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Sustainable Diets - Part 2

In the last blog we explored how what we put on our plates can have a big impact on the

environment. Eating more healthfully and more sustainably go hand-in-hand, meaning we can develop sustainable eating practices that improve our own health while also benefiting the health of the planet.

As we follow a more sustainable diet there is great emphasis on reducing our reliance on dairy and ruminant meat (beef and lamb) in our food chain. Contrary to common belief it’s cow belching that produces the most methane, though a small percentage of methane is also produced in the cow’s large intestine and then expelled. Settling ponds and lagoons for processing manure also produce copious amounts of this greenhouse gas. Due to the methane these animals produce, they are believed to significantly contribute to an increase in CO2 emissions and thereby global warming. Therefore, increasing the emphasis on plant-based eating particularly vegetables, beans and nut munching may help our planet.

Some hints and tips to consume less of these greenhouse gas producers:-

  • Replace some of the beef and lamb in our diet with chicken and fish or even better lentils, beans, mushrooms or veggies. Some of the minced beef in your spaghetti bolognese, lasagne or chilli con carne can be replaced with red lentils, sliced mushrooms, peppers or red kidney beans. Many lentils need some pre-soaking so try to think ahead when preparing such a meal.

  • Have a vegan day or two of the week – though vegetables are super tasty remember many of our winter comfort foods are plant based too – think baked beans on toast, a warm bowl of tomato soup with a wedge of granary bread or a jacket potato loaded with veggie chilli con carne.

  • Try a different milk or yoghurt - have a plant-based coconut or oat yoghurt or non-dairy milk such as a fortified rice, oat, almond, hazelnut, coconut, quinoa and potato milk on your porridge or cereal and a splash in your tea and coffee. Do look out for the fortified versions so you maintain your levels of essential minerals.

  • Experiment with a plant-based cheese. Probably not a replacement for an after-dinner cheese board though non-dairy cheeses work well when used as part of a dish. Try plant-based mozzarella on your homemade pizza, a cheddar style cheese-on-toast or a vegan mozzarella or feta in your salad.

Happy eating,

Nina Thomas

Registered Associate Nutritionist

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