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How to Eat, Cook, and Live in a Warming World

Watch this video regarding the top 10 countries with the highest CO2 (greenhouse gas) emissions

A study published in Science calculated the average GHG emissions associated with different foods (Poore & Nemecek, 2018).  Red meat and dairy, particularly from cows, have an enormous impact, on causing climate change.  Per gram protein, beef and lamb have the largest climate footprint while pork, chicken, and fish are in the middle. 

Experts believe these numbers are a grave underestimate of the actual impact that deforestation, farming and ranching, are having on climate change (Searchinger et al., 2018).  Most well-developed studies all agree that plant-based foods have the smallest impact in GBGs emissions, and that all animal protein are the worst offenders by a significant margin. 

 

4 main ways your food choices impact climate change.

  1. Forests are routinely cleared in many parts of the world to make room for farms and livestock. This leads to large stores of carbon being released into the atmosphere which heats up the planet. As economies grow, so does the demand for livestock. This is the biggest reason why the wettest place in the world (i.e. The Amazon Rainforest) caught on fire last year.
  2. As cows, sheep and goats break down their food, they expel methane, one of the most potent GHGs contributing to climate change.
  3. Animal manure and “rice paddies” are huge methane sources.
  4. Several fossil fuels are needed to operate farm machinery, produce fertilizer, and ship/export produce, all of which add to the emission burden.

Richest Countries in the World per capita

It is not a coincidence that the richest countries in the world are also the same countries with the highest consumption of meat (i.e., U.S., Canada, Europe, Brazil, Russia, Australia, China) and the highest producers of greenhouse gas emissions.  As economies grow, the demand for meat increases and so does deforestation. 

A large number of longitudinal studies have clearly indicated that those countries who currently focus on a meat and dairy rich diet (i.e. much of the population of Europe, Australia, U.S. and China) would shrink their food-related carbon footprint by ⅓ or more by switching to a plant-based diet (Aleksandrowicz et al., 2016).

Many Americans find this difficult to imagine, let alone accomplish when the food-environment is not conducive to making the switch a reality. In certain locations (i.e., food deserts), it may feel impossible. 

But we are now at another pivotal time in our history with greater understanding of what it means to eat, cook, and live in a warming world. Science makes it very clear that changing our diet is the most critical and effective step we can all take to changing climate change. 

Forget the myths and the lies told to you by the powers that be.  There’s ample protein and nutrients in vegetables, beans, ancient whole grains, mushrooms, fruits, seeds, and nuts. You are going to start thriving on a plant-based and several nagging health complaints will dissipate with time.

For you home cooks with picky eaters, the biggest challenge is producing a meal that everyone at the table will eat. We at SF Advanced Health have plant-based delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes to help make the transition easy. 

As we celebrate Earth Day, check back next week for 9 additional (and simple) things you can do to further improve the planet's health and yours. If the planet’s healthy, we can be, too.

 

Dr. Bhandari and the Advanced Health Team Are Here to Support Your Health.

Our expert team of integrative holistic practitioners work with patients suffering from chronic health concern.  We help our patients reverse disease by better understanding how the body optimally functions and providing personalized treatment plan—a plan that removes a lot of the common food items that are making them sick.  To learn more and book an appointment, contact Advanced Health or call 1-415-506-9393.



References

Aleksandrowicz, L., Green, R., Joy, E. J., Smith, P., & Haines, A. (2016). The impacts of dietary change on greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, and health: a systematic review. PloS one, 11(11), e0165797.

Poore, J., & Nemecek, T. (2018). Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science, 360(6392), 987-992.

Searchinger, T. D., Wirsenius, S., Beringer, T., & Dumas, P. (2018). Assessing the efficiency of changes in land use for mitigating climate change. Nature, 564(7735), 249.

Author
Payal Bhandari M.D. Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is one of U.S.'s top leading integrative functional medical physicians and the founder of San Francisco' top ranked medical center, SF Advanced Health. Her well-experienced holistic healthcare team collaborates together to deliver whole-person personalized care and combines the best in Western and Eastern medicine. By being an expert of cell function, Dr. Bhandari defines the root cause of illness and is able to subside any disease within weeks to months. She specializes in cancer prevention and reversal, digestive & autoimmune disorders. Dr. Bhandari received her Bachelor of Arts degree in biology in 1997 and Doctor of Medicine degree in 2001 from West Virginia University. She the completed her Family Medicine residency in 2004 from the University of Massachusetts and joined a family medicine practice in 2005 which was eventually nationally recognized as San Francisco’s 1st patient-centered medical home. To learn more, go to www.sfadvancedhealth.com.

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