EAT-Lancet Human + Planet Health Diet Challenge, Yeah!

You can’t click open an online news site these days without stumbling across someone’s latest I did this crazy thing for X amount of time and here’s what I learned type attempt at landing a book contract. I gave up plastic for two weeks and boy was it hard! I didn’t buy any new clothes for one entire year, ugh! I did yoga every day for 30 days and now I’m so chill everyone hates me! So when the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health dropped its bombshell (at least to judge by the reactions of the press and the meat production industry) on January 17, 2019, we (long suffering spouse and I) thought why should everyone else have all the fun? We can live like monks for a little while, too, and yatter on endlessly about it. It’ll be… fun! So here’s our six weeks (ahem, at least to begin with) of trying to follow the commission’s targets for a diet that’s good for you and the planet, too.

If you’re interested in reading the report that this committee of 37 scientists from sixteen countries released, it is available for download here.

Or here’s our take on it:

Barring catastrophic asteroid impact or other civilization collapsing event, there will be 10 billion people by 2050. How on Earth are we going to feed them all? In fact, not just feed them all, but feed them all good food and without destroying what remains of Earth’s ecosystems. *SPOILER ALERT* It’s something we’re not even succeeding at today, when there’s only 7.7 billion of us.

To put it in a nutshell (because nuts are very healthy and unless you are allergic to them, you should be eating more of them): People in high income countries need to cut waaaay back on meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fish, saturated fats, and (added) sugars. People in low income countries need to eat more animal-based foods. Basically everyone on Earth needs to eat their veggies, lots more veggies (and fruits and whole grains and legumes). (As if any of this was actually news.)

But that’s not all it will take. The world also needs to cut food waste back by half. (That means not just us, the food consumers, but food producers and food sellers as well.) Agriculture needs to be even more intensified, so that more can happen on less land, releasing that magical 50% of Earth back to Earth’s wild plants, animals, fungi, and etc, before they go extinct. And we need to figure out how to do this without continuing to flood the world with herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and all those other intensive agricultural horrors that are killing all the bees and wildflowers and everything down the ecological line that depends on them and that are choking our waterways with silt and algal overgrowth and causing toxic phytoplankton blooms and anoxia in coastal waters.

Another point the commission made is that even though 31 years is not that much time in terms of making global scale changes to our ways and means of eating and producing food, until now, neither the citizens, the scientists, the agriculturalists, nor the politicians of Earth had sat down to hash this out. In the report’s own words it is “the first attempt to set universal scientific targets for the food system that apply to all people and the planet.”

So… what do they think we get to eat while saving ourselves and the rest of Earth’s surface biofilm? The answer is, quite a lot, actually. But not as much of the animal products and junk food you’ve probably got at the core of your current diet.

Every day, one person gets to eat:

  • 230 grams (dry) of WHOLE GRAINS {or roughly 800 kcal (aka Calories) of whole grains such as corn (aka sweet corn, maize), whole wheat, spelt, buckwheat, brown rice, wild rice, millet, sorghum, barley, oats, rye, teff, triticale, amaranth, quinoa, and chia}
  • Up to 100 grams (80 kcal) of starchy vegetables like potatoes
  • 200 to 600 grams of non-starchy vegetables
  • 100 to 300 grams of fruit
  • Up to 500 grams of milk {or the equivalent thereof, since it takes a lot of milk to make a little bit of cheese}
  • Up to 28 grams of beef, pork, or lamb
  • Up to 58 grams of poultry
  • Up to 25 grams of eggs (which is less than half of one normal sized chicken egg)

7 28 2018m

Helpful Tip! – Inside that large salad bowl is the contents of one medium sized ostrich egg (1.5 kilograms), or your egg allowance for 60 days.

  • Up to 100 grams of fish
  • Up to 100 grams (dry) of beans, peas, and lentils
  • Up to 75 grams of nuts
  • 20 to 80 grams of unsaturated oils (olive, corn, safflower, canola, etc)
  • Up to 12 grams of saturated oils (coconut, butter, lard, palm) (But, no. Do not eat palm oil unless you enjoy destroying tropical rain forests and killing all the things that live in them.)
  • Up to 30 grams of added sugars (about 120 kcal worth)

 

Yay! Okay! Great! But what does all that mean???? (Aside from no more than one ostrich egg per person every 60 days.)

That’s what we’re going to spend the next six weeks figuring out.

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