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Eat for the Planet as much as your health

Eat for the Planet as much as your health

This week is the 50 year anniversary of man's landing on the moon and you may have heard astronaut Michael Collins describe earth as "a beautiful oasis, something to be preserved".

As I was watching one of the videos about the landing, I was struck by how beautiful earth must have appeared viewed from a spaceship 384,400 km away. A place to be preserved, with colour and life, a safe place to call home. 

I have written about eating healthy food for almost 2 decades now. In particular I encourage people to eat more vegetables. Today my message is the same as it ever was except now there's a greater urgency to eat vegetables - for the health of the planet as well as our bodies. I feel sad that 50 years on despite the brilliance of man's landing on moon, we haven't preserved this former oasis called earth the way we should.

Last year scientists warned that if the world is to stave off dangerous climate change, beef consumption in western countries needs to drop by 90%, replaced by five times more beans and pulses. For the good of man and the planet, eating more vegetables, beans and pulses is without question the safest, healthiest and most economical place to start. 

Deforestation to make way for livestock, along with methane emissions from cows and fertilizer use, creates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all the world's cars, trucks and airplanes. Meat rearing practices have produced the worst species extinction crisis since the dinosaurs were wiped out with man and livestock making up 96% of all mammals on the planet. And don't forget the effect land clearance has on the pollution of streams, rivers and, ultimately, the ocean.

Eat less meat

"We can't afford to eat too much meat." That's what I was told when we were growing up. The Sunday roast was a great treat and stretched into the next day in a big potato stew made with stock, dripping and leftover bits of meat. 

Today we really can't afford to eat much meat, even if our wallets are stuffed full of money. We simply need to learn to accept that - for the planet and our health. If you do eat meat, fill half the plate with vegetables and a quarter with meat.

Eat more salads, pulses and nuts. Go meat-free some nights. Make one, not two chickens feed 6 people and turn the carcasses into stock for soup the next day. Bulk up minced meat with masses of veggies to add fibre and extra nutrients to the meal and make patties from lentil and sweet potatoes with mushrooms for that sought after umami - meat flavour we crave so much. 

One last thing. Talk to your teenagers about a domestic carbon credit scheme for the household

This is especially useful for parents whose children are reluctant vegetable eaters, but who might be attending school strikes and climate marches. With children wielding placards about global warming and protecting our planet for their future this could be the opportunity you've been looking for to get your kids to eat more vegetables. 

Use the Climatarian Diet as a guide

Climatarians eat for the planet, but what they eat is healthy. Eat local. Eat less meat. Cut back on dairy, especially cheese. 

Images: Unsplash | Adam Jaime / Channel 4 / Unsplash | Leon Ephraim | Gabriel Gurrola | Deryn Macey
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