Philip Lymbery | Your Health Means the World
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Your Health Means the World

As the sun rises on another World Health Day this Saturday, we often choose to look within and focus on the small changes we can make to improve our own health and wellbeing. We give ourselves goals, ‘I must go for that jog tomorrow morning’, ‘I should cut out those mid afternoon doughnuts’, ‘I’ll only drink Pinot on a Friday’.

With this in mind, I’d like to ask you to take a few minutes and consider the link between our own health and that of the planet. There are 9 identified planetary boundaries and we are already over the ‘safe limit’ on 4 of them, so if we continue as we are, we risk a permanent change to the state of our ecosystem. The food you eat can have a crucial impact on this situation. Many people are aware of the immediate effect their food choices have on farm animal welfare, however, there is a much wider impact on wildlife and the environment. Every time you choose intensively farmed meat, you’re helping to fuel the destruction of forests and causing the loss of wildlife, such as elephants in Sumatra and jaguars in Brazil.

So, how can we make changes in our day to day lives to support a healthier lifestyle for ourselves, our families and the planet? Here at Compassion in World Farming, we have 5 top tips:-

Tip 1. EAT LESS MEAT – EAT MORE PLANTS: Reducing your daily intake of animal protein, from the average of 200-300g down to 50g is the most important contribution you can make, for a healthier you and a healthier planet. 50g is about half the size of a deck of cards and could lower your cholesterol and risk of some cancers. Having 1 meat free day a week will also have a big impact and meat proteins can be easily replaced with plant-based protein, such as beans, nuts and many green vegetables.

Tip 2. CHOOSE BETTER: Pastured fed, free range and organic, are all things to look out for when choosing your meat. These high welfare standard farming practices, are more sustainable and earth-friendly. By ditching processed meats and opting for grass fed cattle, you are choosing food that is leaner and that contains more Omega 3 fatty acids, which is much better for your health.

Tip 3. CHOOSE LOCAL: Fresher food holds more nutrients and being locally sourced spend less time in transit, reducing ‘food miles’. This means you can help decrease carbon monoxide levels, simply by picking up your green beans from a local farm shop, instead of buying the imported version, which may have been transported 4000 miles from Kenya.

Tip 4. REDUCE WASTE – PLAN MEALS: Food waste is a major problem. The food produced worldwide can feed more than 16 billion people, however, more than half of this is being wasted! It’s so easy to get distracted by tempting ‘2 for 1’ offers, which can mean we overbuy. The solution? By planning our meals for the week, we can ensure we reduce waste and plan for our families to consume the GDA (guided daily amount) calorie intake. This in turn, helps us to maintain a healthy weight and encourages a varied diet.

Tip 5. SPREAD THE WORD: Let’s get loud! Make it known you are choosing better food. Spread the word about how you are making a difference by shopping and eating more mindfully. Encouraging others is the start to real transformation.

If we all join forces, I believe we can affect real change and support a more sustainable food system. You and I, our families, farmed livestock, wildlife and the planet, can all have a more environmentally conscious and healthier future by making small changes that will last a lifetime.

So as we celebrate World Health Day, why not think of what you might do differently today and everyday to help?