For the first time, the USDA’s advisory panel has recommended that sustainability should be included in the new dietary guidelines, which are due to come out by the end of the year. While the suggestion has been attacked by Big Food as government overreach, sustainability is more than just tangentially related to health.
As the Guardian reports, most of the time, the eating patterns that are most friendly to the earth are also the most friendly to your health. We’ve known for a long time that eating red meat every day isn’t great for you–but now, consumers are becoming more aware that our meat-heavy lifestyle has a similarly negative effect on the planet.
One step to improving health–both personal and environmental–is shifting the balance of our protein intake. According to Arlin Wasserman, founder of the food consultancy Changing Tastes, Americans currently get only around 15% of their protein from plant-based sources. Shifting that number–even to just 25%– “could result in enough water savings to provide two-thirds of California’s water supply.”
Here are some basic guidelines from the article to help you vote with your wallet–for a healthier you and a healthier planet.
Eat more of these:
- Beans & other legumes, like lentils and peanuts
- Organic fruits and vegetables
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Small amounts of grass-fed beef & dairy
Eat less of these:
- Packaged, highly processed foods
- Bottled water (#BYOBottle)
- Conventionally raised poultry, pork, beef, and dairy products