It’s no secret that the earth and its people are a big mess RN. Most people follow poor diets and their health suffers because of it, plus our food industry is totally unsustainable and Mother Earth is begging for us to make a big change, or at least stop using plastic straws FFS. Make room for the planetary diet, the latest diet to be unearthed (hehe) by nutritionists and scientists in a recent report. Not only does it help with diet-related diseases like cancer and strokes but it can also help to save the planet. And you don’t have to eat banting bread to try it. Win-win-win.
What’s the deal with the planetary diet?
Most of us have watched some kind of documentary by now that makes it clear that all we need to do to save our planet is to all go vegan. But asking everyone on earth to give up bacon and stop putting milk in their coffee is turning out to be way harder than we thought. The planetary diet is plant-based but not restrictive. You can still eat meat and dairy, just less of it. This emphasis on healthy vegetables means less diabetes, heart disease and cognitive decline, amongst other benefits. And reducing the amount of meat we consume means less greenhouse gases being emitted from farms.
The diet is basically an amalgamation of every healthy diet out there that isn’t really boring or requires you to pretend like a juice is a meal ever. The focus is on rethinking your whole diet in a sustainable (both for you and for the planet) way, not on unrealistic restrictions and rules.
How is it helping the planet?
We can bring our glass straws to every restaurant and recycle all we want, but if the planet is really going to improve then its the farming industry that needs to step its game up. Agriculture is responsible for a range of factors that are damaging the planet, like cattle who emit climate-warming methane, using 70% of the planet’s fresh water, destruction of forests and wildlife and the pollution of rivers and oceans. It’s hectic, TBH. By 2050 it is predicted that 10 billion people will live on Earth and, according to the report, ‘a continuation of today’s unsustainable diets would inevitably mean even greater health problems and severe global warming.’
If everyone cuts down a little on the meat and animal products they consume farms can stop overproducing food and ruining the planet while doing so.
The health benefits
The main cause of poor health worldwide is an unhealthy diet. According to the report, there are ‘800 million people currently hungry, 2 billion malnourished and further 2 billion people overweight or obese.’ If everyone followed this diet it is estimated that at least 11 million people a year would be saved from a death caused by eating unhealthily.
The diet closely resembles the well-known Mediterranean diet, high in whole grains and plants and featuring some, but not too much, meat and dairy. This plant, seed and nut-heavy way of eating will improve your general health and well-being, as well as ward off diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
So, what can I eat?
The good news is on this ‘diet’ you’re allowed an average of 2500 calories a day, which is a far cry from most diets, which usually ask you to eat 1500 or less. Half your plate will be fruits, vegetables and/or nuts, the other half will be whole grains, plant proteins (like beans, lentils and pulses), and you can have small amounts of meat, dairy and starchy vegetables too. The beauty of this diet is its flexibility; you can experiment with many different types of vegetables; bonus points for sourcing in-season local produce.
In terms of meat and eggs, you’re permitted very specific portions per day: 14g of red meat, 29g of chicken, 28g of fish and 1.5 eggs. Instead of eating a slither of a boiled egg every day for a week, stockpile your proteins so you eat a whole 1.5 eggs or a whole portion of fish in one sitting rather. You can have 250g of dairy a week, which works out to a glass a week, and you are also entitled to 31g of sugar a day and 50g of oils, like olive oil.
Here is a photo of how much of each food group you are ‘allowed’ to eat a day:
Looks pretty doable, right? Go to EAT’s site to find more recipes and ideas and learn more about the movement.
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