The news report yesterday produced by the EAT Lancet Commission, a non profit start up, has reached a consensus about what makes a healthy, sustainable diet to feed the 7.7 billion in the world today, and the expected 10 billion by 2050.
The EAT Lancet commission is a group of 37 scientists who have come together to address five main issues around a healthy, sustainable diet:
- What is a healthy diet?
- What is a sustainable food system?
- What are the trends shaping diets today
- Can we achieve healthy diets from sustainable food systems and how?
- What are solutions and policies we can apply?
The report has a balanced approach to looking at what we need to function effectively as human beings, whilst also considering a sustainable food production system by examining the impact of that production on the planetary boundaries for greenhouse gas emissions, nitrogen, phosphorous, water and the use of biodiversity.
I very much agree with the balanced approach to human health and the environment. There are many reasons why animal production and the current day demand for human consumption is not desirable including greenhouse gas emissions, space to provide a humane life for cattle, cows, pigs and all other animals that are a human food source, and of course the impact of meat on the human body.
Humans are essentially hunter-gatherers. Our ancestors would hunt their meat and some days were lucky and some days not. When not successful the daily diet would have been seasonal vegetables, grains, seeds and berries only. In general, people were leaner and fitter having to work the land, forage, hunt and gather natural foods, instead of popping into the local supermarket for the weekly shop. Essentially, and most importantly, as highlighted in the Lancet report, the diet was alkaline and nutritious. Plant matter is high in minerals and vitamins including potassium, calcium, and magnesium, vitamins A, C, B and K, as well as small amounts of protein.
From a naturopathic point of view, “eating the rainbow” daily is essential to maintaining an alkaline gut, as well as to ensuring the necessary daily fibre intake to encourage healthy elimination of waste, and getting the needed daily vitamins, minerals, protein, fats and carbohydrates.
Most meat is acidic affecting the pH value of the gut, causing gut dysbiosis including reflux, flatulence and bloating. An acidic diet also impacts the blood which in turn affects the body’s connective tissue, as well as contributing to a decrease in bone density leading to osteopenia and with time, full-blown osteoporosis, whilst also interfering with pain signaling due to tissue acidosis. With age, blood pH naturally decreases slightly within the normal range, which means acidosis inevitably increases.
Eating a daily alkaline diet with plenty of vegetables, nuts and seeds, berries and fruit is essential to aging healthily, whilst also doing our bit to sustain the environment in which we live. However, protein is also important - the key is finding the right balance.
The Alkaline Solution – Jurgen Vormann
Dr Tanya Werner – Bio Practica
EAT Lancet Commission https://eatforum.org/eat-lancet-commission/