There is a new, trendy diet that’ll help you lose weight and reduce carbon emissions at the same time. It’s called the low-carbon diet.
And no, it has nothing to do with the popular low-carb diet. The one we’re talking about is all about the environment and carbon emissions.
The world is a big place, but it’s starting to feel the strain of sustaining our appetite for culinary delights. So let’s cut down our footprint with a green diet.
Every year the average household produces tonnes of carbon dioxide. Altogether, that’s 20% of our total carbon emissions.
Fortunately, there is a new diet to help you slim down and cut your carbon emissions at the same time.
The low-carbon diet is designed to limit our individual greenhouse emissions by cutting down on carbon-heavy foods.
Favorites, like red meat and dairy, produce the highest amounts and should be eaten in moderation.
Environmental scientist Ben Reay from Carbon Neutral believes implementing the diet is simply a matter of balancing your time and learning to cook creatively.
“If you learn a few vegetarian combinations, or use a meat substitute, you can have a tasty option that is at least 60% better for the environment.”
Reay says the reason mass-produced food like red meat and pre-packaged goods are so eco-intensive is because of their production.
“If you’re looking at a breakdown of where carbon emissions come from, around 80% come from the production of food while transport contributes about 11%.”
The production of red meat, for example, requires large amounts of water and livestock feed and produces liberal amounts of methane.
It takes more than 15,000 liters of water to produce a single kilo of beef, and red meat produces 150% more carbon emissions than chicken or fish.
“You only have to avoid meat for one day and you are doing more for the environment than buying everything locally”, Reay says.
While the carbon produced through the transportation of food goods is small next to the impact of red meat production, it is easy to combat and will take you one step closer to reducing your carbon footprint.
Eating only seasonal fruits and vegetables bought from your local market will cut your footprint by reducing the demand for imported goods.
Cutting down your meat intake can lower your risk of chronic ailments like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
It’s not necessary to cut meat out of your diet completely; choose fish for omega-3, or chicken, which is rich in protein. Both contain all of the amino acids.
Reay suggests caution when replacing red meat with fish as “there are some fish you should never eat [as they aren’t sustainably fished], and there are others that are good to eat sometimes for your health and the environment.”
Meatless Mondays is an initiative that began in the US in 2003, which, as the name suggests, cuts down your meat intake by approximately 15% a week by going without every Monday night.
What About Me?
Apart from the obvious advantages of reducing your environmental impact and providing a healthier alternative to a meat-heavy diet, the low carbon diet will lighten the pressure on your hip pocket.
Reay considers the financial benefits by looking at the dollar cost per kilo of carbon dioxide. “Oils, fruits, and cereal are less than a kilo of carbon per dollar… whereas meat is about three kilos per dollar”, he says.
Just taking meat off the menu one night a week will significantly impact your wallet.
Complement the financial benefit by only shopping at local markets, thereby stimulating the local economy, and enjoy the savings.
Top 10 Tips For The Low-Carbon Diet
If you want to have an impact on the environment and get fit at the same time, follow the low-carbon diet and below kitchen tips:
1. Eat Less Meat
Choose chicken or fish instead of beef and take a night off from meat each week.
2. Assist Community Effort
Reay suggests “a combined effort between food producers, retailers, and consumers” will not only cut your individual footprint but help your community.
3. Eat Seasonally
Only eat fruit and vegetables that are in season. Avoid picking up tropical fruits like watermelon and mango during winter.
4. Buy Locally
Go to your local markets and buy from there. Not only are you reducing your emissions but you are promoting your local economy.
5. Use Your Space
Use your stovetop carefully by matching heat rings to saucepan size, and keeping lids on saucepans will help food heat faster.
6. Read The Label
Say no to packaged food grown or processed interstate, or worse, internationally.
7. Cook In Batches
Warming up the oven creates more emissions than using the microwave. So, prepare several dishes at once and freeze them for later on in the week. A full freezer works more efficiently.
8. Grow Your Own
There is nothing like having your own veggie patch in the backyard; it gets you outdoors while providing you with a virtually carbon-free healthy alternative.
9. Eat Raw
The less you have to cook, the more emissions you save.
10. Save Energy
Keep up your energy saving by turning off unused appliances and lights and recycling packaging properly.
As you can see, there are small things you can do to positively impact the environment. Next time you cook, keep in mind all these tips to cut your carbon emissions.
Not only you’ll do good things for the environment, but you’ll also slim down in a healthy and natural way.
So choosing a low-carbon diet is good for both your body and the environment. It’s a win-win situation.