There’s a new diet that’s not only less-restrictive, but good for you and the planet! This isn’t something that was thrown together quickly by some random dude in his basement. This diet is the brain child of both environmental and nutritional specialists.
There are Lots of People to Feed…
One of the biggest problems we face is feeding the nearly 8 billion humans on planet Earth. The planetary health diet takes into account both human nutritional requirements and environmental concerns. It increases the amount of grains, beans, and vegetables we should consume in a day and decreases meat. But even if you’re not really into the whole “save the planet” thing, there are other benefits to this diet!
Plants are Low Fat
By introducing more plants into your diet, you’re inadvertently decreasing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol, which lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease. If enough people adopt this diet, we’ll not only decrease stress on the environment, but on the healthcare system as well.
Plants Nourish the Gut Microbiome
Another benefit of this diet is the recovery of our microbiome. Studies have shown that plants and whole grains support a healthy gut microbiome. Meat products encourage the growth of harmful bacteria. Given how much processed junk food is available, many of us most likely have disrupted microbiomes already. And remember, the longer you stay on a poor diet, the harder it will be to reverse the damage. While the implications of dysbiosis are still being studied, many researchers have seen a correlation between neurological diseases (like MS and Parkinson’s) and an unbalanced microbiome.
Mushrooms and Nutritional Yeast
Some people might be worried that this plant-heavy diet lacks protein and certain vitamins. Fear not! You’ll be able to get enough protein from beans. And if you’re not a fan of legumes, load up on shiitake mushrooms and nutritional yeast. Both contain enough protein and B12 (especially the yeast) to sustain you.
Start by substituting meat
There are easy ways to switch to this diet. Start by substituting meat with high-protein, non-animal alternatives. Instead of chicken breast, try some stuffed portobello mushrooms with quinoa or rice. Instead of a hamburger, try a black bean based veggie burger. Treat meat and dairy products like you would an expensive luxury item. It’s a treat every now and then, but not an everyday dietary necessity.