Our food production depends on the climate – drought and unpredictable weather can reduce production. Conversely, we also influence the climate with our diet. If we continue to eat meat and dairy products every day on a large scale, global food production will exceed the Paris climate protection goals.
„If we heeded the recommendations of the food societies, that would be a step in the right direction, but still not enough to achieve the climate protection goals. Efficient climate protection means implementing the recommendations of the Planetary Health Diet,” explains Michaela Knieli, nutritionist at “Die Umweltberatung”.
Less meat, more legumes
On average, we eat 150 g of meat a day – according to the Planetary Health Diet, we should only do this two days a week. A maximum of 300 g of meat, preferably chicken, is planned per week. Red meat and dairy products are heavily reduced on the menu. Instead, important protein comes from two handfuls of nuts a day. Lentils, beans and chickpeas are also on the daily agenda, and we should increase our average consumption from the current level of around 3 g to 85 g/day.
Eat grain instead of feeding it
Because the energy losses of meat are high, it is more efficient not to feed grain to animals – especially in the current shortage. “You have to feed around 7-10 kcal of grain to get 1 kcal of beef. If you cook grain yourself, there are no losses,” says Michaela Knieli.
Planetary Health Diet in der Praxis
There are countless ways to enjoy the variety of local cereals: in the style of the 1980s wholefood cuisine as cereal patties and green spelled roast or gluten-free as hirsotto, polentagnocchi or buckwheat pancakes. A good start to the day is porridge with protein-rich soy milk, nuts and fruit. Those who prefer it spicy can spread chickpea spread on their bread. Falafel with a salad or a lentil soup also provide plenty of protein. Even sweets can be prepared based on legumes, for example soy pudding or bean brownies. In order to increase the positive effect on the climate, environment and health, care should be taken when selecting products to ensure that they are produced organically and come from the region or at least from Europe.
Changing your diet takes time
In terms of taste, legumes can keep up and there is a wide range of products as a substitute for meat, for example burgers, sliced meat, minced meat and much more made from beans or lupins. The Planetary Health Diet turns our eating habits upside down and challenges the intestines. Lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas should initially only be in small portions, but regularly on the menu for sensitive digestion. The slow increase changes the microbiome in the intestine and digestion becomes easier from time to time. Spices such as caraway, ginger, coriander, chili, rosemary, thyme and sage promote the digestibility of legumes. An alternative are sprouts: In the case of lentil sprouts and mung bean sprouts, the flatulent substances are significantly reduced.
Healthy into old age in the blue zones
Even if we don’t implement the Planetary Health Diet perfectly, the closer we get to this diet, the healthier it is. Examples of success can be found in the “blue zones” of the earth. Sardinia and the Greek island of Ikaria are among those zones where people live longer than average and enjoy good health. A Mediterranean diet with lots of vegetables, grains, legumes, potatoes and meat and dairy products from grazing animals with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids are typical here. This speaks for the consumption of meat and dairy products from pasture farming, preferably in organic quality.
More on this: www.umweltberatung.at/planetary-health-diet