Charmian Man writes “What else can we do about climate change?

Do the “Sustainable diet” or “Plant based diet” sound familiar to you? Since the Australian bush fires, they have been mentioned in the news quite frequently. Nowadays, we consume foods not just for their nutrients, but also with the environment in mind. Consider efficiency of resources in terms of the energy, land and water inputs required for production, not to mention crop resilience due to climatic events (drought, floods)… It’s a lot to think about!

As a dietitian and Health and Wellbeing Coach for NHS Diabetes Prevention Program, we advise people to eat a wellbalanced diet and follow healthy eating guidelines like:

  • Enjoy meatless once a week (Monday is a good day after a weekend feast) and substitute animal proteins with plant proteins such as legumes, beans, pulses and nuts.
  • Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables and unprocessed whole grains.
  • Eat oily fish twice a week.
  • Fewer biscuits and more fruit.
  • When shopping, check the ingredients. The less ingredients the better, less processed the better.

Take Peanut butter. All we need in the jar of peanut butter is 100% peanut instead of a jar with 3 lines of ingredients and one of them is palm oil! Palm oil actually can be found everywhere, in biscuits, cookies, wafers, frozen pizza, pies, even in breads! Since UK cannot grow palm, we rely a lot on Indonesia. In order to mass produce palm oil, they are burning down the palm trees for quick turn over, resulting in forest fires which in turn raise the temperature and get into the vicious cycle that we are seeing now. So as a consumer, can we avoid palm oil?

Last but not least, in order to reduce carbon, can we a support local farm? Or buy seasonal produce? It’s good for our own health and our planetary health.

Charmain Tan, RDN