food on our plate every day, where it comes from and what it takes to get it there — the solution to the longevity of our planet lies in your next meal.
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