Why Changing Eating Habits Is Hard but Necessary for Our Health and the Planet

Heather Campbell
 min read

Why changing eating habits is hard, but yet can certainly be done.

Why Changing Eating Habits Is Hard but Necessary for Our Health and the PlanetAs part of our prevention efforts, it is essential to adopt a healthy lifestyle that will help:

  • strengthen our intelligence and resistance to infection,
  • reduce our anxiety,
  • preserve the impermeability of our intestinal barrier, and
  • regulate our immunity.

Healthy eating habits are essential for the survival of our planet. Intensive dairy farming and livestock are depleting the Earth’s resources. Climate change will exacerbate nutritional inequalities on Earth, and adopting a healthy diet would better support the social measures needed.

Having a healthy lifestyle is mainly based on our diet, so read on to understand why it’s important.

Why changing eating habits is hard: Introduction

If you have an unbalanced diet, this could lead to the risk of dysbiosis.

On the other hand, a healthy and balanced diet will restore a dense and varied microbiota.

However, it is not always easy to adopt a new lifestyle and, therefore, new eating habits.

This can be stressful for our body, and it is essential to find the right balance between what to consume and what not to consume to be healthy.

This article will explain why diet is vital for our physical and mental health.

Barriers to changing eating habits

Adopting a healthy diet has potential benefits for our body. Indeed, there are many likely recommendations for long-term health.

However, their constraints are immediate.

Constraints include:

  • The elimination of ready-made industrial meals, which are often inexpensive and easy to access. Moreover, they are immediately consumable after a simple reheating.
  • Reducing the consumption of sugar, salt, protein and animal fats.
  • Increasing the number and variety of fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains.

To all these recommendations can be added the constraints imposed by the survival of our planet.

For example, we should select seasonal vegetables, eliminate or reduce the use of pesticides, etc.

It is possible to eat healthy and good for our planet. Still, we must not neglect the cost and the changes in behavior can also radically change the lifestyle of many of us.

Currently, some initiatives can push the food industry to improve the nutritional quality of their products.

For example, free software allows our phones to translate food barcodes into nutritional properties and risks.

However, it will be challenging to generalize quality food without consumers agreeing to pay a fair price, either in money or physical contribution to food production or gathering.

Therefore, the latter would involve the development of community gardens in urban areas.

Lack of information and poverty are significant obstacles to the abandonment of the intensive farming and livestock methods that have been successfully developed since WWII.

These methods have allowed us to lower the price of food that was, in the past, reserved for holidays.

They have also reduced malnutrition and famine, but have proven harmful to us and our planet.

Not everyone has access to a varied and healthy diet

Even if it is essential to eat well to keep our body healthy, we must not forget that some people are not fortunate enough to be able to adopt a healthy and varied diet.

Here is a small anecdote concerning associations and food banks and the quality of the products they redistributed:

  • These associations and food banks would have given fake steaks made essentially from waste fat and skin.
  • Unfortunately, this bad food has been given to the poorest men, women, and children going through a difficult situation, demanding substantial mental and physical resources. The mental state is very dependent on the quality of our diet.
  • The deception of these charities not only deprived the struggling people they nurtured of meat, but it may have also reduced their resilience and ability to overcome the hardships they faced by altering the mental resources essential to fighting unlucky adversity.

Adopting a healthy diet would better support the social measures implemented to return to a normal life for people in difficulty.

Consequences of the climate crisis

Some research suggests that the climate crisis will exacerbate nutritional inequalities on Earth.

Indeed, the abundant production of the last decades will be followed by severe food shortages due to the decrease in agricultural and fishing resources resulting from global warming.

Studies have also looked at the impact that climate change is expected to have on agricultural production of wheat, corn, rice and soybeans, and fisheries resources, in 240 countries or regions of the world.

Projections suggest that by 2100, continued greenhouse gas emissions (at current rates) would cause sharp declines in agricultural and fisheries yields.

These decreases would impact the food supply of about 90% of the world’s population for agricultural yields and about 97% for the drop in fishery products.

The majority of the populations that will suffer significant food shortages already live in some of the poorest regions of the Southern Hemisphere, where agricultural and fisheries productivity could drop dramatically.

Source: Thiault, et al., Escaping the perfect storm of simultaneous climate change impacts on agriculture and marine fisheries. Science Advances, 2019

Why changing eating habits is hard: Conclusion

To maintain a healthy body, it is essential to practice regular physical activity while adopting a healthy and varied diet.

However, choosing healthy food also means choosing short supply chains and seasonal products.

Choosing a healthy and varied diet can thus also lead to many constraints, such as not consuming industrial products or reducing the consumption of salt, sugar, and certain proteins.

It is also essential to take care of our planet to avoid our food resources being limited in the future.

Hopefully, more people would be motivated to change their lifestyles if they were more exposed to information like this about the potential benefits of food on our mental and physical health and the survival of our planet.

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More