I’ve experimented with many different ways of eating during my adult years to find what works best for me. From eating vegetarian, raw, grain-free, vegan, dairy-free to most recently Paleo, I could be considered an expert in different diets.
But I’m not.
I’m an expert in my diet.
Because what works for me may not work best for you. It may not even work best for me all the time.
So what is my diet?
I call myself an eco-tarian. I don’t believe there’s an official term for such a diet, but it’s how I associate myself with food.
What does this mean exactly?
Wherever possible, I eat a predominantly plant-based, organic wholefoods diet. I choose to minimise meat and seafood, for environmental reasons, and avoid processed or packaged foods.
I think back to when I’ve been the healthiest and happiest in my life and it was when I was eating an organic vegetarian diet. I had oodles of energy and my diet was in total alignment with my environmental ethics.
I re-introduced meat just before I fell pregnant, initially as I was struggling to manage my iron levels. I’ve since learned that my body seems to need some meat to help me keep up with the demands of motherhood and juggling a busy household and business. This could well change again in the future as my boys get older and not as physically demanding.
Despite being at peace with my eco-tarian diet, I recently ate entirely Paleo for 4-6 weeks, just to see what all the fuss was about. While I lost weight (a lovely side-effect), I really struggled on the diet.
I struggled for ethical reasons.
Because I’m an environmentalist and strong campaigner for climate change.
While I appreciate that the Paleo diet was the original human diet, the human population when we were cavemen was tiny; we were in balance with our world and our environment could sustain us eating that way.
It’s a very different world these days.
Humans are in plague proportions and our global population is quickly approaching the estimated carrying capacity of our environment. Our carrying capacity is the maximum number of humans that the world can sustain indefinitely given the food, habitat, water and other resources available in the environment.
The world’s population has tripled in the past 60 years alone as a result of medical advancements, increases in agricultural productivity and availability of cheap energy. In 1900, the world human population stood at 1.6 billion. It currently stands at 7.2 billion and is estimated to reach 9.6 billion by 2050.
This is a really scary scenario for our planet, in so many ways.
I, for one, am worried how we will feed all these people, and how we will feed everyone without destroying our environment.
Livestock and intensive farming practices are one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change, the greatest environmental challenge of our generation (after human overpopulation of course!). It’s not just the methane released by cattle either – I’m referring to the widespread destruction of wide habitat for the purpose of raising livestock for human consumption.
So, I choose to restrict meat and seafood (and avoid processed foods almost altogether) for environmental reasons and know that our world desperately needs more people to do the same. After all, we are part of our environment and if our environment isn’t healthy, there is no possible way we can thrive.