The planetary health diet aims to save lives with a realistic approach of eating less meat
Heal the world
If we have learned anything in economics, it would have to be the concept of demand and supply. The ideal situation would be an equilibrium but let's be real here — that rarely happens. The world's population has seen a steady increase in numbers from 4.5 billion in 1985 to 7.6 billion in 2018 and the numbers don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The main issue surrounding the substantial climb in numbers ultimately leads us to the million dollar question of the century: how do we feed and sustain the billions more of people in the decades to come?
The answer — the planetary health diet. The first ever science-based diet put together by 37 scientists from around the world as part of the EAT-Lancet commission, practically rules out that it is yet another gimmick diet that can be easily found on the internet. So what exactly is the planetary health diet? We break it down to its essential bits to provide you with a crash course of what you need to know about this all-new possibly earth and life-changing diet.
Unlike a handful of eating plans out there, this newly introduced diet doesn't require you to completely give up on your meats. Instead, we are looking only at a reduced consumption of poultry, red meat and fish. Before you start questioning about the lack of protein consumption from this diet, there's always alternative sources like nuts and legumes.
The leading cause of ill health worldwide comes from the very source of sustenance — our diet — or unhealthy diet rather. See America where 63% of America's calories come from refined and processed food, earning its place as one of the most obese countries in the world. Scientists predict that this diet will prevent an estimate of 11 million people from dying each year by cutting down on diseases related to unhealthy diets such as heart attacks and strokes. The planet stands to gain with this diet too — with less meat and dairy production, less greenhouse gas emissions are produced, thus addressing the issue of climate change. Win-win situation.
The bulk of the diet is plant-based and allows an average of 2,500 calories per day. It seems like a staggering amount of calories but this is very much dependent on gender and level of activity. A good guide to how your plate should look like with this diet: half of the plate comprises of vegetables and fruits and a third whole grain. Incorporating nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables are easier than we think — start with something as simple as throwing in some trail mix and freshly chopped fruits into your bircher muesli and to-go smoothie or perhaps swapping out our favourite economical rice with a more wholesome mixed grain rice and lentils. This is not to say that we can't enjoy a juicy slab of steak or the indulgent Quarter Pounder with cheese from Maccas; we just have to limit it to a burger a week and steak once a month. Just like mixing and matching your favorite sweets at 7-11, this diet provides flexibility and an avenue for creativity in choosing and exploring under-the-radar ingredients.