For decades we have seen various diets come and go–keto, intermittent fasting, paleo, and many more–with most diets primarily focused on weight management. Now we are seeing a new diet on the rise: the climatarian diet.
While other diets remain popular and continue to peak consumers’ interests, many people are also moving away from weight-focused goals. More and more consumers are understanding the importance of taking care of both our physical and mental health. Part of this understanding is that our overall wellbeing is also impacted by our environment and the planet’s wellbeing so that we may continue having food and resources to support our health. Taking care of the environment by means of our food choices is where the climatarian diet comes in.
The climatarian diet is not clearly defined and can vary from person to person, but at its core it is focused on a plant-forward eating pattern. Focusing on plant-based foods means selecting foods that have a lower carbon footprint and therefore a smaller impact on the environment. This is key since food is responsible for nearly a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. In this category, livestock comprises the majority of food-based emissions with red meat contributing approximately 60% of livestock emissions. Plant-based foods such as grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables contribute significantly less, utilizing less water and land, too.
Following a climatarian diet can be one of the first steps we can all take in supporting our own health and the environment. Here are some tips to get started:
Go meatless once a week. As research shows, eating a more plant-based diet is one of the best ways to lower our carbon footprints. Going meatless every day may not be feasible for some, but starting off with just one day a week and slowly adding more plant-based meals throughout the week can build up to a positive impact.
Limit red meat and meat portions. If going entirely meatless is too difficult, even for just one day, you can start by simply being mindful of your protein choices. Aim for animal protein options have that relatively lower methane emissions than red mat. This includes chicken, eggs, pork, and some seafood and fish. Climatarians also consider meat as a “garnish,” providing flavor and texture but not as the center of the plate.
Buy and eat more locally. A more climate-friendly eating pattern is not limited to food choices, it also involves where you purchase. If available in your area, buying local produce and supporting local farmers also supports a healthier environment, reducing the travel time required and cutting down on fuel needed for the food to be delivered.
Taking care of the environment requires a collective effort. While these tips mentioned can be done individually, try to set these goals within your social circle and/or your greater community for an even greater impact.
Additionally, to learn more about ways to use beans and legumes–an excellent protein source with a very low carbon footprint–click here.