Can your diet help save the planet?

Did you know it’s forecast that by 2050 there will be 10 billion humans inhabiting the planet, that’s an increase of 2.5 billion from today.

That’s a lot of pressure we’re putting on the planet to provide for us all, not to mention the carbon footprints that will be created by all of these billions of beings.

It’s not all doom and gloom, by making changes to the way we live and reducing our carbon footprint it will be possible for us all to live healthily and happily ever after. One of the ways in which we can help is by taking on board some of the recommendations published in the EAT-Lancet Planetary Health Diet.

The planetary health diet was created by 37 scientists in an attempt to define sustainable food systems that will minimise damage to our planet; it informs the changes we need to make to the way we eat. What’s more by making these changes, not only will the planet as a whole benefit but our individual health too.

So what does this diet entail?

Firstly let me begin by saying that I am not a vegetarian or a vegan; I love red meat and fish but I’m also a huge fan of plant based meals and I am making a concerted effort to eat more plant based foods every day. Secondly, the information below is a guide – I’m not saying you need to completely overhaul your diet immediately, I’m simply giving you the information for you to use as you see fit.

A week on the planetary health diet would look like this:

  • 1 portion, 98g of red meat (beef, lamb and pork) per week
  • 1-2 portions, 203g of chicken per week
  • 1-2 portions, 196g of fish per week
  • 2 eggs per week
  • 250ml of dairy per day
  • Nuts, lentils and beans should make up the rest of your protein intake
  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Wholegrain carbohydrates for fibre and energy

What else should you take in to consideration alongside this planet friendly diet?

Choose locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables, if a food is not sourced locally it needs to travel 100s of miles, be sprayed, stored in refrigerators and artificially ripened in hot houses – all of these things create a huge carbon footprint, so always check what’s in season and find a local farmers’ market for your weekly veg shop.

Reduce food waste; food waste has a huge impact on the environment so taking steps to reduce the amount of food you waste will have a positive impact on the environment. Try not to over-purchase when doing your grocery shop and plan ahead to make sure you don’t have ‘just in case’ ingredients in your fridge that you won’t end up using. Always use leftovers or freeze them for quick mid-week meals and support grocers that sell wonky veg.

If looking at the diet recommendations above feels a little overwhelming and a huge leap from what’s usually on your plate then don’t worry, you don’t need to make these changes overnight and you don’t need to follow the recommendations precisely. The important thing is that you start making small changes where you can – every little bit makes a difference.

I started by turning every second day in to a plant based day and swapping out some of my dairy for dairy alternatives like fortified soy milk and yoghurt. I’ve loved my plant based days so much that they’re becoming more of a norm, and it’s resulted in me being a lot more creative and adventurous in the kitchen!

See what changes you can start making; you never know where they may take you.

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