Have you decided to go for a climatarian diet? But what exactly is a climatarian diet? And why is it so important in the modern days?
What is a Climatarian diet?
We all are aware that climate change is taking place. It is for the worse. Days and summers are getting hotter and unbearable.
Thus extremes of the climate are seen and this weather change is also affecting the rivers and poles and glaciers. Icebergs and glaciers and snow all are melting and adding to the river and seawater and increasing their levels to cause floods. Besides heatwaves and floods, storms and droughts also ensue due to it.
Climate change is due to unchecked human activities and the huge gas emissions due to it. Therefore, experts are advising people to reduce their carbon footprints. Food too contributes to add to this carbon footprint.
Certain foods give minimum carbon waste. These are good for the environment. Therefore diet consisting of foods that leave behind a little carbon footprint is a climatarian diet.
These foods are locally produced and plant-based.
Dr. Alona Pulde, nutritionist and family physician believes that this diet helps not only the planet but also is healthy for everyone.
Reduction of animal products
Rearing livestock for food causes a lot of carbon emissions. Beef contributes the maximum to this carbon footprint and does the maximum damage to the environment. Hence in a climatarian diet, animal products are minimized.
Just by shopping locally and reducing animal foods in diet would assist a lot in halting the climate change phenomenon. In this diet, plant products are more.
Hence fruits and vegetables are consumed more and lentils and cereals are the main source of proteins in the diet. Fats come from plant-origin oils.
Similarly, carbohydrates needs are met by starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and the like.
But can this switchover be healthy for the body? Will the requirements of proteins be met adequately through plants? Will climate change stop with this changeover of diet?
Maggie Gill, a nutritionist at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland however is not very convinced about this diet. Maggie feels that climate-friendly diets can be consumed only in moderation. They have their limitations. Maggie opines:
“We need to eat a balanced diet,”
“Sure, the production of beef and lamb and milk cannot be disassociated from the production of the greenhouse gas methane. But we couldn’t produce enough calories and protein to feed the world if we banned the keeping of sheep and cattle.”
Maggie feels that a solely plant-based diet will ironically also lead to a high carbon footprint. Cattle and sheep have a vital role in our food ecosystem. They convert the inedible grasses into proteins of high quality.
Alona also does not favor a complete switchover to plant foods. Do it in moderation. Some consumers get overwhelmed thinking about the huge changes it needs. Alona says:
“Some people…see the changes that they have to make, and they seem so big that they just don’t do anything at all,”
“It can really be incremental changes.”
Brent Kim, program officer at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future adds:
“I recommend plant-based options generally, but when it comes down to specific foods, there’s no one-size-fits all answer. It’s important to meet people where they’re at and consider their culture, taste preferences, nutritional needs and level of physical and economic access to different foods,”