What is the climatarian diet?

·2-min read
Photo credit: Boarding1Now - Getty Images
Photo credit: Boarding1Now - Getty Images
  • The climatarian diet is designed to cut CO2 emissions

  • It concentrates on plant-based, locally sourced produce

  • Its creators believe the diet can also help to reduce the likelihood of certain conditions such as high blood pressure and autoimmune disease

You’ve heard of the pescatarian diet; now meet the climatarian diet.

Created by doctors at Lifesum, a global nutrition app, the climatarian diet is designed to improve health and tackle climate change by reducing CO2 by 1.5 tonnes per person annually.

Food creates 20-30% of all global carbon emissions. Animal-based foods, particularly beef, contribute to higher emissions than plant-based foods (about 57% compared with 29%). Accordingly, the climatarian diet focuses on plant-based, locally sourced produce.

Lifesum’s Dr Alona Pulde suggests the following climatarian foods:

  • Lentils and beans. These eco-heroes are nutritious, and replacing beef with lentils and beans is a good diet hack for those looking to embrace a more sustainable diet.

  • Local and seasonal fruits and veggies. These have a particularly low carbon footprint, and buying local and seasonal reduces processing, packaging, transportation and food spoilage.

  • Whole grains, including pasta, brown rice and wheat. Lots of health benefits and less processing and energy requirements environmentally, which lowers the carbon footprint.

  • Nuts and seeds. The most eco-friendly include peanuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, watermelon seeds and pumpkin seeds – a great protein source with a lower carbon footprint

  • Chicken. Meat production, particularly beef, requires more land and water, and has higher carbon emissions. Swapping beef for chicken can decrease your carbon footprint by nearly half.

A climatarian diet, say its creators, cannot only help the planet, but can improve people’s health, too. ‘Highly processed meat has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders and certain cancers,’ says Dr Pulde. ‘A Climatarian diet focused on whole plant-based foods, has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and obesity, while increasing overall vitality, mental health and longevity.’

Dr Pulde offers some simple hacks to start a climatarian diet. ‘Consider adding plant foods to every meal, changing breakfast to 100% plant-based or having plant-based weekends. In addition, try reducing the amount of processed and packaged foods to decrease carbon footprint of transportation. Buy just what you need to avoid food waste, and fill your freezer with leftovers to help reduce food waste and support healthy eating when you don't feel like cooking.’

To help get you started, Dr Pulde has created a ‘7-day Beginner’s Meal Plan’, including kale pasta and chicken and bean patties with potato and broccoli mash. You can download it for free here.

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