Sustainable Health – The Planetary Health Diet

A few weeks ago, the BBC came out with an article about how a shift in our eating regimen could help save the planet by attempting to reduce food waste while simultaneously increasing the amount of produce currently produced on farmland. At the moment worldwide, livestock accounts for up to 18% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. I’ll have to admit, I was already acutely aware of the impact the meat and diary food industry was to our environment – thanks to my very knowledgeable boyfriend RB – but I was thrilled to see the issue gain momentum and even for new lifestyle guidelines being put out there to the masses. I mean, when over 30 world-leading scientists put their heads together to advise how we can benefit our bodies and the planet by what we are consuming, I’m all ears!

What is the “Planetary Health Diet”?

I advise everyone to peruse the report here, but for all my friends with only 2 minutes to spare on their commute, the “diet” (please read “focus” I abhor the word diet) “is symbolically represented by half a plate of fruits, vegetables and nuts. The other half consists of primarily whole grains, plant proteins (beans, lentils, pulses), unsaturated plant oils, modest amounts of meat and dairy, and some added sugars and starchy vegetables.

For me, I’ve just naturally veered towards a flexitarian lifestyle in the past two years so it didn’t sound different to what I’ve already been trying to do on a daily basis. My shift came about by me not really being able to understand why and how it was suddenly okay for majority of the world to have access to any and all meats, diary, produce, etc. 365 days a year, every year without repercussions. Call me a realist, but I believe in tipping scales and everything in moderation (well, except for Pinot Noir…I’m only human). And there are plenty of numbers to support the fact that we can not sustain the current way most first-world countries are eating.

What My P.H.D. Week Looks Like…

I typically don’t eat breakfast (more on this another time), but I can’t live without my [five or six] black coffees. As pompous as this sentence is going to sound, I start my day with some Rainforest-Alliance and fair trade coffee for my french press, mixed with some cinnamon and a bit of coconut oil for stamina.

Lunch is simple, typically it’s a lentil and tomato or roasted vegetable soup with Hot Peri-Peri sauce mixed in and a side of rustic multi-seed bread. I also don’t typically snack, but if I’m not fulfilled I’ll reach for some grapes or even some dark chocolate (I get my sugar cravings in the early afternoon)! Dinner is where I’ve been having the most fun experimenting. Some of my go-to dishes I’m dishing out are:

  • Veggie Fajita Bowls – I saute onions, peppers, jalapenos in some olive oil and add in some spices. I then in a separate pot heat up rinsed black beans with some corn. Finally it’s quinoa/brown rice, salsa and fresh avocado. I assemble and top with fresh lime and cilantro/coriander.
  • Vegan Meatballs – These are delicious and so fun to make, but messy! I found the recipe on The Savory Vegan, and will absolutely be making again for the next game night pot luck! They were perfect with some tomato sauce and mushrooms on their own but will be trying with zoodles next time as well!
  • Thai Peanut Coconut Cauliflower Chickpea Curry – Growing up in the Midwest, I didn’t have a ton of exposure to Indian food (much as my sister did try after studying abroad in India!), but spending time in London I’ve enjoyed having this cuisine become one of my staples. This recipe from Ambitious Kitchen uses so many amazing vegetables for a colorful, delicious dish perfect for warming you up in the winter months! Again, I add this over quinoa and brown rice. (***Note: be better than me and don’t spill the coconut milk all over the kitchen***).
  • Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – Stuffed sweet potatoes have been a go-to dinner for me since graduating college. The sky is the limit to what you add to your steamed sweet potato, I typically do roasted tomatoes, onions, spinach and top it with a fried egg (don’t knock it ’til you try it!).
  • Clean Out the Fridge Vegetable Soup – I used two cans of cannellini beans with sautéed carrots, celery, yellow onion and mushrooms then added some chicken stock. Once simmering I throw in some cayenne pepper, oregano, sherry vinegar and lemon then blend half of the soup in a blender, add back into the pot to thicken. Delicious and fool-proof!

Xx Em