More people are trying to find ways to help the environment on a daily basis - from cutting down plastic use to switching off lights to changing the way they eat.
Veganism has soared in popularity over the past few years, with many saying that they made the switch in diet due to its environmental benefits.,
With the Climatarian diet set to be big in 2022, we take a look at what it is and whether it is good for you.
What is the Climatarian diet?
The Climatarian diet is “essentially about trying to reduce our CO2 impact on the environment by adapting our diet”.
This means considering where food originated from and eating according to the seasons, said fitness, wellness guru and nutrition expert Penny Weston.
The diet not only focuses on the impact food has on our bodies, but also the impact the food we are eating has on the climate.
For example, Penny follows a plant-based diet, which she said is “essentially a sustainable diet”, but sometimes fruit and vegetables are flown huge distances from one country to another and during this process increases our carbon footprint.
The Climatarian diet is therefore based around eating less of some foods and more of others, but isn’t necessarily a plant-based diet, Penny said.
However, she added that because plant foods generally have a lower carbon footprint, the diet includes trying to reduce animal products.
It also urges people to consider the carbon footprint of the food they are eating, with the aim of choosing foods that are “sourced locally and when they’re in season, rather than flying them around the world”.
Although the Climatarian diet does encourage people to eat less meat, Penny said you don’t have to cut it out completely, with the main goal being to eat more plant-based foods while reducing or eliminating animal products.
However, people are encouraged to be more aware of the type of meat they eat and try to reduce their carbon footprint in the process, with the production of beef and lamb in particular requiring more land and water and having higher carbon emissions than chicken.
Penny said if you are eating meat it’s important to use a local butcher, or if it is from a supermarket, try to make sure it’s from a UK farm.
She added that other foods that should be avoided on the diet are palm oil and coffee, due to their contribution to deforestation and higher carbon emissions.
Farmed fish is also meant to be avoided on the Climatarian diet because of their feces contributing to water pollution. Crowding of fish can also result in disease, added Penny.
Sugar is also meant to be avoided as “it’s water-intensive so it’s believed that it can erode soil and damage waterways and sea life,” Penny said.
“The diet isn’t just about the foods you consume but also how you shop for them and cook them,” she added.
“So as well as eating more plant-based foods that are sourced locally, taking steps to avoid food waste, batch cooking and using leftovers are also encouraged.”
Penny said she believes the Climatarian diet is set to be big for 2022 because “it’s all about considering the impact our diet has not just on ourselves but also on the climate too.”
She added: “This is becoming much more of a priority for people as we learn more about the impact of climate change and understand how important our part is in protecting the planet”.
Is the Climatarian diet good for you?
According to Penny, the Climatarian Diet offers a wealth of health benefits.
She said increasing fruit and vegetable intake and reducing red meat is beneficial due to a high intake of red and processed meat being linked to a higher risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, with fruit and vegetables instead aiding a healthy digestive system and skin.
Jessie Jones, a Nutrition Coach at OriGym, said that from a nutritional perspective, a Climatarian diet “is one of the best” and is also “set to be a huge diet for 2022 and beyond”.
She said by eating more organic produce you’re cutting down on artificial fertilisers that can reduce the vitamin contents of what’s being grown, as well as reducing how processed your food is.
This will then reduce artificial ingredients and involve “far fewer treatments that decrease vitamins”.
She also said that although it’s a beneficial diet for you to invest in as you’re not just cutting things out, but “privileging and boosting your intake of fresh produce”, the most important thing is to make sure that anything nutritional that is cut out is replaced with a different source.
For example, she said not to cut out red meat without being aware and prepared for where you’ll get B Vitamins and Iron from.
However, she said that for anybody thinking of changing to the diet: “I would say be aware of your limitations and long term goals”.
“You’re obviously not going to be able to do everything at once, but this diet lends itself to rewarding and incremental changes,” Jessie added.