A Plant-rich Diet is Good for You and the Planet
Changing to a plant-rich diet can change you and the planet for the better!
Did you know that our eating habits are increasing greenhouse gases and harming our health? You hold the key. It is time to open this door. Changing to a plant-rich diet can change you and the planet for the better! Yes, nourishing ourselves with plants can change everything.
The Western diet comes with a steep climate price tag.
“The Western diet comes with a steep climate price tag. The most conservative estimates suggest that raising livestock accounts for nearly 15 percent of the global greenhouse gases emitted each year; the most comprehensive assessment of direct and indirect emissions say more than 50 percent.” #1
At the same time overconsumption of animal protein also comes at a steep cost to human costs. On average a person requires 50 grams of protein a day. A plant meal can contain the protein we need. Many in the United States eat more than 90 grams of protein per day. This overconsumption goes hand in hand with health problems.
What would be the benefits if the world changed to a plant-rich diet?
Studies have shown that if 70% of the people adopted a vegan diet and 63% adopted a vegetarian diet (includes cheese, milk, and eggs) the combined impact would be huge! There would be a 70% reduction in emissions. That means if we take the low end of the current emissions above at 15% it would be reduced to 3.75%. The models show that it would also reduce global mortality by 6-10%. This reduction in emissions would save lives and reduce medical costs. Wow, this is definitely worth the changes. #1
What is a good planetary diet?
Well the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health brought scientists together from around the world and asked the question: “Can we feed a future population of 10 billion people a healthy diet within planetary boundaries?” The answer is yes! We can! To do this, we need to move to a healthy eating approach which is symbolized by a plate that is half full of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. The other half contains whole grains, plant proteins (beans, lentils, etc.), unsaturated plant oils, and modest amounts of meat, dairy, sugars, and starchy vegetables. (eatforum.org>eat-lancet-commission). It is very different from our food consumption today and will require us to make a series of changes.
Five things you can do to reduce your footprint and increase your wellness.
- Eat more vegetarian meals. To help, we shared two fabulous vegetarian cookbooks: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman and The Modern Cooks Year by Anna Jones.
- Shop local farms and farmers’ markets.
- Enjoy nature and support it: walk in parks or forest, grow trees and native plants (or support organizations doing so).
- Reduce waste, especially plastic: reusable bags, straws, recycle, and compost.
- Reduce driving/flying and increase walking and biking.
#1 Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, Edited by Paul Hawken; section Food, page 39.