Can a change of diet save the world?
Would you be willing to change your diet if that could save our planet? While you are thinking about your answer, let me tell you why I ask this question.
A new report was recently published in which an international group of scientists from 16 different countries proposed a life-saving diet. It will not only save your life, but the focus includes saving the planet. It was published recently in The Lancet.
How to feed 20 billion people
It is predicted that by the year 2050, there will be approximately 10 billion people on this earth. All these people want to eat. We have already 3 billion people who are malnourished. Clearly, a big change has to occur so we can all survive.
When you consider that trees are cleared from forests to convert the land to agriculture (remember that trees are what produces the vast majority of our oxygen supply), it is obvious we have to wake up and recognize that the consequences of our behavior are staring us straight in the eye. We have to reduce our carbon dioxide production (and other greenhouse gases) and realize that the meat and dairy industries are 2 of the biggest causes of greenhouse gas emissions.
This could save our planet
If we change the way we eat, and in the process, improve our health and reduce greenhouse gases (thus helping to save the planet), I think it is a good idea, don’t you?
Now you may want to know what will be on your plate. Well, sorry, but fast food hamburgers are a no go. Fast food is driving our collective health into an abyss. Eating fast food and man-made foods have significantly affected our health. Just look around you. In the US, 2 out of every 3 men are overweight or obese and the rate for women is higher (Wikipedia).
A study from the National Center for Health Statistics reported that 39.6% of US adults age 20 and older were obese (not just overweight) as of 2015-2016 (37.9% for men and 41.1% for women)
Being obese brings with it a higher rate of heart problems and diabetes not to mention cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia. The big culprit being the way we live and eat.
What does the diet consist of
For our planet (and us) to become healthy again, we have to eat a primarily plant-based diet. Now please do not think you must only chew on a lettuce leaf, there are many tasty things which fall into this category. You can eat all the vegetables and all fruits. How about different types of nuts and seeds. All the items just mentioned are known for containing valuable vitamins and minerals.
Sugar and animal protein are not big on this list of foods. Percentage wise you will only get small amounts of it. The Lancet Commission states that the death risks of an unhealthy diet are greater than unsafe sex, alcohol, drug and tobacco use combined.
The flexitarian diet
This new type of diet now also has a name, it is called the flexitarian diet. It is mainly plant-based but you will get a little fish, meat, and some dairy. Of course, the source of this all should be pesticide free and the meat should come from animals that lived a healthy life. No growth hormones, preservatives or feed contaminated with chemically augmented nutrients, or other nasty things in their food. Lately one has heard stories on the Norwegian salmon which are not pretty. It seems the meat of these fish is not healthy anymore.
Your carbon footprint
The production of meat leaves a massive carbon footprint, especially from those mass production sites. Switching over to a plant-based diet is cheaper and also better for our environment. Because there is an ongoing effort to bring back part of the 7000 forgotten crops, there will not be a shortage of types of food to eat.
People will argue that cattle production is needed to feed the world but this is a mistake. It takes 1.5 – 2 acres of land to feed one cow calf for 12 months and it takes 0.5 acres of cropland to feed one person for a year. The challenge of feeding the world population is not the land but the political corruption that prevents food supplies from reaching the malnourished and starving nations.
We must also become more conscious of the value of clean water as we progress to a more plant-based diet.
Have you found an answer to my question? Are you willing to do your part in saving our planet? You might think it is difficult to change. Well, let me give you a small example to prove change is possible. When I came to live in Spain, I heard that extra virgin olive oil is good for you. You see the Spanish people eating breakfast in the local bar, having their coffee with bread and olive oil. I grew up in Holland and was used to butter on my bread.
The first time I put oil on my breakfast toast, I must admit I did not really like it. I persisted and after less than a week, I stopped missing the butter and enjoyed the oil. It is like reeducating your taste buds. Changing your eating habits, your health will benefit and you will contribute to saving the planet, how cool is that?
The idea to have to change one’s diet might not appeal to all people. When one thinks about the negative effects a wrong diet might have on one’s health, one comes to realize that life is precious. To reach old age in good condition instead of suffering a whole bunch of ailments, which could have been avoided with proper nourishment, you might want to reconsider your point of view.
These days I came across this disturbing video. I think our efforts should be bigger and sooner as otherwise, it might be too late. I hope you will take the time to watch this video.
Source: Tehrene Firman on Jan. 17. 2019 on Well and Good
Photo Source: Pixabay
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