Planetary diet: what it is and how to do it
The planetary diet focusses on reducing the cost of our food, both for our economy and the harmful effects on the environment. Look after your body and the planet!
TOPIC OF THE MONTH
The prestigious magazine, The Lancet, published a study by the EAT International Commission, an association formed by thirty seven scientific experts in the areas of health, sustainability, economics, politics and agriculture from sixteen countries, which proposes a new global sustainable food system providing healthy foods for a growing population: the diet for planetary health.
According to this report, by following some of the dietary patterns that are beneficial to all, global greenhouse gas emissions of food origin could be reduced by at least 30%, or the loss of wildlife by up to 46%. Moreover, this system which champions local and seasonal products involves a saving in terms of usual family expenses.
In this same vein, Hispacoop has recently published its Study on the environmental impact of food habits of the Spanish population, which concludes that there is a high level of awareness with regard to the environmental impact of food habits. More than 80% of those surveyed believe it is necessary to make changes related to diet. Additionally, seven in every ten believe they already act in that way. In other words, they plan their shopping, they shop in local shops, they cook fresh meals, they don’t waste food and they have a balanced and healthy diet.
What is the planetary diet?
The planetary diet, or diet for planetary health, is a proposal for a diet based on improving human health, preventing waste, favouring cost savings and reducing the environmental impact of our activity in relation to food. This diet is based on the scientific evidence that a healthy and sustainable diet can contribute to the health of the planet and people. It based on the following principles:
- Consumption of plant-based foods: it is based on the consumption of fruit, vegetables, wholemeal cereals, pulses and nuts.
- Low consumption of red meat: it promotes the consumption of plant proteins, such as pulses and nuts, and limits the consumption of red and processed meat.
- Reduction in the consumption of processed and sugary foods: it limits the consumption of processed and sugary foods, such as fizzy drinks, sweets and fast food.
How to do the planetary diet
The planetary diet is not a strict diet and doesn’t prohibit certain foods, it is more of a guide to encourage a diet which is healthy and respectful towards people, animals and the planet. Tips include:
- Increasing your consumption of plant-based foods: add more fruit, vegetables, wholemeal cereals, pulses and nuts to your diet. You can do this gradually, replacing some foods of animal origin for plant-based foods.
- Reduce your consumption of red meat: limit the consumption of red meat to no more than once or twice a week. Instead, consume plant-based proteins, such as pulses and nuts.
- Limit your consumption of processed and sugary foods: it reduce the consumption of processed and sugary foods, such as fizzy drinks, sweets and fast food.
- Cook at home: cooking at home enables you to control the ingredients and the amount of food you eat. Moreover, it is a way of preparing healthy and sustainable food.
- Consume seasonal and local foods: seasonal and local foods are fresher and have a lower environmental impact, in addition to being cheaper. Look for local and seasonal foods in your area.
Benefits of the planetary diet
- Closeness: it invites you to shop near to home, avoiding using the car in order to boost local business and reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.
- Seasonality: buying seasonal fruit and vegetables helps to reduce the emissions of pollutant gases. Consuming seasonal fish contributes to sustainable fishing and protects the ecosystem of the oceans.
- Proximity: the planetary diet avoids the consumption of products that come from remote areas.
- Savings: local and 0KM products are more affordable because they don’t involve additional transport costs.
- Ecology: organic farming takes into account factors such as the type of soil and climate, so crops are usually more resistant to climate change and retain more CO2 than intensive farming.
- Efficiency and energy saving: it promotes the use of more efficient and cheaper household appliances and preparation methods that use less energy. It also promotes the consumption of more raw foods.
- No waste: food waste is responsible for 10% of greenhouse gases produced by humans.