The climatarian diet: as good for the planet as it is good for you
Many of us are keen to eat more sustainably. However, how and what you eat can have a real impact on your carbon footprint. A mash-up of the word’s “climate” and vegetarian”, climatarian is the healthy, climate friendly, nature friendly diet capturing attention.
Following the diet involves looking at how foods impact the environment through its production and transportation to market. It’s about mindfully consuming food to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with the purpose of slowing or reversing global climate change. As an added win, it also happens to be healthy for you too!
According to Climatarian.com, the food we eat is responsible for more than 25% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, with meat being a higher contributor than plant-based foods. Much of that is due to animal agriculture and land use. Not all meats have the same impact. Beef and lamb produce much higher GHG emissions compared to other animal-based foods.
The climatarian diet is largely a plant-based diet that focuses on whole foods (locally sourced fruits and vegetables whenever possible), rather than those that are processed or packaged. By default, this helps in limiting your intake of salt, refined sugars and saturated fats. It doesn’t rule out the consumption of animal products but encourages you to reduce them instead.
Benefits of the climatarian diet
The climatarian diet is not a strict set of rules or ‘forbidden’ foods but more of a ‘call to arms’ for people to consider the environmental impacts of their food choices and adjust wherever possible. Beyond the plate, it focuses on reducing plastic packaging, limiting food waste and choosing sustainable food brands and businesses.
Look at ways to reduce your food waste and meal prep like a pro:
- Aim to buy only what you need by shopping carefully and planning ahead to avoid food waste – write a list and try your best to stick to it.
- Fill your freezer with leftovers that can save you time and money.
- Have a go at growing your own food, if you can. Even a small herb garden on your windowsill goes a long way towards reducing your total carbon load.
- Compost your food waste and prevent it going into landfill, by returning your composted waste to the soil and regenerate the land.
Shopping locally and in-season is a big part of the diet and a more environmentally friendly practice, as it significantly decreases GHG emissions – the less food items have travelled to get to you, the lower its carbon footprint. Pop into your local farmers market for some inspiration using some fantastic seasonal fruits and veggies grown in the area and try to make a conscious effort to utilise them in your recipes.
If you are ready to start eating with the planet in mind and your own health as well, here are some mouth-watering meal ideas to get you going on your climatarian diet journey:
Live healthily and learn more about sustainable cooking at the Logan Eco Action Festival (LEAF).