The wonderful thing about the human race is our diversity of beliefs and values. In the past weeks you may have seen news about a report called The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health.
It is a report by 37 of the estimated 7 million plus scientists existing in the world today, so like all things and news headlines, you need to keep this report in perspective. This report has been based upon low level epidemiological evidence and not yet subjected to a scientific peer review.
However, the report addresses three controversial issues:
- What’s the best way to feed the planet’s populations?
- What’s the best eating pattern for human health?
- What’s the best eating pattern for environmental health?
It reminds us of the conflicts in the Australian energy market trying to deal with three values: reliability, affordability and sustainability. Whatever your views, we’ve all seen blackouts and electricity prices increase. The lesson is that managing multiple values can be difficult: the issues surrounding food, health and the environment are no different.
So where does Healthy Inspirations stand on the issues raised by The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health? Let’s address each one individually and address what we (us as an organisation and you as an individual) can do about each issue.
With each item, there may be areas where you can make an actual difference and areas where you cannot. But we’re reminded of the story where tens of thousands of starfish were washed up on a beach to surely die. At sunset, one of the scientists noticed a boy in the distance throwing starfish back into the sea. The scientist said “Son, there are tens of thousands here. You’re not going to make a difference.” The boy did not respond but picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea. Then the boy said “I bet I made a difference to that one.”
1. Food – What’s the best way to feed the planet’s populations?
It’s unlikely that your food choices will make a difference to the underfed in other countries. But there might be some things for you to consider like:
- Pre-plan your meals and shopping to eliminate waste
- Pre-planning helps you reduce your food bills
- Buying locally reduces the demand to ship produce from lower economic countries, a practice which drives up the cost of food in those countries
- By saving money on your food bills, you might choose to use some of your savings to sponsor a child in a poorer country so they are not malnourished
2. Health – What’s the best eating pattern for human health?
At Healthy Inspirations, this is the area of primary concern for us, and hopefully you. The EAT-Lancet Commission promotes a specific way of eating which, despite some flexibility, would not help most of our members achieve their weight and sustainable health goals. Here’s a few reasons:
- Carbohydrates: It is very carbohydrate heavy. An adult following the EAT-Lancet would consume over 300 grams a day. Most of our members have one thing in common – decreased carbohydrate tolerance. Very few of our members can tolerate even 100 grams a day.
- Protein: It is very low on protein. We don’t aim for the minimum amount to sustain life but the optimal amount for sustained health. Protein sufficiency is helpful for appetite control, immune function and even bone health. Yes… bones require protein.
- Fats: It promotes vegetable oils, many which have a less-than-ideal ratio of pro-inflammatory Omega 6 versus the anti-inflammatory Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Helping members reduce inflammation is vital to joint pain reduction and overall wellbeing.
- Micronutrients: It is low in some vital nutrients like Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Retinol, Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Vitamin K2, iron, and Omega-3 fatty acid.
Our members who have been coached on our programs know that we do not take the stance “We’re the experts and this is what’s good for your body.” Our guiding philosophy is that “One diet does NOT suit every body.” That’s why we say “When it comes to what works for your body, the only true expert is YOUR BODY. Our program and our weekly coaching will simply act as a guide to help you discover the foods and amounts that work best with your body.”
Through following the Healthy Inspirations program you not only lose weight, but have less sick days, more energy, and increased productivity.
3. Environment – What’s the best eating pattern for environmental health?
It’s unfortunate that all the efforts Australians make to reduce emissions are swamped by ever-increasing global emissions. Environmental health includes global atmosphere as well as local soil and water health, so in regards to your food choices, there may be some things you can do:
- Buy locally and in season. Although our food plans are heavily in favour of fresh foods (meat, fish, eggs, non-starchy vegetables and some fruits) these don’t bear labels and so it’s difficult for you to know if they were sourced locally or whether they incurred “carbon miles” by being shipped from other states or overseas and stored for months. Where possible, try to buy local produce that’s in season.
- Consider venturing out to buy from local farmers or at least from local farmer’s markets. We believe that most Australian and New Zealand farmers are animal-loving environmentalists. They sincerely care for their animals and care for their soil. Increasingly they are switching to farming methods that use less fertilisers, pesticides and antibiotics.
- Protecting our nations’ topsoil is crucial to our ability to have a sustainable food supply. Mono-cropping robs topsoil. Crop rotation, land resting and running ruminants (free range grass-fed cattle, sheep and other stock) maintains vital nutrients in the topsoil, which in turn ensures vital nutrients in our food. Our bodies will stimulate appetite in order to get the nutrients we require, so foods with a high nutrient density are essential for weight control and health.
- When choosing meat, go for grass-fed and free-range options where possible.
- Create your own veggie garden. It’s a great way to get your children to eat their veggies too.
- If your council allows it, you might even keep a few hens for eggs. Feed them your food scraps.
Where the values of The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health are all worthy, they help us reflect on the practical things we can do in our own homes.
We constantly keep abreast of research, especially in food, weight control and health. We try to avoid temptation to be swayed by headlines and low level (epidemiological) studies, favouring more meaningful RCTs (Randomised Controlled Studies). Ultimately, your body is the expert.
Think globally – act locally. Please feel free to share this blog on social media by clicking the buttons at the top.
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