Eating For A Healthy PlanetWhat’s on your plate tonight? What will you be eating? Hopefully it will be delicious. And healthy. Andgood for the planet!Is that a bit of a stretch? Not at all.Respecting Our Planet’s BoundariesIt’s likely not news to you that the planet is facing a crisis. Parts of the world are already seeing theimpacts of climate change. To avoid catastrophic future warming, we need to cut our global carbonemissions.What you may not know is that agriculture — the growing offood — is a significant part of the problem.Food production is responsible for up to 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. It consumes 70percent of global freshwater.Nearly 40 percent of the Earth’s land surface has been converted to agricultural use. Land conversion forfood production is the single most important driver of biodiversity loss.The way we are currently growing our food is not sustainable. And that’s with some 7.7 billion people onthe planet. By 2050, the world’s population is projected to rise to 10 billion. That massively increases thechallenge.Food is part of the problem, but food can also be part of the fix. Getting it right with food will be key toachieving the international targets we’ve set for bringing down global carbon emissions.To Your HealthNow let’s look at human health. If you are like the majority of people in North America, your diet coulduse some tweaks.So, what is a healthy diet?Journalist Michael Pollan famously summed it up in seven words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostlyplants.”“The answer is really simple. Eat as many vegetables as possible,” says chef, TV host, and food writerSamin Nosrat.It’s a familiar refrain. The most recent edition of the Canada Food Guide also emphasizes a plant-baseddiet, with fewer animal products and processed foods.
Even the protein in your diet can come from plant sources such as legumes, beans, nuts, and tofu.However meat, chicken, fish, and eggs – in moderation – can also be part of a healthy diet.Harvard nutritionist Dr. Walter Willet notes that the recommended ‘healthy’ diet is similar to theMediterranean diet enjoyed by people in many parts of the world.“We’re not talking about a deprivation diet here,” he says.Besides eating the wrong kinds of food, Westerners are eating too much food. Over two billion adults areoverweight. At the same time, globally, over 820 million people go hungry every day. Millions of childrenare malnourished.Something is seriously wrong here.When it comes to improving our diets, making small changes is key, say nutritionists. There’s no need tobecome a vegetarian or vegan, though it’s fine if you are. Your food choices can be adapted to yourindividual situation. For example, some people have access to wild game and locally‑hunted or caughtcountry food. Others will want to include foods important to their culture.