Was one of your 2019 year resolutions eating healthy?
What did you have for dinner last night? Might you have made a different choice if you had a simple way to compare the environmental impacts of different foods?
Well, I am not a nutrition expert but I can tell you ways of ensuring sustainability of our planet by checking what you eat! Most people do not recognise the environmental impact of their food choices.
According to the findings of EAT-Lancet Commission, we need to cut cutting our meat and sugar intakes by around 50%, and doubling the amount of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes we consume. The commission brought together 37 leading experts in nutrition, agriculture, ecology, political sciences and environmental sustainability, from 16 countries.
Did you know one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change come from food production?
To make matters worse, post harvest losses are a reality in most developing countries as we lose or throw away around one-third of all food produced. That’s enough to feed the world’s hungry four times over, every year.
So how do our food intake have to do with this? The Commission proposes a diet that is a “flexitarian” approach to eating. It’s largely composed of vegetables and fruits, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and unsaturated oils. It also includes high-quality meat, dairy and sugar, but in quantities far lower than are consumed in many wealthier societies.
So how does a planet friendly diet consists of:
- vegetables and fruit (550g per day per day)
- wholegrains (230 grams per day)
- dairy products such as milk and cheese (250g per day)
- protein sourced from plants, such as lentils, peas, nuts and soy foods (100 grams per day)
- small quantities of fish (28 grams per day), chicken (25 grams per day) and red meat (14 grams per day)
- eggs (1.5 per week)
- small quantities of fats (50g per day) and sugar (30g per day).
Such a shift will also see us reduce the amount of water used during production, while reducing nitrogen and phosphorous usage and runoff. This is critical to safeguarding land and ocean resources.
With this new information what steps can I take to advancing towards a
- Move away from producing “more” food towards producing “better food”.
- We need to more than halve our food losses and waste.
- Circular food systems that innovate new ways to reduce or eliminate waste through reuse will also play a significant role and will additionally open new business opportunities.