31 Mar What the Heck is a Climatarian?


Eating is something we all do…everyday…three times a day.

It also makes up 30% of our footprint on the planet. That is why  I started learning more and defining what a Climatarian is. I’m giving it a go, but to make it clear I’ve broken down Climatarian eating into 10 principles.

Before I go any further let me just clarify this isn’t a diet. There aren’t banned foods, it’s not something you wish to be over… It is a way of eating ( for the long term).

The main purpose of eating Climatarian is that you make conscious choices about food that aim to have less environmental impact. This of course includes reducing our foods contribution to climate change.

It’s also about moderation, if you eat such a strict diet that leaves you always craving something else, you’ll eventually lapse. So keep moderation in mind as you read more into these 10 principles.

1.Buy Local

This is the main principle of eating  with our planet in mind. What grows local will be fresh and it’s food miles minimal. Now there are places where local foods can be limited by seasons ( winter) and variety (growing conditions don’t allow certain foods). But there are usually a range of fresh fruit and veg that you can buy locally.

Of course the best is to grow your own!

Aim to buy local for the majority of your food. If you buy things from outside 250km of where you live then choose things as close to home as you can and make them less frequent in your daily diet. Here is a list of seasonal fruit and veg in  Australia. Google one for where you live.

2. Eat whole foods

Wholefoods are defined as food items that are not processed from their natural state. They are in their natural package and come as they are grown. Fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, seeds.


Our supermarkets have moved so far away from whole foods, to convenience and fast foods. In fact the middle aisles of many grocery stores are hard to find whole foods, where as the outer aisles of fruit,veg, meat and dairy are where the real food is located.


Not only is eating whole foods better for your health, it prevents the need to transport, process, add chemicals and package food to then transport far distances so it can sit on shelf until you buy it. One of my favorite quotes on social media… Low sugar – low fat = chemical shit storm.




3. Organic


Imagiorganicne all food had less spray, pesticides, and chemicals = Our earth, our water, our air, our health, our bodies would be the ones to benefit. Not to mention our soils, our farmers, our wildlife, and every living organism on Earth. Okay the case for organics is pretty strong. Learn more about why organics matter here.


But let’s get real. Organic food is often more expensive, of course for good reason. But living on a budget and eating organic can be really hard. So committing to 100% organic eating might fall outside of what’s possible. In comes The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15 these lists can help you choose what to buy organic and what you can buy conventional. Print out the list and keep it in your wallet and use them when you shop.


Remember: Do what you can within you own circumstances.


4. Eat a plant based diet


Meat and dairy are the largest contributors to climate change and are the things we need to reduce or elimate from our diets. If going vegan is possible for you do it!


 But if that is a daunting proposition for you and your family, try one of these options… Meat free and dairy free days. Or even better eat meat as a luxury not a staple. And if you do choose meat choose better options,  organic, free range and non ruminant animals (cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, deer, elk).


oxford chart 2014
Dairy is one worth talking about… milk alternatives can be just as bad for our environment as milk, so supporting a local organic dairy might be better, and reducing your milk intake is also a good option. Cheese and yogurt are proteins and probiotics that you can also be choosing better versions of- soft cheese like ricotta and feta are better than cheddars. Yogurt can be made at home quite easily and while coconut milk also works to go dairy free… But where does it come from? If you live under a coconut grove go for it. If not its imported.


Moral of the story… Eat less meat and dairy = better for the planet and for you as well.


5. Package Free Food


Have you tried a plastic free diet?  It causes you to eat local, and whole foods! But try eating organic and all of a sudden fruit and veg are all in plastic packages and styrofoam trays. Plastic can be hard to shake! Eating plastic and package free means you meet the first four principles.


Bulk stores are great places to buy plastic free, but check where things come from, as many can be imported. Co-ops and collectives can also be a good way to buy organic in bulk.


When in doubt buy plastic free… It’s better than adding to the single use trash pile and it will be healthier for you and our planet!


6. Keep luxuries as luxuries .


Coffee, chocolate, sugar, and alcohol  don’t fit into the above categories… Unless you brew organic beer at home…Or grow your own coffee or cacao, but mostly we import these luxuries. So instead of me preaching that you should gives these up… I’m being real and just saying buy better versions, like organic and fair trade, and have them once in a while, not daily and if you’re really being good,  not weekly. This is again where the moderation principles come in. If I told you give up chocolate, coffee, and all sweet items…. I might lose a portion of people that aren’t up for an extreme way of eating and living. So choose better, eat less and be aware of the items you bring in to your daily diet.


