The EAT-Lancet Commission report has focused on the goal of achieving planetary health diets for nearly 10 billion people by 2050. The report states that a large body of work has dealt with the environmental impacts on various diets. Majority of the studies concluded that a rich plant-based diet with fewer animal source caters to improved health and environmental benefits. In order to achieve this goal, the targets have to be fixed.
· Healthy diets – It optimise health to ensure physical, mental and social well-being
· Sustainable food production – It will ensure the bio-geophysical systems are not affected by food production
Strategies to achieve the target
· Seeking international and national commitment to shift toward healthy diets – Increased consumption of plant-based food
· Reorienting agricultural priorities by producing healthy food instead of high quantities – To grow enough calories to feed a growing global population
· Sustainable intensification of food production in increasing high-quality output - A new agriculture revolution based on sustainable intensification and driven by system innovation
· Co-ordinated governance of land and ocean – Feeding humanity on existing agricultural land without expanding agricultural lands into natural ecosystems and forests
· Checking of the loss of food in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals – Reduction of food loss and food waste is essential
In India, a gradual shift towards veganism is being noted. Moreover, the country has a long history of consuming plant-based diet for a healthy living.
· For a healthy life - ‘Vanaspataya Ahar’ or vegetarian food is a concept related to Sanatana Dharma consisting of diet derived from plants for a healthy life and to maintain environmental balance. The subject specialists of Europe and America through their clinical studies and research have urged mankind to adopt plant-based diet that will help in the recovery if certain diseases like diabetes, obesity, blood pressure and others
· Historical evidence - Historians excavated evidences that disclose plant-based diet is a part of Indian life since the Indus Valley Civilisation
· Alternatives for experimentation - Susruta, the father of surgery taught his disciples to use fruits and vegetables with wax figures for experiments in place of animals and dead bodies. His work ‘Sushruta Samhita’ is a foundational text on Ayurvedic medicine
Effects of such a diet
· The recent Covid-19 pandemic outbreak can be associated with the consumption of non-edible wild animals
· Plant-based diet will not only save mankind from deadly diseases but will also maintain ecological balance
The age-old traditions and customs of India can help the nations to generate awareness among people for a shift in their diets. Educational institutions all over the world can impart the knowledge of the significance of conserving Nature from an early age.
The announcement of `4000 crore by the Finance Minister of India for the promotion of herbal farming is a great move that can initiative a ‘Sanjeevani’ for the world.