Controversial opinion: nutrition advice shoudn't only concern itself with what is the healthiest option for you (physiologically). It also needs to consider what's healthiest for the planet.
We cannot separate what’s good for us, with what’s good for the planet. The two are inextricably connected. Our health depends on the health of the planet, because without the planet, we cannot survive.
The planet nourishes us, literally. The food we eat becomes us, but the quality of that food is determined by the quality of the soil it was grown in. If the minerals are not present in the soil, they won’t be present in the food.
Imagine if a dietitian told you that the healthiest food on the planet, that you should be eating every day, only grew from one tree, in a tiny village halfway around the world from where you lived. That would not be good advice, because you can’t access that food, and even if you could, imagine if everyone tried to get this food? The tree would very quickly be decimated and would cease to exist (plus the people in the village, who probably rely on the food to survive, would no longer have access to it).
Nutrition advice has to take into account, not only what’s the healthiest option for you, but also what is sustainable and feasible.
This is one of the many reasons why I don’t recommend animal proteins to my clients. We now know the damaging impact that animal agriculture has on the planet (not just in terms of greenhouse gas emissions but also in terms of depleting the soil through the growing of animal feed crops) and nutrition advice can’t ignore this. We’re already feeling the effects of climate change around the globe and the only hope we have to stop the damage (never mind start to reverse it) is by all doing our part individually and moving to a predominantly plant-based diet, as quickly as possible.
That doesn’t mean you can’t ever have animal products again, but the majority of the diet would be plants, with animal products thought of more as a condiment, or occasional addition to the diet, maybe once or twice a month.
Luckily, on this point, what’s best for the planet, turns out to be what’s best for your health too!
We know from the research that animal products are inflammatory, high in saturated fat and cholesterol, contain harmful by-products such as hormones and growth factor, and are often laced with antibiotics and other chemicals. The few health benefits that animal products offer, such as certain vitamins and minerals, can be easily found in plant sources or using supplements.
We also know that whole-food plant-based diets have been shown to help lower blood pressure, reverse heart disease, lower inflammation, help with weight loss, improve auto-immune conditions, and to improve most other chronic health conditions. (Check out NutritionFacts for more info.)
This is not to say that you have to be plant-based or vegan to work with me, nor will I ever force any of my clients to become fully vegan or plant-based! But I will be honest about what the research says, and let people make up their own minds. And if you want to reduce your animal protein consumption, I will help you to find healthy and sustainable alternatives, and to make this work for you.
If this is an area you need support with, book in for a free consultation to see how I can help.
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