7. Zero Food Waste


food waste


There are so many ways we can avoid putting food waste into our rubbish bins. Considering 1 in 5 bags of groceries goes from the shop to the bin in Australia, we can really be doing more to prevent that.


1. Compost – find a method that works for you (bokashi bucket, worm farm, dry compost, wet compost or even chickens!)


2. Root to stem eating – get creative and use the whole vegetable or fruit. Make stock, find ways to use it all ( this includes meat and fish, use it all if your going to eat any of it.)


3. Set up a system to prevent spoilage – know what’s in your fridge and cupboard and move food that needs to be eaten first to the front.


4. Don’t overshop – buy what you need for the week only. Planning your meals means you know what your eating and  you don’t buy excess that doesn’t get eaten.  A Sunday night food planning session is a great way to set up your week for ecoeating and less waste.


Eating with the Earth in mind is about thinking how much effort goes into growing our food, knowing where it comes from and having respect and appreciation for it. When you consciously eat, then throwing away food truly and utterly seems like a waste.


8. Avoid Earth Intensive Foods


There are certain foods that require more energy and resources to create than others. Some foods have become more intensive because demand has sky rocketed. Take Soya for instance, it has become such a high demand food thatthat 4 million hectares of South American rainforest (equivalent to the size of Switzerland)  is cut down every year to grow soy for human and livestock consumption, according to The World Wildlife Fund. Palm Oil is another extremely intensive ingredient and again our Earth is the one paying the cost.


Some foods you need to look into more than others. Take almonds for example – a great source of protein and vitamin E, can be found locally, but they take large amounts of water to grow ( 5 litres of water to grow one Almond). When we have almonds once in a while it’s one thing, but now it’s almond milk, flour and nuts that are in our diet multiple times in one day.
You don’t need to spend hours researching everything you eat, but a simple search about almonds lead me to realise that they were playing too big of a role in my diet vs their environmental impact. Read more about Almonds in the blog from Sarah Wilson.


9. Simplify
Recipes with large numbers of ingredients are adding to your eco footprint. If we simplify what we eat, we can still eat wholesome, delicious food, but just simplify it. One of my favorite solo meals to eat ( even though I am trying to get my husband on to this type of eating too) is steamed organic broccoli, brown rice with a squeeze of lemon and a bit of salt. Simple, delicious and satisfying.


One cookbook I love and, I have as an ebook so it can fit it on our boat is Nourishing Traditions – simple wholefoods recipes. Simple doesn’t need to mean plain, or boring, it is about using less ingredients and really letting the ingredients shine in what you are eating.


If eating a whole foods diet feels like a change from what you normally eat be sure to check out an amazing program from Lisa Corduff – Small Steps to Whole Foods.


The most important point of all.


10. Do what works for YOUR Health


Eating for the planet is amazing, but first and foremost food is our medicine, it is our energy, its purpose is to nourish us. So don’t go against what your body needs. Whether it’s eating  dairy free, gluten free, high protein, low carb… it doesn’t matter you need to listen to your body and eat what benefits you.


Of course using these guidelines will keep you eating more for our planet, but don’t sacrifice your health to do it. If you don’t know what suits your health see a nutritionist or naturopath that can help you. Express to them you want to keep it natural and use food as medicine and avoid processed, packaged and imported foods and supplements!


These are the 10 principles of a Climatarian Diet… according to me. I am not preaching that I have the right way to eat, or that you should follow this exactly. These are what I believe leads to eating a conscious diet with the planet in mind.


Whether you take on all 10 points, or even just 2 …start somewhere and just make a  more conscious choice around what food you eat.


I am striving to live a strict Climatarian Diet for the month of April as part of the #Giveafork Drop Dead Grexy* Challenge by Sustainable Table. Check out their site, sign up and do you bit to Give a Fork this April! I am doing it on a boat in the lead up to setting sail for 7 months. So kick your excuses to curb and join me!




*Oh by the way Grexy is defined as a sexy/appealing person who is also a greenie.


Let me know what you think…. and if you’re up for the challenge. Food is very personal, so keep the comments friendly and considerate!


Until next time,


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