How To Eat To Save The Planet: Climatarian Diet

4 minutes

How To Eat To Save The Planet: Climatarian Diet

Vivoo Nutrition Team

As the world's population continues to grow, our food choices have a significant impact on the environment. From deforestation to greenhouse gas emissions, the way we eat plays a crucial role in the health of the planet. 

If you're looking for a way to reduce your carbon footprint and be a part of the solution for a more sustainable future, you might consider adopting a "climatarian" diet, also known as a climate-friendly diet. The diet is focused on foods that are good for the planet that encourage individuals to make conscious choices about the types of foods they eat. 

To understand why a climate-friendly diet is important, we first need to know what carbon footprint is and why we are trying to reduce it. In this article, let’s delve into everything you need to know about a climatarian diet, its benefits, and practical tips on how to eat to save the planet.

What is Carbon Footprint?

Carbon footprint is a measurement of the environmental damage caused by activities of an individual, organization, or community in terms of the amount of greenhouse gasses produced, measured in carbon dioxide units. Simply put, calculating one’s carbon footprint is a way to calculate the damage that has been done to nature through one’s lifestyle. 

For example, the foods you buy and eat, the miles you drive, the planes you ride, and the heating you turn on in the winter are all examples of behaviors that contribute to your own individual carbon footprint

At an individual level, everyone has a carbon footprint simply by living. However, there are lots of things that you can do in your own lifestyle choices that can reduce your own carbon footprint and minimize its impact on the environment. Following a climatarian diet is one of the steps that you can take to reduce your carbon footprint.

How does a climatarian diet work?

Certain amounts of carbon dioxide are released into nature during the growing, rearing, farming, processing, transporting, storing, cooking, and disposing of the food we eat. A climate-friendly diet encourages eating foods that produce fewer carbon emissions and making some changes in one’s eating habits. Here are some steps that can help lower your carbon footprint and help to save the world while supporting your overall health. 

1. Prioritize plant-based foods

Meat and other animal products have a higher carbon footprint than plant-based foods. Therefore, one of the best things you can do to support the environment is to switch from eating a heavy animal-based diet to a plant-based diet. 

To make up for the lost protein that is found in foods like red meat, poultry, and pork, you can eat more plant-based sources of protein like beans, lentils, tofu, quinoa, nuts, and seeds to reduce carbon emissions while also improving your wellness.

2. Cook at home more

Even though what you eat is more important than where to eat, generally speaking, eating at home means having a lower carbon footprint. While it's hard to say exactly why restaurant visits are worse than home cooking, we know that energy consumption and getting from your home to the restaurant on its own can both play a big role in increasing your carbon footprint. Cooking and eating at home reduces your carbon footprint and helps you be healthier and save money. All in all, homemade food is a win-win for you and the planet.

3. Reduce food waste

Believe it or not, food loss and waste are major contributors to the climate change crisis because of its significant greenhouse gas footprint.  Every year, about 1.3 billion tons of food gets lost or wasted in the world. In the United States, food waste is estimated at 30-50% of the entire food supply.

When we throw away food, we not only waste the food - we also waste all the energy and water that is used to grow, harvest, transport, and package the food. Also, when food ends up in landfills, it generates methane, an even more harmful greenhouse gas that can contribute to climate change. Therefore it is essential to reduce food waste by planning your meals, avoiding buying too much food, freezing the leftovers, thinking twice before throwing food away, and composting where and when possible.

4. Eat local foods

Eating locally-grown food is one of the ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Eating local means cutting down on the long plane or truck trips that help move the food from one location to the next. In other words, choosing local food over transported food reduces transportation energy costs, fuel consumption, and air pollution. Better yet, it also supports local economic growth. 

5. Cut back on dairy

As mentioned earlier, animal-based foods can be a huge contributor to climate change. But that is not limited to red meat or poultry - it also includes dairy products like milk and cheese. Choosing dairy alternatives such as oat milk instead of going for dairy can reduce your greenhouse emissions and carbon footprint.

6. Choose unprocessed foods

Ultra-processed food production uses a large amount of water, energy, herbicides, and fertilizers that have a negative impact on the environment and your health. Eating unprocessed or minimally-processed foods is one of the cornerstones of a sustainable and healthy diet.

7. Ditch the plastic

It is no surprise that the climatarian diet suggests using less plastic in the kitchen, as plastic is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Switching out plastic shopping bags for organic cotton reusable tote bags, using reusable water bottles instead of buying disposable plastic water bottles, and replacing plastic containers with glass or stainless steel containers are ways to reduce plastic at home.

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