We have just spent a week following the EAT commission’s “diet for the planet” based on a healthy diet that the planet could produce sustainably for a population of 10bn (see here). Its got lots of nuts, legumes and vegtables and modest amounts of dairy (250g… but that’s only a small glass of milk), chicken (29g), fish (28g), and very little eggs (13g) or red meat (14g) per day. But when you add those up over the week it makes for a decent portion of meat, fish or eggs every other day.
It was a pleasant surprise to find out little we needed to change our normal diet… with the exception of snacks where we had to swap biscuits for fruit, nuts, and homous and carrots. Fruit juice was off the menu as a small glass would have constituted the daily fruit allowance. But these “sacrifices” were not hard and we ate very well. H ere is our menu:
Monday: Miso ramen with beef, mushrooms and pak choi
Tuesday: nut roast wellington
Wednesday: chicken curry and rice
Thursday: (We’d planned to eat lentil and sweet potato bake but there was plenty of left over chicken
Friday: fishfingers and chips (keeping the 4yr old on board !)
Saturday: vegetable tagine
Sunday: cheese, egg and spinach pie with pinenuts.
Lunches: leftovers, sardines or vegetable and legume soup
Breakfast: toast an marmalade or cereal with oat milk
Treats : banana bread, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake, dark chocolate (does cocoa count as a legume, nut or vegetable?)
Whilst far from vegan, we have been gradually cutting down on foods we know to be high in carbon emissions. We generally eat very little red meat and swapped from cow milk to oat milk last year. Having followed the diet for the planet I think we should cut down a bit more on our fish and eggs, but not by much. We were probably cheating a bit on fruit as we use dried fruit as bribery to get my daughter to keep cycling.
If it was a long term diet, we’d request to swap our allocation of cow pasture for an oat field (we went slightly over on carbs when we included the oatmilk, but we were well under on dairy).
It was good to know that, if the rich nations cut down on meat and dairy a bit, everyone on the planet could eat well and sustainably. But that remains a very big “IF”.