The living Earth Ethical Principles; Right diet and renewing life rituals.

AuthorAssadourian, Erik

Right Diet. Eat a healthy diet of the right amount of calories, of foods that are produced fairly and do not cause systematic suffering to ourselves, to others, to farmed animals or other living creatures, or to the Earth itself.


Choosing the right diet will help to improve the health of individuals, human society, and the Earth. The obesity epidemic and related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and many cancers; a significant portion of climate change; the eutrophication of rivers and oceans; the concentration of the food industry among a small cadre of exploitative corporations, in turn leading to the abuse of workers and farm animals--these are all connected by one thing: our consumer diet. We need to move to a diet that is in balance with the Earth, rather than one that is self-destructive. To do this, we need to follow some simple advice.

First: eat the right amount of calories. Obesity is fundamentally caused by consuming more calories than you expend. Reducing total calorie intake can improve your quality of life and extend your lifespan. Moreover, a nutritious, lower-calorie diet will reduce your ecological impact even if you live more years.

The figure below shows two men's annual calorie intake from age 30 to 85. At age 30, one continues eating the U.S. standard recommended 2,600-calorie-per-day diet. The other switches to a healthier 1,800-calorie-per-day diet. (This assumes a relatively sedentary lifestyle for both; a particularly active person would want to adjust upwards.) The thinner man can live to be 81 years old on the calories consumed by the larger one by age 65. Moreover, by following this diet the thinner man's odds of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and other overnutrition-related diseases will all go down significantly.


Second, to make this lower-calorie diet work, the food has to be healthy. This means cutting out the processed foods and refined sugars and grains of the typical consumer's diet, and instead leaning toward a mostly vegetarian diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and (if interested) the occasional animal product. The benefits of switching to a more natural diet aren't just health-related; processed foods are more energy-intensive and rely heavily on disposable packaging.

If animal products are part of your diet, be sure to consume these sparingly, as the ecological resources needed to produce these are much...

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