What you need to know about this environment-first way of eating
Are you hungry for a more eco-conscience way of eating? You’re not alone! As awareness about food production and climate change grows, the climatarian diet is gaining momentum. Joining the climatarian movement can be a positive lifestyle change that keeps you more informed about your food—from farm to fork.
The climatarian diet is a lifestyle choice that goes beyond simply plant-based eating to focus on seasonal, locally sourced, and minimally processed foods. It includes a low intake of animal products and encourages environmentally conscious shopping practices. Food products that have the lowest carbon footprint and can be produced with the least waste are the most climatarian friendly.
Our food system alone creates 26 to 34 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Fans of the climatarian diet report that this eco-friendly way of eating has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions from food production by up to 84 percent in high-income nations.
Although the climatarian diet encourages plant-forward eating, it does not involve eliminating animal products from your meals completely. According to climatarian connoisseurs, the diet simply shifts your intake of high-emission foods to lower-emission alternatives. For example, switching just 10 percent of your daily calorie intake from beef and processed meat to fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and certain types of seafood can help reduce your dietary carbon footprint by 33 percent.
A climatarian-friendly meal plan can include
Like most specialty diets, there are certain foods that climatarians avoid. Overall, the ingredients considered non-climatarian are high contributors to greenhouse gas emissions—with beef topping the list.
A climatarian menu will typically not include
Because raising meat-producing animals uses more land than plant-based alternatives, they tend to place more stress on the environment. A climatarian diet encourages lowering your overall intake of animal products (including items on the climatarian menu). Even cutting your intake of meat and dairy to one meal per day can have a big impact on your carbon footprint.
Making sustainable choices feels good! The perks of climate-conscious eating are compelling.
Climatarian eating can lower your contribution to greenhouse gas emissions generated from making and transporting food.
Diets that are powered by whole, plant-based foods are fantastic for managing body weight and lowering the risk of chronic illness, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Prioritizing locally grown, seasonal produce helps avoid lengthy storage and transport conditions that can degrade nutrition. Studies have shown that raw spinach and broccoli can lose 29 percent of their vitamin C within just 24 hours of refrigerated storage.
Buying locally produced food supports the growers and businesses in your community. It helps build food security and a connection with the people who put food on your table.
Studies show that sustainable diets (including vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian) cost as much as 34 percent less than standard diets.
Habits can be hard to change—especially when it comes to what you eat. Prepare to face some challenges when shifting to a climatarian lifestyle.
Prioritizing seasonal, locally grown food can limit the variety of fruits and vegetables at hand—especially in the winter. In other words, if your go-to breakfast includes strawberries, be prepared to freeze extra when they are in season.
It is difficult to pinpoint which foods are the most climatarian friendly without some background research. A conscientious climatarian needs to learn about the food system and shop around to find suitable items.
Eating a climatarian diet often means swapping out herbs and other ingredients from your favorite dishes with those available locally or seasonally—potentially sacrificing flavor.
People who rely on meat to keep their protein, iron, vitamin B12, and other nutrients up can find it challenging to get enough of these key nutrients through a plant-based diet. Supplements can help provide nutritional insurance.
Attending a dinner party or lunching with friends can be challenging with dietary restrictions. Some climatarians find the diet hard on their social life.
Making the switch to a climatarian diet can be an exciting and rewarding journey. If it sounds too overwhelming, try taking a moderate approach by gradually incorporating more sustainable practices into your grocery shopping and meals.